One year from now Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will have a pivotal decision to make about where he may spend the rest of his career. In the 2018 offseason, Harper at the age 26 will be the most sought-after player in baseball. About six teams thus far are on Harper’s radar, but that will be whittled down to three today.
In six seasons Harper has hit .286 with 150 home runs, 421 RBIs, and has a slugging percentage of .518. He’s been voted an All-Star four times, won an MVP (could have been two had he not been injured in the second half of this season), one Silver Slugger, and the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012.
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) September 18, 2017
At 26 he is just reaching his prime and a 10-12 year contract would take him into his late 30’s where he would likely begin to decline but wouldn’t be a 40-year-old burden for a team like we have seen with guys in the past.
His asking price will probably be around $400 million and with Scott Boras as his agent, he will likely get the most out of any team he goes to. Remember, Boras was the one who got A-Rod his $252 million deal with the Rangers in 2000. And later constructed an incentive-latten $275 million deal with the Yankees in 2007 (both contracts were for 10 years).
According to Onlinegambling.lv, Harper’s contract could be a 12-year deal worth up to $450 million. That would be an average salary of $37.5 million a year, but some baseball executives believe that the contract could move even closer to $500 million because Harper and Boras will likely high-ball teams for $40 million per season.
Online Gambling also placed odds on the top-five teams who could land Harper:
- Yankees: 10/3
- Dodgers: 4/1
- Nationals: 7/1
- Red Sox: 9/1
- Phillies: 10/1
With that in mind, this list will be whittled down to three potential suitors for baseball’s Chosen One.
New York Yankees
Growing up in Las Vegas, Harper didn’t have a professional team in his hometown to root for, so he became a long-distance Yankees fan. What would be very attractive to Harper is the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee stadium and that short 314-foot porch in right field.
Harper, like the rest of u, has probably marveled at how many home runs Aaron Judge has hit to all fields at Yankee stadium this season. And that Judge will likely end up with 50 homers, or just a couple shy of that mark. Harper has said that he wants to break the home-run record and playing 81 games in Yankee stadium would almost guarantee him 40-plus homers for the better part of 10 years.
Harper is well-connected with baseball’s history and knows he could potentially add his name to the storied names that sit in Monument Park beyond the centerfield wall.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 10, 2015
Even ESPN MLB insider Peter Gammons believes that Harper could potentially end up with the Bronx Bombers:
“If I were to guess one place, it would be the Yankees,” Gammons said. “Because they’re going to have so much money to spend at the time he’s out there. And there’s no doubt in my mind that Bryce could take the pressure of playing in New York. I mean, this guy was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16, was made out to be a divisive figure by the time he would have been a freshman in college–which, he wasn’t a divisive figure, but that’s the image, because he’s brash.
I think they’re going to be an absolute monster powerhouse for years. And add Harper to that, it could really be something. It’s a great investment because they could own the city, and we know that all the television ratings and attendance go with it. I think it would be a great pick.”
Even though they are at the bottom of the top-five betting odds, the team they are assembling through their minor leagues will likely compete for the NL East next season – after being the worst team in baseball in 2016. And he would certainly benefit hitting in front of folk-legend Rhys Hoskins.
A core group of hungry ball-players – all around the age of 25 – would rally behind a 27-year-old Harper in 2019. He’s exactly what Philadelphia looks for in an athlete. A hard-nosed guy who runs like his hair is on fire everytime he puts the ball in play. That is why guys like Chase Utley get curtain calls after he hits home runs AGAINST the Phillies.
According to baseball insiders, the Phillies will likely be selling Harper on the fact that he can reach 700 home runs more easily if he plays at Citizens Bank Park for 81 games each season. In 38 games played at The Bank, Haper has slashed .296/.361/.627 with 12 home runs (the most he’s hit in any road stadium). In fact, he’s hitting a home run every 7.2 at-bats in that stadium since 2015.
Harper has even said that he loves playing in CBP:
“I just feel really good here,” said Harper. “Ever since I came up in 2012, I felt great. It’s a fun place to play, a fun ballpark to play in. You see the ball pretty well here.”
Now, this is a curveball, ain’t it? You’re probably saying ‘The Cubs weren’t even on the list of teams that Vegas gave odds for Harper to go to’.
But this season – once again going off of MLB insider Peter Gammons – Harper said he had interest in joining the Cubs to play on the same team as his childhood friend Kris Bryant. The Cubs could become the next Murder’s Row with a lineup that featured Harper, Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo in the middle of it.
— ChicagoSports (@ChicagoSports) August 6, 2017
Gammons revealed this information earlier this summer:
“That was very simplified; it was a Reader’s Digest version of the interview. The interview was about Kris Bryant. … [Harper] and Bryant grew up in Las Vegas so they know one another, they’re both great guys. And people say ‘Well, he would love to play for the Cubs,’ but I said they’re not going to be able to afford both guys, so probably it’ll never happen. But somehow that went into I said he wanted to play for the [Cubs].”
And he’s right, it would be difficult for the Cubs to retain all three sluggers under contact without having to pay baseball’s luxury tax. But this team would give Harper the chance to win a World Series very quickly and put up big numbers for another historic franchise, not named the Yankees.