Thursday, free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper agreed to a 13-year deal worth $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies. The contract includes complete no-trade protection, but zero opt-outs -- reportedly at Harper's request.
The Phillies, as it turns out, were not the only team willing to offer a contract exceeding 10 years and $300 million. The San Francisco Giants, who emerged as a darkhorse late in the offseason, were reportedly willing to give Harper 12 years and $310 million. State income taxes, however, proved to be part of the difference:
I’m told Giants made a 12-year, $310 million offer to Bryce Harper. They were willing to go higher but would have had to go well over $330 million to get it done because of California taxes.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) February 28, 2019
Had the Giants landed Harper, it would've altered the complexion of their team in a way greater than any other potential suitor.
As it stands, the Giants project to enter the season with an outfield including some combination of Mac Williamson, Steven Duggar, Gerardo Parra, Cameron Maybin, and Rule 5 pick Drew Ferguson. That is, to put it kindly, not a great group.
Harper would've given the Giants a legitimate boost in other ways, too. San Francisco's core is on the older side, and he would've fit in well -- both to maximize what's left of this cycle, if anything, and whatever the Giants can put on the field in three to five years' time.
Alas, we'll never know what would've happened if Harper had headed to San Francisco. Heck, we don't even know how Harper in Philadelphia will play out.