They maintained their pole position by agreeing to terms with Harper on a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Harper's is not only larger than the 10-year, $300 million contract infielder Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres earlier this month - which was the largest free agent deal ever signed - but it also eclipses New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton' 13-year, $325 million contract extension that he signed as a member of the Marlins in 2017.
According to the Associated Press, Harper gets a $20 million signing bonus, a $10 million salary this year, $26 million in each of the following nine seasons and $22 million in each of the last three years.
Harper's deal includes a no-trade clause, no opt-outs, and no deferred money. Though as his free agency saga wore on, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants became involved.
Barstool Sports Blogger, Nate, noted that when Harper turns 35 the Phillies will be forced to have Harper for another 4 years and still owe him $100 million.
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His best season came in 2015, when he led the N.L. with 42 home runs and a.460 on-base percentage. Still, the Phillies are presently relying on a trio of unproven starters - Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez - behind ace Aaron Nola and veteran Jake Arrieta.
The Nationals, with whom Harper spent his first seven years, will get a 2019 supplemental first-round pick as a result of losing Harper.
Harper was the No. 1 overall selection in the 2010 draft and made his major league debut less than two years later with the Nationals. He supplemented that with 34 home runs and a league-high 130 walks, twice as many as the season prior.
Harper's numbers were down slightly in 2018.
But that eventually ran its course. Lee battled injuries in his last few years and didn't even pitch in 2015, the last season of his contract.
The Giants and Dodgers also had pursued Harper in recent weeks, and the Giants offered $310 million over 12 years, a person familiar with the talks said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proposal was not publicly revealed.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo would have loved to keep Harper in his team's lineup but didn't sit around and wait to find out whether that would happen.