November 7, 2018 / 1:32 AM / 10 days ago

MLB notebook: Harper rejected Nationals’ offer

On the last day of the 2018 season, star outfielder Bryce Harper turned down a long-term “aggressive offer” by the Washington Nationals, according to the Washington Post.

Sep 26, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) prepares to bat against the Miami Marlins in the first inning in what may be his last game in Washington as a National at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Post reported on Tuesday that the offer didn’t include any opt-outs and was less than the $400 million some have speculated Harper would receive after he and his agent Scott Boras held discussions throughout September.

Since Harper was under contract with the Nationals at the time, they had exclusive rights to negotiate with him. MLB teams had five days to negotiate with their own free agents following the end of the World Series.

“We took advantage of our exclusivity late in the season ... couldn’t reach a deal,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Tuesday at the GM meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.

—The New York Yankees and CC Sabathia are giving it at least one more go-round, reportedly agreeing on a one-year, $8 million deal for 2019.

The deal, according to MLB.com, is pending the completion of a physical.

According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Yankees are hoping that the left-hander “can give another solid 150IP and, at worst, perhaps tag-team a season with Jordan Montgomery who should be able to return from Tommy John surgery around midseason.”

—The Houston Astros announced that starting right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. underwent Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow Tuesday and will miss all of the 2019 season. According to the Astros, McCullers is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2020 season.

The news came less than 24 hours after Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told the Houston Chronicle that McCullers might need elbow surgery.

What’s more, with Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton exploring free agency, the Astros’ strong starting rotation is now facing serious questions this offseason. During his interview with the Chronicle, Luhnow said his “goal is going to be looking at all the different alternatives” to address possible holes in the rotation, alluding to free agency and trades.

—Tim Tebow could be on the roster of the New York Mets at some point in 2019.

The Mets’ recently hired general manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, said it’s a possibility he’ll play at Citi Field, though he likely will start the season in Triple-A, according to MLB Network.

Tebow, the former NFL quarterback turned network college football analyst/baseball player, played for the Mets’ Double-A team, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, last season. In 84 games, he hit .273 with six home runs and 14 doubles. He struck out 103 times in 298 plate appearances.

—The San Francisco Giants have offered Farhan Zaidi — the general manager of the rival Los Angeles Dodgers — their president of baseball operations job, MLB.com’ Jon Paul Morosi reported.

His decision is expected by Wednesday afternoon.

The Giants are seeking a replacement for general manager Bobby Evans, whom the Giants said in September would be assigned to a different job with the club. At the time of that announcement, team officials said they were looking to take a more analytical approach to their baseball operations.

—The Dodgers are close to a contract extension with manager Dave Roberts, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The announcement could come as early as Wednesday, MLB.com reported.

The Dodgers hold a club option on Roberts for 2019 and previously discussed an extension but decided to delay further talks.

—The Seattle Mariners announced that Paul Davis was named pitching coach.

Previously, Davis spent five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals where he was manager of pitching analytics in 2018. In 2016 and 2017, he served as assistant pitching coordinator for St. Louis’ minor league system and was the rehab pitching coach in 2015.

Davis started his pro coaching career in 2013 as the pitching coach with the Cardinals’ advanced rookie team. In 2014, he also served as the coordinator of pitching analytics.

—Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon will enter the 2019 season, the final year of a five-year deal, without a contract extension.

Hoping to beat back in-season distractions, Cubs team president Theo Epstein informed Maddon of the team’s decision and opted to air the news in November rather than discuss with media during the season.

“We’re really focused on digging in and finding ways at getting the absolute most out of 2019,” Epstein said Monday night at the MLB general manager meetings. “Joe understood. The only concern expressed is it could be a bit of a distraction at some point.”

—The Cincinnati Reds named Turner Ward as their new hitting coach.

Ward, 53, held the same position with the Dodgers for the past three seasons. Under Turner’s watch, the Dodgers led the National League in home runs and increased their run production each season.

—Field Level Media

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