Howdy everyone, and welcome to the Friday edition of the Los Angeles Times daily sports newsletter. My name is Houston Mitchell and I’m your host for the festivities. Subscribe to this newsletter by clicking here.
Let’s get to it.
Bryce Harper agreed to a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, which sets a record for the largest free-agent deal in the history of North American sports, effectively guarantees Harper will finish his career in the City of Brotherly Love and rejuvenates a franchise that has not reached the playoffs since 2011.
The Phillies outbid the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants during a frantic week of negotiations.
Why did he pick Philadelphia?
“Bryce has real goals,” his agent, Scott Boras told The Times. “He wanted to get the longest contract he could get. He wanted to stay in one city. He wanted to look for a ballpark he hit the ball well in, saw the ball well in, and a franchise that was successful and had the wherewithal to give him a chance to win every year.”
Bill Plaschke, for one, things the Dodgers blew it by not signing Harper. You can read what he says here.
Cody Bellinger: “It’s really a pretty big contract, so … good for him, congratulations to him, it’s a great accomplishment. It’s the National League still, but it’s great that he’s not in the division.”
Dave Roberts: “Wherever he landed, ultimately, we were gonna have to make an adjustment, whether it was here or San Francisco or Philadelphia. He felt that’s what was best for him and his family.”
Andrew Friedman: “Our mind-set, and the way we go about personnel moves, is to never say never to anything, to explore anything that’s out there and figure out if something makes sense. Friedman said just before Harper’s choice was made. “If it does, we’ll be aggressive. If it doesn’t, we feel we’re in a good position with respect to our position players and pitching staff.”
Several Dodgers were surprised at the length of Harper’s contract — “13 years is interesting,” third baseman Justin Turner said — but there wasn’t really a sense of disappointment that Harper did not choose Los Angeles.
Clayton Kershaw update: He played catch at 60 feet for five minutes on Thursday and all apparently went well.
What do you think? Are you disappointed the Dodgers didn’t sign Harper, or are you fine with them not getting him? Click here to vote and let us know.
There are appears to be nothing wrong with running back Todd Gurley, with coach Sean McVay telling our own Gary Klein, that Gurley’s subpar performances stemmed not from the condition of his left knee but from McVay’s failure to give him the right opportunities. He said Gurley — the recipient of a record $60-million extension before last season — would not undergo any offseason procedures on a knee that in 2014 required major reconstructive surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“From a physical and really a mental standpoint he’s in a good place,” McVay said. “And we’re excited about how Todd’s feeling moving into the offseason.”
Odds and Ends
Helene Elliott takes a look at the stumbling Kings, including coach Willie Desjardins’ failure to back goalie Jonathan Quick the other night…. Lakers are back on point with Rajon Rondo in starting lineup…. A new Melvin Gordon contract is atop the Chargers' priorities as they look to replenish roster…. Clippers continue postseason push with ‘another playoff game’ in Sacramento today…. Colby Covington storms UFC workout, claims 'corruption' and hints at exit…. Fairfax’s Daylen Williams emerges from father’s shadow with sensational senior season…. Angels' Shohei Ohtani expects to start hitting balls flipped to him 'very soon.'… Jaylen Hands makes an incredible three-pointer to cement UCLA’s 93-88 overtime win over USC.
Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)
Milwaukee vs. Lakers, 7:30 p.m., Spectrum Sportsnet, ESPN, 710 ESPN
Clippers at Sacramento, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
Dodgers vs. Cleveland, 5 p.m.
Dodgers vs. San Diego, 5 p.m., ESPN+, Sportsnet LA
Angels vs. Kansas City, noon, FSW, KLAA 830 AM
Vegas at Ducks, 7 p.m., FSW
Born on this date
1920: Baseball broadcaster Harry Caray
1925: Baseball player Al Rosen
1926: NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle
1963: NHL player Ron Francis
1973: NBA player Chris Webber