The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals didn’t finish any games during their head-to-head matchup this week, but that didn’t stop reporters from asking outfielder Bryce Harper about his impending free agency. He wasn’t having it, though.
It’s hard not to envy the position the New York Yankees are finding themselves in these days.
They own one of the best records in baseball, have a dynamic and young roster, and have plenty of money to spend on any available player they so desire. Bryce Harper might be one of those this upcoming winter, but he still doesn’t want to talk about it.
The Yankees traveled to the nation’s capital for a quick two-game series that never actually happened — Tuesday night’s game was suspended in the sixth inning and Wednesday’s finale was postponed. Both games will be made up on June 18th.
Wherever Harper goes, the media follows with hopes he’ll go back on what he said in his very first press conference of the season, but it didn’t happen. When the question came up, the 25-year-old outfielder just focused on the immediate future, via Greg Joyce of the New York Post.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. If it’s the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, Phillies, name it. It doesn’t really matter the team or the atmosphere, just try to go in there and win ballgames.”
That’s the right mindset to have, but the questions will keep coming regardless. And while the Yankees certainly have the financial ability to sign a player of Harper’s caliber, they already have an outfield that’s more than full with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Hicks (not to mention Jacoby Ellsbury). Outside of Gardner, they’re all under contract for next season.
Dealing with these distractions is something Harper will deal with all year. Based off the 142 wRC+ and 13 home runs he’s produced so far, he’s done a good job of balancing everything through his first 187 plate appearances.
The left-handed slugger only has about four more months of the regular season to go with regard to dodging these types of questions.