Agent: Bryce Harper wants commitment from ownership to achieve goals

ByJesse Rogers ESPN logo
Thursday, December 13, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- Scott Boras, the agent for Bryce Harper, said the superstar free agent is far enough down the road with interested teams that a deal could happen at any time.

"We've had a lot of meetings over the last three weeks," Boras said to a throng of reporters Wednesday. "When you get to that point ... something can happen quickly, and then something can also happen in a matter of weeks.

"... Bryce is open to a lot of different venues. It's really about what a lot of owners have said to him about their commitment."

That commitment is likely to be long term, as Boras intimated a shorter deal -- even a one-year deal -- wasn't necessarily in the cards for the career .900 OPS hitter.

"Owners are really after his legacy. They're after building a brand around him, a team around him," Boras said. "I just don't think there is an appetite from ownership for those types of things [short-term deal]. And everyone that wants Bryce wants to make sure he's going to be there a long time."

Harper, 26, is one of the younger players ever to hit free agency with an MVP and six All-Star appearances on his resume. Boras is selling his star power to teams as well as the business opportunities he presents for a franchise.

As far as where Harper will sign, Boras is keeping that close to the vest.

"This is not a race where every car is labeled," Boras said. "There is a lot of people that want to keep what they're doing very private, which is usually the practice with a major free agent. Some clubs are more open and direct about what they're doing, and some clubs really want a very private process for them."

The Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies have been the most open about their willingness to spend money on a marquee name. Other teams have shied away from commenting about their interest.

Harper's former team, the Washington Nationals, made a reported 10-year, $300 million offer at the end of the regular season but seemingly moved on when they signed pitcher Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million deal.

That's not necessarily the case, according to Boras.

"I think when they say the door is open, I would pay attention to what they say," Boras said about the Nationals.

Boras also said the Yankees are interested in Harper despite what general manager Brian Cashman had said Monday. Asked about Boras' comments later Wednesday, Cashman said: "All I can keep telling you is, you know where my current focuses are, but at the same time, we're a fully operational Death Star."

Boras indicated it's the commitment from ownership that's important to Harper, besides money.

"Bryce is open to the geography," Boras said. "What he's really looking for is the ownership to make sure he has every opportunity to achieve his goals, to win a championship, to play on competitive teams as best as they can be competitive, annually. There are lot of owners that believe their franchises can do that."

Boras revealed less than usual during this annual back and forth with reporters during the winter meetings, as he continues to keep a lid on negotiations between his client and other teams. He believes that will continue until there's a conclusion to the process.

"As with most free-agent signings, you're really not going to know much until it happens," Boras said.

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