As spring training continues to press on in both Arizona and Florida, we can finally report that the everlasting Bryce Harper sweepstakes have come to an end.
According to multiple reports, the Philadelphia Phillies have signed superstar outfielder Bryce Harper to a blockbuster 13-year, $330 million deal on Thursday.
Unlike Manny Machado’s 10-year/$300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Harper’s new contract will not have any opt-outs or no-trade clauses. This means that he will spend the rest of his career in Philly.
In addition to those stipulations, Harper now owns the biggest overall free-agent contract in North American sports history, surpassing New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who signed a massive 13-year, $325 million deal with the Marlins back in 2014.
Throughout the offseason, it was widely reported that the Phillies were the favorite land the generational talent. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported last Sunday that Harper could sign with Philly this week.
However, over the last few weeks, there were various reports that had not only the San Francisco Giants, but also the Los Angeles Dodgers back in the mix for the superstar outfielder.
The Washington Nationals, Harper’s former team were also in the mix, but the 26-year-old made it clear that he was not going to return by reportedly turning down a 10-year, $330 million deal on the final day of the 2018 regular season.
On Wednesday, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reported that the Phillies, along with the Dodgers and Giants vowed to give Harper either the biggest overall free-agent contract in North American sports history or the largest AAV (average annual salary) in baseball.
While he may not have the largest AAV, which still belongs to Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke, who is making $34.4 million this season. Harper will be joining a talented Phillies’ team, who went out this offseason and upgraded their roster quickly.
Before signing Harper, the Phillies acquired one of baseball’s best catchers in J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins in a blockbuster trade earlier this month. In addition to Realmuto, the Phillies also acquired all-star infielder Jean Segura in a trade with the Seattle Mariners and signed veterans Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson earlier in the offseason.
Along with those new players, the Phillies still have young first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who slugged a career-high 34 home runs with 96 RBIs in the infield and a starting rotation led by 2018 NL Cy Young finalist starting pitcher Aaron Nola.
In his final season with the Nationals, Harper slashed .249/.393/.496 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs. He also drew a career-high 130 walks, but struck out 169 times.
Over his seven-year career, the six-time All-star and former 2015 NL MVP is hitting .279 with 184 home runs and 521 RBIs. However, when it comes to playing at Citizens Bank Park, Harper is slashing. 268/.365/.564 with 14 home runs and 32 RBIs (50 games).