Phillies

Bryce Harper news has Phillies' World Series odds skyrocketing

Bryce Harper news has Phillies' World Series odds skyrocketing

Perhaps the biggest reaction to the news that Bryce Harper is coming to Philadelphia happened in Las Vegas and New Jersey. The Phillies' odds to win the World Series have been absolutely slashed this offseason and they’re on the board now at 10/1 to win the title. 

The Phillies opened at 18/1 when the odds were first published in October and moved to 14/1 after adding Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson. Harper was able to move the odds from 14 to 10 by himself, which is extraordinary.

The Phillies opened with an expected win total, per Fan Duel, in the low 80s prior to the news that Bryce Harper would be joining the Phillies. The total is currently listed at 87.5, and rising.

Fan Duel has also listed a few other Harper-specific wagers that Phillies fans may find interesting.

… and finally.

Fan Duel and William Hill are obviously looking to cash in on all the hype and are likely taking a tremendous amount of bets, and probably a tremendous amount of over bets, on the Phillies' win total and on Harper’s home run total. It’s tough to gauge this type of thing so soon, but it’s fun to see just how much Harper is worth in the betting odds and what the oddsmakers expect from Harper in the first of his 13 years in Philadelphia.

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Timing getting better for Bryce Harper, who strokes two singles

Timing getting better for Bryce Harper, who strokes two singles

CLEARWATER, Fla. — While most of his teammates traveled to Florida's east coast for a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday, Bryce Harper stayed back in Pinellas County and got some extra at-bats in a minor-league game at Carpenter Complex.

Harper, who had gone hitless in his first eight official at-bats of the spring, batted four times and stroked his first two singles of the spring in a game against a Pittsburgh Pirates farm team. Both were hard-hit balls to the right side of the diamond.

One day earlier, Harper joked about going hitless in his first five games with the Phils. After his first hit Monday, he playfully called back to the dugout to see if someone could retrieve the ball as a souvenir.

Harper also grounded out and struck out in the minor-league game. He played four innings in right field.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto and reliever David Robertson also appeared in the minor-league game.

Hitting coach John Mallee liked the way Harper swung the bat.

"His timing is getting better and he's starting to put the ball on the barrel more," Mallee said.

Harper will continue his defensive work on Tuesday. He will also track pitches in the bullpen. That can be valuable for a hitter trying to get his eyes ready for the season.

Harper is expected to start in right field when the Phillies host the Detroit Tigers in Clearwater on Wednesday.

On the road, the Phillies lost, 4-1, to the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. 

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Gabe Kapler says players could have been more engaged during Phillies' 2018 collapse

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USA Today Images

Gabe Kapler says players could have been more engaged during Phillies' 2018 collapse

CLEARWATER, Fla. — As the Phillies limped to the finish line with 20 losses in the final 28 games last season, some players basically checked out.

"I think in September our players could have been more engaged," manager Gabe Kapler confirmed to reporters in Jupiter, Fla., on Monday. "With the players I thought could have been more engaged, those conversations were had. I addressed every situation that clearly needed to be addressed last year in appropriate settings."

Kapler spoke in response to an ESPN story that told of how Carlos Santana smashed a television at Citizens Bank Park after seeing a couple of teammates playing a video game during a ballgame against the Atlanta Braves on the final weekend of the season.

Phillies pitcher Jake Arrieta did not deny that some team members played video games in the clubhouse last season. He added that he did not believe video games were played during games.

Kapler said he was unaware of any of his players playing video games while the baseball game was in progress — "That's unacceptable, 100 percent," he said — but he did not deny that Santana trashed some equipment in the video room.

"In the middle of the summer, the chemistry of the clubhouse was very good," said Kapler, whose club was in first place in the NL East in early August. "As we struggled at the end, understandably, tensions ran high. When that happens, players tend to react. 

"Carlos became frustrated as happens in high-tension situations. He responded by smashing up some TVs. I don't think that's uncommon. I don't think it's uncommon to see players get frustrated in high-tension situations. That happens in every clubhouse environment. "

Kapler said he spoke personally with Santana after the incident and addressed the team in a meeting. The manager opened spring training last month by saying he planned on having more clubhouse boundaries in his second season.

"We are putting steps in place to ensure that when tensions run high again, players communicate and look out for each other," Kapler said. "I care deeply about our clubhouse culture and we are collectively doing everything we can to continue to monitor these situations, and to improve that."

On Monday, Rhys Hoskins defended his manager and said the incident involving the video games and Santana's reaction was not a poor reflection on Kapler's leadership.

What does Kapler think?

"When things aren't going the way that they should, it is always my responsibility to step up and be accountable for those things," Kapler said. "And I will do that in this situation as well."

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