Baseball’s biggest free agent finally found a new home as outfielder Bryce Harper reportedly agreed to a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The contract reportedly does not have any opt-outs and contains a full no-trade clause, so Harper is committing to the city of Philadelphia for essentially the remainder of his career. Over the last handful of days, it seemed to come down to the Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants vying for Harper’s.
Philadelphia’s willingness to go up to 13 years is what eventually got the deal done, even if it was for a lower average annual value of slightly over $25 million.
The Dodgers were more interested in signing Harper to a short-term contract with a higher AAV as reports on Thursday indicated that they did not get to the 10-year mark. According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, the Dodgers’ offer was in the range of four years and $45 million annually:
In Bryce Harper talks, I am told #Dodgers were willing to offer a four-year deal worth approximately $45 million per season. That would have allowed Harper to shatter the all-time AAV record and become a free agent at age 30. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) February 28, 2019
If that is indeed what the Dodgers were offering then it is clear that Harper was prioritizing long-term stability over the chance to make the highest salary in all of sports for the next four years.
Signing a four-year, $180 million contract with the Dodgers not only would have put him in the city that all reports indicated he wanted to be in, but it also would have given Harper another chance to test free agency at the ripe age of 30.
Barring any significant injuries, Harper could have easily surpassed the $330 million over 13 years if he had taken the Dodgers’ offer, then inked another lucrative deal once it expired.
The Dodgers are still in good shape for the 2019 season and beyond, even without adding Harper. Their outfield will likely consist of A.J. Pollock, Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo this season. With Kiké Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Andrew Toles also figuring into the mix.