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Bryce Harper Rumors
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.
Here's the latest out of Washington…
- Despite Chien-Ming Wang's hamstring injury, the Nationals would still consider trading John Lannan, a source tells MLB.com's Bill Ladson. The team "is not going to give Lannan away," however. The Red Sox and Tigers have been linked to Lannan, though trade speculation about the southpaw has quieted in the wake of Wang's injury. If Lannan is dealt, however, Washington still has Ross Detwiler to act as the fifth starter or as rotation depth if Wang is healthy.
- Stephen Strasburg is on a 160-inning cap this season, and Fangraphs' Paul Swydan looks at how the Nats can try can manage Strasburg's starts throughout a possible pennant race.
- If the Nationals leave Bryce Harper in the minors through July 1 and prevent him from obtaining Super Two status, ESPN's Dave Cameron (Insider subscription required) calculates the team could save as much as $14MM in future salary for the former #1 overall draft pick.
- GM Mike Rizzo tells ESPN's Jayson Stark that service time was "a piece of the equation" related to sending Harper to Triple-A but the move was made to help Harper's development. Rizzo pointed out that the Nationals aren't afraid to call up a young star if they need him, such as when Drew Storen was put in line to be a Super Two when he was called up in 2010, though Rizzo admitted Harper's and Storen's situations are quite different.
- In a separate piece from Stark, he talks to a scout who feels Harper should've started the season at Double-A, not Triple-A. "To be honest with you, if they sent him to Double-A, I actually think he'd be challenged there," said the scout. "Triple-A is filled with guys who have been in the big leagues and know how to pitch….So at this stage, it's not a slam dunk he'll go to Triple-A and tear it up. It'll be interesting to see how he does."
The Mets' owners reached a $162MM settlement with the trustee for the victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme earlier today. Here are some more notes from the NL East…
- The Phillies announced that second baseman Chase Utley “has come to a bit of a plateau” in his rehab. He’ll travel out of town for a few days to see a specialist for his knees, the team added. Utley's chance of playing on Opening Day seem slim and prospect Freddy Galvis may get his chance at the MLB level.
- The Nationals optioned Bryce Harper to the minor leagues over the weekend, and outsiders aren’t the only ones praising the move. "He is going to be special, but he isn't ready,'' one Nationals veteran told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- The Mets' owners hope to recover approximately $125MM on loser funds, Heyman tweets. This would reduce their losses to $37MM or so.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports believes commissioner Bud Selig should step in if the Mets don't start operating like a high-revenue team by next winter (Twitter link).
Earlier today, we learned the Nationals signed outfielder/first baseman Xavier Nady to a minor league contract, adding insurance for Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche, who are both battling injuries. Here's more on the Nats and a couple other items of note …
- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel implied that his team may look for infield help outside of camp now that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Placido Polanco are all dealing with injuries, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. We heard earlier today that the Phils could be interested in someone like utility man Mike Aviles of the Red Sox, although Aviles is tentatively slated to be Boston's starting shortstop as of now.
- The Nationals optioned prized prospect Bryce Harper to minor league camp, the team announced. The Nats will go with an in-house option such as Roger Bernadina and/or Rick Ankiel in center field, a source tells Bill Ladson of MLB.com, with Jayson Werth playing right field. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, for one, doesn't think Harper's demotion was related to his arbitration or free-agent clocks (via Twitter).
- Mets manager Terry Collins said Fernando Martinez, now with the Astros, was waived this offseason because the outfielder was unable to stay healthy, writes Paul Hagen of MLB.com. "I know his talent. I know he's got great talent. Unfortunately, he's been one of those guys who's had a tough time getting the amount of games that I think you have to have to get ready." Martinez, for his part, said he was surprised that the Mets chose to waive him, thinking instead that he thought at times that a trade was possible.