Nats GM: Corbin, Harper ‘in­de­pen­dent’


As with most things in­volv­ing the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als’ off­sea­son, a day that was sup­posed to be all about in­tro­duc­ing Pa­trick Corbin mor­phed into a day about Bryce Harper.

Wash­ing­ton an­nounced its six-year con­tract with Corbin, a heav­ily back­loaded deal worth $140 mil­lion, and the All-Star lefty starter donned a No. 46 Na­tion­als jersey as ro­ta­tion-mates Max Scherzer and Stephen Stras­burg looked on from the front row Fri­day. Af­ter the news con­fer­ence, gen­eral man­ager Mike Rizzo was asked a key ques­tion:

How might the big bucks he used to out­bid the New York Yan­kees and Philadel­phia Phillies for Corbin af­fect the pur­suit of Wash­ing­ton’s own big-deal free agent, right fielder Harper?

“I think they’re in­de­pen­dent of each other. I re­ally do. We’ve gone about this busi­ness of cre­at­ing a roster for 2019, and at the end of the day, we’ll fig­ure out whether that in­cludes ‘Harp’ or not,” Rizzo said. “We thought it was good busi­ness — we had to fix the things we needed to fix. ‘Harp’ is a big part of our fam­ily, and we’d love to have him back.”

But in an in­ter­view Fri­day with ra­dio sta­tion 106.7 The Fan, Na­tion­als owner Mark Lerner painted a dif­fer­ent pic­ture about where things stand with Harper, who didn’t ac­cept a late-sea­son of­fer from Wash­ing­ton.

“I re­ally don’t ex­pect him to come back at this point,” Lerner said. “I think they’ve de­cided to move on. There’s just too much money out there that he’d be leav­ing on the ta­ble.”

Lerner also de­scribed the team’s ear­lier of­fer to the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year and 2015 NL MVP, re­port­edly for $300 mil­lion over 10 years, as “the best we can do.”

The Harper is­sue hangs over all of base­ball as the win­ter meet­ings are set to be­gin Mon­day in Las Ve­gas, but it’s not as though the Na­tion­als have been wait­ing around to see how it’s re­solved.

Corbin joins three-time Cy Young Award win­ner Scherzer, he of the $210 mil­lion deal, and three-time NL All-Star Stras­burg, with a $175 mil­lion ex­ten­sion of his own.

“As you’ve heard me say many, many times: Pitch­ing is king,” Rizzo said.

Corbin gets a $2.5 mil­lion sign­ing bonus payable next Oct. 31 and salaries of $12.5 mil­lion next sea­son, $19 mil­lion in 2020, $24 mil­lion in 2021, $23 mil­lion in 2022, $24 mil­lion in 2023 and $35 mil­lion in 2024 — when he turns 35. The fi­nal year‘s salary in­cludes $10 mil­lion that will be de­ferred with­out in­ter­est and payable on Jan. 15, 2026.

He would earn $500,000 for win­ning a Cy Young Award, $250,000 for fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the vot­ing, $150,000 for third, $100,000 for fourth and $75,000 for fifth, and the same awards for Most Valu­able Player bal­lot­ing. He would earn $100,000 for each All-Star ap­pear­ance, $100,000 apiece for any Gold Glove or Sil­ver Slug­ger, $250,000 for World Se­ries MVP and $150,000 for League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries MVP.

As­so­ci­ated Press photo

Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als Pres­i­dent of Base­ball Op­er­a­tions and Gen­eral Man­ager Mike Rizzo, right, an­nounces the sign­ing of pitcher Pa­trick Corbin, left, dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at Na­tion­als Park in Wash­ing­ton, Fri­day.

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