The market for Bryce Harper is heating up.
(Well, more like microwaved to a luke warm slop.)
Harper, after all the anticipation about where he was going to sign his $400 million contract, is reportedly in a situation where the strongest suitor for his services is the team he has spent his entire career with. Boooooorrrrr-iiiiiiiing. The Phillies also seem to be in play, which isn’t a great scenario for the Mets either except that the Phillies are in the mix for Manny Machado. This would mean that Harper only has one real option.
It’s time for Brodie to give Bryce another option.
Now before you jump to any conclusions, because I know you short attention span cats like to think you know what I’m going to say before you get to the end of the 500 word blog post (I know this because I have a short attention span too and do this all the time myself), and you’re partly right because I’m going to call for the Mets to sign Bryce Harper. But I’m going to be creative about it.
(It occurs to me that I already suggested this in a throwaway line earlier this week. But screw it, I’m going to put this front and center so that you all can share this and click on the link. At least I’m up front about my shamelessness.)
If Bryce Harper (and Scott Boras) think that the market is a little too boooooorrrrr-iiiiiiiing after a down year, and they really, really, really want that $400 million contract, then it has as good a chance to be there at age 27 after a good season than it is at age 26 after a down season. So why not give Harper another option?
One season … $40 million.
It makes so much sense it’s almost a crime not to take the chance. First off, we know they have it, because they already offered it to Yasmani Grandal. Although it it now being reported that the four year $60 million deal offered to Grandal by the Mets may not have been that high, that’s still excess cash that we know the Mets offered to somebody else, and hasn’t been spent after that. Even if it’s $30 million instead of $40 million, there is still the matter of insurance money due towards the Yoenis Cespedes contract, along with a restructuring of David Wright’s dead money which facilitated his release. So there’s $40 million lying around. We know this.
The Mets have two options: They could be smart and fill holes, which is fine but what holes are you going to fill? Between Peter Alonso, J.D. Davis, Todd Frazier and Jeff McNeil, you have the corners set. Amed Rosario and Robinson Cano are your middle infield. You have Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and a law firm of center fielders in the outfield in the guise of “depth”. Walker Lockett, acquired in the Kevin Plawecki deal, is supposedly your swingman between the rotation and the bullpen. Lefty specialist? With Daniel Zamora and Ryan O’Rourke on the roster, are you going to spend your excess riches on Tony Sipp? Sure, you could do that … overpay for Tony Sipp. That would be seen as the sensible and smart move. Sensible and smart also got the Mets Jason Vargas last season.
I say screw it. I’m done with smart and sensible and seventy-two wins. I want to give Bryce Harper something to think about. What is the worst that can happen?
- If Harper is a bust and the Mets go nowhere in 2019, then it’s good riddance and the money is back in play in 2020 (along with a couple of other contracts).
- If Harper reverts back to his 2015 form (entirely possible being a full season away from a 2017 knee injury which may have limited him defensively in 2018), and the Mets so much as make it past the first round of the playoffs, he leaves a hero and he can go to the Dodgers for a gazillion bucks for all I care.
- If Harper says no to the deal, then at least when word gets around to the general public that the Mets threw their hat in the ring for him, the Mets won’t be nearly as big a laughingstock as they usually are, and the 2020 class of free agents (which includes third baseman Nolan Arenado) take notice.
- As for Harper, what’s the harm? One good season with the Mets, with, hopefully, a good playoff run, and he’ll get that $400 million contract from somebody. It’s the ultimate self-bet that an athlete as driven as Bryce Harper will at least think about. Even Scott Boras might not be completely against it.
This wouldn’t be the ridiculous half-ass incentive laden offer they gave to future Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero in the winter of 2004 that insulted everyone’s intelligence. This would be the highest one-year offer ever accepted by a player by $17 million. It’s strong, and it’s as creative as it gets. And I’m sure Keon Broxton would get over it.