The Nats are confident that they'll sign Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper wall of balls.jpgUnlike the case with previous Scott Boras clients, I haven’t heard anyone make even a plausible suggestion that Bryce Harper would try to go back to school, play in the independent leagues, go to Japan or do anything else other than sign with the Nationals before the August 15th deadline.  Nevertheless, reporters keep asking the team how they feel about it. Here’s MASN’s Byron Kerr:

In Cleveland, I got the opportunity to speak with Nationals General
Manager Mike Rizzo regarding this year’s #1 first-year player selection,
catcher/outfielder Bryce Harper.

Mike, having worked with agent Scott Boras while signing Stephen
Strasburg last season, does that give you a leg up in the negotiations
with Bryce Harper this year?

“Each case with each individual and each representative is unique.
We are not going to put any timetables on it. We feel with Bryce like
we did with Stephen, if two parties want to make a deal, a deal will be
made. So, we are optimistic about it.”

Which is what Mark Lerner said last week. And if that’s not good enough, the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore recently spoke with Harper’s college coach who said that Harper’s own parents are firmly in the “we don’t want to hold out; we want to sign and get this over with” camp.

It’s Boras, so we can fully expect the signing to wait until the absolute last minute before the deadline, but Harper is going to sign with the Nats. Which will be more boring than seeing him abuse Northern League pitchers, but which makes total sense for everyone involved.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.