Justin Upton. Getty Images.

Padres’ flurry of trades makes them N.L. West contenders

In the past, oh day or so, the San Diego Padres have completed the offseason’s biggest blockbuster trade, officially (more like finally) acquired Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers and traded a couple of young arms to the Oakland A’s for catcher Derek Norris.

Then Friday morning they completed another trade, one that had fans of teams all around the league were hoping that it was their team that was “in serious talks” with the Atlanta Braves about acquiring outfielder Justin Upton.

As teams kept getting knocked off the list, It wasn’t the A’s or the Texas Rangers or the Seattle Mariners or (enter your team name here) by the experts, the fans kept getting more anxious but they didn’t have to wait long.

It was, both surprisingly and not surprisingly, the Padres who were in such serious talks with the Braves. Moments after all the heated Twitter speculation, it was confirmed that the Padres had traded for Upton.

Rumors had been swirling around Upton since the 2014 season ended and it appears the Braves got an offer that they finally liked.

Upton will be another threat in the Padres’ recently revamped lineup. He has a career batting average of .270 and has averaged 26 homers a year over his eight big league seasons.

Wil Myers. Getty Images.

Wil Myers. Getty Images.

The final details of the trade have not been announced, however, what is known is that to acquire an American League Rookie of the Year in Wil Myers, an MVP candidate in Matt Kemp, a two-time All-Star in Justin Upton and an All-Star catcher in Derek Norris, the Padres have not given up all that much.

Have they given up some top prospects? Absolutely. Just to name a few, the list includes Joe Ross (younger brother of Padres star starter Tyson Ross), 21, for Myers, and two young arms 24-year old Jesse Hahn and 23-year old R.J. Alvarez to the A’s for Norris.

Yet, the Padres have managed to hang onto a few coveted prospects and keep their starting pitching rotation intact. General manager A.J. Preller, who was hired away from the Texas Rangers and took over for fired GM Kevin Towers, has done an impressive job in improving his ball club. 

They’ve also managed to hold onto promising prospects, 22-year old outfielder Hunter Renfroe, 22-year-old right-hander Matthew Wisler and another 22-year-old in catcher Austin Hedges.

As for what they got, the Padres have done well. Their outfield will likely look like this: Kemp and Upton at the corners with Myers in center.

The acquisition of catcher Derek Norris should add to their lineup but not necessarily to their defense at catcher as Norris threw out just 12 of 60 base runners in 2014.

The Kansas City Royals ran all over the A’s in the 2014 A.L. Wild Card playoff game after Norris replaced Geovanny Soto at catcher. He allowed seven stolen bases to the Royals in that one game.

Derek Norris. Getty Images.

Derek Norris. Getty Images.

Norris hit .294 with seven home runs and 38 RBI before being named an All-Star in 2014. However, he slumped in the second half batting just .240 with three homers and 17 RBI.

The Padres will want Norris in the lineup against lefties regardless of his defensive deficiencies. He hit .311 against left-handed pitchers last season.

Kemp is a legitimate slugger, who was MVP runner-up in 2011, having averaged 31 home runs a season over the past nine seasons. He hit .287/.346/.506 in 150 games with the Dodgers in 2014. With Upton as another legimate threat, the Padres’ suddenly revamped lineup looks quite good.

Myers’ talent has been seen but not since 2013. He could be a gamble having been on the disabled list for most of the 2014 season but that seems more unlikely than likely. He was on the DL due to a broken wrist and while a wrist injury can affect a player’s swing, his was given significant time to heal. 

He appeared in just 87 games in 2014 and hit just .222. He did however, go yard six times in that span.

Myers hit .293 with 13 home runs in just 88 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013 before being named Rookie of the Year. The potential is there.

With the upgrades the Padres have made they are obviously looking to compete and, if their new acquisitions perform as expected, they will be able to compete with the current World Champion San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the N.L. West.

Wil Myers. Getty Images.

Wil Myers to Padres in three-team, 11-player trade

2013 American League Rookie of the Year Wil Myers, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, was the centerpiece of a three-team, 11-player trade on Wednesday.

The other two Major League Baseball teams involved in this mega-trade were the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres.

In the trade San Diego was the lucky club who acquired Myers. Myers was great for the Rays in 2103 but sat out most of the 2014 season with a broken wrist. Also heading to the Padres is catcher Ryan Hanigan, left-handed pitcher Jose Castilo and right-handed pitcher Gerardo Reyes.

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Steven Souza Jr. Getty Images.

The Rays recieved first baseman Jake Bauers, catcher Rene Rivera and right-hander Burch Smith from San Diego, as well as outfielder Steven Souza Jr.and lefty Travis Ott from Washington.

Souza, you may remember as the player who saved Jordan Zimmermann‘s no-hitter in game 162 against the Miami Marlins this past season. It was the first no-hitter in Washington Nationals’ history.

Zimmermann nearly gave up a would-be game changing hit but Souza came in from left field with a sensational diving catch and the Nationals had their first no-hitter.

Steven  Souza Jr. Getty Images.

Steven Souza Jr. Getty Images.

Washington will receive right-hander Joe Ross, brother of the Padres star starter Tyson Ross, and shortstop Trea Turner as well as a player to be named later on June 14.

Myers, who was a third-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in the first-year player draft in 2009, was shipped to Tampa Bay in the trade that brought “Big Game” James Shields to the Royals. The same Shields that helped take Kansas City to the 2014 World Series.

Myers hit .293 with 13 homers in 88 games in 2013 and was limited to just 87 games in 2014 due to a long stint on the disabled list. He batted just .222 with six home runs last season.

Still, the 24-year-old has a lot of potential to offer San Diego who have been trying to improve thier club enough to compete in the National League West. They recently, still pending a physical, traded for Los Angeles Dodgers’ slugger Matt Kemp.

It was a crazy Wednesday in December for baseball. This trade will be remembered as one of the biggest blockbusters of the offseason.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

Have the Angels given up on Josh Hamilton?

It’s pretty obvious that the Josh Hamilton we see today is a different player than the Josh Hamilton we saw win an MVP award and make five straight All-Star appearances with the Texas Rangers.

It’s also pretty obvious that Los Angeles Angels overpaid for the 33-year-old former superstar. Prior to moving to the Angels from the Rangers for a 5-year $125 million contract, Hamilton hit .305. He averaged 28 home runs and 101 RBI a season over his five seasons with the Rangers.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

Hamilton led the league in RBI in 2008, his first season as a Ranger having spent his rookie year with the Cincinnati Reds, with 130. During his MVP season in 2010 Hamilton batted a whopping .359, also leading the league in slugging percentage and OPS.

Since joining the Angels his average over the past two seasons has dropped to .255. He hit 21 home runs in 2013 but spent most of 2014 on the disabled list and hit just 10.

Granted Hamilton started the first week of the season on a tear until literally tearing a ligament in his thumb sliding head first into first base (ok, what made him do that? I had to ask!). That kept him out for the majority of the season but once he returned to the team Hamilton had strange ailments that affected his play.

He suffered a shoulder injury which somehow evolved into a chest and rib cage injury (assuming the two might be related) that made it hard for the star outfielder to breathe and threatened his availability for the postseason.

Hamilton did play in the Angels’ American League Division Series loss to the Kansas City Royals but he went 0-13 with no walks. It’s safe to safe he was feeling even less like the old Josh Hamilton than usual.

Now the Angels have traded for left-handed hitting outfielder Matt Joyce. They gave up reliever Kevin Jepsen, who is coming off of a career year, to the Tampa Bay Rays. Seemingly Joyce’s presence is to not necessarily replace Hamilton – yet – but to be there so that manager Mike Scioscia can rest Hamilton any time he wants. That sounds a bit close to being a replacement to me.

Matt Joyce. Getty Images.

Matt Joyce. Getty Images.

The move shows that the Angels may have lost faith in Hamilton who still has $83 million left on his contract.

There have been rumors that the Angels have even been trying to move him, possibly even back to the Rangers or the San Diego Padres.

However, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes that Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto “emphatically” said that the trade talks were exploratory in nature and that the team is not giving up on Hamilton.

“We do believe in Josh,” Dipoto said. “We’ve seen it every day when he takes batting practice. We’ve seen him hit balls that humans shouldn’t hit. What he does, 99 percent of the players can’t do.

“We are absolutely of the belief that the ability is there for him to do the things that he has done in the past. Now we have to help him turn the key to bring the ability out.”

Rosenthal goes on to say that while a trade is not imminent, it is not unlikely in the future if the Angels can show that Hamilton is still an asset. They do not want to end up paying for the majority of his contract.

“Of course the Angels would move Hamilton, if such a deal could make them younger, cheaper and more athletic. The problem is that Hamilton’s value is down, and a trade only might be possible if the Angels assume nearly all of his remaining obligation — something they are not presently willing to do, sources said.”

“The question now is whether the Angels can salvage Hamilton as a player, knowing that he occasionally seems distracted and even defeated when things do not go his way. Teams want to know what to expect from their players. It’s difficult for the Angels to know what to expect from Hamilton.”

The Angels have hired Johnny Narron, Hamilton’s former “accountability partner” with the Rangers, as their Triple-A hitting coach meaning Hamilton will be able to work with him on hitting as well as hopefully getting his head on straight during spring training.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

Josh Hamilton. Getty Images.

With both Joyce and Narron to keep Hamilton rested and emotionally under control they may just be able to convince opposing teams that Hamilton is still an asset (he is still hitting at an above-average level) and when he is finally traded be able to do so without taking on the rest of his salary.

For the moment though, Hamilton is and likely will be a member of the Angels when the 2015 season begins. They have not given up on him completely, even though there have been some red flags. The Angels are not ready to go there, not just yet.

 

 

Brad Penny. Getty Images.

Brad Penny, back in baseball?

I don’t think that anyone really expected Brad Penny to come back to baseball especially in light of the events of the last year or two.

Penny was signed by the Kansas City Royals last winter but was cut from the team at spring training.

Later in the season he signed a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins. He eventually made eight pretty disasterous appearances (four of them starts) for the Marlins’ big league club, posting an ERA of 6.58 over 26 innings pitched.

Penny’s appearances with the Marlins were his first and last since he pitched for the San Francisco Giants in 2012.

Brad Penny. Getty Images.

Brad Penny. Getty Images.

Penny has 14 years of Major League experience playing with the Florida and Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Detroit TIgers, St. Louis Cardinals and he spent two stints with the Giants.

Penny, who is now 36, had his best years with the Dodgers. He was a two-time All-Star with Los Angeles in 2006 and 2007. In 2007 he finished third in the Cy Young award voting. That year he had a career-low ERA of 3.03.

After appearing in just 22 games as a relief pitcher for the Giants in 2012 and posting a 6.11 ERA, he did not pitch in 2013.

Now Penny has a signed a minor league deal with the White Sox that includes an invitation to major league spring training.

The White Sox, who now have four top of the line pitchers in their rotation with Chris Sale, Jeff SamardzijaJose Quintana and John Danks, still are in need of a fifth starter.

Penny will have a shot to be the number five starter but he will be going up for it against some much younger players in Hector Noesi and prospect Francellis Montas.

It will be an uphill battle for Penny who many believed to be out of baseball for good. However, there have been players to make miraculous comebacks before and while I don’t see that in the cards for Penny, whose lifetime ERA is 4.29, you never know what can happen.

As I always says, it’s baseball and anything can and will happen. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Michael Morse. Getty Images.

Michael Morse to play first base for the Marlins

It appears that former San Francisco Giants’ outfielder Michael Morse will be playing first base for the Miami Marlins in 2015 and that the Marlins have one of the last pieces to their puzzle, a power-hitting first baseman.

Morse, who is mostly known as an outfielder, has also played at first base and shortstop all throughout his career with the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals and he played 43 games at first for the Giants in 2014.

Morse is a strong hitter, when he is healthy. He has a career slashline of .281/.335/.473, averaging 23 home runs and 77 RBI a year over his 10 year career.

As mentioned those numbers are only when he is healthy.  He suffered a couple injuries last season with the Giants, even missing the National League Division Series due to an oblique strain.

Still, Morse hit .279/.336/.479 with 16 home runs and 61 RBI in 131 games for San Francisco. If he stays healthy, Morse will easily slip right into the Marlins lineup and provide the power they were looking for from a first baseman.

He’ll likely hit in the number five spot between Casey McGehee and Marcell Ozuna. Rosenthal projected that the Marlins’ lineup would look something like this: Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, McGehee, Morse, Ozuna, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Adeiny Hechavarria.

Pending a physical, it now appears that Morse and the Marlins have agreed to a two-year deal. The monetary details of the deal have not yet been released.

This post will be updated as details become available!

 

Max Scherzer. Getty Images.

Will anyone sign Max Scherzer?

Now that Jon Lester has signed with the Chicago Cubs, it’s time for clubs to start vying for Max Scherzer‘s attention, or so we thought.

The funny thing is that no one is really biting right now. In fact, teams are opting out of the Scherzer sweepstakes.

Clayton Kershaw. Getty Images.

Clayton Kershaw. Getty Images.

There is the small issue of the amount of money Scherzer wants, which makes one wonder if he’s asking for too much? Perhaps that is scaring teams off? He IS asking for “Clayton Kershaw” money afterall. Yet, is he really worth $200 million?

It was expected that as soon as Lester signed the dominoes would begin to fall, starting with Scherzer, but that has yet to happen.

Teams that were expected to make a play for Scherzer have pretty much said that he’s too expensive for their taste. The Detroit Tigers have definitively pulled out of the running and it appears the New York Yankees have too.

Scherzer would be a great fit for New York.  Their top three starters C.C. Sabbathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda all have injury issues. Beyond that they have Ivan Nova who won’t be ready for Opening Day having undergone Tommy John surgery during the 2014 season.

The Yankees need an ace, someone they can depend on for quality starts like Scherzer but general manager Brian Cashman said,

“Scherzer is on a higher level than we’d like to play in right now.”

Cashman was referring to Scherzer’s cost. If the Yankees are not interested than who is left?

James Shields. Getty Images.

James Shields. Getty Images.

The San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers are all looking for a starter, however, the three teams seem more interested in another very qualified free agent James Shields, who will still command quite a bit but will come much cheaper than Scherzer.

Those teams as well as others like the Houston Astros may even be more willing to trade prospects for Philadelphia Phillies’ premier lefty Cole Hamels than spend the money on Scherzer.

The Los Angeles Dodgers can afford Scherzer but they have all but officially set their starting rotation for 2015 already having the trio of  reigning Cy Young Award winner and N.L. MVP Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu.

They’ve now added Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson to round out the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation and it doesn’t appear that they are even remotely interested in Scherzer.

One of the teams that misses out on Shields may just sign Scherzer but will still probably fight to trade for Cole Hamels before spending $200 million on one guy who’s name is not Clayton Kershaw.

Cole Hamels.  Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.

Cole Hamels. Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.

Going into the offseason Scherzer was ranked the number one free agent and now it appears there really isn’t anyone interested in signing him.

It may just come down to Scherzer having to lower his price.

He may be a Cy Young Award winner who even had a good follow up season. Scherzer went 18-5 for the Tigers in 2014 with a 3.15 ERA.

However, some might argue that Scherzer hasn’t signed because of his agent Scott Boras, who is notroious for having his players wait until the new year to choose a team to sign with. He may have convinced the 2013 Cy Young Award winner to wait it out.

Still it doesn’t explain what appears to be a lack of interest.

Even if Boras has convinced Scherzer to wait until January to sign, it just really appears that no one is really interested in signing him, at least not for $200 million.

Brett Anderson. Getty Images.

Dodgers make risky move signing LHP Brett Anderson

Monday the Los Angeles Dodgers signed left-handed starter Brett Anderson to add to their rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy.

I’ve had quite a bit of experience watching Anderson and I have to say that this is a HUGE risk on the Dodgers part. Some say that signing McCarthy was risky because of his background with injuries as well as his numbers after leaving the Oakland Athletics for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Brandon McCarthy. Getty Images.

Brandon McCarthy. Getty Images.

McCarthy had a great half of the season for the New York Yankees, going 7-5 in 14 starts and posting an ERA of 2.89. However, he’s had multiple shoulder injuries that have plagued him throughout his career beginning in 2007 and going all the way up to his trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks midseason.

McCarthy has posted a season ERA over 4.00 every year in his career except for the two seasons he was with the Oakland Athletics. Even still, bad luck sent him down with an injury when he was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of the Los Angeles Angels’ Erick Aybar.

So if he seems somewhat risky, Anderson is a lot moreso. Don’t get me wrong, Anderson has all the potential in the world if he can stay healthy. In his rookie year in 2009 he broke the rookie record for strikeouts, won 11 games and pitched a complete game shut out. He lost out on receiving the Rookie of the Year award to his teammate Andrew Bailey,

Anderson had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and has not been able to remain healthy since. Upon returning from surgery he suffered an oblique strain and the following year he was out with a broken bone in his foot.

After being traded to the Colorado Rockies in December of 2013 Anderson first broke a finger which kept him out of the game for a few weeks, only to return, injure his back and end up having season ending back surgery.

Despite his performances in 2009 and 2010, the talented lefty has not had a season go by without a multitude of injuries. His talent looks good on paper but the Dodgers are going to be paying the southpaw $10 million for one-year, plus incentives.

Brett Anderson. Getty Images.

Brett Anderson. Getty Images.

That’s quite a bit of money for a guy who may not be able to start all that many games for the team. Of course, Anderson’s health in 2015 could be great and the Dodgers could have stumbled upon a gem (once healthy) that the A’s traded away and whose option the Rockies did not want to pick up.

Or this could backfire and both McCarthy and Anderson could be busts. It’s baseball and anything and everything that can happen will happen. Signing McCarthy for four years was a risk. Signing Anderson who has barely pitched in the last three seasons is a big risk. However, it is one that might just pay off for Los Angeles.

Jed Lowrie. Getty Images.

Jed Lowrie is returning to the Houston Astros

The Houston Astros have brought back former shortstop Jed Lowrie who became a free agent after spending two seasons with the Oakland Athletics.

Lowrie was traded to Oakland along with Fernando Rodriguez in exchange for pitcher Brad Peacock, outfielder and slugger Chris Carter and catcher Max Stassi. Lowrie has now signed a three-year deal with Houston to be their everyday shortstop. He will make $23 million through 2017, plus another $5 million option for 2018.

The Astros recently signed two other free agents and former Oakland A’s in Pat Neshek who most recently played for the Cardinals and Luke Gregerson to bolster their bullpen.

General manager Jeff Lunhow decided that they needed an upgrade at shortstop as well. Last season the Astros used a combination of players at short including Marwin Gonzalez, Jonathan Millar and Gregorio Petit who combined to hit .258.

Jed Lowrie. Getty Images.

Jed Lowrie. Getty Images.

The Astros were hoping top prospect Carlos Correa would be ready this season however he broke his leg just before being moved up into Double-A last season, rendering him nowhere near ready to play in the big leagues in 2015.

Lowrie should be an upgrade for Houston even though 2014 was one of the worst seasons, at least offensively, in his career. He hit .249/.321/.355 with 29 doubles, six home runs and 50 RBI in 136 games for the A’s.

However, he hit a career high .290 on the year for Oakland in 2013, playing in 154 games and there is no reason why the 30-year-old won’t produce at the plate, especially if he is in the lineup everyday. In 2013 he hit an Oakland record (I believe) 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 75 RBI.

He’ll also have a great double play partner in second baseman and 2014 batting champion Jose Altuve.

“We know we have Lowrie and Altuve up the middle and that’s going to be productive offensively and defensively and takes some pressure off the other guys,” Luhnow said.

Lowrie who graduated from Stanford has already had a chance to talk with fellow Stanford alum Astros’ manager A.J. HInch and liked what he heard about the Astros’ plans moving forward.

“That really helped me see where the future and the direction is for this organization, and I think it’s an exciting time to be an Astro,” Lowrie said. “I think there’s a lot of good, young talent, and I think they’re trying to get a mix of veteran players. Everybody is going in the right direction.”

Chase Headley. Getty Images.

New York Yankees sign Chase Headley to 4-year deal

The latest news in the baseball world is the signing of third baseman Chase Headley by the New York Yankees.

Headley was traded to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in July. He manned third base in the absence of Alex Rodriguez who, as we all know, was serving a historic year-long suspension for his ties to the use of PEDs.

Rodriguez plans to return to the Yankees in 2015 but at 40 years of age plus the year off, no one knows what will happen when he returns or where he’ll end up playing for New York.

There is no guarantee to what A-Rod will be able to do and Headley will provide the Yankees with consistency that they can’t get from A-Rod or even from first baseman Mark Teixeira.

With former San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval off the free agent market, having been signed early in the offseason by the Boston Red Sox, Headley was the best third baseman left on the market. Naturally the Giants were said to be interested in him as well.

Headley had a career year in 2012 batting .286 with 31 home runs and a league-leading 115 RBI. He hasn’t duplicated those numbers since however he did have better results moving from the Padres’ pitcher-friendly Petco Park to Yankees Stadium in the Bronx.

A very good defensive third baseman with a Gold Glove Award to his name, Headley hit .263 with six homers and 17 RBI in just 58 games with the Yankees. They were especially pleased with his .768 OPS.

It’s surprising that the Yankees took this long to sign Headley with the Giants also desperately in need of a third baseman. The Yankees won out though re-signing the free agent to four years and a reported $52 million.

Headley should be a solid third baseman for the Yankees for the foreseeable future. He’s a career .265 hitter with an average of 13 home runs a season but we know that he is capable of much more having hit 31 in 2012.

In a more hitter-friendly park like Yankees Stadium it’s possible to assume the Yankees could expect 20 home runs a year from Headley. He’s also said to be an assest in the clubhouse which is key for any team. 

This was a smart move by the Yankees and quite a surprise that the Giants didn’t fight harder to win Headley over.

Bryce Harper. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images.

Nationals, Bryce Harper narrowly avoid grievence hearing

Being that I recently wrote a post that covered this issue I figured I would follow up. According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, USA TODAY’s Brad Nightengale first reported that the Nationals and Bryce Harper have avoided a grievence hearing that was scheduled for Tuesday. The two parties have agreed to a two-year extension for Harper worth $7.5 million.

As the tweet says, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report the conditions of the extension. Harper will make $2.5 million in 2015 and $5 million in 2016.

According to MLB Trade Rumors if Harper had entered arbitration now he’d be granted a $1 million raise to $2.5 million. From there, his salaries would only climb higher during his next three years of arbitration eligibility before becoming a free agent after the 2018 season.

So the Nationals’ gave Harper what his play dicatates he would deserve for 2015 and twice that in 2016, meaning they likely will not have to negotiate with him after next season.

This is probably the smart way to go for the Nationals, although I’m doubtful it rectifies the animosity between Harper and the team.

As previously noted Harper has been benched by 2014 Manager of the Year Matt Williams for his behavioral issues. In my opinion he sometimes acts like a spoiled child.

Bleacher Reports Zachary Rymer writes,

“Harper didn’t need Rizzo’s help to come off in a negative light by skipping NatsFest. The idea was presumably to avoid questions about the issue while also showing the Nationals he means business. But instead, he foolishly put himself in a position to come off as a pouty child with a grudge. That’s not a good look on any player, but it’s an especially bad look on Harper.”

Why is it especially a bad look on Harper? Well, back in June Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post wrote about Harper’s teammates wishing he would,

“tone down his flamboyant act and fit more smoothly with a vet clubhouse,”

His disappearance act at Nats Fest for “circumstance beyong his control” when actually the circumstances were well within his control will probably resonate in the minds of his teammates.

We already know it hit home with the organization due to the, very warranted, public comments of general manager Mike Rizzo.

I’m not denying the fact that he was the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year. Nor am I denying the fact that he is a two-time All-Star and that when you consider salaries around the league he probably does deserve more than $1.5 million in 2015.

Bryce Harper. Getty Images.

Bryce Harper. Getty Images.

Should the Nationals have held their ground that he did not have an opt-out written into his contract? Yes. Did Harper technically qualify as a “Super Two” player? He sure did. It’s complicated and both sides have their points.

It’s just that Harper’s stunt, not showing up to NatsFest, warranted a bit more reponse than a few words by GM Mike Rizzo and an immediate resolution to the problem (the contract).

It was the smart decision on the Nationals part if they have a plan similar to one that was just suggested in a comment on my previous post about Harper, to trade him before he becomes a free agent.

I know some Nationals fans think of him as a franchise player which is just fine, but guys who are usually seen as the face of their franchise are NOT the guys who skip their team’s Fan Fest for their own self-serving reasons. Just saying ….