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Making a case for Bryce Harper to the Pirates? Get real. | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

Making a case for Bryce Harper to the Pirates? Get real.

Tim Benz
| Wednesday, December 19, 2018 9:27 a.m
NationalsBlueJaysBaseball66115jpgc5df9
Washington Nationals' Bryce Harper (34) reacts after he struck out looking during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on Saturday, June 16, 2018. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Oops. I’m sorry. I must have misread. I thought a national publication took the time to post a story suggesting there was merit to the discussion of the Pirates signing free agent superstar Bryce Harper.

Oh, wait. I didn’t misread. This actually happened.

USA Today did a deep dive into the “logic” of the Pirates making a run at signing Bryce Harper.

Their time would’ve been better spent outlining how the Pirates are preparing the defense of PNC Park against an alien invasion, calling for sasquatch appreciation night on the promotional calendar, or demanding the construction of a Derek Bell statue between Roberto Clemente’s and Willie Stargell’s.

It appears that author Gabe Lacques — who has a blue check on Twitter — is going team-by-team, giving the pros and cons of each MLB market chasing baseball’s most-prized free agent.

As if cons exist anywhere.

I’m not sure what order he is going in. The last team he wrote about in the sweepstakes was the Mariners. And it appears the Pirates are the 22nd team to get the spotlight on it, after Seattle. So maybe he’s going in descending order of likelihood.

Who will the 23rd team be? The Rockford Peaches? The Springfield Isotopes? Because I give either of them a better shot.

The most striking lines from the story — which is far more clinical and sincerely presented than I expected — are these:

“Is it also the definition of insanity to not do the same thing over and over, and expect a different result? … One thing hasn’t changed: The Pirates ignoring the high-end free agent market.”

True. But failing to bid on Harper isn’t what I needed to make that realization. I could’ve told you that when — oh, let’s see, pick one — they didn’t even bother making a serious attempt to keep J.A. Happ after 2015.

The thinking behind a lot of Lacques’ points is sound. The Pirates have a hole in the outfield. Their remaining payroll is low. Their profits are greater than what’s been reasonably reinvested into the team. They are almost four decades removed from a World Series and overdue to have a superstar and legit buzz around the team.

But they aren’t signing Bryce Harper. Reading this just made the obvious reality of that situation more frustrating.

There’s a better chance of the Steelers starting Mason Rudolph Sunday in New Orleans, or the Penguins putting Sidney Crosby in goal tonight against Washington.

Don’t get any ideas, Sid. That was sarcasm.

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