Washington Nationals: Does Bryce Harper regret rejecting $300 million?

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals throws his bat after striking out in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves during game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on August 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 07: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals throws his bat after striking out in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves during game two of a doubleheader at Nationals Park on August 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Earlier this winter, it was reported that Bryce Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Washington Nationals. Does he regret rejecting it?

On the last day of the regular season, the Washington Nationals reportedly offered Bryce Harper a $300 million deal. He turned it down in order to test the free agent market for the first time in his career, but with a limited market, does he reject turning down that big of an offer?

Once again this winter, we’ve seen teams very reluctant to get their checkbooks out for big-ticket free agents. That has led to a lukewarm market for Harper when at the outset it was thought there could be several teams interested in bringing in a superstar in his prime.

Several teams that were initially linked with the outfielder have gone on to rule themselves out of the running such as the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. That now leaves a market that only realistically includes the Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox.

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With so few teams involved in the bidding for his services, he may not be looking at the kind of record-breaking deal that he may have hoped for entering free agency. After all, if the highest offer that Manny Machado is indeed just the seven-year, $175 million deal that was reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney a week ago, then Harper may not have much more than that on the table if anything.

There have been reports of Bryce Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, having meetings in December with Ted Lerner from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Former Nats GM Jim Bowden also reported that the Nationals last offer to Harper was much more than the $300 million reported, but it’s entirely possible he’s talking about another offer that was made at the end of the season and there hasn’t been another offer since then.

If that is indeed the case, then it’s entirely possible the Nationals won’t go above their original $300 million offer in negotiations. Remember, just after the team announced the signing of Patrick Corbin in December, Mark Lerner said that he didn’t expect Harper to return and that they may not be able to offer the same offer that they did on the last day of the season.

Even though he has now had a meeting with the Phillies since then, it’s fair to wonder whether he will actually be able to exceed the Nationals’ initial offer. If there was something higher than that on the table, then it would be difficult to figure out why his market is seemingly stale right now.

But even if the contract he ends up signing is a little less than that, Harper shouldn’t regret turning down the mammoth offer that the Nats made at the end of the season. He was one of the most hyped free agents in years, so he deserved to at least see what was out there for him.

For someone so high profile to be hitting the free agent market at 26 years old, it would have been foolish to accept an offer that at the time seemed a little below what it looked like he was able to get. It made all the sense in the world to test the market and see what he could’ve gotten at that point in time.

There’s also still time for the outfielder to turn a seemingly tepid market for his services around. All it takes is one call from one team to start a possible bidding war that will drive the price up and get it much closer to where he and Boras expect it to be. Hopefully, for his sake and the rest of the current free agents’ sakes, we see a resolution to this soon, one way or another.

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Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals both continue to wait and see how this whole process plays out. A reunion is certainly possible, but the lack of interest now makes it entirely possible that the outfielder gets less than he was offered by the Nats in September.

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