MLBits: Will Harper Leave Nats? Is the MVP Race is Over? Wright Returns, Gibbons Gone, More

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MLBits: Will Harper Leave Nats? Is the MVP Race is Over? Wright Returns, Gibbons Gone, More

Chicago Cubs

Tomorrow night is Social Media night, and, at the outset of the week, I was really excited to be in attendance. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll still be a blast – come say hi to Brett, Luis, and me at the event or in the bleachers – but it was shaping up to be a potential Cubs division clincher. Now … they might not even be in first place! That stiiiiiiiiiinks.

Best case scenario, the Cubs’ magic number is down to 3 before the game starts and 2 by the end of the night. That wouldn’t be so bad. It’s just not as good as it could’ve been.

  • With Victor Robles, Juan Soto, Adam Eaton and potentially hundreds of million dollars all in the picture, the future for Bryce Harper remains unclear in Washington – perhaps more so than ever. I, for one, was under the impression that his time in Washington would come to an end with the regular season on Sunday, and that it would be – more or less – mutual. In other words, the Nationals might want him back, but not at the price. And Harper, a free agent for the first time, would want to test the waters elsewhere. But perhaps that isn’t true. At the Washington Post, Harper said that he would “love to” stick around in Washington, but simply isn’t sure if he’s part of the plans. He also mentioned that the youngsters “sparked” him a bit when they came up, that he loved it in Washington, and that it would be “crazy” if he weren’t a National. “If I walk into Nats Park as a visiting player?” Harper said. “That’s weird. And who wants to see that? That’s really weird.” (Uhm, I want to see that. So does your pal, Kris.)
  • Of course, those are not necessarily surprising comments. Harper is still very young and has only played for the Nationals. Fond recollections as his time winds down is to be expected.
Bryce Harper, 2010 (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
  • And of course he is only half of the equation. The Nationals will have to fork over a very pretty penny to retain Harper, because if they don’t, someone else will, and his agent, Scott Boras, will absolutely push him in the direction of the team holding the biggest sack of cash. Query whether the Nationals would be willing to spend that much at all, let alone when they have three other talented outfielders. Indeed, as it is, today could be the last day Harper wears the Nats’ home whites:

  • By waiting, Ohtani solidified himself as the AL Rookie of the Year, but is an award like that worth the time he’ll now miss next year as a potential starting pitcher if he’d gotten the surgery way, way back early in the year when he was first diagnosed with a UCL tear? And while I know he can contribute – exceedingly well – as a DH next season as he rehabs, getting things done sooner may have been the better move.
  • Then again, maybe he wasn’t going to pitch next season whether he got the surgery now or three months ago, so maybe there’s no difference? Hope to see him back doing his incredible thing soon.
  • Javier Baez is very, very good, and very, very valuable, but the MVP race is probably over. Christian Yelich is likely the guy.

  • On the year now, Yelich is up to a .321/.390/.583 slash line (number one in BA, number six in OBP, and number one in SLG) with a 159 wRC+ that is 12 points higher than the next highest in the NL. The offensive gap is just going to be too wide to overcome with defense, versatility, and baserunning. And not that it’s everything, but Yelich has been worth 1.4 more WAR than Baez, while his team is surging at the right time.
  • On Tuesday, Mets infielder David Wright came off the disabled list for the first time since May 28th, 2016 (that’s 433 games on the DL!). “To say it’s a good feeling is an understatement,” Wright said. “It’s been a long time coming … a lot of time, a lot of hard work, so to be able to suit up and go out there, and just the opportunity to get the chance to play means the world to me.” Wright will start on Saturday and hang up his cleats at the end of the season.
  • Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson will undergo an MRI on his injured left wrist, and, depending on the results, could have his postseason availability affected.
  • You know when you’re watching a superhero movie and there’s two bad guys and for whatever reason they’re fighting each other and you don’t know who to root for? May I present Bob Brenly going after Joe West:

  • Known as “La Tortuga,” to the Twins, the 5’9″, 225 lbs Willians Astudillo is creating a bit of a legend for himself and Dan Hayes has the full story at The Athletic. If you like big, likable guys – think … Bartolo Colon, I guess? – La Tortuga is the guy for you:

  • I mean, just watch him pull of a BEAUTIFULLY executed hidden ball trick back when he was in the minors:

https://twitter.com/MiLB/status/1027552456262201350

  • And speaking of Bartolo Colon … LEGEND:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.



Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami