Bryce Harper on Facebook: 'Probably' Headed Back to JuCo
Early Friday morning, Harper declared on his Facebook page that he's, "Probably going back to [the College of Southern Nevada] to win a National Championship!" and Machado quickly joined in by saying he'd like to join Harper there. The deadline for both players to sign with the clubs that drafted them is Aug. 16.
Of course, it's worth pointing out that both players are advised by Scott Boras, who's notorious for not even beginning negotiations with clubs until hours before that deadline.
If Boras sticks with his usual tactics, it would be hard for negotiations to have broken down to this point already because there's a chance they haven't even really begun yet. In fact, just last weekend Orioles' president Andy MacPhail told season ticket holders that he was "very confident" Machado would sign.
If either player does fail to sign, the Nationals or Orioles would receive a compensation pick in the 2011 draft in a similar slot to where they picked in 2010. That would mean the Nationals would get pick "1B," second overall, while the Orioles would pick again at "3B," right after the team with the third worst record in baseball this year. The 2011 draft is expected to be much deeper than the 2010 edition, so both clubs could come through OK if something like that does happen.
Of course, the deeper 2011 draft should be a consideration for Harper and Machado, too, if they really are considering this. If they don't sign and their draft position takes a hit as a result, they could conceivably end up with less money in the long run.
Playing the JuCo card gives them both leverage in their negotiations right now, but it may not next year. Baseball's current Collective Bargaining Agreement ends on the last day of 2011, and many people expect big changes in the draft for 2012 and beyond.
The most important thing to remember here is that both Harper and Machado are Boras clients. Boras isn't afraid to do anything when it come to negotiations with his top draft picks (remember, just two years ago he orchestrated a complaint that Pedro Alvarez's deal was signed after midnight, even though he could have potentially voided the deal of another one of his clients with such a grievance), and so nothing that's said about any of his clients should be taken at face value until the day of the signing deadline.
That includes Facebook messages.