After winning their first World Series title in 2017, the Houston Astros followed it up by winning a franchise-record 103 games in 2018 before falling 4-1 to the eventual champion Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series.
Things could’ve been a lot different if the team had traded for Bryce Harper, because they were actually close to pulling it off.
“There was an agreement in principle in place and it didn’t get over the finish line for whatever reason, out of our control. But, yeah, we had interest,” Luhnow said toward the end of a media interview. “We had worked out an agreement with players both ways.”
The first report of the Astros vying for Bryce Harper came way by The Athletic.
“Certainly a player like that would have helped us,” said Luhnow, referring to the 26-year-old outfielder, who hit .279 with 184 home runs, 521 RBIs and .900 OPS during seven seasons with Washington, winning the 2015 National League MVP and earning six All-Star selections.
“That one didn’t get reported for a long time and then someone mentioned it late this offseason,” Luhnow said. “I think fans would be surprised at the types of players at times we’ve gone after and how close we’ve come on some of ’em.”
Now that he’s a free agent, the Astros are not likely to spend the type of cash Harper wants to secure him with the franchise for a long time. That would mean one or more of the current stars would be screwed come contract time.