I’ve spent much of baseball’s hot stove season thinking there’s no way the Cardinals will sign one of the big free agents, Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. I’ve tried to use my brain, to look back at Cardinal history, at logic, and at the other teams that might be interested. Heck, part of that history includes the Cardinals talking about being smart, while Phillies owner John Middleton told friend of the show Bob Nightengale “we’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.”
That’s all well and good. The Phillies might have money. Sure, they have the Liberty Bell and the most passionate fans in America. And they might be planning to spend stupid money on a free agent. But St. Louis has an ace in the hole, too. Guess who spent the weekend with Harper?
That’s right, we’ve got Nelly, already laying the groundwork, ready to negotiate on behalf of Bill DeWitt and the Cardinals.
All Mr. DeWitt needs to do is give Nelly some financial guidelines, and we’re set. It doesn’t matter that Buster Olney is trying to blow out our candle…
Baseball execs are baseball fans at heart, and they wonder, too, about where Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign. Most common guesses — informed speculation — that I've heard from folks within the game: Machado to the Phillies, Harper back to the Nationals.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 29, 2018
Or that Ken Rosenthal is hearing that the Cardinals are looking in a different direction…
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 8, 2018
The fact of the matter is, I don’t see Jay Z on Instagram with Harper, singing the virtues of the Yankees. I checked the timeline of Meek Mill, and I didn’t see him asking Middleton to hand over negotiating duties so Meek could bring Bryce to Philly. Eddie Vedder is one of the biggest Cub fans in the world, a native Chicagoan and famous musician. Do you see him hanging out with Harper, wooing him to the Windy City? Nope. The only guy doing it is Nelly. For us.
This is about as much a done deal as an ownership can get. If Bill DeWitt Jr. can just provide the budget (or just tell Nelly there IS no budget), then Harper most certainly should grace right field and the third spot in the Cardinal batting order March 28 in Milwaukee and April 4 at Busch Stadium against the Padres.
I didn’t think STL was in the hunt, but clearly the 314 has taken a huge step in the Harper sweepstakes.
It’s gettin’ hot in here!