Washington Nationals: The Future of Bryce Harper
By Ron Juckett
This is the worst-case scenario.
If the Nationals and Harper cannot agree on a salary for next season, they will make their respective cases in front of an arbiter. A process that pits players against teams and causes a mountain of mistrust for the future.
Although there is no reason to think they cannot find common ground, he played on a $5 million deal last year after a monster 2015, Harper and Boras might test the Nationals resolve and ask for a number that cannot be bridged easily.
Having his 2017 contract decided by a third-party will not bode well for Harper remaining over his prime years. You do not go to court to demand a salary from your employer without hard feelings. Same case here. Arbitration happens when the two sides fail to agree.
As bad as arbitration would be, this the least likely event to happen. Even with Boras using his considerable leverage, the public relationship between Harper and the Nats suggests a showdown is not in the cards.
It is rare now for teams to take a case all the way to arbitration. Although after a weak season, Harper’s talent is known. The chances Washington would win are slim.