Following their seemingly never-ending free agent pursuit, the Philadelphia Phillies finally introduced Bryce Harper to the media at a press conference Saturday, at the team’s spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida.
After weeks of Harper, his agent Scott Boras, general manager Matt Klentak, and owner John Middleton appearing in rumors and news stories about the saga, the four men sat side by side to meet the media on the field.
At the event, Harper put on his Phillies hat and jersey for the first time and reiterated that he hopes to spend the rest of his career with the team.
“I wanna be part of this organization, I don’t wanna go anywhere else. I wanna be part of this family, this Philly nation,” Harper said, per the Twitter account of the Phillies website The Good Phight. “Through the bumps, the bruises, the good the bad, I wanna be here.”
A Sports Illustrated article about Harper’s free agency last week, penned by Tom Verducci, noted that Harper had agreed to a lower-than-expected average annual value on his contract, in order to give the Phillies flexibility to pursue Mike Trout when he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. A “club source” even told Verducci that the team didn’t sign both Harper and free agent Manny Machado, because they wanted to “keep money in reserve for Trout.”
At the press conference, Harper all but confirmed that this was the Phillies’ intention.
When asked by a reporter about signing a $330 million contract, he noted that the game itself is worth $11.5 billion, and “some of it should go back to the players.” And after mentioning that his average salary for the length of his 13-year contract will be in the mid-20 million-range, Harper said (per The Good Phight) that “there’s another guy that comes off the books in two years, we’ll see what happens with him.”
Philadelphia, meet Bryce Harper.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 2, 2019
Bryce Harper, meet Philadelphia.
It's official and we'll have the press conference for you LIVE at 2 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia, https://t.co/bMhmrzt0pV and on the #MyTeams App. pic.twitter.com/ewWXOBdG2j
Trout remains under contract with the Angels for two more years. Harper will likely avoid any charges of tampering since he didn’t mention Trout by name.
The Angels’ center fielder, a native of Southern New Jersey who grew up rooting for the Phillies, told reporters that he had been asked throughout the offseason when he would be coming to the Phillies, per The Inquisitr. Trout did say at the time that he “likes where he’s at,” and as a result, has never requested a trade from the Angels.