What Would Happen if the Nats Were to Re-Sign Bryce Harper?
Here at MSB, we’ve been discussing what would happen if Bryce Harper were to re-sign with D.C.’s beloved Nationals? Well, I’ve been doing the research, and I’ve got the answers that some readers might also be asking.
Well, the idea of Bryce Harper re-signing with the Nats might be fantasy to some fans, but reality for others. There are so many things to take into account with what would happen IF the Nats do re-sign The Kid. Even though the Lerners have said that they are probably moving on from Bryce, GM Mike Rizzo has stated that the Nationals are still not going to back out of Harper and move on. But there are now also so many things not just the front office will have to take into account, but that fellow fans like me will have to also understand.
First let’s take a look at stuff for what would happen on the field.
New Outfield Look
Harper would make the Nats outfield look young, dynamic, and dominant. If he does come back to D.C., he’ll add to what could become a triple threat with young and talented Juan Soto (in LF presumably) and the 20-year old top prospect Victor Robles (who will presumably play CF). Harper will be the power hitter in this group, Soto will be the all-around player who is a contact guy and can throw well in the outfield, and Robles would be the fielding wizard of this triple threat. They would also have guys like Adam Eaton, Michael A. Taylor, and possibly prospect Andrew Stevenson on the bench.
Well, the batting order will depend on whoever the Nationals sign as a second baseman. It could also depend on what happens if they bring up that young prospect, Carter Kieboom. Bringing up Kieboom would definitely make some of the players that are in the lower part of the batting order already higher by a few spots, as Kieboom is not a contact hitter. Getting back to Harper, though, it would be safe to say that he is going to stay probably as the third hitter in the lineup if the thing that most Nats fans hope happens.
Hopefully, the Nats will be able to improve from all of the disappointment that was 2018. Maybe a playoff run would be in order? If the Nats re-sign Harper get ready for a season that could be full of promise. With an already dominant rotation that just added Patrick Corbin, some major bullpen upgrades, two big upgrades at catcher (a position the Nats were so weak with last season), and a solid bench for the Nats, you could see this team possibly making a World Series for the first time in franchise history, and fans would get to see the first World Series in the nation’s capital for the first time since 1933. The Nats have the talent to be able to pull it off. But there is also the threats of the Phillies, Braves, and Mets; all of which who have had a good offseason besides the Nationals.
That’s the stuff on the field, but let’s look at what would happen as the front offices would be affected.
As every fan knows, a luxury tax was put in place in MLB in 2002 to level the spending of each team. The Nationals are right now only one of two teams this season having to pay the luxury tax (the other being the Red Sox). They will have to pay 2.39 million dollars, meaning their tax is not going to be as heavy as Boston’s. If they re-sign Harper however, that luxury tax would be sextupled (multiplied by 6 times). This would mean the Nats have to pay a 12 million dollar luxury tax fee, which could affect the way they spend money.
Future Free Agency
Well, as stated earlier, money will be tight for the Nats. They already signed Patrick Corbin to a pretty pricey contract, and re-signing Harper will be even costlier. This means the Nats will not be able to do as much in future free agencies. If the Nationals re-sign Harper, don’t expect the Nats to go after a ton of guys after 2019 in the offseason for a while.
International Bonus Pool Money
In the international bonus pool, the Nats already have been trading a lot of that money away, as they did in the trade to get Kyle Barraclough from the Miami Marlins. With the small amount of money that they will be able to spend in this sector, they won’t be able to sign as many international amateurs for the organization, amateurs like Juan Soto and Victor Robles, and top prospects like Luis Victoriano Garcia (don’t be surprised if he makes the Majors in the next couple of years) and Yasel Antuna.
In the MLB Draft, according to the luxury tax rule, if a team signs a player that is over their salary cap, and this puts luxury tax in affect, that team’s drafting rights will be affected as well. The team that signs a player above their salary cap must go down in the draft order by ten spots, or if they sign a player from a team the previous year, they have to give a compensation pick in the draft to that team, as the Nationals will have to give a 4th-round pick this year to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Harper returning would mean the loss of a first-round pick and possibly more because of the luxury tax payments.