J.P. Arencibia calls out Blue Jays analysts Gregg Zaun, Dirk Hayhurst

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I’m struggling to think of an instance where a ballplayer called out his own team’s analysts for a good reason. Most of the time it’s whining about the fact that people in a role filled with so many in-the-bag homers are shockingly telling it like it is.  We saw that when Cubs players got mad at Steve Stone a few years ago. I think we’re seeing it again with the Blue Jays where catcher J.P. Arencibia decided to call out Jays analysts Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst the other morning.

He criticized Zaun for using performance enhancing drugs (Zaun was mentioned in the Mitchell Report) and went after Hayhurst for not having much major league experience. Which would be fine if either of those guys had made similar personal attacks on Arencibia, but as far as I can tell, based on what Richard Griffin wrote in this followup and what Jays fans have said on various message boards I’ve seen the past couple of days, Zaun and Hayhurst did nothing more than note that (a) the Jays are struggling; and (b) Arencibia himself is struggling in particularly mighty fashion.

Which, fine, maybe in today’s media landscape analysts who work for team-related media outlets are expected to be pushovers whose criticism of struggling players has no teeth. But there’s no law that says it has to be that way. And when you’re a player who is expected to be one of the team’s rising talents and you’re posting a .217/.245/.420 line while playing suspect defense, you don’t have a ton of room to talk.

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.