Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nats Surge in Harper Sweepstakes

The Royals looked ready to go into September in the driver's seat, but one ill-fated slide later and the Nats' offense is drowning in its own waste. Barring another late season hot streak, the first pick in the 2010 draft is Washington's to lose.

When looking at a player who seems to have freakish talents, one always has to wonder, "Is this too good to be true." The legend of Bryce Harper allows us to know what would happen if LeBron James and Sidd Finch ever crossed DNA. He's A-Rod without the steroids.

Though, given that Strasburg came with a 15 M price tag, what will an everyday catcher with revolutionary hitting skills field? Scott Boras had to get Strasburg signed, for his value clearly peaked this year with the Aztecs. Harper, on the other hand, will continue to grow and amaze. I cannot imagine them settling for less than 30 M. Can the Nats deal into this window? Will Selig even allow the Nats to hand over the keys to the money bin?

Keith Law puts a realistic ceiling on Harper at Joe Mauer. Being that he is playing in Minneapolis in a weak division, you may not be all that familiar with Mauer's exploits this year. Well... Mauer's OPS+ is 180... followed by Youkilis in the AL at 148. He is putting up Pujols numbers from the catcher's position in the AL. He has clearly been the most valuable player in baseball even though he debuted May 1.

Mauer is going to be free agent eligible soon and will likely command 20-30 Million per year. He is likely peaking, as few catchers without b-acne improve after the age of 30, and there is no way the Twins can fit his price tag onto the balance sheet. So the question the Nats need to pose going into this offseason? Is Joe Mauer, at 8 years 200 million, a better value than Bryce Harper at 5 years 40 million?

We know the draft is broken and Scott Boras is still out to make a point. Is Harper worth caving the system? It depends on how much hype you can buy...

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