Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper won’t be a free agent until after the 2018 season, but with all the buzz about the slugger potentially playing for Chicago in 2019, the Cubs decided to invite him to Spring Training, “just for fun, of course.”

“It seemed like the nice thing to do,” said Cubs skipper Joe Maddon. “I mean, hey, if the guy wants to swing by and grab some beer and barbecue with us, and maybe get in some BP, who are we to stop him?”

Harper was taken aback by the offer.

“Wow, that really says something about the organization over there,” he said. “They know I’m under contract, so they obviously just wanted to hang out and swap stories and stuff. What a bunch of cool dudes. I can’t wait to spend some quality time in Arizona with my boy Kris.”

The Nationals train in Florida, so Harper’s presence the first few weeks will not go unnoticed.

“I mean, damn, that is one hell of a gesture, I guess,” said an uneasy Mike Rizzo, the Nationals GM. “I gotta check his contract, but I don’t think we can really stop him from chilling with some friends if they invite him.”

Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, made it clear Harper was only attending Cubs Spring Training to “have a good time and not talk nine figures, that’s for sure.

Heckler George