Bryce Harper signed an NFL record $330 million deal over 13-years with the Philadelphia Phillies on Feb.28. The outfielder’s deal eclipsed the previous record held by Giancarlo Stanton, who had signed a 13-year $325 million deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2014.
The most sought after free agent will now earn around $26 million for at least the next nine seasons with the Phillies while the deal also has a full no-trade clause and no opt-out clauses. He will remain in Philadelphia until he is 39-years-old.
However, the Harper saga went on for a number of months with numerous franchises fighting for the 2015 MVP’s signature. He has revealed there were meetings held with at least six franchises but it was only the Phillies, New York Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers went the distance.
The Philadelphia franchise were the favorites after their face-to-face meeting with Harper in January, but the Giants first and then the Dodgers came in as late contenders following meetings in February. The speculation about where Harper would end up was dominating headlines with MLB sources and experts ever willing to give their take on the situation.
There were constant reports about a deal being close or Harper meeting front office executives of various teams with various numbers being bandied about in terms of the wages on offer. Harper admitted that it was nice to “feel wanted” but was not keen to go through free agency again.
The outfielder was also keen to stay away from the news during the months leading up to him joining the Phillies but admitted that on some days he was tempted to look through his phone and see what the latest story was. Harper and his wife Kayla during a recent interview with ESPN recalled some of the most outrageous rumors, which brought laughs to the player and his family.
“It was fun to go through the meetings and feel wanted,” Harper told ESPN, “but it was something I’ll happily never go through again.”
“Sometimes I’d get my phone and say, ‘Let’s check: What rumors are hot today?’” Harper added.
“Oh, remember when we bought an apartment in New York and we were going to be living there with three other guys? That was my favorite,” Harper’s wife Kayla said.
“My favorite was the time we met with Magic Johnson and the Dodgers,” the Phillies outfielder added with a laugh. “That was a good one. We never met with him.”
“It was a disappointment that I didn’t get to meet him,” Kayla said, “but at least everyone thought I did.”