Nationals ink Bryce Harper to $9.9 million contract

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After plenty of give and take, the Nationals signed first-overall pick Bryce Harper to a major league deal worth a guaranteed $9.9 million prior to Monday’s midnight deadline.
According to ESPN.com, Harper gets a $6.25 million signing bonus, though that will be paid over a five-year span. He’ll receive salaries of $500,000 in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015.
It’s a modest surprise that Harper settled for less than $10 million after Stephen Strasburg got $15.1 million a year ago. Harper, though, did get the major league deal he desired. He’ll go on to the 40-man roster immediately. No word yet, but it’d be no surprise if the arrangement guaranteed him a September callup next year.
The $9.9 million figure does top Mark Teixeira’s $9.5 million deal from 2001, which was the previous high water mark for a position player coming out of the draft.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.