Bryce Harper going back to school? 'Hell, no'
Tyler Hanks probably has more insight into first overall pick Bryce Harper than anyone in the Nationals organization. Hanks, a 17th-round choice currently pitching like one of the more promising members of the Nationals 2010 draft class, played with Harper this past season, serving as the closer for the College of Southern Nevada. Hanks cherished playing with Harper -- "I love the kid to death," he said -- and he firmly believes it won't be long before they're teammates again.
Is there any chance, Hanks was asked this afternoon, that Harper goes back to school?
"Hell, no," Hanks said. "You don't take your GED and show everybody that you're ready to play this game, ready to move up, so you can go back to school."
Harper, who left high school a year early to attend CSN this past season, has enrolled in classes at CSN, which is standard procedure for draft picks who are in negotiations. The Nationals must sign Harper, 17, before the deadline at midnight on Monday, or they'll lose out on the reigning Golden Spikes Award winner, one of the most prolific power-hitting prodigies in history.
Hanks has not spoken with Harper since about a week after the June 7 draft, and he was simply offering his opinion. Having played with Harper and come to know him, Hanks feels Harper is biding his time in order to rest after a stressful season, not to drive up the Nationals' price.
"He better be a damn National," Hanks said. "I don't think it's the money. His mom and dad have good money. For $10 million, you could live the rest of your life on that. I think he's waiting until the end of the deadline to rest, to take time off. I know that he's probably taking his hacks. I just think, honestly, he's just taking his time off. How can you get your GED and do all that and not sign? I honestly think he's just taking a rest."
The Nationals and Scott Boras, Harper's high-profile representative, have yet to engage in final negotiations about Harper, but top picks rarely sign until minutes before the deadline. Surely, the sides have spoken. On Friday night in Los Angeles, as the Nationals played the Dodgers, Boras and Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo sat next to Boras for several innings behind home plate at Dodgers Stadium.
August 12, 2010; 5:34 PM ET
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