Bryce Harper: Why Washington Nationals Star Will Be a New York Yankee in 2018
The No. 1 pick of the 2010 draft has already shown how much talent he possesses, and at 19 years old, he's bound to only get better with each season. He definitely has the potential to be the next mega star of baseball over the next several years.
With that in mind, why not look ahead to the future? His contract ends in 2018.
In baseball, that's a long time from now, and anything can happen. Harper could be a huge bust, or he could be the next Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez. Personally, I think it will be the latter.
The New York Yankees will certainly want a talented outfielder like Harper on the team, and there's little doubt in my mind that if Harper can live up to the hype, he'll be signed by the organization when 2018 rolls around.
Currently, Brett Gardner is the only Yankees outfielder whose contract extends beyond this season (though Curtis Granderson does have a club option for 2013).
The Yankees could re-sign all three outfielders to multi-year deals, of course, but they have to take into account each player's age.
Gardner's contract ends after 2014, when he will be 31. If they re-sign him until 2018, he'll be 34. Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher will both be 37 by then.
The Yankees could sign an outfielder from the free-agent market to a long-term deal. However, the youngest player in that market is Delmon Young, and I'm not sure if they want to take him, after being arrested and suspended a couple of weeks ago.
After that, the next youngest are B.J. Upton and former Yankee Melky Cabrera.
Even so, if they were signed to deals until 2018, they'd be in their mid-30s by then (even older, if you look at other free-agent outfielders like Aaron Rowand and Luke Scott).
Meanwhile, Bryce Harper will only be 25 in 2018. He's young, talented, and by then, will have had plenty of major league experience.
His youth and skill would certainly interest the Yankees organization into signing him to a mega deal.
Say what you will about Scott Boras, but when it comes to getting the highest salary possible for his players, he gets it done.
He's been responsible for both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira's huge contracts. He got Johnny Damon a four-year deal worth $52 million with the Yankees.
Back in 1998, he negotiated a seven-year, $87.6 million deal for Bernie Williams, despite the fact that the Yankees organization was only willing to spend $60 million for him.
He's currently an agent for Robinson Cano, Rafael Soriano, Andruw Jones and minor league player Brandon Laird.
He's also Bryce Harper's agent.
There's no doubt in my mind that Boras will try to get the most money possible for Harper. The New York Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball and have a willingness to spend money if there's a quality player they're interested in.
Seems like a match made in heaven for both sides.
Speaking of money...
Even though Bryce Harper is only just getting started in his career, he's clearly a very talented individual. And with more experience, his abilities as both a hitter and outfielder are only going to get better.
Add the fact that he'll be just 25 when his first contract comes to an end, and he can be signed to deals lasting eight to 10 years, maybe even more, depending on what kind of player Harper is by then.
With such a huge deal, a lot of money is going to be needed to sign him. And the New York Yankees are one of the few teams that would be able to manage such a mega deal.
Alex Rodriguez's $275 million deal ends after 2017, in which his final year is worth $21 million. Mark Teixeira's contract ends in 2016, and his final year is worth $23.125 million.
CC Sabathia's ends in 2016 as well, though there is a vested option for 2017 worth $25 million (if he can keep performing as he has so far in his contract, I can't see why they wouldn't keep him).
So, by the time the 2018 season rolls around, nearly $70 million would be free for the organization to spend on free agents/re-signing players.
If Harper becomes the next face of baseball, he'll be a $20-30 million player, but considering the Yankees' resources, they'll be able to grab him.