First Pitch: Bryce Harper, future Yankee?

June, 15, 2012
6/15/12
6:00
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By November, 2018, The Decision could be in the hands of Bryce Aron Max Harper. At that time, Harper will just have turned 26 ... and he may be the undisputed king of baseball.

The Yankees will no longer have the contracts of Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter or Mark Teixeira. There will likely be new big names with big deals that take their place, but surely they will find enough money to pay Harper, if he wants to come.

And he might want to come. During last year's post-season, the 19-year-old got caught on Twitter rooting for the Yankees. Still rooting for the Yankees, that is.

He grew up -- is growing up? -- a Yankees fan and still considers them his second favorite team. At least, publicly, he has them behind the Nationals.

In October on Twitter, Harper caused a little ruckus by saying, "Really CC getting in this game right now!? Yankees (let's) go, get some runs for ya boy CC!"

After getting flack from some of his followers, he deleted the tweet before clarifying, “I love my Nationals, but if I’m going to root for a team in the postseason it's going to be the Yanks!”

So if Harper is the LeBron James of baseball, the drumbeat is just going to grow. After all, he wears 34 because it adds up to Mickey Mantle's 7. Eventually, Harper may just take his talents to the Bronx.

It might even be inevitable.

UP NOW: My column on the Yankees and the Nats and how Harper and Stephen Strasburg are like Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden in 1984. Oh, and this weekend might be a late October preview. Plus, my other column that asks the question if A-Rod is a table-setter and if Derek Jeter will hit .300? Plus, reasons why the Yankees may get better.

ON DECK: I have a Bombers Beat coming up. Plus, the must-read What2Watch4 from Mark Simon.

IN THE HOLE: Live from D.C., it's Wallace Matthews. Wally will guide you through the weekend. The pitching matchups: Tonight, Phil Hughes (6-5, 4.76) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-2, 2.35); Saturday, Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.81) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (3-5, 2.91); Sunday, Ivan Nova (8-2, 4.64) vs. Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.02).

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Bryce Harper one day be a Yankee?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .285
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 62
RB. Gardner 78
OPSB. Gardner .774
ERAH. Kuroda 3.88
SOM. Tanaka 135