After trading a number of their pending free agents in return for prospects before the non-waiver and waiver deadlines, the Washington Nationals today made a qualifying offer to Bryce Harper, the one player eligible to receive one from the Nats, guaranteeing at least some draft pick compensation should the 26-year-old outfielder, who is expected to reject the 1-year/$17.9M deal, signs elsewhere in free agency this winter.
Harper, who made $21.625M in 2018 after avoiding arbitration with the Nationals and signing what was the largest deal for an arbitration-eligible player, has ten days (until November 12th at 5:00 PM EST) to accept or reject (he’s going to reject) the offer.
Since the Nationals went over the luxury tax threshold this season, the compensation pick, should Harper reject the qualifying offer (which he will), will come after the completion of the 4th Round of the 2019 Draft.
What does all mean? It means the Nationals and Harper weren’t able to reach an agreement on a long-term deal in the window they had to negotiate exclusively with the outfielder, who is thought to be in line to get something in the neighborhood of a 10-year/$300M+ deal in free agency this winter.
Fancred’s Jon Heyman predicted this week that Harper will likely get something in the 11-year/$330M range.
Heyman’s guess comes a week after Bruce Levine of 670 the Score in Chicago’s prediction of a 10-year/$350M deal.
Harper talked after the regular season finale about how he would handle an offseason that will be different from any he’s experienced before, though the Nationals’ 2010 No. 1 overall pick told reporters it would be business as usual for him.
“I’m just going to go about it the right way, work hard, do the things I can,” Harper said.
“Travel, hang out with my wife, hang out with my dog, enjoy my house, of course, and that’s it. If I’m back with D.C. or if I’m back with the Nationals then that’s where I’ll be.
“If I’m not then I’m not afraid of change.”
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters that day that Harper was definitely in the team’s plans if they could work something out.
“Of course he’s in our plans,” Rizzo said.
“He’s a guy that we would love to have. He’s a part of our family. He’s a big part of this roster, performance-wise, but as I’ve always said, with these type of deals that you’re talking, you’re not betting on the baseball player, you’re betting on the person and he’s a person we’d like to have with us.”
The offering and impending rejection of the qualifying offer is just the next step in the process...