Phillies

Bryce Harper thanks Philly with his very own Eagles chant

Bryce Harper thanks Philly with his very own Eagles chant

The 2019 baseball season didn't go as many in Philadelphia had hoped.

Bryce Harper's arrival put big-time expectations on the team and they didn't live up to them as a unit. But the pricey slugger put together a pretty good season individually and certainly embraced the city in many ways. From his bromance with the Phillie Phanatic to the custom cleats and googley-eyed headbands to welcoming his new son Krew into the world as a Philadelphian, Harper has been mostly embraced by a city that isn't always easy on megastars.

Harper took to Instagram on Monday to take a moment to thank the Philly fans. And what's that? An Eagles chant?!? Maybe he really is turning into one of us.

To the City that has had my back day in and day out. Thank you so much for your love and support all year long! YOU made me and my family feel so welcome and helped me love this game more than I ever have before. So as you guys and gals would say E-A-G-L-E-S...EAGLES! Have a great offseason and see you at The Bank soon!✌🏼⚾️

Harper had similar things to say on the final day of the season. You can watch that clip above.

I absolutely love this place. I know it's only my first year and everybody probably thinks, 'oh yeah, he's just saying it.' But from the bottom of my heart, I do. It's been such an easy connection with the way these fans go about it, the way this city goes about it. The working-class family, blue-collar town, that's how I grew up. Just to be able to be here and play for these fans every single night, I'm looking forward to so many more years. Hopefully we can raise some banners out there, that's our main goal.

Here's to 12 more season of Harper slowly turning into one of us. Maybe next season he'll have notes on Ben Simmons' jumper.

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Phillies free-agent target: Cole Hamels

Phillies free-agent target: Cole Hamels

Leading up to baseball's winter meetings, we will take a daily look at some of the game's top free agents and how they could potentially impact the Phillies.

Today, we check in on someone Phillies fans know well, veteran lefty Cole Hamels.

The vitals

It feels funny typing those words — veteran lefty — but that's just what Hamels is now. He turns 36 in December. Hard to believe for those of us who remember the squeaky-voiced teenager who showed up at Veterans Stadium for a news conference after the Phillies selected him 17th overall in the 2002 draft. Six years later, Hamels was MVP of the National League Championship Series and World Series as the Phillies won it all in 2008. 

Hamels was traded to Texas as the Phillies ramped up their rebuild in the summer of 2015 and now he's a free agent who still has something to offer. One-hundred fourteen of his 163 wins have come in a Phillies uniform. Will he come full circle and win a few more for the Phillies now that the rebuild is over?

Why he fits

Hamels is no longer the top-of-the-rotation pitcher he was during his prime in Philadelphia, but the Phillies need pitching up and down their rotation and he would make a lot of sense as a stabilizer at the back half of it. He had a 3.81 ERA for the Cubs in 27 starts last season but missed a month with an oblique injury suffered in late June. Hamels was quite good before the injury, recording a 2.98 ERA in 17 starts. He struggled and pitched to a 5.79 ERA in 10 starts after returning from the IL.

With an offseason to heal, Hamels will be healthy as he joins some team this winter and he should be able to deliver 150-160 innings. He did not receive a qualifying offer from the Cubs so he would not cost a draft pick.

Once upon a time, Hamels grew up as a young pitcher in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Roy Halladay. Hamels is a serious student of the craft of pitching. It would be poetic if he returned to Philadelphia and served as a mentor to some of the Phillies' young arms, and fans would certainly welcome his return as part of a pitching staff upgrade.

Why he doesn't fit

The only way we see a reunion not being a fit is if the market for Hamels gets extremely competitive and his price becomes more than the Phillies want to commit to a 36-year-old pitcher. The Phils will need a starting pitching upgrade beyond Hamels, but he'd be a solid second wintertime addition.

The price tag

As far back as May, Hamels talked about his desire to finish his career in Philadelphia. He recently told MLB.com that he'd be open to a one-year contract. That's not exactly strategy out of the Negotiating 101 handbook and it hasn't stopped agent John Boggs from seeking a multi-year deal. Hamels made $20 million with Cubs last season. It's difficult to see him getting that much, but not difficult to see him getting something in the neighborhood of $17 million per season.

Scout's take

"He's no longer that middle-to-top-of-the-rotation guy, but a one-year deal should probably entice every team in the game. He really knows how to pitch. You look at the No. 4 guys in the league. If he's healthy, I'd have solid confidence in him in that role."

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At the Yard podcast: Early free-agent signings and disappointing prospects

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At the Yard podcast: Early free-agent signings and disappointing prospects

How will Yasmani Grandal's contract affect J.T. Realmuto's? Why did Tuesday's roster moves represent such massive disappointment? Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman discuss on the latest At the Yard podcast.

• Grandal vs. Realmuto

• Phils have a new hitting coach

• Reassessing the third base market

• Will Rendon beat Arenado's number?

• Phillies left 2 massive busts unprotected in Rule 5 draft ... and you might not want to hear the names of who they passed on

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Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19