Phillies getting great deal on Bryce Harper contract
After several months of waiting and many more rumors going back-and-forth, Bryce Harper has finally signed his big free agent deal.
The outfielder agreed to a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies that gives him the most guaranteed money in MLB history, topping Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million deal. Though the deal has received some criticism for both length and total money, I think it’s a great deal for Philly.
The Phillies have been down for seven seasons and haven’t had a winning record since 2011. They’re finishing their rebuild, looking to contend, and Harper is the perfect player to build around.
A lefty slugger, Harper will take advantage of the dimensions at Citizens Bank Park and challenge for the league’s home run lead regularly. The park is 330 feet down the right field line and 369 to the alley. It doesn’t have a steep angle in right field the way Nationals Park does. The change in park could be enough to have a similar effect on Harper’s numbers the way it did for Christian Yelich after he moved from Miami to Milwaukee — don’t discount that impact.
Philly has spent the offseason beefing up and now has a lineup that includes Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, JT Realmuto, Maikel Franco and Andrew McCutchen. Putting Harper in the middle makes that a feared lineup.
The young slugger needed a change of scenery badly, and this could not be more of a perfect fit. The city will embrace him and love his hard-nosed style. He’s going to crush in that park and carry that team. Harper is also just entering his prime. It feels like he’s been around forever because he’s been in headlines since he was a teenager and made his MLB debut at 19. Last season he grew impatient as a hitter and chased bad pitches. Now with more protection and less pressure since he has his contract, he should feel free to perform.
Also consider that Harper’s deal spread out over 13 years works out to around $25 million per season. Due to inflation, that won’t seem like a ton in years 8-13 when Harper’s performance may be on the downside. The way I see him playing — delivering a few MVP awards in his first few seasons, he’ll be able to give the Phillies the equivalent value of half the entire contract amount in a matter of three seasons. He’ll have earned the full worth of that contract by the time he starts his decline.
Think about this: Harper has only once shown us the best he can do — his 2015 MVP season. He’s only just getting started and has several more of those to come. The Phillies are getting all of those seasons. It couldn’t be better for them. This is a great signing by the Phillies and should work out perfectly.