Bryce Harper: Phillies fans not as rude as fans of Mets, Braves

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Speaking to the media as All-Star Game festivities were under way in Miami, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper dropped a bombshell. Per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, he said that Phillies fans were not as rude as fans of the Mets and Braves.

There are several possible explanations Philly fans haven’t been as rude to Harper. Perhaps the reputation of Philly fans has been greatly exaggerated. (It has.) The Phillies have been terrible since 2013, so enthusiasm is at its lowest since the early 2000’s. While the Braves haven’t been anything to write home about recently, they have been competitive in the recent past, so there’s just a bit more animus at relevant Nats players. Maybe most importantly, Philly fans may also be aware that Harper can become a free agent after the 2018 season. The Phillies will have tons of money to spend, so Philly fans don’t want to do anything to sour Harper on a potential move up I-95.

It’s not like Harper hasn’t had beef with the Phillies and the fans. Then-Phillie Cole Hamels hit Harper with a pitch in May 2012. After the game, Hamels straight up admitted he was trying to hit Harper intentionally. Hamels was suspended five games. Harper took a jab at Philly fans a couple weeks later, saying, “Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me.”

That wasn’t the only thing Harper had to say on Monday, though. He also suggested a potential alteration to the All-Star Game in which two captains draft teams. He imagined Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw potentially pitching to teammate Justin Turner. Interesting.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.