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The Cubs probably won’t sign Bryce Harper, Peter Gammons now says

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It was a big “never mind” to last week’s comments.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, sportswriter Peter Gammons had some parts of baseball talking about his claim that Bryce Harper wanted to sign with the Cubs, in part so he could play with Kris Bryant:

“I have people tell me that Bryce Harper really would prefer to play for the Cubs,” Gammons said on a Chicago radio show, when asked how Harper’s next contract will affect Bryant’s future earnings. The veteran baseball analyst said a Bryant and Harper pairing was “a great idea” that he’d “love to see,” but also said that because of the insane dollar figures involved, he didn’t think Harper would ever sign with the Cubs.

And yet this being 2017, and this being the slowest sports moment of the year, those comments became a mild thing. There were pieces about this on SI.com (“Report: Bryce Harper has interest in Cubs”) and Sporting News (“Bryce Harper wants to be a Cub, Peter Gammons says”), in the D.C. market (“Peter Gammons: Bryce Harper has his eye set on another NL team”) and in the Atlanta market (“Bryce Harper reportedly wants to play for Cubs”) and in the Chicago market (“Could Bryce Harper don a Cubs uniform when he hits free agency”).

Never mind that this looked like pure speculation, that Gammons never identified the “people” who were telling him this, or that signing Harper would likely make it very difficult for the Cubs to keep Bryant when he comes up for free agency.

Now, that article linked above says that Gammons never actually intended to suggest Harper wanted to go to the Cubs:

“That was very simplified; it was a Reader’s Digest version of the interview,” Gammons said Monday on the “Rich Eisen Show.” “The interview was about Kris Bryant. … [Harper] and Bryant grew up in Las Vegas so they know one another, they’re both great guys. And people say ‘Well, he would love to play for the Cubs,’ but I said they’re not going to be able to afford both guys, so probably it’ll never happen. But somehow that went into I said he wanted to play for the [Cubs].

“I’m sure he would love to, in one way or another,” Gammons went on. “But I was trying to make the point that there are so many factors that go into who makes the most money or whatever, and it kind of gets forgotten after a while. I mean, I don’t think I can remember what Clayton Kershaw is making right now; just that he’s the best pitcher in the game. So that was the context of what was said.”

So essentially, this is a big “Never mind” from Gammons. Note in that second quote that Gammons still doesn’t identify the “people” who are supposedly saying that Harper would love to play for the Cubs. They could be random people Gammons found in an airport lounge, for all we know.

There have been rumors in recent days that the Cubs approached Bryant about signing a contract extension, but:

As Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports, the Chicago Cubs approached third baseman Kris Bryant about a long-term contract extension earlier this year, but Bryant wasn’t at all enthusiastic. Heyman writes that “one Cubs person suggested the response was something along the lines of, ‘We’re good.’ That meant there was no counter offer.”

Bryant is under team control through 2021, and many think he’ll go through that year under one-year deals via the arbitration process and then head to free agency. Whether that happens remains to be seen, but one thing does seem pretty certain: Bryant and Harper won’t be teammates anytime soon.