Phillies Bryce Harper arrives for spring training, says Philly deserves a World Series title

Bryce Harper has arrived in Clearwater to kick off the 2024 season. He spoke about his move to first base, the departure of Rhys Hoskins, and the high expectations for this year's team.
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper says Philadelphia deserves a World Series
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper says Philadelphia deserves a World Series / Mark Brown/GettyImages

Bryce Harper has arrived at spring training and spent some time talking to reporters. When Harper talks, everyone listens — and he had some interesting things to say on Sunday morning.

This was a noteworthy offseason for the superstar because he officially made the full-time switch to become the everyday first baseman for the Phillies. Spending most of his 12-year career in the outfield, it's a big deal to learn a completely new position for the betterment of the organization.

But Harper made it clear that playing first base wasn't necessarily his preference, but that he's willing to do whatever is best for the team. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies want him at first base, and Harper is willing to do it.

So, will Harper ever go back to right field? He doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think I’ll move back out to right. But we'll see,” Harper told reporters, per's Todd Zolecki. "... I wanted them to know that I was on board with anything they wanted to do — if that was right field, if that was first base, and I told them that.”

Harper has been the epitome of a team player since he joined the Phillies franchise, and he continues to lead both on and off the field.

Harper's move to first forced Hoskins out

His permanent switch to first base put the writing on the wall to say goodbye to one of his beloved teammates, friend, and fan favorite Rhys Hoskins.

Hoskins, Phillies first baseman for six years before 2023, was a free agent this year. With first base occupied by Harper, there was no wiggle room to keep Hoskins around. The 30-year-old signed a two-year, $34 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, saying goodbye to the only team he’s ever known.

Harper was sad to see his friend go.

“Any time you get a player like that, a franchise player, that goes somewhere else, one of the guys that is loved in this clubhouse, loved in the community, he’s done so much for the city of Philadelphia as a whole. Him and Jayme are just two great individuals. So seeing him go is definitely tough.”

It’s been tough from a fan perspective as well. The Brewers posted their now infamous video on social media of the Hoskins bat slam in the 2022 playoffs that sees Hoskins' Phillies jersey transform into a Brewers jersey. Philly fans didn’t take a liking to this video and spammed the post with comments.

Harper expects to bring home a World Series

That all being said, Harper is excited for the upcoming year and think they have the team to bring home a World Series championship.

"We’ve got to win more games," Harper said, per NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark. "And understand this is a window that we got to win in and our ownership deserves that, our fans deserve that, Dombrowski deserves that as well, and we [the players] do too. So, we have to go out there and play our game and play Phillie baseball, and we'll see what happens."

Bryce Harper, the bona fide leader of this team, has officially arrived for the 2024 season and is bringing high expectations. Leading both on the field and off, doing whatever he can for the franchise, Harper is looking to finally get a ring for himself but also for the city of Philadelphia.