After leading the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series, one has to wonder why the St. Louis Cardinals did not sign Bryce Harper in 2019.
The St. Louis Cardinals seemed to be on the cusp of something special in 2022, but a few different factors seemed to hold them back from being anything more than their first round exit. One of those missing pieces was a third impact bat, especially one from the left-handed side. That bat looks a lot like Phillies’ Bryce Harper, who knocked them out of the playoffs this year.
Harper, who was just named the 2022 NLCS MVP after leading the Phillies to the World Series after a Championship Series that saw him bat .400/.400/.850 with 2 HR and 5 RBI, was a free agent after the 2018 season at just age-26, and many believed Harper would end up surpassing $400 million with his contract. The market ended up being a lot cooler for the slugger, and he ended up signing in Philadelphia for 13 years, $330 million.
Many around baseball are already seeing this as a steal of a contract. Many worried if any team who signed Harper to such a deal would regret it, but instead, the Phillies look like they have a bargain on their hands. In 455 games for the Phillies, Harper has hit .282/.394/.546 with 101 HR and 296 RBI, winning NL MVP in 2021 and playing like an MVP in other seasons. Harper has been better in Philadelphia than he was in Washington, which is almost unheard of for a star leaving his former team.
The real travesty of it all is that the Cardinals really could have landed Harper if they wanted to, and maybe we are talking about St. Louis being in the World Series today rather than the Phillies. It’s hard to predict what would have happened if the Cardinals had signed Bryce Harper, but we can look back and analyze their decision not to. Here is my breakdown of the Cardinals decision to not sign Harper, and how they should be kicking themselves this week.