Nightengale: Bryce Harper will sign with the Phillies

© Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

RED FREAKING ALERT. Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports put his reputation on the line with his most recent piece: Bryce Harper will sign with the Phillies. You can bank on it. To clarify, Nightengale doesn’t list a specific source, nor does he list any contract details. The article stands presumably as an opinion piece, though by his logic, the Phillies are the only team that makes sense.

“The free agent outfielder, touted to be more popular than the Liberty Bell, looks to be headed to Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love.”

After citing the leak that Harper reportedly turned down a 10-year, $300 million contract in September from the Washington Nationals, Nightengale went down the checklist of other interested parties:

“The Chicago Cubs don’t want to spend the money unless someone takes Jason Heyward or Yu Darvish off their hands.

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have interest.

The St. Louis Cardinals don’t have bright lights.

The San Francisco Giants are changing course.

It leaves one team for Harper, which won’t mind giving him at least $400 million.

The Phillies are the most desperate team to land a star, and with Machado wanting to go to the New York Yankees, and the Yankees having the greatest need for him, Philadelphia is the logical destination for Harper.”

Hold the phone a second. At least $400 million?!

I figured the deal would be around $38 million per year, but $40 million? I know it’s a difference of two million dollars per season, but think of the precedent that sets. Sure, the guy slugged 34 HR and 100 RBI, but on a .249 batting average. I know many argue that using traditional counting stats as the only rationale for building an argument is a lazy case to make. I think anyone would be insane to argue that Harper wouldn’t be a vast improvement in the Phillies’ lineup.

Back to Bob. He went on to cite baseball insiders from within the industry:

“It’s hard to find an executive, scout, or rival agent who doesn’t believe that Harper will eventually sign with the Phillies, maybe a month from now when he can drive from his Las Vegas home to Mandalay Bay and make the official announcement himself.”

Again, this isn’t a report that a deal has been negotiated and agreed to, but when someone with Nightengale’s reputation puts out a piece with this level of confidence, you have to think there’s fire creating the smoke.

“The Phillies aren’t blinking.

This is the player they want.

This is the player they’re going to get.”

Let’s hope so.

For more on the Phillies and their pursuit of free agents including Bryce Harper, go check out Crossed Up: A Phillies Podcast with Bob and Anthony. Please subscribe on ([iTunes] [Google Play] [Stitcher] [RSS]), leave a 5 star review, and follow them on Twitter: @AntSanPhilly @BWCrossingBroad

 

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21 Responses

    1. DO THE DEAL!! The Phillies are a Bryce Harper away from contending in the NL by knocking off teams like the Red Sox or Yankees! I’m all for spending upwards of 40 million a year for a gal who in the last 3 seasons averaged 29 home runs per season in those 3 seasons, struck out a measly 169 times last season, and is also coming off a very wonderful defensive season too. I’m in!! Let’s outbid everyone! .

  1. DON’T DO THE DEAL!! The Phillies are not a Bryce Harper away from contending in the NL let alone knocking off a team like the Red Sox or Yankees! I’m not spending in upwards of 40 million a year for a guy who in the last 3 seasons has twice hit under .250, averaged only 29 home runs per season in those 3 seasons, struck out a whopping 169 times last season, and is also coming off a very woeful defensive season too. I’ll pass!! Let the Cubs, Cards, and White Sox outbid each other! .

  2. Phillies will negotiate against itself to way overpay like when Texas did the same for Alex Rodriguez. Boras is a master at this.

  3. 400 million for a guy that has the same exact stat line as Rhys Hoskins… Hoskins is going to get paid 500 million!!!!!!!

      1. Bringing in Bryce Harper most likely means Odubel Herrera stays which is killing 2 birds with 3 stones. Good start but Klentak needs to keep going. Franco + Hernandez need to stay- their pop is direly needed. . Bring in a legit catcher (Johnny Bench). That dude Alfaro is going to get killed one day- I think it was Miss Anthony threw a 98 mph heater that Alfaro completely caught and beaned the mascot square in the shnoz.

        Hoskins back to triple A. Admit your mistake ,eat howard’s contract and get a legit LF er. A couple relievers and a LHP starter.

  4. Bringing in Bryce Harper most likely means Odubel Herrera leaves which is killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Good start but Klentak needs to keep going. Franco + Hernandez need to go asap- Upgrades direly needed. . Bring in a legit catcher Grandal/Realmuto. That dude Alfaro is going to get an umpire killed one day- I think it was Sir Anthony threw a 98 mph heater that Alfaro completely missed and beaned the umpire square in the mask.

    Hoskins back to 1B. Admit your mistake ,eat Santanas contract and get a legit LF er. A couple relievers and a LHP starter.

  5. If the deal is for $400 million, it’ll be for longer than 10 years with an opt-out clause. Do you all think I’m crazy?

  6. I know it’s probably hard for all of you to write that check from your account but …oh wait, it’s not your money!!! Is he a massive upgrade at a position of need, yes. Do the Phillies need something to jumpstart interest in them again, yes. Do they have gobs of money and want to spend it, yes. overpay and do it ….

  7. Then the Phillies have to be offering $400 million. The Nats would have offered $330 if he was serious. No chance they would go up to $400 million. Realistically the team that needs someone like him the most is the Mets but they can’t afford it since Bernie blew all their money. If the Mets could sign him they would take way the spotlight from the Yankees and dramatically increase the attendance at Citi Field. Phils are so lucky the Mets won’t spend money. It takes a legit competitor out of the division. Could you imagine if the Mets were like the Yankees.

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