Bryce Harper rumors: Boras says he's met with Nats for preliminary extension talks
The superstar slugger is eligible for free agency after next season
Uber-agent Scott Boras regaled the media at the Winter Meetings in Orlando on Wednesday morning, and this regarding Nationals outfielder and Boras client Bryce Harper ranks among his most compelling disclosures ...
Harper is heading into this walk year with the Nats. He turned 25 in October, and he's a former NL MVP with a career OPS+ of 140 and 150 home runs in 768 games. His excellence at the plate combined with his youth and star power mean that the bidding for Harper on the market would probably start at around $400 million. Seriously. Obviously, the Nationals would love to retain their star player beyond 2018, but that won't be easy.
First off, Boras clients don't often sign extensions that delay free agency, and Harper may have designs on signing the largest contract in MLB history (something he'll almost certainly achieve with ease). Boras has a good working relationship with the Lerner family, and that certainly won't hurt. The issue for the Nationals is that Harper may not be inclined to give them much in the way of a "hometown discount." He knows how coveted he is, and he knows that deep-pocketed clubs like the Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers, and Phillies are surely ogling him from afar.
All that said, the two sides are indeed talking, and that qualifies as progress. It seems unlikely that Harper would pass on a chance to test the market, but everything has a price. If the Nats are willing to meet that price, then who knows.
Regarding all of this, my colleague Matt Snyder recently examined, assuming he hits the market next winter. While the Nationals' overtures are appreciated and possibly even meaningful, the overwhelming likelihood is that Harper makes himself available soon after the end of the 2018 World Series.
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