Our long, national nightmare is over. The best available free agent in baseball has finally signed.
Bryce Harper and the Phillies finally put pen to paper and agreed on a $330-million deal that will keep Bryce Harper in Philadelphia for 13 seasons. Perhaps the biggest irony in the deal is that Harper, who was thought to be demanding more than the average annual value (AAV) of $30-million that Manny Machado got from San Diego, actually agreed to a smaller AAV in exchange for an increase in the number of years. The deal will pay Harper $25.384-million per season, which is also less than Scott Boras, who is also Harper’s agent, negotiated for Alex Rodriguez 13 years ago.
13 years ago, Scott Boras client Alex Rodriguez was making $26 million dollars.
Bryce Harper will not make that annually.
— Full Press MLB (@FPC_MLB) February 28, 2019
Boras pointed to three reasons why Harper made the decision to sign with the Phillies. The first was the length of the deal, which no other team was apparently willing to go to to sign Harper. The second was the fact that John Middleton made two trips to Las Vegas to meet face-to-face with Harper and his family, which, along with the length of the deal, convinced Harper of just how much the Phillies wanted him. And finally, Boras pointed toward Harper’s career stats at Citizens Bank Park, which just so happen to be through the roof.
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Boras explained that Citizens Bank Park provides his client with the opportunity to reach an “historic achievement” offensively over the next 13 seasons.
The deal is actually pretty team friendly when you consider that the AAV of the deal isn’t as high as it was thought it might have to be in order to sign Harper and that there is no opt-out clause in the deal. Depending who you listen to, either the Phillies refused to include an opt-out clause or Harper didn’t ask for one. The deal does include a full no-trade clause, but in the right circumstances, those are often waived by the player or at least softened to include a few teams where he would accept to be dealt to.
The Phillies improved their bullpen with the signing of David Robertson, added another veteran bat in Andrew McCutchen and traded for shortstop Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto. It’s not out of the question that with Harper signed, the Phillies could still pursue either starter Dallas Keuchel or closer Craig Kimbrel, who are still on the free agent market. Keuchel is also a client of Boras, as are current Phillies Rhys Hoskins and Jake Arrieta. The team will still have money to pursue Millville, NJ native Mike Trout, who is scheduled to become a free agent following the 2020 season.
There is no immediate timetable for when Harper will arrive in Phillies camp or when he will play in his first spring game with the Phillies.