Bryce Harper, Nats agree to $9.9M deal

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NEW YORK (AP) - Top draft pick Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed to a $9.9 million, five-year contract just before Monday’s midnight deadline.

Harper was among at least three first-round selections who received major league contracts: catcher Yasmani Grandal and Cincinnati agreed to a $3.2 million, four-year deal, as did third baseman Zack Cox and St. Louis.

Harper, a 17-year-old power-hitting catcher from College of Southern Nevada, was the first JUCO player taken with the top overall pick. He was among 17 first-round selections unsigned at the start of the day.

He gets a $6.25 million signing bonus in five equal payments of $1.25 million: 30 days after approval and each July 1 from 2011 through 2014.

He receives salaries of $500,000 each in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015.

Harper’s deal is a record for a non-pitcher signed out of the draft who had not become a free agent.

Current New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira set the previous record for a major league deal for a position player, getting a $9.5 million, four-year deal from the Texas Rangers in 2001.

Harper’s deal, like Teixeira’s, was negotiated by agent Scott Boras.

Harper hit .443 with 31 homers and 98 RBIs in his first season at the College of Southern Nevada, which plays in a league that uses wood bats. He skipped his final two years of high school and got his GED, making him eligible for the 2010 amateur draft.

By 9:30 p.m., only two of the unsigned first-round picks had announced agreements.

Kaleb Cowart signed for a $2.3 million bonus with the Los Angeles Angels. The infielder from Cook County High School in Adel, Ga., was taken with the 18th overall pick.

Gary Brown agreed with San Francisco on a $1.45 million bonus. The outfielder, selected with the 24th pick, had been one of four unsigned first-round choices represented by Boras.

Boras also worked out agreements for shortstop Manny Machado, selected third by Baltimore, and pitcher Matt Harvey, picked seventh by the New York Mets. Harvey received a $2,525,000 signing bonus.

Last year, Boras and the Nationals agreed to a $15.1 million, four-year deal for top pick Stephen Strasburg just before the deadline.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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