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Will the Phillies sign Bryce Harper in 2019?

Will the Phillies sign Bryce Harper in 2019?

Even before Mike Trout went hunting with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, Phillies fans have been begging to bring the New Jersey native back to Philadelphia and play for the team he grew up watching.

Vegas thinks the Phillies have a decent chance to land a megastar outfielder soon, but it's not Trout. 

Onlinegambling.lv gives 10/1 odds Bryce Harper, baseball's "chosen one," dons the red pinstripes in 2019. 

Despite the perception of arrogance, Harper would fit great in Philadelphia. His blue-collar attitude is what Philadelphia fans salivate over. 

The Yankees (10/3), Dodgers (4/1), Nationals (7/1) and Red Sox (9/1) are the only teams given better odds to land Harper.

Harper is on pace to become the highest paid player in baseball history, and could easily surpass Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million contract he signed before the 2015 season. Scott Boras, Harper's agent, will aggressively work the market, and given his track record, it appears he will get Harper that $400 million.  

Vegas gives Harper an over/under of 599.5 career home runs. He has 121 entering this season which means there are a lot of homers left to be hit.

Contention
By the end of 2018, the Phillies will have a better idea of what their everyday lineup will look like. Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera have appeared to lock down spots. The outfield has a plethora of prospects ranging from Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, Aaron Altherr and Dylan Cozens. 

The pitching staff will have young, seasoned arms in Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez.

The prospects for the middle infield have shown great flashes this spring. Scott Kingery has hit .375 with two home runs. Top prospect J.P. Crawford has only three hits this spring but has played well at shortstop. 

By the time Harper becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, he will be 26 years old with six years of major-league service, barring any injuries. A possible 10-year deal would give the Phillies the prime years of his career. 

The money
For the 2017 season, the Phillies' payroll is in the lower third among MLB teams. Money was an issue during the beginning stages of the Phillies' rebuild. The team is paying $23 million in retained salaries (money that is guaranteed to players who were released, traded or bought out) -- including Ryan Howard's $10 million buyout.  

The Phillies benefit from the lack of MLB service from players like Franco, Nola and Joseph -- all of whom are not arbitration-eligible yet. By the time Harper hits the market, the team will still control the contracts of many of its prospects and current major-leaguers.

This ensures the Phillies a lower payroll, which could give them the ability to sign Harper.

The Bank
Citizens Bank Park is considered one of the smallest ballparks in baseball and the dimensions greatly favor Harper's ability to hit with power to all fields. The left and right field porches are 330 and 329 feet from home plate, a pull hitter's dream. The power alley in right is 369 feet and dead-center is 401 feet. 

In his first four seasons, Harper clubbed 121 home runs, hit .279 and drove in 334 runs. 

Now put him in a hitter-friendly stadium like Citizens Bank Park and those numbers should inflate. In 35 games at Citizens Bank Park, Harper has a .300 average, 11 home runs, 24 RBIs and 23 runs scored. 

Watch Eagles roast Jay Ajayi after 71-yard run for getting caught

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Watch Eagles roast Jay Ajayi after 71-yard run for getting caught

It's not everyday you see an Eagles player take the ball and run for 71 yards. So Philadelphia fans understandably went bonkers when Jay Ajayi did just that in the Birds' win over the Cowboys on Sunday.

It's also not that frequent that you see a dude get chased down from behind on such a play.

Sadly, the latter happened to Ajayi and his teammates let him hear it on the sidelines after. The fantastic Inside the NFL gave us an up-close look at the roasting.

You almost feel bad for Ajayi, like Kenjon Barner is laying it on a little too thick.

"You slow as $#@!," one player tells him.

"They're gonna lower my speed on Madden," Ajayi says.

Chip Kelly is going back where he belongs

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USA Today Images

Chip Kelly is going back where he belongs

After spending the year out of football, former Eagles coach Chip Kelly is returning to the sideline — and might be aligning with ex-Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman in the process.

According to reports, Kelly is expected to accept a head coaching job at one of two college football programs. The decision is down to Florida and UCLA, and he is rumored to have already turned away other high-profile programs such as Nebraska and Tennessee.

UCLA may be Kelly's most likely landing spot at this point, with alumnus Aikman putting on a "full-court press," says ESPN's Mark Schlabach, and Florida supposedly wanting an answer ASAP.

Wherever Kelly winds up going, that should end his unsuccessful foray into the NFL once and for all. Consider this an obituary of sorts.

The move will cement Kelly as a "college coach," if his pro tenure hadn't accomplished that already. After guiding the Eagles to the playoffs and being named Coach of the Year in his first season, he missed the postseason the next two years and was fired. Kelly got the hook again after one miserable season with the 49ers, bottoming out with a 2-14 record.

There are no shortage of excuses for why Kelly flamed out in the NFL. Lack of talent — specifically under center — was certainly a factor, though his failed stint as the chief talent evaluator in his final season with the Eagles certainly contributed to that.

The simple truth is not everything that works in college translates at the next level, and Kelly never adjusted.

Kelly only turns 54 this week, so a return to the professional ranks years down the road isn't completely out of the question. After his last two trainwreck seasons in the league, it's difficult to imagine what an organization would still see.

Employing schemes that aren't suited to the team's personnel, calling the same 10 to 15 plays every game, eliminating the quarterback's ability to call an audible or even something as small as never using a snap count may work at university. Those concepts are fundamentally opposed to what has been successful in the NFL.

Honestly, it's kind of too bad. The Eagles could use that easy W on the schedule periodically.

Perhaps the Eagles should just be grateful to have survived Kelly's radical changes without overhauling the entire roster again, and somehow coming out better off for everything. After releasing DeSean Jackson, trading away LeSean McCoy, trading for Sam Bradford, and spending huge sums of money on the likes of DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell -- to name a few, and all in the span of a year -- the franchise easily could've wound up in the tank.

There's no denying Kelly looked like a genius while at Oregon, racking up 46-7 record and three top-five finishes in four seasons as head coach. Yet like so many college coaches before him, and many bound to come after, he was never destined for sustained success in the NFL.