Even before the offseason began, Bryce Harper was linked to the Chicago Cubs. I used to consider him one of the top targets for Theo Epstein and company, considering just how much the offense struggled down the stretch in 2018. Then things started to change, as the Epstein spoke about how limited he was when it comes to signing big-time free agents. Despite the talk of being cash-strapped, it appears there is at least one analyst who still believes Harper will be playing on the South Side come 2019.

Bryce Harper to take a smaller deal?

MLB Network's Dan Plesac talked about Harper in his latest appearance on 670 The Score and gave an answer to a question that should get Chicago Cubs fans giddy.

The analyst was asked where he thought the former Washington Nationals' outfielder was going to end up. He didn't skip a beat when he said he thought Harper was going to sign with the Cubs.

Plesac added that one of the reasons the Cubs are still in on the Harper sweepstakes is because he's not going to be getting the kind of contract he's looking for. The outfielder is looking for one of the richest deals in Major League Baseball. I think teams have been a bit shy about doling out those deals lately. "I’m not sure that he’s going to get that 10-year, $350, $360 million deal that he’s looking for," Plesac told the radio station. The MLB network personality went on to say that if the asking price becomes fewer than 10 years, and is around $30 million per year, then the Cubs would be back in on Bryce Harper.

Can Chicago Cubs make $30 million work?

It's not clear if Plesac knows what he is talking about, at the moment. When you consider the team appears to only be dumping salary at the moment, a deal that would be paying one player $30 million annually seems like one that is too rich for the Cubs. It's possible they may be attempting to clear as much off the books as possible, in case something can be done.

Still, I feel that rumors of outfielders that would cost less and still be productive players signing with the Cubs have also been shown to be largely false. I don't think the Cubs are looking to sign lesser deals. Bleacher Nation posited last month that Andrew McCutchen could be an option, it appears, even though he was looking for too much money and too many years for Theo Epstein’s current plans. Bryce Harper is a generational talent. Plesac believes the Chicago Cubs could crack open their wallets in a way they wouldn’t for other players.