Washington Nationals: Handicapping the Bryce Harper sweepstakes
By Danny Kelly
The Washington Nationals come in at number two here as it would be no surprise to see Bryce Harper back donning a curly W on Opening Day next season. His love for D.C. and the Nationals love for him has been well documented this past season.
Ted Lerner’s relationship with Scott Boras is also well documented. In January of 2015, Lerner “bailed” Boras out by signing Max Scherzer to a record-breaking free agent contract. We all know now that it wasn’t really a bailout and Scherzer has possibly even outproduced that $210 million contract.
Lerner has made similar deals with Boras in the past, signing Matt Wieters and Rafael Soriano when the market wasn’t exactly booming for either player. The point here being, Lerner and Boras have a mutual respect for each other and have a tendency of working deals out for high-profile stars.
No matter how this plays out, Boras will be sure to circle back with Mike Rizzo and the Lerners once he starts getting offers for a couple of reasons. First, he knows the Lerners have the financial capacity to make Harper a higher offer than the reported 10-year $300 million opening offer that they made on the last day of the season.
Second, Boras knows that Harper does enjoy D.C. and regardless of where the top offer comes from, Harper’s appreciation for D.C. and familiarity with the city cannot be discounted.
Odds of signing Harper: 5 to 1