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Roster review: Bryce Harper

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Roster review: Bryce Harper

Age on Opening Day 2016: 23

How acquired: 1st round pick, 2010 draft

MLB service time: 3 years, 159 days

2015 salary+bonuses: $2.5 million

Contract status: Signed for $5 million in 2016, arbitration-eligible in 2017, free agent in 2019

2015 stats: 153 G, 654 PA, 118 R, 172 H, 38 2B, 1 3B, 42 HR, 99 RBI, 6 SB, 124 BB, 131 SO, .330 AVG, .460 OBP, .649 SLG, 1.109 OPS, 7 E, -2.4 UZR, 9.9 WAR

Quotable: "He has the world in the palm of his hand. It's just fun to see him play. And the sky's the limit. I think he's got more in him than that." — Gio Gonzalez on Bryce Harper

2015 analysis: It's funny now to think about how many questions there were surrounding Bryce Harper at the start of the season. Could he stay healthy over a full year? Could he tone down his reckless playing style? Would he ever live up to the hype?

The answer to all of those questions, of course, was a resounding yes. Harper put together not only a season that lived up to the hype but one that stacks up against just about any season in baseball history. He became only the ninth player ever to hit .330 with at least 42 homers and a .460 on-base percentage, joining an elite group including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton and Barry Bonds.

The biggest key to Harper's success was remarkable patience at the plate. That allowed him not only to draw a club-record 124 walks but also to make the most of whatever pitches he did get a chance to hit. His ability to take a breaking ball on the outside corner from a left-hander — his Achilles' heel throughout his career — and line base hit after base hit to left field spoke volumes about his maturation as a hitter.

Though he cooled off down the stretch, going 6 for his last 37 to lose the NL batting title to Dee Gordon, Harper still posted numbers that make him the runaway favorite to win MVP honors in November. The only question remaining now is whether he'll be a unanimous choice.

2016 outlook: Let's make this clear right up front: This season was no fluke. Harper, provided he keeps himself healthy and on the field, has every reason to believe he can do this again.

Can he be even better? Several teammates believe so, from Gio Gonzalez to Max Scherzer to Jayson Werth, who likes to say that "when he's 30 years old, he's going to be a hell of a player." Harper still will be only 23 when he reports for spring training, so there truly is more for him to learn and perfect.

The biggest question facing Harper now has less to do with his playing ability but with his earning ability. He has three more seasons before becoming eligible for free agency, but the time may be now for the Nationals to start seriously discussing a long-term extension. The more they wait, the higher his price becomes and the harder he is to sign.

It would take an historic contract (likely one that eclipses Giancarlo Stanton's record 13-year, $325 million deal with Miami) to lock up Harper right now. Given what he did on the field this season, can anyone really doubt he's worth it?

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.

MORE NATIONALS: FULL 2018 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.

RELATED: 2018 MLB BETTING ODDS

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It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

READ ALSO: NATIONALS FULL SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE