Bryce Harper is hell-bent on pushing Major League Baseball’s paymasters to their limits.
The free-agent outfielder wants to sign a record-setting contract in terms of guaranteed money and average annual salary, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday, citing MLB sources. New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325 million contract tops MLB in terms of total value, while Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zach Greinke’s six-year, $206.5 million deal pays him a record $34.4 million per year.
Harper is “seeking a guarantee in excess of” Stanton’s total value, Rosenthal wrote, although a deal could be structured so that Harper would only reach that threshold by meeting certain clauses. This could still allow Harper to receive a higher annual value than Greinke, however.
Rosenthal’s sources also confirmed Harper rejected a 10-year, $300 million offer to remain with the Washington Nationals last year. The Nats reportedly have followed with another offer worth “much more” than $300 million, but other rumors suggest Harper is OK with waiting for an offer he deems suitable.
The Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are thought to be the leading contenders to sign Harper, but other teams could always enter the bidding with mega-offers of their own.
Harper, 26, is a six-time All-Star and the 2015 National League MVP. He hit .249 with 34 home runs, 100 RBIs and an .889 OPS in 2018.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images