Bryce Harper Joins Philadelphia Phillies With $330 Million Contract – Is He Really Worth It? Yes, And Then Some!
Finally, the Bryce Harper sweepstakes are over. A day before March, with spring training already underway, the 26-year-old slugger agreed to a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. Harper signed on for 13 years at Citizens Bank Park for $330 million. The deal surpasses both Manny Machado‘s 10 year, $300 million dollar deal with the San Diego Padres last week and Giancarlo Stanton‘s 13-year, $325 million extension from back in 2015.
Harper has had more than his fair share of ups and downs. In the past five years, he’s had WARs of 1.1, 10, 1.5, 4.7, and 1.3. A WAR of 2+ is typically starter level. In his 7 year career, Harper’s technically only played like an all-star twice. However, he’s made the team six times. Gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16 with the tagline of “baseball’s chosen one” and being called “the most exciting prodigy since LeBron” will bring hype.
Even without his performance in mind, Harper’s contract is a good deal for the Phillies. It’s front-loaded which means the Phillies can bet on Harper from 26 to 34, the safe bet, and then wean their him off the payroll as he ages. It also allows the Phillies to compete in a tight NL East. Because the contract is front-loaded, it’ll allow the team to extend its young core without having to consider Harper as a plague Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols must seem to their teams now. That’s not to mention that financially he’s a solid investment. In a single afternoon, the Phillies have sold 100,000 tickets. In a sport that’s dying for stars, Harper is one of the most marketable faces in sports.
While at first glance, the numbers are eye-popping. $325 million is more than 99.9999% of people will make in their lifetime. If Harper were a country and the contract was paid out in one year, he’d be the 203rd biggest GDP in the world. There are only 211 countries the UN reports GDP for but still, for one person that’s insane. However, there’s an issue. Harper, while not the player prime Alex Rodriguez was, signed for a similar average annual value as Rodriguez did in 2000. ($25.4 million vs $25.2 million) In the 19 years since then, MLB’s annual revenue has tripled. Contracts haven’t. While no one needs $325 million, not a single fan pays to see Hal Steinbrenner or any other owner when they watch a baseball game. Players make an extraordinary amount of money. But they bring in mind-boggling profits. Harper should arguably make more than this. I just hope my team doesn’t pay him.