Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is in the midst of rebounding from a relatively disappointing 2016, which is putting him on track to secure a contract worth at least $400MM if he hits free agency after next season, writes Eddie Matz of ESPN.com. In the event Harper is willing to sign for a Giancarlo Stanton-esque 13 years (or more), a deal worth $500MM-plus might even end up on the table, Matz contends. At least one general manager agrees, telling Matz: “Four hundred million is light. It’s going to be more than that. If you could sign him to a 15-year contract, you do it. I would say something in the range of $35 million a year, maybe closer to the high 30s. It could approach 40 million dollars a year.” With his .324/.441/.648 batting line in 213 plate appearances this season, the 24-year-old Harper is making a case for a record payday, but one GM cautions that certain owners won’t be so gung-ho on breaking the bank for him. “Some owners will bow out because they think becoming the highest-paid player should be sufficient,” said the GM. “Having to go 10, 20, 30 percent above that is going to become increasingly challenging for people who are uber-successful businessmen.”
More from the National League:
- Cardinals third baseman Jhonny Peralta’s roster spot might be in jeopardy when second baseman Kolten Wong returns from the disabled list, according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. Wong, out since May 28 with a left elbow strain, could rejoin the Redbirds as early as Friday. As for Peralta, he won’t regain his old starting job at third – Jedd Gyorko has been the Cardinals’ biggest power threat since last season, after all – and isn’t particularly interested in taking reps at first, per Langosch. That lack of versatility could cost Peralta his place on the team, even though he’s making an expensive $10MM to complete a four-year contract, in favor of recently promoted prospect Paul DeJong. Thanks in part to health issues, the 35-year-old Peralta has markedly fallen off dating back to last season, having combined for a team-worst minus-0.9 fWAR and a .249/.297/.374 line in 370 trips to the plate.
- The Mets are considering going to a temporary six-man rotation when Steven Matz and Seth Lugo make their season debuts this weekend, reports Jon Morosi of MLB Network (Twitter links here). Robert Gsellman has recently made a strong case to stave off a trip to the bullpen and would likely be part of a six-man staff, notes Morosi. That would leave Tyler Pill as the odd man out, it seems, given that Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey are entrenched as starters.