Bryce Harper has had a bit of a down season this year with the Washington Nationals, but is still expected to receive a massive payday this offseason in free agency. Whether he chooses to re-sign with the Nationals or head elsewhere, there is a decent chance that Harper could become the highest-paid player in baseball.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offeason, quite a few teams are going to throw big money at Harper. He will have the opportunity to pick from almost any team that he wants to play the next chapter of his career with. One team that is expected to show interest in him is the New York Yankees, who obviously have enough money to spend to get him.
Bleacher Report has gone so far as to predict that Harper will end up signing with the Yankees when everything is said and done.
“There’s no better place for Harper to accumulate value than Yankee Stadium, where he could take regular aim at the short right field porch. Because they’re finally set to be under the luxury tax, the Yankees could be more than happy to lure him with a high average annual value.”
Speaking of the down season that Harper has had in Washington, Harper has posted a .234 batting average to go along with 28 home runs and 71 RBI’s. Obviously, his production has not gone down from a power or runs batted in perspective, but his average could be a lot higher.
Washington did make Harper available in trade talks ahead of the MLB trade deadline, but nothing came of the offers.
At 25 years old, his career-low batting average is not going to scare anyone away. Throughout his entire career to this point, Harper has compiled a .279 batting average. His track record speaks for itself.
Harper is one of the best bats in baseball and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Washington will do everything they can to re-sign him, but at this point in time they are not trending in the right direction. That could be a concern for Harper in negotiations with the Nationals.
Outside of the Yankees, there are plenty of teams that could aggressively pursue Harper. Another team has been rumored to be a potential free agency destination for Harper over the past couple of years. That team would be the Chicago Cubs.
Kris Bryant and Harper are close friends and the Nationals’ slugger has not hidden his admiration for the Cubs. Theo Epstein may very well have a blank check to throw at Harper this offseason. Chicago can also offer Harper the chance to compete for a World Series, which the Yankees can as well.
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see what the offseason has in store for Harper. He is going to be one of the most sought-after free agents in recent history and will have a tough decision to make.