Bryce Harper agrees to 13-year, $330 million deal with Phillies: reports
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Bryce Harper and the Phillies have agreed to terms on a historic 13-year, $330 million contract, ending the star outfielder’s extended time on the free agent market, according to ESPN. The deal, first reported by MLB Network, breaks the previous total for largest contract in baseball history, which was held by Giancarlo Stanton at $325 million.
There are no opt-outs in the deal, so it’s guaranteed Harper will be signed in Philadelphia through 2031. It also doesn’t include any deferrals, which had reportedly been part of the Nationals’ offer to him last year.
Harper’s signing will conclude the second part of a lengthy saga in which baseball’s top two free agents spent months waiting for offers to their liking. Manny Machado, the other big name available over the winter, agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres on Feb. 20.
The Phillies had consistently been labeled as a contender to sign Harper and/or Machado throughout the offseason. By poaching Harper away from D.C., the Phillies have not only added a potential MVP candidate to their lineup, but taken one away from one of the teams that can stand in their way.
The Dodgers and Giants were listed as Harper’s other primary suitors down the stretch this month.
Consistency has been an issue for Harper at times during his career. When he’s at his best, you see performance like the groundbreaking 2015 season in which he led the league in home runs, runs scored, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS en route to running away with the NL MVP voting.
However, a year later, Harper’s batting numbers dipped to .243/.373/.441, and according to Baseball-Reference, his wins above replacement fell from an otherworldly 10.0 to a below-average 1.5. The past two seasons have seen better stats at the plate, but there’s really only been one season in which Harper played up to his potential. The Phillies are betting that he’ll be able to find more consistency in a different environment.