Depending on what you want to believe and how optimistic you’re feeling, Andrew McCutchen agreeing to a three-year deal worth $50 million with the Phillies could be good news or bad news for the Cubs.
As we’ve seen throughout the offseason, the Phillies have been seen as top suitors for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. So, now that McCutchen has signed with them does it mean they’re out on Harper?
Both @MattGelb and I are hearing same from multiple sources. Told addition of McCutchen would NOT preclude #Phillies from signing another outfielder, whether it’s Harper or someone else. https://t.co/ToylyfCwL7
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 11, 2018
So, Ken Rosenthal is reporting that despite the addition of McCutchen, the Phillies are still in play for another outfielder, including Harper.
However, Jim Salisbury, who first reported that the Phillies were trying to sign McCutchen, also wrote the following about the team’s interest in Harper.
The Phillies appear to be only lukewarm on Harper — from the megastar free-agent category, they prefer infielder Manny Machado — and they do have interest in Brantley.
Despite the Phillies being rumored to be one of the top three teams in on Harper there has been the feeling that they prefer Manny Machado instead.
But they still have a lot of money available to spend and it’s not like they still couldn’t use Harper to make their outfield better.
So, depending on what you want to believe, the signing of McCutchen means they’re out on Harper, or nothing has actually changed.
What does this mean for the Cubs?
Well, let’s have some fun here and speculate. What if the Phillies got frustrated by Harper’s agent Scott Boras and just decided to move on. So, that’s one less team in on Harper. Let’s say this process drags out for another month and teams like the White Sox, who have several things to address, decide they’re moving on too and go after other free agents.
That’s when Theo Epstein comes into the picture and just like Yu Darvish last offseason, capitalizes and strikes a deal and isn’t worried about all the other things that Boras does during this free agency process.
I know Rosenthal reported earlier today that the Cubs weren’t engaged in a pursuit of Harper, but that just doesn’t make any sense. They at least have to be in the picture.
But of course, there’s also the chance that the Cubs aren’t in on Harper and the best backup plan to improve the outfield, McCutchen, was just plucked out of free agency by the Phillies.
But hey, at least things are actually starting to happen.