MLB Rumors: Free Agent Bryce Harper To The Yankees ‘Not Happening’

Heather Diaz
November 8, 2018

The system is now perversely set up to encourage teams to go to one extreme or the other in terms of competitiveness, which hurts the overall product as well as specific things like the free agent market. 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. But Boras is probably better known than a lot of the players he represents, after many decades of pronouncements and record-setting contracts, with some high-profile gaffes sprinkled in.

"It behooves us to have an expiration date", Rizzo told reporters, an indication the Nationals are prepared to move on in their plans without Harper because, as one person familiar with the situation said, they "can't have $300 million dangling out there for months". The deal would have been the second-richest in Major League Baseball history, trailing only Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins signed in 2014, and the third-richest in sports history. The deal did not include a no-trade clause, per the same report.

Don't dismiss this news as Harper out-and-out rejecting the Nationals.

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"I'm comfortable with the alternative (to signing Harper)", Rizzo said Tuesday.

That Nationals offer may be off the table in its current form, but Boras rarely lets a high-spending team drop out of the race for a high-priced client. Even though Harper is still only 26, a 14-year deal with an average annual value of $30 million per season felt a bit excessive. That means more than the $325 million that Stanton got, and likely considerably more. Harper will soon finally be available to sign with other teams after years of speculation about the Washington Nationals star's future. But no position player has ever earned an average annual value of more than $27.5 million (Alex Rodriguez and Yoenis Cespedes).

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