The Phillies also reportedly mulled a 20-year deal for Harper at one point.
When the Phillies agreed to a 13-year, $330 million deal with Bryce Harper last week, they added the final piece to their offseason puzzle.
As detailed by Matt Gelb of The Athletic, the four months leading up to that signing were all part of Philadelphia's plan to overhaul the roster this offseason while also signing at least one of Harper and Manny Machado.
The Phillies reportedly expected Machado to go wherever he was offered the most money. Some in the front office felt Machado was a better overall player than Harper, according to The Athletic.
Most rated Machado as the better all-around player — an elite hitter and defender with a body type that should age well.
Machado was a more consistent performer, but Harper’s variance created the potential for ultra-productive seasons. Harper was more marketable. That mattered.
Machado ended up signing with the Padres on a deal worth $300 million. The Phillies signed Harper to a 13-year contract, but according to The Athletic, they mulled a 20-year deal during "internal brainstorming."
Harper reportedly told the Phillies he was looking to sign somewhere so he would know "what hat he'd wear to Cooperstown," according to Gelb.
The Phillies also offered Patrick Corbin a five-year deal with an average annual value great than $20 million, according to The Athletic, but Corbin ultimately signed with the Nationals on a six-year contract worth $120 million.