Baseball phenom Bryce Harper has signed a $330 million, 13-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, according to the Associated Press (AP), citing a person familiar with the negotiations.
The deal is dependent on the 26-year-old outfielder passing a physical exam and believed to be the largest in baseball history.
The free agent contract, confirmed by MLB, would reportedly include a $20 million signing bonus, a $10 million salary in 2019, $26 million in each of the following nine seasons and $22 million in each of the last three years of his 13-year contract.
The six-time All-Star's deal surpasses previous free-agent contract records: Giancarlo Stanton's $235 million, 2015 Miami Marlins contract and infielder Manny Machado's $300 million, 10-year deal with the San Diego Padres that grabbed headlines when it was announced earlier this month.
According to The Washington Post, Philadelphia Phillies team owner John Middleton traveled to Harper's hometown of Las Vegas in January to convince the catcher-turned-outfielder to play in Philadelphia. Few are surprised that Harper landed such a significant contract. He's has been admired by scouts since he was a teenager and in 2009, Sports Illustrated (SI) called then 16-year-old Harper "Baseball's LeBron."
"Bryce Harper is a scouting director's perfect prospect. He has size, speed, power, intelligence, a lefthanded bat, an appetite for work, a strong arm, the ability to catch and the athleticism to play almost any other position, plus a happy home life," wrote SI almost a decade ago. "To be this good and this complete at age 16 is something that just doesn't happen in baseball."
Harper earned his GED and left high school two years early so that he could qualify for the 2010 draft. The Washington Nationals drafted Harper as the first overall pick and he signed a five-year $9.9 million deal. Since then, he has gained major recognition, including being unanimously voted the National League Most Valuable Player in 2015.
Today, CBS calls Harper, "arguably the best free agent of the last 18 years." Now, he is also among the highest-paid of all time.
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