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Wire Taps: Bryce Harper to the Phillies; baseball world, Nationals, react

Good morning. Welcome to the post-Bryce Harper era. Please enjoy 45+ links about it.

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MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We never have to hear about stupid money again. We never have to speculate on Instagram comments again. We never have to live in fear of the most popular player in team history leaving. We never have to watch him overthrow a cutoff man again. We never have to deal with the most overly dramatic player in baseball again.

We never get to watch him launch a game-winning moonshot for us again. We never get to see him dive for a catch and flip his hair again. We never get to watch him make the day of a young Nats fan again. We never get to watch his raw passion for the game again. We never get to enjoy the most overly dramatic player in baseball again.

We get to see him 247 times over the next 13 years, and we’ll probably get to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame representing Philadelphia.


Here’s the scoop from South Capitol Street, with more than 45 links to get your morning going.

For Bryce Harper, this wasn’t the way it was supposed to go, but it just might work (WaPo)
Harper took the risk of entering the market. He didn't get much more than he would've gotten in Washington — but he may have inadvertently started a rivalry between the Phillies and Nats. (Bos also compares Harper to Reggie Jackson here.)

Bryce Harper with the Phillies? Get used to it, Nats fans, because you will be seeing a lot of him. - The Washington Post
Forgive me if I don’t like this, don’t like it one bit. Harper was drafted as a Washington National, developed as a Washington National, rookie of the year as a Washington National, National League MVP as a Washington National, face of the sport as a Washington National. He was supposed to be a Washington National... In all this, don’t cry for the Nats, because they have the resources to contend and a front office that has shown it will, regardless of turnover. When Harper turned them down and headed to peddle his wares around the sport, they assembled their team. It’s a good one, and they expect to contend for the postseason."

‘It’ll be fun’: Nationals react to Bryce Harper signing with the Phillies - The Washington Post
“I mean the news is breaking as we speak, so . . . I hope he gets a 10-year deal,” Scherzer said before adding, “And if it is with the Phillies, Hey, we get to face him. It’ll be fun.’” Then Scherzer was told it was for 13 years and more money than has ever been packed into one U.S. professional sports contract. “Obviously a 13-year deal, that’s good for the game,” Scherzer said. “To be that young and to be a free agent, you know, teams are flush with money, and it’s good to see teams spend it.”

So long, Bryce: 20 memorable moments from Harper’s career with the Nationals (WaPo)
From his first (mooning-scarred) hit, to stealing home against the Phillies, to the meh-mays, to the, uh, farewell.

Fans inform Phillies of Harper news during spring game (AP)
"Philadelphia fans with an eye on their smartphones cried out when reports emerged that Bryce Harper had agreed to a deal with the Phillies, breaking the news to manager Gabe Kapler and his players during a 5-5 split-squad tie with the Orioles. Harper agreed to a $330 million, 13-year deal with the club, the largest contract in baseball history. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, said the deal was agreed to shortly before noon, subject to a successful physical."

Even over 13 years, Bryce Harper isn’t worth $330 million in this market (WaPo)
About ten minutes before Harper signed, Neil Greenberg explained: he's not really worth $300 million. There's not much of a chance he can outperform this contract, especially as it goes into its later years.

6 series to circle in Harper's 1st season with Phillies (TheScore)
The home opener against the Braves will be followed shortly by his return to Washington, who he'll see.. 19 times this year.

Bryce Harper agrees to deal with Philadelphia Phillies (WaPo)
The final Chelsea Janes byline features an important wrinkle to the deal we've been talking about all winter: it included more than $100 million in deferred money.

Bryce Harper Is Signing With Phillies Against His Tax Adviser's Advice (Forbes)
"All told, Harper will pay a 6.5267% state income tax to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia on all of his allocable wages; $603,109 of that is on his signing bonus.... Assuming he reports tomorrow, he will allocate 46.95% of his income to Pennsylvania and 45.54% to Philadelphia, including the signing bonus. That two-week vacation cost him $66,906 in Philly and Pennsylvania taxes... Throughout the life of his contract, Harper will pay Pennsylvania and Philadelphia nearly $9.3 million in taxes. The Nationals—whose home base, Washington, D.C., is not allowed to tax non-residents—reportedly offered Harper 10 years and $300 million on the last day of last season. Harper and Boras turned that offer down."

Bryce Harper signs with Phillies (
President Cardi B? Princess Blue Ivy? Tom Brady still in the NFL? Harper wins (gulp) three rings with the Phillies?

Phillies land Harper for 13 years, $330M (ESPN)
"We had average values of $45 million offered on shorter-term deals," Harper's agent, Scott Boras, told the New York Post. "We had a full buffet." "The Phillies, Giants and the Dodgers were vying for Harper. The Dodgers were interested in signing him to a short-term deal. The San Francisco Chronicle, citing multiple sources, reported the Giants went as high as 12 years and $310 million with their offer.

No more Bryce Harper? Nats will be just fine, thank you (ESPN)
The Nats have never won a playoff series. They played every one of those series with Harper. They continued to disappoint, constantly, and built a better team after 2018. They let Harper go. It hurt, but it'll be just fine.

Harper heading to Philly for 13 years, $330 million (updated) (MASN)
“Hey, we get to face him,” said Scherzer, who depending on the Nationals’ rotation plans could make two of his first three starts against Harper and the Phillies. “It’ll be fun.”

Nationals players supportive of Bryce Harper joining the rival Phillies (NBCSW)
“He deserves it,” according to Davey Martinez. “He’s a great player. I’m glad I got to spend a year with him.”

Bryce Harper worth the wait for Phillies (
"We were suckers for every ‘source.’ We let the ‘MLB: The Show’ Twitter account hold us hostage with its teases. We tried to find deep meaning in Harper’s wife’s Instagram love for Chicago or an LED banner that briefly featured Harper’s name on the United Center or the Harpers’ New Year’s Eve bash with the Bryants. We took note when Harper unfollowed Washington Capitals players or when he donned a Mighty Ducks jersey, as if that meant anything at all. We followed the whereabouts of John Middleton’s private jet as if it were Air Force One."

Bryce Harper now expected to win with Phillies (
It's unclear if the contract makes sense. What is clear is that for it to be a success, they'll need to make it into the playoffs ASAP — and probably win a World Series with Harper as the face of their franchise.

A complete social media history of the Bryce Harper saga (The Good Phight)
That's right, it's every relevant tweet about Bryce Harper's free agent journey, just in case you wanted to relive the worst winter of your life.

Bryce Harper contract: Phillies get the piece they need on 13-year deal -
"Harper is still just 26 years old, which is important when framing this contract. Albert Pujols was 32 in the first year of his 10-year contract, while Robinson Cano was 31. Miguel Cabrera‘s eight-year extension didn’t kick in until his age-33 season. The Phillies aren’t paying for Harper well into his 40s, but rather through his age-38 season. What they are getting at the front end of the contract are Harper’s prime years."

Phillies fans react to signing Bryce Harper (
Hey, look, more tweets!

Bryce Harper era with Nationals ends (
"It might be impossible to truly prepare for the impact of losing Harper, who is still one of the most feared hitters in the game and is capable of transforming a lineup just by slotting his name into the middle of it. But the Nationals have built a team that seems capable of withstanding the loss."

Bryce Harper's projected statistics until 2025 (MLB)
The optimistic projection for year seven of Harper's contract: .246 average with 24 HR and 3.3 WAR. (Generally, the projections don't seem to like him.)

All you need to know about Bryce Harper, Phils (Phillies)
The Phillies will have the money to extend Rhys Hoskins. Harper probably won't wear #34. He'll probably hit third or fourth. Someone is going to get traded.

Harper to Phillies: D.C.’s worst nightmare comes to life (The Athletic)
The Nats will see Harper 247 times in a Phillies uniform. Half of the time in the visitor's dugout. Folks, we'll barely be able to remember he *was* a National by July.

Two relative bargains — Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — do not prove free agency is healthy (The Athletic)
"It’s true that teams have generally shied away from signing free agents. Mostly because they are old, and aging trends in the post-steroid era have changed. These two aren’t old. They should be top players in the sport for the next four years, and then above average for a while, before finishing as designated hitters in the National League down the line."

Aldridge: Nationals left the door open, and now Bryce lives down the street. Wave hello every morning! (The Athletic)
"Yes, baseball often rewards the Pearces and Bucky Dents and David Freeses. And if there’s another championship parade downtown this fall, the Nationals will get all the credit for being right and moving on. I will try to remember that in the fall of 2030, if, that year, 37-year-old Bryce Harper is approaching 600 career home runs, his statue already in drydock hard by The Bank, his decision made that he will walk into Cooperstown five years after retiring with a P on his baseball cap rather than a Curly W. I will try real hard to remember."

Why signing Bryce Harper for 13 years allows the Phillies to maximize his prime years (The Athletic)
The Phillies got their guy, and they have his entire prime now. Philadelphia is a baseball destination once again — and they'll be able to pay more guys (hello, Mike Trout?) to join him.

Phillies salvage rebuilding effort with Bryce Harper signing (HardballTalk)
"Sure, in a world without Harper in a Phillies uniform, Odúbel Herrera could have bounced back into All-Star form, Nick Pivetta and Jerad Eickhoff could have finally reached their potential, and the entire defense could have taken a huge step forward to right the wrongs of last year, pushing the Phillies towards a division title. But the rest of the division got better this offseason along with the Phillies and they have fewer unknowns."

Bryce Harper was always choosing the money (Half Street Heart Attack)
We always knew Bryce Harper wanted the big bucks. We knew it from the day he entered the majors early by graduating from JuCo. We always knew he would test the free agent market. Harper never chose DC — he wanted, and still wants the whole country to love him. The Nats had a chance at getting him back, but nothing more.

Bryce Harper: 13-year deal with Phillies sent MLB fans into a frenzy (USA Today)
The tweets were strong.

‘Good riddance’: Some Phillies fans had promised to boo Bryce Harper if he signed elsewhere (WaPo)
Today, in stories that didn't age well: “I say good riddance,” Charlie in Langhorne said. “Pull the plug, let him go. Be done. He played with our emotions too much.”

With a Record Contract, Bryce Harper Eclipses and Lifts His Peers (NYT)
Bryce Harper got his, and everyone—from Ryan Braun to Max Scherzer to Scott Boras—thinks it's good for the game.

Winners and losers from Harper's $330 million Phillies deal (ESPN)
The biggest winner is Bryce Harper, who will add $330 million to his net worth. The biggest loser is the Braves — or Bryce Harper, who is about to experience the vitriol from Philly fans.

The Bryce Harper reality Mets are now facing in the NL East (NY Post)
"In case you forgot, the Mets finished fourth last year. They could be much improved and finish fourth again, such is the divisional dynamic."

With Bryce Harper in Philly, the NL East Race Just Got Really Good - The Ringer
"Almost all of the notable departures from NL East teams—Harper, Realmuto, Ramos, Sánchez, Suzuki, Jorge Alfaro—went to other NL East teams, preventing the division from leaking talent. Throw in full seasons from wunderkinds Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña Jr., and Harper’s Nationals replacement, Víctor Robles, and factor in the intrigue of Harper’s playing his former team 19 times in a pennant race, and this four-way race is going to get good."

In Defense of Bryce Harper’s 13-Year, $330 Million Philadelphia Phillies Contract (The Ringer)
The Phillies, even with Harper, are still way under budget — and they can afford to spend way more, especially with Harper's frontloaded contract, due to the size of their market as their rebuild reaches its close. (And as for the economics of baseball in 2031... well, who knows, but stretching out Harper's salary over 13 years isn't a bad idea with MLB revenues rising.)

Thirteen Years of Bryce Harper Feels Like Forever (WSJ)
Committing to 13 years! No disrespect to Bryce Harper, but it goes against all we know about sports, and all we know about society, writes Jason Gay.

Bryce Harper arrival cheered by Phillies players — and a bunch of Eagles, too (WaPo)
Victorino. Rollins. Nola. Hoskins. Arrieta. Ertz. Simmons. Gritty. They're all ready for Harper.

Why the Bryce Harper-Phillies contract feels underwhelming (SI)
"Maybe Harper always wanted to be in Philadelphia, but why? (And I love Philadelphia.) The Phillies are not a better team now. They are not going to make him a bigger star. Their fans will not forgive a bad season or early slump because, unlike Nats fans, they have no fond memories of his 2015 MVP season."

Bryce Harper timeline -- From prodigy to baseball's money man (ESPN)
That's right, it's a recap of *every* season Harper has played!

Bryce Harper Shown in Phillies Jersey on Updated MLB the Show 19 Cover (B/R)
This ain't it, chief.

Non-Harper links:

Doolittle: MLB players love our caps. The people who make them for us deserve fair wages. (WaPo)
Sean Doolittle wants to make it clear — caps are vital to the game of baseball, and the labor behind them should not be ignored. So much that he wrote an op-ed imploring New Era to keep their New York factory open.

Nationals are building up starter Joe Ross’s workload (WaPo)
“He’s been throwing quite a bit, and [Lilliquist] said: ‘He’s good for 50 pitches today. Just let him go out there,’ ” Martinez said. “I mean, he should have gotten out of the inning. We made an error. He threw well.”

Luis Garcia could be the next Juan Soto (
Garcia is the age of a high school senior. He has braces. And he’s the next big thing this side of Carter Kieboom.

Martinez on Robles and Taylor: “They’re both going to play” (MASN)
Dave Martinez maintains that the Nats will need both MAT and Victor Robles, and said that MAT’s swing looks particularly good this spring.

Adams leads offensive charge at Fenway South (Nats lose 13-5) (MASN)
Let’s say the Nats’ afternoon got worse as it went.