After months of speculation, the Bryce Harper sweepstakes has reportedly came to an end.
Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies reached agreement on a 13-year, $330 million contract Thursday afternoon, according to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman. This new contract means it is entirely possible that Harper ends his career with the Phillies, as the pact also includes a full no-trade clause.
Landing a long-term contract was a huge priority for Harper, per his agent Scott Boras, who said Harper wanted to sign the “longest contract he could get.” Harper also wanted to secure a $300 million-plus guarantee, and once Manny Machado received a ten-year, $300 million contract from the San Diego Padres last week, it became very clear that both Harper and Boras wanted to sign a more lucrative deal than Machado’s.
Harper’s contract is also now the most lucrative contract in Major League Baseball history, surprising the 13-year, $325 million contract New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins in November 2014. Stanton told reporters earlier today that he knew “eventually” someone would end up topping his contract. Harper, Stanton, and Machado are the only three players in the MLB history to receive $300 million-plus guaranteed contracts.
Here’s the full breakdown of Harper’s contract with the Phillies, courtesy of ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
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The signing of Harper caps off a monster off-season for the Phillies, with various media reports suggesting that Philadelphia is now ‘out’ on free agent pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel, unless they ended up wanting short-term deals due to what the market is suggesting. In-addition to adding Harper, the Phillies have also added Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, and J.T. Realmuto this winter.
Harper, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Washington Nationals, is now scheduled to play against Washington at least 247 times over the course of the next 13 years. It was reported by USA TODAY Sports in November that Harper turned down a $300 million extension offer from the Nationals in September, and while the team was still open to negotiating with Harper, that $300 million offer was pulled from the table following the rejection.
Last season, Harper struggled for the first 94 games of the season, batting just .214/.365/.468 with 23 home runs and 54 runs batted in during that stretch. He started to look more like the National League’s 2015 MVP Award Winner in the second half when his batting line jumped to .300/.434/.538 and included 11 home runs and 46 runs batted in. Even with the struggles that accompanied Harper at time’s last year, he still ranked as the 18th best hitter in baseball (tied with Jose Altuve and Eugenio Suarez) thanks to a 135 wRC+.
During Harper’s tenure in Washington D.C. the Nationals found great regular season success and captured the National League East division crown four separate times, but never ended up winning a playoff series. He leaves the Nationals having never accomplished what many speculated he and star pitcher Stephen Strasburg could do for the franchise as back-to-back number one overall draft picks. Still, Harper and Strasburg help dig the Nationals out of a really dark time, and created a lot of great memories a long the way.
In terms of WAR, Harper stacks up as one of the ten greatest players in Nationals/Expos history:
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Tying up a few loose ends on Harper’s contract details, there will also end up being no deferred money in the deal, and no opt-out clauses are included. The 26-year-old Harper is on-track to make over $385 million in his career.
Harper will be officially introduced as the newest member of the Phillies during a press conference Saturday.
Photo: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports