Morning Wood: No Harper = Failed Offseason

Mark J. Giannone

The Phillies entire off-season would be a failure if Harper doesn’t sign with them. The Phillies absolutely made their team better this winter. They upgraded their bullpen, their lineup, and most importantly their defense. How would it be a failure then? Because they literally spent years getting their franchise in the financial position for this off-season to land either Harper or Machado. The failure wouldn’t be the fault of general manager Matt Klentak but the fault of owner John Middleton. When the owner of the franchise came out at the winter meetings and said they will spend “stupid money” he sealed not only his fate but the fate of the rest of the front office. The fans have been expecting the Phillies to open up their check book and land a big fish. One big fish is swimming in the sunny shores of San Diego and the Phillies need to do whatever it takes to make sure the remaining big fish will be swimming in the murky polluted waters of the Schuylkill River for at least the next ten years. 

So here we are. It’s February the Phillies have been training in Clearwater for a week and Bryce Harper still isn’t signed. Manny Machado inked a 10 year $300 million contract with San Diego on Tuesday, so now everyone knows the price to beat to land Harper. Let me just say this, I’m convinced that top free agents in all sports don’t give a damn about winning they want to maximize their money. Do I blame them? No. If I was offered $300 million to live in San Diego for ten years I’d snatch that shit up in a heart beat even if it meant my chances of winning were extremely slim.

Bryce Harper and his devious “super agent” Scott Boras are no different. If Harper wanted a chance to win or wanted to be comfortable in a city he would have just signed the identical 10 year $300 million contract the Nationals offered him at the end of last season. It’s simple from a Phillies perspective. Pony up the friggen cash, stop playing games, and win some damn belts. To the idiots that believed the reports Tuesday that suggested Harper isn’t sold on Philly, just take your phone and throw it in the nearest body of water. Machado inks a megadeal and soon after a report stating that Harper doesn’t want to go to the team who just so happens to have the most money isn’t a coincidence, it’s a plan. Boras is doing his damn job and trying to get the most money possible for his man which means more money for himself. At this point I don’t give a shit how much money he wants just give it to him. It should be very simple. Middleton calls Boras, asks him how much they want, and tell them the private jet is on it’s way to pick them up.

This entire process has become the most exhausting sports experience of my life. Everyday with media whore and baseball “insider” John Heyman rewording the same tweet to show people how disconnected he is has broken my spirit. Imagine being this guy, he literally spends 75% of his day on twitter pretending he knows what going on and he couldn’t even break the Machado signing. Here’s my final PSA. Until you see a reputable writer begin his tweet with “BREAKING” with a picture of Harper DON’T BELIEVE ANYTHING! Boras is playing the media like Tommy Lee plays the drums. In other words, he’s a master at it. Any report you see other than the actual signing began with a text from Boras to a reporter.

The ball is officially in the court of John Middleton. Put your money where your mouth is and do what it takes to sign Bryce Harper. The money you spend on this player will be made back ten fold in merchandise, ticket sales, and just by having the name Bryce Harper on your team. He is the face of baseball. You have the chance to bring the face of an entire sport to a city who is obsessed with being champions. Don’t be a failure, John. Be a hero.

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