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Bryce Harper, Nats agree to one-year contract extension

By The Sports Xchange
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper agreed to a $21 million one-year contract extension, averting salary arbitration with the club. The deal will make him the league's highest-paid player ever. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper agreed to a $21 million one-year contract extension, averting salary arbitration with the club. The deal will make him the league's highest-paid player ever. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with Bryce Harper, the team announced Saturday, which will make him MLB's highest-paid player ever.

While details of the contract were not disclosed by the Nationals, multiple media outlets reported that Harper will earn $21.625 million in 2018, keeping him from becoming eligible for salary arbitration.

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That salary would be a record for an arbitration-eligible player, topping the $19.75 million deal that current Boston left-hander David Price agreed to while with Detroit in 2015.

Washington general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters that the deal involves a "shared risk" for both sides, but offers the club cost assurances and provides Harper with the security to remain "comfortable" all year without focusing on a new contract.

"It's huge," Harper acknowledged. "We're able to go into the offseason and worry about other things."

Harper, who remains eligible for free agency after the 2018 season, is making $13.625 million this year. Along with the hefty raise, he will receive a $1 million bonus if he wins the National League MVP Award in 2018.

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The 24-year-old Harper was a unanimous winner of the NL MVP Award in 2015 and is off to a torrid start this season, entering Saturday batting .372 -- second in baseball to teammate Ryan Zimmerman -- with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.

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