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The Nationals’ Kevin Frandsen says Anthony Rendon is “the best young guy we have”

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Anthony Rendon is having a fantastic season so far. No doubt about that.

Nats’ utility guy Kevin Frandsen was on the D.C. radio show Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan this morning, and they asked him, of all the players on the team, who’s impressed him the most. Listen to who he mentioned as “the best young guy we have”

“Rendon,” Frandsen said. “Without a doubt.”

“He is as impressive as any young player; in all honesty, he’s the best young guy we have. By far,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in the same sentence as him, as far as young guys.”

The hosts asked him specifically if he’s saying Rendon was better than Bryce Harper. This is the point in these kinds of interviews where the teammate will equivocate or talk about how it’s hard to choose or say they’re both awesome or something. But Frandsen stuck to his guns:

“Absolutely,” Frandsen said. “I would say that, because, this is a personal opinion, and watching it, and Tony, ah man, that is one of the coolest swings I’ve seen. And especially for, what is he, 23, 24-years-old?

“To be that consistent, to stay inside the baseball as consistently as he can, and to have that much pop. I don’t know how much the outside knows, but he hits balls farther than most people on the team. But he is so good, as far as staying inside and staying within himself, that just impresses me.

“And then moving from second to third, third back to second, second back to third, unbelievable. And his attitude, whether it’s a four-hit game, or 0-for-4, which rarely happens, it’s the same; it’s consistent; it’s just someone that you just enjoy watching all the time.”

Not a word about Harper. This a week after Tom Boswell — who reliably channels the messages of the Nationals front office — said that Harper may bt the Nats’ seventh best player and who said he’d be hard pressed to pick Harper over Rendon going forward.

Interesting.

Pirates sign reliever Eric O’Flaherty

Eric O'Flaherty
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Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.

O’Flaherty was one of the best relievers in the league for the Braves from 2009-2013, posting a combined 1.99 ERA in 249 innings, but Tommy John elbow surgery derailed his career and he struggled for the A’s and Mets in 2015 while dealing with shoulder problems.

It’s tough to know if O’Flaherty is healthy at this point, but the 31-year-old southpaw certainly has a chance to be a nice reclamation project for the Pirates on a no-risk contract.

Mariano Rivera to get his plaque in Monument Park on August 14

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The greatest closer in history is going to get the ultimate honor the New York Yankees bestow on August 14. That’s when Mariano Rivera will get his plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before a game against the Rays.

There was some chatter in the last year or two about whether the Yankees were somehow lowering their standards out there, what with guys like Tino Martinez getting honored. But if that’s something you care about it won’t matter in this instance. Rivera would’ve been worthy even if the old snobby ways had held and only inner-circle types got a plaque, what with him being a key member of five World Series-winning teams and his status as the all-time saves leader in the regular season and the postseason.

The Yankees retired Rivera’s No. 42 in 2013. He’ll get his plaque in August. Then, on the first ballot for which he is eligible, he’ll be voted into the Hall of Fame, likely with a percentage in the mid-to-high 90s.

Dodgers “trying to trade” Alex Guerrero

Alex Guerrero
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Alex Guerrero is a potentially good right-handed bat without a position to play in Los Angeles, so Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reporting that the Dodgers are “trying to trade” him makes sense.

Guerrero, who signed with the Dodgers out of Cuba for $28 million in October of 2013, spent last season in the majors hitting .233 with 11 homers and a .695 OPS in a part-time role that generated 230 plate appearances. He logged a total of just 355 innings defensively, mostly as a left fielder and third baseman.

Guerrero could be intriguing–particularly to an American League team for whom his defense isn’t much of an issue–because he hit .329 with 15 homers and a 1.113 OPS in 65 games at Triple-A in 2014 and was consistently a .300 hitter with an OPS around 1.000 in Cuba. He’s also 29 years old, so Guerrero is no doubt looking to play regularly.

The New Zealand World Baseball Classic team performs the Haka

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It’s World Baseball Classic time again. Just the qualifying rounds. The actual tournament happens in 2017. Qualifiers will happen in Sydney, Australia, Mexicali, Mexico, Panama City, Panama and Brooklyn, N.Y., periodically, between now and September.

The Sydney round just got underway yesterday, so yes, some actual baseball is going on. As I’ve written and ranted before, the WBC is not my favorite thing that happens in baseball and certainly not the most important thing, but it’s pretty fun. Especially when there are displays of enthusiasm and pageantry and the like.

Such as the Haka, which basically every New Zealand sports team does and which never gets old:

 

Down in Sydney, the Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and South Africa teams are competing in a six-game, modified double-elimination format. In the other three qualifying rounds, Mexico, Czech Republic, Germany, Nicaragua, Colombia, France, Panama, Spain, Brazil, Great Britain, Israel and Pakistan will compete. Each qualifying round puts one representative in the WBC.

Those four qualifiers will compete in the WBC itself against countries that performed well enough in the past that they need not submit to qualifying: Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela.

Someone make sure Jon Morosi is well-hyrdrated. It’s gonna be a long year.