Cardinals reportedly not all that interested in Bryce Harper
The St. Louis Cardinals nearly completed a trade for Giancarlo Stanton and the roughly $300 million he had remaining on his contract last year, leading many to believe they are a realistic landing spot for Bryce Harper this offseason. But a lot can change over the course of a season, and apparently a lot has for the Cards.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals do not have that much interest in Harper, despite fans and the media linking them to the star outfielder. While Rosenthal notes that teams often mask their intentions during the offseason, St. Louis acquired Marcel Ozuna after missing out on Stanton and saw two of its young outfielders — Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill — enjoy quality seasons in 2018. Ozuna, another former Marlin who was basically the consolation prize in the Stanton sweepstakes, batted .280 with 23 home runs and 88 RBI.
Rosenthal’s sources say the Cardinals are more interested in corner infield help than adding another outfielder, and they may explore the possibility of trading for Arizona Diamondbacks star Paul Goldschmidt. Manny Machado is another option, but acquiring a cheaper player would also allow St. Louis to add left-handed bullpen help like Andrew Miller or Zach Britton.
The Cardinals had an agreement in place to trade for Stanton last year, but the slugger would not waive his no-trade clause for them and ended up going to the New York Yankees. While it makes sense to assume they are willing to pay huge money if they almost added Stanton to their payroll, the contract agents expect Harper to sign is even more massive than Stanton’s deal.
A number of teams will express interest in Harper, but the financial commitment signing him would require is bound to limit the pool of suitors. The Cardinals may be among those who have decided they don’t want to commit that much money to one player — no matter how talented and young he is.