CARLSBAD, Calif. — Declaring “Harper’s Bazaar” open for business on Wednesday, baseball superagent Scott Boras is ready to listen to high-priced offers for Bryce Harper, his 25-year-old superstar client. Not unlike the fashion magazine, the courting of Harper will only be relevant for those ready to pay.
“It’s fashionable,” Boras said continuing the analogy. “It’s historical. Its elite. Global, certainly. And it has inspirations that deal with great shoes and great hair. Inspirations on the part of Bryce.”
Boras all but admitted the Washington Nationals did indeed make Harper a large offer toward the end of the regular season, but with Harper being so close to free agency, it was almost a given he would look around. There will be no shortage of suitors as the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and several other teams have publicly admitted a desire to add talent — even at a high price.
“Because the player is entering the prime of his career you’re really talking about a unique and rare opportunity,” Boras said. “Anyone who’s done what Bryce Harper has done at 25, if you’ve done that, you’re almost a lock to be a Hall of Fame player.”
Boras is sure to sell teams on Harper’s age as well as his production before potentially even hitting his prime. The agent pointed out his client has the only 1.100 OPS season since he came into the league; outside of the steroid years, according to Boras, you have to go back to George Brett in 1980 for the last 1.100 OPS season.
“He’s a generational player,” Boras said.
Of course, not all teams will be in on the All-Star. Those entering, or in the middle of, a rebuilding project probably aren’t spending more than $300 million to sign Harper. That’s a sticking point for Boras as well, railing on the fact the game incentivizes losing over winning.
“The fans of baseball have clearly rejected this voluntary approach that owners have made where they’re noncompetitive,” Boras said.
He recited dropping attendance figures in many markets while referencing LSU’s collegiate baseball team for having more fans than a major league club.
“Their average attendance is greater per game than that of MLB’s Marlins,” Boras said. “The fans of Florida have certainly brought the MIA to Miami.”
Boras’ plan would be to incentivize winning, perhaps in tiers. Basically, teams not in contention would get better draft status for winning more games rather than the other way around.
“In our current system, we have a cancer that allows losing and an intent [to] lose to be rewarded in the development environment,” he said. “In our game we have owners that do the correct things that aren’t getting rewards. We have divisions that are completely upside down because the mystery of the game is gone … Winning was the priority in Boston. It wasn’t about the CBA, or dynamics of the luxury tax. They awarded their fan base and ownership with a championship.”
Boras also indicated he has no qualms dealing with the New York Mets despite his previous statements coming out against an agent taking over an executive role with a team. Former longtime agent Brodie Van Wagenen is now the general manager in New York.
“I will negotiate with anyone at any time if my client so desires for me to do so,” Boras said. “I don’t let my personal philosophies interfere with any of that.”