Bryce Harper caused some social media buzz after the free agent outfielder “liked” an Instagram post from MLB.com questioning whether the Dodgers were the favorites for Harper’s services. (NBC Sports Bay Area’s Dalton Johnson was among those who reported on the story.) It should be noted that the “like” came from Harper’s verified Instagram account and thus perhaps not necessarily from Harper himself if anyone else has access to Harper’s account. The “like” was also removed from the original post once the MLB.com account called attention to it in a follow-up posting. It could be a hint, it could be just a misclick, or it could be somewhere in between, though speculation continues to swirl around the possibility of Harper landing in Los Angeles.
In case Santa needs some reading material during his downtime tonight, here are some Christmas Eve items from around the baseball world…
- Both the Yankees and Mets had interest in Andrew Miller, though neither New York team extended an actual offer to the free agent lefty, SNY.tv’s Andy Martino reports (via Twitter). “Durability concerns led them to back off,” Martino writes, as Miller was limited to just 34 innings in 2018 due to a 60-day DL stint with a knee injury, plus separate DL stints for less-serious shoulder and hamstring injuries. Despite those issues, Miller was still able to land a two-year deal from the Cardinals worth $25MM in guaranteed money, which could end up being something of a bargain for St. Louis if Miller is healthy and able to regain his past dominance. Both the Yankees and Mets are continuing to look for bullpen help, and the Mets have already made relief pitching a big focus of their winter business, acquiring Edwin Diaz and signing Jeurys Familia.
- The Athletics are going “to be opportunistic and patient” in their search for starting pitching, Billy Beane told reporters (including the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea). Though Mike Fiers just re-signed with the team, more work is necessary to bolster a rotation that is loaded with inexperience and injury questions. Since the A’s can’t spend at the top of the pitching market, “waiting it out is probably the way we’re going to look at it,” Beane said, so the club will see if it can grab an arm or two once prices start to drop later in the offseason.
- Beane also provided some news on Sean Manaea’s status, saying that the left-hander could be back in action “perhaps around the All-Star break.” This represents another positive development in Manaea’s timeline, as the young southpaw was initially projected to miss the entire 2019 season after undergoing shoulder surgery last September. Immediately after the procedure, however, manager Bob Melvin was cautiously optimistic that Manaea could return late in 2019. It’ll still be a while before we have a solid idea about how long Manaea will be out, and the Athletics are also sure to be as cautious as possible with the 26-year-old.