- After fading from postseason contention down the stretch, the Philadelphia Phillies are poised to break the bank in pursuit of free agents
- Topping their wish list is Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper
- MyBookie favors the Phillies to sign Harper
When it comes to Bryce Harper, the Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly in fanatic pursuit of his services. They view Harper as the linchpin in a blueprint to ensure the collapse of 2018 is not repeated.
As September got underway, the Phillies looked poised to make some noise in the National League playoffs. As late as September 7, the 74-66 Phillies were just 2.5 games out of first in the NL East, but a 6-16 skid to close out the campaign that included losing streaks of five and nine games scuttled any postseason plans.
The #Phillies say they’re still interested in signing Manny Machado to play third, as well as Bryce Harper in the outfield and Patrick Corbin on the mound. Hey, it’s only money, right?
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 3, 2018
Not happy at all with how their season concluded, money appears to be no object in the offseason plans of the Phillies and because of that, MyBookie views them as the chalk to get the name of Washington Nationals outfielder Harper on a contract.
Bryce Harper Free Agency Odds
|What Team Will Bryce Harper Be with on April 1, 2019?||Odds at MyBookie|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+400|
|San Francisco Giants||+650|
*Follow link to view complete list.
Harper is the Key to it All
As much as the Phillies are willing to cough up the dough in order to improve their lineup, the word is that all the planning starts with getting Harper on board and into the fold. He’s viewed as the key piece in puzzling it all together.
In 2015, Harper, just 22, shattered Babe Ruth’s long-standing mark as the youngest player in MLB history to hit 40 home runs and draw 120 walks. Harper led the majors in WAR, tied for the NL home-run title with 42, and was unanimously voted NL MVP, becoming the youngest player to do so.
Who wouldn’t want talent like that in the heart of their batting order? But Harper’s addition is just one prong in the Phillies’ blue-sky game plan for getting better.
It has been suggested a Segura deal wouldn’t preclude Machado for Philly (theoretically, one could play SS, the other 3B) but Phils are thought likely to focus on one free agent mega star at a time and most believe their first focus will be on Bryce, not Manny.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 3, 2018
They also intend to pursue free agents Manny Machado and Patrick Corbin, and are reportedly close to closing a deal to add All-Star shortstop Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners.
The Competition is Heating Up
The Phillies may appear to be front runners in the Harper sweepstakes, but it’s hardly a done deal. Don’t count out the Chicago Cubs, also looking to shake things up after their own late-season collapse and early playoff exit.
The Phillies may appear to be front runners in the Harper sweepstakes, but it’s hardly a done deal.
MyBookie lists the St. Louis Cardinals as +1200 longshots to land Harper, but they have a celebrity endorser in their corner. Cardinals fan and St. Louis rapper Nelly made a personal appeal on social media after meeting Harper on the weekend.
Harper turned down a reported $300-million offer to stay with the Nationals, so it’s going to take huge bank to land him. That narrows the field. The Cubs want Harper, but the Phillies need Harper and when push comes to shove, need generally trumps want.