Wire Taps: Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper, Signing Deadline Chatter.

I'm not too surprised that Stephen Strasburg was asked for and offered his opinion on the Washington Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper. Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote after Strasburg's start Sunday, in an article entitled, "Stephen Strasburg's strong words for Bryce Harper", that the first-year pitcher, a Scott Boras' client like this year's top pick, said Harper, "...doesn't need advice from anyone to confirm his views. If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here. That's the bottom line."

A day before the deadline to sign '09 Draft picks, several Nationals were asked for their opinion on the destined-to-be last minute negotiations with the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg, who hadn't yet agreed to the 4-year/$15.1 million dollar deal he'd eventually sign. Ryan Zimmerman talked to Washington Post writer Chico Harlan. In an article entitled, "A Few Pre-Game Notes", the former Nats beat writer quoted the so-called Face of the Nats' franchise saying that in the opinion of the Nats' first 1st Round pick, taken 4th overall in 2005, "When it comes down to it, Strasburg has to think about, 'Can I go to bed if I turn down $15, 16 million dollars -- whatever it is -- to pass up the opportunity to play for these guys?' That's a lot of money. I don't understand what he thinks will be better next year. If we don't take him, who's gonna take him next year?"

MLB.com's Bill Ladson spoke to Adam Dunn who was in the first of a two-year-deal then which hasn't yet been extended#signDunn!!, who told Mr. Ladson in an article entitled, "Players eager for Strasburg deal to be done", that he was, "...on the fence about it," when it came to Strasburg signing or not signing:

"...because the organization is doing everything it possibly can, from what I hear, to sign him and not embarrass him or the organization," first baseman Adam Dunn said. "I heard that they already offered him a record contract. How much more does he need?"

Even the part-time/backup catcher offered his opinion, with former Nats' backstop Josh Bard saying, ""At some point,'" Strasburg will, "...have to be reasonable," though Bard made sure to point out to Mr. Ladson, "'I don't know if they are close or far away. I appreciate the fact the Nationals are not trying to negotiate through the media.'" No one knows what's going on with Bryce Harper this year either, and no one really seems to know what the Nats were doing in the leadup to the recently-passed Non-Waiver Trade Deadline or the Waiver Deadline. The news that Dunn had been pulled off waivers barely made it into print, and I've yet to read about anyone with the Nats even acknowledging a claim had been placed on their big middle-of-the-order bat on the record. 

Baseball America's Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) reported Sunday that three of the Nats' top four unsigned '10 picks, pitchers Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray had signed, leaving Harper as the final piece in what's already considered a strong draft class for DC GM Mike Rizzo if these three players have in fact signed. MLB.com's Bill Ladson, however, wrote on Twitter (@washingnats) some time after Mr. Callis' initial report and the Nats' official site's confirmation that, "A last-minute problem has surfaced between the #Nats and right-hander A.J. Cole, which means the two parties may not be doing a deal." Mr. Callis' response, again via Twitter, was to say simply that the deal was done pending a physical.

As much as everyone hates to actually wait for news to break these days, myself included, there won't be any word from the Rizzo Regime until all of these deals, including hopefully Harper's are officially done. And much like Strasburg last year and Aaron Crow the year before him, there most likely won't be any announcement until the moments after the deadline has passed at midnight Monday night/Tuesday morning. There was a lot more doubt last time around. There are very few writers out there expressing the belief that the two sides won't agree on a deal this year. Even if the Nats and Boras/Harper or any of the Nats' top picks had already agreed on a deal, as ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick noted this weekend in an article entitled, "Will Bryce Harper sign with Nationals?", "Each year, the commissioner's office gives teams a recommended bonus figure for each slot in the draft. Teams can't "go over slot'' without informing the commissioner's office," and if they do go over slot, which the Nationals most likely will with all four of their unsigned top picks: 

"... they're advised to wait as long as possible to make a formal offer or announce the signing. According to one baseball official, that allows a high contract number to inflict the "the least possible damage'' on other clubs still in the midst of negotiations."

See you at midnight...

Hashtags: 

#Don'tbeaCrowHarp, #signDunn, #IRWT, #[Rizzopointstohead]

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