Derek Norris

Harper, Nationals avoid arbitration with $13.6M deal for '17

Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed to a $13,625,000 contract for 2017, avoiding arbitration.

The sides reached a deal Friday, the day players and teams were to exchange arbitration figures ahead of hearings.

Harper made $5 million last season, when he struggled with injuries and took a big step back after becoming the youngest unanimous MVP in baseball history in 2015.

The slugging outfielder hit only .243 with 24 homers and 86 RBIs in 2016, significant drop-offs from the .330, 42 and 99 of a year earlier.

Still only 24, Harper is already a four-time All-Star and he was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2012.

The Nationals announced one-year...