Nationals, Crow far from closing deal

Nationals, Crow far from closing deal

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and pitcher Aaron Crow, the team's first-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, are not close to agreeing to terms on a contract.

Washington and Crow have until Friday to get a deal done. If they don't, the Nationals will get two top 10 picks and Crow will go back into the 2009 Draft. The club has already signed nine of its first 10 picks.

"We're very blessed that we have ownership and a president that are committed to allowing us to draft the best players and allowing us to sign them," general manager Jim Bowden said. "Our scouting department feels we had one of the best Drafts ever, and to be able to sign nine of our first 10, so far, we're very, very pleased with that."

Crow wants a Major League contract and, according to published reports, $8 to $10 million. The Nationals don't want to give him that kind of money or contract.

During the Bowden era, the Nationals have never given Major League contracts to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, first baseman Chris Marrero and pitchers Colton Willems or Ross Detwiler. All of them were the team's first-round Draft picks.

Instead, the Nationals feel that Crow's salary should be similar to what Detwiler received. Detwiler, the team's first-round pick in 2007, received a $2.15 million signing bonus.

Before Tuesday's game between the Mets and Nationals, Bowden declined to talk about the negotiations, but talked about the possibility of Crow not signing with the club.

"The one good thing about the way the system is now is that worst case scenario we sign nine of our first 10 and we get 9B in next year's draft, which would be two picks in the top 10 in the country," Bowden said. "That's never happened before that I know of in the history of baseball, where a team's had two picks in the top 10. Our scouting department is not going to complain if we walk into next year's Draft and get two picks in the top 10."

The Nationals consider Crow a potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher with competitiveness that resembles that of former big leaguer David Cone. If he signs soon enough, Crow most likely would start at Class A Potomac. The organization believes Crow is on the fast track to the Majors.

"He can command his fastball and he has breaking stuff, which means he can put away big-league hitters with his slider. So I definitely think he is a quick riser," said Nationals scouting director Dana Brown.

Crow is being advised by agent Alan Hendricks, but Crow and his representative have been silent during this process.

According to one source, the Nationals have invited Crow several times to Nationals Park after the Draft, but Crow declined the invitations.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.