What happened to Bryce Harper

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There is no question mark on there because I’m not asking. I’m linking to Adam Kilgore’s excellent, perspective-providing piece on the downfall — however temporary it may be — of a kid who was killing it early last season and looked to be on the verge of an MVP run. Money quote:

In late April 2013, Harper was conquering worlds. Over the past 15 months, he has undergone surgery twice to repair injuries that forced him to change the swing he had honed his entire life. He is two months shy of his 22nd birthday. Tuesday night, Javier Baez made his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs, and for the first time since Harper made his debut in April 2012, a player younger than Harper appeared in a National League game.

Before he finished his radio appearance, Williams told the hosts, “He’ll be fine, you guys.”

Kilgore also contexualizes that little dustup Matt Williams had with the media yesterday over the possibility — raised by a radio host — that Harper could be sent down to the minors. We’re just as guilty, if not more guilty, as anyone in reacting in a kneejerk fashion to quotes and things. But Kilgore provides some nice perspective on all of this.

Aaron Hicks to go on the disabled list with an oblique injury

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks left Sunday’s game against the Rangers after four innings due to soreness in his right oblique. After the game, Hicks said he expects to go on the 10-day disabled list and miss the next three to four weeks, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports.

Hicks was 1-for-2 with a single before departing on Sunday. He entered the game batting .288/.397/.515 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 198 plate appearances. It is by far the best season of his career.

Jacoby Ellsbury is on his way back from a concussion, so the Yankees will only have to bridge the gap in center field for a week or two. Mason Williams could draw some starts in center field in the meantime.

Report: Phillies making Maikel Franco available in trade discussions

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Phillies are making third baseman Maikel Franco “more than available” in trade discussions.

Franco, 24, is having an abysmal season after showing promise in 2015 and ’16. Through 289 plate appearances, he’s hitting .221/.280/.365 with nine home runs and 37 RBI. His hitting has tanked and his already below-average defense hasn’t shown any improvement.

It’s a bit surprising that the Phillies would be so eager to move Franco with his value about as low as it can go. Franco is also under control of the rebuilding Phillies through the 2021 season, so the team doesn’t have to rush into moving him. He will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season.

Furthermore, the Phillies don’t have an immediate replacement for Franco at third base. Andres Blanco would likely get everyday starts at the hot corner in the short-term, but as far as prospects go, there are no third baseman banging down the door. If the Phillies were to trade Franco, it would likely have to be in return for a young, talented third baseman who will be under team control for several more years.