Link-O-Rama: Pedro loses to Mother Nature

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* Pedro Martinez’s first minor-league rehab start was cut short because of rain
yesterday at Single-A, so he ended up throwing only 24 pitches before
heading to the bullpen for another 60 throws. Zach Schonbrun of MLB.com
reports that Martinez “will likely throw two more starts in the minor
leagues before being ready to join” the Phillies.

* Junichi Tazawa, the 23-year-old right-hander who skipped the
professional ranks in Japan to sign with the Red Sox this offseason,
has been promoted to Triple-A after going 9-5 with a 2.57 ERA and 88/26 K/BB ratio in 98 innings at Double-A.

* Andrew Miller’s demotion to the minors got off to a rough start over the weekend, as he walked nine batters while failing to make it out of the fifth inning in his first outing at Triple-A.

* There was speculation that a trade could be brewing when Reid Brignac
was pulled from a Triple-A game over the weekend, but the Rays announced that he merely “tweaked his leg a bit.”

* Thomas Harding of MLB.com shares the story of Jhoulys Chacin learning that he was headed to the big leagues.

* Cross the Giants off the list of teams in the mix for Roy Halladay.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.