Don’t bother looking to Bryce Harper’s social media accounts for clues about what the free agent outfielder makes of the reaction to the 10-year, $300 million deal the Nationals reportedly offered him in September. At least not for the next week.
There’s no wrong time to take a break from social media, but Harper may have picked an especially good one, as speculation about where he’ll play in 2019 and beyond continues to heat up ahead of next month’s Winter Meetings.
“Social Media fast starts now,” Harper wrote Tuesday on Instagram. “Join me on #teamnoscroll for the next 7 days or whatever you are feeling to really open your eyes to everything else around you!”
The real test will come if some team improbably signs Harper over the next week and he’s forced to hold off engaging with his million-plus Instagram followers. Harper announced his fast along with a photo of himself with Russell M. Nelson, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Harper, a devout Mormon, met Nelson while attending the LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City last month with his wife, Kayla. Earlier this year, Nelson challenged the LDS church’s youth to give up social media for 10 days. He called on Mormon women to do the same last month.
In heeding the call, the 26-year-old Harper shared a link on Instagram to an LDS magazine story about 10 benefits of a social media fast. Among them: more time for the important things, a distraction-free week and less-depressed feelings. Also: You might not even miss it. (Hey, sign me up.)
Meanwhile, Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, isn’t taking a break from hyping his client to potential suitors. During an appearance on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio on Tuesday, Boras said Harper could “adapt to first base” should a team with a crowded outfield, such as the Yankees, want to move him there. Boras also reiterated what a rare talent Harper is, given what he’s accomplished through his age 25 season.
“You look at, for example, those who have done what Bryce has done: 180 home runs, he has a particular OPS and/or slugging measure, on-base percentage measure,” Boras said. “You go through these things and you find out the only players who have done what he’s done to reach those levels of performance, every one of them is a Hall of Famer. . . . So you get to say to everyone involved, this is what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with something that has rarely come along. You can look at age 22 performance — only like Joe DiMaggio — or you look at walk rates and home runs — only like Mickey Mantle. You walk through all these things: You realize the rarity of the performance.”
Read more on the Nationals: