Victor Martinez back in Tigers’ ineup

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The Tigers’ lineup is at full strength once again, as Victor Martinez is back in his usual designated hitter spot for tonight’s game against the Rays.

Martinez missed the entire series against the Athletics this week due to soreness in his rib cage area, but his absence was considered precautionary. The Tigers managed to win all three games without him.

Martinez is currently enjoying the best season of his career at the age of 35. He ranks second in the American League in OPS (.974), third in batting average (.323), and fourth in home runs (20) and slugging percentage (.589).

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.