Washington Nationals star right fielder Bryce Harper agreed to terms on a contract for the 2018 season earlier in the day, and then hit a two-out, walk-off home run to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.
Harper will make $21.625 million next season, as first reported by FanRag Sports and confirmed by ESPN. The agreement locks up Harper for his final arbitration-eligible year. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season.
"Nobody can say he ain't worth the money,'' manager Dusty Baker said after watching Harper's heroic homer.
Harper was 0-for-3 when he came to the plate against Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos. With Adam Lind on first base, Harper lined an 0-1 pitch over the wall in center for his 11th homer of the season and the fifth game-ending home run of his career.
The four-time All-Star and 2015 National League MVP is hitting .368 this season with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs. His batting average is second in the majors to teammate Ryan Zimmerman.
"I tried to go John Wall,'' Harper said, referencing the Washington Wizards guard whose late 3-pointer lifted his team over the Boston Celtics in a playoff game Friday night. "Walk 'em off a little bit.
"I know nobody wanted to play extras with a doubleheader ahead of us tomorrow. So, a huge win tonight.''
It was Harper's second walk-off homer of the season and the fifth of his career.
"You have to want to be the man in that situation,'' Baker said.
Harper is making $13.63 million this season. After winning the MVP, he hit .243 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs in 2016.
"I think [the new deal] shows the comfort level Bryce has with the organization and that we have with him," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said before the game. "It does a lot of good things for us. It gives us cost certainty going into the season next year and next year's payroll."
"I think most important, there's a comfort level, a comfortable player that doesn't have to worry about discussing a contract next year," Rizzo added.
Rizzo and Harper said discussions about the 2018 contract began during the last arbitration season.
"Couldn't get a two-year deal done at the time, but both sides always had open-mindedness of trying to put the five-plus arbitration season behind us," Rizzo said.
Both Harper and Rizzo said the two sides didn't discuss anything beyond 2018.
The Associated Press contributed was used in this report.