Bryce Harper told reporters at the start of his first press conference of the Spring on Monday afternoon that he would not be fielding any questions about his own future beyond 2018.
In the wide-ranging interview that followed, he did, however, offer his thoughts on a variety of other topics, including the fire sale the Miami Marlins held this winter.
Apparently not everyone with the Fish appreciated what he had to say when Harper was asked if he was surprised to see Miami trade Giancarlo Stanton.
“I was very shocked that they were going to let go of [Christian] Yelich, [Marcell] Ozuna, and Stanton,” Harper said, “because that’s one of the best outfields in the game. So, very shocked about that. I mean, you can’t say enough about what Stanton did last year, what Ozuna did last year, and what Yelich has done the past couple years, so I thought they were a great team. I think they just had to add a couple more pitchers and they would have been pretty dang good.”
Word travels fast these days, of course, and Marlins’ skipper Don Mattingly was apparently not happy with the Nationals’ 25-year-old outfielder offering his take on the latest attempt to rebuild the roster of Washington’s NL East rivals.
“Take care of your business and we’ll take care of ours,” Mattingly told Harper through the press this morning, as quoted by Miami Herald beat writer Clark Spencer.
“It’s not really his place to comment on us,” Mattingly said. “He doesn’t really know what goes on over here. He may think he does, but he doesn’t know what’s going on over here, what the discussions are. He doesn’t know our players that we know.”
Oh, it’s been broughten. But Harper was just, like, offering his opinion, man, and other paraphrased movie quotes.
He also talked about the Mets, let’s see if new New York manager Mickey Callaway has any issues with the following:
“I think the Mets are always tough. They’ve got one of the best staffs in all of baseball. [Noah] Syndergaard, [Jacob] deGrom, [Matt] Harvey of course, I mean, against me. But [Steven] Matz, a tough lefty, and [Zack] Wheeler, whoever their fifth starter is, they’re really good.
“They’ve got a good bullpen and then one of my favorite players in the game, [Michael] Conforto, that guy rakes from the left side of the plate, so he’s super tough on us. But that’s always a tough team to play against. Like I said, that staff is really good, so you know you’re going to run up against a couple guys over there and you’ve just got to play our game and see what happens.”
Thoughts, Mickey? Yeah, that was mostly positive. But what about this...
Harper also talked to reporters about the race in the NL East, handicapping the Nationals’ competition as they go for their third straight division title and the fifth division crown in the last seven seasons.
“We’re expected to win,” Harper said. “That’s how it is. We’re expected to win the East. We’re expected to possibly win a pennant, and we’re expected to possibly win a World Series, so I would think as a team, I think we’re going to try to do the best we can and do everything possible to win ballgames. We just got to take it one game at a time and win the East first, because like I said, the Mets are tough, the Braves are good, Philly, Miami, whatever, Miami plays us pretty dang well.”
Oh, sh*t son! He just ... praised the competition basically. Hmmm. Nothing to see here I guess, unless Mr. Mattingly has an issue?