If it seems we’re making only incremental progress in our understanding of the Bryce Harper saga, that may be due to the fact that the bidding is still progressing in a cautious manner. We learned Wednesday that the Giants’ interest extended to the ten-year contract range, and there’s more chatter Thursday morning, though it’s fair to wonder whether the recent movement is mostly just setting the stage for a final frenzy.
Harper’s camp seemingly expects to sign a record-breaking contract, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. It remains to be seen both where Harper will land and what record(s) he’ll break, but Nightengale writes that the three primary remaining contenders — the Dodgers, Giants, and Phillies — “have vowed to provide Harper with either the biggest overall free-agent contract in North American sports history or the largest average annual salary anyone has ever received in the sport.” The present record-holders in each of those two measures are Giancarlo Stanton ($325M total contract) and Zack Greinke ($34.42M AAV).
Agent Scott Boras is said to be “circling back with other teams” to see if they wish to get involved at the last moment. Presumably, that’ll include a phone call to the Nationals, Harper’s only professional club to date and a frequent match with Boras clients. It’s unknown at this point whether any other organizations will jump into the mix or whether the bidding is down to a final three. Regardless, Nightengale suggests, it seems the final stage of the process is finally upon us.
Here’s a quick breakdown of where the three aforementioned primary contenders stand, based upon reporting to date: