Can $330M Man Bryce Harper Coexist with MLB’s Most Intense Manager?

Bleacher Report

The first day went well, and the second day went even better.

If Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies keep having days and weekends like the one they just had, no one will be asking whether his record-setting 13-year, $330 million contract was a huge mistake.

Three games into the season, Harper has two home runs and the Phillies are 3-0. One weekend in, Harper is right for Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is right for Harper. And the manager who attracted so much attention last year is right for him, too.

"I think it's the perfect fit," Phillies bench coach Rob Thomson said.

He was talking about Harper and Gabe Kapler, the second-year manager who can match Harper's intensity, if not his $25-plus million annual average salary. It's the relationship everyone will be watching, maybe more than any other manager-player relationship in the game—maybe more than any relationship between any two people in baseball.

Harper attracts attention, as does Kapler. While both have their supporters, both have plenty of detractors, too. And for everyone inside the Phillies clubhouse who sees this as a match that will work, there's someone on the outside equally convinced it won't.

"I see issues," said one National League executive familiar with Harper from his time with the Washington Nationals.

There are no issues for now, which is either a sign that Harper and Kapler are off to a great start or it's still the honeymoon period in a marriage that came about when Harper agreed to terms with Philly on Feb. 28. They've only had four weeks of spring training and three regular-season wins together, all of which were filled with standing ovations and home runs and curtain calls.

#baseball, #professional

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