If you’re just tuning in this morning, the team on the other side of Chicago struck again overnight, reportedly signing Melky Cabrera.
- Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper did not attend the team’s annual fan fest thingy this weekend because of the upcoming grievance hearing (Tuesday) about his arbitration situation. The gist of that fight: when the two sides agreed on his contract at the very last minute after the draft in 2010, Harper’s camp (including agent Scott Boras) believed that his big league deal included the right to opt-out if he qualified for arbitration as a Super Two player, for which Harper has now qualified. The Nationals disagree that that was part of the deal. If Harper is permitted to opt out, he might make twice as much in arbitration next year than he would make under his contract, and then he’d likely make a bunch more down the road with three more passes in arbitration, rather than just a total of three after 2015. There are a lot of potential dollars at stake. That fight will be settled on Tuesday, and Nats GM Mike Rizzo expressed “disappointment” that Harper didn’t attend NatsFest.
- It’s an ugly situation for the two sides – especially if the grievance hearing goes forward on Tuesday – and makes you once again wonder about that “blow the roof off the place” Nats rumor from the Winter Meetings. It’s certainly possible that the rumored deal involved multiple one-year free agents, as the Nationals have a ton (Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Ian Desmond, Denard Span, Tyler Clippard), but the way the rumor was described – given the current Harper sparring – sure made you wonder if Harper was involved. To be sure, there are no explicit rumors about the Nats shopping Harper out there right now. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they came out at some point soon. And, as I said last week, if that happens, there are only a handful of teams that could realistically pull off a trade for Harper. Just sayin’.
- A very useful read after yesterday’s discussion about the Cubs’ rotation and the (unkind) Steamer projections: here’s a FanGraphs piece on the way most projection systems work. It does a good job capturing the point I was trying to make about why projections seems to be conservative toward the center of possible outcomes. If you’re into graphs, there’s a particularly good visualization of why, for example, Steamer projects just three pitchers to have ERAs under 3.00 next year, even though everyone knows there will be more than that.
- The Red Sox were disappointed not to get Jon Lester (at least at the $135 million they were offering). Thought they’re not admitting it in so many words, it sounds like there’s a feeling of the old “mistakes were made” kind of thing in how they pursued re-signing him earlier in the year.
- In his first 16 games in the Dominican Winter League, Arismendy Alcantara is hitting .304/.361/.482. His .843 OPS would be fifth in the league if he had enough at bats to qualify. He’d be just behind Manny Ramirez, in fact. In the DWL last year, Alcantara’s OPS was .511 in limited duty.