Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is beginning to receive the “Barry Bonds” treatment, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, noting that the reigning NL MVP walked 13 times (including four intentional walks) in just 19 plate appearances over the life of a four-game series versus the Cubs. Harper, who also hit a sacrifice fly and was hit by a pitch during the series, incredibly recorded just four official at-bats. Rosenthal spoke to Harper, manager Dusty Baker, and Reds first baseman Joey Votto (arguably the game’s most patient hitter) about Harper’s approach at the plate and how favorably he compares to Bonds. While all of the interviewed parties agreed that Harper isn’t at Bonds’ level, Votto expressed admiration, opining that Harper could eventually deliver seasons with a .500 OBP and a .700 slugging percentage. Harper acknowledged that it’s difficult to exhibit patience even when he’s being pitched around. “You want to hit, you want to be excited, you’re trying to do everything you can to help your team win,” he said. “But you have to have the courage in the guys behind you.” Beyond faith in his teammates, Harper noted that selectively knowing which pitchers to battle against — Jake Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke (pitchers that “are going to paint”) — is important as well. The interview is well worth a read in its entirety.
A few more notes from the NL East…
- David Wright is continuing to learn how to manage his spinal stenosis, a condition that will impact the remainder of his Major League career, writes Newsday’s Marc Carig. Wright explained to Carig that he had to test his limits earlier this season and thus played in four consecutive games, culminating in a day game after a night game, knowing that the club had an off-day the following day. Upon waking up on that fifth Day, Wright found that he could scarcely stand upright for more than a few minutes and had difficulty walking. “I learned right then that if I tried to do this during the whole course of the year, I’m not making it,” said the Mets’ captain. “It’s just not happening.” Wright’s condition means that manager Terry Collins will have to be judicious in his off-days, particularly during day games that follow night games.
- Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com spoke to Phillies farmhand Mark Appel about the team’s upcoming No. 1 selection in the draft, and Appel said that he hopes to get the chance to offer some advice to whoever is selected with that pick. “Looking back, it’s one of those things that it’s a blessing and a curse, it really is,” said Appel, who was selected No. 1 overall by the Astros in 2013 but traded to Philadelphia in the offseason Ken Giles blockbuster. “Whoever the Phillies take first overall, hopefully I’ll be able to meet him and share some of the things that I struggled with and failed at to make him a better player and hopefully see him realize the potential that he has.” The pressure, expectations and public nature of being selected first overall are “hard to explain,” Appel said, admitting that he placed too much pressure on himself after being selected by Houston. Appel is off to a better start with the Phillies, having pitched to a 3.00 ERA through his first 27 innings at Triple-A, although as Seidman points out, the 13 walks and 39 overall baserunners he’s surrendered in that time still suggest that he has some work to do.
- Braves GM John Coppolella and vice chairman John Schuerholz discussed the club’s historically bad start with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The pair continued to dismiss the notion that the team is tanking, and Nightengale writes that the Braves’ hope was to start out like the Phillies have this year — winning games while in the process of rebuilding. “It’s my first year as a GM,” said Coppolella. “I didn’t want to have the worst record ever.” Nightengale draws a parallel between the 2016 Braves and the 2014 Cubs, noting that there were many cries for president of baseball operations Theo Epstein’s dismissal at the time. The Cubs, of course, have baseball’s best record just two years later, and the Braves’ front office that their farm system, built in a rebuild similar to Epstein’s, will also yield quick results. Also of note, Nightengale adds that the GM continues to vow that Freddie Freeman will not be traded, and Freeman himself voiced a desire to see the rebuild through and spend his career in Atlanta. “I owe everything to this organization,” said Freeman.
There is always a trade likely that would appease Braves FO, Freddie, and the fans. I think everyone is saying what needs to be said, but opinions can change.
Freeman to the astros for tyler white or a.j reed and a pitching prospect
Braves would take reed in a heartbeat
Was thinking bigger package, but not every trade can be a blockbuster.
I’m not a fan of Bryce Harper the person… actually think he a bit of a douche. But as a hotter he’s amazing to watch… But he is such a knob that if I played against him I wouldn’t waste 4 pitches on walking him, I’d just drill him… I guess eventually it becomes so obvious that you’d have to hit him with a curve to make it look like an accident.
BUT regardless, it kinda sucks that in 19 PA’s a player gets 4 official at-bats. I feel like the fans as being robbed of seeing a great hitter, hit. I mean those people aren’t shelling out crap loads of money for tickets to watch a guy walk.
BUT, I guess that’s the game and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Nationals need to put a player or two behind him that are close to as scary so that they have to pitch to him. Which makes me think, if you’re Bryce Harper and the Nationals are not putting people around him so he has to be pitched to, you’d have to think about whether you want to re-sign with them or any team that can’t afford to get the talent around him to protect him. Which makes me think, Yankees, Dodgers or Red Sox have to be leading contenders. What do other people think?
Easier said than done. How much money do you put behind him before he becomes a $40M a year player? Is it one player or two. Do the nationals have the $60-80M to lock up a heart of an order, plus a rotation, plus the bench. Top of the line rotations cost that much. Is it possible?
I used to hate him (Harper) as well, but I have really come to respect how he has handled such game, fortune and success at such a young age.
I loved it when Cole hamels drilled him in their 1st AB, but I would (now) take ‘him (the person)’ into my clubhouse any time ..
I suspect Washington will trade for a dangerous right handed hitter to both protect Harper and (properly) split up Harper/Murphy …
I think that people paid for tickets this past weekend at Wrigley primarily to watch the Cubs play, not necessarily Bryce Harper.
Kayrall that’s a silly argument and you know it 🙂 But I’ll take the bait just for the hell of it because it’s fun to talk about this stuff.
Not everyone in that ballpark was a Cubs fan, what if some little kid’s parents took him to ONE game he gets to go to a year and Harper was his favorite player? That kid is robbed of a chance to see him hit. See I care about that kid because I’m a darn nice guy… but if I caught a foul ball he’d have to fight me for it! hehehe
There are times when I might advocate walking a player in certain situations (like to create a force play) but generally I want to see the best players play and I want my team to be capable of pitching to the best players and beat them. The fans that advocate for it to me are not true baseball fans, they are “means justifies the end” kinda people… that’s just boring and weak baseball. Let the kid hit!
I took that counter argument into consideration before making my reply, but that kid and others like him would be such a minority over the weekend.
All things aside, responding to your 2nd half, I am an ends justify the means type of person and see no reason to not make the best baseball decisions within the rules to give your team its greatest opportunity to win the ballgame. It’s not ‘just boring baseball’, it’s ‘baseball’.
Harper reached base 7 times. If they were 7 walks (I realize the original line had a HBP) where Cubs pitchers were coming at him and he fended off good pitches while taking the bad ones, he would be applauded for his outcome. One could even make the argument that fans that come to see him play come to see that and embrace it such as SFG fans did with Bonds’ rubber chickens.
I went to many of those Bonds games and that was making light of a situation. That’s giants fans in general but we all wanted to see Bonds hit not walk.
I get the merits of ends justifies means person. I don’t think like that, I’m an ex player at a decent level so I want to see *real* competition not lawyer ball.
But you are right, it is baseball and it’s a game of numbers nobody plays that better than Maddon.
At the end of the day, like I said in my original post that this is on The Nationals. If they protect Harper and get a better hitter behind him, then the numbers don’t add up and they have to pitch to him and it’s better for everyone. Including Little Joey who drove up from Tulsa to see his Idol. 🙂
I don’t disagree with your stance it’s right by the numbers I’m just saying it’s not as much fun to watch and it’s not as an interesting competition. I would say it is BOTH “boring baseball” and “baseball” but there’s an element to entertainment and business there as well. Nobody understood more than Barry Bonds that it’s also about being entertained in fact he often made that point in interviews (right around the time he told us how great he was hehehe)
@chesterauthur it’s not “stupid” it’s a debate and a discussion about sports, the business and entertainment. If you don’t understand it or don’t want to talk about then don’t read it and move on to something you want to talk about and read. There’s an old saying “the problem with the sport is that it’s a business and the problem with the business is that it’s a sport”. You clearly don’t understand/care about the depth of what we are talking about, that’s okay but don’t be rude and go to another discussion.
From a neutral fan or one backing the Nationals, it may be a loss of entertainment. From a Cubs fan’s standpoint it could be a gain in entertainment because our special start to the season continued.
Regardless, I think we both understand and somewhat agree with each other’s arguments.
Get off your high horse, you just sound pretentious. This isn’t some super thrilling or in depth debate. The job of MLB teams is to do their best to win games. That is the number 1 way for the team to generate income. They don’t care if Johnny six year old is sad that Bryce Harper got walked. It’s not like the cubs struggle to sell tickets.
There was a strategy the cubs developed and implemented to do their best to win. If you don’t understand it or don’t want to watch it then don’t and move on to something you want to watch,
Your waaah some kid may not get to see Bryce Harper bat scenario is just what’s wrong with the internet. Guess what, sometimes things don’t go your way, time to deal with it and stop crying about every little thing that’s not exactly what people want.
@ cheterauthur “If you don’t understand it”? Seriously dude you’re using my own words back at me? Are you still in elementary school or did you just buy the Trump playbook and are using that to troll sports websites for fun? Why don’t you just cut and paste the rest of my post into your response because clearly you’re incapable of an original thought and unable to understand *depth* in a discussion.
It’s not pretentious to have an intelligent discussion about the lines between business vs sport, you’re thinking so simplistically you’re not getting it. Case in point you use the term “waaah” when I am drawing a very basic business example. Do you really think that example is my actual point? Do you really think I care about some made up kid called “Joey” and do you really think that he’s from Tulsa and that his dad drove him to Chicago when he could have stopped at St Louis instead? Are you THAT unintelligent? Can you use that (made up) *EXAMPLE* to think beyond that point and apply it to the actual *business*? There’s a point there about entertainment vs customer satisfaction vs PR vs winning and maybe 7 other things you not thinking about why you try and figure out how to spell “PR”.
It’s clear that you think baseball is as simple as “a team needs to win, period”. It’s so far beyond that. You think owners only care about winning? That’s something they tell people like you while they run statistical forecasting models to calculate the optimal price they can charge you for your hotdog right before they calculate how many new t-shirts they can sell you this year and what the cannibalization will be on that everyday cap you buy if they release a limited edition adjustable cap.
Look at The A’s… they play moneyball, can have a winning season, make the playoffs… and still draw badly. 16.2 miles away The Giants can have an average season and still sell out every single game. There’s a whole bunch of reasons for this that you won’t appreciate, you probably think it’s just because the A’s ballpark sucks yet it’s deeper than that.
What’s wrong with the internet is that internet trolls like you think that “intelligent discussion” is “crying”. Seriously, if you don’t get it… then don’t come here and insult me, just go away. This is the last time I’ll respond to you because I’m not discussing this with someone who has zero business and baseball acumen. I’d rather talk to people like Kayrall who can make a point without being rude. Oh and yeah I’m being rude to you because you need someone to point out that you’re not as smart as you think you are, and because “you started it”. (That’s on page 7 of your Trump Playbook). Goodbye and go away.
This is just stupid. The cubs job is to win games. I don’t care if they think they can pitch to him or not. If they think there is a lower chance to give up runs by walking him and facing Zimmerman, then they should do that. And they did. And it worked. Again, this is just stupid.
Chesterarthur is right… Simple baseball that dusty failed to adjust to (and he had 3 (after the 1st game)) to do it ..
Dusty screwed up this weekend on many levels (he was out coached all weekend by Maddon). Foolish to have Zimmerman ‘protect’ Harper, when Murphy is not only hitting .402, but absolutely kills the Cubs. Dusty didn’t do this ‘once’ he did it game after game and didn’t adjust (classic dusty)
He sat Murphy after Murphy went 4-4 (ok, he was ‘under the weather’ … But then Murphy played 6 innings anyway). Murphy had 8(?) hits in 3 1/2 games …
Says he (dusty) wants to split up his left us because doesn’t want an elite left handers to see them back to back. Look at the Cubs bullpen. We don’t have an elite lefty (Travis wood, Clayton Richard and spencer Patton). Who is he afraid of?
Did not have his bullpen ready and got caught without having a lefty to face lastella..
Went too long with his starters in 3 of 4 games (including scherzer)..
We lived dusty when he was here, and criticized what we felt he did wrong. Watching Maddon for 1 1/4 years makes his philosophy look ancient and ill conceived
Btw.. The nationals had the 2nd best record in baseball coming in, so I am not saying dusty is a ‘bad’ manager. What I am saying (we saw this when he coached the Cubs… Leaving prior in in the Bartman game, when everyone knew he was ‘done’.. Not (ever) gaining control and ‘doing a Molina’ when things got rustled.. Etc) is that when dusty gets rattled he has no alternative plan…
Think back on the Cubs (rattled by the Dodgers and swept… Rattled by the Marlins (ref Bartman game) and crumbled …
Think back on the Reds …
Dusty, with a good team, beats up in the team’s he should (this is good).
Dusty, when his game plan works, wins more than his fair share (kudos to dusty)
However ‘rattle’ dusty … And he does not know what to do… And will in turn do ‘nothing’… If ‘hack a shack’ was working (and Maddon said the exact same thing after game 1 that he did after game 4… ‘Why play with fate’), it’s dusty’s fault for not making some ‘basic’ adjustments to force Maddon to do something else
The first thing we Cubs fans looked at when the lineups were announced was ‘who was hitting behind Harper.’ We smiled all 4 days..
Amazing.. Just glanced at the Tigers-nationals box score..
– Harper 0-2, 2 BBs
– Zimmerman (protecting Harper), 0-4
– Murphy (ensuring no LOOGY sees 2 lefties in a row), 2-4, 3RBI
Dusty ‘Sticking to the plan’ .. Yes, they won. Giving the Tigers their 7th loss in a row. This win may actually be reinforcing the wrong behavior, then again ‘go dusty go!’
I can only vouch for myself (a White Sox fan), but I went with a buddy (a Cubs fan) because I wanted to see Bryce swing the bat in person.
That being said, I love watching good baseball, so watching the Cubs right now is a joy in and of itself. But needless to say, I left somewhat disappointed.
Harper had a few pitches to hit and didn’t take them. Bonds would’ve put them in the bleachers but Harper was “happy” to take the base. Too bad for him his cleanup hitter didn’t help him…
Who was crying about Theo in 2014?
Mostly casual fans that only pay attention to the major league team.
The Braves are on pace for a historically bad start but let’s be realistic this schedule has been an extremely rough one. Now I agree they should have one more games but I am not ready to jump off a cliff lol. Everybody needs to relax because any rebuilding year you never look at how you start you look at how you finish and judge the season on how the young guys develop.
I am all for firing Freddi Gonzalez and I would like Eddie Perez to be named intern and see how he handles the rest of the season. I just don’t want to see Bud Black handed the reigns without giving anybody a chance. You may have a gem you may not but we would never know if he is never givin s chance.
The only reason Freeman is still there is they have not gotten the right offer yet. This season is and will continue to be a dumpster fire. Until a manager is in play that knows how to lead and has some spark is in charge it’s not getting any better.
I agree, I could see Freddie in a couple different uniforms. And I think if he recovers and becomes productive over the next couple of months, he could be packaged with Teheran and prospects for a nice trade.
We are not trading Freeman. He is the face of the franchise and he is signed long term at a more than reasonable price. Now if in a couple years he and we are still cellar dwellers I can understand him wanting to be traded but for now he seems gung ho about being a leader for the young guys and being the face of the Braves.
Besides with all these deals we seen made there comes a time when we need hitters and why trade an established young bat that is signed to a good contract. Makes no sense.
With all the young arms coming up I can see Julio getting moved especially with the way he has been pitching but I don’t necessarily wanna see that happen either. Unless you can get a great middle of the order type bat that is young ( Gary Sanchez) other than that you keep him to lead the staff.
You are not getting Gary Sanchez for Julio bro…Sanchez is worth more
@steelerbravenation. I wouldn’t trade Freeman either. I can’t see any return that makes up for the upside on that guy. He’s a “face of the franchise” kinda player, you just need to find a way to keep him happy short term because that kind of player just wants to win.
What do Braves fans think of the direction ownership are taking and the ballpark move? I see what journalists write about it but curious as to what the real fans think.
As a Braves fan, the FO is doing the best they can given the financial restraints of the ownership. However, fans are just not used to the right strings of this ownership group. Freeman can be traded, just depends on if the the return is a new face of the franchise. I could see Freeman packaged to get a Trout type player. Angela do not have a legitimate 1B, Pujols will not hold up the entirety of his contract, they know that. Throw him, Julio, and Inciarte in a package with top prospects, and I see Freeman can be moved.
I love Freeman, but honestly do not see him as the face of the franchise. The same way most fans will say Simba was not. Amazing when you get a Top 15 prospect back, near the major league roster and the ideas can change.
How is he not the face of the franchise and of course he could be moved for Trout but Trout is not going anywhere. That trade proposal is crazy for a rebuilding team to make and Freeman reminds me of Don Mattingly in the sense he is the face of the Braves in the lean years as Mattingly was for the Yanks in the late 80’s early 90’s until Jeter hot there. Well Freeman will hold down the fort til Dansby gets here but yes right now in 2016 as we speak Freddie is the face of the franchise.
With all the young arms we have coming up the system I really highly doubt they trade their best hitter for a package of prospects. They gave Simba the contract and he didn’t improve offensively. He was never in the running for the face of the franchise moniker. The only guy I could have seen in that dpot was Heyward and when he wouldn’t sign an extension he was moved. I truly believe the Braves offered both Jason and Freeman extensions to lead us into the future and Heyward turned it down while Freeman excepted and now he is solo.
Anybody who watches this team can see they are on their way. Freeman, Dansby, Albies and Ruiz should form the infield by the all star break next year and I could see Mallex, Inciarte & Markakis in the OF. We just need to find the catcher. If we can’t get Sanchez from the Yankees I wouldn’t mind making a run at Cirvelli in FA.
Depending on who we would have to give up for Sanchez a rotation of Teheran, Wisler, Blair, Folty and a veteran Free Agent starter would be very formidable. If we would have to move one of the starters than Jenkins or Newcomb steps in their spot.
Get ManBan & Paco healthy to go with Hunter and you have 3 lefties in the Bullpen. Hard throwing closer in Vizcaino. Hopefully Withrow returns to his Dodger days of production and Simmons can come up soon and show he can replace Johnson. Keep Grilli for a veteran leader down there in the pen and I believe it can be a very good bullpen.
Adonis reminds me of Jesus Guzman and could be a very good pinch hitting 3B/1B/OF bench piece. Jace if anything else has provin to be very versatile if anything else and Castro is a perfect utility Defensive infielder. Hector can get some ABs playin LF for lefties if Enciarte still struggles against them and Flowers is a prototypical back up catcher.
I really like our future and I know the young guys have to develop but the way they are moving up the pipeline it makes me believe they are developing well do far.
SteelerBrave, I agree with you on most points. But my thinking in Freeman is, most faces of the franchise (Jeter as you mentioned, Trout, Harper, Pujols in Cardinal days, Bryant) do not struggle so mightily. Granted it was just one month, but one month is a long slump. Freeman is the face because that is what is left. Sanchez is not coming to us without giving up a better prospect, why should Yankeea trade him for equal? Trust me I am probably as big a fan of the Braves as you. I cannot wait for Ruiz, Swanson, Albies, and Smith to team with Inciarte and whoever we have at 1B and C with a great rotation. But I hope to hell Freeman is not getting paid $20M a year from Liberty for a few homers and a .260 average next April.
No Trout may not be traded, but putting together an actual trade proposal is better than hoping all the pieces click at once, in my opinion.
Are you joking? An unproven prospect in Sanchez is equal value to a proven MLB player with a consistent track record in Freeman? Your saying that we’d have to give up Freeman and a good prospect to get Sanchez? There is no way in the world that the Braves trade Freeman for just Sanchez and the Yankees would jump all over that trade in a heart beat.
Also, Trout has been in a slump to start the year. He just started hitting and putting up Trout like numbers. Players go into slumps. Even the best of the best go into slumps. Look at McCutchin at the beginning of the year. He is starting to turn it on
Agreed sir, even the best have slumps. Maybe Freeman turns it around and becomes the $20M player he is signed to be over the next few years. We can only hope.
Freeman struggled and is starting to come around but the guys you mention never have had to go thru what Freeman has had to go thru this season. Other than Markakis who else has really done anything of substance in the line up. Our 2nd best hitter got sent to the minors. He has not lived up to his contract but he has no protection in the line up. 6 of the spots in the line up have been manned by AAA caliber players most of the year. Mallex and Markakis are the only other guys that even remotely mirror major leaguers. Sure Inciarte is back now but you will see once the young position players start trickling in he will produce. We need a RH power bat to bat behind him cleanup and I would be willing to overpay to have Sanchez be that guy. In all honesty other than catcher the roster could be set for the future with a couple guys flowing in at a time. 1st Albies after the all star break and maybe Ruiz in Sept. Then Dansby next April.
1. Inciarte CF
2. Albies 2B
3. Freeman 1B
5. Markakis RF
6. Swanson SS
7. Ruiz 3B
Why would a rebuilding team overpay for a unproven catcher? Also, why do you think Albies will be up after the all star break? He hasn’t even mastered AAA yet. Their is no reason to rush him just because the MLB team is horrible. He is 19 and really needs a full year in the minors to polish up some things and to keep on with his development. He is going to be a really good player, but lets give him a chance to develop. A full year in AAA will do wonders for the kid. The same for all the other prospects. No need to rush any of them to a losing team in a losing season just because some fans can’t be patient with a rebuild
I don’t think I seen any post on here saying Freeman would be traded for Sanchez I said I could see a package on both ends involving Julio & Sanchez. And also Furcal came up as a 19 year old at the start of the season and Andruw came up at 18 or 19 the Braves are known to bring guys up to see if they are ready. Albies if anything else would bring excitement and fans to the ballpark for the end of season stretch so yeah I could see it happening
First of all buddy I wasn’t even talking to you when I was referring to the Freeman thing. Second of all Andruw and Furcal came up during winning seasons. They came for reinforcements. Your wanting Albies to come up to give fans excitement at the end of the year? Haha seriously? Dude its a losing season. Why start his clock after the “all star break” because thats what you said. He has had a little over a fulk year in the minors and your wanting to rush him uo for your entertainment. So forget his development. Its all about your entertainment. Get out of here. You didnt say at the end of the season stretch. You said alk star break. I know they known to bring up prospects that are young. They dont bring them up if they’re not ready. Albies is struggling in AAA. Let him struggle, fight adversity and develop before you want to rush him up for your entertainment. Concerning the Freeman thing since you think I was talking to you. I was actually talking to Gogerty. I misunderstood what he said.
Mlb Trade rumors: where the comments are actually insightful and not just stupid hate
I cant believe they tried to say there were many cries for Theo to be fired from the Cubs in 2014. What a joke. But whatever makes them look good I guess but what a moron for just saying that.
But there were cries from the casual fanbase that had very little knowledge of the Cubs organization apart from what was specifically happening with the major league team at that moment (and even then generally only a superficial understanding). The vocal crowd wanting to crucify Coppy right now is similar.
But people within that same vocal crowd wanted to crucify him for making slam dunk deals like the Miller deal to Arizona. Though some are also just frustrated at the whole Braves moving to the new park thing, which was not up to Coppy.