Unsurprisingly, free agent Bryce Harper was a popular topic. It's not hard to see why Phillies managing partner John Middleton, along with general manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail, would be willing to issue a historic contract to Harper to play his home games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. Looks like they want to get the bad taste of Dexter Fowler's deal out of their mouth and throw some more money to big-name free agents!
According to multiple people familiar with the negotiations, the Nationals discussed terms for a new deal with Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, throughout September. The deal did not include a no-trade clause, per the same report.
If Harper signs elsewhere, the Nationals' outfield next season will consist of Juan Soto in left field, Victor Robles in centre and Adam Eaton in right field, with former Gold Glove finalist Michael A. Taylor as a back-up in centre. For those of you without a math degree, $35 million per year over a 13-year period would be $455 million. "But I'm not comfortable with the statement that we're a better team without him". For the moment, it seems he and Boras will explore options elsewhere. It turns out that he rejected a contract offer from the team that very day. A 10-year, $330 million offer from the Phillies would give Harper a $33 million average salary, a considerable jump over Stanton's average. The Nationals made him a qualifying offer last Friday.
At just 26-years-old Harper has won Rookie of the Year and an MVP award. Boras also has Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg as clients. But no position player has ever earned an average annual value of more than $27.5 million (Alex Rodriguez and Yoenis Cespedes). It was not enough.
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