Bryce Harper and Chipper Jones are pitted against each other in the “Final Vote” contest for an All-Star spot, with most people assuming that the Nationals phenom will win.
Harper said Sunday that he’d vote for Jones because “I think a Hall of Famer should be able to go to the All-Star game his last year.”
Once word of that got back to Jones he texted Harper to say thanks and then had plenty of praise for the 19-year-old rookie, telling Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
That’s a very classy thing for a 19-year-old kid to say. I think he’s going to be in his fair share of All-Star games throughout the years. He’s an unbelievable talent and I just let him know that I appreciated what he said. It was classy.
Players inevitably dropping out due to injuries could mean that there’s room on the NL team for both Harper and Jones, but the other “Final Vote” candidates (Michael Bourn, David Freese, Aaron Hill) seemingly have zero chance to finish higher than third in the balloting.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.