Oddsmakers Were Prepared for Phillies to Sign Bryce Harper

Oddsmakers Were Prepared for Phillies to Sign Bryce Harper article feature image
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Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Bryce Harper.

  • On Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year deal worth $330 million.
  • Over the past couple of weeks, oddsmakers had already begun to factor in the fact that Harper would sign with Philadelphia.
  • Philly's World Series odds, which were at one point 18-1, are now 12-1, while their win total has moved from 86.5 to 89.5.

With Manny Machado off the market and headed to San Diego, it was only a matter of time.

Bryce Harper is back in the N.L. East, but will be making his new home about 150 miles from the nation’s capital. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies signed the superstar outfielder to a 13-year deal worth $330 million — the largest contract in MLB history. Harper’s deal is $30m more than the 10-year, $300m deal Machado signed on Feb. 19.

Odds Movement

The Phillies are among four teams in the N.L. East expected to contend for the division title and potentially the World Series.

Philadelphia’s World Series  odds were +1800 at the beginning of the offseason and had moved to +1400 at the time of the Machado signing. When Harper rumors heated up last week, they moved to +1200, but that’s where they will remain, at least for now.

no adjustments to the Phillies odds as Harper to Philadelphia was already factored in

— Jeff Sherman (@golfodds) February 28, 2019


At Westgate, the Phillies are tied for the sixth-best odds to win the World Series with the Cardinals, Cubs and Nationals. They’re behind the Astros, Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees and Indians.

Meanwhile, Philly’s win total, which opened at 86.5, is now up to 89.5. Philly has also become the division co-favorite at +225 with the Nationals. The Braves and Mets are both a rung back at +300.

New-Look Phillies

This is the fourth major addition to the Phillies lineup this winter. In early December, they traded Carlos Santana and JP Crawford to Seattle for two-time All-Star shortstop Jean Segura. Shortly afterwards, they signed former MVP Andrew McCutchen.

In early February, Philly acquired up highly sought after catcher J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins in exchange for Jorge Alfaro and prospects. Though not as notable of a name as Harper or McCutchen, Realmuto is considered by many to be the best catcher in baseball.

With Harper, their lineup is one of the best in baseball. Former outfielder Rhys Hoskins is expected to move to first base, with McCutchen, Odubel Herrera and Harper starting from left to right field.


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Of the players listed below, the only one to post a below-average wRC+ last season was Herrera, and that was just by a hair. This will be a very difficult lineup for opposing teams to navigate.

Potential Lineup

  1. Andrew McCutchen – LF
  2. Jean Segura – SS
  3. Bryce Harper – RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins – 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto – C
  6. Odubel Herrera – CF
  7. Maikel Franco – 3B
  8. Cesar Hernandez – 2B
  9. Pitcher

Could Philadelphia still be busy in the coming weeks? Reports earlier in offseason stated that they’d optimally like to sign Harper, lefty starter Dallas Keuchel and closer Craig Kimbrel. Both pitchers are still on the market, but recently some doubt has been cast on those potential signings.

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