Opinion: The Phillies need Bryce…Bryce does not need the Phillies….

Bryce Harper

Make no mistake about it, Bryce Harper is the biggest name left on the market, and if he is not a Phillie this upcoming season, then consider the entire offseason a failure…

These are harsh words in an offseason in which this team has already set themselves up to be much better than last years roster. Adding players such as Jean Segura, JT Realmuto, and David Robertson would be seen as a very good haul for any team. Being able to unload the overpriced contract of Carlos Santana, and move Rhys Hoskins back to first base, can also be seen as a win for the front office. Add to that, getting control of your ace Aaron Nola on a team friendly 4 year 45 million extension and voiding the first 2 years of his arbitration is another move that should have fans feeling that they can trust the Phillies executives.

John Middleton needs to deliver on his promise to the Phillies fans…

For those of you who do not know this, Middleton is majority owner nearly 50 percent of the Phillies. He made a ton of money selling a tabacco business in 2007 and according to Forbes is worth somewhere in the area of 3.2 billion dollars. So he has money.

Along with that in 2013 the team and Comcast renegotiated the broadcast rights contract. It is 2.5 billion over the next 25 years or 100 million dollars annually. In doing a bit more investigating into this team. Here are some more things that you may find interesting.

Phils money for 2019

All of that adds up to about 142.4 million roughly only about 40 million more than that Comcast money. I also noticed the other day when single game tickets went on sale that the price for lower bowl between the dugouts went up in price. They were 75 a game last year, and this year they are 85. This is an increase of 13 percent from last year.

You basically have 100 million dollars to start with before you have even sold a 9 dollar beer, 11 dollar crab fries, and a 5 dollar hot dog. Oh and then lets not get started on the gate from the parking. Let us also not leave out the Citizens Bank Money for 25 years. I understand its nowhere near that of Comcast, but its still free.

The underlying issue here is that money should not be an issue for this franchise. Not based on the Cap friendly situation they are in right now. The “cap” as they call it, which we all know is not really that at all, more of a pre-luxury tax threshold was 197 million for 2018. For 2019, it is expected to be at 206, and then grows 2 million each year of the current CBA, and maxes out at 210 in 2021.

Oh and I preface all this simply because of this. I am sure you have all heard the quote from the USA Today article in November, shortly after the official off season began.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money,
and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it. “

–John Middleton speaking with USA Today Sports November 2018

What the Manny Machado deal means for the future of Bryce Harper…

There is a simple answer here. NOTHING!! Manny who is going to San Diego should have no effect on Bryce, but indirectly it will. We will get to that shortly. I think first we need to understand what is going on here. The market was set at 300 million so here we are. I honestly do not blame Manny here either. Was his decision based on wanting to win? For sure it was not, although the Padres have the best farm system in baseball currently they are not a market that has a stable enough ownership to build a perennial contender. They have not been relevant or competitive since the early 2000s and the Tony Gwynn (may he rest his soul) days.

At the same time, can you blame Manny? Has anyone ever been to San Diego? It maybe the most perfect place in America. I also understand that after California taxes that 300 million equates to like $98.47 but it is still worth it. Think about it you get to go live in San Diego for 10 years in perfect weather, play baseball, have 0 pressure on you as your franchise stinks, and collect a cool 300 million, I would have done the same EXACT thing.

The whole 10 year at 300 million dollar thing for a guy who puts up numbers, will sell Jerseys, tickets is not that big of a deal. Also in reality, Manny is a better all around player then Bryce. He is a better hitter, plays a much more position on the field, and his defense is ELITE, do not sell him short on that.

From the team perspective your paying for the 6 or 7 good years you will get from him, but you may have to over spend knowing that down the road his production will go down. More importantly these guys want to get paid, as they have a limited numbers of year they can do it for. Can’t blame anyone for that.

Casual Fans, outsiders and other people, see the 300 as a ton of money. It is! But is it your money? You also have to put into perspective its not like he is the highest paid in baseball. Hes not by a long shot. Not even if you like it by yearly salary.

As a comparison 2019 only

—Zack Grienke will make 34.4 million this year (he’s a pitcher who plays every 5th day
–Max Scherzer will make 37.4 million this year (also a pitcher who plays every 5th day
–Clayton Kershaw will make 31 million this year (also a pitcher who plays every 5th day)

So if you want to take Pitchers out of it and look at position players, here are some comparables:

–Mike Trout (the best player in baseball) will make slightly north on 34 million
–An aging Miguel Cabrera will make 30 Million
–A washed up Albert Pujols will be making 29 million at 39 years old.

This is just to show that a guy at 26 who plays every day and produces is not really getting overpaid for his production and current age, based on what the market sets the value at.

Why the Phillies need Bryce?

I thought this was obvious. He is the best player left on the board, but it is more than that. As stated earlier, the adds to this team, I believe make them a much better team then 80 win team of last year, I see between 7-10 just based on the improved lineup depth. But what is the team lacking? You guessed it. A left handed power bat.

A lineup looks pretty good when I start to think a 2-5 of something like:

–McCutchen or Realmuto
–McCutchen or Realmuto

But you know what this line up does not include. A left handed power bat that I can add to split these guys up, or put in between, that can get more Ryan Howard like 45 HR/140 RBI numbers.

If you believe those numbers are not possible anymore, I will bring you to this point.

Bryce at CBP.
Highlighted are Bryce’s numbers at Citizens Bank Park

Let us take the time to break these numbers down over a full season of Bryce in this Stadium. I will go based on a 75 game trajectory instead of 81 allowing for off days and such. In 75 games at CPB with these splits you are looking at the following:

–72 Hits
–50 Runs
–21 HRs
–48 RBIs

And that would be just home games, give or take. So do you not want roughly 40 HRs, 100 RBIs, and 100 Runs from your everyday right fielder. This lineup looks so much better if it includes a power bat from the left-hand side in this ballpark. While the above lineup looked formidable, it is nightmare row if you can put something like this out every night:


That lineup is scary it has power, it can score runs and win games. With this pitching staff behind Nola, who do you really believe in? This team needs to score runs to win games. The long ball, scoring runs, it is sexy, it wins games, people pay the price of admission, and buy food, beer, and merchandise. You as a franchise make money, and the excitement of the fan base is euphoric.

I dare say that is the best lineup in the National League and maybe all of baseball. This is why the Phillies need Bryce!

Why Bryce does not need the Phillies…

Again see the above, find me a team in the baseball who would not want a 26 year old power hitting Right Fielder who has potential to put up 40 HRs and 100 RBIs year in and year out. Privately, everyone wants that, publicly not everyone can afford, or is willing to afford it.

There are several things Bryce has on his side, that Manny did not even before Manny signed, that he has some leverage with.

–Super Agent Scott Boras
–He is a left-handed power bat
–He has played on Winning Teams
–He is 26
–He does not have to sign a long term deal.

The ten-year deal I do not believe was what the starting point of these deals was. Both Manny agents Dan Lazano, and Boras wanted to get their clients paid. Manny showed he’s not all that worried about winning and took the money that might have been a far superior offer to what others were bidding. I do not believe at any point there as ever a 10-year offer from anyone in the running for him. But he signed it so here we are.

Boras is great at spreading news, real or not, and trying to pinch every penny he can out of ownership. He waited for Manny to break first and he did, and now all the leverage is his. He knows this. All he has to do now is get someone to pay more than 300 million. He knows the potential bidders the level of interest and how much they may or may be willing to spend/based on what they should/can spend.

Bryce I believe could potentially take a shorter deal, somewhere between 3 and 4 years, put up All-Star-like numbers and then at 30 do this again, with a higher “cap” number and higher market value. Market value goes up every year in all sports, that’s just the going trend.

It is extremely possible that in 2 years Mike Trout could get a contract in the range of between 10-12 years for 500 million dollars. Again he is the leagues best player and the market will rise. Harper is not as good a player as Trout by any means, but the market value could take Bryce from something like 30 a year to between 35 and 40 million.

He has options! Make no mistake about it, Bryce will get his money if not in a 10-year deal, then in 4 years at 30, while cutting himself for a shorter payday that might be more lucrative now. The risk in this option is that he would have to continue to produce, which seems likely.

All the beat writers and media are back on forth now, on this HarperWatch it is going to be soon, its really on the Phillies and it will have a 4 in it. I am not so sure, and I believe nothing until pen is on paper when it comes to athletes. I do not trust any Boras client, and I do not trust media who can not find a good lead in almost 120 plus days of free agency.

How Do I think this Saga Ends??

There is no getting around, this team needs Bryce just to regain the trust of the fans, become marketable, more competitive and it is a smart business move. If this team wants to be taken seriously as a year in year out contender, then they need to get Bryce or it is a complete failure based on promises made.

I want to begin by saying all along that Klentak, and McPhail wanted Machado all along. That was their prized piece. From drafting him to watching him develop in Baltimore and become one of the most talented players in the game, my belief is this was their guy. On the flip side, I beleive Middleton has been all in on Harper since the beginning, as he is in this to make money, and Bryce puts more people in the seats than a Machado.

I also do not think 300 million for either was crazy. My initial thoughts were it has to be at least 350 regardless of the life of the contract. It is going to take at least that much. When the Phillies met with Manny after Christmas and he left without a contract, I thought that was a very important piece in this thing. That is the guy they wanted and they let him leave without a contract, which to me seemed like, the stupid money was not there. Knowing that is the guy they wanted all along I am unsure how they were able to let that slip through the cracks.

Now I feel that since they have lost their prize now they have their backs against the wall, which is when people often make bad decisions. I will say this if I was running the show and I was the GM. Here is the offers I would have made to both guys.

—10 Years (350 Million, with an opt-out after year 4, and 200 million in the first 4 years, if no opt-out then the contract is fully guaranteed).

I bet my four dog’s life, neither one would have turned that down. Your getting 200 million to play baseball for at least 4 years and you can opt out or stay. If you opt out you can get another huge pay day. If your ownership you hope you can build a winner and they stay. If they opt out you worry about that in 4 years and your off the hook.

These front office people are terrible. This should have been done from the get-go. At this point, I feel the Phillies have put themselves in a war where they are trying to outbid themselves. I feel they wont go over the 300 and that Boras is going to try and make them, and if they won’t he will take Bryce services as well, maybe to a west coast market, like LA, or SF on a shorter deal, or maybe even a sleeper team not yet mentioned. Maybe a Cleveland Indians, that is conjecture but I believe it could happen.

I honestly feel, the Phillies are screwing this up, and already have screwed it up, and Harper even though he is there for the taking, will ultimately walk because Boras has them in a vice grip.

Happy Harper Watch!
My gut just gives me bad feelings on this. It has been way to long and now we our going to outbid/outthink ourselves.

About CU

Part Time Gig Owner/Operator of continuetheprocess.com Real Time Career Network/VoIP Engineer Philly sports to me is more of a lifestyle then selling out for website hits. I speak here with my passion, and my views, and I put my value in you the reader. I appreciate you stopping by.
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