Washington Nationals superstar outfielder Bryce Harper is a five-time All-Star and the 2015 National League MVP, but there's at least one NL executive who reportedly believes Harper is overrated and not worth paying a king's ransom to acquire once he becomes a free agent after this season.
"He's simply overrated. The good ain't worth the bad. He's a losing player," the executive told Robert Murray of FRS Baseball. "Cares about himself more than the team. If I was in charge and had money, my team would not pursue him. We would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players."
He added: "If he gets more than 10 years, $300 million, I'd be surprised. I would not give him 10 years period and certainly not at that AAV. He's just not worth it. He's a selfish, losing player."
Another executive didn't see things that way.
"He's a generational talent. Why wouldn't you at least kick the tires?" he said.
The idea that Harper isn't a winner is tough to defend, considering he's reached the postseason with the Nationals in four of his first six seasons. The Nationals are also currently 36-27 and tied for first in the NL East, so they are certainly in the running to reach the playoffs for the third straight year.
Jason Catania @JayCat11
A "losing" player? The Nationals are 473-357 when Bryce Harper is in the lineup in his career. That's a .570 winning percentage since 2012. How many teams other than the Nats have been that good in that span? Just the Dodgers, with a .571 winning percentage. https://t.co/EIotnbPvQp
While Harper and the Nationals haven't had success in October, losing in the NLDS each time, he's certainly been a major factor in getting the team to the postseason on a consistent basis.
He's also a dynamic talent. While he's hitting just .228 this season, he has a respectable .360 on-base percentage and has also blasted 19 home runs and 43 RBI while scoring 39 runs.
Whether he's worth a $300 million contract is another story entirely, of course, especially in an offseason where players like Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Donaldson will hit the market. Harper is going to garner a huge payday, but there will be alternatives for teams looking to make a major splash.
There are arguments against making a 10-year commitment to Harper or making him the highest-paid player in baseball history. Fair enough. But the concept that he breeds a losing culture is harder to get behind.