Davey Lopes misses Philly; isn’t crazy about the mess in L.A.

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Dodgers first base coach Davey Lopes liked it in when he coached in Philly but, as was suspected at the time and as he said in an interview upon his return to Philly yesterday, the Phillies just didn’t want to pay him what he thought he was worth.  Despite this, however, he has fond memories of his time in Philly and even a couple of moderate digs at his current circumstances:

“I have nothing but great memories of this ballpark, and the fans, I consider the best in baseball. The intensity level coming into the ball park every day, I miss that tremendously. As you’ll see when you go to LA with the empty seats. They’re something you’re not used to seeing in L.A. Neither am I …”

He went on about the situation in L.A., rendered weird by the ownership drama:

 “It’s been good, yeah. But it’s different. It’s not like what I remember. Put it that way … It is what it is, for now. We’ll see what happens in the near future.”

I hate the phrase “it is what it is,” but it should almost always be understood as “it sucks, but there’s not a hell of a lot I can do about it right now.”

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.