A reporter recently suggested to Nationals star Bryce Harper that he might eventually be able to get a $400MM contract, to which Harper memorably replied, “Don’t sell me short.” $400MM would, of course, be the largest contract ever. But FanGraphs’ Dave Cameron writes that Harper might be worth even more. At this point in his career, Harper is similar in value to a young Alex Rodriguez, and A-Rod’s $252MM contract with the Rangers paid him at a rate of about 12 times the MLB average salary at the time. Since then, the average MLB salary has doubled. While there are some slight differences between the two cases (for example, the fact that A-Rod was younger when he signed his deal than Harper will be when he’ll hit free agency following the 2018 season), Cameron argues that the difficulty now in finding good value on the free agent market should help compensate for them. That could make Harper worth something like $40MM-$50MM a year, and given that he’ll have barely turned 26 when he becomes eligible for free agency, his first free agent deal could potentially clear $500MM, or more if it includes deferrals.
- As has been previously reported, the Marlins continue to look for extra starting pitching depth, and due to a tight budget, they’re focusing on hurlers who might be available on minor-league deals. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro has the latest details on the team’s pitching search. Previous reports had linked the Marlins to Kyle Lohse, Alfredo Simon, Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee, and those names continue to be in Miami’s mix — Frisaro notes that when Lincecum and Lee hold workouts, the Marlins plan to attend. Frisaro also mentions 37-year-old Aaron Harang, who at last check had not decided whether or not to play this season. The veteran innings-eater spent 2015 with the Phillies, posting a 4.86 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 172 1/3 innings.
- There’s an outside-the-box idea circulating in Canada, reports Francois Cardinal from La Presse (link in French) — business interests could buy half of the Rays and have them split their home games between the Tampa area and Montreal. The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin has a summary of the plan. Having the team be based in two cities could potentially allow it to maximize television revenue, as games would be broadcast in both markets. Also, per-game attendance would increase because there would be fewer games in each city. Team-related income would be split between both ownership groups. Of course, Cardinal’s idea is far from reality at this point, and there are practical problems, like where in each city the Rays (who are currently trying to find a new stadium site in Tampa Bay) would play, and (as Topkin notes) whether the players association would approve of the arrangement, given the logistical difficulties it would presumably cause players.