Buster Olney asks an odd question

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I’m guessing this is Buster Olney trying to add to the whole pitching to the score/pitcher wins/Cy Young/Jack Morris debate.  But since it’s Buster Olney, it doesn’t make all that much sense.

The tweet:

A question for anyone who thinks pitchers don’t make decisions according to the score: please explain timing of intentional walks.

OK.

1. Pitchers don’t call for intentional walks.  The bench calls for intentional walks.  At best, the pitcher might have some influence over the decision following a trip to the mound.

2. The intentional walk is simply a maneuver used by a team in an attempt to hurt the other team’s chance of scoring one or more runs (usually one).  At least, that’s the idea anyway.  Teams issue them when they’re ahead, when they’re behind and when they’re tied, simply because the whole idea is that it’ll hurt the other team’s chances of scoring.

Anyway, I’m not sure what Olney hoped to add to the debate here.  Besides, no one has ever said pitchers don’t acknowledge the score when they pitch.  Many of us just don’t think it makes any real difference at all.  The great pitchers tend to be just as great whether they have one or eight runs to work with.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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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.