Phillies fans played key role in acquisition of Bryce Harper
It was no secret that the Phillies were in the game for both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper throughout the entire free agency process. In fact, the Phillies were all in, talking about spending "super money" in attempts to land one, if not both of the prizes in this year's free agency.
We know how it all turned out now with Machado signing with the Padres for $300 million over 10 years. After many tense moments being the favorites then reportedly the underdogs, the Phillies inked Harper for 13 years and $330 millions. Some people thought the Phillies had Machado ahead of Harper for first choice, but perhaps that was never the case at all.
Phillies' managing general partner John Middleton noted that the fans played a huge part in the decision to pursue Harper over Machado. In a poll by the Philadelphia Inquirer on social media showed an overwhelming preference for Harper over Machado by 87 percent to 13 percent.
Looking to please the fans, which ultimately brings in money through ticket prices and concessions, Middleton knew that taking Machado while Harper was still available would have sat quite poorly with the fan base. Middleton recognized both players enormous talent with little differentiating them.
The aftermath of the Harper signing has showed thus far that Middleton made the right choice. Ticket sales and jersey sales have been astronomical, far exceeding expectations. In fact, Harper's number three Phillies jersey is the number one selling jersey of all time in the first 24 hours after its launch, according to Fanatics.
Bringing in Harper not only helps the Phillies in 2019, but for years to come as more top talent will likely want to join Harper in quest for World Series champions. After all, the ultimate measuring stick for this acquisition will be down the road if the Phillies bring home some championships.