The “blame Theo” train gains steam

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David Pinto flagged this Jim Donaldson post over at the Projo Sox blog. After detailing the failings of John Lackey, he lets this point rip, building on a comment Buck Showalter made last spring about the Red Sox’ payroll advantages:

Showalter had a very good point — it would, indeed, be interesting to see how smart Theo would be with the Tampa Bay payroll. And how smart are the Cubs, who supposedly are interested in bringing Epstein to the Windy City to throw around their major-market money?

To sum up: the GM who has given the Red Sox it’s greatest era of success in a century if not ever is all hat and no cattle and it would be a big mistake for the Chicago Cubs — the Cubs! —  to try to hire him. And we know this because Buck freakin’ Showalter says so.

Personally, I’d love to hear how upset Cubs fans would be if Epstein were allowed to ruin their team the way he has ruined the Red Sox. I bet they’d have a different take on it.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.