Scott Boras is like human jazz, or at least he wants to be. Here’s what the super agent to the stars said about Bryce Harper when he was pitching the 26-year-old outfielder to any teams out there that are willing to meet their apparently exorbitant demands.
“Certainly Harper’s bazaar has begun,” Boras told reporters at the MLB GM Meetings.
“It’s fashionable. It’s historical. It’s elite. Global certainly. And certainly it has inspirations that deal with great shoes and great hair.”
We’re not 100% sure what he’s talking about, but he went on to explain the value that the 2010 No. 1 overall pick brought to the Nationals and will bring to whichever team offers a half-billion dollars or so (somewhere between $325-$500M) to his client.
“You have an iconic player,’’ Boras said, as quoted by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
“For an owner to know the rocket ship of economic opportunity is just blasting off because the player is just entering the prime of his career, you’re really talking about a unique and rare opportunity...
“He’s almost a lock to be a Hall of Fame player.’’
And it’s not just the on-field production. Boras told New York Post writer Joel Sherman that during Harper’s six seasons in Washington, “the club’s value climbed more than four times, attendance increased by 600,000, and TV ratings tripled, and ... his client had a substantial hand in those rises.”
“They did not pay anywhere near [Harper’s] $400 million to $500 million in [true value],” Boras said. “This has been great value and is great value.”
The 10-year/$300M offer the Nationals reportedly made to Harper at the end of the 2018 campaign?
Boras described it as an “olive branch”.
“Olive-branch offers to let you know of great interest in the player and wanting to define a continued relationship with the player,” he told the NY Post’s reporter.
USA TODAY’s Nightengale suggested that it could take, “at least $400 million,” for someone to get Harper to sign, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman upped the stakes last night, writing that if Boras and his client want to get the biggest deal in major league history, they might end up asking for something like a 14-year/$490M deal. Yes, you read that correctly. Longer than a Giancarlo Stanton extension with a higher AAV (Average Annual Value) than Zack Greinke’s $34M per.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked if the Nats are in a holding pattern right now, waiting to see what Harper decides so they know how much money they have available to spend on a catcher, starter, or whatever else they need to add.
[ed. note - “Rizzo did say second base is not really a priority, according to Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty, since Wilmer Difo and Howie Kendrick are on the roster and Carter Kieboom’s on his way up.”]
“He’s going to go about his business, and we’re going to go about ours,” he said, as quoted on Twitter by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
If you’re overwhelmed by it all at this point, or didn’t believe it would really come to this, you have. not. been. paying. attention.
Boras, in his description of Harper, both above and in an MLB Network Radio interview with hosts Casey Stern and Ryan Spilborghs earlier this week, was clear about what he thinks Harper is going to bring to someone in 2019 and beyond, considering, as he said, that his client’s put up two seasons with an OPS above 1.000 already in his career.
“When you’re dealing with players that are 25-26 years of age,” he explained, “you’re talking about these players are most likely going to deliver the greatest performances of their careers in future years, so you’re wanting to know, well when I look at this — and how many players have that ceiling? Well, when you go back and you look and in 1980, one person had an 1.100 OPS season, in the entire decade, George Brett. There were none in the ‘70s, and [Willie] McCovey, [Mickey] Mantle, and Norm Cash were the only ones in the ‘60s, and Mantle and Ted Williams were the only ones in the ‘50s. [Stan] Musial, [Ted] Williams, and [Hank] Greenberg were the only ones in the ‘40s. You’re talking about a performance ceiling that maybe only a small group have ever reached and there is a little bit of an asterisk on the ‘90s and 2000s, because there were eight or nine players that did it then, but I’m talking about when you look at the generations of those years, you’re talking about, well, this is something that we have just not seen and even among one of the greatest players in the game, Mike Trout, Mike Trout had one 1.000 OPS season by 25. Bryce Harper has had two. And when you start to break it out about who has those abilities, all of a sudden you can see that really, really good players, players we really value, they don’t really have that element in their bag to reach that elite level.”
Oh, this guy’s good. Human jazz. Who’s going to buy what he’s selling? Will they regret it?