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Rizzo confident that Harper will sign

For the second consecutive August, the Nationals are in the NL East basement and going down to the wire to sign a number one overall draft pick. Last year it was Stephen Strasburg and this year it's catcher/outfielder Bryce Harper -- both of whom are represented by Scott Boras.

General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters before Saturday's game that he's optimistic Harper will sign before Monday's midnight deadline.

"I seem confident that we should sign the guys that we want to sign out of the draft," he said without naming Harper. "It's a two-way street and we're certainly doing our part. We're engaged in good dialogue and good communication."

Harper, 17, left high school early, earned his GED and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada where he hit .443 with a school record 31 home runs. He figures to sign for less than Strasburg, who agreed on a four-year, $15.1 million contract -- a record for a draft pick -- 77 seconds before the deadline last year.

Rizzo said having last year's experience still doesn't make it any easier this time around.

"No," he said bluntly when asked there was a sense of calm this year. "It's not easier, it's not less anxious. The talks and negotiations are always difficult and always unique and this is a unique situation, just like Stephen was a unique situation, just like when I signed [Diamondbacks outfielder] Justin Upton it was a unique situation."

Another draft pick in negotiations with the club was on the field before Saturday's game. Robbie Ray, the team's 12th-round pick and a Tennessee native, was on hand with his family and sporting a Nationals cap and uniform with his name and the number three on the back. Ray, a 6-foot-2 left-handed pitcher, is choosing between signing with the Nationals and playing at the University of Arkansas.

"We brought Robbie and his family in here to show 'em our campus, if you will," Rizzo said. "We wanted to show him what we're all about. He was a 12th-round pick because he had a full commitment to a university. We see his ability as being great ability. Instead of just letting him go to school and blowing it off, we're giving every ditch effort to impress him with our organization and show him what being a professional can mean to him down the road and to give him an alternative to think about rather than just going to the University of Arkansas."

By Jorge Castillo  |  August 14, 2010; 6:02 PM ET
Categories:  Bryce Harper , draft  
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Next: Riggleman: Nyjer Morgan will have quick rehab stint

Comments

"We're every ditch effort" ???
What does that even mean?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 14, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, duh. It means they want to show him what professional can mean.

Good lord, didn't even darn post? I expect from you, 3.

Posted by: Scooter_ | August 14, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

It's a good thing that The Post's regular beat writer is on the job at the signing deadline, working all those sources he's been cultivating all season, to get us the real inside scoop.

Wait. Who the heck is Jorge Castillo????? What a frickin joke.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | August 15, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

not some ditches, every ditch!...slow news nite...zzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: nb888 | August 15, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Don't know if they keep statistics on this but the Nats must be close to last on hititng homers with no one on base. Anyone know about the above?

Posted by: boyn4884 | August 15, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if they keep statistics on this but the Nats must be last or close to last on hiting homers with the bases empty. Anyone know about the above?

Posted by: boyn4884 | August 15, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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