According to USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale, the Washington Nationals are preparing themselves to be without star right fielder Bryce Harper following the 2018 season. Nightengale reports that an anonymous source told him that Harper and his agent Scott Boras have engage in early extension talks with the Nationals and have asked for a deal that would exceed 10 years in length and be worth in excess of $400 million. The Nationals were reportedly so taken aback by the demands that they're now planning to move on from Harper in two years.
Two seasons ago, Harper hit .330 with a .460 OBP, 38 home runs, and 99 runs batted in on the way to his first NL MVP award at just 22 years of age. Those numbers regressed mightily last season as Harper only hit .243 with a .373 OBP, 24 home runs, and 86 runs batted in, as Daniel Murphy took over as the Nationals' best hitter.
Harper just turned 24 years old and he'll still only be 26 when he becomes a free agent following the 2018 season. It's not exactly a big surprise that Harper is asking for such an exorbitant contract as the Miami Marlins gave Giancarlo Stanton a 13-year, $325 million deal two seasons ago and Harper is considered to be a more well-rounded player than Stanton. That being said, it seems that Harper is pricing himself out of any chance of remaining in Washington, a place that he's said before that he hopes to play the rest of his career.
It'll be interesting to see if Bryce Harper is willing to come down on his demands in order to remain with the Nationals or if he's okay with taking the money from a team such as the New York Yankees when the time comes.null