Bryce Harper + Scott Boras = chaos

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Strasburg-mania is old hat. I’m on to worshipping a 16 year-old:

Bryce Harper is bigger than the NBA Finals this week. He’s bigger than the Stanley Cup.

The image of the Las Vegas High School sensation with the desert
mountains of Nevada serving as his playground graces the June 8 cover
of Sports Illustrated on newsstands today in a tribute fitting of the
nation’s newest and youngest baseball star.

In large bold black letters, the magazine proclaims Harper as
“Baseball’s Chosen One.” The cover features his biggest numbers:
570-foot home runs, 96 mph fastballs and his age, 16. He is hailed on
the cover as the most exciting prodigy since LeBron James and his
central placement on the magazine is fit for a king. In the top right
corner of the cover, there’s a small mention of the NBA Finals. In top
left corner, the tease to the Stanley Cup Finals floats as if it has
just been hit by Harper’s left-handed swing.

The kicker: Harper’s parents are looking for ways to make him eligible
for the 2010 draft instead of 2011. Oh, and that one of the teenager’s
advisers is Scott Boras.

In other words, get ready for the runup to next year’s draft to be
crazier than this year’s. I’m talking long lost birth certificates,
psychological testing and lawsuits. Should be an utter blast if you’re
anyone other than a 16 year-old kid named Bryce Harper.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.