Bryce Harper, Nationals Agree to 1-Year, $21.65 Million Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2017

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 9: Bryce Harper #34 of the Washington Nationals looks on from the dug out prior to a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 9, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matthew Hazlett/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals and superstar outfielder Bryce Harper reached an agreement Saturday on a one-year deal worth $21.65 million for the 2018 season.

Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post first reported the news. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports provided the financial details of the deal, which includes a $1 million bonus if Harper wins MVP next season, and pointed out it's the largest one-year pact for an arbitration-eligible player in MLB history.

The 24-year-old Las Vegas native remains on track to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2018 season after signing the new contract.

In December, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Harper was asking for a 10-year contract in the range of $400 million in discussions with the Nats about a long-term deal. The front office had "no intention" of meeting those demands at the time.

Chris Lingebach of CBS DC passed along comments the four-time All-Star selection and 2015 National League MVP made about potentially deserving the new contract record on 106.7 The Fan in February 2016.

"Yeah, I mean I don't really think about that stuff. I just try to play the years out and do everything I can to help my team win," Harper said. "But don't sell me short. That's what you're doing right now to me, so don't do that."

More recently, he told Nightengale in March he wasn't spending too much time thinking about the future.

"That's still two years down the road, and we've still got, what, 324 more [regular-season] games to go," Harper said. "It wouldn't be fair to anybody in this clubhouse if I started worrying about free agency. If you worry about the future, that's when you get yourself in trouble. You start thinking, 'I got to do this, I got to do that.' I want to live for now."

After putting up lackluster numbers by his high standards in 2016, the slugger has bounced back in the early stages of the current campaign. He's posted a .372/.496/.717 slash line with 10 home runs through 31 games for the Nationals.

All told, there's no doubt Harper is going to receive a monster contract following the 2018 season. He's one of the game's top players heading into what are typically a player's peak years. The only question is whether Washington will reverse course and consider giving in to his record-breaking asking price.

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