Cubs rumors: How it could happen
A report from ESPN broke the news last month about how Bryce Harper turned down a reported 10-year, $300 million contract from the Washington Nationals at season’s end. After the report broke, a second report broke on Mark Lerner, the owner of the Nationals and what they expect moving forward.
"“Well, when we met up with them and gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ We went right to the finish line very quickly,’ Lerner said. “And we said, ‘If this is of interest to you, please come back to us, and we’ll see whether we can finish it up.’ But we just couldn’t afford to put more than that in and still be able to put a team together that had a chance to win the NL East or go farther than that.”"
With that, it sounds like Harper’s Nationals career is over.
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The question remains now about how the Cubs could land Harper on a shorter-term contract. The average annual value of the Nationals offer came in at $30 million. As contract projections roll in, many expect Harper to land a deal somewhere in the $35 million to $40 million range annually. If teams are offering lengths of 10 years, at a minimum, the offer would sit at $350 million.
For the Cubs, the proposal could land in Boras’ hand for a shorter length and an increased AAV. Bringing to the table an 8-year offer would place Harper at 33 years of age at the last year. It would require a smaller monetary offer overall, while still guaranteeing an AAV closer to what Harper perceives he is worth.
The Cubs could offer Harper a larger AAV for the first few years of the contract to entice a deal get done, finishing up the full length of the contract with a smaller AAV on the back end. An 8-year contract at $300 million places a $37.5 million AAV over the length of the entire contract. The Cubs, on their end, could front-load the deal at $43 million AAV for the first three years of the contract, adding a club option following year three. The final five years then would cost the Cubs $34.2 million per year. Offering the club option could give the Cubs an insurance policy if something were to happen.