There's nothing worse than wasting the first overall selection in the MLB draft on a guy who won't even sign.
Such is the problem facing Washington right now. The Nationals chose San Diego State standout Stephen Strasburg with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft, but according to team president Stan Kasten, things aren't quite going as planned as the two sides negotiate a contract.
Washington has until midnight on Monday to sign the pitcher, and Kasten told ESPN.com there is a "very real possibility" a deal won't get done.
"With 48 hours to go, I simply have no idea whether we're going to be able to reach a deal," the president told the Associated Press, divulging that the Nationals offered him a contract worth more than the record $10.5 million the Cubs gave Mark Prior after the 2001 draft.
Strasburg is represented by Scott Boras, who is working with the three highest picks in this year's draft — all of whom are currently unsigned.
A record-breaking contract may sound like a good deal, but it isn't good enough for Boras. He claims that there is no point in comparing Strasburg's value with the value of pitchers eight years ago.
While his exact demands are unclear, it is obvious that he's willing to play hardball with Strasburg.
"For the first time in eight years we have an extraordinary player who is in the draft marketplace," Boras told ESPN.com. "Wouldn't we all like to buy bread at a price they charged 100 years ago, a nickel a loaf, with the income we enjoy today?"
If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, Strasburg will re-enter the draft in 2010 and the Nationals will receive the No. 2 overall pick.
Strasburg went 13-1 in 2009 and led all Division I pitchers with a 1.32 ERA and 195 strikeouts. He was named the top amateur player in the United States in July.
he has a special talent on his hands.
"This kid is so impressive," Kasten told the AP. "We have nothing but the highest regard for him. If he wants to come and begin his career right now — and do so with the largest contract ever given to any drafted player in the history of Major League Baseball — we can help him accomplish that.
"But if this is more about changing the whole way an industry does business, then we won't be able to reach a deal."