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Nationals owner seems to close door on Bryce Harper coming back

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Today Patrick Corbin was officially introduced as the newest member of the Washington Nationals. The bigger news, I think, was what the Nats owner, Mark Lerner, said about a former National, Bryce Harper. Specifically, he seemed to pretty clearly be saying that the Nats are unwilling to bring him back, at least unless no one else is bidding for him.

From 106.7 The Fan FM in Washington, quoting Lerner, who was asked if they would go beyond the offer they reportedly made to him late in the season:

“Well, when we met with them and we gave them the offer, we told them, ‘This is the best we can do.’ . . . If he chooses to go some place else, I totally understand it, but we put one heck of an offer out there . . . If he comes back [to negotiate with Washington], it’s a strong possibility that we won’t be able to make it work. But I really don’t expect him to come back at this point. I think they’ve decided to move on.”

Given that there is no salary cap, that the Nats do not publicly state what their actual budget and revenues and stuff are and given that the Lerners are richer than all get-out, it’s probably worth asking why he said they won’t “be able” to make it work as opposed to saying he merely wouldn’t be willing to make it work, but such is the way of the world in Major League Baseball.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.