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Now, I am not going to get all excited about anything involving Bryce Harper until about 11:59 pm on August 16th. And I will be, if the drive goes well, in Texas getting my brother to grad school at that time, so I won’t even write a post about it then. That being said, something interesting came to my attention from today’s ESPN article by Jayson Stark:

The Nationals are already floating the hard line that if they don’t get Harper signed, they’d happily take the No. 2 overall pick next year in what’s viewed as a much deeper draft.

That’s not exactly your classic, upbeat, don’t-sweat-it-we’ll-get-him-signed kind of talk, considering the Nationals now have less than two weeks to get this deal done. But whether it’s spin or an indication that their negotiations with Scott Boras are in a danger zone, it’s one more sign that teams are prepared to hang tough with their picks, now that the prospect of some sort of slotting system looms in the next labor deal.

At this point, my first reaction is that it’s total spin, and that they’re completely crazy to think someone is better than Harper. After all, we’ve been trained to believe Harper is the second coming of Babe Ruth/Josh Gibson/Lou Gehrig/Stan Musial/Willie Mays/James Hellwig so they would never want to miss that. But the next line was this:

“I’ll say this,” said an official of one team. “Considering that [Harper] is 17 years old, there’s a good chance that No. 2 pick next year gets to the major leagues before Bryce Harper.”

It got me thinking, and keep in mind I don’t know ANYTHING about the talent coming out in the next draft, but at this point the Nats have the 9th pick next year, would they be ok with the #2 as well instead of Bryce? Would we, the fans? I don’t know, maybe it’s not such a bad thing, but losing Harper would not reflect well on the franchise. And I don’t know if it’ll take all the long for Harper. He’s 17, but he could be in the majors the year he turns 19, which would be 2012. Justin Upton and Ken Griffey, Jr did it. ARod was playing in Seattle at 18.  So anyway, setting aside all the positioning and spin on both sides of the table, just out of curiosity, what is your take on the signing of Harper?

By Charlie