As baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, it's like deja vu all over again.
Bryce Harper, the 17-year-old power-hitting catcher who was the Washington Nationals' choice as the top overall pick in this year's draft, remains unsigned as the deadline approaches for Major League Baseball teams to sign draft picks.Â Draft picks must be signed by Monday night at midnight.
If Harper does not sign with the club, he is eligible to enter the 2011 draft and another team can scoop him up.
Harper is represented by super-agent Scott Boras, who is known throughout the sports world as an agent who plays hardball while negotiating big money deals.
According to ESPN, Nationals pitcher, and last year's first overall pick, Stephen Strasburg had some choice words for the catching phenom after Sunday's game against Arizona.
"If [Harper] wants to play here, he's going to play here," Strasburg said. "He doesn't need advice from anybody to convince him otherwise. If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here."
Strasburg, who is also represented by Boras,Â was in Harper's position last year until he signed his deal with the Nationals just before the deadline.Â Strasburg's deal was worth $15.1 million,Â the largestÂ rookie contract in baseball history.
While Strasburg might be talking the talk, he was involved in the same faceoff with Washington just 12 months ago.Â Nobody on the Nationals publicly criticized him for taking his time to get his money and nobody questioned his desire to play baseball in D.C.Â Strasburg should understand that this is how Boras operates and, when push comes to shove, a deal should be done before the deadline.
And as it should be.Â It would be a giant risk for Harper to not sign and re-enter the draft next year.Â One would have to think that the Nationals are offering Harper at least close to the same amount that they gave Strasburg and if he decides to turn it down, there's no telling what happens between now and next summer.Â Harper's best move would be to take the money now and join a team that looks to be on the rise.
It looks like we won't find out any resolution until late tonight.