SNIDER: Harper needs to end offseason moneyball chase

Rick Snider
January 31, 2019 - 12:15 pm

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports


Dear Bryce,

For the love of forkballs, pick a team already. Position players report in three weeks. It might be nice to wrap your mind around possibly a new team before showing up. You know, study the roster, know who people are . . . show you’re a professional who cares about more than money.

Don’t be tempted by the constant sounds of cash. You’re from Las Vegas; you know the sound of coins dropping in the machine makes people even more greedy until they blow it all.

Don’t blow your career.

Sorry the market won’t bring you a half billion dollars, but unless you’re building a hospital for the poor, $300 million or so should be enough to last not only your lifetime, but you’re grandchildren’s grandchildren’s years.

Greed is not always good. This decision is about where you’ll thrive for the next decade or so. The money will soon become irrelevant because you’ll never have to worry about it again. Pick somewhere you’ll be happy, sign the deal and don’t look back. And if Scott Boras urges you to squeeze the last dollar out of some other city, tell him to shut up. He’s your agent, not your boss.

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Bryce, if you’re distracted by the mighty dollar, last season will seem like paradise compared to Philadelphians heckling you every day and Nationals fans razzing you nine times a year at Nats Park. You’ll be a mercenary who trades the love of the game for the love of money. And that seldom works well.

The Nats are the best fit. Fans love you here even if not quite performing to expectations. Everyone said you’d be the next Mickey Mantle, but that hustle down the first base line isn’t a norm anymore. Still, fans know to always stop what they’re doing and watch your at-bats. Something great just might happen.

Remember last year’s home run derby when you found your joy of the game and then went on to have a solid half-season after a pitiful one beforehand? Maybe you’re dancing with that same devil again. A contract year was a big distraction until those home runs changed the season. Well, you’re about to see the same situation come again.

Nats fans are resigned to your leaving. If you do, hopefully, it’s somewhere fans love you unconditionally. But, be warned – fans don’t love mercenaries.

So pick a team, grab a bat and stop playing moneyball.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks