Bryce Harper wanted to play for the New York Yankees. His best bet now is to play against them in the 2019 World Series.
The New York Yankees may reap what they didn’t sow in 2019.
When Bryce Harper signed a record-breaking, $330 million deal to play in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philadelphia Phillies rocketed to the top of the 2019 World Series odds.
Fittingly, the Bombers are also a favorite to play in the Fall Classic.
Per OddsShark, New York, the Houston Astros, and the Boston Red Sox are all sitting pretty at +600. The Los Angeles Dodgers are +700, and the Phillies come in at +850.
Bettors are also risking cash on a Yankees-Phillies championship showdown, per ESPN’s Ben Fawkes:
Top five teams by World Series bets at @FDSportsbook in NJ:
Since Bryce Harper announcement, nearly 80% of WS bets have been on Phillies at FD.
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkesESPN) March 1, 2019
Long before Harper hit free agency, many MLB experts assumed the phenom would end up in pinstripes. In fact, both Harper and fellow 26-year-old free agent Manny Machado had the Bronx atop their wish lists.
However, once the bidding began, the Bomber were nowhere to be found. Machado took $30 million a year to play in sunny San Diego, and Harper inked his megadeal with Philly.
The Yankees bet on themselves instead, doling out contract extensions to players currently on their roster. Luis Severino and Aaron Hicks are in the books; Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius could be next.
If the oddsmakers predictions are correct, the Bombers have an excellent chance to prove they made the right choice in not pursuing blockbuster free agents.
However, if they lose to Harper and his Phillies, many New York fans will throw a temper tantrum. The media will pile on with articles and talking head ridiculing Hal Steinbrenner for frugality.
Until that happens, though, the Yankees look smart for dodging a 13-year, $330 million bullet.