What can’t Bryce Harper do? The reigning National League MVP seemed to be acting as an assistant GM when he made comments earlier this week indicating his desire for the Phillies to add another slugger and then followed that up with a conversation with owner John Middleton.

Lo and behold, Kyle Schwarber agreed to a deal with the Phillies on Wednesday, providing them with a big bat.

It wouldn’t be the first time that Harper has campaigned for a signing, as the Phillies previously appeased him by bringing back J.T. Realmuto.

Write columnist Marcus Hayes: “Why does Harper’s word command so much power? Because, said one league source, Middleton is terrified of irritating Harper.”

Oh. The Phillies apparently have themselves a strongman in more ways than one.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

Whom should the Phillies sign next?: sports.daily@inquirer.com

Time is running out ...

... to fill out our Bracket Jawn for the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments.

Take some time to read our coverage of the men’s tournament, as there are a number of teams with Philly flavor to them.

Collin Gillespie is Philly through and through, having been instilled what came out of Jay Wright clinics and influenced by coaches earlier in life before he ever became a star for Villanova.

Villanova’s Big East foe Providence has a team that has gotten huge contributions from guard Jared Bynum, a transfer from St. Joseph’s, and Ed Croswell, a Philly native who transferred from La Salle. The No. 4-seeded Friars actually have three Big 5 transfers on the roster thanks to associate head coach Jeff Battle, a Philly native and veteran recruiter who likes to talk Sixers with Croswell.

And today’s first-round game between Iowa and Richmond not only features Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery, but also another Philly native in Spiders coach Chris Mooney. The two are close, have a shared Ivy League background, and there’s a lot of mutual respect.

Early Birds

Just how good was Haason Reddick last season for the Panthers? He came up with back-to-back sacks against the Eagles, looking explosive. There are some weaknesses, but a review of the film shows how versatile a piece Reddick can be within defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s scheme.

After agreeing to terms with Reddick, the Eagles were relatively quiet on the first day of free agency. The question now becomes what the team will do at wide receiver, and on defense, what’s the next move? Safeties Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod are free agents, and the Eagles have options to perhaps bring one back or add a cost-effective player at the position.

One mainstay the Eagles have is radio voice Merrill Reese, who announced he had signed a new contract to remain in the booth.

Extra Innings

Harper spoke with Middleton and the front office about the state of the roster after coming off the Phillies’ practice field on Tuesday. Harper says he was just “letting them know how I feel.” He didn’t have to wait long after that conversation to know how they felt, too. After arriving in the clubhouse on Wednesday morning, Harper learned he had a new teammate and another big bat in the lineup after Schwarber agreed to a four-year deal.

Who’s playing center field? Joe Girardi says it will be a competition in spring training with Odúbel Herrera and Matt Vierling as the lead candidates.

Girardi’s position on COVID-19 vaccinations among Phillies players hasn’t changed, even though it may affect his lineup for a series in Toronto in July.

Next: The Phillies open their spring training schedule against the Tigers at 1:05 p.m. Friday.

Off the Dribble

The Sixers have stars at almost every position in their starting lineup, as is the requirement in today’s NBA. But while Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris can keep them in contention — or better — on any given night, there are times when they need to rest and the reserves must keep the team afloat.

The inability of the Sixers’ bench to complete this feat has been on display since Seth Curry and Andre Drummond were included in the trade that brought Harden to Philly. As Ben Simmons was shipped off, so too was the Sixers’ depth. The maturation of Isaiah Joe, lack of production from Furkan Korkmaz and Paul Millsap, and the injury problems of Danny Green and Shake Milton have also played a part.

Coach Doc Rivers is aware of this issue and will be charged with correcting it. He will likely be forced to tighten the rotation soon, but in the meantime he’s hoping his players step up: “‘They have to seize the moment.”

The Sixers had enough to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night as Embiid scored 35 points in a 118-114 victory.

Next: The Sixers play the Dallas Mavericks at 7 p.m. Friday at the Wells Fargo Center (NBCSP).

On the Fly

It’s no secret that the Flyers could potentially trade Claude Giroux before Monday’s deadline.

But Giroux isn’t the only Flyer who could be on the move. With several pending unrestricted free agents and a few young players who might benefit from a change of scenery, Giana Han breaks down which Flyers could potentially be in play.

Next: The Flyers host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. The team will honor Giroux, who will be playing his 1,000th NHL game, starting at 7 p.m.

Worth a Look

We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Marcus Hayes, Mike Jensen, Christian Red, Jeff McLane, EJ Smith, Rob Tornoe, Scott Lauber, Alex Coffey, Giana Han, Zech Lambert, Siobhan Nolan, and Ariel Simpson.