Brian McCann is gone, but the Braves Decorum Police are still on the beat.
In yesterday’s game David Carpenter threw a pitch at Rockies hitter Corey Dickerson. I invite Braves fans to try to argue it wasn’t intentional, but it so clearly was that you’re embarrassing yourself if you claim otherwise. Watch it here.
The reason for the plunking: Dickerson hit catcher Gerald Laird with a foul tip and then caught him with a backswing on a foul ball just before, knocking him out of the game. That really does suck — a guy can get seriously hurt like that and Laird was down in the dirt for a long time — but there was no motive for Dickerson to do that to Laird on purpose whatsoever. And it’s not like Dickerson has magical powers and could direct the foul tip at Laird. And Laird himself said after the game that he knew the whole sequence was unintentional.
But don’t tell that to Carpenter. He got ejected and Rockies manager Walt Weiss got ejected for a particularly over-the-top argument, after which he smashed a bat into the dugout wall. Then Rockies and Braves pitchers started throwing at each other, leading to more ejections.
But hey, at least Carpenter taught Dickerson a lesson. About what, I have no idea, but he sure taught him.
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.