WASHINGTON — What better time than a year and a half out to talk about how much money Bryce Harper could fetch in free agency?
Just this week, an anonymous GM speculated to ESPN’s Eddie Matz that, because of the numbers Harper’s putting up this season, his down year in 2016 (‘down’ being relative to his MVP 2015 season) is basically forgotten, that once he hits free agency, saying Harper could command $400 million would be an underestimation.
We also have longtime baseball scribe, Peter Gammons, coming out of nowhere and casually dropping on Chicago radio last Friday he’s been told — by people, plural — that Harper “really would prefer to play for the Cubs.”
That should probably set the scene for The Junkies’ Tuesday morning conversation.
“I think Bryce wants to play for a big, like iconic team,” Jason Bishop said. “I think he wants to play for the Yankees or the Cubs or the Dodgers. You know, one of those types of teams. They’re going to have the most money to spend. Yes, he is friends with Kris Bryant, but the Cubs also have to pay Kris Bryant. Can they afford two $400 million players? I doubt it. So, it’s just a rumor.”
“Plus, it’s a year and a half away,” John-Paul Flaim said. “Like, I can’t get that worked up over somebody who could potentially leave after 2018.”
“And plus, he’s a [Scott] Boras client,” added John Auville. “Outside of [Stephen] Strasburg, those guys are going to test the market and see what’s out there, see what’s available, try to drive up the price tag.”
Regardless of the flurry of rumors, Eric Bickel, a Nats fan, says he’s already resigned himself to the idea that Harper’s “probably going to leave.”
“But it’s more because he’s just going to get a massive offer from somewhere else that he probably won’t get here,” Bickel said. “It’s not because I believe — this is just pure speculation — that he’s in some way unhappy here, doesn’t like D.C. It appears to me he likes D.C.”
“The fans have completely embraced him,” he said. “If they gave him the best deal, I believe he would stay here. The problem is, the deal’s probably going to be until 2090, it’ll be back-loaded, deferred money and nobody wants to deal with that. So because of that, I have just assumed we’re going to lose him, but not because, well, he’s got some burning desire to play in Chicago, or New York or LA or something.”
“I kind of reject that,” he added. “It could be true, but I kind of reject that out of hand.”
“It’s all speculation,” Flaim said, dismissing the topic. “We don’t know that he has this burning desire.”
“We have no idea,” Bishop agreed.
“But, I think Peter Gammons is very plugged in,” Flaim noted. “And I don’t think Peter Gammons just throws stuff out at the wall.”
“Boras probably tells people,” Bishop said. “And who knows? That might be the source. But he probably tells people that [Harper] wants to play in a bunch of different cities. I mean, he just wants to leverage it. That’s what he’s gonna do. But I’m not getting worked up over it, either.”
Okay. So everyone agrees not to get worked up?