Phillies

Source: Phillies finally agree to deal with Bryce Harper

Source: Phillies finally agree to deal with Bryce Harper

After years of speculation and preparation, the Phillies have finally landed their superstar.

It took until the last day of February, but the Phils have agreed to a 13-year deal worth $330 million with 26-year-old Bryce Harper, a source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia Phillies insider Jim Salisbury. 

And here's the kicker:

Harper, like Jake Arrieta and Rhys Hoskins, is a Scott Boras client. There was no question Harper was going to get paid this offseason, the question was just how many hundreds of millions, and which city.

Manny Machado served as the pace car, agreeing on Feb. 19 to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres. At one point in the offseason, it appeared the Phils were prioritizing Machado, but that valuation was too high for their liking. Harper brings more of an entertainment factor than Machado and will be even better for business, which likely factored into the price tag. In some ways, Harper is also a better fit because he adds left-handed power. 

In the days leading up to the Phillies' agreement with Harper, he was connected to the Dodgers, a scary suitor because of their deep pockets, proximity to Harper's Las Vegas home and their ability to contend immediately. But money always talks and the Phillies' offer was the richest.

Even though Harper has hit below .250 in two of the past three seasons, he is one of baseball's biggest offensive difference-makers. In a healthy season, you know you're going to get huge power numbers and more than 100 walks from him. In a year when it all comes together for Harper, he's capable of putting up Barry Bonds-like numbers. See 2015, when he hit .330/.460/.649 with 42 homers.

In Harper, the Phillies are also going to get an elite player who plays with attitude and an edge. This city loves the Aaron Rowand types. Harper is that, just in superstar form. He is a genuine attraction who will increase ticket sales, jersey sales, you name it.

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Machado may be the better all-around player because of his defense and baserunning, but Harper’s OPS is 96 points higher over the last four seasons. In a down year from Harper, you’re still getting a .380 on-base percentage and 30 home runs. In Machado’s most recent down year, 2017, he hit .259 with a .310 OBP.

Adding Harper gives the Phillies such a deeper and more formidable lineup. He will likely bat second or fourth. If forced to guess at this moment, it would be second, with Hoskins in the cleanup spot.

The Phillies love to see pitches and make the opposing pitcher work. Harper does that as well as any player in either league. With Harper, Andrew McCutchen and Hoskins batting after a catalyst like Jean Segura, the top of the Phils’ order will be potent. By turning a bottom-of-the-order catcher in Jorge Alfaro into a top-of-the-order catcher in J.T. Realmuto, the Phils may indeed have the deepest batting order, 1 through 8, in the National League.

This move will obviously increase the Phils’ chances to win the NL East. So far, Phillies over-under win totals out of Vegas have hovered in the low-80s. Landing Harper pushes the Phils closer to the high-80s.

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A peek at Phillies' potential roster as two players head to injured list

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A peek at Phillies' potential roster as two players head to injured list

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies on Tuesday offered a couple of clues as to what their opening day roster will look like when they confirmed that outfielder Roman Quinn and reliever Tommy Hunter would begin the season on the 10-day injured list.

Quinn suffered an oblique strain early in camp and only began swinging a bat in recent days.

Hunter is recovering from a mild flexor strain in his right arm.

The Phillies will open their season a week from Thursday against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Things are always subject to change, of course, but here’s what we know about the roster nine days before the season opener:

Starting pitchers

Aaron Nola will get the ball on opening day. Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and Vince Velasquez will round out the five-man rotation to start the season. However, it’s possible that someone like Velasquez could initially be used out of the bullpen because off days would allow the Phils to go with four starters for the first week-plus.

Relievers

Manager Gabe Kapler and the front office like to go with eight relievers. They will likely include: Right-handers David Robertson, Hector Neris, Seranthony Dominguez, Pat Neshek, Juan Nicasio and lefties Adam Morgan and Jose Alvarez. With Hunter going on the IL, Victor Arano or Edubray Ramos could get the eighth spot. And, as mentioned, Velasquez could temporarily be the ninth reliever.

Catchers

J.T. Realmuto is the starter and Andrew Knapp is on his way to becoming the backup. Knapp is having a strong spring and he’s also on the 40-man roster, which gives him the upper hand over non-roster players Drew Butera and Rob Brantly.

Infielders

Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Jean Segura are set. Scott Kingery may end up being the lone backup infielder. If the Phils wanted to add a second reserve infielder, they could peel back on a reliever and carry Mitch Walding, who is on the 40-man roster, or clear room on the 40-man roster for Andrew Romine, Sean Rodriguez or Phil Gosselin.

Outfielders

Did you hear that Bryce Harper is a Phillie? He and Andrew McCutchen, both former NL MVPs, will be in right and left field, respectively, and Odubel Herrera should be ready to open in center field after being slowed by illness early in camp. 

With Quinn going on the IL, the Phils can carry both Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams on the bench. Quinn’s IL stint can be backdated to March 25, making an April 5 return possible. At that point, the Phils would have to make a decision because both Quinn and Altherr are out of minor-league options.



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At The Yard Podcast: Mike Trout staying in LA; predicting opening day roster; Carlos Santana story

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At The Yard Podcast: Mike Trout staying in LA; predicting opening day roster; Carlos Santana story

On this edition of At The Yard, Corey Seidman and Jim Salisbury react to Mike Trout's record contract which will keep him with the Angels through 2030.

The guys take a look at some of the Phillies' positional battles and how the opening day roster might look.

Also, what to make of the Carlos Santana story.

1:00 — The fantasy of Mike Trout being a Phillie is over.
4:30 — Trout's new contract shows why signing Bryce Harper was so important.
7:00 — Position player battles.
14:30 — What to make of the Carlos Santana story.
18:30 — Santana story reflects poorly on Gabe Kapler's leadership.
23:00 — Important year for Vince Velasquez.
26:00 — What would be your first purchase with $430 million?

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