Harper, arguably the most sought-after free-agent in an offseason that also includes free-agent Manny Machado, turned down the offer sometime in September before the regular season ended, according to Janes.
In that scenario, it’s easy to imagine that the question in fans’ minds is: What does Harper’s refusal to sign with the Nats under those terms mean for the team?
I believe that the answer is: not a whole lot just yet.
I believe that it would have been unreasonable for Harper to not listen to what other teams had to say after receiving such a hefty offer from the Nats. If anything, the Nats’ offer proved to Harper that the rest of the league would have to post offers higher than Washington’s to obtain his services.
So, as it stands, the worst-case scenario for Harper is that he returns to the Nats for $300 million over 10 years, or slightly better if agent Scott Boras can use other teams’ offers as leverage against Washington.
There is even a dark-horse team in the Atlanta Braves, who badly need a big bat. While Atlanta has historically been a frugal team that relies on its farm system, they are owned by Liberty Media, who may be willing to open up their wallet in support of bringing a superstar to their multipurpose entertainment district, The Battery Atlanta.
At the end of the day, the fact that the Nationals made Harper a respectable offer should be an indication that they are serious about keeping the face of their franchise in the District of Columbia.
The coming days and weeks will be exciting for sure.
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