Washington Nationals: Forecasting the Bryce Harper sweepstakes

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Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper has a momentous decision on his hands. Where will he play in 2019 and why? A look at the contenders.

The Washington Nationals enter the heart of the off-season with one eye on their 2018 needs and one on the next.

By this time next year, we expect Bryce Harper to be a free agent or on another club. What the Nats do over the next year determines what he will do.

Although Harper and his family are about to become millionaires many times over, his decision is more than money. Marketability, friendly atmosphere along with a franchise capable of multiple championships will play a huge factor wherever his next chapter takes him.

Oh, the money is decent too. Because Harper potentially hits free agency at the tender age of 26, you can expect his deal to average anywhere from $35 to $40 million per year. He is that rare talent who hits the open market for the entire prime of his career. The financial reward will shock the sport. Imagine if there are opt-out clauses.

Yet, there is a good chance he stays in Washington. Harper and the Nats get along in public. His agent, Scott Boras, carries an excellent relationship with Mike Rizzo and the Lerner family. Remember, Stephen Strasburg elected to stay and not test the open market.

Until a final decision is made, the ticking clock will get louder. No one from Annapolis to Virginia Beach wants to ask, but where will Harper play his home games in 2019? Here are five plausible guesses.

We hope we know the answer, but you know until the contract is signed.