There comes a time when a person looks in the mirror and says, “I’m ready to make a change.” These changes usually involve significant sacrifices. Losing weight? Cut the food. Refocusing on your career? Everything else is secondary. Trying to save money? Don’t buy as much.
But what if that change didn’t involve much sacrifice? What if, at the end of the day, that change was a big one that bettered you without sapping you of all strength, social standing, or financial security?
You’d do it in a heartbeat, right?
Well then, Mr. Theodore Lerner, owner of the Washington Nationals and literally (yes, literally) the richest person in all of baseball, I say to you: make that change right goddamn now.
Ted Lerner has an asset on his hands. That asset is Bryce Harper. Bryce Harper is the best player in baseball. He might be the best player in the history of baseball for all we know. He is worth a lot of money. A lot. Titanic amounts of money. The type of money that would make A-Rod look like a little league benchwarmer. Innumerable amounts of cash with figures never before seen.
Well, not innumerable. Let’s start at $500 million. Yes, start. It’s going to be higher than that, heck, it could and probably will hit $600 million. So far, in lockstep with most of his prior personnel decisions, Ted has shown no indication that he’s willing to pay that money.
Look, investing $500 million in anything is a risky proposition. I do double takes when deciding whether or not I should renew my monthly $9.99 subscription to Spotify. It’s human nature to look half a billion dollars in the face and wonder what the hell you’re considering.
But you know what? No one gives a shit, Ted. Because your $6.5 billion legacy will be forever defined by whether or not you gave a generational talent enough money to make his mark on a franchise that has existed for barely 10 years and needs a face. You are so rich that investing $500 million would leave you with fucking $6 billion. Except that’s not even true at all, because the Nationals make you copious amounts of money every season and I’m sure your investments are doing quite well; in fact, I know that your real estate empire just keeps growing and growing because my freaking neighborhood is being overrun with construction sites plastered floor to ceiling with your name. So even though you’re out half a billion bucks, my non-business degree tells me that you’ll still be making bank, not to mention all the free publicity and fan support that Harper’s new contract would buy.
Refusing to invest would have consequences. The chance of winning a World Series anytime soon would fly out the window. A universal fan exodus would take a Jaws-sized bite out of your franchise’s value. Losing the most talented and polarizing player in the world would cast a long shadow over the national spotlight you currently enjoy on a daily basis. Neglecting to sign Harper could COST you. And the longer you wait, the more expensive he becomes. In the end, it could become a needlessly pricey proposition.
Speaking of the end, I really hate to bring this up, but you’re 90 years old. I know you want to preserve your financial legacy far beyond your living days, but come on. dude. You didn’t buy this team purely on an investment basis. You also bought it because you love baseball. Because you want to win a championship. And if you want to see that trophy held high before the end of your days, pay Bryce Harper a gazillion dollars. Who cares what it takes.