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Padres get creative with Nady deal

By Allan Simpson

Sunday, September 17

Xavier Nady
Xavier Nady
Photo: Larry Goren

Third baseman Xavier Nady, who began the 2000 season as the nation's top-ranked college player only to fall to the second round of the draft in June, agreed to terms Sunday on a major league contract with the Padres.

Padres ownership approved an incentive-driven, four-year deal worked out by general manager Kevin Towers and Nady's agent Scott Boras. The signing will become official once Nady, 21, passes a physical.

Negotiations had dragged on for several weeks between Nady, who wanted to be paid in line with the $6.75 million package that Tigers prospect Eric Munson received as the third overall pick in 1999, and the Padres, who expressed a desire to adhere to new bonus guidelines recommended this year by the commissioner's office.

Nady will receive a signing bonus of $1.1 million and major league salaries through 2004 that guarantee him an additional $1.75 million, or $2.85 million in all.

"Both sides agreed that X is a special talent, and we worked out a deal that acknowledges that," Boras said. "Our goal all along was a contract that was similar to the one that Munson signed."

The Nady contract is the fourth major league deal signed by a draft pick this year and the latest creative contract signed by a Boras client. The Reds recently signed two Boras clients, shortstop David Espinosa and catcher Dane Sardinha, to major league deals that differed from the Nady contract primarily because they provided for no signing bonuses.

Nady's contract was similar in structure to the one signed by Phillies outfielder Pat Burrell, the No. 1 overall pick in 1998, and puts Nady in roughly the same financial arena as Munson. The biggest difference is that most of Munson's package was guaranteed; roughly half of Nady's deal is guaranteed.

If Nady earns $1.8 million in roster bonuses from 2002 to 2004 by simply being on a major league roster, achieves about $600,000 in incentives, and is in the big leagues in 2005--when major league rules mandate that he'll receive at least 80 percent of his previous year's salary--he could receive as much as $6.4 million, close to the amount Munson signed for in his four-year agreement with the Tigers.

Nady's deal calls for him to receive a $100,000 bonus immediately, $400,000 in 2001 and $200,000 each year from 2002-2004. He'll also receive roster bonuses of $500,000 in 2002 and $650,000 in both 2003 and 2004--if he's in the big leagues.

Nady was expected to be one of the top players in this year's draft but an industry-wide cutback on bonus payments prompted teams to take a more conservative approach than normal in the players they drafted. Like eight other clients represented by Boras, Nady would not agree in advance to set financial parameters and all teams in the first round passed on him. He was eventually selected in the second round, the 49th pick overall.

Nady had threatened over the last three weeks to return to college at California for his senior year, but passed on the third of three deadlines Friday in order to keep his options open. His signing reduces to two the number of Boras clients who remain unsigned from this year's draft. Stanford righthander Jason Young, picked in the second round by the Rockies, has until Sept. 27, the first day of classes at Stanford. Shortstop Bobby Hill, also a second-round pick, is playing for Newark in the independent Atlantic League. He is expected to resume negotiations with the Cubs when his season ends Sept. 25.

Righthander Matt Harrington, picked seventh overall by the Rockies, is the lone first-round pick who remains unsigned.

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