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Daniel Murphy still doesn’t get it

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Back in 2015, Daniel Murphy, then with the Mets, got into some hot water when he decided that it was his job to tell the world that he “disagreed” with Major League Vice President Billy Bean’s “lifestyle.” Meaning, of course, with Bean’s homosexuality. He added  “I don’t think the fact that someone is a homosexual should completely shut the door on investing in them in a relational aspect.”

How generous.

Bean, at the time baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion, took an extraordinarily diplomatic tack with Murphy and, over the years, it has been reported that they have developed a friendship. Which is fine as far as Bean goes, but Murphy never apologized for his comments and said he would no longer speak about his “religious beliefs,” choosing instead to “stick to baseball.” In light of that, LGBTQ baseball fans have, quite understandably, been cool to Murphy, who seems to quite clearly be less than accepting of homosexuality, to put it lightly.

While Mets and, subsequently, Nationals fans either made their peace — or didn’t — with Murphy, his trade to the Cubs the other day puts him in another team’s uniform and subjects him to another team’s fan base. Today Murphy met the Cubs press for the first time and, predictably, he was asked about all of that. He did not have anything approaching a satisfying answer.

He started out well enough. As you can see in the video below, he seemed pretty eager to talk about his relationship with Billy Bean, with his comments seeming pretty well-workshopped and, I suspect, crafted, by some interaction with MLB’s p.r. professionals (the same goes for what he said just before those comments when he spoke generically about Bean and MLB policy).

When he was asked specifically about gay Cubs fans, however — when he was asked if he had a message for gay Cubs fans who may be wary of rooting for him for the Cubs since they acquired him — he said “oh dear,” and simply said he hoped they rooted for the Cubs:

 

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the alpha and omega of Murphy’s consideration of his 2015 comments has been to say, more or less, that he likes Billy Bean and that Billy Bean likes him, to parrot some broad buzzwords about “outreach” and “inclusion” and, hey, isn’t that good enough? It does not seem to have occurred to him that his comments alienated and hurt gay baseball fans or that he has any obligation to consider their feelings whatsoever.

Which, of course, he does not. No one can make him care and no one can make him apologize for giving voice to bigoted views about homosexuality. And no one, now, can make him make the slightest effort to acknowledge that there are gay Cubs fans who may be wary of him or say even the most cursory thing to give them the slightest bit of comfort that he’s grown a bit in the past three years. It’s a free country, as we are so often reminded.

By the same token, there is nothing making anyone root for Daniel Murphy or the Chicago Cubs if this is the face he and they want to present to their fans. And, from where I’m sitting, I can’t think of a single reason to do so. It’s a free country for everyone, after all.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.