Washington Post sports columnist Barry Svrluga made the case Thursday for the Nationals to give Harper a 10-year contract. Long-term deals are an age-old debate, Svrluga reasoned, but what matters is how young the player is at the time of the signing.
Harper will be 26 on Opening Day (as will fellow high-profile free agent Manny Machado). If Harper inks a 10-year contract before then, he’d be the third-youngest in MLB history to land that type of deal. Only Alex Rodriguez (25) and Giancarlo Stanton (24) managed to put their signature on a decade-long contract at a younger age.
Nationals fans still see plenty of risk, however, and they weren’t shy about letting Svrluga know they think the Nats should let Harper walk.
Here’s some of their Twitter reaction to his column, highlighting flaws in Harper’s defense (minus-26 defensive runs saved), his history of injuries (hip, knee, thumb, neck, shoulder), prolonged slumps (see: almost all of last season), and his emotional maturity:
Phillies executives are scheduled to meet with Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, on Saturday.