Derek Jeter blocked Bryce Harper’s path to Yankees. Why not nab him for rebranded Marlins?

Bryce Harper, a National League MVP at 23, is a free agent at 26, peddling his services in an industry that’s grown to nearly $11 billion in annual revenues. His combination of skills, age and marketing cachet make him an excellent fit for any major league franchise.

Even the Miami Marlins.

Harper, who has 184 career home runs and a lifetime .900 OPS, rejected a 10-year, $300 million contract offer from the Nationals in September, and is a good bet to set a new standard for the most lucrative contract in North American sports history.

It’s taken weeks – and will possibly require several more – for that process to play out. In the meantime, USA TODAY Sports will examine why every team could use Harper’s services – some more than others, certainly some better-equipped to procure them.

A case for Harper and the Marlins joining forces:

On the field

The connection was merely cosmic at first, a budding young baseball star idolizing a future Hall of Famer who dominated his television in the Octobers of his youth.

Then it became more tangible, if only conceptual, that the young star might someday inherit his idol’s role as the biggest star on the game’s most celebrated team.

Ultimately, it became merely business – nothing personal, mind you – when the legend blocked the kid’s path to the New York Yankees with the biggest transaction of his budding career as an executive.

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