May 11, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Sports agent Scott Boras attends the MLB game between the Miami Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
As I mentioned before, this isn’t exactly an imminent situation. After this season, Harper will still have three full seasons in which he is under team control. That is a lot of time, especially in the sports world, where a lot can happen between now and the end of 2018.
The main problem for the Nationals in terms of retaining Harper past that 2018 season lies in Harper’s agent, Scott Boras. Boras, who represents some of the biggest names in the business, including recent Nats free agent signee Max Scherzer, has a history when it comes to situations like this. With the players he represents, he simply won’t allow them to re-sign with a team until the player actually hits free agency.
Logically, this makes sense from strictly a business standpoint. Boras’ job is to find the most lucrative contracts for his clients. The best way to do that is to have as many teams bidding for their services as possible. Signing an extension or a new contract with years of arbitration left simply doesn’t allow for the same sort of payoff, and that will always be Boras’ end game. Period. His relationship with the Lerners may serve as a positive for the Nats once an eventual bidding war would begin, but the chances of Harper signing a long-term contract with Washington before he hits the open market are slim and none.
The real question, then, is where Harper is more likely to end up: the nation’s capital, or the Big Apple.
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