MLB.com’s Bill Ladson reports that the Nats haven’t spoken with Bryce Harper yet about a contract. Harper was drafted on June 7th. The deadline to sign him or lose him is August 15th.
No one should be particularly concerned about this, however, because as everyone knows, Scott Boras is the agent, and as everyone who pays attention to such things, Scott Boras never, ever has his clients sign early. Remember: last year Stephen Strasburg didn’t sign until minutes before the midnight deadline. The year before that there was a giant hubub as Boras client Pedro Alvarez actually signed after the deadline but ended up getting a mulligan on it for reasons that remain rather murky.
So yeah, they haven’t talked, but no, it’s no big deal. In fact, it won’t be a big deal into around 10:30 P.M. on the night of August 15th.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.