Bryce Harper is the most hyped free agent in recent memory and could very well command a record contract this winter. He’s also represented by Scott Boras, who isn’t known for rushing into deals for his clients. As such, most folks figured Harper’s courtship would drag out for a while once the free agency period opens (which is very soon now that the World Series is over).
But if what Boras told YES Network’s Michael Kay is true, everything has already been decided.
“Bryce Harper is somebody that…in my entire career, he has the greatest skill level and the greatest character level of any superstar I’ve ever been involved with. And I think our game is going to see historic performances from him.
“We know who the team is, it’s already completed and done,” Boras admitted. “But Bryce has told me he wanted to tell you personally, so I’m gonna let him do that”
Scott Boras (on Harper): "We know who the team is, it's already completed and done. But Bryce has told me he wanted to tell you personally, so I'm gonna let him do that" pic.twitter.com/0BZNsWQCsf
— District on Deck (@DistrictOnDeck) October 27, 2018
Well that’s quite the bombshell, huh? Or is it really just Boras putting something out there to get teams scrambling and upping their offers? Maybe it’s even his attempt at humor, which, wow. That probably makes more sense than things really being decided already, but you never know.
If Boras is serious — see editor’s note below for potential ramifications of that — which team is he talking about? Harper has openly flirted with the Cubs for the last two years and they have been viewed by some oddsmakers as the favorites to land him. Even some plugged-in beat writers are saying Harper to the Cubs feels “inevitable.”
At the same time, Boras was appearing on the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, which could be a big clue. Or that could mean the super-agent is simply baiting the hook with a massive red herring.
All we know for certain is that Harper is in line for a monster contract, the bidding for which is reportedly starting at 10 years and $350 million. Wait, does the fact that Bruce Levine put that figure out there tell us anything? Probably not, as that’s been a fairly standard assumption for a while now. But the Cubs do figure to be one of maybe six teams that could swim in waters that deep, along with the Dodgers, Yankees, Phillies, Twins, and Giants.
I am pretty intrigued by the Phillies, who seem very well positioned to bring either Harper or Manny Machado aboard for 2019 and beyond. At the same time, they just don’t feel like a fit for Harper for some reason.
So what do you think, dear reader: Are we going to find out where Harper’s headed on Tuesday morning or is this really going to drag out after all?
Ed. note: The thing about writing while trying to acclimate a new kitten to your home is that you can neglect to include certain items. Such as, a deal already being in place with a team other than the Nationals would constitute tampering. Unless Boras just means Harper’s made up his mind, in which case Boras mentioning it as he did could still lead to a tampering investigation. But it seems like Boras is way too smart for that, which leads us back to humor.
Even then, it still seems really ill-advised. So maybe Harper is just staying put — despite the Nats’ tight financial situation — and all the hype will have been for naught. Or maybe this will add another layer of intrigue once we get to the offseason.
According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Boras had indeed been fishing for herring with his trolling motor.
Guys. Boras was kidding. I even checked on it for you just in case. He was kidding. Look. Beyond. Headlines.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) October 28, 2018