National League exec on Bryce Harper: ‘He’s simply overrated…he’s a losing player’

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Robert Murray of FRS wrote yesterday that he had been in contact with an anonymous National League executive, talking about Bryce Harper, and Murray’s contact had some pretty strong words about the upcoming free agent outfielder. These sentiments were communicated to Murray via text message:

“He’s simply overrated. The good ain’t worth the bad . . . Cares about himself more than the team. If I was in charge and had money, my team would not pursue him . . . If he gets more than 10-years, $300 million, I’d be surprised. I would not give him 10 years period and certainly not at that AAV. He’s just not worth it. He’s a selfish, losing player.”

Worth noting the “if I was in charge” line, which suggests to me that Murray was not talking to a general manager or ultimate decision maker, so take that all for what it’s worth insofar as it impacts Harper’s free agency prospects.

That aside, I’ll grant that Harper is (a) having a really weird year, good as far as power and patience goes, but not up to his MVP-level potential, particularly in the contact department (he’s batting .228). I’ll also grant that, though his injuries have been somewhat freakish as opposed to predictable and chronic, he has had some issues staying on the field over the course of his career, and that will at least be on the minds of front office folks. The stuff about him being a “losing player” and “selfish,” however, is bizarre.

I’d be curious as to how that executive defines “losing player” and what he means by Harper being “selfish.” The former is not born out in any way I can tell based on how he and his team has performed over the past several years. The latter seems like warmed-over, knee-jerk stuff people were saying about Harper when he was 17. When was the last time you heard about Harper being some sort of distraction or problem in the Nats clubhouse? What incidents, of any kind, has he been involved in that are notable or unusual? None that I can tell.

Given Harper’s odd year so far and given the way the free agent market has gone the past couple of years, I will not be at all surprised if Harper falls short of some of the crazy-high contracts people have predicted he’ll sign, but I have a really hard time believing that the sentiment of Murray’s text correspondent is prevalent in Major League Baseball.

Here’s Dan Patrick talking about that some more earlier today:

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.