There was a difference of opinion last week, between two of the people who will eventually hold the negotiations, about how the 7-year/$175M extension 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg signed with the Washington Nationals could impact future negotiations with 2010 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper.
Strasburg, 27, was set to become a free agent after this season before he signed on to stay in D.C. Harper, 23, is under contract through 2018, but there is already talk of signing him to a lucrative, long-term deal.
Both Strasburg and Harper are, of course, represented by Scott Boras, who was in the nation's capital for the official announcement of Strasburg's deal.
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was asked if he drew any conclusions about future talks with Harper from the way things worked out with Strasburg?
"I do not," Rizzo said firmly. "Each case is different. Each personality is different. Each player is different. Their wants and needs are different and I think that they are independent of each other."
Boras, however, in a separate interview, said there was one big factor in common between his two clients.
"I think every player wants to play on a good team," he explained.
"They want to play for ownership that has the wherewithal to keep a good team together. And certainly this is a good team and I think the owners have proven that they have the wherewithal to keep a good team together so that creates a strong probability of consideration, I'm sure, for any great player."
Days after Strasburg signed, Rizzo learned he'd be staying in the Nationals' front office for the next two seasons when the Lerners, the owners of the Nats, exercised the two-year option in his deal in advance of the June 15th deadline to either pick up or decline it.
Dusty Baker, who signed on to replace Matt Williams this past winter, told reporters this week he was happy to hear Rizzo will be at the helm through at least the next two seasons.
"I think it's great," Baker said.
"Mike has done a great job here in this organization, rebuilding this organization and then maintaining a high level of not only intensity, but the right players here and also a very respectable record since he's been here and so, personally I feel great about it because he was directly involved in my hiring and you like to have your general manager equal or longer than your contract, so I think everybody is happy to get it done."
Rizzo said he was happy to learn that he'll be given the opportunity to see what he started through to the hoped-for conclusion.
"I always felt that we were doing a good job here, and I wasn’t worried about the contract at all," Rizzo told reporters, including MASN's Mark Zuckerman:
"I guess it’s good to have the decision made; you get it done, we’ve got a lot of work to do... but it was something that I thought very little about. Now that it’s behind us, we can take that off our plate and we don’t have to worry about it...
"I was the first employee that they hired, and I’m proud of that fact. I want to see it to fruition, and that’s winning a championship, for Mr. Lerner specifically, and for the city of D.C. It’s important to everything we do. That’s the object for why we work so hard, why we put all the hours into it."
"We are pleased with the job Mike has done over the past nine years," Managing Principal Owner Theodore N. Lerner said in a press release on the decision to exercise the option.
"He and the baseball operations team have worked tirelessly to help build this organization into one of Major League Baseball’s elite clubs. We are fortunate to have him."
"We started from ground zero here and we've built ourselves something that we believe in, that we think is special and I'm proud to be a part of it," Rizzo said.
He said the organization has come along way, but still hasn't accomplished what everyone set out to accomplish when they came to Washington.
"We have plans in our minds about what we're doing going forward," Rizzo explained, "and we rarely look back at what we've accomplished.
"We're mostly looking forward, but every so often you take a step back and you look at the total body of work so far and we take pride in it.
"We're not satisfied by any means, we've got a goal in mind and that's to win a world championship for the city of D.C. and we won't rest until we accomplish that goal."