After Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres, Bryce Harper was the lone superstar free agent ready to put ink to paper. Today, Harper finally signed, ending the off-season drama about which team he will represent this season.
News broke this afternoon that Harper would be signing with the Philadelphia Phillies. This came after reports circulated that the San Francisco Giants were the front runners to sign the right fielder.
The deal with the Phillies is worth $330 million over 13-years. It will become official once Harper passes a physical.
Harper’s contract surpasses Giancarlo Stanton’s extension with the Miami Marlins, which was 13 years and $325 million. His contract will become the largest contract in MLB and North American pro sports history. The deal also includes zero opt-outs or deferred money. There is also a full trade clause in the contract.
Harper signing with an NL East rival will certainly intensify the games between the Phillies and Nationals. Harper will return to Washington in a new uniform for the first time on April 2.
Sportsbooks have bettered the odds of Philadelphia winning the World Series. One example is BetOnline, who’ve improved the Phillies’ odds from 12-1 to 8-1 after the signing.
It was well believed that the Phillies would sign either Harper or Machado this off-season. The front office were clear that they were ready to throw money at whichever free agent was most readily available, and now it’s clear that Harper was their guy.
Harper spent the first seven years of his career with the Nationals, who drafted him in 2010. The Nationals offered Harper a $300 million, 10-year contract but Harper declined. The offer from the Nationals was one believed to be the right amount of money and length for Harper’s camp, although it isn’t very clear why he didn’t sign with his former team.
In 2018, Harper hit for .249 with 34 home runs and 100 RBI. He had a career-high in RBI and his home run total was the second highest of his career and was also up 5 from the season prior.
Harper is a former MVP, Silver Slugger, six-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year.