Did you hear the big Bryce Harper news from this weekend?
It was discussed at the Winter Meetings as well, of course, but Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams was asked again at NatsFest this weekend about the decision to move the Nats' 22-year-old outfielder from left to right field this season with Jayson Werth moving from right to left.
"I like Harper's arm," Williams said. "It's really strong. The demands of going to right-center and making that throw are difficult. Jayson is familiar with left field and he's excited about playing it. It can change from day-to-day, we all know that. If somebody gets banged up or hit by a ball, it can all change. From an everyday perspective, Jayson's excited about it and Bryce is excited about it. We'll go from there."
Both players are on board with the move, which Nats' GM Mike Rizzo explained was not just dropped on them out of nowhere.
"It wasn't something that we threw at them that they didn't know about," Rizzo said Saturday.
"We had had discussions in the past about it," he continued. "It was something that we talked with both players about before we made the decision and they're both all for it and both of those players are the types of guys that whatever helps the team is what they're there for and it was a plan that we had in mind for a while."
Neither Werth or Harper were available for comment on the move, however, with Harper skipping NatsFest and Werth at the annual event for the team and its fans but not meeting with reporters.
Asked to explain the situation for each, the Nationals' General Manager provided the Harper quote that launched a thousand online posts in the 48 hours that followed.
"Werth is here and Bryce is not here," Rizzo said. "Why is he not here? We're disappointed he's not here, but he chose not to be here because of the grievance."
Werth not talking to reporters? "I think that was my decision," Rizzo said. "He's going to be around and meet the fans and visit with the fans and I think that was the important part of what he should be doing."
The grievance hearing Rizzo referenced in talking about Harper was ultimately unecessary as we learned yesterday.
On Sunday night, the two sides settled a disagreement over the inclusion of an opt-out clause in the major league deal Harper signed out of the draft in 2010 which would have allowed him to opt into arbitration if he was eligible.
Instead of a grievance hearing, or arbitration for Harper, the 22-year-old outfielder got a 2-year/$7.5M deal which sets his salary for the next two seasons.
More importantly, as Harper's agent Scott Boras told Washington Post reporter James Wagner on Monday, the two sides were able to settle things amicably.
"'Part of the resolution for both sides is that you resolve something amicably among yourselves so that you continue to work together,' Boras said. 'That was achieved.'"
Boras said some other things too:
Scott Boras on Bryce Harper’s settlement, any possible animosity and Harper's NatsFest absence. http://t.co/V8g7Q1omCL— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) December 15, 2014
The Nationals were reportedly happy with the deal too:
Nats statement, in part: "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Bryce Harper. This is a fair agreement that benefits both sides."— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) December 15, 2014
There was other Nationals news on Monday. Some of it had to do with MASN:
• "MASN on Monday won the bulk of its discovery request against Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals in their ongoing media rights dispute." - "Judge orders MLB to disclose Rob Manfred's role in panel that favored Nationals in MASN dispute" - Eric Fisher, Baltimore Business Journal
Technically wasn't a complete victory for MASN on discovery bid, but it was awarded the primary chunk of its requests, inc key ?s re Manfred— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) December 15, 2014
• "A New York judge ordered Major League Baseball on Monday to produce documents sought by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network as it tries to bolster its claim that commissioner-elect Rob Manfred unfairly influenced a decision in the Orioles' TV-rights fee dispute with the Washington Nationals." - "Judge orders Major League Baseball to turn over documents in Orioles-Nationals TV rights fee dispute" - Balitmore Sun Staff, carrollcountytimes.com
• "After three hours of arguments, Judge Lawrence Marks also approved MASN’s request that MLB turn over documents detailing the panel’s meetings, attendance and the details of the correspondence..." - "NY judge grants MASN discovery in dispute with MLB, Nationals" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Okay, here are all the Bryce Harper stories from Monday:
• "The two sides had been setting themselves up to appear before a 3-man panel Tuesday in New York, arguing over what Harper’s 2015 salary should be..." - "Nationals, Harper agree to 2-year contract, avoid grievance hearing" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "We've avoided a salary war between the Washington Nationals, their young star Bryce Harper and his super-agent Scott Boras." - "Bryce Harper, Nats settle contract dispute with new $7.5M deal" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew
• "That is because the Nationals and Harper, according to published reports Dec. 15, agreed to a two-year contract and were able to avoid a grievance hearing slated for later this week." - "Bryce Harper, Nationals Agree To Two-Year Deal" - David Driver, Pressbox D.C.
• "According to the Nationals, Scott Boras forgot to ask for that clause to be included in the deal; Boras denies this, and refused to sign the paperwork when it was sent over in the wake of the agreement." - "Bryce Harper Settles Grievance With Nationals" - Dave Cameron, FanGraphs Baseball
ICYMI - InstaGraphs: Bryce Harper Settles Grievance With Nationals http://t.co/o26O0x9blA— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) December 15, 2014
• "The Nationals and outfielder Bryce Harper have reached a settlement on his 2015 salary and avoided a potentially contentious grievance hearing that was scheduled for Tuesday in New York." - "Nationals Pastime: Harper and Nats settle, avoid grievance hearing (updated with terms)" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
• "Outfielder Bryce Harper has agreed to a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Washington Nationals, avoiding a scheduled grievance hearing this week with the team, baseball sources told ESPN.com." - "Bryce Harper of Washington Nationals agrees to 2-year deal" - ESPN
Bryce Harper receives 2 year, $7.5 million deal, avoiding grievance w #Nats— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 15, 2014
• "Harper skipping Nats Fest over an issue with the team is not the smartest move. General Manager Mike Rizzo didn't do anything to take the heat off Harper." - "Bryce Harper and the misdirection of frustration" - CJ Nitkowski, FOX Sports
Jerry Blevins and the "Mini Museum":
• "Blevins talked about his purchase, of one of the 7,000 Mini Museums made by Fex, with 106.7 The Fan’s Holden Kushner at NatsFest on Saturday." - "Jerry Blevins Purchased ‘Mini Museum’ Equipped with Partial Human Brain" - Chris Lingebach, CBS DC
• "BIS uses extra bases taken (such as first to third on a single), outs made while advancing, times doubled off, double plays grounded into and stolen base gain to arrive at an overall 'net gain' of bases. The Nationals were No. 1 at +113..." - "Ten cool statistics from the 2014 season" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN
• "The 'opt-out' clause is common in the industry but not standard, and was not included in Harper’s original contract." - "Nationals avoid hearing with Harper with 2-year deal" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page
Every single player on every single team wants to stay with the one they're on until they don't.— District Sports Nats (@NationalsDSP) December 16, 2014
• "The Nats need a second baseman. The best middle infielder in the Korean Baseball Organization, Kang Jung-Ho of the Nexen Heroes is available." - "Sign Kang Jung-Ho" - Natstradamus
More stories from NatsFest keep rolling out (probably for the next week here and elsewhere):
• "In this clip he talks about how that mindset has changed over the years, how he has learned to embrace interacting with Nationals fans, especially the kids." - "VIDEO: Stephen Strasburg 1-on-1 with Mark Zuckerman at NatsFest" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "He was willing to admit that limited playing time precluded offensive rhythm." - "Nate McLouth on track for healthy spring training" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "The Nationals would like to thank all the fans, players and staff members who made this past Saturday’s NatsFest an overwhelming success." - "Recapping a fantastic NatsFest" - Curly W Live
• "Storen posted a 1.12 ERA during the regular season, took over as closer for Rafael Soriano in September and converted all 11 of his chances." - "Set to close, Storen appreciates Nats’ confidence" - Andrew Simon, All Nats All the Time
• "Ian Desmond has heard the trade rumors. He’s paying attention to free agent moves." - "Ian Desmond not fazed by trade rumors, wants to stay with Nationals" - Todd Dybas, Washington Times
• "After a difficult 2014 season, Ryan Zimmerman is ready to embrace first base as his new permanent position in 2015 and beyond." - "Ryan Zimmerman ready to embrace first base as his permanent position" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "But for teams in need of a closer, Clippard could be a bargain. He has shown himself capable of closing..." - "Amid trade rumors, Tyler Clippard hopes to stay" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "For Souza and Taylor, 2015 won't bring starting jobs -- barring an injury or two -- since the outfield is set, and Nate McLouth will return to a bench role." - "Young quartet ready to make impact for Nationals" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com
• Mets: "Jung-Ho Kang was posted at 5 p.m. Monday and teams have until Friday evening to make a bid to the Nexen Heroes for exclusive negotiation rights with the Korean shortstop. The Mets are still not sure they will be one of them." - "Korean SS Kang posted, Mets continue to mull bid" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News
• Phillies: "And this is where I would like to be and this is where I've enjoyed all the best moments of baseball..." - "Hamels on Phillies: 'This is where I would like to be'" - Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
• Marlins: "The drive to rapidly improve comes two years after the organization labored through a 62-100 record as well as a public perception problem in 2013." - "Busy offseason has expectations rising for Marlins" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
• Braves: "A lot of stuff out there about Justin Upton. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Mark Bowman of MLB.com report that the Padres are still hot for Upton." - "Justin Upton: Good, but not a superstar" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot Blog - ESPN