Bryce Harper expects a record-setting bonus

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Bryce Harper2.jpgJon Heyman of Sports Illustrated has a source telling him that Bryce Harper is going to seek to break Stephen Strasburg’s record $15.67 million signing bonus when he’s selected next
month, almost certainly by the Nats. Man, he gets all the scoops.

I’m a bit skeptical. MASN’s Ben Goessling reported a couple of weeks ago that Scott Boras himself — who represents Harper — has said that he does not consider Harper to be in the same class as Strasburg. I suppose this could be negotiation ju-jitsu of some kind, but it’s probably the truth.  A near-finished pitching prospect is simply much closer to contributing to a major league team than is a 17 year-old slugger who plays a position — catcher — at which prospects tend to most slowly mature. In light of that I’d be a bit surprised if Harper gets more than Strasburg gets, pre-draft campaigning notwithstanding.

Still, there’s very little doubt that Haper will get the record bonus for a position player. That mark is currently held by shortstop Tim Beckham, to whom the Rays gave $6.15 million in 2008.

David Wright isn’t ready to retire

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There’s no doubt that the last three years have put David Wright through the ringer. The Mets third baseman missed the bulk of his 2015 season with spinal stenosis and made it through a month of games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. In 2017, a bout of shoulder impingement, rotator cuff surgery and a laminotomy procedure on his lower back kept him off the field for all 162 games.

Despite the continual setbacks, Wright told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, he doesn’t believe retirement is in the cards for him this year. “When the end comes, the end comes,” he said Friday. “Hopefully, I’ve got a little more left. But I guess that’s to be determined.”

The 35-year-old last appeared for High-A St. Lucie in 2017, powering through three games with one hit and five strikeouts in 10 plate appearances. His career has advanced in fits and starts since 2015, but you don’t have to do too much digging to find his last great performance with the Mets. Wright earned his seventh career All-Star berth in 2013, slashing .307/.390/.514 with 18 home runs and a terrific 6.0 fWAR in 492 PA. While he isn’t expected to mash at those levels in the near future, if ever again, the Mets believe the veteran third baseman might still have something left in the tank as he tries to extend a 13-year run in the majors.

Per DiComo, the only thing standing in his way is a clean bill of health — not just for the upcoming season, but for the years to come. Wright said he wouldn’t risk returning to the field if it came with long-term implications for his quality of life.

The surgeries are obviously serious stuff, but it just kind of plays with your mind mentally, where you don’t know how your body’s going to hold up,” Wright said. “You don’t know how you’re going to feel a month from now. You don’t know how you’re going to feel a couple weeks from now. You’re hoping that it continues to get better, but you just don’t know.

Given the uncertainty that surrounds his return to the game, it’s a prudent outlook to have.