Bryce Harper finally settled on where he’ll be playing baseball this year. And likely the rest of his career if he would like.
After months of speculation and rumors as to where he would end up, he finally accepted an offer: a 13 year, $330 million dollar one from the Phillies.
The details are ridiculous compared to what we’ve seen in past free agencies, but furthermore, Harper also has zero contract opt-outs, and a full no trade clause attached to this deal. He can stay in Philly essentially as long as he wants.
So, now that they’re together for the long haul, it poses the big question: How will this move affect the Phillies in 2019 in beyond?
Foremost, this moves gives them that star power they desperately needed. Their whole offseason led up to this point. Trading for an all-star caliber shortstop in Jean Segura. Signing veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen. Trading for arguably the best catcher in game, JT Realmuto.
They secured every piece except the biggest one. And Bryce Harper is certainly that. He’s a former MVP who’s just entering his prime at the ripe age of 26. Harper is one of the most marketable players in the game. He singlehandedly sells tickets. He also has playoff experience, something I can’t emphasize enough. Because… This move also makes the Phillies an instant playoff contender.
If you read my Bold Predictions piece, you’d know I believe this move makes them a lock for the first wild card. Whether that will happen or not, we shall see. But, with Harper, this team is sneaky good. In an NL East that is as up for grabs as any division in baseball, I love their odds.
For the near future, Harper makes Philadelphia an enticing spot for free agents. They’ve got the young ace, they’ve got the solid lineup, and now they’ve got the superstar. He gives the Phillies a much better path to perennial championship contention than they had before.
Obviously this move isn’t all about this season, or for the next five for that matter. This is 13 years we’re talking about. They can very likely have Bryce Harper until he is 39 years old. We’ve seen moves similar to this end up working throughout for the organizations.
Although it is rare, we could see Harper continue to produce at a high level throughout his career. Players like Adrian Beltre and Derek Jeter seemed to never slow down. If Harper manage to do that, this deal becomes one of the best in baseball history.
We’ve also seen moves like this work out poorly. A lot. Harper could decline earlier than expected and the Phillies will be stuck with a washed-up version of the former MVP for 25 million dollars per season.
Even if that were to happen, it may be worth it. If Harper helps bring the Phillies back to national prominence, you simply take the negative side effects that may come at the end of the deal. The contract may be somewhat of a risk, but it’s a risk the Phillies needed to take.
I’ll see you all in 13 years.