The Waiting Game: Why haven’t the Phillies signed Bryce Harper yet?
Harper is requesting over $300 million for his services. Are the Phillies willing to break the bank for the young star?
In what seems like a neverending cycle, we might not be finding out this week where Bryce Harper will call home this upcoming season. The 26-year-old has reportedly turned down multiple contracts that have been offered to him, waiting for something that satisfies him and his agent. One of the teams that have been in the mix has been the Phillies, who have a better chance of picking him up than some may think.
Currently, the Giants, Dodgers and Padres (who just recently signed Manny Machado) join the Phillies in the Harper sweepstakes. The Nationals gave up after offering a $300 million deal, instead focusing on a plethora of other players to fill the void. With a young team, the Phillies have the opportunity to cause a frenzy but have not secured their potential prize. As of a few days ago, the Dodgers are the favorite in landing Harper.
What is going on in Philadelphia?
Phillies have offered Bryce Harper over $300M but word is others are over $300M, too. they believe they may have high bid but their confidence to win was dented a tad by emergence of LA (a desired Harper spot). Philly has to decide whether to keep faith or dip into the stupid $
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 26, 2019
A theme of this offseason has been the slow market, a result of agents and owners not coming to an understanding. It goes without saying that the Phillies have the money; they are willing to go all in on Harper. The team is trying to match or go way past the Padres’ $300 million they gave Machado, Why haven’t they pulled the trigger then?
Does it have something to do with the competition? Are they even sure there is competition? Let’s look at the other teams vying for Bryce:
– The Giants ownership might not want to spend an absurd amount, even if they have a young team. As long as you don’t cite Smash Mouth, anything is possible.
– Nationals are obviously out, unless a change of heart happens.
– The Dodgers are the closest thing the Phillies have to competition, as they have been known in the past to make wild deals. By trading away Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig to the Reds, Los Angeles does have a good amount of money left over. Back in the race as of last weekend, they might just surprise the rest of the league.
The Dodgers’ reported entry into the Harper mix is interesting as it relates to the Giants’ pursuit, though both teams are believed to be interested only in shorter-term deals. According to a source, the Phillies remain the only team talking to Harper about a true long-term deal.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 25, 2019
What if the latter is just playing around with the Phillies? Since winning a World Series in 2008, the Phillies have tried to collect a various amount of talent. One of the last big contracts they went for was Jake Arrieta. Do they fear that there is no market, and they are just fighting with themselves for no reason?
Then there are the questionable quotes from Phillies GM Matt Klentak. Speaking to MLB.com, Klentak didn’t seem too confident in Bryce coming to Philadelphia, if only because the team was willing to give up if necessary.
“I think very similar to the way we approached the Manny discussions. We will continue to proceed with other free agents that make sense for this franchise,” Klentak stated. “We have to remember that there will be other free agents after this offseason. There will be plenty of opportunities in the future to spend money and to make our team better. We cannot allow ourselves to be put in a position where we have to do something at all costs. There’s a significant cost that we’re willing to pay to add, but we have to be willing to walk away at some point.”
The clock is ticking. With Spring Training starting, Harper will continue to look on from the sidelines. Is it pride that is holding the team back, or fear? The next few days will be a big test for the entire league. Either a gamble paid off (literally), or the Phillies got bamboozled.
What side of history do you think the Phillies will be on?
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