With the 2019 MLB season drawing closer and February nearing an end, Bryce Harper is still an unsigned free agent and still the subject of a plethora of rumors discussing his chances of signing with one team or another. And as longtime sports author and journalist John Feinstein sees it, this is mainly because of baseball “super-agent” Scott Boras and his attempts to negotiate for a better, more acceptable contract.
Feinstein’s op-ed published Wednesday by CBS Sports Radio started off by discussing how he has always included at least one “bad-guy agent” in the fiction books he has written over the past few decades. With that, as well as numerous interactions with real-life agents in mind, Feinstein commented that Boras has “badly botched” Harper’s free agency situation. He explained that this is because Boras has put the superstar right fielder in a difficult position, forcing him to attend several meetings with MLB team representatives and deal with countless rumors about his next destination.
“[Harper’s] a baseball player. At this time of year, he’s supposed to be playing baseball,” Feinstein continued.
“But he’s not. The reason is Boras—specifically Boras’ super-sized ego.”
According to Feinstein, who has written bestselling nonfiction sports books such as A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled, Scott Boras put Bryce Harper in a tight spot by repeatedly boasting that the six-time All-Star would become MLB’s first $400-million free agent signee. This, he said, is the reason why Boras rejected the Washington Nationals’ offer to extend Harper for 10 years and $300 million before he became a free agent, despite the perception that Harper is a player who would “probably be fine” with signing a $300 million deal and not having to switch teams.
“No way was Boras going to take a number that wasn’t at least higher than the $325 million extension the Miami Marlins had given Giancarlo Stanton in 2014 — even if the Stanton deal was for 13 years.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 27, 2019
As Feinstein himself pointed out toward the end of his op-ed, he isn’t the only journalist who feels that Boras is the reason why the Bryce Harper saga has continued for as long as it has. He referenced The Washington Post’s Thomas Boswell, who, as quoted by The Inquisitr, wrote last week that Boras could be blamed for the possibility that Harper will sign the “least-satisfying $300-million deal in the history of money.”
In this previous op-ed, Boswell wrote that the Philadelphia Phillies, who were then the overwhelming favorites to sign Bryce Harper, might only end up paying the player “a few percent more” than the Nationals, thus painting Harper into a corner and leaving him without the possibility of Washington coming back with a better offer. This piece was published shortly after Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner said in a statement that the club is willing to begin “moving on” from Harper after seven seasons in the majors.
In conclusion, Feinstein predicted that Harper will end up signing a big-money deal, with Boras, regardless of how he tries to spin things in the aftermath, “[laughing] all the way to the bank.”