Up until a few weeks ago, Bryce Harper was a free agent. Through his search for an agreeable contract, the buzz around the right fielder was intense, with rumors of all kinds flying about regarding his personal preference, his desire to break records, be close to home, and more. Until the very last minute, Harper kept his followers in the dark about his decision, not letting slip for a moment where he was going to be playing ball.
And then the news finally broke: Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies. At the time, the only other team really considered to be in the running was the San Francisco Giants, who had apparently offered him a $310 million contract spanning 12 years. According to The Mercury News, Harper has finally explained his decision.
Despite being happy with almost everything about the Giants, Harper stated that his heart was in Philadelphia, and he needed to follow his heart more than anything when it came to this all-important decision.
Harper explained that he and his wife, Kayla, had discussed their options, even before the Giants had suddenly jumped back into the mix with a last-ditch offer for him.
“We sat there and talked for a little bit. And I remember standing there, me hugging her and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to Philly.’ That was before we even heard from San Fran. San Fran called back, offered whatever it was. By that point, it was kind of like, ‘I’m already a Philadelphia Phillie.'”
In the 1st, Bryce Harper hit one out of the park.— MLB (@MLB) March 21, 2019
In the 6th, Bryce Harper hit one OUT OF THE PARK. pic.twitter.com/ufZjUEwEbJ
He then added that he has nothing against the Giants or San Francisco.
“In my heart, I was already a Philadelphia Phillie. It just came down to what I felt.”
Of course, to Giants fans, Harper’s decision came down to the dollar value of his contract, rather than anything else. As his agent, Scott Boras, pointed out, it certainly “didn’t hurt Philadelphia’s chances” that the tax Harper would be facing in Pennsylvania is significantly less than that of the state of California.
Despite being less in total dollar value, the San Francisco contract would actually have given Harper more per year than playing in Philly, given that the contract offer was only 12 years instead of 13, but the difference in tax margins would have nullified that in any case.
As The Mercury News points out, the Giants are also currently in a rebuilding phase, while the Phillies can already be a competitive team in Major League Baseball, making them a much better bet for a player who is hoping to add a few trophies to his cabinet.
It’s not known whether San Francisco had offered Harper the same kind of contract as the Phillies either. In Philadelphia, he was given a no-trade clause, as well as leaving out the opt-out clause, which basically means that Harper will be playing ball in the Pennsylvania city until he’s 39-years-old, barring injury or early retirement.
Given the rumors that he was looking to set down roots in just one place, it makes sense that he would have been won over by these clauses.