This seems like five years ago, but it’s only been about 14 months since Bryce Harper picked the Philadelphia Phillies over the Giants and so many other teams.
It’s going to be a big what-if moment for Giants executives and fans for years to come, and on a recent episode of the Barstool Sports Head 9 Podcast, Harper explained in detail how he made the decision to sign a 13-year deal. to play in philadelphia.
the giants presented much of what harper was looking for. He told co-hosts Dallas Braden and Jared Carrabis that he wanted an organization that understood winning, had veteran players and played in a great city. Harper’s affinity for San Francisco is well known, and the Giants certainly know how to win titles, but perhaps their veterans weren’t exactly a fit for what Harper had in mind.
“my fear with san fran was that all his guys were done for,” he said on the podcast. “possibly posey would leave, or move to first base. belt only had like two years left (on his contract), so possibly he would leave. crawford, where was he going to be? great shortstop.”
Braden interrupted Harper and said, “You’re not trying to be in the middle of a rebuild. I’ll say it for you.” While the Giants prefer different words, there’s no doubt they’re rebuilding, and it’s hard to blame Harper too much for his assessment.
[giants podcast: listen to the latest episode]
the roster has undergone massive changes in the last 18 months, with posey, belt, and crawford’s contracts set to expire after the 2021 season. at that point, harper will still have 10 years left on his contract, and the phillies have a veteran core that is a bit more stable than san francisco.
The Giants knew their roster put them at a slight disadvantage, but they still put on a hot streak last offseason, hoping the 27-year-old could anchor their lineup like guys like Joey Bart. and heliot ramos i arrived and completed posey, belt, crawford and others. His final offer to Harper, who received $330 million from the Phillies, was for 12 years at $310 million.
Harper had a strong first season in Philadelphia, hitting 35 home runs and posting .882 runs, but not overwhelming. the giants can take comfort in the fact that the rebuilding of him seems to be proceeding at a faster pace thanks to a much-improved farm system. And of course, you can sleep a little easier knowing that Harper didn’t end up with the Dodgers.
harper delved into the podcast and said she wanted to move back to washington dc but her offers contained too many deferrals. he said the White Sox put in a lot of effort and the Stars came in early with an intriguing one-year offer at a “stupid” high salary. The Dodgers joined the chase late with a four-year offer with extremely high average annual salaries and multiple opt-outs, but Harper wanted to go somewhere he could stay for the rest of his career. he finally accepted a deal without unsubscribing.
“i got so tired of my whole dc career that everyone was talking about, even after my first year, man, what everyone was talking about was where it’s going. all i heard was where it’s going Harper said at the start of 9. “I want these people to know that I’m here, for better, for worse, that’s all.”
[related: mac williamson remembers summer at kbo]
The entire interview is about two hours long, and even if you’re still sad about how free agency went, it’s worth listening to just for the long rant about how mlb is failing to grow the sport with younger fans.
“as mlb, i think the blackouts are killing the game,” harper said.
on that point, even giants fans can agree.