The Washington Nationals are bracing for life without Bryce Harper.
The superstar slugger is the hottest name on the Major League Baseball free agent market, with many experts projecting him to land a contract between $300 – 400 million. And although the Nationals desperately want to re-sign the 26-year-old, they don’t seem confident in their ability to do so.
“I really don’t expect him to come back at this point,” Nationals owner Mark Lerer told WJFK-FM 106.7 The Fan on Friday, via ESPN. “I think they’ve decided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leaving on the table. That’s just not (agent Scott) Boras’ M.O. to leave money on the table.”
Harper reportedly rejected a 10-year, $300 million contract offer from the Nats in September. And if Harper really wants more than that, Lerner doesn’t believe the organization can meet the asking price.
“When we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,” Lerner told The Fan. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us, and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’
“But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that.”
Harper reportedly is being courted by upwards of 10 teams, with the New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers headlining the pack. There’s been no word yet as to which team is believed to be the front-runner.
For what it’s worth, the Yankees reportedly have ‘little interest‘ at this time.