While things inevitably change, chances are Bryce Harper will not be in a Washington Nationals uniform to start the 2019 season. There are only a few teams rumored to have interest and the resources to sign a player like Bryce Harper and of course the Philadelphia Phillies seem to be in the mix to sign one of the biggest free agents in recent history. I might be in the minority here but the Phillies would be better off not singing Harper to a long term deal.
The most obvious reason, this team should explore other options is the fact any deal Harper even thinks about signing will be lucrative and will consist of several years. While Harper has an extremely impressive resume for a 25 year old player, long term deals normally do not work out for both parties towards the end of the deal. Recent examples of deals that became albatrosses for the franchises are the deals made by: Albert Pujols and the Angels, Robinson Cano and the Mariners, and Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees. All these teams were burdened with a huge contract dedicated to one player who under performed the money they received.
Another factor is most free agents now put in a opt-out clause after 3 or 4 years of a contract. Recent example of this is perennial Cy Young candidate, Clayton Kershaw. The original contract signed between Clayton and the Dodgers was signed in 2014 for seven years. However he has an opt-out clause and there is a good chance he exercises that clause and enters free agency this year. The Dodgers now have to hope he re-signs or they will lose one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Phillies front office should use this example and not duplicate the Dodgers decisions. Sure Clayton Kershaw is one of the best players in baseball. Sure he has lived up to the high expectations of his huge contract but now the Dodgers are frantic to work out another huge contract which was just finished four years ago.
There is no doubt that Bryce Harper will be the best free agent available come November. However, the Phillies are more than just one player away from playing October baseball for the first time since 2012. If this season was any indication this team is not just one player short but they are a few players short on both sides of the ball. Their offense struggled and while Harper would be a huge addition to a line-up that lacked a .300 hitter he would not be enough to turn the offense into one of Major League’s best. Even with him in the middle of the line-up they would still lack a true lead off hitter who can get on base. Their rotation needs help behind Aaron Nola and the Phillies bullpen saw the emergence of Seranthony Dominguez and then saw the fall of Seranthony Dominguez so they are in need of players that would help on the mound.
The argument isn’t that Bryce Harper is a massive free agent signing who will once again bring excitement to Citizens Bank Park the argument is that this team needs to find other ways to compete and win for the long term. Pitching should be the main focus and a solid veteran closer should be Matt Klentak’s priority. Besides, as we stand now Mike Trout is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2020 season. Mike grew up right outside Philadelphia and is a current Eagles season ticket holder. That gives the team two years to build and develop hoping that Mike gives the Phillies a well deserved hometown discount.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Philadelphia Phillies article is published fill out our email notification form.