Bryce Harper explains why he chose Phillies in free agency
Bryce Harper said Philadelphia "felt like a home" as he explained his family motivated his decision to sign for the Phillies.
Six-time All-Star outfielder Harper, who previously spent seven seasons with the Washington Nationals before entering free agency, spoke to reporters on Saturday for the first time since signing a record-breaking 13-year, $330 million contract.
"It's a family decision for me. It's where I felt comfortable throughout the whole process," Harper said.
"I talked to my wife, I talked to my mum, my dad and we all made a decision to do the things we could to get back to Philly, or anywhere I was going, and really sit down and see where I was going to be happy, where our family would be happy for a long period of time - whether that was in D.C., in L.A. or Philly or wherever.
"It was where I felt like we could win, where we felt like we could build a family and do the things that we could to have a great career for the rest of the time."
Harper, who will be 39 when his contract ends, reiterated his decision came down to the fact he wanted to be in a city where he can put roots down, grow a family and help build a championship-winning franchise.
We got him. pic.twitter.com/VdoH54Hg5F— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 2, 2019
"It felt right. It felt like a home. It felt like somewhere I can be for a long time and that was important to me," Harper explained.
"I'm going to grow my family in the city and that's the biggest thing for me. I wanted to be somewhere for a long period of time. I wanted to finish my career somewhere and they made that commitment to me."
Harper explained that he grew to love the city of Philadelphia over the past seven years when he travelled with the Nationals to play at Citizens Bank Park.
"I've grown to love playing in Philly, love playing in Citizens Bank Park and it feels good to know that they are very committed to this organisation and to the fans and to the city and that means a lot," Harper added.
"You feel the love, you feel the intent, you feel the pureness in the people that come to the ballpark every day."
bRyCe HaRpEr DoEsNt WaNt To bE iN pHiIlY pic.twitter.com/i9Pxvu4qQY— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 2, 2019
Harper also expressed his excitement over how the Phillies have already reshaped their roster with trades and free-agent signings, including the additions of outfielder Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura, catcher J. T. Realmuto and pitcher David Robertson.
"This team is filled with perennial All-Stars that can be All-Stars every single year, [they] did a great job this offseason to assemble that roster," Harper added.
"The thing about the East is it's a juggernaut. I'm not going to tell you that I'm going to come in this year and win a World Series or win the division or anything like that. Of course we all want that to happen. That's your goal when you walk into spring training. That's the goal of the fans, that's the goal of everybody.
"But good things take time as well."