Bryce Harper, 17, the Washington Nationals' second-straight no.1 overall pick, completed his freshman year at the College of Southern Nevada with an otherworldly .443/.526/.987 slash line, 23 doubles, 4 triples, a College of Southern Nevada record 31 HR's, 98 RBI's and 20 steals in 66 games and 228 at bats. The Washington Nationals made Harper the top pick in the Draft last June and then everyone sat back and patiently waited knowing there would be no news til the last minutes before tonight's deadline. Unfortunately, Stephen Strasburg's remarks yesterday, where he told reporters, including Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore that 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," came out on a day devoid of any real news, and these quotes were the headline everywhere, and if I were to follow this story to its logically (absurd) conclusion and pretend these weren't off-the-cuff remarks and really a sign of some animosity, I'm going to have to pretend to believe this is all tied back to the Sports Illustrated article by Tom Verducci, "Baseball's Lebron", wherein Harper was portrayed, "...nearly [falling] off the couch...when he heard a sports announcer call San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the presumptive No. 1 pick in next week's draft, "the LeBron James of baseball,":
"'What?' Harper exclaimed with playful exasperation. 'Hey, they stole that from me!'"
Okay, enough with the absurdities, here's what former DC GM Jim Bowden had to say this afternoon about how the Nats' negotiations with Harper will play out this evening during his Sirius/XM MLB Network Radio show "Inside Pitch":
Jim Bowden: "Bryce Harper's getting done tonight. That deal won't be announced until quarter-to-twelve, midnight, when the final i's are dotted and t's are crossed, the deal's going to be around $10 million dollars, that's going to be the range, so he's not going to get anywhere close to what Strasburg did, but for a high school power bat, he's going to get 50% more than what's ever been paid in the history of the sport, so it's going to be another accomplishment for Scott Boras in this deal, but it is getting done. I mean, the kid's made it very clear he's signing tonight..."
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) cites the same $10M number in a tweet today in which he writes:
"An AL scout on Bryce Harper: "If the kid turns down $10 million-plus, then he needs to go back to school and major in finance.''
Mr. Crasnick's colleague at ESPN.com, Keith Law (@keithlaw) provided a non-Harper update on the Nats' negotiations with another 2010 Draft pick, A.J. Cole, writing that, "Heard several places that the A.J. Cole deal with Washington ($2MM) is pushing up demands on other HS arms..." which would lead one to believe that a deal with Cole is in place, and the earlier-than-expected announcement on the part of Baseball America's Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) last night might have been responsible for the "last-minute problem" MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) mentioned.
More sort-of news when it's available...