If you have been paying any amount of attention to news coming out of the sports world over the last several days, you’ve heard about Bryce Harper’s record-setting contract that he just signed the Philadelphia Phillies. Phillies owner John Middleton wasn’t secretive about his desire to spend “stupid money” this off-season and he proved it with the 13-year, 330 million dollar deal he gave Harper.
Coming into this off-season Harper and free agent third baseman Manny Machado were widely regarded as the top two names that we’re looking for employment. Machodo became the first domino to fall when he agreed to a deal with the San Diego Padres; they signed him to a 10 year, 300 million dollar contract. The baseball world was shocked, as the Padres don’t have a history of breaking the bank to land free agents, but they’re looking to make a move in the NL West starting in 2019. Harper waited until February 28, after spring training had already started to sign his deal with the Phillies.
Between the Machado and Harper deals, the Colorado Rockies made the decision to go ahead and lock up their young stud, Nolan Arenado before he could ever dip his toe into the free agency waters. Knowing that he is widely regarded as one of the best talents in baseball, the Rockies locked him up for less money than he would’ve commanded on the open market. Colorado gave him an 8-year deal worth 260 million, meaning he won’t see free agency until he is in his 30’s.
It was hardly a secret that Harper wanted to be the highest paid player in baseball. It was also almost certain to become a reality when his generational talent was combined with super agent Scott Boras. The Washington Nationals tried to resign Harper, but Boras refused to give in on the fact that the Nats wanted to defer much of the money in the deal, and would have been paying Harper when he was in his 60’s!
Harper’s deal with the Phillies has the power to alter the future of MLB Free Agency. With superstar Mike Trout’s contract with the Angels nearing expiration, it is entirely possible that Trout will land a deal worth upwards of 400 million dollars in total value. Contracts are continuing to grow every year, and there’s no sign of that changing.