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Anonymous GM tells ESPN '$400 million is light' for Bryce Harper's next contract

Anonymous GM tells ESPN '$400 million is light' for Bryce Harper's next contract

How much did Bryce Harper's disappointing 2016 season impact his future contract? Not at all, according to one American League general manager who spoke with ESPN's Eddie Matz anonymously about the Nationals star. 

"Last year, he still had the classic walk rate, so you know things were happening positively for him, and you know there was something happening on the injury front," the executive said. "For two of the last three years, if he hasn’t been the best player in the National League, he’s certainly on the short list. He’s one of the best players in the world. He’s one of the youngest players in baseball, and he’s one of the most accomplished."

In May, Washington locked up Harper through the 2018 season with a one-year, $21.625 million deal. But after that, he'll be in position for a ridiculous pay day in free agency. 

The same GM who dismissed Harper's 2016 struggles also predicted his next contract would exceed the $400-million mark.

“Four hundred million is light. It's going to be more than that. If you could sign him to a 15-year contract, you do it. I would say something in the range of $35 million a year, maybe closer to the high 30s. It could approach 40 million dollars a year.”

MORE BASEBALL: 2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

The value of the deal depends heavily on whether Harper – who will be 26 when he becomes a free agent – would be willing to sign on for that many years.

Only one current player has a contract longer than 10 years: the Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million deal back in November of 2014. 

The ridiculous projected price tag will make some MLB teams balk, and potentially take themselves out of contention for the 2015 NL MVP altogether.

Matz listed the Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals and Phillies as teams expected to make runs at Harper, but not the Cubs other than to say several unexpected suitors will inevitably join the bidding war.

Over the weekend, Peter Gammons reported that he's heard Harper is interested in joining the defending champs. 

A different AL general manager said club owners will ask why they should pay Harper significantly more than the next highest-paid player. 

“Some owners will bow out because they think becoming the highest-paid player should be sufficient,” the second GM said. “Having to go 10, 20, 30 percent above that is going to become increasingly challenging for people who are uber-successful businessmen.”

If these two general managers are correct, market value will decide Harper's contract, not return on investment through the length of the deal. 

But so far, Harper's 2017 production makes him look like a good bet for years to come. 

He's rebounded from last season's .234 batting average and 24 total home runs. Through 48 games, Harper is hitting .324 with 15 home runs and an OPS of 1.089. 

MORE NATIONALS: Rex Ryan sports Bryce Harper jersey in Nashville bar brawl

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Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

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USA Today

Sánchez and Adams lead Nationals in crucial win over Braves

ATLANTA—Anibal Sanchez outpitched Mike Soroka and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth inning, Matt Adams homered and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Saturday night.

Second-place Washington pulled within 5 games of the NL East-leading Braves, improving to 33-14 since May 24, best in the majors over that span. Atlanta has dropped four of five.

Sanchez (6-6) got a big assist in the bottom of the fifth when shortstop Trea Turner turned a bases-loaded double play, leaping to nab Nick Markakis' liner and throwing to first to beat Josh Donaldson back to the bag.

Soroka (10-2) allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings. He had won 10 straight decisions, best by an Atlanta pitcher since Hall of Famer Greg Maddux had a 10-decision streak in 2001.

Sean Doolittle got the last five outs, facing the minimum, for his 21st save in 25 chances. He struck out Ronald Acuna Jr. with a runner at second to end the eighth and breezed through the ninth.

Washington went up 4-1 in the fifth when Sanchez reached on an infield single to third, took second on Donaldson's throwing error and scored on Turner's double. Turner took third on Adam Eaton's single and scored on Anthony Rendon's single. Eaton scored on Juan Soto's single.

The Nationals took a 5-3 lead in the eighth off A.J. Minter as Turner singled, stole second and scored on Eaton's single.

Adams went deep for the 15th time, an opposite-field homer that bounced off the top of the wall in left-center and into the stands to tie it at 1-all in the fourth.

Sanchez, who pitched for the Braves last year and helped them win the division, allowed three runs and six hits and has a 2.70 ERA in his last nine starts.

Atlanta led 1-0 in the first when Acuna reached on an infield single, stole second base, advanced on a flyout and scored on Freddie Freeman's single.

Brian McCann's ninth homer, a two-run shot in the sixth, chased Sanchez and cut the lead to 4-3.

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NBC Sports Washington's Michael Stearman contributed to this Associated Press story.

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Sean Doolittle seals the deal in victory over Atlanta Braves

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USA Today Sports Images

Washington Nationals Roundup: Sean Doolittle seals the deal in victory over Atlanta Braves

Check out the latest news and notes surrounding the Washington Nationals.

Player Notes: 

SS Trea Turner went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI as the Nationals topped the Braves 5-3 on Saturday evening. Turner delivered a go-ahead RBI double off of Mike Soroka in the fifth inning, giving the Nationals a lead they wouldn't relinquish. He also swiped his 20th base of the season in the contest.

1B Matt Adams slugged his 15th home run of the season on Saturday, helping to propel the Nationals to victory over the Braves. For the season, Adams is hitting .235/.273/.519 with the aforementioned 15 homers and 40 RBI.

RP Sean Doolittle recorded the final five outs against the Braves on Saturday night, preserving a two-run advantage to earn his 21st save of the season. The left-hander came on with a man on and a man out in the eighth inning, with the Nationals clinging to a one-run lead. Doolittle retired Charlie Culberson and Ronald Acuna without issue, then stuck around to work a perfect ninth inning as well to seal the deal. 

SP Anibal Sanchez picked up his sixth victory of the season on Saturday night, limiting the Braves to three runs on six hits over his five-plus frames. The veteran right-hander struck out four and walked three on the night. Sanchez allowed an RBI single to Freddie Freeman in the opening inning, then kept the Braves off the board until Brian McCann tagged him for a two-run blast in the sixth, chasing him from the game. Sanchez is now 6-6 on the season. 

Injuries: 

SP Max Scherzer: Back, late July

RP Jonny Venters: Shoulder, out indefinitely 

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, out indefinitely 

RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, out mid-July 

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, out indefinitely 

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, out indefinitely 

Coming Up:

Sunday 7/21:  Nationals at Braves, 7:08 p.m., SunTrust Park

Monday 7/22:  Nationals vs Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Tuesday 7/23:  Nationals vs Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park

Source: Rotoworld

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