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It's official: Bryce Harper is in the lineup at the Arizona Fall League

As expected, first overall pick Bryce Harper will make his debut at the Arizona Fall League tonight. He will bat seventh and play right field for the Scottsdale Scorpions at Scottsdale Stadium. His first at-bat will most likely come against Mesa Solar Sox starter Josh Zeid, a right-handed Philadelphia Phillies prospect who spent his season in Class A Lakewood.

Harper has become the focal point of this fall league, an expected development given his high-profile path to professional baseball. Late last night, after he watched from the dugout, Harper lingered for 15 minutes in the first base dugout to sign autographs for a modest scrum of fans.

Stephen Lombardozzi (batting first, playing second base) is the only Nationals prospect in the starting lineup tonight.

By Adam Kilgore  | October 20, 2010; 6:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Josh Willingham hopes to bypass free agency, stay with the Nationals

Comments

Let's not burn up a week's worth of news in one day.

Posted by: markfromark | October 20, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"Stephen Lombardozzi (batting first, playing second base) is the only Nationals prospect in the starting lineup tonight."

But I thought the whole point of this post was that Harper is in the lineup tonight. Now you're saying he's not. Which is it?

Posted by: nunof1 | October 20, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Harper is not a Nationals prospect in the starting lineup despite batting 7th in the order? Soooooooo confused!?!

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 20, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Gameday coverage on mlb.com if you want to catch Harper's ABs.

Posted by: joemktg1 | October 20, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

@JohnWWW: Harper isn't just a lowly prospect; He transcends that categorization, and is a bonafide phenom! Haven't you been paying attention for the last 16 months? ;)
--------------

@joemktg1: Is mlb.com really covering his AB's in Scottsdale? If so, the hype machine is apparently back in full-bore operation. Somebody call me when he has accumulated at least 20+PA against AA/AAA pitching & we'll go from there.

Posted by: BinM | October 20, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Bryce Harper went one for four in tonight's game. Two RBIs on a 350ft ground rule double in the bottom of the 7th with the bases loaded. Made good contact on two of his 3 other at bats. No mistakes in the field. Had good accurate throws to the right cut-off man, Lombardozzi.

Posted by: AZSportsJunkie | October 21, 2010 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, @joemktg1, its like talking about Lebron before he'd proved he could compete in the Big Ten.

Oh, by the way, James recorded 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals and shot 60% from the floor in his first game in the NBA. He became the youngest player in league history to score at least 40 points in a game.

Posted by: newbridge | October 21, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

STOP THE PRESSES!!!

Teenager who never played above junior college level ball faces single-A pitcher!

Details at 11.

Can the pathetic state of this franchise be more apparent? I guess when Adam Dunn signs elsewhere. It appears the Tigers are going to offer him the Sun, Moon, and stars the moment he becomes a free agent, and promise him he can play 1B and the outfield enough to keep him happy.

Details here:

http://www.detnews.com/article/20101020/OPINION03/10200412/1129/SPORTS0105/Tigers-offense-should-prove-naysayers-wrong-in-%E2%80%9811

Posted by: Fairfax6 | October 21, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I think Dunn is going to end up in Chicago, with the Cubs. They have been burned by expensive high caliber guys who cannot stay healthy or whom have not performed consistently. Dunn is THE model of healthy consistent slugging performance; he fits their needs -- mashing LF 1B, who the fans will adore -- and in Wrigley and the NL central, he has a chance at 50 bombs every year. He's worth big coins to that club.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 21, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Why wouldn't Dunn be worth big coins to the Nats too?

Posted by: EdDC | October 21, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Why wouldn't Dunn be worth big coins to the Nats too?"

Maybe you should ask Dunn that question. According to Boswell (surely the highest paid baseball writer in these parts, which of course would make him the best) the Nats have offered Dunn 3 years/$40M. That's pretty big coin, wouldn't you say? So why hasn't he accepted it?

Posted by: FeelWood | October 21, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

What other news do Nats fans have to talk about? 2 of probably the top 20 or so prospects in the game (Harper and Norris) are playing and looking good.

We will see if a) the lip service about spending money is true, and b) if we can get anyone to take the money (Werth, Lee, etc.). Until then, let's talk fall ball!

Posted by: goexpos2 | October 21, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

According to Boswell (surely the highest paid baseball writer in these parts, which of course would make him the best) the Nats have offered Dunn 3 years/$40M. That's pretty big coin, wouldn't you say? So why hasn't he accepted it? Posted by: FeelWood | October 21, 2010 1:12 PM |

Umm, according to Boswell, Dunn was offered this princely sum so late in the 2010 season that it makes no sense to simply accept it. At the time the offer was made, Dunn had already secured another successful season, adding to his value. Dunn's best move is to go into free agency and see what else is out there, according to Boswell. If the Nats' offer turns out to be the best (in terms of money, winning potential, Dunn's proposed position on a new team, and quality of organization), then Dunn stays here. So this scenario makes it appear that the Nats "tried" with Dunn. Does that count as "trying"?

Posted by: EdDC | October 21, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Who says the Nats are done "trying" with Dunn? Say Detroit offers him a 4 year deal with the (empty) promise that he'll get to play the field some instead of being a full time DH, which he claims he doesn't want to be. Can't the Nats still match or exceed that offer, with a much more binding guarantee that he won't be a DH? Wouldn't you think Dunn would at least want to explore that possibility? I would. But how can he even "try" if he hasn't got a better offer yet?

EdDC, you don't seem to understand much about "trying." Maybe you should "try" to be less obsessive about it.

Posted by: FeelWood | October 21, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"EdDC, you don't seem to understand much about 'trying.' Maybe you should 'try' to be less obsessive about it."

Actually, he displays a far better grasp of the situation than you do, but then with you so busy grasping/feeling something else, it's not likely you're thinking all that clearly. :-)

BTW, how many players sign with their most recent team after turning free agent? That's a serious question that I admit I don't know the answer to, but my guess is it's a very small percentage. And you'd better believe Dunn has a very good idea of the general parameters (at least) of the deals he'll be offered, and they're doubtless better than that 3-year $40 million contract the Nots finally came up with. This sort of tampering is a violation of the rules, of course, but everyone indulges in it, and hardly anyone is ever caught doing it.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | October 21, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"We will see if a) the lip service about spending money is true, and b) if we can get anyone to take the money (Werth, Lee, etc.). Until then, let's talk fall ball!"

Or you could pay more attention to the games currently being played and see what bona fide championship contenders look like. Of course, contrasting that with the sorry product on display at Nots Landing might be too depressing as it will demonstrate just how far the team is from mediocrity, let along a championship.

Incidentally, I could just barely imagine someone like Werth signing with the Nots if they're willing to overpay him somewhat, but Lee would be an idiot to come to a team this bad. They'd have to give him a salary higher than everyone else, plus throw in a percentage of the gate for the games when out of town fans are brought in on Red Carpet Specials. Fans may have forgotten what happened when Mike Hampton signed with Colorado after the 2000 season, but you can bet he's still a Don't Let This Happen To You At Any Price example for free-agent pitchers.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | October 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

How is it possible that the Post has not reported on Bryce Harper's debut? Not a single word that I can find.

Posted by: NatsWin | October 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Got another email from the Nats re renewing my season ticket package. Last time I got one, I sent them an email regarding my concern about their not signing Dunn and lack of spending in general. I have yet to get any response. Great customer service when you are trying to keep a long-time season ticket holder, isn't it? And why, exactly, do they think I will renew?

Posted by: NatsFly | October 21, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

They had a picture from Harper's debut in the print edition this morning. So give them credit for 1000 words of reporting. And the nice thing about that kind of reporting is that it's impossible for Kilgore to drop any of the words.

Posted by: FeelWood | October 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Bos on this one - what I've read is that the Nats finally made a 3 year offer in the last few weeks of the season.

Dunn will almost definitely file for free agency. Why wouldn't he at this point? What's the downside? That no one matches the Nats late offer and the Nats pull it off the table and then don't offer him arbitration? I cannot see that happening.

So, folks. Get used to Dunn being gone. I'll be floored if the Nats end up offering Dunn the most years and the most money.

Posted by: comish4lif | October 21, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax -

That's a good question regarding free agents resigning with their most recent team. From last year I remember Matt Holliday resigned with the Cardinals. A few years ago ARod opted out of his contract with the Yankees, became a free agent, and then resigned an even bigger deal to stay in New York. Obviously guys who spent their whole careers with the same team, such as Ripken, Gwynn and Biggio would have resigned, although I'm not sure if any of those players actually made it to free agency or if they just extended their contracts.

I'm sure there are other examples of guys resigning with their most recent team, but my initial thought is that there are probably more who leave to go somewhere else.

Either way I'm not feeling good about the Nats resigning Dunn. I think other teams (both Chicago teams, Detroit, Boston, the Yankees) will drive the price too high for the Nats to match and too high for Dunn to pass up.

Good bye Donkey. Hello Konerko, Pena, or Lee.

Posted by: SpashCity | October 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

A footnote on the difficulty of an AL team assuring Dunn that he will play 1B and not just DH.

You could structure a contract that says unless Dunn starts at 1B for at least 50% of his games that he started during the season, then Dunn gets a $5 million bonus (or something like that). It can be assured if it comes to needing a written assurance. Not that difficult and easily verified. You may want to put a minimum number of games started on that to bar the unintended consequence of a payout for 3 games as a starting DH in the unlikely event Dunn only plays 5 games and then gets injured, as an example.

Posted by: EdDC | October 21, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Harper 2 for 4 yesterday on his short trip to greatness. Good thing he has three days to think about it. Might not be able to process it in time for the next day's game.

Posted by: Brue | October 24, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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