WASHINGTON — There are only seven lottery tickets ever in U.S. history large enough to cover the payday that could be coming to Bryce Harper. It’s better to be good than lucky.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, an unnamed rival executive has pegged Harper’s future long-term contract value at closer to $500 million than $400 million. That’s half a billion dollars. That’s more than half of the Forbes estimated value for Miami Marlins ($940 million).
That executive, claiming Harper is “twice the player that Giancarlo Stanton is,” suggested $400 million is the absolute baseline for a Harper deal. That would be a record, as Stanton is the current record holder at $325 million.
The bad-but-not-unexpected news for Nationals fans is that Harper is likely to test the open market in free agency, and could very well ship off to the Yankees, Phillies or Dodgers. Per Heyman:
There’s no evidence GM Mike Rizzo and agent Scott Boras got into any real negotiation on a long-term deal before agreeing to the record $21.625M deal for 2018, and it’s obvious why.
The parties apparently decided that it was best to take care of the last arb year now, and one consideration apparently was that Harper played his best when he was on a two-year deal, winning his MVP.
The good news for Nats fans is that the Nationals, headed by owner Ted Lerner, like doing business with Scott Boras, who is notoriously commanded by the bottom line. The Lerners have some of the deepest financial resources in MLB and an obvious desire to win now.
There also seems to be confidence that the Nats could get a deal done because Harper enjoys playing here.
Just for reference, the Nationals have less money committed to roster payroll between now and 2020 ($450 million) than they would have committed to such a deal.
Buckle up, Nats fans.