With less than a week remaining until the August 16 deadline, Tim Chambers, Bryce Harper’s college coach, remains confident that Harper will sign with the Washington Nationals before midnight Monday and said it would be “silly” if both sides don’t figure it out in time.
“In my opinion, Bryce is the greatest amateur player ever to play baseball, and I am talking Mickey Mantle and others,” Chambers said. “He won the Golden Spikes Award. He achieved all of his goals. What else can he do?
“No other human being in baseball could leave high school his sophomore year and do what he did.”
Harper had an incredible debut season for the College of Southern Nevada. Swinging wooden bats, he hit .443 with 31 homers and 98 RBI in 66 games, guiding the Coyotes to a JUCO world series appearance and winning the Golden Spikes Award, signifying the nation’s finest amateur player.
Harper has been out of the limelight pretty much since draft day in early June, except for a few Facebook rumors that he was considering returning to school. His last competitive game was June 3.
But Chambers says Harper wants to play baseball right now.
“(Bryce) wants to play. He is begging to play. I saw him two days ago and he told me, ‘I just want to play again,’ ” Chambers said.
Chambers says Harper has bulked up since the JUCO baseball season ended, adding muscle that has taken him from 208 to 225 pounds - a move that would seem to suggest he’s gearing up to play professionally.
“He is in shape,” Chambers said. “He is ready to play. He is going to hit. I promise you that. I will be shocked if they don’t get it done.”
Harper’s agent Scott Boras and the Nationals have until midnight on August 16 to hammer out a deal so Harper can join the Nats.
It appears the deal will get done close to the deadline, similar to what happened with current Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg last season before he signed a record-setting contract.