Free agency is a wonderful time for baseball players to get a pay raise. A lot of players will end up being overpaid due to other teams being interested and a bidding war will commence. Bryce Harper is not eligible to go to free agency yet, but a pay raise was evident for him. Let’s just say, he got the pay raise.
In 2014, Harper signed a two-year contract valued at $5 million. It seemed like a very reasonable deal for the young outfielder, but he went on to prove that he was worth more than that. In the 2015 season, he set the record as the youngest unanimous MVP ever. That season he had recorded 42 homeruns and had a .330 batting average. From that moment there, everyone was ready for the raise that he would get.
The next season did not go as well as the previous, however. This past season he had just 24 homeruns and batted just .243. He suffered a shoulder injury in August and was unable to find his old form after that. Some began to wonder what kind of contract he was going to sign, with one MVP season and then just a mediocre season. That question was answered Friday.
Harper and the Nationals reached an agreement of $13.625 for one-year, avoiding arbitration. The deal was a lot larger than many experts had predicted. MLBTradeRumors.com, who are usually close to being spot on, had predicted a one-year contract at $9.3 million. Many were wondering why the Nationals would accept a contract for that much money, but it does make sense.
The Nationals and Bryce Harper both knew that he was being well-underpaid for his performance in 2015, and after that season, rumors began to circulate that he was going to leave the team when he was free agent eligible. To prevent this from happening, Washington is signing him to a very good contract, which shows that they want to keep him long-term.
Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, has reportedly inquired about a long-term contract; apparently asking for something in the ballpark of around 10 years and $400 million. The Nationals showing Harper some loyalty now, might impact what he is asking for when he becomes a free agent.
Whether or not this contract impacts his choices as a free agent, Bryce Harper is sure to be one of the highest paid players in the major leagues.