Bryce Harper thought he drew a 3-2 walk in the seventh inning at Double-A last night, but as he headed to first base home plate umpire Max Guyll called him out on strikes and the 18-year-old Nationals uber-prospect angrily slammed his helmet down in disgust.
Guyll immediately ejected him from the game, at which point Harper got in the umpire’s face, screaming and pointing and digging his spikes into the dirt to show where he believed the pitch crossed outside the strike zone.
Chris Knight of the Harrisburg Patriot-News snapped the fantastic face-to-face action photo you see displayed to the left and CSNWashington.com has video that shows the entire incident unfold:
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Obviously this wouldn’t be any kind of story if Harper wasn’t involved, as plenty of minor leaguers are ejected in similar fashions every week, but it does play into some of the negative aspects of his reputation and the incident making headlines is part of the increased attention that comes with being a former No. 1 overall pick and the top prospect in baseball at age 18. Plus, he did kind of freak out.
For more details, check out the game story from the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.