Bryce Harper Not A $400-Million Player

In fact, depending on the number of years, C.J. Nitkowski doesn't know if Harper is even a $300-million player

Reiter Than You
July 20, 2018 - 10:32 am

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There was a time when Bryce Harper was expected to clear $400 million in free agency. In fact, some thought he may even approach $500 million.

C.J. Nitkowski doesn’t see that happening.

“Nope, and i don’t think he should be a $400-(million player) either, quite honestly,” the former MLB pitcher and current MLB analyst said on Reiter Than You. “People say, ‘Well, does anybody deserve that money?’ That’s not what it is. The question is will anybody pay him that money? Sizing up the market and trying to take a look at what’s going on around the league, I don’t know. He’s a good player. He’s got a ton of talent. But there’s been a lot of up and down in his career.”

Harper, a six-time All-Star, was NL MVP in 2015, when he hit .330 with 42 homers and 99 RBIs. In 2016, however, he hit .243 with 24 homers and 86 RBIs. He has just one 30-homer season, he has never had a 100-RBI season, and this year he is hitting .214.

“He has shown us over the course of his career that every once in a while he goes into some slumps,” Nitkowski said. “The question becomes from a value standpoint, what is he really worth? He’s so young that 10 years is most likely on the table pretty easily. I would be surprised. I don’t see him as a $40-million-a-year player. I think low-30s is even pushing it as well. And we saw what happened this past winter. 

“So I’m going to say it’s somewhere in the high-20s – somewhere between 29 and 31 on the AAV,” Nitkowski continued. “How many years you go, 10 to me seems a lot. But if you go 10, he’s knocking on the door of $280, $290 (million), somewhere in there.”

Nitkowski also discussed the DH. While many baseball purists want the DH eradicated from the game, Nitkowski wants it in both leagues.

“We’re much more concerned about players’ health,” he said. “We’ve put in four more off days, guys get time off all the time. It’s almost unfair that you have some of your better hitters in the American League that can take DH bats sometimes, they can take a day or two every week for from playing the field – so that’s an advantage for American League teams. I don’t love that part. I also think it’s difficult to compete for free agents. I always use the example of Brian McCann from a few years ago.”

In 2013, McCann signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Yankees.

“There was National League teams that probably couldn’t offer him that five-year deal because they knew he was probably going to need DH at-bats at the end of that contract,” Nitkowski said. “That’s one example. It gives those leagues an advantage. Come postseason time, you see what happens when a National League team goes to an American League city and they don’t have a DH on their roster. If they don’t have that kind of guy that fits the bill, they’re at a disadvantage.”