Joe Maddon saying the Cubs aren’t getting Bryce Harper and then doubling down? OK. Tom Ricketts saying the Cubs have actually spent this offseason and fans shouldn’t be upset about not signing a big free agent? OK. I don’t care. Call me stupid, or whatever, I will grab on to any last strand of hope because it makes no sense the Cubs would pass up on Harper in the middle of their championship window.

So, just when you were down in the dumps, a little sign of hope is coming out of Philadelphia of all places for Cubs fans.

On Thursday’s edition of the  “At The Yard Podcast”, Philadelphia Insider Jim Salisbury stated that he still feels the Yankees, Cubs and Dodgers are the three teams that are all still in the Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado sweepstakes.

He called all three franchises “very interested bystanders in one or both of these guys.”

According to Salisbury, the Cubs have made it very clear to Harper’s representatives that after he receives all of his final offers from teams, he should make sure to “check back with us [the Cubs].”

I’m pretty sure that second part about the Cubs telling Harper to circle back to them is just Jim Salisbury repeating what Gordon Wittenmyer reported back in December.

Here’s what Wittenmyer reported last month.

That explains the message the Cubs delivered during their lengthy meeting with Scott Boras, Harper’s agent — as long as three hours, by some accounts — as he and Harper made the rounds with interested teams.

Sources say Epstein urged them to wait before accepting an offer from another team until the Cubs had a chance to try to move some payroll off the books and check again with ownership.

That part isn’t necessarily new info, but Salisbury is the first guy in the media to basically name the mystery teams for Harper and according to him that also includes the Yankees and Dodgers along with the Cubs.

Jon Heyman said there are definitely teams keeping a close eye on Harper’s market.

Ken Rosenthal has also reported the Cubs obviously want a shot at Harper, but that ownership signing off has been the hold up. Meanwhile, Bruce Levine reported a few months ago that Ricketts would indeed green light a big move.

Hey, Harper still hasn’t signed.

I am here for the emotional roller coaster.