Will The Phillies Trade Bryce Harper To The Dodgers, Yankees Or Nationals?
Will the Phillies trade Bryce Harper to the Dodgers, Yankees or Nationals after his disastrous first season with the team?
Harper, 26, signed a monster deal with Philadelphia this past offseason guaranteeing him an annual salary of $26 million from 2020 to 2028, and then a $22 million salary from 2029-2031.
In addition to that, Harper received a $20 million signing bonus and $10 million for the current year.
Harper was part of a big money push by the Phillies that resulted in spending roughly half a billion during the offseason.
What has Philadelphia earned for its troubles?
The team will be missing the postseason once again, have lost seven of their last eight games and now needing to win three of their final four games to earn the franchise’s first winning record in eight years.
Needless to say, this is not how folks expected things to go when Harper was first signed.
“Absolutely [we have] a desire to have a winning season,” manager Gabe Kapler told reporters following the team’s 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Nationals.
“It’s important to me. It’s important to this ball club.
“We’re going to keep doing everything in our power to make that happen by preparing hard.
“By grinding every day.”
We’re without speech.pic.twitter.com/Dh5UdQm4gk
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While a winning record is great and all, it is not the result Phillies brass was hoping for when they cracked open the checkbook for Harper.
Harper, for his part, was far more focused on complaining on how Washington fans heckled him than reflecting on his own underperformance this year.
“They were fine all game, talking about myself and things like that,” he said.
“I get it everywhere I go. That’s nothing new.
“But the last two innings, it’s just not right. It’s not right.”
Some have said that Harper was heckled via some personal matters regarding his family – although that has not yet been confirmed.
Bryce Harper said Nationals Fans crossed the line last night
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“I’ve got 60,000 fans up in Philly that appreciate me as a player, appreciate me as an individual and my family,” Harper added.
“I owe a lot to those people up there in Philly, because they show up for me every single night and they’re there to cheer us on and boo us and keep us going as a team and as individuals, as well.”
Harper played in Washington for seven seasons, ultimately earning six All Star nods and winning one MVP award in 2015.
Since that MVP year, his production has steadily dipped in a way that made many question whether he was really worth the 13 year, $330 million deal that was bestowed upon him.
Those doubts have only gotten louder after this year.
The reality here is that Harper is a solid player who can make a difference on a team loaded with talent, but he is not the type of guy you can build a franchise around.
If the Phillies continue to flounder with him as the centerpiece, it would make a lot of sense for the team to consider moving him.
Where could he go?
With a contract like his, options are limited.
One possible destination, though, would be Los Angeles.
The Dodgers had real interest in bringing Harper in, but they were not interested in offering a contract longer than half a decade.
LA was willing to set a record for average yearly salary, but it would not budge on the length.
That proved to be the breaking point last year – but that does not preclude a deal from happening in the future.
If not the Dodgers, do not count out the Yankees.
New York has a long and storied history of adding overpaid, underperforming sluggers – and very often they tend to thrive in a setting where they are no longer the focal point.
Finally, if not the Dodgers or Yankees, don’t sleep on a reunion between the Nationals and Harper down the line.
Ill will tends to get buried with the passage of time, so it would not be particularly shocking to see Harper end up back in Washington if there is a deal that could make sense for both sides.