Kris Medlen does not want to go to the bullpen

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As we noted over the weekend, the Braves will have a starting pitcher glut when Brandon Beachy comes back from Tommy John surgery in the next week or so. But as Dave O’Brien reports, the one guy in the rotation with bullpen experience — Kris Medlen — is not at all interested in moving back to the pen:

“I’ll let it be known that I don’t want to go down there (to the bullpen),” Medlen said. “I don’t. At all. But it’s out of my hands. I mean, if it happens, obviously it happens. I’m a team player.”

Well, I suppose a true team player would make that objection a private thing rather than tell it to a reporter, but OK.

I think that, unless the Braves want to ease Beachy into things with some bullpen time — something of which there has been no indication whatsoever — you have to move Medlen to the pen for a bit. For one thing, he was doing it a year ago. For another, it’s worth mentioning that he only pitched 130 or so innings last year and if he keeps on his current pace as a starter he’ll be way over 200. Maybe this would be good for him.

No matter the case, I can’t remember a team who has been reported to have too many viable starting pitchers ever truly suffer for having too many. I can remember a lot of teams described that way who, when it was all said and done, needed every last one of those allegedly surplus arms.

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.