A Crazy Overreaction Piece About Trading for Bryce Harper

So last night plain stunk. I can't honestly say I expected the Yankees to win that game, but it's still a bummer to lose the first playoff game the Yankees have had in two years. To nobody's surprise there was quite a bit of hate and vitriol being thrown about with much of it being thrown at manager Joe Girardi.

By no means am I a Joe Girardi fan, but this team's issues are at the higher level that is general management. I just said I didn't expect the Yankees to win - why? The poor excuse for a playoff roster is why. This offseason the Yankees made some shrewd moves that proved me wrong several times, but as the season progressed it became very evident the team needed help in both the lineup and pitching staff (the need for an ace), yet the team just traded for Dustin Ackley and called it a day. That's what was responsible for the mess last night, not Joey Loose-Leafs.

In the aftermath of last night's loss every Yankee fan began formulating their own gameplan on what the team should do this winter and what course of action should be taken whether it be shelling out the big bucks or continue to try and be conservative and get under the luxury tax, which I might note absolutely discourages competition by punishing teams who wish to put more time and money into their rosters.


Anthony J. Causi
To me, the biggest issue this team has became very apparent the entire second half: The expensive mess that is the outfield. Gardner and Ellsbury pretty much went absent after the all star break and neither earned their money this year, especially on the part of Ellsbury and his seven year deal. If someone told me they thought Beltran earned his $15 million cut this year, I wouldn't call them crazy, but it's also difficult to see him playing at an elite level next year.

The general feeling is that Gardner or Ellsbury will be gone this year. My guess is it will be Gardner as his contract is nowhere near as horrendous as Ellsbury's, but the Yankees should jump at any opportunity to send Jacoby and his overloaded deal elsewhere. So let's say one of the two goes. Then what? Some may point to options such as Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton. I thought about those two myself and would like to see either in pinstripes, but as I thought through potential outfield replacements, my mind went into full on "spoiled Yankee fan" mode and I thought, "Why not bring in the best outfielder in the game?"

That's right, Bryce Harper. Surely this thought was ridiculous and just a result of my disdain with the current roster. Surely this thought made no sense. But as I thought more and more about the idea, it became evident that it, in fact, it wasn't so crazy. That's why I am here to share my thoughts regarding the topic with you and present a debate as to why it could and, in my opinion, should happen.

Before I begin let me make this disclaimer very clear: I DO NOT EXPECT THE YANKEES TO ACQUIRE BRYCE HARPER. My goal is to simply explain why a possibility, while small, does exist.

As we dive into it, it seems logical to start with why in the world the Nationals would want to trade their NL MVP and honestly, the best player in the game, to begin with. I mean, come on. They certainly wouldn't trade a 22 year old who hit 42 homers, right?

I'll admit that point alone will likely be what compels the Nationals to keep Harper, should they choose to. However, Harper and the Nationals don't exactly get along and this has been the case since he broke into the league. From benchings for lack of hustle to awkward contract disputes the last few years, things got even worse when the Nationals, preseason World Series favorites, imploded. NBC Sports reports that Harper called out the fanbase for leaving games early and, for no damn good reason, he was assaulted in the dugout by a borderline psychopathic relief pitcher acquired at the deadline. Shortly after that he made comments stating he hoped the rest of his tenure with the Nationals went smoother, which seems to imply he has no thoughts of continuing said tenure once his contract is up and who the heck can blame him?

Harper is in desperate need of a fresh start. He's been over criticized his entire time with the Nationals and clearly he's sick of it. Everything I'm saying here is very apparent to Nationals management and at some point in the next three years they'll have to make a tough choice: Try resigning the young superstar though it looks doubtful or try trading him and getting what has to be incredible value in return.

Harper had an incredible year last year, but still couldn't carry the Nationals to the playoffs. As a result, it would certainly behoove the Nats to flip their slugger and try and solidify more positions and try and build a better all around team and the Yankees certainly have the pieces to fit their areas of need.

Prospect huggers might want to turn away as I present my proposed package for Harper.

WSH Gets:
Greg Bird
Aaron Judge
Luis Severino
Gary Sanchez
Jorge Mateo

NYY Gets:
Bryce Harper

Yes, I realize this is emptying the farm for one player and giving up an insane amount for Harper, but it would be very tantalizing for the Nationals considering it would solidify several areas of need within their organization.

I feel I don't need to explain why the Yankees should want to trade for Harper. He's the best outfielder in the game (yes, better than Trout) and is a match made in Heaven for Yankee Stadium. He's a realistic threat to hit 50 homeruns in New York certainly seems like a player who would bring some fire and passion to what has been a lifeless squad the last few years. The best part is he's only 22. The Yankees could have the inside track to sign him long term and a 10 year deal wouldn't be horrible, because it would pass in his mid 30's.

I'll do said prospect huggers the favor of explaining why I'm so willing to part with the top prospects. Let's start with Greg Bird. Yes, Bird played a nice game of fill in while Teixeira was out with a fluke of a shin fracture, but don't make the mistake I see so many Yankees fans making in thinking he's the better player. Teixeira is an elite offensive and defensive first baseman and the best player on the Yankees. He smacked 31 home runs (two short of team lead) and drove in 79 runs (15 short of team lead) in just 111 games. Had he played the entire season he was on pace for 45 home runs and 115 runs driven in. He without a doubt should and will be the starter at first base and so long as he avoids another freak injury, should be productive as usual.

The fact that Teixeira is so good is what makes me comfortable giving up Bird and choosing to resign Teixeira (this should be easy, he's stated he wants to play for the Yankees the rest of his life, one more reason to love the guy) for another year or two this offseason once his contract expires. Ideally, this would take us until 2018, when solid lefty first basemen Eric Hosmer, Brandon Belt, and Lucas Duda would all become free agents.

Admittedly, Severino would be a tough loss as he seems to have real potential as a result of him proving his talent at the major league level this year. I won't deny the Yankees desperately need a true ace which he may be, but pitching for the Yankees this year wasn't all that bad. In fact, the Yankees actually have a logjam in the rotation with CC, Eovaldi, Tanaka, Severino, Pineda, Nova, Mitchell, Warren, etc. all vying for spots. The starting pitching market is fairly strong this year which would allow the Yankees to pick up their ace there and free up the ability to trade Severino from the bunch.

The loss of Aaron Judge would be immediately nullified by the replacement by the proven Bryce Harper, thus it shouldn't be the end of the world. Gary Sanchez has had a turbulent minor league career and it seems like a good idea to sell high on him while able. John Ryan Murphy has shown he my have the ability to take over for McCann one day anyways. Mateo is a speedster who has yet to prove he can get on base at the major league level to utilize that speed and it could backfire quite a bit if he can't. Like Sanchez, it may be a good idea to sell high on him now lest that speed be rendered useless if he can't get on base to use it.

This would be a monumental trade for sure and I think it would certainly be worth it. Is it likely? Maybe not, but if the Yankees got the chance it would absolutely be worth it. Severino is the only one in the group who has proven anything in the group and it would be foolish to keep guys who have yet to prove they are big league stars for one who already have.

Inevitably someone will disagree with my argument for doing this and that is completely fine. I fully admit this proposed idea is probably nothing short of a long shot. I personally would do this deal in a heart beat, but some may choose to take the risk of holding onto the prospects instead. Either side has an argument. The point of this piece was to illustrate that the idea of trading for Bryce Harper isn't that crazy and in fact has potential to make a lot of sense for the Yankees long term.

We will have several other pieces this offseason on potential targets, but don't expect any to be as crazy as this one. However, maybe this idea helps cushion the impact of the loss last night and get you excited for the hot stove season that is upon us.

By: Nick Scott (@TeixeiraFanClub)


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