“In my opinion, Bryce is the greatest amateur player ever to play baseball, and I am talking Mickey Mantle and others.”
— Tim Chambers, Bryce Harper’s college coach, in a piece about how Harper is just itching to sign with the Nats and get playing baseball. No pressure.
Worth noting that there is a 99.99999% probability that Harper will sign before Monday’s deadline. If he sinks back into next year’s loaded draft he loses a lot of money. Likewise, if the Nats don’t sign him it will just kill them, and will have rendered last year’s 100-loss season a disaster.
Why push it to the wire then? My guess is that Major League Baseball pressures the team with the top pick to hold off as late as possible to sign their guy so that the teams who pick from #2 on won’t have their guys saying “well, Harper signed for $X million, so I should get something close to that!”
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.
The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.
Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.
Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.