The Washington Nationals held a press conference after the midnight deadline to announce the signings of OF Bryce Harper, LHPs Sammy Solis and Robbie Ray and RHP A.J. Cole.

Harper was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft.  Solis was the second round choice, Cole the fourth rounder and Ray the 12th round pick.  Cole and Ray are high schoolers and Solis a junior from U. of San Diego.

Rizzo, on what it means for the franchise: "It gives us another impact player in the system.  We feel we've really become a deep system with not only good major league prospects but sprinking in a smattering of several impact type players which is a big differential from what we believe are good major league players to above average inpact type of guys.

[Harper] is a guy that could possibly be a cornerstone in our lineup the very near future and a talent we're pleased to put into the organization."

Rizzo on the major league contract:  "We do feel he's a fast-track 17-year old player.  The fact that he handles the wood [bats] so well and he's very experienced with it helped us with our evaluation of him.  I think it speaks to how hard he's worked over the season and how ready we feel he is to endure the rigors of professional baseball."

Rizzo, on the game plan:  "We're going to bring him in to D.C. probably our next homestand to meet the media, then we will certainly get him to Florida [Gulf Coast League] and get his professional career underway."

"We certainly have plans for him to go to our Florida Instuctional League.  There's an outside possibility he could spend some time in the AFL, but we want to evaluate and see if he's ready for that fairly advanced league just after getting his feet wet inprofessional baseball."

Rizzo on the deadline:  "As it usually takes with these deadline type of negotiations, you go down to the last second until somebody blinks and you make your last ditch efforts, and this time it came out to a great conclusion and we feel happy with the result."

Kasten, on the deadline:  "The truth is, with a full minute to go Mike and I both thought we were not going to have a deal."

"This was literally right at the end.  It was both sides just coming together."

Rizzo, on all four signings of the day:  "It means the committment from ownership to give us the resources to go out and really have an impactful draft.  We had four players at some time during the amateur season that were first round picks on Baseball America's list. 

We feel that we landed Harper, Solis, Hague, Cole -- and even Robert Ray -- were guys we were extremely happy about and these guys are going to be impactful players for us.  It comes down to the committment from ownership to field a championship organization. 

As Stan has said at numerous times, it all starts on the mound.  We went big time upside pitchers with great talent and to land two position players like Harper and Hague and to sprinkle in not only a veteran college quick to the big leagues type of pitcher in Solis -- to get two of the brightest upside high school arms in the draft -- we feel that Kris Kline and Roy Clark did an outstanding job, as we knew they would, and that's why they were brought in here."

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There was much, much more, including a whipped cream pie in the face for Rizzo and detailed information from Clark and Kline on why they were so high on Solis and Cole, and we'll file that and more of the press conference tomorrow morning.

4 comments

  1. Conrad // August 17, 2010 at 2:10 AM  

    Nice Job Dave! I hope you don't mind, I linked your story on the ESPN Boards for other Nats Fans to come over to enjoy.

  2. Dave Nichols // August 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM  

    Conrad, thanks for the link. appreciate it!

  3. Anonymous // August 17, 2010 at 1:14 PM  

    It was a good day for the home team, even though they didn't play. Nice to have you back, Dave, I hope that your health issues are firmly in the rear view mirror!

    John C.

  4. Dave Nichols // August 17, 2010 at 2:41 PM  

    John C. -- thanks. glad to be back! last week was pretty rough!