Cardinals an 'underrated' player in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes?

Josh Luckenbaugh
October 30, 2018 - 9:27 am

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

At 9 a.m. on Monday, October 30, Bryce Harper, at long last, officially became a free agent. 

And it's unlikely to get done that quickly, but he could be back with the Nationals or on a new team as early as Friday.

Speculation has been raging for months, years even, about where Harper will land — Yankees, Cubs, Phillies, a return to the Nats? 

In an column Monday, Will Leitch argued Harper should sign a one-year deal this offseason, citing the "lack of suitors" as one reason he should sign a short-term deal.

While most teams are unwilling to commit $300-400 million to just one player, Leitch says as many as 25 teams would seriously consider signing Harper if he was open to signing for just one year. 

But as of now, Leitch wrote Monday he only sees three major players outside of the Nats for Harper: the Cubs, Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. 

On with The Junkies Tuesday, Leitch threw a dark horse hat into the Bryce Harper ring: the St. Louis Cardinals.

"One team I didn't mention in the piece that I actually think is a possibility are the Cardinals," Leitch said. "The Cardinals are kind of an underrated team. I'm a Cardinals fan, so keep that in mind, but they have a big opening in right field."

"They have a bunch of money to spend, they have a bunch of money coming off the books this year, and they're a team that's missed the playoffs three straight years, and the fanbase is getting frustrated enough they'd like to see a big splash."

With the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox already set in the outfield, Leitch thinks a sleeper team like the Cardinals or Giants could sneak in and snag Harper, and alternatively gives the Nats a decent chance to bring back the 26-year old slugger.  

"If the Yankees were as obvious a fit as it seems to be the Phillies, or the Cardinals, or the Giants are, then I would be concerned," said Leitch. "But if I'm the Nationals, I don't look at the Cardinals, or the Phillies, or the Giants and think, 'Wow, they can just completely blow us away with any sort of offer. We can't compete with those guys.'" 

"They've got to be able to consider themselves in that market ... I don't think the Nationals are out of it to any extent."

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