On Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to the largest deal in Major League Baseball history. Harper’s $330 million, 13-year deal with the Phillies comes after a rumor-filled four-month free agency.
The former National League Rookie of the Year and National League Most Valuable Player spent seven seasons with the Washington Nationals. Harper’s career batting average sits at .297 with 184 home runs and 521 RBI.
— ESPN (@espn) February 28, 2019
Harper’s Free Agency Timeline
At the end of the 2018 season, Harper turned down a $300 million, 10-year deal with the Nationals. After declining the Nationals’ deal Harper entered into free agency.
By December it started to become more clear that Harper would not be staying in Washington. Thus, prompting rumors about where the 26-year-old right-fielder would become a franchise’s next big star.
Furthermore, the Phillies emerged as an early favorite for those speculating where Harper would sign. By February, the Giants, Dodgers, and Phillies became the top contenders.
Updated odds on Bryce Harper’s next team
(via Bookmaker) pic.twitter.com/pEIcCKyZFE
— B/R Betting (@br_betting) February 26, 2019
Finally, on February 28, Harper signed his contract with the Phillies.
Phillies’ pitcher Aaron Nola commented on his initial reaction to hearing the news on Harper’s signing.
A Look at the New Philadelphia Phillies
Before signing Harper, the Phillies had already made large improvements to their roster. The Phillies acquired catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura in trades over the offseason.
In addition, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and closer David Robertson were signed during free agency.
Before the confirmation of Harper’s signing, Phillies manager Gabe Kepler commented on how Harper would compliment the Phillies’ improved roster.
Since signing Harper, the Phillies odds to win the National League East, the National League Pennant, and the World Series have all increased. Philadelphia’s odds to win the World Series have strengthed from 14/1 to 10/1.
Although it is unclear of exactly how Harper will fit into the Phillies line-up, the odds alone prove that Harper is expected to have an immediate impact on the field and at the plate.