Ken Rosenthal has a feature up about Bryce Harper that’s worth a read today.
In it, everyone who is quoted and every opinion expressed is about how hard Harper plays. How respectful he is. How he plays the game the right way and, even at age 19, sets an example for others while still making a point to learn from the veterans. I’m struggling to think of a faster turnaround in terms of perception, persona and attitude than the one Harper has undergone since even last season.
What I’d like to know is if this is merely a product of natural maturity — think about how different you were when you were 19 than when you were 17 — of if there is someone or many someone’s in the Nats organization or in Scott Boras’ operation who made it a point to help the young man along in his maturity process. It’s probably both, but to the extent there is a lot of the latter, those people deserve some serious kudos.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.