On March 2nd, 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies managed to make a big move which they were hoping would be franchise-changing. The Phillies managed to sign superstar Bryce Harper to a 13 year, $330 million deal. This deal would ink Harper with the Phillies for the rest of his career. Once the move was made, a lot of analysts were claiming that the Phillies would become this great team that would win the NL East and even makes a run at the postseason. However, that just was not the case. The Phillies finished that season with an 81-81 record and missed the postseason. Even with making acquisitions such as J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura that season the Phillies could not make it to the postseason.
The 2020 season was different due to the Covid-19 outbreak that took the world by storm. The shortened MLB season had teams a little shook, to see who could truly take advantage of making the postseason. Unfortunately, the Phillies could not make the postseason, again. In a 60 game season, the Phillies finished 28-32. Another season under a .500 record and another disappointing season. A big reason for them missing the postseason again is because they had the worst bullpens in baseball and an average rotation at best.
At one point, the 2021 season looked like a good one for the Phillies. There was a point in time where they even led the National League East. However, in casual Phillies fashion, they slipped up and lost the division lead to the Atlanta Braves. As of August, 28th, 2021 the Phillies are sitting at a record of 64-64. This is a team that had some aspirations of making the post-season but is hovering around .500 baseball.
How are the Phillies Ruining Harper?
When the Phillies signed Bryce Harper to that massive contract, it was their way of showing the rest of MLB that the club was now ready to start competing. However, that has not been the case at all. The Phillies built a solid lineup, but for far too long they have not addressed needs that have been important for quite a while. When you are a team such as the Phillies that have had one of the worst bullpens in baseball, you would think that you would address the need when the need has been so big for so long.
The past few seasons, Harper has been arguably the best player in the Phillies lineup. On a night to night basis, he is a star. Even this year where he is putting up most valuable player numbers. His stats include a .298 batting average, 25 home runs, 58 RBI. He is hitting for the best average of his career, putting up excellent numbers, and is being rewarded by his teammates with a .500 record and an organization that almost refuses to solve blatant issues.
The Phillies have to do more to make a better team to surround Harper. He has been having a near-MVP season and this team is not built as of now to win in big games and in the postseason. The organization has to either be aggressive with signing better free agents for their team, or they really need to do a better job developing their prospects so that way they can actually succeed in the major leagues. Time is ticking for the Phillies for Harper. To have more success in Philly, the club has to do more to help him.
What do the Phillies have to do to keep him happy?
There is so much more that the Phillies can do not to ruin Bryce Harper. To keep their superstar happy, the front office has to truly take a look at the roster. First, the bullpen has to be fixed. There have been way too many games that the Phillies have been involved in, where they either cannot hold a small lead in the ninth or increase their losing deficit. The Phillies offense can only do so much. However, it takes the stress off a lineup when hitters know that their bullpen can actually hold a lead. In addition, the club has to find better starters to finish out the rotation, guys like Matt Moore or even Vince Velasquez are not answers for the Phillies rotation.
The holes in the Phillies lineup is another issue. Players like Odubel Herrera are not going to be a long-term answer. Harper is one of the bats in the lineup that is having a lot of success; it is time to find other players that can do the same thing.
Bryce Harper is the most important player in the Phillies lineup. He agreed to sign with Philadelphia long-term to hopefully win a World Series. Now it is time for the Phillies to step up and help out with making that championship team.
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