Dontrelle Willis and Vladimir Guerrero are going to be teammates.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Willlis, who was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training, has signed with the independent league Long Island Ducks, who also announced a deal with Vladimir Guerrero this morning.
Hard to say who has a better chance of getting back to the majors at this point. Guerrero is 38 years old, didn’t play in the majors last season, and is pretty much limited to designated hitter duties by now, which as Jim Thome can tell you is an awfully tough market. On the other hand Willis is just 31, but hasn’t been effective in the majors since 2006. Seriously, 2006.
I guess the correct answer is probably “neither” but at least the Atlantic League will be a little more interesting to watch for a while.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.