The Phillies introduced Bryce Harper to the city of Philadelphia in a press conference from the club's spring training facility, Spectrum Field, on Saturday afternoon. Harper agreed to a 13-year megadeal with the team earlier this week for a reported $330 million.
After a brief introduction, Harper donned his No. 3 Phillies jersey for the first time as an official member of the organization.
"I'm very proud, very happy to put this uniform on for the first time," Harper said. "I can’t wait to get on that field and do Philly nation proud.”
The 26-year-old star outfielder wore No. 34 as a member of the Washington Nationals but explained on Saturday that he'll wear No. 3 in Philadelphia out of respect for Hall of Famer Roy Halladay.
Harper said that a large factor in his decision was the love he felt from the Phillies and the City of Brotherly Love during his free agency process.
“Every time I came to Citizens Bank Park, I felt that [love]," Harper said.
From the ballpark workers and facility maintenance crew members to the front office and the team, Harper credited every individual in the Phillies organization with making Philadelphia feel like his family. He added that family was a big theme in his decision-making.
“It’s good to feel wanted by the Phillies and the fans of Philadelphia," Harper said. “I am going to grow my family in this city. I wanted to finish my career somewhere. I can’t wait to be a part of the Phillies for a long period of time."
Harper added that he wanted to "be able to dig his roots somewhere."
Even the Phillie Phanatic was there to welcome Harper to his new home.
When Phillies manager Gabe Kapler first heard the reports of Harper's historic contract from Clearwater, Fla., he called the acquisition "franchise-altering." Philadelphia echoed that sentiment on Saturday.
"If the reports are true that we acquired Bryce Harper, [that is] certainly franchise-altering, certainly season-altering for the Philadelphia Phillies," Kapler told reporters Thursday. "We were a great ball club coming into spring training without Bryce Harper, but if the reports are true, we are going to be an even better ball club with Bryce Harper."
Harper's megadeal sets a record for overall value and tops the 13-year, $325 million deal, an extension signed after the 2014 season by previous record holder Giancarlo Stanton.
After a seven-season tenure with the Washington Nationals that included six All-Star nods, Harper became a free agent for the first time in his career back in October. Harper entered the market as one of the most coveted players available.
While his 2018 campaign didn't compare to his breakout season in 2015, Harper still hit 34 home runs and ranked ninth in on-base percentage. He finished the season with a slash line of .249/.393/.496 and has a career line of .279/.388/.512.
With the Phillies' signing of Harper now official, the team has acquired three position players who were All-Stars in the previous year. The team also acquired catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins and former Seattle shortstop Jean Segura earlier this offseason.