The Nationals agreed to terms with No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper on a five-year, $9.9 million contract earlier this week, however he won’t make his pro debut this season.
According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that the teenage hitting sensation will soon travel to Viera, Florida in order to work out with the organization’s Gulf Coast League team, however he won’t begin playing in games until the Florida instructional league begins in late-September.
“We’ll prepare him for instructional league in Florida,” Rizzo said.
“He’ll get his work in with the GCL team, not playing any games.
Contractually, he’s not going to play any games.”
We’ve heard whispers that Harper will also play in the Arizona Fall League, however Rizzo told Goessling that there’s only an “outside possibly” of him playing there. Either way, his official pro debut won’t be until next season.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.