In all likelihood http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-bruce-rondon-jersey , the richest contract in Major League Baseball history will soon belong to a player whose downside is as perilous as his upside is extraordinary.To the extent that there ever was a secret, the secret is out that superstar outfielder Bryce Harper and super-agent Scott Boras are indeed looking for a record deal in free agency.According to Chelsea Janes of theWashington Post, Harper could have accepted a 10-year, $300 million offer from the Washington Nationals in September. But as far as Boras is concerned, such a deal wasn't close to good enough."They did not pay anywhere near [Harper's] $400 million to $500 million in [true value]," Boras told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. "This has been great value and is great value."The chances Harper will pull in $500 million鈥攁nd thereby beat Giancarlo Stanton's record$325 million deal by $175 million鈥攁re remote, at best.It is nonetheless expected that the 26-year-old's next pact will indeed raise the bar for professional athlete paydays. MLB Trade Rumors, for example, projects a 14-year, $420 million contract. Even a more conservative projection from Fancred's Jon Heyman still puts him at $330 million over 11 years.Split the difference, and something in the realm of $350 million seems in order. Certainly, whoever pays up will be most excited about Harper's potential.Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesThis is, after all, a player who's largely lived up to being aSports Illustrated cover athlete at 16 and a No. 1 draft choice at 17. Harper won the National League Rookie of the Year as a 19-year-old in 2012. He was the NL's unanimous MVP three years later. There's been only one season out of his seven in which hewasn'tan All-Star.The numbers are there, too. Harper is one of only six hitters to make over 3,000 plate appearances and put up a .900 OPS since 2012. His 184 career home runs are the 12th-most for a player through his age-25 season.More specifically, his 2015 efforts (1.109 OPS and 42 home runs) proved he can be baseball's best in a given year. Albeit in a losing cause, he showed he can take over a playoff series with a monstrous NLDS outburst(1.251 OPS and three homers) against the San Francisco Giants a year earlier.To boot, Harper's appeal goes beyond the diamond. As of 2016, his Q score rated him as the most recognizable active MLB player鈥攐ver fellow young superstars Mike Trout and Kris Bryant. Their Google traffic sends a similar message:Teams in the Harper sweepstakes can look at him and see a tantalizing package of youth Chris Beck Jersey , talent and marketability. In other words: precisely the kind of person who could justify the biggest investment ever made in a professional baseball player.And yet, such an investment could just as easily become a massive bust.The most relevant comparison for what Harper represents is what Alex Rodriguez was in the 2000-2001 offseason. He was a young, charismatic, MVP-level talent for sale to the highest bidder. Enter the Texas Rangers with a groundbreaking 10-year, $252 million contract.Adjusted for inflation, that pact would be worth roughly $360 million today.On some levels, it's reasonable Harper should get the modern equivalent of A-Rod's contract. Harper is a year older now than A-Rod was then, but his profile is similar, and even some of their numberslook alike.However, the comparison breaks down once wins above replacement鈥攚hich captures a player's total hitting, baserunning and defensive value鈥攊s factored in. Per Baseball Reference:The peaks (2015 for Harper, 2000 for Rodriguez) are similar, but the consistency is not. Rodriguez shook off a slow start to become a dependable star in his final five seasons with the Seattle Mariners. For his part, Harper has been a downright bad player in three of the last five years.Rodriguez's early track record isn't the only one that can make Harper's look unspectacular. Strictly among active players, those who've accumulated more WAR through their age-25 seasons includeTrout (54.2), Mookie Betts (35.2), Jason Heyward (29.8) and, yes, fellow superstar free agent Manny Machado (33.8).Injuries haven't helped Harper's cause. He was afflicted by knee problems in 2013 and 2017, as well as by a thumb malady in 2014 and Miguel Gonzalez Jersey , per Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, a bum shoulder in 2016. That's more than enough for an "injury-prone" label and should concern prospective suitors.Beyond that, how much Harper will give outside the batter's box is debatable. Though he's an outstanding athlete, his baserunning and defense can be charitably described as unpredictable. As Jeff Sullivan covered at FanGraphs, the latter was outright terrible in 2018.Even Harper's bat has red flags.His offensive productivity has tended to fluctuate wildly between outstanding highs and pitiful lows, and not just because of injuries. There are times Harper loses his approach, and he's not as efficient a slugger as he should be.A hitter like Harper, who doesn't see many pitches in the strike zone, ought to choose his swings carefully and frequently make hard contact when he does let loose.He does exactly that when he's hot. But from anoverall perspective, he's no Trout:Data courtesy of FanGraphsFor all the reasons referenced, none of the red flags will, or should, bar Harper from a record-setting payday. To throw one more on the pile: Per MLB.com's Andrew Simon, the historical comparisons for both Harper and Machado bode well for their futures.There is nonetheless an all-too-obvious disparity between what Harper can be and what he is. His celebrity and accolades make him look like a singularly talented superstar slugger. In actuality, he's a part-time superstar whose talent for slugging isn't really that singular.Which is to say that nobody has any real clue what will become of the megacontract he'll soon sign. There are probably 50-50 odds it'll be money well spent or money down the drain for his new employer.To both, "godspeed" will be the only thing to say.Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs. NEW YORK — When they left Yankee Stadium for a cross-country flight to Oakland following a tedious 11-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees held a decent amount of comfort in the wild-card race.Now they come back still occupying the lead in the wild-card race but hardly with a comfortable lead.Heading into the opener of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays Friday night at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics.Article continues below ...The Yankees are returning from a middling 4-5 nine-game trip through Oakland, Seattle and Minnesota. The uneven trip followed a disappointing 3-4 showing in a seven-game home stand against the Chicago White Sox and Tigers.“We know what’s at stake,” Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton said. “We know what we need to do. It’s not an ideal today or a trip. We know what we need to do. We’re going to come out on Friday and get it done.”By going 7-9 in their last 16 games http://www.whitesoxfanproshop.com/authentic-tim-anderson-jersey , the Yankees have gone from 4 1/2 up on Oakland to hardly assured of hosting the one-game playoff on Oct. 3.Going back further, when the Yankees fell 9 1/2 out in the AL East after being swept by the Red Sox, they were 2 1/2 up and while they gained two games on the A’s, they were not able to shake their pesky challenger.While the Yankees scored enough in their last homestand at times, they did not hit well for most of the trip. They were no-hit until the eighth when Greg Bird ended Jake Odorizzi’s no-hit bid and were held to two hits in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss at Minnesota.During the trip, the Yankees scored 33 runs while batting .198 (56-for-283) while striking out 75 times. With runners in scoring position, New York batted and hit .169 (10-for-59).“We have the equipment in that room to be the club we expect to be. Baseball will punch you in the mouth every now and then,” Boone said. “We are clearly facing a little bit of adversity right now and we will be better for it. I expect us to come out Friday ready to turn the page.”Stanton, who was rested in the last home game, was 4-for-34 with 16 strikeouts on the trip. Gary Sanchez was 5-for-27 on the trip with three of those hits in a 7-2 Monday, Didi Gregorius is 3-for-15 since returning from a heel injury and Aaron Hicks went 3-for-27 on the trip.At least the Yankees can say good things may be happening on the injury front. Sanchez and Gregorius recently returned and Aaron Judge along with Aroldis Chapman appear close to returning.Judge took regular batting practice on the field before Wednesday’s game and could get into a simulated game soon. Since he fractured his right wrist on July 26, the Yankees are 25-20.Chapman has been out since Aug. 22 with tendinitis in his right knee but threw a bullpen session Wednesday in Tampa and could get into a simulated game if another bullpen session goes well.Masahiro Tanaka will start the opener and seeks his 12th win after allowing three hits and striking out 10 in eight scoreless innings last Friday in Seattle. It marked the eighth time in 10 starts he allowed two earned runs or less.Tanaka is 10-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 16 starts against Toronto, which is the only opponent he owns 10 wins against. His last appearance against the Blue Jays in New York was Sept. 29, when he fanned 15 in seven innings of a 4-0 win.The Blue Jays (65-81) didn’t help the Yankees by losing three straight at Fenway Park, lowering the Yankees magic number for elimination in the AL East to six. The Blue Jays lost for the eighth time in 12 games when second baseman Yangervis Solarte committed a fielding error in the eighth inning of Thursday’s 4-3 loss.The next loss will clinch Toronto’s second straight losing season and they head into New York hoping to see what they have in players like Rowdy Tellez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel homered and is hitting .284 in 55 games while Tellez is 9-for-22 (.409) in his first eight games.“(Playing at Fenway) has been good for them and when we go into Yankee Stadium that’s going to help them,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “Whether they start here next year or when they make it. Next time they go in there at least play one game there. It helps. People get in awe of these places. I still do. I think that definitely helps.”Marco Estrada starts for Toronto and hopes to end a three-game winless streak. Since beating Baltimore Aug. 20, he is 0-2 with a 9.49 ERA, though he allowed two runs in six innings in a no-decision last Friday against Cleveland.Estrada is 7-3 with an 8.15 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts) against the Yankees.The Yankees have won 12 of the first 16 meetings with Toronto and six of seven at Yankee Stadium.