There’s reportedly a “definite sense” that the Phillies are favorites for Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper is a six-time All-Star. (Johnmaxmena2/Wikimedia Commons)

According to MLB Network‘s Jon Heyman, the Philadelphia Phillies are the current favorites for Bryce Harper, and whatever deal he receives will be a long-term deal. Heyman noted that talks are believed to have “intensified” between the two sides. In addition, SNY’s Andy Martino tweeted that among rival clubs, there is a “definite sense” that the Phillies are in the lead for Harper. These two nuggets come on the heels of former major league general manager Jim Bowden saying on CBS Sports HQ Saturday that the Phillies were “rounding third base” in their discussions with the six-time All-Star.

If this feels like deja vu, you wouldn’t be wrong. Long having been named the favorites for the superstar outfielder, the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres recently stepped into the mix. At one point, BetOnline had given the Giants 1/1 odds of signing Harper, with the Padres at 5/2 and the Phillies at 4/1. However, the Giants planned to offer Harper a short-term deal with big money as USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reported, which was countered by Heyman reporting that Harper would not be taking a short-term deal under any circumstances. Considering the Giants are loaded with unappealing contracts (such as Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon), that report may very well take them out of the running.

However, as Heyman emphasized, nothing is imminent as of now. The Phillies are likely more appealing to Harper now than ever, having added All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the lineup. Heyman did point out that the Phillies are still in talks with both Harper and four-time All-Star Manny Machado, and Harper is still chatting with other clubs. However, the Harper-Phillies match is “the most likely,” per Heyman.

For Harper, his demands are something perhaps only the Phillies can meet at this point in the offseason. Many other teams have already added players that fill outfield spots, don’t have the space to add a contract of that size or simply don’t wish to pay him that much. In addition, San Diego and San Francisco both don’t equal up to the Phillies in regards to the current talent they possess.

Harper, 26, slashed .249/.393/.496 with 34 homers, 103 runs and 13 stolen bases last season, as well as registering an .889 OPS mark. He also had career-highs with 100 RBIs and 130 walks.


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  1. Ken Bland

    February 18, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Longer than long time baseball scribe Thomas Boswell had his computer in assertive mode with this verbiage…

    From the WaPo

    Though few mention it, subtracting Harper, while it will cost 34 homers, a .899 career OPS and some amazing hair flips, would help any team improve its attention to fundamentals. When the most famous player on the team can’t go 10 days without failing to run out a groundball or overthrowing a cutoff man by 15 feet or throwing to the wrong base or being caught unprepared in the outfield or on the bases, it’s hard to demand total alertness from the other 24.

    Kind of ironic that Boswell themed up on the Nats stressing fundamentals to fight off the defending champ Braves, and as he puts it “much improved” Phillies. Does that sound suggestive to anyone else? Kind of ironic that the Phils, woefully short on fundamentals a season ago are considered much improved with the seemingly assumed acquisition of Harper and his less than all out all the time tendencies. We’ll see. Last year, I thought more questions would be answered well than not, this year, I’m essentially polar opposite.

  2. Robert

    February 19, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Let the Nationals have Bryce Harper. It is right is so many ways. Please, Phillies ownership STAY AWAY from signing Byrce Harper!

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