Bryce Harper and The Phillies Team Up

Bryce Harper Signs a Max Deal with The Phillies


David Berry

Harper, depicted in a Nationals uniform, signs with the Phillies to complete their roster

On February 28, 2019, Bryce Harper signed a 13 year, 330 million dollar deal with the Phillies. Harper was a hot free agent and most teams competed to get him. Harper, along with Manny Machado, also a highly desirable free agent, signed a 10 year, 300 million dollar deal with the Padres after a one-year stint with the Dodgers. Philadelphia Phillies fans are eager to see Harper in regular season action (ESPN on Harper’s Move).

David Berry
Bryce Harper suits up in a Phillies uniform for the first time.

As of now, Phillies fans will have to settle for only catching glimpses of him in spring training. After the signing of Harper, the Phillies have been unbeaten in the games they have played. However, former Phillies players have warned Harper about fans. Jayson Werth, former player for both the Phillies and the Nationals, was Harper’s teammate for about 5 years. Werth said , “Harper should be aware of the booing. He’s a streaky player so it’s inevitable that he will be booed at some point either for his hitting or fielding.” Werth is right. Harper had one of the worst fielding ratios in the outfield last year. This brings into the question where the Phillies will play him. There have been talks of playing him in Center Field, yet this position is usually reserved for an outfielder with great fielding skills. They may even opt to use him as a DH. However, even if Phillies fans may be unhappy with his past play, the organization is arguably receiving Harper at the peak of his career. MLB analysts have mentioned, “Generally, 41 percent of all players peaked between ages between 26 and 29” (Baseball players peak age). Bryce Harper is 26 now, which means that when his deal is over, he will be 39.

Some LHS students gave their opinion on these major deals. Senior Christian Hankins said, “Thirteen years is a long time. I’m not sure Harper’s going to stay with the Phillies for that long. He’ll most likely be traded after a few years, in my opinion.” Another LHS senior, George Haramis, said, “I don’t know much about baseball but I’ve heard about long-term deals like this. It seems outrageous to me. I don’t think he’ll stay there that long. Nevertheless, I’m excited to see what he’s going to do with this new ball club.”

David Berry
Christian Hankins, a follower of baseball, is a bit surprised by Harper’s decision.

Fans are eager to see Harper in Spring Training action. Reports have come in saying that his first game will be as a Designated Hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays (Bryce Harper to Play on Saturday).  This will come on Saturday afternoon at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. Fans are ready to show their support for their newcomer, as the game versus the Blue Jays is sold out. Phillies buffs even got the chance to see Harper hit an impressive homerun at a live streamed batting practice. It’s safe to say that followers of the Phillies are happy with their new signee and are ready to see him showcase his young talent.

This move is a big one for the Phillies, but they have done more in the offseason than sign Bryce Harper. The Harper move has overshadowed other Phillies moves. One example of this is the performance right-handed pitcher Drew Anderson. Anderson threw for three innings, allowed one hit, and struck out six batters. This could be considered notable because included in the opposing team’s lineup was Troy Tulowitski, Gary Sanchez, and Miguel Andujar. Another player that Phillies are optimistic for is slugger Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins had a solid season last year and is looking to improve on what he’s already built. With Harper, Hoskins, and other players in the lineup, the Phillies could be in store for a historic slugging year.

The Phillies past few seasons haven’t amounted to much. However, the Phillies have willed themselves into contention not only with strong bats, but with a solid pitching rotation. After additions such as former Pittsburgh Pirate Andrew McCutchen and former Yankee David Robertson, The Phillies skyrocketed from 18/1 to 14/1 to win the World Series. Also, after Harper signed, their odds in Vegas increased again to 10/1. This season’s outlook for the Phillies seems promising for fans.