Mariano Rivera is close to the all-time saves record

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The point to this David Waldstein article in the New York Times is that Mariano Rivera’s imminent surpassing of Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list is getting surprisingly little hype.  Given that, until I read this David Waldstein article in the New York Times I wasn’t aware that Mariano Rivera was about to surpass Trevor Hoffman, I tend to think he has a point.

So: Mariano Rivera has 599 saves. Hoffman finished with 601.  You have to figure that Mo will be a lock for it in the last couple weeks of the season. Which will be fitting because there’s no sense in muddying up the conversation about who the best closer of all time is by having the guy who actually is (Rivera) not have the record in the stat a lot of people think is important in that regard. Even if it isn’t really important.

Which makes me wonder about the reason for the lack of hype. Part of me wants it to be because everyone knows that saves is a dumb stat and that Rivera’s legacy in no way requires that record to be complete.  But I think too many people do value saves, so that’s probably not what’s happening.

I think that Rivera is just showing — again — how true greatness and dominance can get actually get boring after a while, causing us to lose sight of it.  I mean, it would be one thing if there was a dramatic arc to Rivera’s career. But really there isn’t. It’s been greatness since he began, followed by greatness, and continuing on through greatness, basically unabated. Sure, you have a season of him as a mediocre starter for spice. A high-profile blown save a decade ago.  But really that’s not enough to break the chain.

Rivera’s doing something awesome and historic?  Again?  Well, OK, wake me when it’s time for dinner.

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.