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Bryce Harper opens up on offer from Nationals: ‘What does that do for me?’

March 11, 2019

In his first one-on-one interview since signing a record contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, Bryce Harper said he didn’t know whether he “fit” into the Washington Nationals’ plans and criticized the $300 million contract they offered him due to its amount of deferred money.

Harper complained to ESPN The Magazine’s Tim Keown that “about $100 million” of the offer the Nationals made him in September was deferred until he was a senior citizen.

“I grew up in front of those fans and that city, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” Harper says. “But I didn’t know if I fit into their plans. About $100 million of that contract was deferred ’til I was 65 years old.” He stops and turns his palms to the sky in disbelief. Few people can turn down a $100 million retirement fund; Bryce is one. “It’s like, ‘What does that do for me? What does that do for my family?’”

That $100 million numbermatchedreports from MLB.com and the Washington Post that surfaced soon after Harper agreed to terms with Philadelphia.

But there is disagreement over whether that number is accurate, or merely a strategic exaggeration by Harper’s camp, specifically by agent Scott Boras. USA Today reported in January, and sources confirmed to The Washington Times’ Thom Loverro, that the contract was only “slightly deferred” and had a real dollar figure between $250 and $284 million.

Harper’s ESPN interview does not touch on Washington much more, but he also echoed a talking point from his introductory Phillies press conference:

“During the seven years I spent in DC, all everybody talked about was me going somewhere else,” Harper told The Magazine in his first extensive interview since signing with the Phillies. “From the day I signed, it was: ‘He’s going to the Yankees’; ‘He’s going to the Dodgers’; ‘He’s going to the Cubs.’ I didn’t want to hear that. I was in that city, and I wanted to be in that city. So now I’m just so happy that I’m able to sit here right now and say I can play until I’m 39 years old and I don’t have someone sitting around the corner saying, ‘He’s going to go here next.’”