As players begin reporting to spring training this week, there are tons of stars still unsigned and looking for a place to play this year.
One of those stars is Bryce Harper, but it looks like the only way the former Nationals outfielder will sign with a club this season is if he inks a long-term contract.
Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that Harper will “not be signing — or even considering — short-term deals.”
Despite rumored offers/wishes of teams, word is Bryce Harper is not signing — or even considering — short-term deals.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 12, 2019
From Harper’s perspective, it is logical that he would want a long-term deal with a club. After all, he is one of the biggest faces, if not the biggest face, in the game today and whatever he does on and off the field will generate more money for his future franchise.
In addition, Harper is coming off one of his better seasons in 2018 with the Nationals. The 26-year-old star left-handed hitter led all of MLB in walks with 130 and finished ranked in the top three among NL outfielders in RBI (second), OPS (second), runs created (second), runs created per 27 outs (second), homers (tied for second), runs (third) and extra-base hits (third). Harper is a six-time All-Star, a MVP winner (2015), a Rookie of the Year winner (2012) and a Silver Slugger winner (2015).
However, the idea of signing players to monster long-term contracts (i.e. Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million contract for 13 years, Alex Rodriguez’s two $250-plus million deals for 10 years, etc.) is fading away fast from franchises because of the evolution of analytics and the new luxury-tax rules. These two points are making teams come to the realization that they don’t want to be stuck with one player on their payroll for a decade or more, especially if they are not performing at a high level on the back end of the contract.
This seemed to be evident on Monday when Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Giants are willing to offer Harper “a lucrative short-term deal, but have no desire to provide a long-term contract approaching the 10-year, $300 million contract Harper rejected from the Washington Nationals in September.” Harper has also had recent interest from the Phillies and Padres.
But, with the season less than two months away, it will be interesting to see how long Harper will wait before he and his agent Scott Boras decide to take a deal.