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Cubs’ Kris Bryant happy for pal Bryce Harper: ‘Now we’ll just have to beat him’

MESA, Ariz. – The morning after his pal Bryce Harper signed a 13-year deal with the Phillies, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant still was trying to wrap his mind around the record-tying contract length.

“Thirteen years is a very long time. I don’t think that’s something I would want,” Bryant said Friday. “That’s a very long time. He’s going to be 39 … 39. That’s crazy.

“Obviously, that’s what he wanted, and I’m happy that he got what he wanted. He deserved it,” Bryant said of the contract length and record $330 million value. “He’s been one of the greatest stars of the game since he got called up, with a lot of hype and energy, all that surrounding him. And he’s handled it so good. So it’s nice to see him get what he deserves.”

Bryant said he hasn’t talked to Harper yet and plans to wait until some of the hype and attention settles down before reaching out.

“I know it’s been kind of crazy for him,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to see it finally happen.”

For much of the year or two leading up to Harper’s free agency the social media buzz – much of it fueled by Harper himself – suggested the Cubs could be a likely landing spot for him.

But the Cubs’ payroll budget was nearly tapped by then, and the Cubs never pursued him.

“Sure I would have loved to have him here,” said Bryant, who also understood the front office’s bind. “Honestly, I look around the room, and I’m super happy with the people we’ve got here. I think it’s important to be happy for what we’ve got rather than what we didn’t get.

“I’m happy for Bryce. I would have loved to play with him. But it just didn’t work out, and now we’ll just have to beat him.”

For thirteen more years. Until he’s 39.

And this: What will become of Harper’s famous flowing mane by 2031? Will there even be much of it left?

“He’s got a great head of hair,” Bryant said, laughing. “There’ll be a lot of different hair styles along the way.

“I love him, man,” Bryant added. “He doesn’t care what anybody thinks about him, he’s going to go out there and do what he wants. It’s such a good thing about him.”