Bryce Harper, Nationals Reach Deal
Harper and the Nationals had to reach an agreement by Major League Baseball's midnight ET deadline on Monday or he would have gone back into next year's draft pool. The parties beat the deadline by minutes.
Multiple outlets, including both MASNSports.com and SI.com reported that the value of the deal is close to $10 million. Subsequent reports pegged the value of the deal, a five-year major league pact, at $9.9 million.
It's not a major surprise -- Stephen Strasburg received one from the Nats last year -- but it will accelerate the development timetable for the 17-year-old.
Harper, hailed as the "Chosen One" and the "Most Exciting Prodigy Since LeBron" on the cover of Sports Illustrated less than two years ago, will turn 18 in October.
He completed his GED in December 2009, after his sophomore year in high school, and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada, a junior college that plays in a wooden-bat conference, in time for the 2010 season so that he would be eligible for the June draft.
At CSN, Harper hit .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBI during the regular season. He was primarily a catcher and third baseman, but the Nationals announced him as an outfielder when they picked him in June.
Washington has had the top pick in each of the past two drafts. It selected Strasburg last year, and signed him with minutes to spare before the deadline, a pet strategy of agent Scott Boras, who represented Strasburg in '09 and Harper in these negotiations.