Nationals star Bryce Harper has signed a ten-year endorsement deal with Under Armour that is the largest such agreement ever reached by a baseball player, according to ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell. While the full financial terms weren’t revealed, it’s reasonable to expect that the contract will be plenty valuable. That would tend to reduce Harper’s need for a long-term extension of his playing contract, though he’s already earned enough — and, of course, has such sky high future earning potential — that any new deal would likely stem from other motivations (if Washington makes a real effort to sign him).
Here’s more from the NL East:
- Injured Nationals righty Bronson Arroyo is trying out something new as he continues to be bothered by shoulder problems, as MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports. Per Nats skipper Dusty Baker, the veteran hurler is experiencing pain when he tries to throw from his typical motion, so he’s experimenting with a sidearm delivery. Expectations are that Arroyo will retire if he can’t return without surgery.
- The Mets don’t yet have any kind of timetable for catcher Travis d’Arnaud, who is on the DL with a strained rotator cuff, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. Indeed, he hasn’t even begun physical activity yet, and won’t begin throwing again until he has seen sufficient improvement in the shoulder. Needless to say, it’s a highly uncertain situation, but it’s not difficult to imagine an extended absence ultimately being required.
- While the aforementioned teams are still in front of the NL East, there’s a surprising club in nice position just behind them. The Phillies have sprinted out of the gates, and the early success is attributable almost entirely to the shockingly effective pitching staff. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting look at Philly pitching coach Bob McClure, who has played a major role in spurring the development of the team’s younger arms and in coaxing improvements from some veterans.