Oh, what could have been.
If you were writing your Christmas list during free agency in 2018, you might have hoped six-time All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper would sport your favorite team’s uniform.
If you’re an A’s fan, could that have happened?
Harper’s agent Scott Boras did mention it could have been a possibility months before during the trade deadline.
“When I was going through it, I sat there and -- we were at the trade deadline and I was talking to Scott and they were like ‘Oakland possibly, Indians possibly -- Houston’s probably the number one you could go to,’” Harper explained in a wide-range interview on "Starting 9."
Even after seven seasons with the Washington Nationals, Harper was open to a trade possibility at the time but admitted he wouldn’t have accepted a trade because he was so close to free agency.
“That’s everybody’s desire is to get to free agency, of course,” Harper added.
What if …
We had some fun at NBC Sports California with Photoshopping Harper in kelly green. And beyond the aesthetics, it wouldn’t be the craziest of ideas.
Every now and again, the A’s will make a big trade, and up until recently they were filled to the brim with potential prospects who would fit the bill for an exchange of this nature. But those big names rarely stay as Jon Lester and Jeff Samardzija can attest to.
Plus, the Giants were one of the bridesmaids in the Harper hunt and Boras said California taxes factored in Harper saying no to the Golden State.
I even wrote a letter of plea to get him to play in the Bay Area.
It didn't work.
Harper, however, knew that in order to be part of a trade, there would need to be a future there for him. He used an example of this as well.
Oakland wouldn’t be one to offer him much since the last time they signed a “major” extension was on a six-year, $66 million contract for Eric Chavez back in 2004.
Baseball fans were waiting impatiently for Harper, and then free-agent third baseman Manny Machado, to find their new homes. Spring training already had begun by the time the two landed at their respective locations. Harper, of course, will be a Philadelphia Philly for a very long time after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Still, it was a fascinating interview inside the mind of someone who was wanted by so many. And it did show just how much of a business sports can be. We often get caught up in the romance of it all, but Harper didn’t fray from sentiments either.
He would have loved to be a National for the remainder of his career. He mentioned the names of Derek Jeter and Mike Trout who are linked to just one team for the entirety of their MLB careers. The loyalty bug still stings.
Harper ultimately wanted that, but he looks forward to his future in the City of Brotherly Love.