Bryce Harper is one of MLB’s most coveted free agents, but his agent, Scott Boras, believes he could be worth one billion dollars to a new team.
Part of Scott Boras’ job is to make his clients seem to be larger than life. Oftentimes that’s an issue of perception, but it frequently comes down to dollars and cents as well. That’s why the super agent is so high on Bryce Harper’s ability to impact the bottom line of his next franchise.
It’s widely known that Harper is looking for a massive contract that will pay him somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million over 10 years. That’s exactly the contract he reportedly turned down from the Nationals during the 2018 regular season. It’s safe to say he won’t rush to accept a penny less this winter.
Boras actually believes that sort of contract could turn out to be a bargain. He reportedly told teams that Harper could earn a team “a billion dollars over a period of years.” That might seem like hyperbole from an agent who’s paid to hype his client, but it’s possible Boras isn’t that far off base.
The super agent distributed a 118-page document to potential Harper suitors that served to extol the virtues of his client. It wasn’t all fluff, though. He correctly points out that Nationals’ TV ratings tripled during Harper’s time with the club. It’s difficult to quantify exactly what that was worth for the franchise, but it clearly had a significant impact on the team’s ability to generate advertising revenues from their broadcast.
Boras also claims that the value of the Nationals franchise rose from roughly $500 million to $2 billion while Harper was on the team. Again, it’s difficult to isolate one single player’s impact on a franchise’s value, but it’s reasonable to believe Harper did have a significant, positive impact on the club’s price tag.
Obviously, it’s smart for potential Harper suitors to take everything Boras says with a healthy grain of salt. It’s his job to pump up Harper’s value as much as possible. No team is going to rush out and hand Harper a $500 million deal because they believe in Boras’ $1 billion valuation.
Boras’ opinion does raise the question of just how much Harper can be worth to his next team’s bottom line. That’s something each franchise will have to calculate internally when they decide what sort of deal to offer the talented outfielder. Signing Harper will definitely be about more than just wins and losses. His financial impact on a franchise must be considered.