MIAMI — Until Bryce Harper becomes a free agent and makes a decision about where he’s going to play in 2019 and beyond, the rumors and speculation won’t stop. Harper, of course, has been connected to the Bronx Bombers for a while.
“I think that’s just part of people talking and hearing what they want to hear,” Harper said on Monday. “I think that’s Yankees fans and all of baseball. If it’s not the Yankees one day, it’s the Cubs the next day. If it’s not the Cubs, it’s the Phillies or the
Dodgers. So I think that’s part of human nature and people guessing what’s going to happen, but I don’t try to pay too much attention to it. We’ve still got a long way to go. And like I said, and I say this all the time, I do love playing in D.C. It’s a great place to play.”
Harper, 24, is hitting .325/.431/.590 with 20 homers and 65 RBI. He could cost upwards of $30-40 million per year. The Yankees already have a right fielder named Aaron Judge who is having a historic rookie campaign. Granted, A-Rod once switched positions to accommodate Derek Jeter.
Asked if he would ever consider a position switch, Harper replied: “I haven’t really thought about it. I play right field every single day in D.C,. and I enjoy playing out there. Michael Taylor plays center, Jayson Werth plays left. I think we’ll do OK this year, and then we’ll see what happens.”
With several young position player prospects, maybe the Yankees will decide to spend the bulk of their future free-agent dollars on pitching.
Speaking of hurlers, FanRag Sports reported that the White Sox are asking for a lot in exchange for southpaw Jose Quintana. In the Bombers’ case, think a package headed by Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier. But it would be stunning if the Yankees parted with Torres. And they’re high on Frazier as well. It doesn’t seem like there’s much there at the moment, but things could always change.
Quintana has pitched to a 2.70 ERA in his past seven starts. If the prospect cost is right, he fits the bill as a controllable, cost-effective pitcher who is still young and has had a lot of success. Brian Cashman told Michael Kay on Sunday that the organization would be approaching the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline with a “careful buyer” approach. Despite not winning any of their past eight series, the Yankees still sit atop the AL wild card lead. All-Stars Yonder Alonso and Brad Hand are among those who have been connected with the Bombers as has Home Run Derby participant Justin Bour. Buster Olney of ESPN reported the Yankees’ talks with the Marlins about Bour were only “cursory” in nature.
“I’ve heard it for a few weeks now. Everybody’s asking me, ‘Where are you going?’ and I have no idea where I’m going, or if I’m going anywhere,” Hand said. “You just try to take it day by day.”
Starlin Castro (hamstring) is close to a return. “I think I’m gonna play Thursday and Friday for Double-A Trenton (in Hartford), and then we’re going to see from that if I’m going to play on Saturday (in Boston),” said Castro, who cannot play in the All-Star Game because of the injury.
“I feel pretty good. I’ve been running in New York the last 3-4 days doing baseball activities, taking grounders, taking batting practice, I feel really good.”
OSUNA OWNS JUDGE
Aaron Judge is 0-for-4 with four strikeouts against Toronto’s All-Star closer Roberto Osuna in 2017. “It’s tough to face him,” Osuna said. “He’s one of the best hitters in the big leagues. He’s got power and he’s a smart hitter. But I just go out there with my plan, and it’s been working pretty good. I can’t tell you how I work him because it’s just whatever I’ve got on my mind in that moment. But he’s an unbelievable hitter, and I just go out there and attack him with the first pitch.”
Aaron Judge has plenty of fans. A few of them decided to dress up in Judge’s robes and wigs as part of “JudgeCon.” It appears as though their excursion took them to Times Square, per a photo on “Funny or Die’s” Twitter account. They were also expected at Foley’s bar.
The Yankees released Chris Carter on Monday. Carter had been designated for assignment twice by the Bombers in a span of 12 days.
He had .653 OPS with eight homers and played awful defense at first base.