And since that day, it has been waiting, waiting and some more waiting as agents leak one thing, rival teams leak another thing and all fans involved collectively lose their minds.
The waiting game has not been fun, but the waiting game is going to be worth it very soon when Harper finally signs with the Phillies.
Yes, it is still going to happen, and here is why.
With A.J Pollock signing with the Dodgers, another big market team, essentially, dropped out of the Harper sweepstakes. In an offseason, that I’m sure Scott Boras envisioned having the Dodgers, Cubs, Yankees, Nationals and Phillies all vying for his clients services, there has only really been one team all throughout that has waited out the nonsense and not panicked to overspend when they don’t have to: the Phillies.
Has the waiting game been brutal? Yes.
Do I want the Phillies to not have to bid against themselves and overpay when they don’t have to? Also yes.
Instead, Matt Klentak and Co. are staring down the belly of the beast that is Scott Boras and not biting at his bluffs. There were rumors of the Nationals getting back involved on Harper and, reportedly, upped their offer of $300 million over 10 years. That looks like it was a Boras leak. The Nationals would be in luxury tax hell for the next couple of years if they brought back Harper and they would most likely have to say goodbye to Anthony Rendon next offseason as he hits the free agent market. If I’m the Nationals, bringing back Rendon is more important to my team than signing Harper to a $300+ million contract.
So where do we stand after all this waiting?
The Nationals are out.
The Dodgers are out, after the Pollock signing, and look to be eyeing Marlins catcher J.T Realmuto as the final piece to their puzzle.
The Yankees have been out and seem to be more in the hunt for a late Manny Machado snag.
The Cubs are out because of poor contracts handed out in prior offseasons.
Where is Scott Boras going to take Bryce Harper?
Ultimately, Harper is going to sign with the Phillies. Whether or not it’s this weekend or into February, Bryce Harper is going to don the red pinstripes, and you want to know the most unfortunate part of all of this? It’s going to feel like an exhale moment rather than pure jubilation because we’ve been dragged around and around for the last 80+ days dissecting every report trying to figure out what every little rumor and video game release tweet could mean. But I disgress.
Either way, the Phillies patient approach should pay off.
In my mind, Harper is a $350 million player. He hasn’t even reached his prime yet and is on a Hall of Fame track. In his past 4 halves of seasons, Harper has only had one bad half and it was in the first half of a contract year in which he was supposed to be the richest player in the sports history. I think that got to him.
Why 8/$280? $35 million a year breaks the AAV record that Zack Greinke currently holds ($34.5 million).
To me, that’s a bargain for a guy that is going to be playing his prime years at Citizens Bank Park. I haven’t stopped thinking about how Bryce Harper is going to spend his prime years hitting at CBP. May the 40+ homer seasons commence.
So stay patient Phillies fans, they’re playing the smart game here. They haven’t fallen for any of Boras’ tricks where he gets them to spend all their money when they don’t have to. Like Ken Rosenthal wrote a couple months back, “It’s the Phillies bidding against the Phillies.”
Ultimately, they’re going to get Bryce Harper for a discount.