Bryce Harper said Thursday that he's open to a contract extension with the Washington Nationals , the team's website reports. "I'm definitely excited to be part of the Nationals organization," said Harper. "I think that being able to play in [Nationals Park], this city, this town, around the fans, it's such a great place to play. Baseball is up and coming... I'm very excited to further my career with the Nationals. I have a couple of more years in D.C., and then hopefully at the end of that, we can do what we can and I can be a National for life, hopefully."
He's not eligible for free agency for another three years, but Harper is headed for some big arbitration awards before then if he isn't locked up. Mike Trout signed a six-year, $144.5 million extension in 2014 that bought out his arbitration years, and given his numbers last year and the fact that Scott Boras is his agent, you can expect Harper to look for something better than that if the Nats want to follow suit.
Most fans saw Harper as the only logical winner, and that was reflected in the voting, as Harper was the unanimous choice with all 30 first-place votes. Harper exploded with a .330/.460/.649 slash line in 2015, leading the NL with 42 homers and finishing second with 124 walks. A case can be made to take Harper, who is younger than NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, with the first overall pick in drafts in 2016.
Bryce Harper was named an NL Silver Slugger on Thursday, the first time in his career that he's won the award, the Washington Nationals ' website reports. "I just think I was healthy this year," Harper said. "I think that's the main thing. I was able to stay on the field this year and not have those little nagging injuries, like sliding into third base and [hurting] my thumb or running into a wall in Dodger Stadium. Just trying to be as smart as I could out there and just play the game the right way. It just comes with the experience of knowing when to go hard, when not to go hard, and just being able to be smart about everything I do."
The 23-year-old joins Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gonzalez among the NL outfield winners and he could add to his hardware this offseason, as he's one of three finalists for the NL MVP award thanks to a .330/.460/.649 slash line and 42 home runs, 99 RBI and 118 runs in 153 games. Harper's 2015 season was historic for any number of reasons, ranking him alongside names like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire in various metrics and categories, and if he avoids the injuries that limited him earlier in his career, he could just be scratching the surface.
Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper (shin) is back in the lineup for the Sunday season finale against the Mets.
Harper had a scare after missing the second leg of the Saturday doubleheader thanks to a hit-by-pitch in Game 1, but he'll tough it out and finish the season in the starting lineup. At stake for the phenom is a chance to hit the 100-RBI mark and lock up the NL batting title, where he's in a virtual tie with Dee Gordon.
Harper collected no hits again Sunday, marking the fifth time in the past six games where that has occurred. When adding an escalation in the dugout with teammate Jonathan Papelbon, Harper will receive a day off to cool down and get his head right Monday. Matt den Dekker will replace him in right field, batting seventh for the Nationals.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|10/4/2015 vs N.Y. Mets|
|vs N.Y. Mets||63||16||4||.365||.492||.254|
|vs Hamels (Career)||27||8||0||.333||.387||.296|
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