Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Clean Sweep

Our Washington Nationals in the past 48 hours have been not only aggressive when it comes to signing four top draft picks, but progressive in the willingness to spend the money and think outside the box. Not only did the Lerner Family, Team President Stan Kasten and GM Mike Rizzo agree to terms with the Number 1 Overall Pick in the Draft for the second year in a row--but they pursued two other high school pitchers in 2010--committed to top collegiate programs who had fallen into later rounds due to signability concerns--and still got those choices agreeable to professional contracts.

Our Washington Nationals doled out some serious cash this evening to officially sign Bryce Harper, 2nd Round Pick Sammy Solis, 4th Round Pick A.J. Cole and 12th Round Pick Robbie Ray. That's one great young hitter and three strong arms added into Washington's Farm System, if you are counting. The total dollars spent might have cost somewhere around $14 Million to get that quartet of young players under contract--with Harper receiving approximately $10 million--but there could not be many unhappy faces in Natstown tonight.

Our Washington Nationals made a clean sweep in signing their top draft picks in 2010. They took chances other teams did not. A successful series of events pulled off over the last two days that may well impact the Major League Roster positively for years to come. These type of deals shouldn't have to come down to the last minute each year. And hopefully the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Players' Association will change by the year 2012. But at least every Washington fan can now go to bed happy this morning knowing D.C.'s Team did not back down. In fact, they were the aggressor. A sign of good times to come in The Nation's Capital for Major League Baseball and the team that wears The Curly "W".

Here is the team's press release announcing Bryce Harper's signing:


The Washington Nationals tonight agreed to terms on a Major League contract with College of Southern Nevada outfielder Bryce Harper, the first-overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Nationals Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Personnel Roy Clark and Nationals Director of Scouting Kris Kline made the joint announcement.

Harper—who stands 6-foot-3, 205 lbs. and hails from Las Vegas—hit .443 (101-for-228) with 23 doubles, four triples, 31 home runs, 98 RBI, 39 walks and 20 stolen bases in 66 games for College of Southern Nevada in the Scenic West Athletic Conference, which uses wood-bats. Despite being the youngest player in the SWAC, Harper posted .526 and .987 on-base and slugging percentages, respectively, en route to a stellar 1.513 OPS (OBP+SLG) this season. He led his team and conference in virtually every primary offensive category.

Harper, 17, was named 2010 SWAC Player of the Year and also earned First-Team SWAC All-Conference status. Harper’s 31 home runs in 2010 set a College of Southern Nevada single-season mark, easily besting the former record of 12, which was set during CSN’s era using aluminum bats.

Last season, Harper was cited as Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year after he batted .626 with 14 home runs, 55 RBI and 36 stolen bases in 39 games for Las Vegas High School. The season prior, in 2008, Harper hit .590 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI in just 38 games as a high school freshman. In March of 2009, Harper became the first high school sophomore ever named a Pre-Season First-Team All-American by Baseball America.


SenatorNat said...

The Nationals have built real credibility in the baseball community from all angles now since Rizzo took the interim reins. They enjoyed historical, unprecedented opportunities to draft first twice in a row and to have potentially generational players available back-to-back; and they not only did not blow it, but they seemed to pay rational amounts. And, as SBF notes, the pyramid of scouts that Rizzo put into place has apparently already paid dividends as they have now signed three major prospects in two years that would have gone higher in the draft but they were "committed" to play college ball. Add to this the signing of Maya from Cuba, the trade for a young highly-rated catcher, the move of Espinoso to second-base at Syracuse, Jordan Zimmermann ready to return as early as next week, and you can almost see Rizzo's chart of position players for 2011;2012;2013.

Will be very interesting to see if Dunn now is even more intent on signing here, giving team a home-town discount, in essence, by taking either a 3 year deal, or a more reasonable 4 year deal. When something is well-managed, things tend to come together, and Rizzo is keen on having a well-managed organization, top-bottom, first in class. He should be commended, indeed.

Trust in putting an "A" in "Ntionals." And a real pro running the show. All At Last.

An Briosca Mor said...

SenatorNat, I feel certain that Dunn and the Nationals already have a tentative deal in place and are just waiting for the opportune time to announce it. All of the trading deadline and waiver-wire buzz about Dunn was purely a case of Rizzo doing his due diligence. It certainly would have made no sense to ice Dunn for an extended period of time if there was even the smallest of chances that some other GM might make a stupid move and hand the Nationals a princely sum for a mere test drive of the Ferrari the Nats will be driving for years to come, would it? Of course, with Bowden retired there may be no other stupid GMs left in baseball, but you never really know that for sure.

Now, there could possibly be one small bargaining chip that might be holding up the deal. Do you think perhaps Dunn might be asking for a giant iconic baseball in center field against which to take aim?

SenatorNat said...

ABM - I am of the mind that Rizzo makes these kinds of moves, as due diligence directly pertaining to Fast Eddie Cohen, to show him demonstrably that there is no way for the owners to have their cake and eat it, too, in the Dunn situation and in others. Fast Eddie told me directly that he is none too pleased with having committed $15 million for a pitcher "yet to get anyone out." He then asked the rhetorical question: "why can't we go month-to-month with these guys?" Rizzo has shown some true acumen, having to serve several masters and keeping it real, at the same time. As to stupid GMs, I concur that they are seemingly all on ESPN, etc.

And regards that iconic baseball - I intend to win the lottery and erect it with the legend: "Natstown: curly W's, gooey statues, and midnight scrawlers!"