Bryce Harper, a National League MVP at 23, is a free agent at 26, peddling his services in an industry that’s grown to nearly $11 billion in annual revenues. His combination of skills, age and marketing cachet make him an excellent fit for any major league franchise.
Particularly the Philadelphia Phillies.
Harper, who has 184 career home runs and a lifetime .900 OPS, rejected a 10-year, $300 million contract offer from the Nationals in September, and is a good bet to set a new standard for the most lucrative contract in North American sports history.
It may take weeks for that process to play out. In the meantime, USA TODAY Sports will examine why every team could use Harper’s services – some more than others, certainly some better-equipped to procure them.
A case for Harper and the Phillies joining forces:
On the field
Install Harper in right field for at least the next five years and enjoy the production – he has a .965 OPS in 50 career games at Citizens Bank Park and would be moving full-time to a consensus top-five ballpark for home run friendliness. For now, you toss Odubel Herrera and Roman Quinn and Nick Williams in center or left field and clear the lane for Harper.
And, thanks to the trade of Carlos Santana, right-handed slugger Rhys Hoskins lands softly at first base, where his 34 home runs and 125 OPS-plus won’t be negated by an awkward defensive positioning.
Hoskins has five years left before free agency, giving the Phillies a potentially devastasting right-left combo on which to build. For now, bracketing Jean Segura, Harper and Hoskins at the top of the lineup looks daunting enough.
Imagine mixing in Manny Machado, for good measure.
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