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Phillies spending big bucks isn’t ‘stupid money’

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Bryce Harper is officially off the market. The former MVP will become a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
USA TODAY

Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton vowed to be aggressive this winter, telling USA TODAY Sports three months ago that he would be willing to spend stupid money, and Thursday afternoon, the Phillies finally got their man.

Bryce Harper agreed to a historic 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies, the largest in baseball history, where he could spend the rest of his career.

“Harp wanted length,’’ Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, told USA TODAY Sports in a text message, “and one team.’’

He got all of that, and the most money, too.

This wasn’t stupid money.

This was an owner simply being aggressive, and no matter who jumped into the fray, he wasn’t going to let Harper get away.

And man, is this ever an owner who badly wants to win.

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The Phillies, who had started to brace themselves for fierce fan backlash if they didn’t land Harper, began to worry when the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants met with Harper this past week in Las Vegas. But instead of retreating, Philly went for the gusto.

Middleton — who was negotiating the contract alone by the end of this 117-day journey, meeting alone with Harper and Boras six days ago — kept increasing his offer. The Phillies were willing to make Harper the richest free agent in history.

They just weren’t willing to give him an opt-out.

If you wanted to come to Philly, Middleton told him, you’ve got to be all-in. He didn’t want the Phillies’ fanbase to think this was merely a rental. He wanted the fanbase to know that Harper was coming home to stay.

The Phillies win.

Harper wins.

And Middleton is a hero in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Now, all they have to do is win.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale

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