The Mariners may not formally replace Dave Niehaus any time soon

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How do you replace a broadcasting legend?  As Larry LaRue reports, the Seattle Mariners may just avoid a replacement for the late great Dave Niehaus altogether:

Out of respect for Niehaus, his family and fans, the team has not conducted a single interview – and may not. Among the options the Mariners are considering is having only familiar faces and voices on their television and radio broadcasts next season, filling the airwaves with the presence of former players and broadcasters.

“That’s something we’ve talked about,” team vice president of communications Randy Admack said. “There’s a line of thought that we could make 2011 a transitional season for our fans.”

Not a bad idea.  Eventually you need a permanent replacement, but there’s nothing wrong with giving the fans and Niehaus’ colleagues a season to reflect and adjust to their unfortunate new reality.  Anyone who comes in, no matter how good a job they do, is going to be judged harshly and will fail to live up to what the fans want. Because, understandably, they want the impossible: they want Dave Niehaus back.

(thanks to Evan for the heads up)

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.