The Nationals signed star outfielder Bryce Harper to a one-year contract extension through 2018, the team announced on Saturday. Terms of the extension have not been formally released, but according to reports from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they include a $21.65 million salary and an additional $1 million bonus if Harper secures another MVP title. Per Heyman, it projects to be Major League Baseball’s biggest one-year salary bump for a would-be arbitration-eligible player.
However you slice it, it’s a huge chunk of change for one of the league’s most valuable players. Harper slugged his way to a cumulative 23 fWAR for the Nationals over the last five years, earning four All-Star nominations, a Silver Slugger award, and NL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors to boot. While he hasn’t yet returned to the record-setting pace he maintained in 2015, replete with 42 home runs and a .330/.460/.649 batting line, he’s been one of the most consistent and productive hitters in either league. Through his first 31 games of the 2017 season, the 24-year-old is batting a tremendous .372/.496/.717 with 10 home runs and 2.4 fWAR and has already started to form a strong case for MVP consideration.
Harper is set to enter free agency following the 2018 season and will almost undoubtedly test the waters in search of another mammoth deal. For now, however, he’ll continue setting records for the Nationals, and if all goes according to plan, help power them through another postseason run come October.