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Sportress of Blogitude

New front-runners emerging in Bryce Harper sweepstakes?

Bryce Harper’s foray into free agency will not come for some time but that has not stopped frantic speculation concerning what comes next in the Washington Nationals superstar slugger’s career. Amid the endless conjecture comes a new theory as to which teams currently are the front-runners and likeliest to come out the big winner next offseason in the Harper sweepstakes.

Former Cincinnati Reds GM Jim Bowden, who currently serves as an analyst for The Athletic, Sirius XM and CBS Sports, believes the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves are the teams well-positioned to make a run at Harper.

In a CBS Sports video posted Tuesday, Bowden specifically examines why the Yankees, long believed to be in the mix for Harper for myriad reasons, would be an ideal fit for the slugger.

“The New York Yankees was his team growing up … and people laugh and say, ‘he’s not going to go to the Yankees.’ You know, it is definitely possible he goes to the Yankees,” Bowden said, via NJ.com. “He could replace Brett Gardner in left field. Don’t worry about, ‘oh how can you do that with (Giancarlo) Stanton and (Aaron) Judge.’ Put him right in the lineup right in the middle of Stanton and Judge. Give them that other left-handed hitter. Of course that would be a good fit for him.”

Interestingly, Bowden left the Nationals off his list of teams, even though other pundits have long suggested Harper could remain in D.C.

“The one thing about Bryce Harper. His agent, Scott Boras, has a long history of taking the most money and the most years,” Bowden said. “I’m not sure out of this group of teams, where it comes from. I just don’t think it’s going to be Washington.”

Another team omitted from Bowden’s rundown is the Philadelphia Phillies, a team previously considered among the ball clubs who could pique Harper’s interest.

Expect endless rumors and speculation to run rampant this season concerning Harper’s future. Amid it all, however, is one certainty: Don’t even bother asking Harper about it.