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Stephen Strasburg's strong words for Bryce Harper

One year ago, Stephen Strasburg faced the same high-stakes moment Bryce Harper is entering now, less than 36 hours away from the deadline for 2010 draft picks to sign or re-enter the draft next season. Following his start today, Strasburg was asked if he had advice for Harper, the 17-year-old outfielder.

"I don't have any advice for him," Strasburg said. "It's his decision. If he wants to play here, he's going to play here. He doesn't need advice from anyone to confirm his views. If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here. That's the bottom line."

Strasburg's comments are of particular interest given that super-agent Scott Boras represents both Strasburg and Harper.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 15, 2010; 5:15 PM ET
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Next: Ryan Zimmerman: Stephen Strasburg 'on a very different level' than Bryce Harper


In other words, if you want to play professional baseball - sign. If you don't, then you could end up like Aaron (eat) Crowe. You're either motivated to play or not.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | August 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Blah, blah, blah. Let's save the bluster for 12:30ish AM Tuesday. Until then none of this means anything.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 15, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

You have to wonder if Kasten and Rizzo talked directly (with Boras's permission, of course) to Harper and told him his antics won't be tolerated in the organization -- and if that didn't prompt the remarkably childish Facebook posting.

The Nats are lucky with this one. If Harper doesn't sign, it will be easy to persuade the fan base that his "character" was the problem. And it might well be.

Posted by: Snopes1 | August 15, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here."

I can't tell you how much I like that. It comes from one of Boras's players, and it sends a message. It wouldn't mean much if it came from someone who Harper could evict from right field someday. But coming from the franchise's headliner, who couldn't remotely be threatened by Harper's arrival, it sends a strong message.

It also tells everyone there's another leader in the clubhouse to go along with the established ones. One who's saying, don't come here just looking for an easy paycheck. It sounds strikingly similar to what the Earl of Baltimore used to say: "If you want to win, great. If you don't want to win, that's great, too, but I have a lot of guys who can take your place who DO want to win."

I'm starting to think that at $15 million, Strasburg was a bargain.

Posted by: gilbertbp | August 15, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Stras has nothing to say about anything here. Harper will do whatever he thinks is best for himself, which is exactly what he should do.

Posted by: dfh21 | August 15, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Rock on, Mr. Strasburg!

Posted by: SuzNats | August 15, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

sign or go back to school...simple as that

Posted by: joerutgens72 | August 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Koolaid tastes good. Not the smoothest thing to say but direct and to the point. I think the message from SS to Harper is just do it -- whatever it is and don't be coy. The other message is you will be warmly welcomed but you won't be the straw that stirs the drink. Nevertheless, I'm sure Rizzo, Kasten and Boras blew coffe out their noses when they read the quote

Posted by: Natmeister | August 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

The Nats were lucky in NOT signing Aaron Crowe. He is now part of the KC Royals system and was recently demoted to the SINGLE A Wilmington (DE) Blue Rocks. Who would want a player that stupid?

Posted by: Richard88 | August 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to add, makes you wonder what SS told Boras last year as the clock ran down.
He may not have enjoyed the last second drama. Now that I think about it, he also has the cred to send Harper a message that he might actually isten to. Good for him -- I like that bulldog mentality.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

latest from Jim Callis on Cole 7:23PM:

@jimcallisBA: Deal pending physical. @R1cketyCr1cket: What is the status of #Nationals & Cole? Deal pending physical or deal busting "snag"? #mlbdraft

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 15, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Kruk just said on Bseball Tonight he agrees with SS -- Harper has no real fallback position (win a JuCo national championship?) so just sign already. Also, seven of the first nine picks are still unsigned. It's all theater.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 15, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

SS has been very quiet about things outside his own situation so it's both instructive and comforting to hear him publicly express what most Nats fans are thinking. Not saying that the Nats don't need some swagger but the message to Harper to do his business or get off the pot sends a strong message that the players being assembled by Rizzo in the Nats organization are serious about improving the franchise. Time for the Harper circus to end one way or the other with Bryce hopefully starting to assume the responsibility that goes with his talent and desire to be play ball. If not, good luck in next year's draft, we'll take the #2 guy.

Posted by: McKinley2 | August 15, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love a rookie talking like this. And Zim is the E.F. Hutton of the clubhouse, too.

Posted by: paulkp | August 15, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

#37 was just saying that it is up to Harper to decide what he wants to do. He isn't saying Harper should have signed already.

Posted by: Pensfans | August 16, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Got a feeling that uber-agent (sorry, "advisor") is pulling all the strings here. Stras, by stepping up and commenting --and not saying anything really inflammatory-- is building his own case as a "team leader". Harper's deal is going to get done so there's no hard feelings between him & Stras. He'll get his $$$. In fact, Boras is probably telling him this is all a game anyway, and here's how we're playing it.

Posted by: tripan1035 | August 16, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

It's a Strasmas miracle! God Bless us, everyone...

He just looks better and better and better...

Posted by: BillStoner | August 16, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Mr. Strasburg can advise Mr. Harper on how to sign a contract that only requires him to play five or six innings per game.

Posted by: jalewis1 | August 16, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

While I like that Strasburg is voicing his "team" ideas, it is a bit of hypocrisy. SS did hold out until the very last minute for a record signing amount.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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