Cubs fans are probably relieved the front office didn't deal away fan-favorite superstar Kris Bryant over the winter.
Bryant's buddy Bryce Harper is happy, too — but not for the reason you might think. He's happy his team didn't give up the farm to get his fellow Las Vegas native.
In an interview with Barstool Sports, Harper rehashed his entire free agent process following the 2018 season and talked about what he was looking for in his new team. And it was during that explanation that he brought up Bryant.
“I wanted a team that was going to (try to win). And they were going to invest and go out and get the guys they needed to, but be smart, as well. You’ve got to understand, you can’t just trade (for) a star player and kill all your prospects,“ Harper said. “I don’t want to trade (Phillies prospect) Spencer Howard because we want two years of Kris Bryant.
“I love Kris. Kris is one of my best friends. He’s a great hitter. But if we can’t extend Kris after we traded Spencer Howard, then what would be the point?”
For someone who signed up to spend 13 seasons in Philadelphia, it's a logical argument. But even two seasons of a talent like Bryant could do a lot for a Phillies team with the roster to at least compete for a World Series, even if it resides in the loaded NL East.
Bryant's name was the subject of many trade rumors over the winter with the idea being that the Cubs could potentially acquire a haul of controllable, long-term pieces for one of the best hitters in the game. And the Phillies were mentioned as a potential destination, along with several of the other third basemen available via trade or free agency.
Who knows if there ever was a proposal that involved Howard coming to the North Side. Howard's one of the top-ranked prospects in baseball, at No. 34 overall on MLB Pipeline's top 100 list. The right-hander pitched at High A and Double-A last season, posting a 2.03 ERA in his 15 minor league starts.
Harper's not the Phillies' general manager, but it sounds like he's adamant about keeping the Phillies competitive for as long as possible, even in favor of playing with his buddy Bryant for a couple of seasons.
Perhaps these comments are as good an example as any of the difficulty of dealing Bryant in the final seasons of his current contract.