Washington Nationals sign Bryce Harper

With their collective backs against the wall, and time ticking away, both the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper came together to get a deal done before the midnight deadline. As a result, the 17-year-old Harper will begin his journey towards his ultimate dream, becoming a major league star, and the Nationals will shell out a big check.

Reports are saying that Harper will receive a $6.25 million signing bonus, to be paid in five equal payments of $1.25 million. The actual contract is a five-year major league deal where he will earn $500K in 2011 and 2012, $700K in 2013, $900K in 2014, and $1 million in 2015. That works out to a total of $9.9 million over five seasons, making it the largest contract ever given to a position player out of the draft.

The deal reportedly came down to the final seconds before the deadline, with Kasten expressing afterwords to reporters that going into the last minute neither he nor Mike Rizzo was sure a deal would be made.

Harper, who hit a monster .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs in his freshman season at the College of Southern Nevada, will be at the Nationals’ next homestand before heading to the Gulf Coast League and then probably Arizona Fall League. Giving Harper the opportunity to play before the end of 2010 is something Stephen Strasburg did not have, as his Nationals debut began in the Arizona Fall League following the end of the season. This is likely because the Nationals want Harper to develop as quickly as possible.

Following negotiations, President Stan Kasten pied General Manager Mike Rizzo in the face in celebration.