Scott Boras just made things interesting. Before he showed up at Nats park no one had ever uttered the phrase 12 year contract. So lets break this down a little bit, because the idea does have merit.
Questions to consider:
Would it really be a 12 year contract? No, not really. It would be a seven-year contract added to the end of the five years Harper is under team control.
Why 12 years? Because 12 years puts Harper at 32, in line for another big payday. Trust me, Boras knows exactly when the contract would end. There is a reason ARod had an opt out at age 32.
Is there any comparable? Nope, there are a few guys that come close. Evan Longoria signed a 15 year contact for 144.5 mil that will expire when he is 37 and Joey Votto signed a 13 year 236 million contract that will expire when he is 40. The difference between these contracts and a potential one with Harper is his young age. A Nats contract will have all off his “peak years” and none of the downward slide due to age every player goes through eventually.
What is in it for the Nats? Security and commitment to the fan base. It removes the obnoxious taunts from trolling New York fans. It also locks in the biggest contract in team and maybe baseball. With that knowledge, the team can put the pieces around him. Zimm, Desmond and Strasburg all come to free agency before Harper would. By locking in a 12 year contract, Rizzo and the Lerners know exactly how much money the team can afford to resign these players. Harper is the centerpiece of this team and he gets to go first.
Why would Harper want this? Money, but besides that, he has mentioned in the past that he greatly admires players like Cal Ripken, who played for one team their entire career. Also, his stock is very high right now. He has followed up his rookie of the year with a very strong season, if for some reason he slumps next year it changes the dynamic. Other than the DL stint this year, there is really nothing that would scare the Nationals about his future.
What is the risk? Boras points out that the injury risk can be mitigated by insurance. I think we all know his work ethic. He isn’t a pitcher that could have his season snapped with a tear.
Is it going to happen? I say not until the TV rights with MASN are worked out.
How much? 12 years, 241 million. Remember the 2 years he has before he is arbitration eligible are only a little over 2 million per and his arbitration numbers will not be anywhere near FA numbers. So, we are talking about a 7 year 30 million per year contact. Is that fair? I think so. Is that what the Nats and Boras have in mind? I have no clue.
Is Harper going be worth it? That is a lot of money.