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08/14/08 12:50 AM ET

Crow signs deal with Fort Worth Cats

Nationals could still work out deal with first-round Draft pick

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Aaron Crow, the Nationals' first pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, signed a contract with the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The news was announced on the Cats' website on Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Just because Crow signed with the Cats does not mean he will not get a deal done with the Nationals. Washington and Crow have until midnight ET on Friday to agree to terms on a deal. If they don't, Crow will go back into the 2009 Draft. The club has already signed nine of its first 10 picks.

Crow wants a Major League contract, but the Nationals are not willing to do that. During Jim Bowden's tenure as general manager, the Nationals didn't give Major League contracts to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, first baseman Chris Marrero and pitchers Colton Willems or Ross Detwiler. All of them were the team's first-round Draft picks.

The Nationals feel that Crow's salary should be similar to what Detwiler received. Detwiler, the team's first-round pick in 2007, received a $2.15 million signing bonus.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.