Bryce Harper is staying in the National League East.
After a prolonged stint as a free agent, the 26-year-old star outfielder reportedly agreed to a record breaking 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.
Harper, who hit 34 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2018, spent his first seven MLB seasons with the Phillies' division rivals the Washington Nationals. He is a six-time All-Star and won the MVP award in 2015.
Here we look at five takeaways from Harper's mega-deal with the Phillies.
Phillies owner John Middleton said in November the team was "expecting to spend money and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it" this offseason. He delivered on that promise as Philadelphia improved their roster in a major way heading into 2019.
In addition to Harper, Philadelphia signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen to a three-year, $50 million contract and reliever David Robertson to two-year, $23 million deal. The Phillies also traded for shortstop Jean Segura and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Philadelphia should have one of the best lineups in baseball.
The Phillies may not be done
The Phillies have already upgraded their roster, but they may not be finished adding players.
Philadelphia have been linked to 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and seven-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, both of whom remain free agents.
While it would take another big contract to sign either of those players, it would not be surprising if the Phillies still added one - if not both - of them.
It looks like Harper will be retiring in a Phillies uniform.
He will be 39 years old by the time the 13-year deal he inked with Philadelphia expires.
While there is a chance Harper could play into his 40s and sign another contract elsewhere, that scenario seems unlikely.
He also could be traded at some point, though he would have to approve any deal. With no opt outs in his contract, as of right now it seems as if he will finish his career having played for only two teams.
Stars still getting huge contracts
The free agent market has undeniably been slow this offseason. However, stars have still received gigantic contracts.
In total, three players agreed to deals worth $255 million or more. Harper has his with the Phillies and infielder Manny Machado inked a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres earlier this month.
Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was not a free agent, also accepted an eight-year, $260 million extension.
The National League East should be one of the best divisions in baseball.
Philadelphia now have stars at multiple positions while the Atlanta Braves finished atop the standings in 2018 and should be contenders to take home the division title once again this season.
The Mets also added key pieces, including closer Edwin Diaz as well as infielder Jed Lowrie, and the Nationals still have a talented roster, despite losing Harper.
All four of those teams have a chance to compete for a playoff spot.Published 01 Mar 2019, 04:48 IST