Position players have barely reported to their various MLB training camps, and there’s already baseball drama ‘a-brewing.
On Monday, Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper spent some time talking to reporters. Many topics were covered, including his feeling on the Miami Marlins and their many offseason moves. And as Harper told the Miami Herald, he was just as puzzled as most fans were.
“I was very shocked that they were going to let go of [Christian] Yelich, [Marcell] Ozuna and Stanton because that’s one of the best outfields in the game,” Harper said. “You can’t say enough about what Stanton did last year, what Ozuna did last year, and what Yelich has done the last couple years.”
“I thought they were a great team. I thought they just had to add a couple more pitchers and they would’ve been pretty dang good.”
Harper’s comments made their way to Marlins manager Don Mattingly, and he wasn’t thrilled. He essentially told Bryce Harper to mind his own business and stay out of the Marlins’ affairs.
“It’s not really his place to comment on us,” Mattingly said. “He doesn’t really know what goes on over here. He may think he does, but he doesn’t know what’s going on over here, what the discussions are. He doesn’t know our players that we know.”
Mattingly definitely has a right to be defensive. People have been crapping on the Marlins and their moves over the entire offseason, and he’s probably really tired of it. And then to hear the same thing he’s heard a thousand times from one of MLB’s best players, just as his transformed team is gathering together for the very first time? It has to be more than frustrating.
On the other hand, Harper is one of the best players in baseball and absolutely knows what he’s talking about. He may not know, as Mattingly said “what going on over here” in Miami, but he knows what good baseball players look like. Plus, what Harper said about the Marlins just needing a few pitchers isn’t something he randomly made up. It’s an opinion that’s held by not only a number of baseball writers, but by former Marlin Giancarlo Stanton himself.
The Marlins clearly didn’t agree that they just needed a few more pieces to compete, since they tore the entire team down and have embarked on a lengthy rebuild. But Harper has as much standing as anyone to talk about what could have been. He has more, in fact, since he’s an outfielder on a team that plays the Marlins 19 times a year. Baseball is Harper’s business, and it’s a little ridiculous that another baseball lifer would tell him to stop talking about it.
Maybe Mattingly didn’t like that it was Harper saying those things, and saying them so publicly. But either way, Mattingly is going to have to get used to it. This Marlins blew up their team in a very controversial fashion during the offseason. It’s still on everyone’s minds, especially since teams are getting together to train for the first time since October. This definitely won’t be the last time a baseball player will talk about it into a microphone.
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