After months and months of back and forth, the Philadelphia Phillies and Bryce Harper finally agreed to a deal. This propels them to the favorites of the National League East.
The City of Brotherly Love now gets the player they’ve been flirting with since he became a free agent. Bryce Harper is staying in the division, leaving the Washington Nationals for a lighter shade of red with the Philadelphia Phillies. Reports say he signed a 13-year deal for $330 million.
This immediately makes the Phillies the go-to favorites for the National League East. The Nationals, Miami Marlins and New York Mets we’re likely to be far off in terms of odds, but without Harper the Phillies would be in a dog fight with the Atlanta Braves. Prior to this signing, the Phillies were +150 to win the division, while the Braves were +160. This signing will propel the Phillies even further.
Harper joins Andrew McCutchen, who came to the Phillies this offseason, and Odubel Herrera to make one of the most star-studded outfields in the National League. Add in Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins and this is one of the strongest lineups in all of baseball.
The Braves are still a formidable team, but they are relying on good young players to win games for them. They cannot rely on the likes of Josh Donaldson, Nick Markakis and Julio Teheran. Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna and Dansby Swanson will be the reason they win, but that’s a big ask to see if they can fight with the lineup that comes with the Phillies.
The Mets are making big moves this offseason, but Robinson Cano doesn’t really move the needle like he once did. The Marlins are going to be the worst team in the league again more than likely, and the Nationals have a great pitching staff, but without Harper it’s hard to find where they’re going to score enough runs to keep up with Philadelphia.
Harper had a “down” season last year, where he had a .249 average with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs. That’s a down season for him, as we expect him to be even better. He started in the league as a 19-year-old in 2012, and already has 184 home runs and more than 500 RBIs. The kid is just 26 years old. This contract will pay Harper essentially until his career ends, and he has a legitimate chance to hit 500 home runs and make it to the Hall of Fame.
Harper comes to the Phillies already winning a Rookie of the Year and MVP award. He’s not even in his prime yet, and he’s already dominating the league. There is only one other award left for him to win. He’s going to go all out to win a World Series title, and the Phillies have the team around him that can do it. He played on some really good teams in Washington, but it’s hard to say he’s ever played in a lineup this good.
This season, the goal for the Phillies is to win a World Series. The Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl a year ago has made the Phillies’ 2008 Championship a distant memory. Now, they are looking to ride a mixture of young talent and veteran presence to attempt to go all the way again.
The Phillies do need to rely a little bit on their pitching staff. Aaron Nola looks like a stud, but Jake Arrieta looked off in his first season in Philly. Vincent Velazquez can be great some nights and average on others. Nick Pivetta has upside, but we’ve yet to see it at this point.
Still, an offense like this will just need to keep the Phillies in games. Harper and company will take care of the rest. This was the move that made sense for all parties. Right now, the Phillies just made themselves the favorites in the division, and one of the best picks to go to the World Series this season.