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Bryce Harper Rumors
With nearly 81 games in the books, the Braves signed Ben Sheets to a minor league deal earlier today as the team hopes he can help bolster its rotation in the second half of the season. Here's the latest from Turner Field…
- Look for Atlanta to join the pursuit of Zack Greinke's services if the team can secure him long term for closer to $15MM per season than $20MM, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Greinke, 28, is enjoying a strong season in his second year with the Brewers after being acquired from the Royals in December 2010. The right-hander has posted a 2.82 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 through 16 starts.
- The Braves were among a series of teams scouting Francisco Liriano today during his start against the Royals, reports Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com (via Twitter). While Liriano failed to turn in a quality start on Sunday, the former All-Star has improved his performance each month of the season thus far. The 28-year-old signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal with the Twins in January and will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season.
- Count Bryce Harper among Chipper Jones' supporters for his bid to be added to the National League All-Star roster through the Final Vote competition, writes Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com. The 19-year-old rookie, who is competing with Jones for a spot on the team, said that a future Hall of Famer should be able to go to the All-Star Game during his last season. "If I was going to make a vote, I'd go vote for Chip."
Last year's Phillies team comfortably led the Major Leagues in run prevention by allowing just 3.27 runs per game. It's been a different story so far in 2012. Just seven teams surrender more runs than the last-place Phillies, who are averaging 4.46 runs allowed per game. Here's the latest from the NL East…
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney considers some possible fits for Jim Thome, who's being shopped to American League teams.
- There hasn't been any progress in the Phillies' contract talks with Cole Hamels, Olney writes. Hamels' contract expires after the 2012 season.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. must address the Phillies' bullpen issues relatively soon, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. It's "pretty damn difficult" to develop inexperienced pitchers and win simultaneously, manager Charlie Manuel noted.
- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria told Greg Cote of the Miami Herald that he believes the 35-40 Marlins have a spectacular club. “It’s a playoff-caliber team, absolutely,” Loria said. “We’re going to have our run."
- D.C. is starting to feel like home for Bryce Harper, and he'd like to continue playing for the Nationals for a long time, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. “You look at Cal Ripken. You look at Derek Jeter. You look at all the greats that played for one team their whole career,” Harper has said. “I want to be like that. I’ve always wanted to be like that. I’ve always wanted to play with that same team.”
The Mets and Athletics could match up for a potential trade involving Grant Balfour, ESPN.com's Buster Olney suggests (on Twitter). Balfour, a midseason trade candidate, is pitching well and the Mets could use bullpen help. Here are today's links…
- Olney runs through some of the available and potentially available trade candidates for Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti, explaining that the options out there are less than perfect. The Dodgers have started calling around the league about potential offensive upgrades, but players like Jeff Francoeur, Vernon Wells and Alfonso Soriano have their shortcomings.
- ESPN.com’s Keith Law suggests the Dodgers’ investment in Cuban outfielder Yasel Puig “is a bizarre overreaction to the upcoming international spending cap.” The Dodgers and the outfielder agreed to terms on a seven-year, $42MM contract earlier today.
- Chad Qualls, who was designated for assignment this morning, has asked Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. to trade him, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
- The Nationals have been relying on Bryce Harper in center field, but they’re still telling teams they’re looking for a long-term answer at the position, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
It’s still a little early for struggling teams to acknowledge to fans that it’s time to start looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes. As a result the trade market remains relatively quiet. Here are some of Olney’s notes on team needs and possible deals:
- The Red Sox are now focused on adding starting pitching.
- The Athletics are ready to talk trades now, so Brian Fuentes, Grant Balfour and Bartolo Colon are available.
- General managers are impressed by Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, just like everyone else. One GM told Olney Trout’s faster than Rickey Henderson. "He just rockets around the bases; you don't find players that skilled," the GM said. “They're all tooled-up, and they know how to play," another GM said in reference to the pair of young stars.
- Rival executives view Justin Morneau as a tremendously risky trade target because of his $14MM salary and history with concussions (Twitter link).
- Olney had more details on the trade market last night.
Some notes from the National League East before the Nationals, Marlins and Braves suit up for three of the day's four MLB games…
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo discussed baseball's new collective bargaining agreement and the relationship between scouting and player development with David Laurila of FanGraphs.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports makes the case that Nationals rookie Bryce Harper and Angels rookie Mike Trout should be All-Stars in 2012.
- The Phillies need more talent and can't afford to wait until Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay return, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes. Murphy also discusses Charlie Manuel's bullpen management following yesterday's loss, a game in which Jonathan Papelbon did not pitch.
- Former MLB player and Mets exec Tony Bernazard is now working in player relations for the Boras Corporation, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. The Mets let Bernazard go in 2009.
- Roy Halladay intends to win a World Series in Philadelphia, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports doesn't consider the Phillies a championship caliber team given their age and declining performances. Halladay said he aims to retire as a Phillie — a more attainable goal in Morosi's view. Because of Halladay's DL stint, he's on track for free agency following the 2013 season unless he completes 225 innings next year and 415 innings total over 2012-13.
- Bryce Harper's historically hot start has caught his teammates' attention, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. The 19-year-old outfielder is on track to finish the season with a historically high OPS for someone so young. Harper, who knows fellow top prospect Mike Trout personally, says he'd enjoy playing with Trout — as long as it's with the Nationals. “I don’t want to leave here, I can tell you that,” Harper said.
- The Nationals announced that they recalled Tyler Moore from Triple-A and placed Carlos Maldonado on the 15-day disabled list.
The Nationals rewrote Major League history on Sunday in yet another sign that the beleaguered franchise has turned the proverbial corner. Bryce Harper and Steve Lombardozzi became the first rookies to hit back-to-back home runs to lead off a game in the modern era. Here's the latest odds and ends from around the league as we look forward to Monday's amateur draft…
- Alfonso Soriano is open to being traded to a contender as he concedes his career is winding down at 36, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Soriano has made himself an attractive trade candidate with a 2012 slash line of .267/.311/.460, but remains unlikely to be moved thanks to his hefty contract. The Cubs owe Soriano the remainder of his $18MM salary for this year and $36MM over the next two seasons.
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum hasn't seen team president Theo Epstein or scouting chief Jason McLeod in days and that's because they are in lockdown mode for Monday's amateur draft, says Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. "Theo and Jason and Jed (Hoyer), they've had a whole different system in the draft, and obviously it's worked pretty well," Sveum said. "The high picks they had in Boston panned out pretty good." Equipped with the sixth pick in the draft, the Cubs are expected to take high school center fielder Albert Almora or Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa based upon projections from Baseball America.
- Look for the Mets to consider making minor moves at the trade deadline rather than taking on salary to acquire an expensive veteran, writes Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com. Cerrone points to Buster Olney's comments on Sunday night in which he stated that the team is focused on the big picture when Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler arrive in Queens in as soon as 14 months.
Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels created a stir last night by admitting he hit Nationals rookie Bryce Harper intentionally. Though Harper didn’t publicly express frustration at being hit, GM Mike Rizzo fired back at Hamels this morning. The details and other NL East-related notes…
- Rizzo called Hamels' act the most "classless, gutless" thing he's seen in his career, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. “Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school,” Rizzo said. “He’s fake tough." I’d recommend reading Kilgore’s entire piece for the details.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports points out that Hamels won't be signing with the Nationals next offseason and writes that Rizzo will be lucky if he is not reprimanded for his comments.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com notes that there's "nothing doing" with respect to an extension for Hamels (Twitter link).
- Morosi expects Harper to stay in the Major Leagues for good, since he's played too well to be sent down to the minor leagues (video link).
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says Rizzo's comments were an overreaction to legitimate old school play from Hamels (video link).
- Bill Ladson of MLB.com suggests the Nationals may make a trade instead of relying on Xavier Nady and Roger Bernadina in left field (Twitter link).
- Jim Callis of Baseball America hasn't given up on Phillies prospect Domonic Brown despite his struggles. Brown could still hit for a high average with 20 homers per season to go along with plus speed and arm strength, Callis writes.
Hank Aaron joined Babe Ruth and Willie Mays in the 600 home run club with a round tripper against the Giants on this date in 1971. Here are today's links…
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak joined Todd Hollandsworth and Jim Memolo on MLB Network Radio and said his team's starting pitching has been better than expected. Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn have pitched well for the Cardinals in the early going, so the team hasn't had to seek external reinforcements even with Chris Carpenter sidelined.
- High school shortstop Corey Seager, the younger brother of Mariners infielder Kyle Seager, is now seen as a likely first round pick in the upcoming amateur draft, ESPN.com's Keith Law reports. Law won't be surprised if Seager's a top-20 pick this year, though he may have to change positions eventually.
- J.J. Cooper of Baseball America points out that Bryce Harper will be more than two years younger than the next youngest Major Leaguer when he debuts tomorrow. The Nationals are calling up the 19-year-old Harper, who's considerably younger than Erasmo Ramirez of the Mariners and Jose Altuve of the Astros.
The Nationals have announced that they're promoting outfielder Bryce Harper to the Major Leagues tomorrow (Twitter link). Harper will take Ryan Zimmerman's place on the active roster and the third baseman will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Harper's service clock begins now, but the Nationals delayed his debut long enough to postpone his free agency by a full year. Even if Harper sticks in the Major Leagues — a big 'if' for any 19-year-old — the Nationals will control his rights through 2018.
As I explained earlier this week, teams can now call up players, even those on 40-man rosters, without losing their rights for the 2018 season. Harper's service clock could stop and start many times over the course of the next few years, but at the moment he projects to become arbitration eligible as a super two following the 2014 season. He projects to go to arbitration four times and hit free agency following the 2018 campaign.
The Nationals selected Harper first overall in the 2010 draft, but he signed late and his pro career didn't begin in earnest until 2011. Harper posted a .297/.392/.501 line with 17 home runs and 26 stolen bases across three levels last year and has a .250/.333/.375 line at Triple-A Syracuse this year.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.