All-Star teams are managed by the previous year’s pennant-winning managers. All-Star coaches are picked by those managers. Those managers — Bruce Bochy and Jim Leyland — have picked their coaches. From the MLB press release:
Bochy has named Mets manager Terry Collins and Washington Nationals skipper Davey Johnson, who guided the Mets to the 1986 World Series Championship, as his N.L. coaches … Leyland has invited Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura and Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons to represent the American League.
Depending on how bad you thought the Mets would be, all four coaches helm underachieving squads this year. Which means that Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia were snubbed, apparently.
The NL will be filled out by Bochy’s Giants staff – third base coach Tim Flannery, bullpen coach Mark Gardner, first base coach Roberto Kelly, hitting coach Joe Lefebvre, hitting coach Hensley Meulens, pitching coach Dave Righetti and bench coach Ron Wotus. The Mets head trainer Ray Ramirez and the Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz will be there too.
In the AL it’s Leyland’s Tigers coaches – Rafael Belliard (first base), Tom Brookens (third base), Toby Harrah (assistant hitting), Jeff Jones (pitching), Gene Lamont (bench), Lloyd McClendon (hitting) and Mike Rojas (bullpen) – will come to New York. Head athletic trainers Ron Porterfield of the Tampa Bay Rays and Rick Jameyson of the Boston Red Sox will fix the owies.
And remember: this time it counts again. So if Tom Brookens is coaching third base, look for some nice putouts at the plate.
Newsday’s Marc Carig reports that the Mets will try veteran Jose Reyes in the outfield during spring training ahead of the 2017 season. Reyes, who has been in the majors over parts of 14 seasons, hasn’t logged any time in the outfield as a professional baseball player.
Despite Reyes’ involvement in a domestic violence issue last offseason, the Mets acquired him after the Rockies released him in June, following a 51-game suspension. He hit .267/.326/.443 with 25 extra-base hits, 24 RBI, and 45 runs scored in 279 plate appearances, spending most of his time at third base in place of the injured David Wright.
The Mets’ outfield is set with Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto plus one of Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce. Reyes and Juan Lagares would serve as backups.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports the Nationals are “balking at Bryce Harper’s demands in early talks about a long-term contract extension” and are thus prepared to let him walk when he becomes a free agent following the 2018 season.
What would make the Nationals balk? According to Nightengale’s source it’s a deal that “will exceed 10 years in length and likely pay him in excess of $400 million.”
That might seem crazy given historical norms and given that Harper is coming off a disappointing season, but if Harper returns to anything close to his 2015 form in which he won National League MVP honors while hitting .330/.460/.649 and hit 42 home runs, $400 million is going to seem quite reasonable. That sort of production was not some crazy fluke for a guy with Harper’s talent, after all. And he’ll be 26-years-old when he hits free agency, which is far, far younger than your typical free agent. Indeed, he’ll be entering what have, historically, been the prime years of most superstars’ careers.
The closest comp to star hitting free agency at that age was Alex Rodriguez, who was 25 when he signed his first $250 million deal following the 2000 season. Top big league deals going from $250 million to $400 million in the space of two decades is not really all that crazy when you think about it. Especially when you realize that, between 2001 and 2018, baseball revenues will have increased by a factor of three, assuming current growth holds.
UPDATE: My first thought after reading all of this was “I wonder if the Nats leaked the $400 million thing, whether it was an actual demand or not, in order to turn the PR in their favor if they deal Harper?” Question answered: