The Bryce Harper sweepstakes moved into a new and interesting
phase this week — the phase where super-duper agent Scott Boras
attempts to charm the money belt off suitors for his client’s
Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle at the general managers
meeting in Southern California, Boras employed Eddie Haskell-grade
ingratiation. Eddie Haskell? If you never had the pleasure,
more’s the pity. Here is a short primer:
As anyone worth his fantasy baseball participation certificate
knows, Harper, a free agent, seems dead set on moving on from the
Washington Nationals, for whom he averaged 32 home runs and 91 RBI
over seven years. He was Rookie of the Year as a 19-year-old, was
voted MVP when he was 22, and is a six-time All-Star. It is
expected that Boras will start the bidding at the biggest contract
in baseball history (currently $325 million over 13 years).
Depending on how you view Manny Machado’s selective hustle,
Harper could be the top free agent prize this offseason.
Boras began by complimenting the Giants’ recent hire of Farhan
Zaidi as head of baseball operations, calling Zaidi “a great
“Certainly, Bryce is a perfect fit in a lot of cities, and San
Francisco would be one of them,” Boras told the Chronicle.
All those perfect fits. Boras should have been a
“I think he likes the absolute feel of the ballpark and fans.
It’s a great fan base. You know you’re at a ballgame, and he
loves their enthusiasm and their success.”
Questions abound. It is no secret that AT&T Park, for all
its basic charm, is rough on sluggers not named Barry Bonds. In
seven seasons, Harper has homered every 18 at-bats. In 19 games at
AT&T Park, he has homered every 33 at-bats.
I once swore on a baseball encyclopedia that I would never
invoke the phrase “slash line,” but it has some utility for the
purpose of this discussion: Harper’s career slash line (batting
average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage) is
.279/.388/.512. At AT&T it is .164/.305/.284.
Remember, this is the guy who hit 43 bombs to capture this
summer’s All-Star game home run derby. It might take him two
years to match that total playing half his games at AT&T.
And at some point the conversation will turn to compensation.
The money will matter.
“Bryce Harper is one of those few players who can pay for
himself apart from his performance,” Boras said. “And I always
tell Larry (Baer), ‘This fan base has rewarded you. You’ve got
a stadium that’s paid for. You’ve got a rocket ship of a
Gee, that’s a lovely ballpark you have, Mrs. Cleaver.
“Harper’s bazaar has begun,” Boras proclaimed.
Or bizarre. Depending.
Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
San Francisco proclaimed ‘a perfect fit’ for top-of-the-list free agent