Cataldi: Phillies, Harper in staredown over opt-out

Angelo Cataldi and the Morning Team
February 26, 2019 - 8:31 am

Angelo Cataldi opened Tuesday's show a little bit differently than normal, breaking a story about the Phillies' pursuit of Bryce Harper. 

Related: Latest Harper Rumors: Dodgers, Phillies, and others?​

Cataldi, according to a source, says a 10 year, 330 million dollar deal is currently being held up by a three-year opt-out clause Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, are seeking from the Phillies. 

"Here's what has actually been going on," Cataldi said on his Tuesday morning show on 94WIP. "By the way, I can't reveal who gave me this information, but I'll just say a little birdie. This is great information. Friday, (John) Middleton goes to Vegas. By then they've already got the money settled. He's there for one reason—to get the final approval of the last detail in the negotiation, which is something that didn't even exist 10 years ago. It's called the opt-out clause. Now, in big, big deals the player gets the opportunity to bail on the contract at a certain point. Scott Boras, from day one, has insisted that there be an opt-out clause in there, quite honestly, because he's not positive that Harper will like it here. That is part of the whole situation.

"Boras said we have to have an opt out and it has to be after year three," Cataldi continued. "Three years guaranteed and then we get the chance to leave. If we don't, then we get the other seven years and he's here for the full ten. He gets the one opt out after the three. They (the Phillies) say, not only does that not work for us, but we can't sell that to Philadelphia. We're gonna poison the well before he gets here. He's basically saying, we're not sure about Philadelphia. The opt out clause is what's holding up an agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies and I can tell you, Scott Boras insists that it be three years."

The Dodgers were reported to be back in the mix on Monday and Cataldi expanded on that as well. 

"The Dodgers are back in the bidding, but only on a short-term contract," Cataldi explained. "Not more than four, probably three years. I can tell you those are the years that are being discussed with Harper and the Dodgers. So, they are not a threat for the preferred mega 10 year deal."

USA Today's Bob Nightengale told the 94WIP Marks & Reese show that he "can't see Harper signing a short-term deal."

Cataldi then began his campaign urging callers to persuade the Phillies to accept the three-year opt-out clause on a 10-year deal for Harper. 

"When I heard this whole thing laid out to me, and this is a phenomenal source, I went, 'So what's the problem? Just say yes,'" Cataldi said. 

The final prong of this whole thing is that Millville, NJ native Mike Trout is set to become an unrestricted free-agent before the 2021 season, which would be Harper's third season in Philadelphia. If the Phillies could land Trout in free-agency that offseason, they would have Harper and Trout for at least 2021, even if they accepted Harper's three-year opt-out. 

"The way this looks like it would work out, one year you would have guaranteed (Mike) Trout if he comes here," Cataldi said. "Because Trout really does want to come here. Trout and Harper would be on the same team. If Harper didn't like co-exisiting with a bigger star than him, he would have a chance to leave."