It seems that we only progressively progress in our understanding of the Bryce Harper saga, this may be due to the fact that the auctions are still progressing cautiously. We learned yesterday that the interest of the Giants extended to the ten-year contract range and that there was more gossip this morning, although it is questionable whether the recent move is a staging for the final frenzy.
Harper's camp is apparently waiting to sign a record deal, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. It remains to be seen both where Harper will land and which record (s) he will beat, but Nightengale writes that the remaining three main contenders – the Dodgers, Giants and Phillies – "are committed to providing Harper's largest total free will contract in North American sports history or the highest average annual salary ever received in the sport. The record holders for each of these two measures are: Giancarlo Stanton (Total contract $ 325 million) and Zack Greinke ($ 34.42 million AAV).
Constable Scott Boras is said to "turn around with other teams" to see if they want to get involved at the last moment. Presumably, this will include a phone call to the Nationals, Harper's only professional club to date, and a frequent match with Boras customers. At this point, it is not known if other organizations join the list of candidates or if the auction is reduced to three. Anyway, suggests Nightengale, it seems that the last stage of the process has finally arrived.
Here is a quick overview of the position of the three main contenders mentioned above, based on the information provided to date:
- the Phillies "Always have the highest bid on the table", by Nightengale. As Matt Breen of Philly.com pointed out yesterday, the club is increasingly pessimistic about winning the star. The Phils hold the line for the moment, according to Andy Martino of SNY.tv (via Twitter), while Harper seeks to exceed the Stanton guarantee. Clearly, there is some tension between this report and Nightengale's assessment of organizations' willingness to set new records in the financial department.
- the Dodgers are obviously still not willing to go to a decade, as Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported yesterday on Twitter. However, they are ready to "wipe out" Greinke's AAV record, says Nightengale. It seems that the organization thinks it would need a term "at least five years", although this element of interest is largely unknown. We do not know how high the Dodgers would go in AAV one season. It should be noted that the included opt-out (s) would be even more important in this type of scenario, although the way in which this could be taken into account is not yet clear.
- With regard to the giantsNightengale said his club was set to exceed $ 300 million over ten years to attract Harper. This is not surprising, as it appeared yesterday that the San Francisco organization was ready to go that far, but it is nonetheless remarkable. Nightengale mentions that "panic and despair about season ticket sales and fan interest" are at the heart of what is "strictly a quest for property."