March 11, 2022
The lockout's over, heat up the stove.
Free agency opened a few hours after Major League Baseball and the Players Association reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement Thursday, and now it looks like Bryce Harper is getting things moving within the Phillies.
MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported Friday morning that Harper, the reigning NL MVP, is "stumping" to have free agent and fellow Vegas native Kris Bryant in red pinstripes.
Bryant is one of the biggest free-agent names available in a now heavily-condensed offseason, and the Phillies have both the need and likely the cash to justify bringing him in.
The 30-year old can switch between third base, the outfield, and now DH if need be, and would add another threat to the batting order alongside Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T Realmuto.
Bryant, who started 2021 with the Cubs then was dealt to San Francisco at the deadline, hit .265 last season with 25 home runs, 73 RBIs and an .835 OPS in 586 plate appearances.
The Phillies' payroll sits at around $160.5 million right now, according to Spotrac, and the new CBA raises the luxury tax threshold from $210 million to $230 million, so the front office will have more room to work with.
Harper, who won his second MVP honor with 35 home runs and a ridiculous 1.044 OPS, has not been shy about his opinions since arriving to the Phillies three years ago.
He made subtle references then openly talked about wanting to recruit Angels star Mike Trout when his last contract was running out, and vocally campaigned for the Phillies to re-sign Realmuto throughout the pandemic-altered 2020 season. They did, eventually, sign J.T.
Can Harper work his magic again?
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