Superstar outfielder Bryce Harper, whose free agency after seven years with the Washington Nationals had dragged on into the early days of spring training, was on Thursday finalizing a $330 million, 13-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, ESPN reports.
The deal exceeds that of Manny Machado, this off-season's other prize free-agent slugger, who last week signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres, and makes Harper's deal the largest in baseball history. It reportedly includes a no-trade clause and no opt-outs, meaning Harper could be in Philadelphia for the rest of his career.
Harper, who was anointed "Baseball's LeBron" by Sports Illustrated at age 16, hasn't exactly been that — in his time in Washington, the Nationals never advanced past the National League Division Series — but he has been very, very good, winning the 2015 National League MVP and averaging 32 home runs, 91 RBI, and a .279 batting average, according to Baseball Reference. "If the reports are true, it's a huge moment for our baseball team," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told ESPN. "We get a lot better on the field, and Bryce Harper is a great teammate. We'd love to have him in our clubhouse, if the reports are true."
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