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Will the Phillies sign Bryce Harper in 2019?

Will the Phillies sign Bryce Harper in 2019?

Even before Mike Trout went hunting with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, Phillies fans have been begging to bring the New Jersey native back to Philadelphia and play for the team he grew up watching.

Vegas thinks the Phillies have a decent chance to land a megastar outfielder soon, but it's not Trout. 

Onlinegambling.lv gives 10/1 odds Bryce Harper, baseball's "chosen one," dons the red pinstripes in 2019. 

Despite the perception of arrogance, Harper would fit great in Philadelphia. His blue-collar attitude is what Philadelphia fans salivate over. 

The Yankees (10/3), Dodgers (4/1), Nationals (7/1) and Red Sox (9/1) are the only teams given better odds to land Harper.

Harper is on pace to become the highest paid player in baseball history, and could easily surpass Giancarlo Stanton's 13-year, $325 million contract he signed before the 2015 season. Scott Boras, Harper's agent, will aggressively work the market, and given his track record, it appears he will get Harper that $400 million.  

Vegas gives Harper an over/under of 599.5 career home runs. He has 121 entering this season which means there are a lot of homers left to be hit.

Contention
By the end of 2018, the Phillies will have a better idea of what their everyday lineup will look like. Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera have appeared to lock down spots. The outfield has a plethora of prospects ranging from Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, Aaron Altherr and Dylan Cozens. 

The pitching staff will have young, seasoned arms in Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez.

The prospects for the middle infield have shown great flashes this spring. Scott Kingery has hit .375 with two home runs. Top prospect J.P. Crawford has only three hits this spring but has played well at shortstop. 

By the time Harper becomes a free agent after the 2018 season, he will be 26 years old with six years of major-league service, barring any injuries. A possible 10-year deal would give the Phillies the prime years of his career. 

The money
For the 2017 season, the Phillies' payroll is in the lower third among MLB teams. Money was an issue during the beginning stages of the Phillies' rebuild. The team is paying $23 million in retained salaries (money that is guaranteed to players who were released, traded or bought out) -- including Ryan Howard's $10 million buyout.  

The Phillies benefit from the lack of MLB service from players like Franco, Nola and Joseph -- all of whom are not arbitration-eligible yet. By the time Harper hits the market, the team will still control the contracts of many of its prospects and current major-leaguers.

This ensures the Phillies a lower payroll, which could give them the ability to sign Harper.

The Bank
Citizens Bank Park is considered one of the smallest ballparks in baseball and the dimensions greatly favor Harper's ability to hit with power to all fields. The left and right field porches are 330 and 329 feet from home plate, a pull hitter's dream. The power alley in right is 369 feet and dead-center is 401 feet. 

In his first four seasons, Harper clubbed 121 home runs, hit .279 and drove in 334 runs. 

Now put him in a hitter-friendly stadium like Citizens Bank Park and those numbers should inflate. In 35 games at Citizens Bank Park, Harper has a .300 average, 11 home runs, 24 RBIs and 23 runs scored. 

A first look at the old Vet Stadium Liberty Bell now outside of Citizens Bank Park

A first look at the old Vet Stadium Liberty Bell now outside of Citizens Bank Park

It was 15 years ago today that Veterans Stadium went crumbling to the ground. But a piece of Vet Stadium history has risen from the ashes for a second life at Citizens Bank Park.

The giant 19-foot Liberty Bell that stood high atop Vet Stadium has been refurbished from storage and placed near the Pattison Avenue and 11th street entrance of the ballpark, next to the new Pass and Stow area that will feature a beer garden and some great new food options. The Pass and Stow name is in homage to John Pass and John Stow who re-cast the original Liberty Bell in 1753. Their names can be found on the original, slightly more famous bell with a crack in it across from Independence Hall.

With opening day just a week away, fans passing the ballpark on Thursday got their first glimpse of the bell’s new placement. The bell was installed today.

It’s hard to miss and will surely make a nice new photo opportunity for Phillies fans and out-of-towners looking to capture a memory.

The bell you see today was actually the "second and final bell that was displayed at Veterans Stadium," according to the Phillies. It was installed on the Vet's catwalk prior to the 1983 season and remained there before being removed prior to the Vet's implosion in 2004. It is made of steel and aluminum, weighs more than 5,000 pounds and contains over 300 light bulbs.

The new (old) bell outside the ballpark will make a nice complement to the bell inside the park that lights up and rings whenever a Phillies player hits a home run. In a nice twist, this season the Phillies' team Twitter hashtag will be #RingTheBell. Brett Brown likely approves.

As you can see from the short video of the bell above, the weather in South Philly today was wet and dreary. The forecast for opening day next Thursday when the Phils host the Atlanta Braves is much better, with no rain currently in the forecast and highs in the upper-50s. Not exactly hittin’ weather, but not bad for the first day of baseball either.

We can't wait.

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Here's a look at the Vet going down 15 years ago today. Miss that dirty old place.

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Joel Embiid hangs with Steph Curry, talks about being 'tired of The Process' nickname

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Unanimous Media

Joel Embiid hangs with Steph Curry, talks about being 'tired of The Process' nickname

Joel Embiid was kind enough to grace Steph Curry with at least five minutes of his time when the Sixers traveled out to the Bay Area for their game against the Golden State Warriors back in January.

Joel joined Steph on his series called "5 Minutes From Home" in which the duo sit in the back seat of a car and chat on the way to Mrs. Curry's restaurant. Curiously, the clip lasts over 8 minutes.

Somehow, the two of them didn't mention their sneakers.

There's not a ton of new ground covered in their chat -- Joel talks about his journey onto the basketball court again -- but they do discuss Embiid's desire for a new nickname.

"The Process is never gonna be over. You gotta win a championship. When you win a championship, it starts over."

"I do like [the Process nickname]. Mainly because of the history of how we got here. That's why I like it. I'm actually thinking about creating something else. I'm tired of 'The Process.'"

Any suggestions, Sixers fans?

Embiid and Curry finish their trip with a meal at Steph's wife's restaurant.

The waitress jokes that the burrata appetizer they eat will be the key to the players dropping 50 points in the game the following night.

Almost. Steph went off for 41 but the Sixers got the win.