Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper won’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season, but his free agency is still one of the most talked about subjects and has been ever since he unanimously won the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player Award. In terms of length, total value, and average annual value, Giancarlo Stanton (13 years, $325 million) and Zack Greinke ($34.42 million) represent the biggest contracts in baseball. Many think Harper will blast past those figures after next season.
ESPN’s Eddie Matz spoke to some front office personnel around baseball. One American League GM, quoted anonymously, said, “He is going to get paid. Like, paid paid.” The GM also said, “Four hundred million is light. It’s going to be more than that. If you could sign him to a 15-year contract, you do it. I would say something in the range of $35 million a year, maybe closer to the high 30s. It could approach 40 million dollars a year.”
Harper appeared to hurt his future earnings with a relatively disappointing campaign in 2016. He posted numbers that would be great for most other hitters, but not for him. He hit .243/.373/.441 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 627 plate appearances. But that was after leading the majors in on-base percentage (.460), slugging percentage (.649), and OPS (1.109) and leading the National League in runs scored (118) and home runs (42) in 2015. This year, he’s back to his MVP-level self, entering Monday’s action batting .324/.441/.648 with 15 home runs, 43 RBI, and 46 runs scored in 213 plate appearances. Barring another dip next year, he’s still set up to potentially become baseball’s first half-billion man. Or, as that anonymous AL GM so eloquently put it, to, “Get paid. Like, paid paid.”