As Aaron noted earlier today, monobrowed-man-child Jack Clark called the Cardinals “quitters” and said “they have poopy in their pants.” While such a sophisticated and air-tight indictment is difficult to rebut, Tony La Russa has a law degree, so he’s trained in the finer arts of oral advocacy. Specifically, the “I’m rubber and you’re glue” defense:
“I just don’t feel like Jack has had the kind of spotless career
where he can be making judgments like that. Whether it’s our team,
pitchers, players, whatever,” La Russa said. “I think it’s a real
personal (criticism). That’s why I’m saying something about it.
It’s a very offensive quote to make. … I respect Jack a lot
because he did a good job of pulling his career together. But he
had times where there were evaluations from his peers — and I
wasn’t his peer — but his peers and his bosses were less than the
best. I’m disappointed that he doesn’t take some of that past
As a disinterested third party who also has considerable experience with advocacy and debate, I render my judgment thusly:
More seriously speaking, Aaron’s observation from this afternoon wins the day: Jack Clark: if you’re going to say a ballclub “quit,” you had best be prepared to say who on that ballclub quit and show your work. Otherwise you’re nothing more than a friggin’ blowhard.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.