Will Bryce Harper become MLB's first $400 million man? At least one GM thinks so

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will qualify for free agency after the 2018 season. Until then, we're guaranteed chatter about where -- and for how much -- Harper will land.

For the latest example of this, consider Eddie Matz's article on ESPN.com, in which he asked various executives about Harper's forthcoming payday. Here's the juiciest quote:

"Four hundred million is light," the GM said. "It's going to be more than that. If you could sign him to a 15-year contract, you do it. I would say something in the range of $35 million a year, maybe closer to the high 30s. It could approach 40 million dollars a year."

Those numbers might seem absurd at first blush. Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton currently possesses the largest contract in baseball, at 13 years and $325 million. But Matz does a good job digging in, and providing executive quotes to back up why Harper is going to be an incredibly rich individual in about, oh, 18 months' time.

Of course, it's not that difficult to understand why teams who are increasingly swimming in revenue are likely to go gaga for Harper. He won't turn 25 until October, by which point he could have a 141 career OPS+ over more than 3,000 big-league plate appearances. Given that Harper is heretofore looking more like his MVP-winning self, who knows, he could have more hardware coming his way -- and, thus, an even larger payday.

Perhaps the executives will be proven wrong, and perhaps Harper will have to settle -- okay, "settle" -- for something in the $300-million range. But to quote one executive, Harper is "going to get paid. Like paid paid."

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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