(Surprise! Bryce Harper is #1. Photo of TV/MLB Network by Nationals Enquirer staff.)
"I'm just trying to enjoy it with my family -- it's what I've wanted since I was 7 years old."
(Bryce Harper, via MLB Network/Nationals.com, 6/7/2010)
Seven years old? So that's, like, three years ago?
August 16 is looming.
Can they sign him?
No surprise: Nationals select Bryce Harper with #1 pick.
Sort of surprising: Nationals immediately peg Bryce Harper as an outfielder:
"We made the early decision that we're going to take the rigors of playing the difficult position of catcher away from him and really let him concentrate on the offensive part of his game and let his athleticism take over as an outfielder. ...We just think that it will accelerate his development in the minor leages and extend his career as a major leaguer."
(Mike Rizzo, via Nationals Journal, 6/7/2010)
This matches up with what Harper's agent, Satan, was telling anyone who would listen a week ago:
"No baseball person in his right mind will have the guy catch."
(Scott Boras, via Rob Neyer/ESPN.com, 6/1/2010)
So maybe it's a sign that the Nats and Boras/Harper are on the same page. Or maybe stating it immediately is simply an early move -- a minor concession -- in what will almost certainly be a knock-down, drag-out, last-second negotiation. And so, the $9.5+ M question: Can they sign him? What sort of shenanigans does Scott Boras have in store this time around? Are we looking at another J.D. Drew situation?
Oh, and via @AdamKilgoreWP, the $1M question, a minor point: whether Harper would be permitted to wear that goofy eyeblack/war paint with the Nationals:
Will Bryce Harper be allowed to wear the war paint with the #Nats? "No," Mike Rizzo said.
(via AdamKilgoreWP, 6/7/2010)
For now, enjoy this very happy Strasmas Eve, NatsTown. Please just open your checkbook, Mr. Lerner.