Bryce Harper

No Mike Trout envy for Bryce Harper: 'I got more money than I'll know what to do with'

No Mike Trout envy for Bryce Harper: 'I got more money than I'll know what to do with'

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Bryce Harper’s reign as king of baseball salaries lasted less than three weeks.

And he’s OK with that.

“I got more money than I’ll know what to do with,” Harper said Wednesday, 24 hours after being displaced by Mike Trout as the game’s highest-paid player.

“I got the length I wanted, I got the contract I wanted, I got the team that I wanted and the ownership that trusted in me. Once I knew Trout was going to sign, it's inevitable that he was going to be the highest-paid player in the game and all of sports. I'm very happy for him.

“He’s very deserving.”

Trout topped Harper’s $330 million payday when he agreed to a $360 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

“I texted him when the news broke,” Harper said. “I told him, ‘So excited for you and Jess.’ I’m very excited for what’s to come for him and his contract and his career.”

After signing a 13-year deal with the Phillies earlier this month, Harper openly fantasized about one day playing with Trout in Philadelphia. Trout, of course, hails from South Jersey. He grew up rooting for the Phillies and still roots passionately for the Eagles. Trout would have been eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Now, he’s under contract with Anaheim through 2030.

Maybe they can play together in 2031.

Harper laughed.

“The Angels made a great decision of making him the face of their franchise for a long period of time,” he said.

Over the last month, a handful of stars have signed mega deals. Nolan Arenado landed a $260 million extension with Colorado. Manny Machado got $300 million from the Padres and Harper and Trout both cleared the $300 million mark. 

Every deal pushes the bar a little higher.

“When I talked to [Trout] this offseason it was kind of, 'Man, I want to get as much as I can so that you can blow me out of the water pretty much,'" Harper said. “And he did. I was very excited for him. I'm excited for Mookie [Betts] to see what he gets when he goes about [free agency]. Aaron Judge, as well. And, you know, for the players, I think it's huge for us.”

Harper started in right field for the Phillies in Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Tigers. He had his first Grapefruit League base hit, struck out once and walked once.

Harper will play in right field again on Thursday against the Blue Jays in Clearwater. The tentative plan is for him to sit out Friday night’s game then play in the final three games in Florida, at Bradenton against the Pirates on Saturday and in Clearwater on Sunday and Monday.

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Mike Trout extension makes Bryce Harper deal look even better — and not because of the $

Mike Trout extension makes Bryce Harper deal look even better — and not because of the $

Just within the last month, the baseball world has seen Manny Machado sign a 10-year deal, Nolan Arenado sign an eight-year extension, Bryce Harper sign a 13-year deal and Mike Trout re-up for 12 total years.

Tuesday's stunner with Trout gave Phillies fans yet another reason to love the Harper deal. Not necessarily because it's for $100 million less — Trout is the superior player and has been much more consistent year to year, so it stands to reason he'd make so much more than Harper. But because it's yet another potential superstar free agent who's already off the board. 

If the Phillies didn't sign Harper when they did, it would have become increasingly difficult for them to land that game-breaking superstar over the next few years, when their window to win is so wide open. It was crucial to get this superstar now, while guys like J.T. Realmuto ($5.9 million), Rhys Hoskins (less than $1 million) and Aaron Nola ($4.5M) are as inexpensive as they currently are.

Next winter's class

The top-end group of free agents after the 2019 season potentially includes Xander Bogaerts (27), Paul Goldschmidt (32), Anthony Rendon (30), Jose Abreu (33), maybe Matt Carpenter (34), maybe J.D. Martinez (32), Nicholas Castellanos (28) and Yasiel Puig (29).

As in, not the same caliber of players, not as young as Harper and Machado this offseason, or both. The Nationals are expected to re-sign Rendon. The Cardinals probably won't let Goldschmidt walk away after trading two good young pieces for him in December. The Red Sox are unlikely to let Martinez walk if he opts out of his deal. 

The other guys — Castellanos, Puig, Abreu, Carpenter — are not stars. They don't have the talent and certainly aren't the draws that Harper is.

Guys keep re-upping

With Arenado and Trout staying put, the next superstar position player free agent will be Mookie Betts after the 2020 season ... if he doesn't extend first. It would make zero sense for a team as rich and successful as the Red Sox to let Betts, their best player, walk. You may see Boston lose Bogaerts this offseason if the price tag rises to a number that would make it harder to keep Betts. 

George Springer? He's also set for free agency after 2020, but again, very good player, just not a superstar. 

Jacob deGrom and Trevor Bauer, two of the best seven starting pitchers in baseball, are also set for free agency after 2020. It's unclear whether the Mets will be able to keep deGrom, and the Indians sure don't look like they'll be breaking the bank for Bauer, a notorious headache. Both are clear difference-makers, just not everyday contributors. DeGrom will be 32.5 years old if/when he hits free agency.

Three years out

The 2021-22 free-agent class looks impressive now, but again, some guys might not reach that point. Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager all could be out there. Same with Noah Syndergaard and a few stud veteran pitchers like Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber and Zack Greinke.

A team in the Phillies' position wasn't going to kick the can down the road for three more seasons but they may have been forced to if they didn't land Harper. The other option would have been trading away a lot of young talent for a good player on a bad team, but that would have further thinned the farm system and made it harder for the Phillies to extend their window beyond, say, five years.

Instead, the Phillies are well-positioned to win now and win in the future, and they could use that 2021-22 free-agent class to supplement their core rather than define it.

While the Trout fantasy ended on Tuesday, it at least gives the city even more of a reason to focus on the guys who are already here. This team, if things break right over the next handful of years, could find itself in position to win it all, even though the prodigal son never came "home."

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Bryce Harper asked for it, so we made him a list of Philly hot spots

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Bryce Harper, Enrico

Bryce Harper asked for it, so we made him a list of Philly hot spots

Bryce Harper is going to be a new resident of the Philadelphia area in the coming weeks and with that, he wants to know, well… he pretty much wants suggestions for EVERYTHING about Philadelphia.

So we’re here to help.

Harper took to his Instagram earlier this week to ask for recommendations from Philly residents on the best of what Philly has to offer, from food to art to music.

We thought we’d go through his list pictured below and try and help a slugger out. We want Bryce to be more comfortable in our city than he is playing right field.

And while sports bloggers are traditionally known for having the best taste in everything, we’ll also link out to some resources we find very useful.

Restaurants

Philadelphia is a truly wonderful food city. Ask 10 residents and you’ll get 10 different favorite restaurants. Use Eater.com’s Essential 38 Philadelphia restaurants as a jump off point. And follow Philly.com’s Craig Laban. Read everything he writes about food in this wonderful city. He will very rarely steer you wrong. Mike Klein is another good resource on new spots in town. Philly Mag is also solid for lists.

Personally, I can’t wait to eat the spicy pizza and hoagies while washing them down with some natural wines at the new Joe Beddia pizzeria set to open in Fishtown. Any day now.

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First pizza. Second pizzeria

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And I know you athletes love steak. Barclay Prime and Butcher and Singer are both tops. Pricey, but we know you can afford it. Let me know if you need a dining companion. I’m very polite. 

Breakfast

LeBron James is a fan of Sabrina’s Cafe when he’s in town and you can’t go wrong with one of their locations, preferably the original. A lot of people will tell you Green Eggs Cafe and Honey’s Sit and Eat. They’re fine, perhaps overrated. The best breakfast spot is the one around the corner from your new crib. Ask one of your new neighbors. If you happen to land near South Street, give Ant’s Pants Cafe’s sweet potato hash a chance — 100% sports blogger approved.

Lunch

It’s hard to go wrong in the Reading Terminal Market. Options abound here and you can pick up some cannoli or cookies for later to share with the team while they’re playing Fortnite in the clubhouse. DiNic’s roast pork is worth seeking out. John’s Roast Pork isn’t too far from Citizens Bank Park either. What we’re trying to say is get to know the joy of a roast pork sandwich. Federal Donuts’ chicken sandwich is a quick and easy tasty treat if you’re in a pinch.

Dinner

We got you started above under “restaurants.” And I hear the Phillies’ chef at CBP can make a mean plate for your postgame plane ride though.

If you’re taking the wife out: Zahav, Vernick, Suraya, Laurel, Vetri. Do a tasting downstairs at Double Knot. So many options. We hear Ben Simmons and Kendall Jenner like Parc. If you can’t get a rez anywhere, pop in to Cheu Noodle Bar. All wonderful and delicious.

Ice cream

If you end up near Little Baby’s or Weckerly’s, you’ll scream with happiness. I’m partial to Big Gay Ice Cream’s cone where they inject the soft serve with a salted caramel. It’s so wrong, it’s right. Then there’s Franklin Fountain in old city. Get one of the brownie sundaes and thank us later. Just DON'T go there with Gabe Kapler whatever you do.

And Bryce, this is Philadelphia. WOODER ICE. Definitely seek out John’s Water Ice. And from anywhere in the city, be cool, eat a Rita’s.

Things to do

You’ll likely want to ring the bell at a Sixers game or sit next to your pal Mike Trout at an Eagles game. Otherwise, give the folks from Visit Philly's Uwishunu a click and check out their frequently updated list of events around town. Did you hear there’s a bell with a crack in it? It’s true. Watch the Nic Cage classic “National Treasure” for a quick history lesson.

Have you seen our rivers? Take a jog passed Boat House Row up towards Manayunk. Enjoy the summer vibes at Spruce Street Harbor Park. Go ice skating at the River Rink in the winter. Just don't get hurt. PLEASE. Maybe pull a Joel Embiid and show up at the softball fields in Fairmount Park and take a few swings with the people.

Pilates places

Sorry, sports blogger here. Maybe ask Gabe? He's in decent shape.

Best art and live music venues

There is at least one famous museum in town you’ve likely seen in a movie. Don’t just run up the steps. Get in there. And don’t miss the Barnes down the street. Get to know First Friday for the smaller local artists. And take in all the murals around town, maybe on a tour.

Philly has so many options for live music. The Fillmore, Union Transfer, World Cafe Live, the newly refurbished Met, whatever they’re calling the Electric Factory these days, the Mann Center, Union Transfer, Boot and Saddle, the TLA, the Kimmel Center and the Academy of Music, etc.

I bet you can get good seats to see The Who at Citizens Bank Park this summer too. If you can’t, I’ve got a guy.

Local hot spots

Basically the entire city in the months of July and August. Hit up the Jersey shore to cool off.

We know you don't drink, so the plethora of beer gardens and breweries may not be your thing, but your friends from Vegas may enjoy.

Farmers market

We mentioned Reading Terminal earlier. Good spot for some fresh groceries. There’s a good chance you may end up living near Rittenhouse Square, so check out their weekend market. You may enjoy a day trip to Lancaster or the Green Dragon in Ephrata. Like breakfast, the best farmer’s market tends to be the one closest to your new crib. Ask a neighbor.

Best Italian market

Sorry. Philly doesn’t have any of those.

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