If you're not just taking it for granted that the New York Yankees will eventually spend all the money they are saving now on a monster deal for Bryce Harper in the future, once he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, there have been a number of interesting comments from Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo over the last few months when the General Manager who drafted Harper has been asked about potentially making the no.1 overall pick of the 2010 Draft a National for life.
"It's part of the new baseball," Rizzo explained in an MLB Network appearance once the season was over, when asked about the sort of deal it would take to lock Harper up and keep him in D.C.:
"With these enormous contracts, they're long-term, they're extremely expensive, The percentage of the total payrolls come into play. It depends on what payrolls you're looking at, it kind of dictates how much you can allocate to a single player. I think the most important part of this discussion you guys are having is, you've got to sign the right guy. He's got to have the right attitude, the right character, he's got to be the type of person that you feel can handle that big of a load of expectations -- handle the money, is always an issue -- and handle the power of being the face of the franchise. I think that lesson no.1 is get the right guy. Have it be the right type of person that you want that will handle the mantle of that big enormous contract and the enormous expectations that come with it and pick the right character guy to do it."
In an early December appearance on MLB Network Radio, Rizzo was asked again about the possibility of making Harper a National for life.
"It would be something that I'm all for," he said. "He's a great player. He's a guy who really loves Washington, D.C. It's not lip-service. He really enjoys being there. And he's not only a great player, but a great personality and a great person. And these deals aren't always as easy as we'd like them to be and it's going to be very lucrative."
Just how lucrative? Harper apparently has some ideas about that...
In an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, which aired this morning, Harper was asked about the possibility of a signing a record-breaking deal.
"I was talking to an executive this offseason," Paulsen said, as quoted in a transcript on CBSSports.com. "At one point they said you could be the first $400 million player. Do you ever think about your future and what's possible, in terms of you could break records for the money you make at one point in time?"
"Yeah, I mean I don't really think about that stuff. I just try to play the years out and do everything I can to help my team win," Harper said. "But don't sell me short. That's what you're doing right now to me, so don't do that.
"I'm looking forward to just playing this year, just looking forward to playing the next couple years. And I think all that stuff will play out."
[ed. note - "Before you start calling Harper cocky, or arrogant reflexively, he laughed after the 'Don't sell me short' part of that quote. Clearly he was sort-of joking."]
Rizzo took a similar, public, approach to the topic when he was asked about the possibility of a long-term deal again during the Winter Meetings.
"We've got quite a bit of control left on him," he said.
"He's going to be a unique and special situation for the franchise and I'm sure that will be a discussion with myself and ownership in the future."