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Nationals welcome top pick Lucas Giolito this weekend for a visit

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Lucas Giolito, the Washington Nationals’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft, got a chance to meet a few of his potential future teammates Thursday night as the Nationals welcomed the 17-year-old to D.C. for a visit.

Giolito, whose 6-foot-6, 230-pound frame cuts quite a unique figure, was invited to D.C. for the weekend as the Nationals begin the process of recruiting him to sign with them and forego his commitment to UCLA. 

How much will come from this weekend with regard to tangible progress toward getting Giolito signed isn’t clear. The Nationals feel that negotiations with Giolito, a CAA client, will come at least close to the July 13 deadline as the right-hander weighs his future. 

A player who may have gone No. 1 overall if an elbow injury hadn’t derailed his senior high school season, Giolito’s slotted into a certain amount of money now that is likely lower than it would have been had he pitched a healthy season and been taken before No. 16 overall.

The Nationals, who were given $4.4 million to sign all of their top 10 picks, have a $2.125 million allotment for their No. 1 pick.

But they’ve done well to sign seven of their top 10 picks for under slot money.

According to Baseball America’s Jim Callis, the Nationals could afford to pay Giolito $3,029,773 without incurring a draft penalty. That doesn’t however, take into account how much it will take for them to sign left-hander Brett Mooneyham (third round) and right-hander Robert Benincasa (seventh round).

There’s just under a month before Giolito absolutely has to decide if he’ll go to UCLA and try to raise his draft stock for the future or if he can see himself in a rotation with Stephen Strasburg, et al, in the coming years. They’ll make their first significant recruiting push this weekend. 

 

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