The baseball world — no, retract that — sports fans everywhere were shocked (and many relieved) early Thursday afternoon when Jeff Passan was first to report that Bryce Harper was in the process of finalizing a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.
I knew he was going to enjoy a sweet pay day, but 13 years and $330 million with no opt out? Harper is 26 years old. Barring injury (or some other bizarre circumstances) he will earn $10 million in 2019 (plus $20 million signing bonus); $26 million (2020); $26 million (2021); $26 million (2022); $26 million (2023); $26 million (2024); $26 million (2025); $26 million (2026); $26 million (2027); $26 million (2028); $26 million (2029): $22 million (2030) and $22 million (2031).
But before you attempt to digest those numbers, let’s consider this simple fact:
The most interesting statistic of the Bryce Harper signing: Seven @MLB seasons, four postseason appearances, zero series wins and zero World Series appearances. How do you justify paying $330m to a player who has not proven he can help his team win? #Nationals #Phillies pic.twitter.com/rnZ3Zq7AKY— John Strubel (@johnstrubel) February 28, 2019
As for those teams either impacted or denied by Harper, New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen responded:
“I believe that we can beat any team, any time. No player signing is going to change that mindset. I really don’t have any reaction. I think as we’ve built this team we’ve tried to focus on ourselves to be the best version of ourselves, and to go try to win games.”
Dodgers Cody Bellinger said:
“It’s really a pretty big contract, so … good for him, congratulations to him, it’s a great accomplishment. It’s the National League still, but it’s great that he’s not in the division.”
White Sox VP Ken Williams said:
“Rest assured that no one is feeling what Rick (Hahn) and I are feeling because every single day since June of last year, this is what we had planned for, the pursuit of both Harper and Machado. Harper [was] well out of our range …”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy added:
“That’s over with now. We don’t have to talk about it anymore. You can’t be disappointed, and you don’t want the players disappointed. I tell them. ‘You’ve got to be thankful for what you have versus what you don’t have.’ That’s how we think here.”
1) Bryce Harper to Philadelphia is the worst match of an athlete to a city as I have ever seen in professional sports.
— Jonathan V. Last (@JVLast) February 28, 2019
— MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (@MLBNetworkRadio) February 28, 2019
— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) February 28, 2019
Bryce Harper will make $25,384,615.38 a year before taxes
Average MLB game is around 3hrs
162 games a year= 486 hours of game time.
Harper will make $52,231.71/hr for the next 13 years 🤯💰 pic.twitter.com/okhnr5D3Mp
— Baseball Lifestyle™ (@BsbLifestyle__) February 28, 2019
Is Bryce Harper worth $330 million? In the immortal words of the man in the spotlight: That’s a clown question, bro.
Slice it, dice it anyway you’d like, but the truth is, no professional athlete is worth $330 million. He is a man playing a child’s game. Baseball will always be nothing more than that — a game.