Bryce Harper appears ready to sign his next contract with the Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies and "contract negotiations" have not coincided well in recent headlines. After all, the club recently broke off extension discussions with Opening Day starter Aaron Nola and will not resume talks until after the 2023 season.
In the meantime, there is another Phillies star who does not seem to mind exploring his next contract — and it is ironically Bryce Harper, who is not set to become a free agent until after the 2031 season. The two-time National League MVP recently made a bold statement to The Athletic's Matt Gelb:
"I absolutely love playing for the Philadelphia Phillies. I can't explain to you how much I love it. And how much I enjoy it. I really can't. I want to play here until I'm 45 years old, and I really believe that I can."- Bryce Harper to The Athletic
Currently 30 years old, Harper playing for the Phillies until he is 45 would mean his career lasting through at least the 2038 season. If the Las Vegas native remains healthy throughout that duration, he would play more than 20 seasons in a Phillies uniform and well surpass Mike Schmidt for the franchise record in games played (2,404), among many other statistics.
Already in his short time in Philadelphia, Harper has earned All-Star, Silver Slugger, and Most Valuable Player Award honors. His trophy case surely will only need to get bigger as his prime seasons continue. Through parts of four seasons so far with the organization, Harper has slashed a dominant .282/.394/.546 with 115 doubles, 101 home runs, 296 RBI, and 294 walks.
Having undergone offseason Tommy John surgery, the 11-year veteran is currently sidelined through at least the first two full months of the season — although the Phillies apparently will not place him on the 60-day injured list right away, which is promising news.
Whenever Harper returns healthy, his bat will only improve an already potent lineup that now features perennial All-Star shortstop Trea Turner, a former teammate of Harper's where both of their future Hall of Fame careers began — with the Washington Nationals.