Matt Klentak provides details on Bryce Harper signing

Andrew Porter
March 04, 2019 - 8:40 am

A lot goes into the process of signing Major League Baseball's biggest free-agent to a 13-year deal worth $330 million. 

Related: PHOTOS: Bryce Harper in a Phillies uniform​

Phillies GM Matt Klentak, who joined Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show on Monday to provide some details, called John Middleton's role in the Bryce Harper signing "remarkable."

"It was pretty remarkable," said Klentak. "This is the first time since I've been here, and maybe the first time in a long time—in Phillies history—that ownership has been involved in a recruiting pitch like this. It was pretty well covered throughout. John flew us out there, he was included in it—in the trip to Las Vegas in early January. He was on the phone a number of times with Scott Boras in the last couple of weeks. And of course, the big trip he and his wife flew out just the two of them. No baseball operations people to go with them. Really that was, I say recruiting, but it was really just conversation and connecting and educational, for all parties."

Related: Videos of Bryce Harper's first workout with Phillies​

Middleton's pitch was simple. He didn't care about the money that Harper would generate through ticket sales, jersey sales, etc. Middleton is after one thing: winning. 

As for Middleton's famous "stupid money" comment, Klentak called it a "double-edged sword."

Klentak admitted that he couldn't have imagined excitement that Harper is receiving in Philadelphia, as the team has reportedly already sold over 220,000 tickets. 

"I wouldn't have projected this either," Klentak said. "And (Harper's agent) Scott Boras told us...and it looks like he was right." 

Klentak, Middleton, and the Phillies entered free-agency after one of the two big star free-agents: Harper or Manny Machado. Klentak admitted Machado's comment about not hustling on every play did give him pause and explained why Harper fits Philadelphia perfectly. 

"First of all, if you want to get a little bit nerdy about it, players that come up at 19 years old and dominate at 19, that's a very short list. Almost all of them become Hall Of Famers," Klentak said. "The dude is 26, the same age as Rhys Hoskins. The other thing is the grit, the hustle, the style of play—he plays with his hair on fire. We're well aware of our city."

You can listen to the full conversation below.