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No need to panic on deadline day

Aug 16, 2010, 2:23 PM EST

The clock is ticking. The Nationals and their No. 1 draft pick have until midnight to get a deal done. And they're all but guaranteed to wait until literally the 11 o'clock hour before commencing with serious negotiations.

Why does this scenario sound familiar?

Actually, we in the Washington media and you in the Nats fan base should take comfort in knowing we've been through this rodeo before. Thanks to Aaron Crow in 2008 and Stephen Strasburg in 2009, we know exactly what to expect tonight when the Bryce Harper negotiations come to a head.

There's no mystery here, no incomprehension of the situation. We know that even though the Nats drafted Harper first in the country way back on June 7 (before Strasburg ever set foot on the mound at Nationals Park) the two sides have done little since then other than exchange some pleasantries and offer one or two well-calculated misdirection plays. (Harper's really going to post on his Facebook page that he's looking forward to returning to the College of Southern Nevada this year? Please.)

But we're not worried that the lack of a deal, or even a formal exchange of numbers, is a sign of discord between the two entities. If anything, it's relaxing to know the process has played out exactly asRead more »

  1. Steve M. - Aug 16, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Mark, excellent article. Not sure why Solis would be over-slot as I just don't see him as a high ceiling player. I am more intrigued by AJ Cole based on my belief that he was the top power pitcher in the Draft and was a freebie in the 4th round and what is up with the internet reports of has he/has he not scenario.Your estimate of Harper's deal at $7.5 to $9 million is probably where it will end up although you would think value wise he should be between Tate's $6.25 and Strasburg's $7.5 million as he isn't Major League ready.I think Harper signs as he doesn't want to take his chance in 2011 with the Orioles or Pirates picking at #1 as their history of paying is possibly the worst in baseball (except in the Orioles case you are Angelos mancrush Markakis!).

  2. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Steve M, Solis is not dramatically over slot at 1 million; he is considered a good prospect coming off a long layoff (herniated disc) but had a nice bounce back at the U of San Diego and is considered the closest to the majors of the top 4 prospects (all high school and JUCO). Harper's issue has nothing to do with who is picking first next year; the Pirates actually did a great job this year at picking over slot; what it boils down to is this: 1) Why delay by a year and risk injury? 2) He might not be number 1 next year; it's a stacked draft next year with many top of the line college players. 3) Why go back to JUCO; what's to prove? 4) What if he goes back and has a less than a great year? Unlike the Hendricks brothers and Jim Bowden; Boras and Rizzo are not stupid. They will play it tough right to the end and then get the best deal possible for both sides. No way this doesn't get done.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    And Rizzo put out the "glitch" comment on Coles signing due to the record "over-slot" amountpaid. MLB does not want any "over-slot" signings anounced until late tonite.

  4. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    NatsJack,You are probably right; unfortunately once it hits the wires the cat is out of the bag.Selig must have gone into hysteria when he found out that a 4th rd. pick got 2 mil and it came out publicly; must have been on the phone to Lerner immediately.

  5. Nats fan in NJ - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Harper will sign tonight because the system will be changed with the 2012 draft. Based on that, the 2011 draftees will basically either take what they are offered or go back into a slotted, pre-determined salary draft the following year. Thus, Harper has limited leverage after this year. That being said, both parties want to make this happen. I will go to sleep before midnight confident that he'll sign.Oh, and having Solis, Cole and Ray signed too will make this a potentially huge draft. Especially considering Odubar and Hague are off to strong starts, too.

  6. Steve M. - Aug 16, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Anon, its not my money and I think the deal is done at $1 million. When Solis was picked with the 51st overall pick I questioned it then given his previous injury but I know Rizzo has liked this kid even back to High School.Solis, a redshirt sophomore from the University of San Diego, went 9-2 with a 3.42 ERA this season, striking out 92 and walking 29 in 92 innings. Solis, 6-foot-5 and 228-pounds, missed almost all of the 2009 season with an injury. Solis will turn 22 in August.

  7. raymitten - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    MLB Network was hammering Stras for his comments, and I'm not sure why. I liked his bluntness and I don't want Harper on the Nats if he doesn't want to be here, either.

  8. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    My wife assumes Mrs. Harper is spending the day sewing 'Bryce Harper' nametags in socks, underwear, etc. so that he can report to school soon. My wife was astonished to learn that Mrs. Harper cannot even sew "B Harper" nametags since they could be confused for Bryan Harper's, Bryce's brother, underwear. I tried to assuage my wife's concerns by telling her Bryce lives at home while attending Junior College and his mother does all the laundry anyway.I also suggested that Mrs. Harper may prefer the millions being offered her son and his agent.

  9. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    raymitten,The reason they are hammering him is that he signed at the last minute as well so he should know the process and given they both use the same agent it is felt that he was needlessly harsh on the kid.It's much ado about nothing; as NatsJack suggested I will go to bed before midnight as well; not worried about Harper not signing.He's gonna sign.The better question is; will he join the GCL rookie league before their season ends in a couple of weeks?

  10. traveler8 - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    @raymitten, totally agree with you on Strasburg's comment – liked the bluntness a lot, also really liked the way he was identifying himself so much with the team, saying that "we" don't want him here if he does not want to be here.

  11. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Raymitten — if Kruk agrees with him then you know he's on the right track. Doesn't matter what MLB Network says.

  12. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    So am I reading into the comments that the reason we do not have an announcement about Cole and Solis is because they are being pair over slot, and MLB wants these kept secret as long as possible?Cause I really want to hear the announcements.

  13. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Are the Cole and Solis signings still unconfirmed? I thought the consensus was that they were done.

  14. Tcostant - Aug 16, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Do the Nationals have any other unsigned picks in the first 20 rounds besides Harper? Would love an accounting on any other unsigned picks that need to get done tonight.

  15. court - Aug 16, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Cole, Solis and Ray are all done, according to Jim Callis, pending physicals so they are not "official" yet. Steve, you forgot Solis's best stat – LHP. He gets more because he's a big-bodied lefty. If Olsen is let go after the year, then Detwiler is our only real lefty SP in the system. (Ray is LH too, though) Hopefully Solis gets into the AFL to get his career going. I doubt neither of the high school does more than Viera.

  16. Steve M. - Aug 16, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    When Mark posted the Strasburg quote yesterday I applauded. Strasburg has been a classy kid and a team player. I kind of sense that Strasburg doesn't want to throw himself in the same grouping as Harper and maybe thats what his comments were intended to do.Everything I have heard about Bryce Harper is that he likes being the center of attention. I could see that leading to do a lot of self-promotion to get his marketing machine going and according to Sports Business Journal Bryce Harper is # 5 for young players in marketibility. Can't be getting paid for baseball marketing as an amateur which is why I see Harper signing for sure. His millions in endorsement could be huge with baseball cards, cleats, and autographs.In that same survey of baseball marketibility of players under 25 years old, Strasburg was #1. Now then, he may be marketible but I can see with Stephen's personality that he may also say no.

  17. hleeo3 - Aug 16, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    The Nats "unofficially" have signed 23 players from the first 25 rounds. Smalling, the other guy after Harper, won't sign because he got an injury which dropped his price tag. So he will go back to school. Usually HS players drafted in the later rounds go to college to up their value and try again in next years draft. So really Harper is the last one. Would love to see Kiene and Simms sign but that will most likely not happen.

  18. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2010 at 6:34 PM

    "If Olsen is let go after the year, then Detwiler is our only real lefty SP in the system."Lannan is a lefty. Are you one of those who's saying he's not real?

  19. TimDz - Aug 16, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Maybe Anon is saying that Lannan is a finess type/soft tosser, whereas Detwiler/Olsen are more power pitchers?

  20. Pete - Aug 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    Mark, can we get an update regarding the other draft picks?

  21. Richard - Aug 16, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Also, Tom Milone is a lefty and is looking good at Harrisburg.And, what the heck, I liked Strasburg's Harper comment too, for all the reasons mentioned above.





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