Yes, that is correct. You read the title of this article correctly Phillies fans. Now, take a deep breath, wait for your heart race to calm back down to normal, and let us dive into the logistics of what could be the biggest signing in Major League history.
Since the conclusion of the 2018 season for the Phillies, it was clear that their sights would be on a difference maker to propel them to the top of their division, and hopefully, the top of the National League. In a free agency market that holds Bryce Harper at the top of the list, it was obviously a dream for all of Philadelphia to see one of the biggest names in baseball wearing a home jersey in Citizens Bank Park. Over the last week, however, this dream has become closer and closer to the city’s reality.
All of Wednesday, November 8th, was filled with Harper mania. Or, as his agent Scott Boras put it, “Harper’s Bazaar”. But with every move that the young slugger made, it showed a sense of tunnel vision for the city of brotherly love.
The first move that stirred the baseball world was regarding the team he has called is own for Harper’s entire career: Washington. This deal was just brought into the offseason spotlight, as it was proposed on September 26, but the details were made public this week. The Nationals offered Harper a deal to take him throughout at least his entire prime, and quite possible his whole careers. It was a ten-year, $300 million offer that was basically rejected as soon as the Nationals proposed it. This story line made one thing clear, but also left one to question. Harper will almost definitely be leaving the nation’s capital, but was the amount of money a factor as well?
It has been made clear by Boras that a $300 million deal will not be enough, as their targeted price is set for 400. Although this sounds like an astronomical number (which would shatter the record high of Giancarlo Stanton’s $352 million contract), the price tag has not scared away every team.
As time goes on and GM meetings begin though, the logistics of the deal have caused teams to become less aggressive. For example, the Chicago Cubs have shown heavy interest, but have too many big names still on their rosters to afford the 26-year-old. The San Francisco Giants have looked more and more like they will pass on him and continue to rebuild their team. The St. Louis Cardinals may have the money to be moved around for the big contract, but the city itself does not seem to have the appeal.
One team that seemed to be the biggest threat with the Phillies was the Dodgers. They differ from every reason keeping the teams listed above in the running, as they certainly have the money for him, their lineup has reached the World Series the last two years, and Los Angeles is known for having a more entertaining city than St. Louis. They seemed to be a great fit for the All Star, but, they have just lacked interest in Harper. They seemed to be pushing to keep Manny Machado instead, who helped their playoff run this year.
With all these teams falling off the market for Harper, there seems to be one last contender against the Phillies for Harper. This would be the New York Yankees.
The Yankees have a lengthy history of at least putting in their two cents for every big free agency or trade. Think of one groundbreaking signing that the Yankees were not at least listed as interested in, it may take you a while. The only problem with this fit is, simply put, where do you even put him? Harper has played right field basically his entire career, and the Yankees already have two right fielders stacking up the offensive number for the team in Judge and Harper. The team is stacked in the outfield, also including names like Andrew McCutchen, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and even Neil Walker who has an impressive year. With this predicament, the idea of moving Harper to first base was stirred around, and Boras did not shoot down the idea. Although this may do better with not stepping on some of the all-star’s toes in the outfield, but now moving him to first base may be a problem. If the idea was proposed in September, amid a horrific season from Greg Bird, but after the shocking arise of Luke Voit, Yankee fans may be against the replacing of one of their best players this postseason.
Although it may not make sense in the lineup, the Yankees still seem to be consistent in their push for Harper. This was until the chaotic day of Wednesday, where all signs pointed towards the Phillies. They have been the only team that does not have a problem with signing him. Nothing has officially been said to ensure that Harper would be a Phillie for the 2019 season, but through conversation with Boras and Montgomery and Giles, many trusted sources have showed a recent spread of this possibility. Most scouts and agents agree that it will be difficult to see him go anywhere else, and that the deal could really occur at any time.
So from now until whenever Harper decides his future, Phillies fans can sleep like children the night before Christmas. Except, there is no knowledge of when Christmas will come, of if it will even come at all. But besides that point, as of today, a lot leans in favor of one of the biggest names in the MLB coming to the Philadelphia Phillies.
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