The Nats are fully prepared to not sign their number one draft pick this year, according to Tom Boswell. While it might just be pre-draft posturing, it's a doomsday scenario that'd alienate the few diehard fans the team has left.
During a chat, a questioner asked him if Boz thought the Lerners would pony up the big bucks for Stephen Strasburg. Boz starts with "Depends." And it gets worse from there.
"I've heard through the grapevine that the Nats No. 1 priority in the draft is to pick Strasburg and sign him. But that their No. 2 priority is to draft Strasbuirg, try to sign him, but if they can't live with the number, get the No. 2 overall pick next year. The lesson, to them at least, of the Crow fiasco was that it wasn't sooo bad. They think next year's draft is deeper."
So the lesson they learned from the Crow fiasco -- where they ultimately failed to sign last year's #1 pick, throwing the development curve back a year over a few hundred thousand bucks -- is not that they're an organization that's a punchline, the laughingstock of the league, but that they're right to be hard-liners?
Gee, that's comforting.
On one hand, not bending in to agent's demands is good. But on the other hand, failing to sign your top pick two years in a row is not a feather in your cap. It's a sign that either you're cheap or that your talent evaluators and front office have no idea what the hell they're doing.
But based on their track record, we already have a pretty good clue about that last part.
Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment. He's rooting for a clean house.