In announcing the Nats' deal with 2010 1st Round pick Bryce Harper, the no.1 overall pick in the draft, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) quoted Nats' team President Stan Kasten on Twitter Monday night saying that the two sides, "...agreed 'seconds' before 12, Kasten says. 'With a full minute, Mike and I thought we were not going to have a deal.'" How close was it this year? According to Las Vegas Review-Journal writer Matt Youmans' article entitled, "$9.9 MILLION, FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT: Las Vegas baseball phenom inks deal", Harper himself said that he officially became a Washington National, "'Twenty seconds before the deadline,' he said, we got it done.'"
Harper's 6'3'' and 225lbs as a 17-year-old. In an interview on the Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio show "Power Alley" with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy, Harper's agent Scott Boras described the phenom as having, "...the body-type of a 22-year-old at 17," while predicting that the Nats would be sending their first round pick to the Arizona Fall League where the Nats' no.1 overall selection should be the center of attention for the second consecutive season.
Harper tells the Las Vegas Journal-Review's Mr. Youmans that the young hard-hitting converted outfielder is determined to prove he's worth the second-biggest deal ever given to an MLB Draft pick, with Harper quoted in the article saying, "I'm really excited to go prove myself..I want to prove that that's what I'm worth," but he may have trouble living up to the comparisons his college coach Tim Chambers throws around in the article:
"'In my opinion, Bryce is the best amateur baseball player of all time...Nobody did what this kid did, not even Mickey Mantle or Alex Rodriguez."
• Bad News:
Just before the game started yesterday, WaPost beat writer Adam Kilgore reported via Twitter that the Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman had said, "It is 'very possible' Josh Willingham goes on the DL." Hammer's knee has been the subject of much debate recently when some noticed the veteran outfielder having trouble getting around the outfield, and reports from different sources disagreed on the diagnosis, but as Mr. Kilgore wrote in an follow-up note, "Josh Willingham probably going to have season-ending surgery next week."
• Good News:
Softening the blow of the loss of the Nats' everyday left fielder just a little was the news MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) delivered via Twitter:
"RHP Jordan Zimmermann will get one more Minor League start before coming up to the big leagues."
Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Livan Hernandez, John Lannan and Scott Olsen/Jason Marquis. The Nats' 24-year-old '07 2nd Round pick has pitched his way back to the majors in a little over a year after he underwent elbow reconstruction (Tommy John) surgery last August. In 9 GS and 34.2 IP during a rehab stint which started at Hagerstown, then Potomac, Harrisburg and Syracuse, the 6'2'', 220lb right-hander, who was (3-5) with 92 K's in 91.1 IP in his rookie campaign before going on the DL, is (0-2) with a 1.82 ERA, 5 walks (1.3 BB/9) and 26 K's (6.8 K/9) on his way back up. The top pitching prospect in the Nats' system before Strasburg is about to join the new Nats' ace at the top of the rotation, at least until Stras is shut down for the season...Zimmermann gave up 6 hits a run and walk over 5.0 innings in which he threw 70 pitches in his last start for Syracuse on 8/15.