Bryce Harper Joining Cubs 'Not Going to Happen,' Joe Maddon Says

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2019

FILE - In this Sept. 26, 2018, file photo, Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper, looks at the baseball field from their dug out before the start of the Nationals last home game of the season against the Miami Marlins, in Washington. Not only didn't the Nationals get over the hump _ those spring training camels, notwithstanding _ they didn't even make the playoffs. And now the question looming over the franchise becomes whether Bryce Harper will leave as a free agent. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

The Chicago Cubs' scored one run in 13 innings during their National League Wild Card Game loss to the Colorado Rockies, but they won't be pursuing a generational, 26-year-old talent to bolster their offense this offseason.

"Not going to happen," manager Joe Maddon said when he was asked if the Cubs would sign Bryce Harper, per Jesse Rogers of ESPN.

This comes after Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (h/t Tony Andracki of NBC Sports Chicago) reported that "the Cubs would love a shot at Harper, though ownership approval continues to appear unlikely, sources say."

Andracki noted president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has discussed the budget issues he has been working under throughout the offseason as the team appears to be well on its way to surpassing the $206 million luxury-tax threshold for the 2019 campaign because of previous contracts.

Still, the Cubs are in the middle of a competitive, win-now window, having reached the 2015 and 2017 National League Championship Series and winning the 2016 World Series. There is an offensive core in place with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras, among others, but the runs disappeared down the stretch.

The scored one run in three of their final four games in 2018, and the concerns were magnified by the fact that they lost the National League Central in a one-game tiebreaker to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Harper seems like the type of player a big-market team looking for offense would be willing to pay the luxury-tax penalty for to maximize its legitimate chances of winning a World Series given his age and the fact that he already has a National League MVP, NL Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger and six All-Star Games on his resume.

However, it appears the front office isn't willing to commit a long-term deal to that type of star power.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the Philadelphia Phillies are the "clear-cut favorite" to sign Harper at this point following a meeting with him in his hometown of Las Vegas on Saturday.

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