CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — The biggest play from the Phillies’ spring training game Thursday: great communication behind the home dugout.
Philadelphia fans with an eye on their smartphones cried out when reports emerged that Bryce Harper had agreed to a deal with the Phillies, breaking the news to manager Gabe Kapler and his players during a 5-5 split-squad tie with the Orioles. Harper agreed to a $330 million, 13-year deal with the club, the largest contract in baseball history. Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, said the deal was agreed to shortly before noon, subject to a successful physical.
“If the reports are true, it’s a huge moment for our baseball team,” Kapler said. “Certainly I think that the city of Philadelphia would embrace Bryce Harper. I think he would be very happy in this city because our fans care deeply about winning.”
A 26-year-old All-Star who had spent his entire big league career with the Washington Nationals, Harper topped the $325 million, 13-year agreement outfielder Giancarlo Stanton reached before the 2015 season with the Miami Marlins.
Harper has a .279 career average with 184 homers and 521 RBI, including a .268 average with 14 homers, 32 RBIs and a .930 OPS in 47 games at Citizens Bank Park. He likely would hit third or fourth, according to Kapler.
“We get a whole lot better on the field,” Kapler said. “Bryce Harper is a sensational teammate.”
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