Nobody knows how he feels as the Phillies reduce payroll, which certainly affects their chances of bringing back his friend.
Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, spoke with reporters on Monday evening in lieu of his traditional media scrum at the Winter Meetings. It took no time for Boras to be asked about Harper and his feelings about the Phillies. Specifically, when Harper signed his 13-year, $330 million contract in February 2019, he received assurances from the organization about its commitment to winning. The team cited then and Harper cited again in July that his contract’s $25.4 million average annual value was designed to allow the Phillies to maintain financial flexibility to re-sign their star players and supplement the roster with outside talent.
So then what will Harper’s mindset be if he sees his buddy Realmuto sign elsewhere?
“In fairness to what Bryce and John [Middleton] talked about when he came to Philadelphia, there was an owner committed to winning and an owner pursuing winning,” Boras said. “And you have to admit that I don’t think you play the game of hiring a general manager who is known for World Series hopscotch because everywhere [new president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski] goes he’s there to compete and win and has done so. So I don’t think you hire a GM of that nature and capacity as David is without an intention and a focus on winning today.
“And certainly last year the Phillies made major commitments in the free-agent market and obviously Bryce, like any player who is a franchise core of the team, wants his club to do what they can to advance as aggressively to give them the greatest weapons to compete for a championship.”
So is Harper comforted then by the arrival of Dombrowski? Asked on the final day of the season if former general manager Matt Klentak should return, Harper said he was glad he did not have to make that decision. Klentak was reassigned the following week.
“When you look and you hire Dave at this point in his career and with his history, everywhere he’s gone he’s dealt with an owner -- in Detroit and Boston -- the ownership has really supported the advancement of creating a World Series-caliber club and they’ve been successful in doing so,” Boras said.
Boras said he has had conversations with the Phillies regarding his clients. It is unclear if he spoke to Dombrowski yet, or former interim general manager Ned Rice.
“It’s been a very active dialogue,” Boras said.
Boras also said Rhys Hoskins is recovering well from elbow surgery. He said Hoskins is going to start swinging a bat soon and he should be ready to play in 2021.