In the open, it's been a quiet offseason for the Chicago Cubs, but behind the scenes they're busy at work trying to free up cash to make a push for Bryce Harper.
The Cubs have met with Harper and his agent Scott Boras for a combined three hours, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, who reports Chicago is trying to free up cash to make a run at the 2015 NL MVP.
In fact, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein asked Harper and Boras to give the Cubs a chance to clear payroll off their books before accepting an offer from another club, Wittenmyer's sources told him.
Landing Harper would likely cost Chicago more than the $300 million over 10 years he reportedly turned down from the Washington Nationals in November. That might be a tall task for the Cubs, who are up against the luxury-tax, although Wittenmyer says the organization likely won't be restrained by the penalties incurred for going over the threshold.
The Cubs already have more than $168 million committed to players in 2019, which doesn't include arbitration dollars that'll need to be handed to Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber, and a handful of others. Additionally, Chicago has a full outfield with Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Ian Happ, and Albert Almora Jr. in the fold.