Kris Bryant Says Bryce Harper Won't Sign Contract with Cubs' 'Killer Team'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 18, 2019

Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant (17) runs the bases after he hit a two RBI double during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Matt Marton/Associated Press

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant told reporters that free-agent right fielder Bryce Harper is not signing with the North Siders:

Bryant may have an inside scoop, as he and Harper are close. The two grew up in Las Vegas at the same time.

Harper and many other ballplayers are still on the free-agent market in a frigid hot-stove season. However, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Jan. 13 that the Philadelphia Phillies are the "clear-cut favorite" to land the 26-year-old, who had 34 home runs with 100 RBI and slashed .249/.393/.496 for the Washington Nationals in 2018.

The Phillies' potential acquisition of Harper would help make Philadelphia an instant NL East contender, although the team likely has to do a bit more work to catch up with Senior Circuit heavyweights like the Cubs.

While the Cubs suffered disappointing losses in the NL Central tiebreaker and NL Wild Card Game last year, the team still won 95 regular-season games. Bryant's comments about the Cubs' being a "killer team" in 2019 may prove true, as Chicago currently has the second-highest over-under win total in the National League:

The Cubs return one of MLB's best lineups with 2016 NL MVP Bryant, 2018 NL MVP runner-up Javy Baez and slugger Anthony Rizzo to lead the way. Chicago's bullpen ERA also ranked second in the league.

Still, any team could use a player like Harper, who can swat 400-foot home runs with ease and won the 2015 NL MVP award. Entering his age-26 season, the seven-year veteran has already made six All-Star teams.

Pitchers and catchers report for the Cubs and Phillies on Feb. 13.

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