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Bryce Harper ‘never heard’ from Yankees in free agency

It was believed for years that the New York Yankees would take an aggressive run at Bryce Harper once the superstar reached free agency. According to Harper, however, the Yankees never reached out to him once he became available.

Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies were at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday. Given the nearly universal suspicion that the slugger would one day likely don pinstripes after his superstar-making stint with the Washington Nationals, Harper not surprisingly was asked why that expected endgame never came to fruition.

“I never heard from them,’’ Harper said, via northjersey.com. “Everybody knew that growing up I was a huge Yankee fan, of course.

“But I’m happy with where I’m at and very excited to start my chapter with the Phillies.’’

Harper added it is his belief the reason why the Yankees never came calling during his protracted free-agency odyssey had a lot to do with the presence of Giancarlo Stanton in the Bronx.

“When they went out and got (Giancarlo) Stanton in that trade (with the Marlins),’’ Harper said before trailing off.

It’s true that the Yankees committing to take on a significant portion of Stanton’s $325 million contract likely had something to do with a reluctance to go all-in on Harper. That said, the Yankees have never shied away from wielding its considerable organizational strength to lure top free agents. After all, the team is not referred to as the “Evil Empire” for nothing.

Still, the Yankees have nevertheless exhibited more restraint over the past few seasons, and even without Harper, the Bronx Bombers are a legitimate World Series contender.

While Yankees fans — and perhaps the organization as well as Harper — may spend some time wondering what could have been, it certainly seems things have worked out pretty well for all involved parties, especially Harper.