Baseball fans have been waiting for months to find out where free agent outfielder Bryce Harper would play in 2019. He’s been biding his team and waiting for the right deal to come along. He turned down the ten-year, $300 million one the Nationals made leaving fans to wonder just how much it would take.
According to several media reports, it sounded like the news was finally going to break over the weekend with the 26-year old slugger signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. But no announcement was made.
Is it because all the talk was just that—talk? Did something fall through? Was the offer he was thought to be happy with not good enough upon a closer look? Could it be he is getting multiple offers in the range he wants?
The USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted Saturday evening that Harper was preparing to sign a deal with the Phillies that met his demands:
“Bryce Harper, who has been waiting for someone to meet his price, appears to have found that team in the #Phillies. There is no deal yet, but he will ultimately receive more than the 10-year, $300 million contract he turned down from the #Nats in September.”
But then Saturday evening, the MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Harper was fielding several offers in the $30 million a year range:
“As things intensify, Bryce Harper has multiple long-term offers for more than 30M a year. Philly is viewed as the favorite, as said here, but it is also said to an “evolving” market.”
It makes sense that the market would finally be evolving. Throughout the offseason, the major contenders for his services seemed to be in a stalemate with Harper. He wanted them to offer more while they hoped he would settle for what they were offering. But now that spring training is underway, and teams want to have their roster in place.
So, there isn’t time to wait for him to bend anymore. It is time to make Harper a legitimate offer if a team really wants to acquire him. Of course, that also means that Harper is going to need a little time to play the teams making the better offers off each other to see who will up their offer.
Locking in any player to such a long-term offer is a risky proposition. But at 26-years of age, a case could easily be made that the six-time All-Star and former NL MVP is worth making a long-term commitment to.