Major League Baseball announced today that Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has been suspended for one game for returning to the field of play after an ejection (during the team’s celebration of a walk-off home run) and subsequently cursing at home plate umpire Brian Knight, who ejected Harper for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout during Danny Espinosa’s ninth-inning at-bat. Harper is appealing the suspension, and as MLB.com’s Jon Morosi notes (Twitter link), Ian Kinsler won a somewhat similar appeal after he was suspended for a game in 2010 upon returning to the field to celebrate a walk-off home celebration with the Rangers. Kinsler, of course, didn’t fire expletives at the home-plate umpire in his return to the field. All that said, Knight’s decision to eject Harper appears fairly dubious in the first place; manager Dusty Baker told the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes that the majority of the Nationals’ roster was up on the edge of the dugout letting Knight hear it over what they felt to be an incorrect call (though the pitch, in retrospect, did clip part of the strike zone), and Harper didn’t use any profanity in his initial comments. Harper had been in an argument with Knight earlier in the game, Janes notes.
Elsewhere in the division…
- The Marlins’ offseason maneuverings have succeeded in beginning to change the organizational culture, writes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Most notably, the hiring of manager Don Mattingly and the addition of special assistant Jim Benedict and farm director Marc DelPiano (both from the Pirates organization) has already had a significant impact. Ace Jose Fernandez tells Jackson that Mattingly is “amazing” and says that he is “in love with this team” in large part due to Mattingly’s demeanor and attention to detail. Jeff Mathis and David Phelps each rave about Mattingly as well. Meanwhile, setup man Kyle Barraclough explains that Benedict took him aside to go over video of his mechanics in the minors and smooth out his delivery, which has yielded positive early returns. The club is spending money on minor league facilities and emphasizing fundamentals throughout the lower ranks in ways in which it never has, Jackson writes, helping to facilitate change from top to bottom.
- Carlos Ruiz’s strong start to the season likely increases his marketability in trades this summer, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. While Gelb is quick to note that Ruiz, of course, will not net the Phillies a top prospect, the dearth of quality offensive backstops around the league could make Ruiz stand out, particularly for clubs in need of catching help that do not want to meet Milwaukee’s asking price for Jonathan Lucroy. Manager Pete Mackanin feels that decreased playing time has helped the 37-year-old Ruiz realize improved production, as his body isn’t being worn down by the rigors of catching on three or four consecutive days. Gelb notes that Ruiz does have a partial no-trade clause, and perhaps more interestingly, will gain full 10-and-5 rights on July 14 — just over two weeks before the Aug. 1 deadline. That would allow Ruiz to veto any trade proposal, though a move from a rebuilding club to a contender could hold some appeal to the veteran catcher. Ruiz wouldn’t tip his hand one way or another, simply saying he’s “really happy” in Philadelphia but noting that “anything can happen” at the trade deadline.
- Braves GM John Coppolella tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that any of Ozhaino Albies, Rio Ruiz, Dansby Swanson, Lucas Sims and Tyrell Jenkins could be promoted to the Majors this season, describing each prospect as “close” to MLB-ready. Coppolella also acknowledged the issue of manager Fredi Gonzalez’s job security, though he didn’t take a firm stance one way or the other. “My hope, and I don’t know whether or not it’s going to happen, is that Fredi is here to see it,” said Coppolella in reference to the Braves’ return to prominence. “I don’t know that he will be, I don’t know that he won’t be. I want him to succeed. I care about the man personally.”
It’s worth noting (because I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned anywhere) that the pitch in question to Espinosa caught a lot of the top part of the strike zone, so the Nats’ bench really shouldn’t’ve been all up in arms in the first place.
If you care about the man enough go ahead and Fire fredi or let him know that he will no longer be the coach of the braves
If you get ejected for arguing with an umpire, if you return to the field for celebratory reasons, don’t keep yelling at the umpire. I would bet Harper wouldn’t have been ejected if he didn’t say anything to the umpire.
I like Harper’s fire. His response was in the moment. It happens. But time & additional facts (replays show’d both calls were likely strikes) should put actions in a more informed perspective… and he was wrong. Instead he doubled down on his blowup. Great player… but pretty immature.
Agreed sir to last comment, and maybe was still in the moment. But I did take it more of he knew what he was doing. Kid needs to chill in that moment.
Bring up Albies after the All Star break and bring Ruiz up in September. Then see if Dansby is ready by the start of next year. As the year plays out and if anybody in the rotation gets injured or if anybody gets traded then the 1st one up is Jenkins. But keep A watch on every bodies innings.
Also I am interested to see going forward what the Braves plans are for
A. Power in the line up
B. Catcher of the future
I am sorry but with the arms we have in the minors I can’t believe we can’t come with a deal to get Sanchez from the Yankees. Also we have a lot of money coming off the books next year. I feel we need to allocate some of that money towards a RH power bat to play the OF and a veteran SP to take pressure off the young guys.
There are a few free agent catchers available this upcoming off season. It is possible that the braves sign one if them.
As far as prospects being ready I think Ruiz is rough still around the edges. His defense is questionable and he has struck out far too much in AAA. That said he might still get promoted.
Good question about power. I really hope they aren’t tempted by Cespedes when he inevitably opts out.
You have a hard on for catchers. All you need is a solid framer with some pop.
Catchers are incredibly important. J.J. Shwarz will be the catcher of the braves’ future. But I think Swanson is more major league ready than Albies. I’ve each of their last 5-6 games and Swanson seems more mature. Hope Sims and Jenkins get the call although not super sure on Ruiz’s overall ability.
This is false, catchers play the least games. If you have the best team at the other 8 spots you will still win with a bad catcher. Just get a good game caller, that can frame and hit some homers and worry about getting the best talent everywhere else. He keeps referencing Sanchez who before last year said would be 100% a dh.
Willians Astudillo is the catcher of the future imo. He has a makeup like yadier and expect the braves are expecting something from the player who had the lowest k rate in all of pro ball last year.
Astudillo makes great contact, little power, few walks and very shaky D. However it is possible he develops into a backup.
While it is possible that the braves might draft JJ Schwartz in the 2018 draft that is a bit presumptuous to assume he is their catcher of the future. So many different things could happen.
There are a couple of decent prospects in the top 100 that they could pick this year. Sean Murphy is 21 and could give them some pretty good defense with best arm as a catcher in the draft although hit tool is lacking for the Braves third pick in the draft and Ben Rortvedt has some decent hitting upside and defense doesn’t look too bad but he’s only 18.
No. Just no.
Theo2016, I agree with you 100 percent, give me a catcher who plays good defense, calls a good game, plays 120 games, hits 260 and hits 15 homers and you got something
Swanson will likely be the first position player to be called up. No he hasn’t been above AA yet but he was also in college in a very good system so has more polish than some of the high school guys who have been in the system for several years. The most likely scenario sees Swanson promoted to AAA so that Albies and Swanson can get some time playing together. I think they both get called up shortly after the ASG.
Ruiz may be rough still but there is no denying he is hitting well. His defense has improved though some still question it. He should be serviceable on defense playing at 3B. He won’t win you a gold glove but he can hold it down.
I will disagree with you a but. We don’t necessarily need to go out and get a veteran pitcher. Don’t get me wrong it would be nice to have but the pitching talent we have is enough that they can hold their own. And Teheran (if he isn’t traded) will have played for several years. Not to mention Wisler will be starting his 3rd year (second full) in the rotation next year and will be able to provide a lot of help to younger guys. If we can get a cheap veteran fine but honestly I’d rather let out young guys come up and then use the excess pitching to get that RH bat that we need.
Catcher is a long term need but I think the offseason will see it answered for a few years until Herbert is ready (if he is the future) or one of the other guys comes around.
Dude they are not bringing him up to a losing team in a losing season at the all star break just for the fans entertainment. Let him learn, polish up, face adversity and develop before you have him up at the big leagues. He is stuggling in AAA and that s ok. He has to adjust to the league without everyone trying to rush him. I know your going to say the Braves brought up Furcal and Andruw when they were young. Yes they did, but that was a totally different situation. They brought them up to winning teams as reinforcements. They are totally different than the Albies situation. Let these prospects develop and grow and not just be thrown out there for your entertainment. Also, what is your obsession with Sanchez? Im just wondering because everytime you talk about the Braves you talk about Sanchez. The Yankees already said they aren’t trading away their nucleus of young players as in Bird, Sanchez, Judge and Severino. Its not even a sure thing he’ll stick at catcher.
Yo Steve, any noise on possible PED suspensions? There was a report a little over a week ago after the Gordon suspension that said more suspensions are soon to come.
It’s a shame Harper posseses, in my opinion, an inherently unlikeable personality.
Ivy + Brick
I hear you, but he’s got a little good in him as well.
Not surprised to hear Mattingly is having a positive effect on the Marlins. He did a great job with a bunch of prima donna’s in L.A. and obviously wasn’t seeing eye to eye with all the sabermetric garbage being shoved down his throat by Friedman, Zaidi and the rest of the rotisserie league heroes running that front office. Good for Donnie Baseball.
The Dodgers organization is laughable lol
It’s been a rule for in MLB for as long as I can remember (all MLB personnel are aware of this) that if you are thrown out of a game and return to the field, you will be suspended. Regardless of what Harper said to the umpire, when he came out of the dugout, he knew the consequences. John Farrell should have been suspended as well when he came out to grab Ortiz away from the umpire in New York. Maybe that is the basis for Harper’s appeal. MLB opened a can of worms when the levied only a fine to Farrell and not a Suspension. Rules are Rules and should apply to everyone.
Harper can probably make a claim that the game was over and therefore was allowed back on the field
Ian Kinsler got a one game suspension for the same thing. He’s going to get a suspension. He needs to watch his attitude. He’s a monstrous douche.
He’ll win the appeal. The game was over. You can say curse words at umpires when the game is over. Come on now people. Bryce is a little spoiled brat but he’s innocent in this case
John Coppy is a total jerk toward the fans and an abject failure as a GM. Maybe the prospects will turn out and maybe they won’t (see Franco Kyle Davies, Wes Helms, Bethancourt etc) buy either way the manner in which this turd of a GM handles himself is awful.
I’m no huge Freddi G fan but this is not his fault. It is the fault and lays at the feet of that high voice turd named John Coppella.
How do you really feel?
He’s actually much more fan friendly than a lot of baseball executives that I’ve met over the years, and definitely more responsive.
Either he ran over your dog or he traded away a player you were probably too overly attached to. In the latter case it was the situation he was put into. You can blame the previous GM for that. Coppy is the one trying to fix it.