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Ryan Zimmerman: Stephen Strasburg 'on a very different level' than Bryce Harper

Before Stephen Strasburg gave his thoughts about Bryce Harper, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, the player who represents the franchise more than any other, shared his opinion on the final showdown between Harper and the Nationals before Monday's midnight deadline.

The Nationals also negotiated down to the wire with Strasburg last season. But Zimmerman drew a distinct line between Strasburg and - without mentioning him by name - Harper.

"Stephen was on a very different level from this guy," Zimmerman said. "I mean, this guy has done well at a junior college. Obviously, he's very talented. But I think Stephen, there was a lot more to him. Obviously, it would be good for us to sign him. I think the people are very smart. They understand talent, recognize talent. I don't know what he's asking for or what the numbers are, but Stephen was a completely different story than anyone else. I hope he signs and we get him. He has a chance to be a very good player.

"Stephen, we knew as soon as we drafted him he was going to be ready to come here and pitch. Very rarely do you see 20 year-old kids come up. So he's three years away. It's always different with pitchers and position players as well."

While Zimmerman hopes the Nationals sign Harper, he also expressed sympathy for and solidarity with Nationals management.

"It's not that I would be not upset," Zimmerman said. "You have to try to sign all the good guys you draft. I think there's a point where you have to say, 'Enough is enough.' So you don't get him, you get the second pick next year? I don't know anything about the draft, but if you've got the second pick. ... We'll see. I'm not sitting here saying I hope we don't sign him. Obviously, he's good if we draft him first. They think he can help us. It would be nice to sign him."

Zimmerman said he has not followed Harper closely but was familiar with some of the negative perceptions about Harper, perceptions the Nationals and college teammates have consistently shot down. Zimmerman defended Harper in terms of the draft process and said he would reserve his own judgment.

"It's just the business," Zimmerman said. "It doesn't mean he's a bad kid. I've heard all the stuff about his this and that. I'm open to meeting him. You don't get that kind of hype if you're not legit or somewhat legit, at least. I mean, it'll be interesting to see what he's doing."

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 15, 2010; 6:38 PM ET
Categories:  Bryce Harper , Ryan Zimmerman , Stephen Strasburg  
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Next: Jordan Zimmermann getting closer to the majors


Zim saying all the right things. Nothing incredibly insightful or inflammatory.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 15, 2010 7:48 PM | Report abuse


They all need to shut up. Leave it to the professionals. Who wants to p*ss Bryce Harper off? What good does that do?



Posted by: Brue | August 15, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

106.7 the fan will be live tommorrow 9pm till the Harper news with Overtime with Bill Rohland..

Adam--got time to call in? 1-800-636-1067. LOVE to have your insight. I'm going in to the studio to talk Nats and they're hoping to get Stan Kasten on as well...I think they have Boras' cell as well but thats a hail mary he'll bother to talk...

Posted by: CJArlington | August 15, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Very different tone than this time last year when fear of not signing SS was near hysterical. Signing SS and getting Storen instead of Crow has steadied a lot of nerves. Talk from the likes of Zim and SS is sending a reality check to Harper -- you aren't the moon and the stars to us. If the kid plays his cards right some day he may get to take the field with Mr. Zimmerman and Mr. Strasburg.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 15, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

One way or the other, its time for a slotting system.

Posted by: postcrud | August 15, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if they piss Harper off, and I'm sure neither of them does, either. And I doubt it would, for what that's worth.

The more interesting part is watching them lay groundwork for clubhouse culture in general. I think Strasburg is going to be a take-no-crap veteran presence, starting next February. This is good. Less interesting to read about maybe, but good.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 15, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Harper is 18y/o the real chance of Zimmerman playing on the field with this guy are probably 3-1 or maybe 2-1 if and that's a big if...., all the stars align. So Zimm can basically say whatever because he might be gone by the time Harpoon joins the DC9. On the other hand for SS its gonna be his team come Harper time and SS is making it plain, come here and play or just get the hell out of the way!

JFK pulled that trade deadline show last year with SS. The tards including known Nats hater Grant Paulson had zero clue about the Nats, it was rather comical.
Everyother sentence was how amazed they all were talking about baseball when the B&G's pre-season was underway. Message to JFK and Synder Radio do yourselves a favor and stick to what you know best, most Nats fans gave up hoping your stations would give the Nats some air time a long time ago.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 16, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I'd like to see: Forget Harper and sign Adam Dunn. Harper's going to be nothing but a big headache. And please trade Debbi Taylor to the Orioles for Amber Theoharis.

Posted by: fluffy4 | August 16, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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