Jaramillo to the Cubs?

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Jon Heyman tweets and then reports that the Cubs are talking to the former Rangers’ hitting coach and that “he’s likely to take the gig.” His salary would be $750,000, which would be a $150,000 raise.  Not a bad deal for a guy whose old employer didn’t want him.

From what I’ve heard from my friends in Chicago, Cubs fans would be quite pleased if this comes to pass.  But they would be remiss if they didn’t read Aaron’s take on this yesterday.

Were Jaramillo’s young charges in Texas good hitters because he coached them well, or is Jaramillo considered a good coach because his young charges were good hitters?  Having watched the Mazzone-era unfold in Atlanta and then Baltimore, I’m skeptical that a coach makes a big difference once a player makes it to the big leagues.  

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.