Joe Maddon has a good replay idea

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Joe Maddon was understandably upset at the Joe West nonsense last night, so it’s not surprising that he said after the game that there should be more instant replay in baseball.  Speaking to reporters after a good night’s sleep, however, he had a pretty good idea:

“If you really want to be intelligent about it, technology is a part of our game. The fact that replay is already utilized, those are moments that you can review at the end of the season. Log them all and then see if there is any kind of common thread and say, ‘Now this should be reviewable.'”

It’s cool and radical so baseball will never do it, but why not start up a review pilot program. Or a shadow program or whatever you want to call it. They can do it via TV monitors back at Major League Baseball headquarters if they want. Just have a guy pretending to be that eye in the sky I’m always going on about. Figure out how many times he’d call down to the crew chief to overturn a call. Figure out how long it would take him to make a different call than the umps on the field and make his phony call.  Log which calls would be most frequently subject to it and how many total calls replay would overturn a year.

Doing such a thing would, at the very least be instructive. If certain patterns were found it would help train umpires.  If replay is ultimately expanded into other areas, you’d have some factual findings which could head off pushback and criticism from umpires and players and whoever else may be inclined to knock the idea.

Knowledge is power, right?

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.