Bryce Harper signs elsewhere.
Of course, we all knew this was a possibility, but in this scenario, it comes true. Even worse, Bryce Harper turns down the Washington Nationals to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Harper weighs offers from the Nationals, Phillies, Giants, and Dodgers and decides that the Phillies offer fits him best. It also just so happens to be the richest contract in MLB history, a 10 year, $390 million deal with opt-outs after the third, fifth and seventh seasons.
The Nationals were willing to go as high as 10 years, $330 million with matching opt outs, but couldn’t justify going any higher. This sets the tone for the remainder of the offseason. Mike Rizzo and the Lerner family immediately sit down to plan out where they see the team going over the next couple of seasons.
With the up and coming Braves looking like they will be competitive for the next 5-8 years and the Phillies just nabbing the Nationals best player, Rizzo and the Lerners decide to take a different approach and build for the 2020 season.
That leads Mike Rizzo to do something that none of us were prepared for.