12:05 A.M. Tuesday NATIONALS SIGN BRYCE HARPER
According to Jim Bowden (of all people) the Nationals came to an agreement with Harper for a $6.5 million deal. We'll get you more when we have it.
11:00 P.M. Monday - 1 hour left to sign Bryce Harper
It's down to the final hour for the Nationals to sign slugging prospect Bryce Harper. With Sammy Solis, Robbie Ray, and A.J. Cole now signed, the Nationals can now focus their full attention on getting this Harper deal done. In the end it will all come down to whether or not Harper wants to play next year, or he wants to hold out and try and make more money next year. Just like last year, we will probably not know until after midnight, but make sure to stick close and we'll bring you all the updates.
9:06 P.M. Monday - 3 hours left to sign Bryce Harper
While there has been no news on the Harper front, the Nationals have made progress by signing 12th round pick Robbie Ray, and second round pick Sammy Solis.
Ray, an 18-year-old left-hander, dropped in the draft because of his strong commitment to pitch for the University of Arkansas. In the end, Rizzo was able to convince the 18-year-old to take a $799,00 bonus instead.
Solis is another left-hander who projects to middle of the rotation talent. He has a low 90's fastball with good movement and if his back stays healthy, should be in the majors the next few years.
4:34 P.M. Monday - 7 hours and 26 minutes left to sign Bryce Harper
SI.Com's Jon Heyman reports that Bryce Harper is still demanding a record high signing bonus for a position player:
"Bryce Harper, the homer-hitting 17-year-old from Las Vegas, is said by sources to be seeking to beat Mark Teixeira's $9.8-million signing record bonus for a position players but baseball executives are hopeful Harper won't top Stephen Strasburg's record $15.067-million set a year ago. No word has leaked yet on the Nationals' offers to Harper, whom Washington took with the No. 1 overall pick in June's draft."
3:00 P.M. Monday - 9 hours left to sign Bryce Harper
12:00 P.M. Monday - 12 hours left to sign Bryce Harper
Harper isn't alone, out of the top 12 draft picks only three have signed so far. Here's a list from Yahoo! Sports:
1. C Bryce Harper (College of Southern Nevada) – Washington
2. RHP James Taillion (The Woodlands (Texas) HS) – Pittsburgh
3. SS Manny Machado (Brito Miami Private, Miami, Fla.) – Baltimore
4. SS Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton) – Kansas City
5. LHP Drew Pomeranz (Mississippi) – Cleveland
6. RHP Barret Loux (Texas A&M) – Arizona
7. RHP Matt Harvey (North Carolina) – N.Y. Mets
8. 2B Delino DeShields Jr. (Woodward Academy, College Park, Ga.) – Houston
9. RHP Karsten Whitson (Chipley (Fla.) HS) – San Diego
10. OF Michael Choice (Texas-Arlington) – Oakland
11. RHP Deck McGuire (Georgia Tech) – Toronto
12. C Yasmani Grandal (Miami (Fla.)) – Cincinnati
Note: Scott Boras represents three of these players.
9:44 A.M Monday - 14 hours and 16 minutes left to sign Bryce Harper
Last year when Strasburg was nearing the deadline with the Washington Nationals there was a large amount of discussion on how much money his contract would be worth. Everyone knew it would be the biggest contract ever given to a drafted player, but due to various aspects such as the economy, inflation, MLB's annual growth, his talent, and the Nationals situation, everybody had an opinion on how it would pan out.
This year there seems to be far less speculation on how much Harper will sign for, however those who are speculating still do not agree on terms.
"One baseball executive said he expects Harper to sign a deal not too far north of the $6 million contract that first baseman Eric Hosmer signed with Kansas City in 2008. But Hosmer was the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, and that was two years ago. Most industry estimates have placed Harper's prospective bonus in the $10 million to $11 million range."
"A quick poll of industry sources found wildly varying predictions ranging from $8 million to $16 million, with the only universal belief being that he will definitely come to terms. Personally, and I know this puts me in the minority, I'm betting the over. I've written this before, but even Strasburg's record shattering total package of $15.1 million is an industry-relative bargain, and after covering Scott Boras signings for nearly a decade, I've never seen him exhibit a reverse gear."
Unfortunately I will have to agree with Goldstein here. What motivation do either Harper or Boras have to sign for less money? Boras is likely looking for payback after only charging $15.1 million for Strasburg, who at the last minute decided he just wanted to play, and Harper can go back to college if he wants, giving him significant bargaining power.
Furthermore the success of the Strasburg package shows that perhaps spending that kind of money on a draftee isn't that unwise, and Boras will likely push this position.
2:14 A.M. Monday - 21 hours and 46 minutes left to sign Bryce Harper
Kevin Goldetein, in an article title "Future Shock - Draft Deadline Preview," gives his thoughts on the Harper situation:
"Harper's college coach, who in many ways has doubled as the first overall pick's PR agent at times, has entered the fray of late to let everyone know that Haprer wants to play. However, it's not about his coach or anything Harper posted on Facebook over the past few weeks, it's all about the green. Everyone thinks he will sign, it's just a question of how much money he'll get at this point. A quick poll of industry sources found wildly varying predictions ranging from $8 million to $16 million, with the only universal belief being that he will definitely come to terms. Personally, and I know this puts me in the minority, I'm betting the over. I've written this before, but even Strasburg's record shattering total package of $15.1 million is an industry-relative bargain, and after covering Scott Boras signings for nearly a decade, I've never seen him exhibit a reverse gear. Boras has made no secret of his feelings surrounding Aroldis Chapman's $30.25 million contract and what it means for players subject to the draft."
11:22 P.M Sunday - 24 hours and 36 minutes left to sign Bryce Harper
Today following the Nationals victory, several team leaders spoke out about the topic on everyones mind, Bryce Harper:
"I don't have any advice for him, it's his decision. If he wants to play here, he's going to play here. He 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." - Stephen Strasburg on what he would tell the young prospect based on his experience last year.
"Stephen was on a very different level from this guy. I mean, this guy has done well at a junior college. Obviously, he's very talented. But I think Stephen, there was a lot more to him. Obviously, it would be good for us to sign him. I think the people are very smart. They understand talent, recognize talent. I don't know what he's asking for or what the numbers are, but Stephen was a completely different story than anyone else. I hope he signs and we get him. He has a chance to be a very good player." - Ryan Zimmerman on the difference between Strasburg and Harper.
It's interesting to see what feels like not only a disinterest in signing Harper, but even a tad bit of animosity towards the slugger. Harper is widely perceived as a confident, if not over cocky 17-year-old, so perhaps this is their early attempt at dressing down the young kid.
He very well may be the next best thing, but he isn't there yet, and the Nats may be trying to let him know that.
"Those one-one power bats, in whose company Harper stands since the Nationals drafted him in June, did have big senior seasons. Rodriguez hit nine home runs at Miami Westminster Christian High, for instance. Upton hit 12. Griffey hit seven. Gonzalez and Hamilton each hit 13. Aluminum bats are a wonder, particularly against high school pitchers....Harper, in a wood-bat junior college league, hit 31 homers in about twice as many games as a typlprep season."
11:00 P.M. Sunday - 25 hours left to sign Bryce Harper
One year ago today we sat here in a very similar position. The Washington Nationals had drafted a once-in-a-generation pitching talent, Stephen Strasburg, and us Nationals fans were left to sit and wait to see if Mike Rizzo, Stan Kasten, and Scott Boras would be able to work out a deal.
Today we sit after having just drafted a once-in-a-generation hitting talent, Bryce Harper. And again, we are left to sit and wait to see if Mike Rizzo, Stan Kasten, and Scott Boras will be able to work out a deal to bring the slugger to Washington.
Just as last year we will be here minute by minute to cover the events as they unfold tonight and tomorrow, which will hopefully culminate in a signed contract.