Bryce Harper reportedly agreed to a blockbuster contract with the Phillies that will keep him in Philadelphia for 13 years — until the age of 39 and likely the remainder of his career, as The Inquisitr reported. A number of baseball prognosticators, who were all but certain that Harper would wind up on the west coast, were left wondering what happened.
Harper was born and attended high school in Las Vegas, Nevada, and finished school in two years by passing a GED test, as USA Today recounted. This allowed him to become Major League Baseball draft-eligible by playing one season at the College of Southern Nevada in Henderson, the city where he makes his home today.
Harper, one of the most heavily-hyped amateur prospects in baseball history, was picked by the Washington Nationals first overall in the 2010 MLB draft, per Baseball Reference. He was 17-years-old at the time, and it was always believed that he had a goal of playing for a west coast team, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, less than an hour by air from his home.
When the Dodgers re-entered the chase for Harper, it was thought that he would use his free agency to fulfill that supposed dream and sign to play in Los Angeles, where his family also preferred that he play, according to a report by Dodgers Nation editor Clint Evans.
The Dodgers also offered a team that was ready to win now, with six straight National League West titles and back-to-back World Series appearances, per BR. The Phillies finished at 80-82 last year, and have not appeared in the postseason since 2011.
With the announcement on Thursday that Harper instead will stay on the east coast, with a contract that carries the largest dollar value in baseball history, Evans says in his Twitter feed that Harper is making a big mistake. The star outfield is choosing to take the record contract over moving to city where both he and his family hoped that he would play.
“As much as I want to apologize,” Evans wrote, “I can’t.” The Dodgers Nation scribe went to explain that “two different good people in the know” gave him “accurate information” stating that the Dodgers had offered Harper a shorter-term deal — of less than 10 years — but with an average annual salary as high as $45 million.
By contrast, the contract that lured Harper to the Phillies carries an average annual value of just over $25 million. As a result, the Dodgers “were the leaders in the clubhouse” until Wednesday, when Philadelphia “came back over (the) top,” Evans wrote, resulting in Harper staying in the National League East.
“He will now play in a city for the rest of his career his family didn’t want him to, and he doesn’t love,” Evans wrote. “It’s as simple as that.”