St. Louis Cardinals Rumors: The St. Louis Cardinals Blockbuster scenario
The first blockbuster is the most critical move, but it also might be the most risky. It’s stating the obvious at this point, but St. Louis Cardinals should try and sign Bryce Harper.
This scenario has the St. Louis Cardinals adding two superstar hitters and a starting pitcher. The first and most important move is signing Bryce Harper, and the Cardinals have the financial might to meet any asking price Harper may have.
That said, it would still be financially irresponsible to exceed $350 million over 8-10 years. No one player should eat up that much payroll. If Harper received $350 million over 8-10 years that would make him the highest paid player in overall contract and AAV. I am not in favor of setting these records, but the Cardinals CAN afford it.
I would be in favor of giving Bryce an opt-out after 3 years, and then loading most of his salary in the fourth and fifth years to while giving him an opt-out after year five. This gives Harper the opt-out, but incentivizes him to stay by giving him $40 million a year for years 4 and 5.
Then, you can maximize your ability to have Bryce for his age 26-31 seasons, and also incentivize him walking after year 5, which could minimize aging-curve related risk to the team. Remember, however, that his AAV is what counts for the luxury tax so it really doesn’t matter how it is apportioned.
I do not see Bryce getting more than $350 million. Those dollars simply do not make sense, and I doubt any team would spend that much payroll on one player when you could sign 10 players for that amount for shorter years. The math stops making sense at some point.
But at this price, the St. Louis Cardinals should do everything in their power to make this deal happen. Mo, DeWitt, and the Cardinals have missed out on the top names for too long, and it’s time for them to prove to me and all the fans of Cardinal Nation that they are able and willing to acquire the superstar this team has lacked for far too long.
As a side note, this is why the “value” of WAR for free agents is nonsense. If you say one WAR is worth $8 million on the free agent market, you are assuming that a player like Mike Trout could make $70-80 million a year. No team would pay a player that much, so it begs the question why people are so enamored with the value of a win on the free agent market.
News flash – the MLB market is not a perfect market with perfect market forces. It is a soft-cap market and people fail to consider that fact in evaluating the “value” of WAR on the open market.
Readers may disagree, but I believe the deal structure above will be enough to sign Bryce.