The Chicago Cubs reportedly are all-in on Bryce Harper.

Time, however, might not be on their side.

Limited by their own budget, the Cubs want to clear payroll in an attempt to sign Harper, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer reported Sunday.

In fact, during this month’s Major League Baseball winter meetings, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein met with Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, for roughly three hours and asked for them to give Chicago more time.

“Sources say Epstein urged them to wait before accepting an offer from another team until the Cubs had a chance to try to move some payroll off the books and check again with ownership,” Wittenmyer wrote. “Not much has changed in that regard, either, since then — though Boras’ track record with top free agents suggests Harper might be on the market well into January, if not longer.”

Where Harper elects to sign is, and will continue to be, the biggest story of the MLB offseason. And although the Cubs appear to be serious players for the free agent slugger, they reportedly face competition from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox (the Cubs’ inner-city rivals).

Also, while the New York Yankees reportedly aren’t in on Harper, it would be unwise to count out the Bronx Bombers in such a high-profile free agency sweepstakes.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images