Bryce Harper officially joins Phillies: ‘Here’s to a new chapter’

The Philadelphia Phillies officially introduced Bryce Harper on Saturday afternoon at the team’s Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Florida.

Speaking while wearing a red Phillies cap and a white Phillies jersey with the No. 3, Harper said more than once that he wanted to build his family and finish his career in Philadelphia.

“I’m very happy and very proud to be able to put this uniform on, and can’t wait to do Phillie nation proud,” Harper said. “I’m excited to get started and here’s to a new chapter.”

Harper agreed on Thursday to a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies.

Harper will wear No. 3 as a member of the Phillies instead of the No. 34 jersey he wore during the first part of his career while playing for the Washington Nationals.

The No. 34 jersey was last worn in Philadelphia by former Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay, a Hall of Famer, who was killed in an airplane crash in 2017. His number is expected to be retired by the Phillies.

Harper was baseball’s No. 1 overall pick by the Nationals in 2010, made it to the Major Leagues in late April of 2012 and went on to win the National League’s Rookie of the Year award. He helped the Nats to their first playoff appearance since the team arrived in Washington in 2005.

The Nats lost in the first-round to the St. Louis Cardinals, even though Harper hit a home run in the third inning of Game 5. The blast gave the Nats a 4-0, and eventually the team went ahead 6-0 before losing the decisive game, 9-7. The Nationals made the playoffs a number of times with Harper, but never made it to the National League Championship Series, losing to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Harper won the National League’s MVP award in 2015 and made the All-Star team in six of his seven years. He hit 184 home runs in his seven seasons in Washington and was known for his flamboyant accessories and tossing off his helmet as he ran the bases.

Philadelphia offered Harper a $20 million signing bonus, a $10 million salary this year, $26 million in each of the following nine seasons and $22 million in each of the last three years. None of the money is deferred.

The make up of the contract, according to Sports Illustrated, will allow the Phillies to recruit more prized free-agents in the future, including Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, who grew up close to Philadelphia in New Jersey. Trout will be a free agent after the 2020 season.

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