The Marlins are looking for a place to play the Mariners next year

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The Marlins and Mariners are set to play an interleague series next year, and Florida is supposed to the home team. But thanks to U2’s tour — man, Bono ruins everything, at least since “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” — Pro Player Robbie Sun Life Stadipark will be occupied.  Options:

  • Play in Puerto Rico: Pro: there will still be plenty of humidty! Con: Hiram Bithorn stadium isn’t exactly ideal as a major league facility anymore — one Mets writer said that parts of the clubhouse ceiling were falling in during the Mets-Marlins series there this year.
  • Play in Vancouver: Pro: Sure, it’s closer to home for the Mariners than the Marlins, but both teams are set to head back west after their series anyway, so maybe this makes travel easier. Con: the dome in Vancouver — which I had not realized was built to attract a major league team until I read the linked article — is undergoing renovations and the existing minor league ballpark only holds 7,000. The Marlins are used to that, but the Mariners may not like it.
  • Play in Seattle: Pro: It’s a major league ballpark. Con: This takes a home series away from the Marlins. Pro: it was good enough for the Blue Jays and Phillies this season, so it’s not unprecedented.

My guess is that they just play in Seattle. Because really: if you cut Loria a check of sufficient size he’d sign off on anything

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.