Philadelphia might be in a better position than any other team to make history with a contract offer to Harper. Even though Harper is still only 26, a 14-year deal with an average annual value of $30 million per season felt a bit excessive.
Indeed, the Nationals need starting pitching, a catcher and to upgrade their bench. The system is now perversely set up to encourage teams to go to one extreme or the other in terms of competitiveness, which hurts the overall product as well as specific things like the free agent market.
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Rizzo said he was comfortable that the club has options in the outfield should Harper end up elsewhere, including National League Rookie of the Year candidate Juan Soto, Adam Eaton, and Víctor Robles. Both teams tried to trade for Stanton a year ago, but the 2017 NL MVP used his no-trade clause to block deals to both San Francisco and St. Louis. We don't yet know how he'll react to reports of the Dodgers using him as trade bait, but it's safe to say the news won't thrill him. It will cost them roughly $US13 million. "There is a reality that we would love to sign him, but we may not". While Harper's presence on the Nats is realistically one of the myriad factors that have effected those changes, those types of milestones could very well carry more weight with some franchise owners than with baseball operations leaders. That Nationals offer may be off the table in its current form, but Boras rarely lets a high-spending team drop out of the race for a high-priced client.
According to Jon Heyman of Fancred, two agents believe Harper will get at least $350 million in free agency, and possibly more. Boras did not counter, but word is the Nationals would go higher for a reasonable offer - though how much higher remains to be seen. It was not enough.
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