By: Owen Bower, Staff Writer
Arguably the best free agent of the last 18 years has a new team. Bryce Harper has agreed to a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team announced Friday night. Harper’s deal is for 13 years and $330 million and features no opt-out clauses, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
The deal is the largest in MLB history, breaking Giancarlo Stanton’s previous record $325 million contract he signed with the Marlins in November of 2014. An introductory press conference is scheduled for Saturday.
Harper, 26, authored a .249 batting average with 34 home runs and an MLB best 130 walks last season. Sketchy defense dragged his overall production down to 1.3 WAR, though the poor defensive ratings are an outlier compared to the rest of his career. He consistently rated as an average or better defender prior to 2018.
As recently as 2017, Harper had a .319 batting average hitter who amassed 29 homers and 4.7 WAR in 111 games around a hurt knee injury suffered when he slipped on a wet base. He has hit .267 in 417 games since his MVP season in 2015, and he has averaged 32 homers and 4.8 WAR per 162 games in his career.