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The Athletics sign Jonathan Lucroy to a one year deal

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UPDATE: Welp, as soon as I wrote about the A’s courting either Jonathan Lucroy or Matt Wieters, they went out and signed Lucroy to a one-year deal. No word on the terms yet.

Lucroy is a better catcher than Wieters and, in all likelihood, a better option than Bruce Maxwell, so even if, as I suggested below, there’s an element of grievance-avoiding in all of this, it also happens to be a positive baseball move.

4:32 PM: MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that the Oakland Athletics have been in talks to sign free agent catcher Jonathan Lucroy or trade for Washington Nationals’ backstop Matt Wieters.

Lucroy hit a disappointing .265/.345/.371 with six home runs last year for the Rangers and Rockies, and a lot of that line was buoyed by far better numbers at altitude than down in Texas. That relatively poor showing has hampered his ability to find work this offseason but he could make sense on the A’s on a short-term deal during which he could build up some value.

The Nats shopping Wieters likewise makes some sense. He’s coming off his worst year in the bigs, both offensively and defensively, and is set to make $10.5 million on his player option this year.

The A’s currently have Bruce Maxwell at the top of their catching depth chart, but they don’t seem 100% sold on him as the starter. Likewise, the A’s are one of the teams against which the MLBPA has filed a grievance for not spending revenue sharing money on players, so getting either Lucroy or Wieters may be a way of getting the heat off of them.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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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.