Olney: the Yankees are not looking for a starting pitcher

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We talked “should” a couple of hours ago. Now here’s the “will”:  Buster Olney tweets that New York is not looking for a starting pitcher in the wake of Andy Pettitte’s injury.  Rather, they are going to concentrate on improving the bench and improving the bullpen, presumably content to let the rotation play out the way it’s playing out.

This seems like a smart play to me. There’s still 12 days to reassess, but the Yankees are likely pretty confident in Sergio Mitre.  He was going to be the fallback if both Joba and Phil came up snake eyes this spring, and like I said earlier today, they did win a World Series with the guy spending a quarter of the season in the rotation.  No need to panic now.

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.