The Bryce Harper sweepstakes has officially begun! The San Francisco Giants, and literally every team in the league, has been tied to Harper in this young offseason.
This is one of the most highly anticipated free agent classes of recent memory, and we still don’t know if the San Francisco Giants will be major players in the market.
Bryce Harper is arguably baseball’s biggest star and there is a nice hot, steaming fresh rumor attached to his name every day.
The opening shot was fired when Harper rejected the Washington Nationals’ qualifying offer, and a previous offer of $300 Million for 10 years. That does not take the Nationals out of contention for Bryce Harper, but they’re going to have to revise their offer whether it’s future player or team options, or more money to retain his services.
But that raises the question: Who do Scott Boras and Bryce Harper want to rob if they’re not going to rob the Nationals?
That’s right, I said it — ROBBERY. Bryce Harper is looking for the richest contract in Major League history, but does he deserve it? No.
Wow, that was easy.
Okay, let’s dig into this a little bit. Bryce Harper is great and there’s no question he is worth a lot of money. But Bryce Harper is entering into very rarely charted territory.
The only two comparable contracts that could serve as a guide to what Harper could command are Alex Rodriguez‘s 10 year $252 million contract in 2000 and Giancarlo Stanton‘s 13 year $325 million contract in 2014. Both of these contracts serve as a ballpark (pun intended) estimates for what Harper is worth.
In 2000, Alex Rodriguez entered free agency heading into his age 25 season with a career .291 batting average, 189 home runs, and 595 RBI (Harper is entering his age 26 season at .279 BA, 184 home runs, and 521 RBI).
Then there’s Giancarlo Stanton, who signed an extension in 2014 with one less year of Major League service where he amassed a .270 BA, 154 home runs and 399 RBI.
Now, I want to acknowledge that these stats are not the be all end all statistics and there are other measurables that come into play that differntiate these three players. These are just the most relatable numbers that can be equated to perceived value for the sake of this article and I don’t want to complicate things with WAR and all that other stuff. Also, I cannot calculate WAR.