The Washington Times - July 21, 2009, 07:38PM

The Nationals have until August 17 to sign top draft pick Stephen Strasburg, and they’ve known all along negotiations with the right-hander and his agent, Scott Boras, will almost certainly go right down to the wire. Which explains why there has been little movement in the six weeks since the Nationals took the San Diego State ace with the No. 1 overall selection.

Don’t mistake the silence, though, as a sign of strained relationships between the two sides. In fact, Washington’s front office is as confident today in its ability to sign Strasburg as it was on draft day.


This despite an ESPN report┬áthis evening┬áthat cited a “source close to the negotiations” saying the Nationals “are not on pace” to sign Strasburg by the Aug. 17 deadline.

“I can tell you that’s not consistent with the actual talks we’ve had with [Strasburg and Boras],” a club official said in response to the report.

Team president Stan Kasten and acting general manager Mike Rizzo have remained silent on the Strasburg talks the last six weeks and insist they won’t negotiate through the media. Boras has not returned a message left for him.

Boras has referred to Strasburg, who went 13-1 with a 1.32 ERA this season and won the Golden Spikes Award as the top amateur player in the country, as an “extraordinary” draft pick and is seeking a contract that far exceeds the previous record of $10.5 million given to Chicago Cubs right-hander Mark Prior in 2001.