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Nationals extend Bryce Harper through the 2018 season

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The Nationals signed star outfielder Bryce Harper to a one-year contract extension through 2018, the team announced on Saturday. Terms of the extension have not been formally released, but according to reports from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they include a $21.65 million salary and an additional $1 million bonus if Harper secures another MVP title. Per Heyman, it projects to be Major League Baseball’s biggest one-year salary bump for a would-be arbitration-eligible player.

However you slice it, it’s a huge chunk of change for one of the league’s most valuable players. Harper slugged his way to a cumulative 23 fWAR for the Nationals over the last five years, earning four All-Star nominations, a Silver Slugger award, and NL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors to boot. While he hasn’t yet returned to the record-setting pace he maintained in 2015, replete with 42 home runs and a .330/.460/.649 batting line, he’s been one of the most consistent and productive hitters in either league. Through his first 31 games of the 2017 season, the 24-year-old is batting a tremendous .372/.496/.717 with 10 home runs and 2.4 fWAR and has already started to form a strong case for MVP consideration.

Harper is set to enter free agency following the 2018 season and will almost undoubtedly test the waters in search of another mammoth deal. For now, however, he’ll continue setting records for the Nationals, and if all goes according to plan, help power them through another postseason run come October.

Mariners activate Robinson Cano from the disabled list

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The Mariners announced that second baseman Robinson Cano has been activated from the disabled list in time for Tuesday’s game against the Nationals in Washington. Cano spent the minimum 10 days on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps.

Taylor Motter got most of the playing time at second base while Cano was out. Mike Freeman did get a couple of starts there as well.

Cano resumes batting .296/.362/.533 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 152 plate appearances on the season.

Former outfielder Anthony Gose is throwing 99 m.p.h. fastballs in the minors

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Anthony Gose played for five seasons as an outfielder in the big leagues. He never hit well enough to be a regular, and a series of altercations with his minor league managers and coaches didn’t do too much for his future either.

His fastball, however, may eventually make up for all of that.

Toward the end of spring training it was reported that Gose would begin work as a pitcher. Given that he was a highly regarded high school pitching prospect with a plus fastball, it wasn’t a crazy notion. When Tigers camp broke, Gose stayed in Lakeland in extended spring training, throwing bullpen sessions and stuff.

Now he’s seeing game action. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Gose threw an inning for the Class-A Lakeland Flying Tigers against the Palm Beach Cardinals last night. He allowed one run on one hit with one strikeout and one walk, lighting up the radar gun at 99 m.p.h. This is the tweet from Lakeland’s assistant general manager:

The Free Press says that the Tigers’ vice president of player development, Dave Littlefield, is “very optimistic” about Gose’s progress.

Given that he’s still only 26 and he’s a lefty it wouldn’t shock me at all if he makes his way back to the bigs someday soon.