After agreeing to terms with the Chicago Cubs on Friday on a $10.85-million contract for 2018, a record salary for a first-year arbitration-eligible player, Kris Bryant took a moment to consider his future.
He said he'd love for Bryce Harper, his childhood pal - and a free agent next winter - to be part of it.
Months after Harper titillated Cubs fans with an Instagram post of himself and Bryant, along with their two wives, that included the cryptic hashtag #Back2BackOneDay, Bryant - who grew up playing with and against Harper in Las Vegas and has grown close with the Washington Nationals star over the years - finally came out and said he'd relish the opportunity to play with his buddy in Chicago next season.
"Who wouldn’t want Bryce Harper on their team? He's 25. He's already got six years in the big leagues as a superstar. He would bring a lot to any team," Bryant told reporters, including The Athletic's Patrick Mooney. "That will be an interesting one for next offseason. I’m sure you guys (in the media) will really enjoy it. But I would love to have him on the team."
Anybody who fancies dynasties would probably love to see Harper wind up in Chicago, too. The resurgent Cubs are already working toward a dynasty. The club averaged 97 wins per season over the last three years, their rebuild culminating with a long-awaited World Series championship in 2016. With Harper - a five-time All-Star and National League MVP before his 26th birthday - also in the mix, the Cubs, who have Bryant under team control through 2021, would be virtually unstoppable.
POTENTIAL 2019 LINEUP
Incidentally, for his career, Harper has hit .333/.537/.622 with three homers, four doubles, and a ridiculous 1.46 walk-to-strikeout ratio in 14 games at Wrigley Field.
"But like I said, who wouldn’t want to have that guy on your team? Getting into pro baseball and getting to be around him more, I just really realized what an asset he would be for anybody that has him," Bryant said. "So it would be cool to see him out in Wrigley Field.”