The Washington Nationals may not have any finger nails left. Scott Boras made them chew them completely off during negotiations both last year with Stephen Strasburg and this year with Las Vegas phenom Bryce Harper.
With about a minute to go before the deadline, Harper signed a 5 year, $9.9 million deal. The deal includes a $6.25 million signing bonus that will be paid in 5 annual $1.25 million, with the first payment coming 30 days after the approval of the deal. Then every July 1st from 2011 thru 2014 he will get a hefty check for the $1.25 million. On top of that, his salary for 2011 and 2012 will be $500,000. During the 2013 season, his salary will rise to $750,000 and during 2014 it will be $900,000. The final year of his contract, 2015, he will make $1,000,000. Also in the contract are roster bonuses that could pay him up to another $1,000,000 on top of the salary and signing bonus money. He can earn up to an extra $500,000 in each of the last two years of the contract, getting $125,000 each year if he spends 30, 60, 90 and 120 days on the active major league roster.
The Nationals would like Harper to get to their Florida rookie ball program as soon as possible and get to work. He will probably start his career in right field. He shouldn’t have a problem with right field and with the arm strength he has, he would be as deadly as Shin Soo Choo with his throws to the plate. Also, this saves the kid from injury. If they put him at catcher they are risking prolonged knee problems and right now his bat is more of an asset than his catching ability. Putting him in the corner outfield position will allow the phenom to bring his swing to the majors much faster than it would as a catcher.
After this initial contract, I would expect him to get A-Rod and Tex money. You have to figure the kid is only 17 and will probably not see the majors until he is 20. This most likely leaves him with about 2 years to play in the majors under his rookie contract. That will be more than enough time to show his worth. If history is any indication, Harper will exceed expectations and once his contract is up in Washington, you can expect to see a press conference called in New York where you will see him holding up the pinstripes. It may suck to think about, but we all know it’s inevitable.