The Mets sign Chris Young

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They were “closing in on a deal” late yesterday afternoon, but now the deal is reportedly done: Chris Young has agreed to a deal with the Mets. The deal is pending a physical, which is pretty key here given Young’s shoulder troubles last season.

Young is worth a gamble as long as he’s not pricey, which he shouldn’t be. If he pitches well he could hang around and solidify the rotation. Or he could be dealt at the deadline for some foundational pieces. No real downside here. And then there’s this from Adam Rubin’s column yesterday:

The 6-foot-10 Young played basketball and baseball at Princeton. Capuano was Phi Beta Kappa at Duke. Dickey was an English major at the University of Tennessee and is extremely well-read. Left-handed reliever Taylor Tankersley is also known as an intellectual, and his father is a nuclear physicist.

How much you want to bet that if the Mets start the season out poorly the talk radio and tabloid guys go on a big anti-intellectualism kick?  I bet they have interns combing Bill Plaschke’s old anti-Paul DePodesta columns for material as we speak. I just hope that they update the slide rule references to graphing calculators or something. You know, to keep it fresh.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.