The Nationals today signed Adrian Nieto, generally considered the second best high school catcher in the draft, paying him a $376k bonus, more than double the "slot" recommendation for a fifth round pick.
This is very good news, and hopefully a sign of more to come. From the start, Nieto was considered the least likely of the Nationals' higher round picks to sign.
Embittered Nationals fans conditioned to expect the worst should take heart that this team, regardless of their public posturing, has never acted like a "slot" team in the draft (McGeary, Hood, now Nieto...). Yes, they've taken a pass on blockbuster free agents. Yes, the strip-mall builders running the team showed the same terrible aesthetic judgment that brought you Tyson's Corner by blocking the view of the Capitol Dome with a cheap, ugly parking garage. And yes, they're clearly willing to play hardball in business, going to war with the city over what any sane person would consider minor issues on the stadium. But on the draft, at least so far, the "Lerners have not been cheeeeeeeap." I'm sure the player agents all expect the team to cave at the end to get their guys signed--they always have so far (hence the posturing).
Still, they damn well better sign Crow or this will be the last time you'll see me sticking up for their open space-destroying, traffic hell-creating, carbon footprint-expanding, taxpayer gouging, monopolistic, greedy capitalist butts.