Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was all over the place on Monday telling the baseball world that the Nats haven’t yet closed the door on the possibility of Bryce Harper returning to D.C. after testing free agency. Managing Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner’s comments last week about his belief that Harper had moved on didn’t make Scott Boras very happy. Boras went so far as to say that he doesn’t think Mr. Lerner speaks for the entire organization and added that, “when he makes big deals, he makes them with Mark’s father, Ted,” according to a report by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes included below. Fun stuff.
Go read your links...
NATS BEAT - HARPER EDITION:
Nats not closing door on Bryce Harper - (MLB.com)
"Nothing has changed with Harp since the end of the season, except I think we're a better team than we were at the end of the season," Rizzo said Monday. "We're not closing the door on anything."
Rizzo won't rule out possibility of resuming talks with Harper - (MASN)
"So the message other club officials are now projecting as the Winter Meetings play out here in Las Vegas is far less definitive than the message their owner projected on Friday."
Nats owner Mark Lerner all but said farewell to Bryce Harper. I’m not buying it - (WaPost)
"We can all agree that both Harper and the Nationals have handled their (perhaps) separation flawlessly to this point. Here’s where I dissent..."
Scott Boras didn’t like what he heard from Mark Lerner about Bryce Harper - (WaPost)
"But Boras said Monday he does not believe Mark Lerner speaks for the whole Nationals organization in his feelings about Harper’s future."
Mike Rizzo left to clarify mixed messages on Harper - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Sixty stories above the street, Mike Rizzo was asked to clarify once more what the organization’s stance on Bryce Harper is."
NATIONAL(S) BEAT - HARPER EDITION:
Bryce Harper rumors: Superstar free agent will meet with Phillies; Nationals 'haven't closed the door' - (CBSSports.com)
"It's worth noting that owner Mark Lerner recently said Harper wouldn't return. Maybe that's a play for leverage, or maybe that's indicative that the Nats are moving on."
I haven’t seeing nobody talking about Bryce pic.twitter.com/8Rq7BNdQmu— Felipe Vazquez (@F_Vazquez73) December 10, 2018
Baseball Player Agents Seek To Top Stanton's $325M Deal - (Forbes)
"But how many would be willing to top the 10-year, $300 million offer Harper rejected from the Washington Nationals, the only team he’s ever known?"
How Las Vegas Became a Hot Spot for Baseball - (WSJ)
"It was Harper who appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 16-year-old in 2009, next to the headline, 'Baseball’s Chosen One.'"
Bryce Harper, Manny Machado set for spotlight as winter meetings hit Las Vegas - (Los Angeles Times)
"Harper and Machado figure to steal the show this week. Both could fetch contracts in excess of $300 million."
Bryce Harper's Agent Scott Boras Pissed At Nationals Over Mark Lerner's Contract Chatter - (Deadspin)
"It’s gonna be super cool when Harper signs with the Dodgers and all the Nationals have to show for their participation in the process is an angry super-agent..."
NATS BEAT - NON-HARPER EDITION:
Want to ‘run’ for president? Nationals holding tryouts for racing mascots - (WTOP)
"If you’ve ever wanted to run for office — well, sorta — here’s your chance. The Washington Nationals are looking for new recruits to join the ranks of the team’s famous 'racing presidents' mascots."
Rizzo said second base isn’t necessarily a priority, but acknowledged the glut of free agent options on the market.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) December 10, 2018
Nats not focused on left-handed relief market - for now - (MASN)
"Rizzo acknowledges he may need to beef up the lefty relief corps, but isn’t sure how critical it is at this point in the offseason with other holes..."
Nats searching for one player to fill holes at first and second base - (MASN)
"The Nationals find themselves in the exact same situation this winter, recognizing the need for a backup first baseman, again preferring a left-handed hitter who could complement Zimmerman."
Rizzo also said the Nats have extended “offers” to Anthony Rendon. The club is hopeful they can lock Rendon up to an extension. There’s interest on both sides, just need to find a match in terms.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) December 10, 2018