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Phillies Favored to Sign Bryce Harper

Nationals RF Bryce Harper rounding second base.
Thanks to a strong second half, Nationals RF Bryce Harper is poised for a big payday. Which team is going to fork over the cash? Photo by Johnmaxmena2 (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].
  • 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.

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
Philadelphia Phillies +300
Los Angeles Dodgers +400
Washington Nationals +500
San Francisco Giants +650
Chicago Cubs +700

*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.

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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.

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.

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A veteran journalist, Bob Duff has written over two-dozen books, including authorized biographies of Johnny Bower, Desmond Howard and Gordie Howe. He has covered the Super Bowl, World Series, World Cup, NBA Finals, March Madness and the Olympic Games.