Lackey done, Red Sox work to get Cameron

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Update: Rosenthal reports that a two-year contract worth $15.5 million is nearly done.
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According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Red Sox, who have already come to terms with John Lackey today, are working on a two-year deal with Mike Cameron.
It’d be nice to see the perpetually underrated Cameron finally get a chance to work in a true hitter’s park for the first time in his career. He’s still a strong defensive center fielder, and he’s been completely healthy the last three years after missing time each of the previous three seasons.
Still, he’s not a perfect fit for a Red Sox team in need of a Jason Bay replacement. Jacoby Ellsbury’s defensive statistics were well down last year, but it was probably more a fluke than anything. Besides a poor throwing arm, his only flaw is that he takes some bad routes to balls and that’s something he’ll continue to improve at with experience. The Red Sox would likely push him to left with Cameron in the fold. Considering that Cameron has the significantly better arm, it’d make no sense to stash him in front of the Green Monster and leave Ellsbury in center.
The Red Sox also have Jeremy Hermida in the fold. Now, Cameron has about 70 points of OPS on Hermida these last two years, but if the Red Sox really believed that Hermida was going to post another 740 OPS, they never would have acquired him in the first place. I’d say the two project pretty similarly as hitters next year, which means the Red Sox would be mostly paying Cameron for his defense, and that might not be the right strategy given that Boston’s left fielders have little ground to cover 81 times per season.
Cameron had previously been linked most frequently with the Cubs, under the assumption that they’d sign him once they traded Milton Bradley. It looks like they’ll miss out now, which might force them to turn to Marlon Byrd or Coco Crisp in center.

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.