The 2019 Major League Baseball free-agent class will go down in history as one of the best. Many opine that the crown jewel of the class, Bryce Harper, will garner a $400 million payday. Is he worth it to the Chicago Cubs?
Major League Baseball – and, by extension, the Chicago Cubs, has never seen a $400 million contract. In fact, before 2014 and the Giancarlo Stanton contract from the Miami Marlins which reached $325 million, the highest paid player had been former New York Yankees third-baseman, Alex Rodriguez at $275 million.
As we approach the next year’s gold mine of free-agents, the speculation surrounding the first $400 million contract is continuing to catch fire. Bryce Harper is a name linked to such a lucrative deal. However, it is difficult to justify a contract of such epic proportions.
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What would it look like?
When the Miami Marlins made their decision to sign Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million contract extension, it was notably the most massive contract to date in the history of Major League Baseball.
Stanton was 25 years old when he inked the massive payday. Consequently, the same age that Bryce Harper is currently. Harper will turn 26 in October of this year, which will make him only a few months shy of 27 when he would officially sign the contract.
The contract breakdown of Stanton’s megadeal averages out to roughly $28 million per season, for the next eleven seasons. It does include a final-year $25 million player option. To put it differently, it would cost the Yankees $10 million to buy Stanton out.
Setting the bar
Being that the Marlins, and Stanton in particular, set the league standard for contracts, it is interesting to think about how a Bryce Harper contract would look.
In theory, the contract will garner at least 15 years. Of course, that would put Harper at 42 years old by the end of the deal, which is highly unlikely he will be playing at that point. Be that as it may, it would all but ensure his next team the guarantee that he would be there for the next decade, at least.
A 15-year, $400 million contract would average out to $26 million per season, which is something the Cubs will have to consider, so long as it would be a smarter contract regarding length than the Stanton contract.