St. Louis Cardinals: The three front runners for Bryce Harper emerge

As the MLB’s Winter Meetings approach quickly, the hot stove has started to heat up, and the St. Louis Cardinals have been rumored to be in the front runners for Bryce Harper, just as they should be.

Finally. Finally. The MLB hot stove appears to be heating up. It obviously was bound to happen eventually but it seems like it has been way too long and I don’t think anyone would be complaining with a little more action. The Bryce Harper train is finally beginning to close in on its destination, and it just might make its final stop at Busch Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals.

This is what fans have been waiting for.

MLB front office changes are getting settled, the Winter Meetings are coming up from December 9-13 in Las Vegas, and the Mariners seem like they are gonna have a hot stove party all by themselves if other teams won’t kick off the festivities.

Which brings us to the free agent that most Cardinals fans think of when they hear “hot stove.” It is no secret that the St. Louis Cardinals could use Bryce Harper. In fact, Harper has been the central part of the offseason in a way no player has, even more so than elite slugger Giancarlo Stanton was last season.

The Cardinals need Harper, they can afford him, half of St. Louis thinks they have no chance, the other half will riot if we don’t get him, and hey, Nelly wants him too. The big question is how all of this is actually going to shake out when Harper’s pen hits paper.

Some insider news on Monday has given us a little more of a clue as to who the Cardinals are going to really be competing against when the bidding gets going.

Yes, he has an interesting Twitter name, but he has proven to be a reliable source in the past, so I believe there is some validity to this report. As we progress further into the offseason, it is going to be important to know who is in on Harper, and the situation each of those teams are in both talent-wise and financially.

The Yankees involvement in Harper has been a quiet pursuit for the majority of the offseason, but their interest has heightened in recent weeks, and that should worry us as fans. The Yankees are reckless spenders, and recently on SNY, Sweeny Murti of WFAN in New York said that he will only believe that the Yankees are out on Harper when he signs with another team.

This is a Yankees reporter, obviously making him incredibly biased, but he is also someone who knows the team very well. This along with the statements earlier in the offseason by the Phillies owner John Middleton that they may even be “reckless” should be worrisome to Cardinals fans, especially those who are concerned about owner Bill DeWitt’s willingness to spend the big bucks.

The St. Louis Cardinals are going to have to really buckle up if they want to win this fight for Harper. I believe they should, but they won’t pony up for him.

The best thing to get out of this report is that the Cardinals are still viewed as one of the three front runners for Harper, and that the playing field is thinning and becoming more clear as we approach the Winter Meetings.

Next: What's the price for Bryce?

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Does this mean the St. Louis Cardinals are front runners for Harper? No, but it is encouraging to hear that the Cardinals have remained in contact and are ready and willing to compete for a player with the potential to transform the team.

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