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The expectation is that Bryce Harper will be a free agent for the 2018-2019 offseason. If you took a poll among people who cared enough to respond, they would tell you that Harper is a Scott Boras client with money to be made, and that money will be made as a free agent in three years' time. That's probably true! However, it doesn't have to be that way. Boras, at the winter meetings, stated that if the Nationals want to extend his client, Bryce Harper, then they need to be the ones to get that conversation started.
Now, Boras is in the business of making money, so he's not about to say publicly that the Nats have no chance* to keep Harper around. The truth of the matter, though, is that Boras wouldn't stop Harper from signing an extension with Washington. It would just have to be an extension that left Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million deal in the dust ... and probably include similar opt-outs, so Harper can bail to sign an even more lucrative deal in the future if the opportunity presented itself. Not that there's anything wrong with that: if the players aren't making this money, the owners are, and they already make plenty of it.
Think of how massive contracts look in baseball at the moment. Stanton has a $325 million deal. David Price signed a record seven-year, $217 million contract for a pitcher to only days later see that average annual value eclipsed by Zack Greinke's six-year, $206 million pact. Alex Rodriguez was the last free agent like Harper with this combination of youth and potential historic impact, and he signed a $252 million deal 15 years ago. It's going to take, what, $350 million to extend Harper, to push him away from testing the waters of free agency at a time when the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers should all have room to bid on him? $400 million?
Man, Harper is going to get paid, whether it's sooner or later.
- Mookie Betts isn't just a Red Sox centerpiece at 22. He's also a professional bowler competing in the World Series of Bowling in Reno.
- The Astros traded four players to the Phillies to pry closer Ken Giles away from them. They probably wish they could have made this trade in early October, but they don't allow that around here.
- Those four players make up a pretty decent haul for the rebuilding Phillies, too.
- The Mets made a smart trade (Neil Walker) and a wise signing (Asdrubal Cabrera), but they need to do more. And not even in a "Fire the Wilpons into the sun" kind of way.
- While the Mets did well to get Walker, the Pirates are taking something of a risk with Jon Niese.
- The Red Sox can afford to trade for Jose Fernandez, thanks to their big league and minor league youth. But, uh, they probably shouldn't. At Fernandez's current price, there might not be anyone who should.
- Chris Davis is reportedly seeking $200 million. Maybe we want to bump those hypothetical Harper figures again.
- The Shelby Miller trade showed the Diamondbacks' urgency and the Braves' ability to once again take first-round picks away from Arizona.
- Those Braves might just have the best farm system in baseball now.
- The Tigers made a trade with the Yankees in the hopes of upgrading their bullpen.
*Scott Boras really should become a Mr. McMahon-like evil character at some point in his story, yeah?