Bryce Harper, Scott Boras, and the Joys of Capitalism

Now that the trade deadline has passed, the Washington Nationals have a short vacation until an even more stressful date approaches: the August 16th deadline for the Nationals to sign baseball prodigy and social media extraordinaire, Bryce Harper.

Harper, 17, made several updates on his Facebook page referencing the fact that he plans on going back to College of Southern Nevada next season to win a “National Championship.”

Maybe playing for CSN aroused Harper’s sense of duty and respect for his teammates-nay, friends. Seeing mere mortals grapple with such banalities as not hitting 500 foot home runs aroused in Harper realizations of how extraordinarily blessed he is to be so talented and to accept, with humility, his moral duty to bring a even a brief flicker of joy into the lives of his comrades in the form of a D-1 NCJAA Championship.

More believably, Scott Boras could be looking for leverage in negotiations with the Nationals. That, or-and this is what I hope is true, the page could be a fake.

At any rate, it seems the consensus is that the Nationals have likely not yet begun serious negotiations with Harper because Boras likes to wait until the deadline to get deals done. Those who followed Stephen Strasburg’s signing are familiar with his tactics.

This means that if you are a Nationals fan, the weekend before and the day of August 16th will be completely filled with fear, dread, doubt, and worry-even more so than usual.

Even if Bryce Harper does not end up signing, however, the Nats will still receive the second overall pick in next year’s draft which will be stocked with good pitching prospects. Harper himself could even still be available. Then we can relive the nightmare again.

But hold out some hope just a while longer because I don’t think Harper will go back to CSN next year. It seems like there are already enough questions surrounding his character that failing to sign would elevate those concerns to the point where they start actually affecting how much teams are willing to offer him. His value is already so high anyway that I expect that the final contract the Nationals offer him should be comparable to, if not in excess of, Strasburg’s record-setting contract of last year.

Beyond the money, however, I think that Harper will find it impossible to put off a chance at playing in the Major Leagues. Most 17-year-olds want nothing more than greatness, even if greatness means giving up a few million potential dollars. And Bryce Harper definitely wants greatness.

Or at least that’s what you can tell yourself on August 16th.