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A (non) update on Bryce Harper

At one point tonight at Dodgers Stadium, Mike Rizzo stood behind the batting cage, chatting with acquaintences and watching batting practice. About 20 yards behind him, Scott Boras stood behind the plate, chatting with Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti. For public view, Rizzo and Boras never spoke.

The Nationals coming to Los Angeles -- Boras's home base, hours away from where first overall pick Bryce Harper grew up and destroyed junior college pitching -- brings up an obvious question: What's going on with the negotiations between the Nationals and Harper?

The answer, as always at this time of year, is basically nothing. The two sides remain at a standstill, which is typical in what baseball people call the Kabuki dance -- the posturing and waiting that takes place between the early June draft and the mid-August deadline to sign those picks.

Harper has enrolled at classes at the College of Southern Nevada, according to a source. He's also met the new coach there; Tim Chambers, his coach this past season, went on to become the new coach at UNLV. Enrolling for classes, though, is part of the dance. Virtually every draft pick does it.

Ted Lerner, Mark Lerner, Rizzo and Stan Kasten all made the trip west for the Nationals' series here. Rizzo would not say whether the Nationals met with Boras and/or Harper, but it stands to reason they could use the opportunity to get some face time.

Either way, it's unlikley anything substantive will take place between now and hours -- if not minutes -- from the Aug. 16 midnight deadline. At 11:20 on the night of the deadline last year, the Nationals and Boras started to actually make substantive progress with Stephen Strasburg's record-breaking contract.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 6, 2010; 9:20 PM ET
Categories:  Bryce Harper  | Tags: Bryce Harper  
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And they call themselves, grown-ups?

Posted by: swanni | August 6, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Went to dinner this week with one of the college baseball national championship winning coaches this week who knows some about the situation and when asked he said he didn't expect Harper to sign until right at the deadline like Strasburg did but he expects he will sign.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 6, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

He'd be a fool not to, especially if there's a pay-slot for the draft next year

Posted by: jpt1002 | August 6, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: pt393563384 | August 6, 2010 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Swanni, these are grown ups, as opposed to ... Hendricks brothers (see Aaron Crow, relegated to Double A - how's that working for him now?)

More and more players need to recognize the way to play is like Storen did last year - sign early and play. Make your way up the charts and into the majors to start your click ticking. THAT is where the money comes!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 7, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that an inexperienced kid is going to rely on Boras's advice, and Boras has no incentive to do the deal earlier.

The athlete's long-term interest might be served by starting to play as soon as possible, but his short-term interest, and Boras's, is served by holding out for the highest possible signing payoff. And so that's how it gets played.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 7, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

We'll just update this for Adam.

From AK's twitter:

"Mildy interesting: Nats GM Mike Rizzo sitting next to Scott Boras behind home plate at Dodgers Stadium. Guesses what they're talking about?"

Posted by: periculum | August 7, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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