Nationals Baseball: Five- Alarm Philly

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Five- Alarm Philly

Bryce is back!  Barry had a sitdown with Bryce and we get what is likely final clarity on the timeline Bryce and the Nationals had this off-season.

Sept 26th - Last Home Game of Season - Nats offer Bryce the 10/300 with deferred money deal we all heard about. Bryce offers more specifics here but I'm gonna leave it out for now bc it may be wrong or misremembered. Suffice to say - it a lot.

Sept 27th - Boras calls Nats to open negotiations. Lerners say there is nothing to negotiate. That's the offer and they need an answer by FA so they can plan going forward with or without him

No discussions for a month

Oct 29th - Free Agency Opens - Bryce enters FA

Dec 23rd - Bryce flies to Palm Springs and meets with the Lerners. In the intervening time the Nats sign Patrick Corbin. Bryce only officially meets with the White Sox.

Jan 3rd - Lerners offer Bryce a new offer. While it has more years (12) it has substantially less money (250 million) and a longer deferral period. Bryce rejects deal and begins looking elsewhere.

It is clear, as it was at the time, that the Lerners offered Bryce what was considered a low market deal (10 years for under 300 mill taking into accoutn deferrals) to start. It's clear they never offered him another deal until January in which, as I suspected, they took advantage of more clarity in the market to bump the offer down to the "new low market" The sticking point on how you feel about this is how you feel about that month with no discussions. 

If you hate Bryce now, as many Nats fans do, you could see that time frame as when Bryce could have made a hard push to stay.  That doesn't necessarily mean taking less than what was offered, or exactly what was offered, but instead countering with an offer that seems more fair. But no counter came. Bryce wanted to be blown out of the water. He was not. He then decided to test the market.

If you don't hate Bryce though, or are a soulless collection of bolts and fuses, that's a harsh take. You don't know how clear the Lerners made their "this is all we can do" statement to Boras that day after. And given the offers here the Lerners clearly were never going to give Bryce a fair market deal. So the question really is - would Bryce sell himself short to stay in DC. I don't believe he should of.

Tonight should be fun. My guess is Max strikes Bryce out in first inning, but Bryce takes him deep when once again Max stays in a few batters too long.


sirc said...

We will never know what really happened. I don't really care to find someone to blame. He seems happy in Philly and good on him.

Let's beat them.

Froggy said...

My take is Bryce did the right thing for Bryce, and in an alternate universe where I'm Bryce I do the same. Bryce was insulted by the Lerner's twice: with the first offer and the Medicaid retirement deferrals; and the second more-years-less-money you're not worth $300mm offer.

Personally, I hope he hits a HR every time he plays us (but we win the game). The Lerner's and little "g" GM Rizzo deserve to be reminded of their playing on the margins doesn't win championships attitude.

Anonymous said...

I think that's all fair.

My only other color would be that I am pretty curious about how much self-awareness the Lerners had around the second offer. It was such an obvious lowball, it really could have been insulting.

There's a big difference between "We still love you. We don't have the same budget after Corbin et al, but if you really don't have any other options, we can figure out a way to get you a lot of money." and "Your position has only gotten weaker. Why would we pretend otherwise?"

And the latter isn't just callous and a needlessly hostile negotiating position, it would also have been a pretty big misread of the market. 250/12? Hell, the Dodgers were offering almost that much for 4 years.

(BTW, I'll never understand why Bryce didn't take that LA deal. It definitely maximized career earnings and it's not close. And, while we don't really know him obviously, LA seems like a place where he'd be happier than Philly. It doesn't make any sense at all, and reads so strange to me that I'm inclined to believe his claim that he hated everyone talking about his free agency enough to never want to go through it again. Which also sounds bonkers, but when you eliminate the impossible and all that...)

Josh Higham said...

@Anon - I think religious ideals play a lot into his FA decision. He's a pretty conservative Latter-day Saint and we have a very strong cultural emphasis on kids and family stability. They have a baby due in August and I think (speculatively, of course) that setting things up so that their kids would be in the same city for a long time was a really big part of what they wanted. Coming from a similar background, I believe him more about wanting maximum years than I do about anything else he and Boras have said about the whole dumpster fire of an offseason.

Anonymous said...

I think the idea that Boras called to "open negotiations" after the first offer is a disingenuous description (not by Harper in this blog, but by Bryce to Barry). Boras's call was not to negotiate, but to invite the Lerners to bid against themselves. "$350 million with two opt outs gets it done" or "I won't sign for less than $400 million" is negotiating. It sends a signal that a deal could get done. "Your offer isn't good enough" is what Boras said, and sends no such signal. The truth, I think, is that Bryce was going to free agency no matter what. Which is fine. But "wanting to stay in DC" and "wanting to be a free agent" cannot be reconciled. Bryce is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

Mr. T said...

That second offer, with deferred money until 2072, is what makes the Lerners a laughingstock. Either they were intentionally insulting him, or they honestly believed he would consider it--and I'm not sure which of those is worse.

Remember, these are the same geniuses who pulled a trade with Houston at the last minute because they thought that keeping Bryce through the rest of the year would give them the inside track on negotiations in the winter.

Mr. T said...

I guess it's a good thing Bryce didn't bite, or else Larry Lerner III would be pleading poverty before the 2073 season thanks to his great grandfather.

Anonymous said...

I love the people spouting that Bryce was somehow insulted by the Lerner's. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bryce was great for 1 1/2 seasons, otherwise he was average to very good. He never carried the team to exalted heights (and he had the opportunity several times to make the big hit to send them to glory) so the Learners offers were in line with performance, like it or not. Bryce wanted to make the history books, any other reading is specious. Yet he had not earned that glory by his play on the field. He certainly has been appointed that by most of the media. He may yet become that generational player but he certainly never achieved that status as a National. If he performs for the Phillies as he did for Washington it will be one of baseball's great overpays.

billyhacker said...

Josh, thanks for the comment. The story in the Post suggests that something other than dollars played (an unusually) large role in Harper's decision. Congrats to the Phillies for understanding what Bryce was really looking for.

blovy8 said...

Well, the no discussions for October was always kind of a big deal. When you don't respond, the Nats have to move on.

Jay said...

Harper and Boras wanted one thing above all else - $330 million. They also wanted AAV greater than $34 million but did not get that. There are reports from Philly that Harper wanted opt outs but Philly was unwilling to have opt outs if going to $330. Thus no opt outs. It's no coincidence that he went to Philly and not San Fran or LA. I believe Harper wanted to stay in DC - IF - he was going to get $330 million. I think he looks at Trout and thinks to himself the Nats should have done 12/$330 to keep him. I agree that it sounds like the Lerners are out of touch. They did offer Bud Black a 1 year contract with a team option which is laughable. I think a lot of the problem was an ego clash between Mark Lerner and Scott Boras. However, if at any point Harper says I want to stay in DC make it happen, then I think it does. However, I don't blame Bryce - it was his right as a free agent to go for the most money. He doesn't get to be the poor helpless victim though - "what's $100 million deferred going to do for my family??? - really. Sounds like Bryce is out of touch with reality too.

BxJaycobb said...

@Anon your Bryce-slamming is just so tiresome. Whether not he was “insulted” (he didn’t say that)...they were offering him legitimately less than half as much money as other teams (w/present value). They either are morons (no baseball player in the history of baseball—im serious about this) has decided to forego free agency ONE MONTH before free agency. That’s not what real life is. OR they knew what they were doing and didn’t want him. Those are your two options. And if it’s the latter, they’re very dumb businesspeople. Bryce Harper, in addition to the fact that he is worth the money he will be making (as I’ve said like 85 times, 30 career WAR=8x30=240 million dollars of value over 7 years. So he’s worth roughly 350 million for 10 years (figure his decline years will make him be valued at a small rate at end of deal)....and you end up with 350/13 or 310/10.) but in addition to that value.....Bryce Harper is easily the most box office, ticket-sale and jersey selling merchandise sales machine baseball player in the sport. That’s an objective fact. You can say he doesn’t deserve it if you want (fine). Fact remains, Harper jersey sales in first 48 hrs after he signed broke Lebrons record of first 48 hrs after signing w Lakers. LEBRON JAMES. And this is a baseball player. The Phillies are selling out the season basically after having crap attendance last year. When you combine his contribution to winning (he’ll be a Hall of Famer, and I *really* will look forward to the Anonymous brigade’s reaction to Harper killing the Nats and contending for MVPs for the Phillies each year) and his economic impact...and his minimal impact on the luxury tax (25 AAV/Strasburg level)....the contract is worth it. If you don’t like him despite oodles of data and evidence suggesting the value is obviously there, that’s fine. You’re entitled. But this “Bryce didn’t get us to the WS Stuff” is idiotic. A baseball player can’t make his bullpen not blow embarrassing leads in the playoffs. Harper has 5 playoff homers. The Nats started winning the year Bryce arrived. Is that some coincidence? We may not sniff any division titles without him. Now we’re *hoping against hope* to retain Rendon for MORE of a cap hit than Bryce. The whole “Soto is better than Bryce, we’re sure of it, we don’t need him” was just the summit of foolishness. Soto will be a great player. But you can’t count on a kid doing what he did last year, particularly when he can’t hit breaking balls and only murders fastballs and now the entire league knows.

It was dumb to let Bryce go. Incredibly dumb.

Ole PBN said...

Bx - his economic impact was never in question. But his play on the field is, aside from 2015. That is where a lot of us differ in opinion. Just funny how we're all arguing about something that's already over. I suppose we all grieve differently, which is totally okay. My grieving is cured by the Nats winning - with or without Bryce on our team. The best GM in baseball seems to think we'll be okay. Time will tell, but I will trust that, and set my emotional fan perspective aside and let it focus on the team in front of me.

Jay said...

I argued to keep Bryce. I argued that he makes the team that much better. I agree that he will one day be a Hall of Famer. I agree that letting him go to the Phillies was the height of stupidity. I think Mark Lerner is a bit of an idiot - not trading Harper and then making an offer during the last home game of the year (during the game at that). It smells an awful lot like offering Bud Black a 1 year contract. However, everything that is out and floating around about Harper right now is total Harper/Boras spin in my opinion. I finally read the Svrluga Harper spin piece. Wow. He wanted to go to Philly bc the owner cares about who is in the clubhouse - this is the same clubhouse that Carlos Santana broke a tv with a bat bc the players were playing Fortnite during a game. Harper only care about years. He didn't care about AAV. He didn't care about total value. He didn't want payments deferred. That "does not work for him." The article has multiple errors reported by reliable and respected reporters in the field. Svrluga says Harper didn't take any meetings in Vegas during the baseball meetings?? I think Harper has a huge ego and expected everyone to begging for him to play there. The only team that made a legitimate offer for him was Philly. He was stuck. Boras figured the same and figured he could go to Ted Lerner in February and get what ever price he wanted. Sadly, I think Mark Lerner was determined to not be pushed around and handled it all rather stupidly. Unfortunately, everyone loses (including the fans). I mean Harper is making $25 a year, not a bad number. Anyway, it all sucks. Hopefully, they learn from it and sign Rendon. So far, I have my doubts.

BxJaycobb said...

“Who needs this guy? Am I right?” Hope the Bryce is a Mediocrity folks are enjoying tonight. Because this guy will be kicking the crap out of your team for the next decade. The booing of him was a disgrace. The booing should be directed at the owner’s box. Anybody who doesn’t understand that, well, I can’t help you. As a side note, this team’s bullpen does not approach league average and in a competitive division will be utterly mauled. It’s early, sure, but so far I see two division rivals clearly and objectively superior in complete team construction to our team. Oh and our best/second best player may be out for a couple months. I think I’ll take some time away from this team.

Andrew Gentsch said...

I read the comments above and kept thinking about Dave Winfield. Does anyone else remember him?
He signed a 20 mil/10 year contract in 1980.
By year 3 he was underpaid.
By year 5 he was SEVERELY UNDERPAID.

Remember this.

Robot said...

::eyes "Panic" button::


Anonymous said...

Well that sucked.

cass said...

Found myself rooting for Harper tonight to shut up the awful Nats crowd. Never have I hated my fellow Nats fans so much. The proper reaction would have been either polite applause or a rowdy "Lerners Suck" chant for 30 minutes straight or maybe an even more rowdy "F the Lerners" chant.

But now. The Nats sided with the billionaire owners. And got what they deserved. I hate Nats fans now, I think, at least all the ones who booed Harper. I was so happy to see Harper's double and home run. Not gonna turn on someone I've rooted for for 7 years just cause the Lerners treated him like shit.

Don't know if I can be a fan of the jersey anymore and I've been a fan since day 1 in 2005, hell, even before that - I was at the unveiling of the team name at Union Station in winter 2004 and got my first Nats cap then.

But god I hate this fanbase now. Go Harper. I hate the Phillies but am not gonna turn on an incredible players cause of what some stupid evil swine billionaires do.

Ole PBN said...

That was absolutely awful. The booing Bryce charade was a feeble attempt by a fan base to “act” like they’re relevant. The traitor thing was over-the-top, but I expect nothing less from a bunch of people that were done taking selfies and had to leave to go to a house party rather than stick it out for the full game. The cheers when Bryce hit that homer were as if it were actually being played in Philadelphia. Guys... we seriously have so long to go. Like I can’t even begin to tell you. Look around at other cities, fan bases. “The emperor has no clothes” applies to us perfectly. Fair weather fans dominate in this “see and be seen” town. And I’m not blaming Bob Carpenter for this, but— oh hell, he sucks too!

A bizarre homecoming for Bryce for sure. But so glad it’s out of the way. We have no pitching to speak of aside from our 3 SP’s (we’ll see what Sanchez is tomorrow). Soto has quietly struck out 9 times in 16 AB’s. Turner is out for a while. We get to see more of Zimmerman now (jesus f christ). We need to enjoy watching Rendon play now, because it will sting next year when he suites up elsewhere.

God. That Svrluga story, tonight’s mask of a “die-hard” crowd, and most of all, a prime Max Scherzer wasted once again. This team, this organization is wasting it. I’m gonna go vomit.

Jay said...

Last night was ugly. I agree that the Lerners can be rather dumb once they dig their heels in. However, I don't think Harper is a victim here. He wanted to stay in DC if they signed him to the richest contract in American sports history. The number he wanted to surpass was the richest contract for all of 3 weeks. Everyone lost here in my opinion. The Lerners bc they once again are made to look like buffoons out of touch with reality (Hello Bud Black and DC tax payers can pay for a retractable roof on the stadium we didn't have to pay for). Boras bc he was stuck negotiating with essentially one team - thus the low AAV and no opt outs. Bryce bc he ends up looking like a selfish out of touch athlete who has never had anyone tell him no - what does $100 million deferred do for my family. The only reason he cared about the deferred money was bc it lowered the present day value. Don't be fooled it was reported in several places that Harper did ask for opt outs and was told no, not for that amount of money. He could have signed with San Fransisco and LA but again wanted the $330. His quote in the Svrluga article about wanting to stay on the east coast bc he didn't want to be close to family and liked the "vibe" was one of several laughable quotes from that article. Most of all the Nats fans lose out bc the Lerners, Boras, and Harper all cared more about being right (and still do). Baseball is a sport and watching it is supposed to be fun. I think the fans last night should have cheered Harper. The rest of my family disagrees. However, that is everyone's right to cheer or boo. However, if it causes more pain and angst than joy, then maybe it is time to quit watching.

Anonymous said...

If Barry's account is to be believed, the Lerners were low-balling him the whole time. I don't begrudge Bryce for testing the market or trying to get the best contract he could. The man deserves it.

But he went to Philly. Philly is the worst.

Also, yeah, the Nats fans have been pretty awful about it, but he's kinda been a bit of a douche about DC, too.

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