WASHINGTON — Let’s face it: after the initial rush of the return of baseball, Spring Training gets old really fast. So, Bryce Harper is here to help spice things up.
While he has said that he will not be speculating on his contract situation this season, he is happy to throw shade on the Miami Marlins’
fire sale 3.0 offseason. He told the media on Monday:
“I was very shocked that they were going to let go of [outfielders Christian] Yelich, [Marcell] Ozuna and [Giancarlo] 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.”
That’s a lot of praise for a team that ended the season eight games under .500 and 20 games back of the cruising Nationals. But then, it was not taken as praise by Marlins manager Don Mattingly, who is probably dealing with his own sensitive thoughts on the matter.
“Take care of your business and we’ll take care of ours,” Mattingly told reporters when asked about his reaction to Harper.
“It’s not really his place to comment on us. 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.”
That may be true, but it is irrelevant to Harper’s comments. Harper seemed to be saying that he didn’t think the Marlins were far off from contention, and it doesn’t take “knowing the players” to observe that.
The Marlins were competitive last year with a talented team. They traded away the best talent and Harper sounds almost disappointed by that. If that type of commentary is out of line and “not really his place,” then Mattingly will love the hollow sound of an empty home stadium this season.