I recall sitting at the OddsShark office a couple of decades ago at this time discussing the likelihood of Harper signing baseball’s first $500-million deal. At the moment, it seems sensible, but the timing is not perfect. Big spenders such as the Red Sox and Yankees don’t need him, although the Chicago Cubs, the group many have him linked to, have a payroll that is bloated by the awful contracts handed out to Yu Darvish and Jason Heyward.
I think that is a two-team race between the Phillies and the Nationals. Philadelphia has made no bones about the fact that it is prepared to go all-in onto a big-time bat. The Phils are in a position to compete in a wide-open division and the accession of Harper (or even Manny Machado) would give them the large boost on offense they desperately need.
In terms of the Nats, this is truly a franchise-altering decision. They can easily jump right back into contention with a few tweaks, but losing Harper in the core of their order would be a major blow — both for their offensive production and ticket revenue. Harper is among only a few players in the game that qualify as”must-see-TV” for casual enthusiasts along with the amount of butts he puts into seats and championships he sells will probably be just as important as what he does on the field. The Nationals understand this and by a business standpoint, bringing back him makes all of the sense in the world.
Another interesting wrinkle is Scott Boras,” Harper’s representative, with a great relationship with the Nationals as a few of his clients are on the roster. Ultimately, I believe he signs with whoever offers him the most cash, and it’s around the Nationals if they want to be that team.
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