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Welcome to 'Duk's Dozen, a streamlined selection of 12 morning-fresh links, items and random thoughts to start your baseball day. It welcomes your submissions here or via Twitter.

In honor of tonight's approaching draft signing deadline, today's D12 focuses on Stephen Strasburg, Scott Boras and the Washington Nationals

1. Fire up those Twitter feeds and keep an eye on the headlines, because after 69 mostly newsless days since the MLB draft, it's finally arrived.

Yes, for the next 14 or so hours, the baseball world will be transfixed on the power play between a 21-year-old phenom pitcher, his super agent with dollar signs for eyes and the owners of a downtrodden franchise in the nation's capital. The Stephen Strasburg story — or at least the chapter including the 2009 draft — is finally nearing its conclusion.

How the day ends is anyone's guess, but it's guaranteed to pack more twists and turns than a season's worth of soap operas. Someone grab the bonbons. [Washington Post]

2. The situation as our own Tim Brown currently sees it: "Strasburg actually is angling for more like $22 million, or double the largest-ever draft bonus (Mark Teixeira's(notes) $10.8 million in 2001). By appearances, billionaire owner (Ted) Lerner, president Stan Kasten, acting GM Mike Rizzo and the pathetic, last-place-again Nats are about halfway there." [Yahoo! Sports]

3. Thomas Boswell reported over the weekend that the Nats have an offer of unknown value on the table. On Sunday he tried to take a logical look at all three positions. [WaPo]

4. For whatever it's worth, here's a Tweet from Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated:

"i'll be surprised if stephen strasburg is a washington national by the midnight deadline tonight." [@SI_JonHeyman]

5. The Nationals' broadcasting team ripped Boras during Sunday's game, an act that Dan Steinberg finds "off-putting." Rob Dibble is off-putting? No! [DC Sports Bog]

6. The players in the Nationals clubhouse are ready for the Strasburg saga to be over. Says Adam Dunn(notes): "It's very frustrating for me, and I can imagine it's frustrating for everybody in here ... I wish they would hurry up and get it done."[]

7. "Keep your fingers crossed today, NatsTown. Hope for the best, but expect the worst. It's only the future of the franchise hanging in the balance." [Nats Enquirer]

8. In case you forgot why there's so much fuss surrounding the man ...  [ESPN]

9. Chris Needham thinks the Nationals have "countered strongly" with their actions over the past few days, but thinks the Nats should do "whatever it takes" to make him a National by midnight. [NBC DC]

10. For a few different reasons, "Ed Chigliak" believes "the tide has officially turned against the young pitcher." [Federal Baseball]

11. Maury Brown does the math and comes to the conclusion that Strasburg is worth $30 million over six seasons. [Biz of Baseball]

12. Finally, here's a running post of the day's events that should keep you updated. Stay informed out there, everyone. [The Nats Blog]

To stay up to date with today's deadline deals, follow the Big League Stew Twitter feed

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