Three first-round picks failed to sign, and the teams that chose them will get extra selections as compensation in the first round of next year’s draft.
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 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.
Harper receives salaries of $500,000 each in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015. He can earn $500,000 more a year in bonuses for time on the active major league roster in each of the final two seasons.
“Suffice it to say, both sides gave up ground at the last second to get the deal done,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.
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 in another Boras deal.
“Essentially, it was discussion of a lot of variables because of the power of the player, the age of the player, what position players have been historically paid in the draft,” Boras said in a telephone interview.
“With a player of this level of skill and talent,” he added, “there’s not really any comparables.”
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.