With Bryce Harper still unsigned following Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton’s trip to the right fielder’s hometown of Las Vegas, rumors are likewise going back and forth regarding the chances that Harper would sign with the Phillies and end his free agency saga once and for all. However, a recent op-ed suggests that the Phillies would be better off if they “pull the plug” on the Harper trade talks after multiple attempts to sign him ended with no contract signed.
Writing for NJ.com on Tuesday, Mike Rosenstein explained that Harper can indeed be referred to as a “generational” talent, given his youth and his past accolades, which include the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2012 and NL MVP in 2015. At 26, Harper is a player who should ideally be about to enter his prime years. But even with that in mind, Rosenstein opined that the Phillies should “stop begging, show a little pride, and move on” after doing all they could to convince the six-time All-Star to take his talents to Philadelphia.
As recapped by Rosenstein, the Phillies have taken three “swings” at Harper and missed on each occasion, starting with the team’s initial meeting with his agent, Scott Boras, in December, and continuing with last month’s trip to Las Vegas. With the second Vegas visit not yielding any positive results that have been confirmed thus far, Rosenstein opined that the Phillies essentially struck out on the superstar and should “walk back” to their figurative dugout.
Although multiple sources, including MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, have suggested the Phillies offered over $300 million to Bryce Harper, per Sports Illustrated, a report from The Inquisitr hinted on Tuesday at a “wrinkle” that could be complicating negotiations.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 26, 2019
According to Philadelphia radio host Angelo Cataldi, the Phillies and Boras are in a “staredown” over Harper’s apparent demand for a three-year opt-out clause in his potential 10-year deal, which, as noted, is valued at $330 million. This clause is similar to what Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres agreed on last week, where the superstar third baseman would be allowed to opt out of his 10-year, $300 million contract after five years.
While the above rumor from Cataldi has yet to be corroborated, NJ.com’s Rosenstein stressed multiple times that it would really be best if the Phillies gave up on the Bryce Harper sweepstakes due to his apparent lack of interest in playing for the team. Aside from opining that the Phillies should be content with their impressive offseason haul of free agents and other new additions, he suggested that the team could instead spend their “stupid money,” as described by the team’s front office, on unsigned pitchers Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel.
Additionally, Rosenstein also recommended waiting until the end of the 2020 MLB season, which is when Los Angeles Angels slugger Mike Trout would become a free agent.
“Signing this generation’s Mickey Mantle when he’s only [29-years-old] and bringing home a future Hall of Famer would certainly make up for letting go of a player who seems like he would rather be anywhere else but Philadelphia,” Rosenstein concluded.