What would Stantons $325 million deal mean for Harper?

What would Stantons $325 million deal mean for Harper?

When Scott Boras, during an August 2013 trip to Nationals Park, was asked generically for his thoughts on contracts that buy out a young players arbitration years, the super agent answered as only he can.


2017-11-18

Im more into 12-year deals for young players, he said that afternoon, perfectly straight-faced.

Boras never mentioned any one player by name, but the insinuation was obvious. He was talking about Bryce Harper, and doing so in contract terms never before realized by any professional baseball player.

Never realized, that is, until right now. The Miami Marlins appear on the verge of a 13-year, $325 million contract extension with Giancarlo Stanton. And if the thought of that many years and that much money guaranteed to one player doesnt blow your mind, consider what this development might mean for the Washington Nationals and their own young, star outfielder.

Yes, if youve ever wondered what it might cost to keep Harper in a curly W cap for the rest of his career, you just got a pretty good idea.

Stanton may not be the perfect comparison for Harper, but hes as close as anybody else in the game at this moment. Indeed, look at what Harper has done in his first three big-league seasons vs. what Stanton did in his first three years with the Marlins, and there are some striking similarities.

Stantons batting average through three seasons (ages 20-22): .270. His on-base percentage: .350.

Harpers batting average through three seasons (ages 19-21): .272. His on-base percentage: .351.

Stanton did hit for considerably more power than Harper, out-homering him 93 to 55 and out-slugging him .553 to .465. But weve certainly seen Harpers massive power potential on display, and consensus opinion is that hell continue to develop into one of the best power hitters in the game, right alongside Stanton.

Combine that with Harpers young age hes slated to become eligible for free agency in November 2018, right after he turns 26 and its not hard to figure out what kind of contract terms he could be looking at in the not-so-distant future.

Much of the focus on the Nationals so far this offseason has been on the dilemma they face trying to lock up any or all of their key players who will be free agents one year from now: Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister.

But it needs to be pointed out plenty more key players will be approaching free agency shortly after those three. Stephen Strasburg, Drew Storen and Wilson Ramos are eligible after the 2017 season. Harper will be eligible after the 2018 season. Anthony Rendon will follow after the 2019 season.

Thats a long way off, but those days will arrive before you know it. Or, more specifically, the day in which long-term extension talks begin to come up will arrive much before you know it.

The Nationals are in no hurry to secure Harpers career-long employment just yet. They need to see him continue to develop and keep himself healthy and on the field before they can reasonably commit to him for the long haul.

But when that day comes, be prepared to hear Stantons soon-to-be-announced deal brought up for comparison. And as much as your mind was blown upon first hearing the words 13-year, $325 million contract over the weekend, imagine your reaction when you first hear the numbers likely to be attached to Bryce Harpers name a couple of winters from now.


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