Bryce Harper is queued up for free agency next year, and the Nationals were more than happy to lock him down with a record-high, one-year $21.625 million contract, according to USA TODAY. Per stipulation, Harper would also stand to gain an extra $1 million if he wins National League MVP.
The 24-year-old right fielder and the Nationals were staring down the potential of arbitration for next year before hitting free agency, and the Nationals took the unusual step of offering Harper more than what he would have likely received in arbitration after 2017. The contract beat out David Price's 2015 previous record-holding contract of $19.75 million by a healthy margin. This all seems to be an act of good faith from the Nationals. Courtship makes you do funny things.
With Harper going into free agency as young as he is—atypical for MLB's contract rules that give young players a kind of injury insurance—he's lined up for the typical 10-year contract with a few more miles to go on his odometer than most players. This could result in Harper raking in more than A-Rod's record-holding $272 million 10-year contract with the Yankees in 2008. Rumors have him clocked in at $400 million—minimum.
With that in perspective, what's a paltry $22 million a year?