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:

Report: Yankees, Reds finalizing trade for Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
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Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.

According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.

Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.