There's no contest when it comes to the most sought-after free agent in baseball right now, and the player who is most likely to get paid an exorbitant amount of money. It's the same player we knew it would be for years: Bryce Harper.
Harper isn't your average free agent. He's 26, with a lot of years left to offer a team. He's also a former MVP, and a unanimous one, at that.
Harper is also a rarity: a teen phenom who actually made good, going from one of the biggest prospects in baseball's history to reaching that potential and becoming a baseball superstar. He's made quite a bit of money already in his young career, and he's set to make perhaps more than anyone else in the game ever has. How much is he worth?
Bryce Harper's Net Worth
Harper, despite only playing in the MLB for seven years and only just now reaching a free agency period, already has an estimated net worth of $25 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Assuming that number is anywhere close to true, it's honestly a pretty astonishing feat. Harper spent much of his tenure with the Nationals on his rookie contract. In the next couple of months, Harper's net worth should skyrocket.
Bryce Harper's Career
Harper was a known entity in baseball for years before he even got drafted. It was such a sure thing that he would get drafted first overall by whoever was there whenever he was eligible that he got his GED after his sophomore year and entered junior college, playing baseball for the College of Southern Nevada. The Vegas native proved himself a force to be reckoned with in his lone year playing college ball, hitting 31 home runs in just 66 games.
In June of 2010, Harper was drafted first overall by the Washington Nationals. It was their second consecutive first overall pick; in 2009 they drafted starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Soon after, he signed a rookie contract worth $9.9 million over five years. His 2011 season, split between A-ball and AA-ball, showed a great deal of potential as he hit 17 home runs combined.
Though he started 2012 again in the minors (this time at AAA), it didn't last long. He made his MLB debut before April had even ended, and ended up playing in 139 games for the Nationals. His first home run came on May 14 against the San Diego Padres. He would end up hitting 22 that year, hitting .270 and making the All-Star Game at just 19 years old.
Harper's 2012 campaign won him the Rookie of the Year award, but even more importantly it helped the Nationals reach the playoffs. In what would become a common ending, they lost in the first round of the playoffs. This year they fell to the Cardinals, and Harper hit just .130 in the series.
2013 saw him progress and put up more solid numbers, hitting 20 more home runs and making the All-Star Game again. However, an injury relegated him to just 118 games and the Nationals regressed, failing to make the playoffs. Still, after these two seasons Harper had hit 42 home runs and made two All-Star teams all before even turning 21.
Harper had knee surgery in the offseason to help his nagging injury, but it wasn't the only injury he would face. Harper played in just 100 of the 162 games in the regular season thanks to a thumb injury in April. It caused him to miss the All-Star Game, to date, the only time in his career he hasn't made it. Harper hit just 13 home runs, but the Nationals won the NL East and made the playoffs for the second time in three years. This time, Harper fared much better, hitting .294 with three home runs in four games. But the Nationals still fell in the NLDS to the San Francisco Giants.
Harper had been good, but was plagued with injuries in his first few years; an above-average starting player, but not yet a superstar. In the 2014 offseason, the Nationals signed him to a two-year extension, avoiding arbitration. Harper rewarded them not just with a good season, but one of the best offensive seasons baseball had seen in years.
2015 Bryce Harper was on another level, starting the season hot and never letting off the gas pedal. He hit .330, led the league with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored, and walked 124 times. He was unanimously voted league MVP, just a month after turning 23. However, Harper chose to have his historic season in a year of extreme turmoil for the Nationals. The team around him struggled mightily down the stretch, and they lost the division to the Mets.
In 2016, Harper started off similarly spectacularly, but failed to reach the heights of his 2015 campaign after struggling down the stretch. He hit 24 home runs and once again walked over 100 times, but his average fell to .243. Still, the value he provided helped Washington return to the playoffs - where they lost in the first round, this time to the Dodgers.
Prior to the 2017 season, Harper and the Nationals avoided arbitration by signing him to a one-year, $13.6 million deal. Midway through the season, they signed him to a $21.6 million contract for 2018. Harper had a great 2017 with 29 home runs and an improved .313 batting average, but he did miss time down the stretch with an injury. He came in 12th in the NL MVP vote as the Nationals made the playoffs for the second consecutive season - and lost again in the first round, this time to the Cubs. Harper hit .211 with a home run in those five playoff games.
2018 saw an injured and inconsistent Nationals team miss the playoffs. Harper's batting average was just .249, but he hit 34 home runs and led the league with 130 walks.
According to Spotrac, Harper in those seven years with Washington made $52.35 million in cash earnings.
Bryce Harper's Contract
After the 2018 season concluded, the Nationals offered Harper a one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer. Harper declined it, electing to test the market.
How much Harper will get with whatever team he signs with is yet to be determined, but the amount has been speculated on for years. In 2016, after he followed up his MVP season with a great April, analysts wondered if it was possible for Harper to land the first ever $400 million or even $500 million contract in baseball history.
Harper, along with free agent infielder Manny Machado, is looking to break the record for the largest contract in baseball; currently that belongs to the Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton, who signed a 13-year, $325 million deal with the Marlins in 2014. It's unlikely that he'll get 13 years, but more money is a very realistic outcome for Harper.
Bryce Harper's Endorsements
As an MVP player in one of the biggest sports, playing in a major city, Harper is no stranger to being a public face. He has his fair share of lucrative endorsements. In May 2016, just several months after winning that MVP award, he signed a 10-year contract extension with one of his sponsors, Under Armour (UAA) . It was the largest endorsement deal ever for a baseball player.
In 2018, Harper also signed an endorsement deal with a particularly fitting company. Known for his impeccably-styled hair and beard, Harper signed a product deal with Blind Barber, a chain of six barbershops across the country, to help make and sell hair and beard products.