Nats, Rizzo working hard to sign Harper

Nats, Rizzo working hard to sign Harper

WASHINGTON -- Out of the 50 players the Nationals selected in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, 19 remain unsigned. General manager Mike Rizzo hopes to get those players signed by the deadline, which is Monday at midnight ET.

The biggest name the team is trying to sign is outfielder Bryce Harper, the No. 1 overall pick. Rizzo said the talks between the two parties are amicable. For the second straight year, he is dealing with advisor Scott Boras, who also represented right-hander Stephen Strasburg.

"I feel confident that we will 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.

"If you are speaking of [Harper], he's a player we really want in the organization. The talks and the negotiations are always difficult, and they're always unique. This is a unique situation just like Stephen Strasburg [was last year]. We're battling through it. We don't make a big public display of it. Suffice to say, we are working hard at [trying to sign him]."

Harper had the stats to warrant being taken with the No. 1 overall pick. In 2008, Harper had a .599 batting average with 11 home runs and 67 RBIs in 38 games for Las Vegas High School. He followed that up with a .626 batting average, 14 home runs and 55 RBIs the next season.

Playing against a high-level of competition and hitting with a wooden bat didn't present much of a challenge to Harper at the College of Southern Nevada. The 17-year-old hit .442 with 29 home runs and 89 RBIs during the 2010 regular season. And in the National Junior College World Series, Harper hit for the cycle while going 6-for-7. The next day, he went 2-for-5 in the first game of a doubleheader and 6-for-6 with four home runs in the nightcap.