The Bryce Harper Saga

Must Read

Mid-season QB Power Rankings

We have now reached the halfway point of the NFL season. 2019 has provided more ups and...

7 Quarterbacks that could be hitting the market in 2020

The 2019 season has been a brutal affair for the quarterback position. Big names went down early...

Erling Braut Håland – the story so far…

This season, I'm sure you've been hearing tales of a young Norwegian man smashing goals in for...
Ray Burton
Ray writes mostly in-depth analytical pieces covering a range of sports from a more statistical perspective drawing his inspiration from the fanalytics movement. Ray is a fan of all sports, but mostly the NFL (Dolphins), Premier League (Man Utd), MLB (Mariners), NHL (Ducks), NBA (Heat) and NRL (Warriors) and motorsports. Usually to be found in front of the TV or in a stadium somewhere cheering on one of his teams. Never short of an opinion Ray is always ready to talk sports and is a co-founder of Lazy Fan Sports.

With Bryce Harper finally in camp as of yesterday, how has the long lasting saga affected the hopes of the Phillies, Dodgers, Giants, and Nationals? The so-called generational player coming off arguably his worst season since his rookie year has certainly got paid, but what does it mean for the season ahead.

The final days of the chase for Bryce became a bit hectic. From the moment Manny Machado signed the richest free-agent contract in MLB history, at 10 years and $300 million, it was clear that Harper would make more. Whoever signed last was always going to make more money. But the deal the Phillies gave Harper raises a few questions.

Mar 3, 2019; Clearwater, FL, USA; Bryce Harper takes to the field for the first time as a Phillie. © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Were Washington ever really in the hunt?

In the last few weeks, it seemed like the Nationals came back into the conversation. Having mostly seemed to have given up hope, rumours began circulating of talks between Team Bryce and the Nats. Now call me cynical, but I’m pretty sure these talks were just to set the floor on any potential deal Bryce could get.

But what he found was a much softer market than he expected, so like any good fisherman, he kept his bait live and kept the Nats on the hook to drive up his price. This graphically illustrates his preference: after several years of failed potential in Washington, he wanted to move on to a new home where he could finally make a deep playoff run.

In the end Harper got what he probably wanted all along, the cache of the richest contract in baseball history with a 13-year $335 million dollar deal eclipsing Stanton’s 13-year $325 million in total value. The contract includes a full no-trade clause for Harper, there are no opt-out clauses, and no option years. There is also the matter of Bryce getting a suite for all road trips, and total playing bonuses worth upto $10.4 million over the 13 years.

Bryce Harper Never Really Liked The Idea Of Staying In Washington © Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

Did the NL West looked a little desperate?

After the Padres signed Manny, things began looking a little bleak for the Dodgers and the Giants. Both teams sent marauding parties to Vegas to meet with Harper in the late hope of trumping the seeming favourites the Phillies.

Now Manny’s brief tenure with the Dodgers was all sunshine and rainbows. There was a lot made of his unwillingness to beat out singles. But this is something he has always done back in the Baltimore days (that seem so long ago now but were only last Summer). Manny is a great teammate, a locker room presence any team would want.

But with Manny lining up in a Padres uniform, suddenly the Dodgers and Giants look a little shorter on star power in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, the Dodgers are heavy heavy favourites to take the NL West, but optics matter. And these optics seemed to rattle them.

The Padres mixture of youth and veteran talent should worry the NL West. Maybe not this season, although the odds on a Padres division title were slashed by Vegas on the news of this signing. But going forward, the Padres have set themselves up to be a player, and the Giants in particular seemed rattled.

Is Bryce Really Better than Manny?

This is the heart of the matter. The Padres have dished up a bit more average salary for Manny, but Bryce got the richest contract in MLB history. Machado had the better season last year, both in terms of performance, and reaching the world series. Machado also arguably has had the better career stats to date, with a WAR of 33.8 to Harper’s 27.4. However, Harper leads in homers by 9 in 414 less at bats.

Both are immense talents, and we have the pleasure of watching them in their primes. This question is one that is likely to dominate baseball for years to come. One thing that is for sure, by the time the likes of Acuna, Soto, and Guerrero Jr get their paydays, Harper’s contract will likely have been surpassed.

Latest News

Mid-season QB Power Rankings

We have now reached the halfway point of the NFL season. 2019 has provided more ups and...

7 Quarterbacks that could be hitting the market in 2020

The 2019 season has been a brutal affair for the quarterback position. Big names went down early and rookie QB's stepped up...

Erling Braut Håland – the story so far…

This season, I'm sure you've been hearing tales of a young Norwegian man smashing goals in for fun over in Austria for...

England – Our Grand-est Moments

This week, England will play their 1000th game when they take on Montenegro at Wembley as they continue their Euro 2020 Qualifying...

Dolphins Growth Is The Process

Coming off their most complete game last week, the Dolphins headed to Indianapolis with their own fanbase conflicted over the act of...

More Articles Like This