In the least surprising development of the winter, Bryce Harper today declined the 1-year/$17.9M qualifying offer the Washington Nationals made last week, which would have paid the 26-year-old outfielder $3.725M less than he made in 2018, after he and the Nationals avoided going to arbitration, agreeing on a 1-year/$21.625M deal which Cot’s Baseball Contracts noted was the, “largest-ever salary for [an] arbitration-eligible player.”
Harper is, of course, currently testing the free agent market, looking for a long-term deal with whichever team he chooses to play for in 2019 and beyond.
Reports last week said the 2010 No. 1 overall pick turned down a 10-year/$300M offer from the Nationals at the end of the regular season.
Extending the qualifying offer guaranteed the Nats will receive compensation in the form of a draft pick after the 4th Round of this June’s Draft should Harper find a new home.
The Athletics’ Ken Rosenthal noted over this weekend that it’s actually the, “...lowest form of draft-pick compensation,” as a result of the Nationals going over the luxury tax threshold of $197M this season.
Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez was asked on the MLB Network’s Hot Stove show this morning if he’d talked to Harper at all since the 2018 campaign ended.
“I shot him a text,” Martinez said.
“I know he’s been really busy. Shot him a text just to let him know I’m here and if he needs anything, wants to call, chat, he’s more than welcome to, but he’s got a lot on his plate, a lot to think about. And I love the kid. He’s a gamer, he plays hard, and you know what he can do in the lineup. I love writing his name every day. Right now, me, myself, I’m looking at him being a National in 2019 and then some, but he’s got big decisions to make.”
GM Mike Rizzo told reporters at the GM Meetings last week that he and the Nationals had to go ahead with their plans for the winter while waiting for Harper to make a decision over the next few weeks/months.
“He’s going to go about his business, and we’re going to go about ours,” Rizzo reportedly said, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes on Twitter.
Harper rejecting the qualifying offer is just the next step in the process...