Nationals have “explored” extending Bryce Harper

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper appears to be on a collision course with free agency after the 2018 season and some wonder if he’ll become baseball’s first $400 million — nay, $500 million — man. GM Mike Rizzo has, however, “explored” the possibility of signing Harper to a contract extension, though no formal offer has been made, Bob Nightengale reports for USA TODAY. With Scott Boras as his agent, if Harper does receive an offer from the Nationals, it will be competitive as it has to give him a reason not to test free agency.

Harper won the National League Most Valuable Player Award last season, his age-22 year. He hit a legendary .330/.460/.649 with 42 home runs, 99 RBI, and 118 runs scored. Going by adjusted OPS, also known as OPS+, Ted Williams is the only player in baseball history to hit so well at such a young age.

Giancarlo Stanton currently has claim to the largest contract in baseball at 13 years and $325 million. Harper is three years younger and has more upside than Stanton, so $325 million is simply a baseline for any potential contract offered to the defending NL MVP.

“I get the idea this thing is a business. I’m all about players getting paid and that kind of thing. He’s the kind of player you dream about having on your team for a long, long time,” Rizzo said.