Bryce Harper: 'It's a great day to be a Phillie'


CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Bryce Harper awakened to the news in his Clearwater Beach condo early Saturday morning and "was blown away."

A few moments later, his roommate came downstairs.

"It's a great day to be a Phillie," he told Bryson Stott.

Harper made it clear he wanted one of the big guys -- Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos or Kris Bryant.

He got two of them. 

Two days after agreeing to a deal with Schwarber, the Phillies swooped in late Friday night and grabbed Castellanos.

"It's incredible," Harper said. "I would never have thought that would have happened.

"Our ownership and our GM and president really gave us an opportunity. A guy like Castellanos -- what a huge asset for us."

If you're keeping track at home, the additions of Schwarber and Castellanos give the Phillies three sluggers who finished in the top 10 in the majors in OPS last season among players with at least 400 plate appearances.

Harper was first at 1.044.

Castellanos was seventh at .939.

Schwarber was ninth at .928.

With Schwarber and Castellanos, the Phillies added left-right balance and power -- a combined 66 homers last season -- to a lineup that already features Harper, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura.

"What an awesome experience we're about to have this year with the lineup we're about to have," Harper said. "Just the length of our lineup is pretty impressive."

The Phillies spent more than $202 million on free agents this winter. Schwarber has passed his physical and his four-year, $79 million deal is about to become official. He is expected to arrive in Clearwater on Sunday. Castellanos got five years and $100 million. His deal is still pending a physical. He will arrive in Clearwater early in the week.


Other free-agent signings include relievers Corey Knebel ($10 million), Jeurys Familia ($6 million) and Brad Hand ($6 million).

The agreement with Castellanos has put the Phillies where they've never been before -- above the luxury tax threshold. The threshold is $230 million. The Phillies' projected payroll is now about $240 million. The tax is not calculated until after the season so it can be adjusted to changes on the roster. If the season were to end today, the Phillies, as a first-time exceeder, would pay a tax of 20 percent or $2 million.

Harper said he had "faith" that ownership would keep up with the Braves and Mets and do what was needed to improve the club. 

"Now we owe that back to them, right?" he said. "We have to go out there and play our game and do the things we can to make sure that we're trying to win games.

"We owe that to our fans, we owe that to the city of Philadelphia and we owe that to our ownership. We owe that to ourselves. Get out there and give it our best effort. 

"I know we're all excited to welcome those guys in here. It looks great on paper, but we have to go out there and work hard and do the things we can do to score the runs."

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