CARLSBAD, Calif. (CBSNewYork) — Scott Boras will say seemingly anything to get his clients top dollars.
The super-agent was at it again on Tuesday, telling MLB Network Radio his top free agent, slugging outfielder Bryce Harper, could move over to first base without missing a beat.
It just so happens that there’s a team out there that tends to spend big in free agency that may need someone new at that position.
While it remains to be seen just how much interest the Yankees have in Harper, one thing is fairly certain: They don’t need another outfielder. Barring some unforeseen move, the Bombers will likely start next season with Aaron Judge in right, Aaron Hicks in center and at a minimum Brett Gardner and someone else as part of a platoon in left.
Harper won’t be platooning with anyone in the outfield, regardless of the team he ends up signing with. Also, for those thinking he could get plenty of at-bats with the Yankees as the designated hitter, let’s not forget Giancarlo Stanton is still on the roster.
But Harper playing first base? Boras didn’t name the Yankees specifically during the interview, but it was fairly obvious if any team is going to pay his client top dollar, it’s New York.
“Bryce has the feet, hands and skill to certainly adapt to first base,” Boras said.
Harper, who batted .249 with 34 home runs and a career-high 100 RBIs in 2018 and has 184 homers and 521 RBIs during his seven-year career, reportedly turned down a 10-year, $300 million contract offer earlier this week from the Washington Nationals, the only team he has ever known. Only 26 years old, Harper will probably have several suitors on the open market, but the idea of the Yankees adding whatever his mammoth contract ends up being to the remaining 10 years and $270 million owed Stanton seems like one of those things one would have to see to believe.
Asked if he thinks Harper has what it takes to switch positions, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters at the general managers’ meetings, “I don’t know. Obviously he’s extremely talented and athletic.”
As for the Yankees actually needing an upgrade at first base, it’s hard to downplay the emergence of Luke Voit, who was acquired at the trade deadline this past summer from the St. Louis Cardinals. Voit, 27, hit .333 with 14 homers, 33 RBIs and a .405 on-base percentage in 39 regular season games with New York. He also drove in four runs in five postseason games.
Greg Bird, who was once looked at as the future at the position for the Yankees, has not lived up to the hype, but remains a possibility to win the job. If neither Voit nor Bird end up as the answer, and the Bombers view Harper as too pricey, they could pursue veteran Mike Moustakas, who had a combined 28 homers and 95 RBIs this season for Kansas City and Milwaukee, but declined his $15 million option with the Brewers for 2019, making him a free agent.
Moustakas has 147 homers and 474 RBIs during his eight-year career.
Cashman, whose primary goal this offseason appears to be adding top-end starting pitching, said one never knows what will happen during free agency.
“We’ll assess everything in the marketplace and how it might fit us,” Cashman said. “I haven’t talked to Scott yet, but I try to talk to everybody while I’m here.”