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.

Dominic Smith dealing with a strained right quad

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Mets first baseman Dominic Smith is dealing with a strained right quad and is set to undergo an MRI on Monday, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Smith, 22, did not play in the Mets’ first Grapefruit League game after showing up late. He played on Saturday, scoring two runs on a single and a hit-by-pitch in two plate appearances. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup.

The Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez during the offseason, which makes him the front runner for the starting job at first base. Smith needs to have a strong spring showing to make the 25-man roster but so far, it hasn’t gone well.

Smith made his major league debut in August last year and ended up playing in 49 games. He struggled to a .198/.262/.395 slash line with nine home runs and 26 RBI in 183 plate appearances.