The Philadelphia Phillies and Bryce Harper - a match made in baseball heaven?

Bryce Harper could land in Philadelphia with the Phillies
Let the Bryce Harper hoopla begin. Multiple reports out of Washington over the past day indicate the superstar rejected a 10-year, $300 million deal from the Nationals. Knowing that, one has to wonder what it will take to persuade Harper to ink a deal with Philadelphia.

One important item of note is the contract offered to Harper from Washington didn't include any opt-outs, according to reports.

“You have an iconic player,’’ Harper's agent Scott Boras told reporters on Wednesday. “For an owner to know the rocket ship of economic opportunity is just blasting off because the player is just entering the prime of his career. You’re really talking about a unique and rare opportunity."

Boras is right, but at what cost? Some sources believe it may take close to $400 million to sign Harper and it'll likely come with a 10-year deal. That a major commitment, but one that could elevate all facets of a franchise like the Phillies.

"For his past franchise in Washington, the attendance went up over 600,000 fans and remained there," Boras told reporters. "Their TV ratings have nearly tripled. Their franchise value went from $480 million to over $2 billion. You’ve seen an owner's dream happen before you."

It's no secret that the Phillies are the favorites to sign Harper. The club is in desperate need of a reliable bat in the middle of the lineup plus a serious upgrade in the outfield. Harper checks both boxes, plus he's a bonafide superstar, something the Phillies have lacked for quite some time.

Boras and Haper both know the circumstances. They also know that Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325 million contract extension in 2014 and they want something bigger.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak has been coy, but it's obvious he and owner John Middleton want to make a splash over the coming weeks. They have the financial resources to pull off something big - something that could radically change the Philadelphia baseball landscape.

Only two players on the Phillies roster right now - Scott Kingery and Odubel Herrera - have guaranteed contracts extending beyond 2020. That equals massive flexibility.

"One of the things about going through the rebuild is that we were very careful with our out-year commitments," Klentak told philly.com on Tuesday. "When we were going through lean years, we didn't sign any players to multiyear contracts. I think that's always going to be something that's on our mind -- maintaining payroll flexibility."

It'll be interesting to see over the coming weeks if that flexibility nets Philadelphia one of the top superstars in baseball with Harper.

"He's a generational talent, without a doubt," Boras said.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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