August 2010

Nats agree to terms with Ray

Left-hander Robbie Ray agreed to terms on a $799,000 bonus with the Nationals, MLB.com has confirmed.

Before agreeing to terms, Ray, the 12th-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, had a bullpen session at Nationals Park on Saturday afternoon. General manager Mike Rizzo declined to say how Ray threw in the session, but the team was trying to convince him to sign a professional contract before the deadline at midnight on Monday.

Ray was trying to decide whether to sign or attend the University of Arkansas on a full scholarship.

“We brought Robbie and his family in here to show him our campus, if you will,” Rizzo said. “He has a full ride to the University of Arkansas. It’s a very good baseball school and a very good institution. We wanted to show him what we’re all about.

“He is a 12th round pick because he had a full commitment to the university. We see his ability as great ability. He is a left-handed pitcher that our scouting director [Kris Kline] loves. We’re making every effort to impress him with our organization and show him what professional baseball could mean to him down the road. We want to give him an alternative to think about rather than just going to the University of Arkansas.”

Twitter Poll: Will Bryce Harper sign with Nats?

On Monday afternoon, I asked a question to my Twitter followers: Do you think the Nats will sign OF Bryce Harper? Yes or No? Why? It is unanimous. The fans and bloggers believe a deal will get done between the Harper and the Nats. 

@SodaPop6548: I think they will. The way I understand it, he wants to play so bad right now he can’t stand it.

@krypt0nate: He’ll sign because his stock will never be higher and 2011 is supposed to be a deeper draft.

@Jeffrey_Bergin: Absolutely. You don’t leave high school, get a GED and enter the draft at 17 to be J.D. Drew or Aaron Crow

@natcapskin: YES, WITHOUT QUESTION. He will sign for less than $10 million.

@JoeBHokie: Remember, Nats took Aaron Crow at 9 in 2008 and he didn’t sign. As compensation, Nats took Drew Storen at 10 in ’09. Crow to KC at 12 in ’09

@HappyGilmore233: yes

@Szul: I think they will. I believe he wants to play and play now.

@JoeBHokie: Yes, as the kid will lose a year of multi-million dollar earning power. No pressure on the Nats for a deal though, considering compensation pick next year.

@Natsnq: Yes. If they don’t, the Nats lose face and Harper is proved a liar because he obviously doesn’t want to play ball that badly.

@NatsEnquirer: Yes: Not doing deal would be very bad outcome for both sides. Bet you $1 it gets done several hours before deadline.

@Thebrowncoat: Of course they will. This is the standard game. Deal gets done at 11:59 p.m. tonight with about a $10 million signing bonus.

@eenyy820: Yes. He’s a Scott Boras client. Boras just wants more time to ask for as much money as possible

@orangepigon: Yes. Both sides would be dumb to not get a deal done.

@JFLANland: Yes. You don’t leave HS early just to go to JuCo. 2011 draft is deeper, no promise he’d be No. 1.

@TheNatsBlog: Yes. I think the real question is how much money. 

@md_schmidt: Yes. Nats definitely want him and I don’t think Harper’s career aspirations include more AB’s at the College of Southern Nevada. He signs.

@ndepetris: yes, but not if he is looking for a Stephen Strasburg contract. Strasburg was instant improvement. Harper is good but less vital or immediate help

@tbridge: Yes. Power numbers in wooden bat leagues too good to ignore. He has much to lose if he doesn’t. Deal will get done at 11:59:40.

@HendoDC: Yes. They both want it to happen.

@Sultan_of_Stat: I’d be surprised if he doesn’t sign. He has nothing to prove at CSN and his stock can only go down with another year in college.

@jeffdonald: They’ll get him. Risk of not signing is far greater for Harper than for the Nats.

@CapitolAvenue: Yes because Harper seems to want to play.

@Jake_Titleman39: He wouldn’t have left high school and gone through everything not to sign 

 

Last minute problem may prevent deal between Nats, Cole

A last minute problem has surfaced between the Nationals and right-hander A.J. Cole, which means the two parties may not be doing a deal, according to a baseball source. It’s not known what the problem is.

The Nationals and Cole have until Monday at midnight to get a deal done.

Early Sunday morning, it was reported by Baseball America – then confirmed by MLB.com — that Cole, the fourth round pick in the 2010 First Year Player Draft, and the Nationals agreed to terms on a $2 million deal.

Another source went so far as to say that Cole and his family feel that the Nationals are a “great fit” for the 18-year-old. Cole likes the positive direction the team is going in.

Team president Stan Kasten, general manager Mike Rizzo and Cole’s advisor, Jeff Berry, were not available for comment. Without naming names, Rizzo said on Saturday that the club hopes to get deals done with its unsigned Draft picks, which include outfielder Bryce Harper, the first-overall selection.

“I feel confident that we want to sign the guys we want to sign out of the Draft,” Rizzo said. “It’s a two-way street, and we are certainly doing our part. We are engaged in good dialogue and good communication.”

Cole comes from Oviedo (Fla.) High School and his fastball is clocked as high as 94 mph.

 

Starting lineups for Nats, Diamondbacks

D-backs:

Young – CF

Johnson – 2B

Upton – RF

LaRoche – 1B

Montero – C

Reynolds – 3B

Drew – SS

Parra – LF

Enright – P

Nationals:

Bernadina – CF

Desmond – SS

Dunn – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Willingham – LF

Morse – RF

Rodriguez – C

Kennedy – 2B

Strasburg – P

Nats, Cole agree to terms

The Nationals agreed to terms on a $2 million deal with right-hander A.J. Cole, the Nationals’ fourth-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, a baseball source has confirmed to MLB.com. The news was first reported by Baseball America.

The source went so far as to say that Cole and his family feel the Nationals are a “great fit” for the right-hander. Cole likes the positive direction the team is going in.

Team president Stan Kasten, general manager Mike Rizzo and Cole’s advisor, Jeff Berry, were not available for comment. Without naming names, Rizzo said Saturday that the club hopes to get deals done with its unsigned draft picks, which include outfielder Bryce Harper, the first overall pick in the draft.

“I feel confident that we want to sign the guys we want to sign out of the Draft,” Rizzo said. “It’s a two-way street, and we are certainly doing our part. We are engaged in good dialogue and good communication.” 

Cole comes from Oviedo (Fla.) High School and his fastball is clocked as high as 94 miles per  hour.

Starting lineups for Nats, Diamondbacks

D-Backs:

Young – CF

Johnson – 2B

Upton – RF

LaRoche – 1B

Montero – C

Reynolds – 3B

Drew – SS

Parra – LF

Kennedy – P

Nationals:

Bernadina – CF

Desmond – SS

Dunn – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Willingham – LF

Kennedy – 2B

Rodriguez – C

Harris – RF

Marquis – P

Solis close to signing with Nats

It looks like a deal is close to getting done between the Nationals and left-hander Sammy Solis, the team’s second-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, according to a baseball source.

The Nats have until Monday at midnight to get a deal done. 

The source said the talks between the two parties are amicable, and the Nationals are doing everything they can to get a deal done before the deadline.

Nationals president Stan Kasten, general manager Mike Rizzo and Solis’ advisor Nez Balelo were not available for comment.

The 6-foot-5, 228-pound left-hander came back after missing nearly all of the 2009 season with a herniated disc in his back.

Solis suffered the injury while lifting weights two years ago, and it limited him to two games that year. Opting against surgery, he spent an entire summer rehabbing and getting back in shape at “Athletes Performance” in Arizona.

All of the hard work he did in getting back from that injury eventually paid off. Solis went 9-2 with a 3.42 ERA for the University of San Diego this season. He struck out 92 batters and walking 29 in 92 innings.

“I’ve put in a lot of hours and a lot of hard work, and to have it finally pay off, especially with the Nationals, it’s really exciting,” Solis said back in June. “The Nationals are young and up and coming. I know that they have good people in there, move guys up quick and are going to treat me right.”

Associate reporter Greg Rosenstein contributed to this report.

Starting lineups for Nats, Diamondbacks

D-backs:

Young – CF

Johnson – 2B

Upton – RF

LaRoche – 1B

Montero – C

Reynolds – 3B

Drew – SS

Parra – LF

Saunders – P

Nationals:

Gonzalez – 2B

Desmond – SS

Dunn – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Willingham – LF

Morse – RF

Maxwell – CF

Nieves – C

Lannan – P

Strasburg has bullpen session

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had a bullpen session without any problems on Thursday, according to pitching coach Steve McCatty. The news comes two days after Strasburg had his worst outing of his Major League career.

During the session, McCatty told Strasburg to not think too much about his mechanics and just think about getting hitters out. Strasburg, who allowed a career-high six runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Marlins, acknowledged that he didn’t have problems with his right shoulder, which placed him on the disabled list on July 29. However, he didn’t have command of any of his pitches. He said he worried too much about his mechanics and wanted to make sure he didn’t hurt his shoulder again.

“We know our mechanics but we can’t think about our mechanics [while we’re on the mound].” McCatty said. “You have to trust yourself to make competitive pitches at the time. If we worry about where we are and everything being perfect and all that — like mechanics– it takes away what we are trying to do with the hitter. We’re always worried about mechanics. We just have to worry about that guy.

“You would be amazed at how your mechanics will really work if just trust it and not worry about it all the time. Trust yourself to make the pitches and the results that you want. There is a good chance you are going to have success.”

Strasburg, the ace of the Nationals’ pitching staff, will pitch against the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He has pitched in 10 games and is 5-3 with a 3.07 ERA. He leads Washington with 79 strikeouts.  

 

Dunn happy to remain with Nationals

A day after he was reportedly taken off waivers, first baseman Adam Dunn said Thursday he is happy to remain a member of the Nationals for the rest of the season.
 
Dunn had a feeling he would not be dealt after the non-waiver Trade Deadline passed.

“I knew that the probability of being traded at that point was slim to none,” Dunn said. “I knew once the Trade Deadline passed, I was 99 percent sure that I was going to stay put here for the rest of the season.” 

Dunn, a free agent after this season, said his agent, Greg Genske, and the Nationals continue to talk about a contract extension for Dunn. So far, they are not close to a deal. According to Dunn, both parties continue to have dialogue.

Dunn reiterated that he wants a four-year deal, but is willing to listen to a three-year offer. He does not want another two-year deal like the one he signed with the Nationals in February of 2009.

“I know we are still in communication. There is nothing set in stone,” Dunn said. “Both sides continue to talk. We have a long offseason ahead.”

Asked if he will be a member of the Nationals next year, Dunn said, “I don’t know. We’re going to continue to talk. If things can get where they need to be and both sides are happy, I’ll be here.”

Entering Thursday’s action, Dunn is hitting .273 with a National League-leading 31 homers and 78 RBIs.

 

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