Tag Archives: Jayson Werth

What the Phillies need from Bryce Harper in 2020

A year ago at this time, Kayla and Bryce Harper were still going through the process of deciding where they wanted to spend the bulk of the prime years of their adult lives.

Not only where would the outfielder play his baseball games for the next decade or so, but where would they have children, raise their family, and involve themselves in the community?

The Harper’s chose Philly, setting off a surge of enthusiasm within the frustrated fan base. He would join fellow newcomers Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and David Robertson with a refurbished Phillies squad for the 2019 season.

Finally, after seven years out of the playoffs, the Phillies would return to play in October baseball.

As we now know, it didn’t work out as planned. Robertson pitched in seven games before his season ended with an elbow surgery that may keep him out for all of 2020 as well. McCutchen was lost for the year at the start of June with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The Phillies struggled to an 81-81 finish, continuing a now eight-year streak of non-winning seasons. They also finished the year in fourth place in the NL East Division standings, 16 games behind the division champion Atlanta Braves, a dozen in back of the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals, and eight games off the pace for the final NL Wildcard playoff berth.

In his first season with the Phillies at age 26, Harper slashed .260/.372/.510 with 35 home runs, 36 doubles, 114 RBIs, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases.

Harper joined Baseball Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt and Chuck Klein as the only players in Phillies franchise history to record a season with at least 35 homers, 100 RBIs, and 15 steals. Only Jim Thome, who blasted 47 long balls back in 2003, ever hit more home runs in their first season with the ball club.

Performing consistently in clutch, Harper provided a .357 batting average with runners in scoring position, the fourth-best mark in the NL. He was also fourth with 15 game-winning RBIs, a personal career high. His overall 114 RBIs were also a career best.

In all of baseball, Harper was one of only two players  with at least 30 homers, 110 RBIs, and 95 walks. His total of 99 walks was fifth in the National League. He recorded a five-hit game at Colorado on April 19, the first Phillies player in seven years to reach that total.

Harper was the first Phillies player since Pat Burrell in 2002 to reach 70 extra-base hits and 110 RBIs in the same season. His 42 extra-base hits at home was the second-highest ever at Citizens Bank Park behind only the 44 ripped by Chase Utley back in 2006. He became the first Phillies player since Jayson Werth in 2010 to deliver at least 290 total bases.

Prefer your stats with a more analytical slant? Harper finished with a 4.2 WAR value, second on the club only to Realmuto’s 4.4 mark. Harper’s 5.54 Win Probability Added was the second-highest of his eight-year career, behind only the 6.18 mark that he put up in his 2015 NL MVP season with Washington. In all of Major League Baseball, only MVP’s Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger and NL finalists Christian Yelich and Anthony Rendon finished with a higher WPA mark.

On August 15 against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park, Harper provided the season’s single biggest highlight when he delivered a walkoff grand slam. He delivered that unforgettable blast against a southpaw specialist, Derek Holland, who hadn’t allowed a home run to a left-handed hitter in the previous 261 plate appearances against him.

In fact, those lefty pitchers didn’t bother him much at all relative to other left-handed hitters. Harper homered 15 times off southpaws, the second-highest figure  in baseball behind only Bellinger. From August 3 to the end of the season he hit .348 with nine homers, 24 RBIs and a 1.194 OPS against lefties.

Defensively, Harper was consistently outstanding, and became a finalist for the NL Gold Glove Award in right field. His 13 outfield assists equaled the total of his prior three seasons combined, and were tied for the NL lead, just one off the overall MLB leader. His nine defensive runs saved ranked third in the National League.

So, what more does Harper have to do for his part in the 2020 season in order to help finally push this club to a contending level? It should be obvious at this point. The answer is, of course, nothing. That’s right. Nothing.

If Harper stays healthy it would not be at all surprising that in his prime at age 27 and with a full season in Philly under his belt, we could see him take his game to an even higher level in 2020. In fact, Harper should enter the season as a leading contender for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.

That is really all the Phillies need from Harper in 2020, and it is largely out of his hands. That factor of his remaining healthy, avoiding anything more than a couple of minor physical tweaks here and there. He stays healthy, he will do his part.

In order to finally record not only their first winning season since 2011, but to reach the postseason and bring the excitement of October playoff baseball back to South Philly this year, the Phillies need more from everyone else but Harper and Realmuto.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Phillies top seasonal performances of the 2010’s

Embed from Getty Images

Bryce Harper‘s 35 homers in 2019 were the most by a Phillies player for any season during the 2010’s decade

 

Two weeks from today will be New Year’s Eve and we will be formally ringing out 2019 as well as the decade of the 2010’s.

A few weeks back, I presented a WAR-based list of the top 10 Phillies players of the past decade. With this piece, I’m going to look at individual seasonal performances.

Who provided the top home run seasons, stolen base seasons, strikout seasons during the course of the last 10 years of Phillies baseball?

Just another way to capture a period of time in franchise history. So, here are the top 10 individual season performances in a variety of categories by Phillies players during the 2010’s decade.

HOME RUNS

  1. Bryce Harper, 2019 – 35
  2. Rhys Hoskins, 2018 – 34
  3. Ryan Howard, 2011 – 33
  4. Ryan Howard, 2010 – 31
  5. Rhys Hoskins, 2019 – 29
  6. Domonic Brown, 2013 – 27
  7. Jayson Werth, 2010 – 27
  8. J.T. Realmuto, 2019 – 25
  9. Maikel Franco, 2016 – 25
  10. Marlon Byrd, 2014 – 25

RBIs

  1. Ryan Howard, 2011 – 116
  2. Bryce Harper, 2019 – 114
  3. Ryan Howard, 2010 – 108
  4. Rhys Hoskins, 2018 – 96
  5. Ryan Howard, 2014 – 95
  6. Maikel Franco, 2016 – 88
  7. Rhys Hoskins, 2019 – 85
  8. Raul Ibanez, 2011 – 84
  9. J.T. Realmuto, 2019 – 83
  10. Domonic Brown, 2013 – 83

RUNS

  1. Jayson Werth, 2010 – 106
  2. Jimmy Rollins, 2012 – 102
  3. Bryce Harper, 2019 – 98
  4. Shane Victorino, 2011 – 95
  5. J.T. Realmuto, 2019 – 92
  6. Cesar Hernandez, 2018 – 91
  7. Rhys Hoskins, 2018 – 89
  8. Odubel Herrera, 2016 / Jimmy Rolllins, 2011 – Ryan Howard, 2010 – 87

STEALS

  1. Ben Revere, 2014 – 49
  2. Juan Pierre, 2012 – 37
  3. Shane Victorino, 2010 – 34
  4. Jimmy Rollins, 2012  / Jimmy Rollins, 2011 – 30
  5. Jimmy Rollins, 2014 – 28
  6. Odubel Herrera, 2016 – 25
  7. Shane Victorino, 2012 – 24
  8. Ben Revere, 2013 / Jimmy Rollins, 2013 – 22

BATTING AVERAGE

(min. 300 PA’s)

  1. Carlos Ruiz, 2012 – .325
  2. Juan Pierre, 2012 – .307
  3. Ben Revere, 2014 – .306
  4. Ben Revere, 2013 – .305
  5. Carlos Ruiz, 2010 – .302
  6. Placido Polanco, 2010 – .298
  7. Odubel Herrera, 2015 – .297
  8. Jayson Werth, 2010 – .296
  9. Cesar Hernandez, 2017 / Cesar Hernandez, 2016 – .294

WINS

  1. Roy Halladay, 2010 – 21
  2. Roy Halladay, 2011 – 19
  3. Cliff Lee, 2011 / Aaron Nola, 2018 / Cole Hamels, 2012 – 17
  4. Cole Hamels, 2011 / Cliff Lee, 2013 – 14
  5. Aaron Nola, 2019 / Aaron Nola, 2017 / Jeremy Hellickson, 2016 / Cole Hamels, 2010 – 12

STRIKEOUTS

  1. Cliff Lee, 2011 – 238
  2. Aaron Nola, 2019 – 229
  3. Aaron Nola, 2018 – 224
  4. Cliff Lee, 2013 – 222
  5. Roy Halladay, 2011 – 220
  6. Roy Halladay, 2010 – 219
  7. Cole Hamels, 2012 – 216
  8. Cole Hamels, 2010 – 211
  9. Cliff Lee, 2012 – 207
  10. Cole Hamels, 2013 – 202

INNINGS

  1. Roy Halladay, 2010 – 250.2
  2. Roy Halladay, 2011 – 233.2
  3. Cliff Lee, 2011 – 232.2
  4. Cliff Lee, 2013 – 222.2
  5. Cole Hamels, 2013 – 220
  6. Cole Hamels, 2011 – 216
  7. Cole Hamels, 2012 – 215.1
  8. A.J. Burnett, 2014 – 213.2
  9. Aaron Nola, 2018 – 212.1
  10. Cliff Lee, 2012 – 211

SAVES

  1. Jonathan Papelbon, 2014 – 39
  2. Jonathan Papelbon, 2012 – 38
  3. Jeanmar Gomez, 2016 – 37
  4. Ryan Madson, 2011 – 32
  5. Jonathan Papelbon, 2013 – 29
  6. Hector Neris, 2019 – 28
  7. Brad Lidge, 2010 – 27
  8. Hector Neris, 2017 – 26
  9. Jonathan Papelbon, 2015 – 17
  10. Seranthony Dominguez, 2018 – 16

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

 

Philadelphia Phillies Team of the 2010’s

Embed from Getty Images

Few Phillies flames ever burned-out more quickly than Brown’s, who nonetheless made the team of the 2010’s

 

The decade of the 2010’s began with the Philadelphia Phillies at or near the pinnacle of baseball. The club was a two-time defending National League champion, and in the midst of what would become five consecutive NL East crowns.

You could easily understand thoughts at that point, and even a year later, that the Phillies might become the 2010’s Team of the Decade in Major League Baseball.

The fall came hard and fast, and fairly unexpectedly. By mid-decade the club had plummeted to the very bottom of baseball.

The leaders of those league and division championship teams disappeared over time, some due to age, some to injury, some in trades to replenish a farm system that would never deliver the help needed to turn things around.

Over the course of the ten years ending with this past 2019 campaign the Phillies went a cumulative 787-833. They finished in last place in the NL East on three occasions and have not enjoyed a single winning season since the first two.

As the decade draws to an end, the Phillies have now stabilized as a .500 team thanks to a handful of prospects developing into contributors and a few impact trades and free agent signings.

But this piece isn’t about looking ahead, it is a look back. In particular, this is one man’s selection of the Phillies Team of the 2010’s.

I decided to put together this team in a bit of a unique fashion. Rather than try to pick the best overall players in the fullness of the decade as others have, I opted instead to look at the actual performance of individual Phillies regulars during each particular season.

This Phillies team is therefor made up of the best individual WAR seasons turned in by a player for the team at each position on the diamond. I’ve listed the player name, their top season, and some of their more important stats and notes, including that Baseball-Reference WAR mark.

PHILLIES TEAM OF THE 2010’s

First base – Ryan Howard, 2010: .276/.353/505, 31 HR, 108 RBIs, 87 runs, 2.7 WAR. NL All-Star. Finished 10th in NL MVP voting.

Second base – Chase Utley, 2010: .275/.387/.445, 16 HR, 65 RBIs, 75 runs, 13 steals, 5.8 WAR. NL All-Star.

Shortstop – Jimmy Rollins, 2014: .243/.323/.394, 17 HR, 55 RBIs, 78 runs, 28 steals, 3.9 WAR.

Third base – Placido Polanco, 2010: .298/.339/.386, 6 HR, 52 RBIs, 76 runs, 3.2 WAR.

Left field – Domonic Brown, 2013: .272/.324/.494, 27 HR, 83 RBIs, 65 runs, 2.8 WAR. NL All-Star.

Center field – Shane Victorino, 2011: .279/.355/.491, 17 HR, 61 RBIs, 82 runs, 19 steals, 5.5 WAR. Led MLB with 16 triples. NL All-Star. Finished 13th in NL MVP voting.

Right field – Jayson Werth, 2010: .296/.388/.532, 27 HR, 85 RBIs, 106 runs, 13 steals, 4.5 WAR. Led NL with 46 doubles. Finished 8th in NL MVP voting.

Catcher – Carlos Ruiz, 2012: .325/.394/.540, 16 HR, 68 RBIs, 56 runs, 4.6 WAR. NL All-Star. Finished 28th in NL MVP voting.

Starting pitcher – Aaron Nola, 2018: 2.37 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 3.01 FIP, 17 wins, 33 starts, 149 hits over 212.1 IP with 224 strikeouts, 10.5 WAR. NL All-Star. Finished 3rd in NL Cy Young Award voting. Finished 13th in NL MVP voting.

Relief pitcher – Jonathan Papelbon, 2014: 2.04 ERA, 0.905 WHIP, 2.53 FIP, 2 wins, 39 saves, 45 hits over 66.1 IP with 63 strikeouts, 2.9 WAR.

The top two players on the 2019 club, catcher J.T. Realmuto and right fielder Bryce Harper, were edged out at their respective positions. 2012 “Chooch” slipped past JT by a 4.6-4.4 margin, and Werth’s 2010 campaign slid by Bryce’s Phillies debut in a 4.5-4.2 finish.

The top WAR figures of the early-decade great starting pitchers Roy Halladay (2011 – 8.8), Cliff Lee (2011 – 8.5), and Cole Hamels (2014 – 6.6) were beaten out by Nola’s fantastic 2018 season.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

 

Struggling Phillies open mid-June series with resurgent Nationals

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’rgke1KfiTwBqEw0GJXPNGA’,sig:’b0jJ700LsRv2Y1ovVYRHh8jhYBRw7WMfhX6MOpsiX3o=’,w:’594px’,h:’387px’,items:’664105004′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Many fans in both towns now conflicted over Werth and Harper

The struggling Philadelphia Phillies (39-32) continue with their road show, this time opening a four-game series with the rejuvenated Washington Nationals (33-38) on Monday night in our Nation’s Capital.

The Phillies are coming off a humbling Father’s Day experience in which they were dismantled by the division-leading Atlanta Braves in a 15-1 rout. They enter D.C. having now dropped five of their last seven games, and 10 of 16 going back to May 29.
After suffering through a horrendous 19-31 start that buried them in fourth place, 10 games out, the Nationals have begun to right their ship. The club has gone 14-7 since that point. Still in fourth place, but they are just six games behind the Phillies for the final NL Wildcard spot, and would love to cut into that deficit this week.
They enter the series fresh off their own 15-run experience. Only in their case, the Nats were the team scoring all the runs in a 15-5 win at home yesterday over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Nationals offensive attack ranks seventh in the National League in both runs scored and OPS, and they are third in stolen bases. On the mound their pitchers are tied for sixth in batting average against and seventh in OPS against, and the staff ranks first in strikeouts.
A big reason they are at the top of those strikeout rankings can be found in their starting rotation, and the Phillies will see the Nationals best this week. Washington will throw lefty Patrick Corbin in the opener, young Erick Fedde in the second game, and then finish up the series with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for the final two games.
These two teams have already met three times this season. They split a two-gamer in Washington back in early April. The Nationals then took two of three in Philly a week later, but saw the Phillies take two of three at Citizens Bank Park in early May. They will meet yet again in a four-gamer right after the MLB All-Star break back in Philadelphia, but then do not see one another until the first day of Fall, on September 23.
Of course, there is added intensity when these two clubs meet, at least from the Washington fans perspective, with star right fielder Bryce Harper having left town. In eight games between the two clubs this year, Harper has slashed .321/.472/.643 with two homers, three doubles, eight walks, seven RBIs, and six runs scored.
Harper was the Nationals pick at first overall in the 2010 MLB Draft and played his first seven seasons with them, winning the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player Award, and making the NL All-Star squad six times.
A ball club that is much better than their record indicates, the Nats are looking at this as a big opportunity series. For the struggling, injury-depleted Phillies, this will mark another difficult challenge.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Anthony Rendon: The Nationals are in danger of losing their most impactful player for a second straight season. Rendon is a free agent after this year, and the 29-year-old third baseman doesn’t seem close to a deal. He leads the team in virtually every category, slashing .321/.415/.660 with 16 homers, 50 RBIs, 37 extra-base hits, and 52 runs scored. Those numbers are better across the board than anyone in the Phillies lineup.
Trea Turner: 26-year-old dynamic shortstop was hit on the hand while trying to bunt against the Phillies during the first week of play and missed nearly seven weeks. He started slowly after returning, but since May 28 has slashed .333/.392/.639 with three homers, 16 extra-base hits, nine RBIs, 16 runs scored, and five steals over 17 games. It’s no coincidence that the Nats have won 11 of those 17 games.
Juan Soto: The 20-year-old lefty-hitting outfielder was the runner-up for last year’s NL Rookie of the Year honors and much as with Turner, he has been hot over the last few weeks. Since May 24, Soto is slashing .329/.413/.519 with four homers, 11 RBIs, and 20 runs scored.
Adam Eaton: 30-year-old veteran now in his eighth big-league season, Eaton is hitting .280 and is tied for second on the club with 41 runs scored.
Victor Robles: If there is one player who the Nats would really like to see pick it up, Robles would be it. The 22-year-old center fielder is hitting just .234 and has only one home run in the last month after banging eight over the season’s first six weeks.
Matt Adams: The big lefty first baseman has been activated from the IL just in time to face four right-handed starters being thrown by the Phillies. Adams has nine homers and 27 RBIs in just 130 plate appearances, with eight of those longballs as well as five doubles coming off righties.
Kurt Suzuki: The Nationals split their catching duties in a fairly even platoon setup, but Suzuki is the power half. He has seven homers and 30 RBIs in just 137 plate appearances.
Brian Dozier: 32-year-old veteran second baseman was a former AL All-Star with the Minnesota Twins, for whom he played the first seven of his now eight-year career. He has 10 home runs and 10 doubles, remaining a dangerous, albeit streaky, hitter with the Nationals.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Howie Kendrick: Not much was expected of Kendrick this season, who at age 35 (he turns 36 next month) is now in his 14th big-league season. Kendrick spent the first 11 years of his career in Los Angeles, nine with the Angels and then two with the Dodgers.
He was then traded in late July 2017 to the Phillies for a fringe prospect, seeing action in 24 games out in left field and another 10 at second base. Kendrick then became a free agent, signing with Washington.
When numerous injuries opened up some playing time earlier this season, Kendrick received increased opportunities and made the best of them. His 12 homers and 43 RBIs are second on the team, and he is slashing at the .333/.383/.602 mark. He also continues to provide value with his defensive versatility, playing in 19 games at first base and 14 each at second and third bases.
Kendrick, who has made $65 million over the course of his career but is now making “only” $4 million this year, will be a free agent once again after the season ends. This kind of production assures that someone will want him coming off their bench. Maybe even the Phillies.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Patrick Corbin: 5-5 4.11 ERA, 1.219 WHIP, 75 hits over 85.1 IP across 14 starts with a 94/29 K:BB
TUESDAY – Erick Fedde: 1-1, 3.68 ERA, 1.255 WHIP, 32 hits over 36.2 IP across 10 games (5 starts) with a 21/14 K:BB
WEDNESDAY – Max Scherzer: 5-5, 2.81 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 87 hits over 99.1 IP across 15 starts with a 136/20 K:BB
THURSDAY – Stephen Strasburg: 7-4, 3.75 ERA, 1.063 WHIP, 78 hits over 96 IP across 15 starts with a 115/24 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

A native New Yorker, Dave Martinez is in his second season at the helm in Washington after guiding the club to an 82-80 mark and a second place finish in the NL East Division a year ago.
Martinez played 16 seasons in Major League Baseball after being drafted in the third round back in 1983 by the Chicago Cubs. He played for nine different organizations, with his four years in Chicago and four with the old Montreal Expos, the Nationals predecessors, marking his longest stints.
He was under fire when the club got off to such a miserable start this year, but any talk of firing has been muted with this recent period of improved play and winning by the team.

THE BALLPARK

Nationals Park opened for the 2008 season and is known mostly as a fair ballpark for hitters and pitchers, ranking 11th in the current ESPN 2019 MLB Ballpark Factors list.
Dimensions are 337 and 335 down the left and right field lines respectively. Left-center is 377 feet out, right-center at 370 feet, and it will be 402 feet out to dead-center field.
Located along the Anacostia River in the Navy Yard section of D.C., it has a regular capacity of 41,339 but they have reached as many as 30,000 just nine times since Opening Day. One of those was for Harper’s first return back on April 2 with Scherzer on the mound when just under 36,000 showed up.
Back in 201o they added a ‘Ring of Honor’ to celebrate those from the old Washington Senators franchise, the Homestead Grays of the Negro Leagues who were based in town, as well as the Expos/Nationals players who have been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. A dozen-and-a-half players are currently honored, including Walter JohnsonHarmon KillebrewJosh Gibson, and Andre Dawson. Also honored there is former Phillies 2008 World Series hero Jayson Werth.
Since 2011, a submarine dive horn blares after each Nationals home run and victory in a nod to the park’s location in the Navy Yard neighborhood.
In the middle of the 4th inning at every game, fans are treated to the President’s Race. Runners wearing costumes topped by oversized heads of four U.S. Presidents engage in a foot race, often with comedic elements built into the contest. The four Presidents are George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson. Three other Presidents have also spent time as racers, but those original four remain today as the current lineup.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

Game time for all four nights is scheduled for 7:05 PM EDT
This will be a very unsettled weather week in Washington. There is a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms on Monday night, then an 80% chance on both Tuesday and Wednesday, dropping to 60% on Thursday. Temperatures will be in the upper-70’s to mid-80’s during games with high humidity and light winds all week. Any fans taking the ride down from Philly should be prepared for delays at the start of, or during, each of the four games, though all four should be played in the end.
Report using data from The Weather Channel

Phillies introduce Bryce Harper after biggest contract in sports history

Middleton, Klentak, Harper at intro presser
“During the great history of the Philadelphia Phillies there have been many acquisitions that have helped move the franchise forward, both on and off the field. From Steve Carlton and Pete Rose in the 70’s, Jim Thome in the early-2000’s, to the acquisition and eventual re-signing of Cliff Lee. The trade for Roy Halladay, to finally the signings and trades of current Phillies players like Jake Arrieta, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto. Many have altered in such a positive way the fate of this incredible franchise. Today we celebrate a franchise-altering signing for our city and our organization as we introduce Bryce Harper to the city of Philadelphia officially.
With those words, Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy eloquently opened up this afternoon’s statements and press conference to celebrate what is, as general manager Matt Klentak would immediately follow and refer to it: “the largest contract in the history of Major League Baseball.
Harper would then go on to make his own impassioned and inspiring opening statement, one in which he emphasized the importance of his family and the familial presentation and representations of the Phillies during the free agency process. During that statement the club’s new right fielder stated “I can’t wait to get on that field and do Phillies Nation proud!
Once Harper’s opening remarks had concluded it was time for the press to take their first swings at the 26-year-old superstar. The topics were wide-ranging, dealing with issues from money to baseball, from his old team to his new, from business to personal issues. Here are the highlights:
SOCIAL MEDIA
Harper was asked this right off the top by the King himself, Howard Eskin, whether he followed social media and what affect, if any, it had on his decision. In his response he made it clear that he did follow, but that family was the most important factor in the final decision:
Of course you look at it. You look and see what people are saying. But it’s a family decision for me. It’s where I felt comfortable throughout the whole process. I talked to my wife. I talked to my mom, my dad. And we all made the decision to do the things we could to get back to Philly…”

FAMILY
This was the over-arching theme of both Harper’s personal statement and his most important answers to questions. It became the specific topic of the second question asked:
Being able to sit down with John and Leigh (Middleton) and knowing how family-oriented they are, how they treat everybody in the Phillies organization from everybody in the clubhouse, everybody up in the offices, and also everybody around the ballpark.
I think it’s pretty amazing how many tenured Philly people that work with the team are with the organization for a long period of time. Every time I came to Citizens Bank Park, I felt that…talking to the guys in the elevator, or when we walked into the visitor side and talking to Butch that stands right there, he’s one of the security guys…other guys saying “Come here. Play here. Be part of our team. Be part of our organization.” That goes a long way. You feel the love. You feel the intent, the pureness of the people who come to the ballpark every day.”
FANS AND FORMER PHILLIES PLAYERS
JaysonWerth-793753.jpg

Former Phillies and Nationals star Werth was a teammate in Washington, and helped sell him on Philly.
“Of course, the first six years of my career coming to Philly, people behind me (out in right field) weren’t very nice. But I expect that, I love that. But the last year they were all super nice, saying “Come to Philly!” So that was a lot of fun, to be able to hear that as well.”
Of course, Jayson Werth, getting to hear him talk about it. Chase Utley. Jimmy Rollins. All the guys that have had great success in Philly talk about how great the city is, that it’s an amazing city to be a part of, and I’m excited to get going.
NO CONTRACT OPT-OUT CLAUSE
“This guy (looking at agent Scott Boras) invented the opt-out. And I actually told him at the beginning of the process that I didn’t want one, wherever I went. I wanted to be able to make my roots somewhere. That was through the goods and the bads, the ups and downs of the team and the organization. It’s going to be tough for 13 years to win every single year, and I truly understand that.”
“Being able to sit down with John and Matt and everyone involved in the process was huge for me, because I know what it takes to have success, being in the playoffs for a long period of time with the Nationals. We didn’t get past the first round, but we were able to get there for a good run and do certain things in that organization that were very good.”
“I want to be able to do that here, and do well and play hard and have the team we do for a long period of time. Even through the bumps and bruises. I want to go through that as well. I want to be part of this organization. I don’t wanta go anywhere else. I want to be part of this family, this Phillies Nation.”
MISSING SPRING TRAINING TIME
“I enjoyed home for another two weeks. I enjoyed hanging with my friends and getting my work in as well. I’m hitting and doing all the things I need to get ready for the spring. I think the worst part is seeing guys going out there and getting back into that groove of being in the clubhouse atmosphere and being with the other guys.”
“But for me, you don’t really play that first week of spring anyways. So, if it was gonna take some time, then it was gonna take some time. I knew at the end of the day, being able to sign with Philly was the right choice for me, and we made it happen about 27 days before the season. So, I think I’m gonna be okay.”
NEW TEAMMATES
Rhys Hoskins hits a home run at the 2018 Home Run Derby

Harper and Hoskins struck up a friendship at the 2018 All-Star Home Run Derby / Photo: Brian Michael
The first thing I thought about signing with the Phillies was I don’t have to face Aaron Nola anymore. That was something that I was very happy about. This team is filled with perennial All-Stars. Being able to meet Rhys Hoskins a little bit through the process of the Homerun Derby and the All-Star Game, talked to him a little bit about Philly…about how he is and who he is as a person, he was a lot of fun to get to know. Arrieta, Eflin, a lot of the young guys on this team, Pivetta. The bullpen that they have, adding David Robertson. Jean Segura playing shortstop is an absolute stud. Maikel Franco…Odubel Herrera…I mean, you can go on and on about this team and how good they can be. And my favorite player in the game, J.T. Realmuto, that was huge as well. Matt did a great job this off-season to assemble that roster.”
“The thing about the East is, it’s a juggernaut. I’m not gonna tell ya that we’re gonna come in this year and win a World Series, or win the division, or anything like that. Of course, we all want that to happen. That’s your goal when you walk into spring training. That’s the goal of the fans. That’s the goal of everybody. But good things take time as well. We gotta mold as a team, mold as an organization, and really understand the guys in that clubhouse, and make that a family.”
“Every guy pulling on the same rope every single day, really becoming that. I think this organization…us…gonna be very successful for a long period of time. But it’s gonna take some time. It’s gonna take some time for guys to get going and understand how to win, and what it takes to win in the long haul of a 162-season, plus possibly 21 games in the playoffs. This organization has gone through that…has done that in years past. I know that guys wanta feel that now. I’m excited to be part of that. I’m excited to be part of the group…going to this clubhouse, and just be a part of this team.”
NEW UNIFORM NUMBER

Harper felt his former Washington number 34 should always belong to Halladay in Philly. (SD Dirk)
Of course, I wore #34. But I thought Roy Halladay should be the last one to wear it. He’s somebody in this game that is greater than a lot of guys who ever played it. He’s a Hall of Famer, somebody who played the game the right way. He was a great person, one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met, playing across from him in 2012. So for me, it’s Roy Halladay. He’s 34. He’s what represents that number in Philly. When you go in there and see his name on that flagpole in center field, it’s something that he should be remembered for.”
“Maikel Franco, he wears #7, and he’s a teammate of mine. He’s someone that I didn’t want to ask for the number. I didn’t feel right doing that. I don’t know if that has any significance to him, being #7, but I didn’t want to find out. He’s #7 on the Phillies and he should be able to wear that number every single day.”
“The #3 is kinda like a family number for us. My brother wore it in high school. My dad wore it in high school growing up. My mom wore #13. My wife isn’t very happy about the number because she likes even numbers, so lookin’ down and seeing #3 is gonna be a little tough for her (Kayla laughed during this and shook her head) but it’s a family number and I think it looks okay.”
NATIONALS YEARS, AND NOW HAVING TO FACE THEM
“I love everybody in that clubhouse. I grew up inside that clubhouse. I grew up in that organization. I have so much respect for (Nationals GM) Mike Rizzo. He actually reached out to me and told me congratulations. That’s somebody that had my back for my whole career, somebody that maintained every single day. I did certain things for that organization that I truly won’t forget. Players in the clubhouse reached out and told me congrats, and were very excited for me as well.”
“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to playing somewhere that I’m comfortable as well. And also in Philly. So that gives me two places in the East that I’m very comfortable at. So, I’m really excited to be able to face those guys…and also to watch from afar a little bit and see how they’re doing. Hopefully we can do some damage as well.”
$330 MILLION
“Baseball is worth about $11.5 billion dollars, so I think some of it should go back to the players as well. I’m making $26 (million) a year, something like that, so I think that’s gonna be able to bring some other guys in as well that will help this organization win. I know there’s another guy in about two years (Mike Trout) who comes up off the books. We’ll see what happens with him.”
“I’m excited to be in Philly. I’m excited to be able to be part of this organization. And for me, the game’s changed a lot. The game’s changed in that it’s a different time, it’s a different world. Big social media. Everybody knows what’s going on. Everybody knows what everybody’s doing. There’s a lot of fans that love to come to the game that are spending about $16 for a beer that used to be about 25 cents for a beer. So I think that all around, it’s changed.”
WHY PHILLIES OVER THE DODGERS
“Throughout the whole process, I wanted to leave my door open to wherever I wanted to go. But for me it was all about the long haul. It was about being able to dig my roots, plant somewhere where I wanted to be for a long time. I said that in D.C. when I was there as well, that I wanted to be somewhere for a long period of time. We went through that process, and it just didn’t work out. It just didn’t happen. Philly was able to do that for me.”
“And when I met with the Middleton family, I felt that. I felt that commitment. I felt that when we went to dinner in Vegas with Leigh and John. Me and my wife walked away and, wow, we were blown away by these amazing people. That they could really understand where we were coming from. Understand the family aspect of our life. Understand the city of Philly and what it’s all about.”

Harper received encouragement on Philly from other local stars like Carson Wentz (Keith Allison/WikiCommons)
“Having that relationship with them as well. For me, I wanta have that relationship with my organization. I wanta be able to be a family, be able to be a unit, and be able to go through the ups and downs with everybody. Stay as even keel as we can, no matter what. John wants to win more than anybody. I saw that passion. I saw that fire. He talked a little bit about him wrestling in college, and the commitment he made to that, and the commitment he made in his daily life, it was just amazing to hear.
“To be able to see that and to feel that. To feel the love from Philly and the fans…I haven’t played there yet, but to feel it on social media. To feel how excited they are. To feel the love from other guys from other teams in the city. Ben Simmons. Carson Wentz. Guys that have reached out. It’s amazing to see. When you play in Philly as a visitor, you see the Eagles right there, you see the Flyers, you see the Sixers and all the big-time memories that all those teams had. The Flyers, they were an expansion team just like the (Las Vegas) Golden Knights (Harper’s hometown hockey team), and they were able to win. It’s an amazing thing to see.”
“This whole city, it’s a winning city, it’s an amazing city. J-Dub (Werth) always talks about Broad Street, and his stupid little thing he had, the red glove or whatever it was (giant red plastic fist that Werth wore in the 2008 parade), it’s something that I want to be a part of for a very long time, and we have an opportunity to do that for a very long time. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen this year or next year or in years in front of us, but I hope it does.”
“I want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of this organization. I want to be a part of this organization and help out anybody I can. That’s the feeling that I get with this whole organization. It’s about the family. It’s about what we can do as a city, the community. How we can make a community better. How we can make Philly better as a place, as a city of winning, and I want to be a part of that.”
IMPORTANCE OF MAKING HISTORY
“I think you’re always remembered for winning, and what better place to do it than in Philly? This place is somewhere were fans, blue-collar people, thrive on winning and being a family. I come from a blue-collar family. My dad woke up at three o’clock in the morning to tie rebar every single day in 130 degree heat in Vegas, and that’s where I get my work ethic. That’s what I want to do every single day. I want to work hard. I want to work out. I want to do the things I can to prolong my career and to play for a very long time and to be successful for a very long time.”
“For me, it’s all about winning. That’s what you’re remembered for, that’s what it’s all about. Personal accolades and things like that, they’re great. But for me, if our team plays well, our team plays together, I find joy in my teammates success. I love that, I love seeing that. I was able to see that for a long time in D.C. with Anthony Rendon, and Juan Soto this year as well. And you see that with the Phillies.”
“I want to find that joy. If I’m 0-4 or 4-4, that doesn’t really matter. It’s all about what we can do to get that extra run to win the game, and to win for a long period of time. If we can do that, then we’ll win a lot of games. I think we have the pitching and have the defense to do that for a long period of time. I’m excited to be a part of it, excited to get going and make that run.”
HOW THE PAST PREPARED HIM FOR THIS DAY
“I think the biggest thing coming out of high school and college and finally getting drafted, from day one when I got drafted, it was all about “He’s going to the Yankees. He’s going to the Dodgers. He’s going here, he’s going there.” After six years, “he’s going here.” That’s all anybody talked about. That’s all anybody wanted to talk about, this moment. For me, going through this process, it was where can I be with no opt-outs, with a no-trade, where I can be for a long time and not have to worry about going anywhere else.”
“Because for me, when I was in D.C., I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I didn’t want to be part of two organizations, or anything like that. That just didn’t work out for me. But now, being able to be a part of an organization for 13 years, and be able to put all my faith and trust in everybody in this organization, I’m very excited bout it. Because nobody in the next 13 years are gonna talk about “Oh, he’s going to the Yankees, he’s going here, he’s going there.””
“I mean at 39, hopefully I can prolong my career, that would be great. But for me, it’s about being somewhere for a long period of time. Making my family. Digging my roots. For the good, for the bad. I’m not gonna tell you that I’m gonna win an MVP every single year. Is that my goal, is that my success, to do that? Absolutely, I want to do that every single year. But there’s gonna be down years. There’s gonna be big years. There’s gonna be years that are gonna be just okay.”
“For a team, for an organization, we’re gonna go in and do everything we can to win, and play hard, and play well. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what I wanta do…I wanta be on Broad Street on a freakin’ boat or whatever, a thing, a bus, whatever it is, and have a trophy over my head because that’s what it’s all about.”
“At the end of the day, I want to be able to go to sleep and know that I gave it my all and was able to bring back a title to the Philadelphia Phillies organization, to Mr. Middleton, to Mrs. Middleton, and to the whole city of Philly, to the fans, to everybody that’s a part of this. That’s what I want to do. That’s what I want my legacy to be: all about winning, all about playing the game the right way for a great organization for a long period of time.”
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Bryce Harper press conference highlights