Phillies could seek Bryce Harper trade amid financial crunch

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Bryce Harper could be the next to join Jean Segura and Zack Wheeler on the Phillies trade block.

The past few days for the Philadelphia Phillies certainly have been filled with headlines, but for all of the inopportune reasons.

Twins general manager Thad Levine reportedly turned down an interview offer from the organization to lead its baseball operations department, despite the American League Central team granting permission. Then, infielder Jean Segura and right-handed starting pitcher Zack Wheeler have reportedly been placed on the trade block — not so much as a way to improve the team, but rather to potentially part ways with higher-end salaries amid an organization-wide “financial crunch.”

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As part of his Sunday morning report that broke the Wheeler news, ESPN’s Buster Olney cited that Wheeler is the team’s second-highest paid player. The former New York Mets pitcher is only through year one of his five-year pact.

UPDATE: The Phillies have denied ESPN’s report that they are open to trade offers for Wheeler.

Could the highest-paid Phillies player — outfielder Bryce Harper — soon join Segura and Wheeler on the trade block?  According to Olney, “there is no indication yet” that the organization will look to deal the six-time All-Star “off their books.”

But, as SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Joe Giglio points out, the key word here is “yet.” If their financial situation continues to take a turn for the worse, the Phillies very well could try to get out of the final 11 years of Harper’s originally agreed 13-year, $330 million contract.

Heading into this offseason, the then-believed worse-case scenario, as it relates to the Phillies’ financial situation due to the COVID-19 crisis, would be that they could not re-sign catcher J.T. Realmuto nor Didi Gregorius. Now, the team could not only lose those stars to free agency, but also trade away some of their star players, such as Segura, Wheeler, and/or even Harper.

The Phillies have made strong moves this offseason, such as hiring Caleb Cotham to be their next pitching coach. But, when Cotham was interviewed, one of the things that stood out was that he believed Wheeler, along with Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin, are all Cy Young Award contenders.

Cotham may never get the chance to work with Wheeler, nor see first-hand a potential future Hall of Famer in Harper every day, after all.

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