When the Philadelphia Phillies handed $330 million to outfielder Bryce Harper, it was met with a slew of mixed emotions. Some asked why any player would be worth that much money, while others praised the move as the missing piece for a Phillies' championship run.
Regardless of what you yourself thought of the contract at the time, it's pretty clear that the early stages of the deal haven't produced the expected results.
Latest on Bryce Harper:— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) June 4, 2019
•0-4 last night, 0 for last 8
•5 game losing streak
•Leads majors in strikeouts
•on pace for 5th most K’s in history
•54th in WAR
•60th in OPS
•54th in HRs
•113th in batting average
•Booed every at bat, every stadium
•Year 1 of 13. pic.twitter.com/ePbFzoghpv
To be fair, Harper's season hasn't been terrible -- he's always been a high on-base guy, and his .357 on-base percentage is close to the top of the league. He's slugging .466 and has an OPS+ of 113, meaning his OPS is 13 percent above league average. One thing that hasn't gotten better, though, is his inability to avoid the strikeout, as he currently sits atop the leaderboard in Ks with 87.
Again, not awful. But for that much money? It's not even close to what you want. In fact, Harper is being outplayed by guys making significantly less money -- Kole Calhoun, for example, who is eclipsing Harper's numbers despite only earning around $9 million this season.
Kole Calhoun 2019 slashline: .242/.338/.493. (.830 OPS)— Karl Rasmussen (@Karlras920) June 12, 2019
Bryce Harper 2019 slashline: .251/.357/.466. (.823 OPS)
Neither Harper nor Calhoun have been travesties this season. I would even go as far as to say neither player has been below-average. And if the Phillies make a deep postseason run, Harper will be at the center of it. But where he's at this season makes you wonder if all that money was really worth it, at least at this point in the deal.