Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Bryce Harper rejected contract offer from Nationals

Bryce Harper rejected contract offer from Nationals

If you think that last winter's frozen free-agent market, and all the criticism directed at powerful agent Scott Boras for his role in the months-long ordeal that bled into spring training, might have him laying low or tiptoeing cautiously into this new offseason, then you don't know Boras. But if they do, it nearly certainly won't be that deal, and Washington's general manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo acknowledged on Tuesday that his team can not afford to wait around for the right-fielder to make his decision.

On the last day of the 2018 season, star outfielder Bryce Harper turned down a long-term "aggressive offer" by the Washington Nationals, according to the Washington Post.

Harper has expressed a desire to remain with the Washington Nationals but they could face a challenge if other clubs are motivated to spend lavishly. A source close to Harper's situation said: "he's not going to be a Yankee". But the Dodgers could have a change of heart. And the Nationals, of course, could up-the-ante. For years now, Boras has been selling Harper as a talent so rare he could command more than $400 million, and when presented with that number this week, he joked, "Why be so limiting?"

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Harper is hitting free agency far sooner than most, due to debuting in the majors while in his teens and still has likely at least five prime years left, if not seven or eight. Nightengale says that Harper is seeking a 13-year deal that tops the average annual value of $34.42 million that Zack Greinke now has in his deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Importantly for any future negotiations, Harper's deal would not be the largest in baseball history by average annual value.

Harper's contract season of 2018 was a mixed bag. He finished the season with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs, but only managed a batting average of.249. It's not hard to see why Phillies managing partner John Middleton, along with general manager Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail, would be willing to issue a historic contract to Harper to play his home games at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

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