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National League

Padres Rookie Christian Villanueva Records Three-Homer Game; Wil Myers Sidelined With Nerve Irritation



The San Diego Padres won their first game of 2018 Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies by a score of 8-4, and rookie third baseman Christian Villanueva stole the show, going 3-3 with three homers and five RBIs.

It was the eighth three-home run game in Padres franchise history.

All three of Villanueva’s blasts were absolute no-doubters. Take a look:

Villanueva, 26, hit .226 (12 for 53) with four homers and 16 RBIs in Spring Training to make the team. A September callup last year, he hit .344/.344/.750 in 32 at-bats with four homers and seven RBIs after making his debut on the 18th.

“I have a lot of dreams, I have a lot of goals, and I think, little by little, I’m starting to reach them,” said Villanueva following his big night.

An eight-year Minor Leaguer, the 5’11” Villanueva appears to be the real deal for San Diego.

In other Padres news, outfielder Wil Myers was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday due to nerve irritation in his right arm.

“It’s pretty uncomfortable to throw, pretty uncomfortable to hit,” said Myers. “So right now, what’s best is to give it a few days to get it back to where it needs to go.

“It’s early in the season. If I can use these days to get this right, get my back right, to finish the last 148 games completely healthy, it’s the right move.”


Harper Jumps Ship To NL East Rival Phillies



OF Bryce Harper now owns the biggest free agent deal in North American pro sports (Yahoo!)

A representative of the Guinness Book of Records had better be present on April 2 when the Philadelphia Phillies come to Washington DC for their first meeting with the Nationals in 2019. Because, when a certain player that will be donning a Phillies jersey that wore a Nationals jersey last season steps to the plate for the first time, the subsequent boo might break the sound barrier.

Bryce Harper was the face of the Washington Nationals from April 28, 2012 until September 30, 2018, his last game with the team. Seeking pastures greener, Harper tested the free agent market all winter long to see whom would shovel out the most. Washington attempted to resign its franchise cornerstone, but a deal could not be reached and Nationals’ owner Mark Lerner announced on February 22 that his team was walking away.

That opened the door for a team the Nationals are very familiar with to officially capitalize. It was reported earlier today that Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies had come to terms on the biggest free agent contract in the history of North American professional sports. The club has not confirmed yet, but the deal is reportedly a 13-year, $330 million blockbuster that includes a no-trade clause and no opt-outs (the latter of which is an extreme rarity in today’s MLB). If true, the 26-year-old Harper will be in a Philadelphia uniform until he’s 40.

Fellow marquee free agent Manny Machado inked a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres on February 19 that was the biggest free agent deal in North American professional sports for all of nine days. Everyone knew that Harper’s deal would exceed it in terms of pay, but not a lot saw it being more in terms of years. Unless he agrees to waive his no-trade agreement, Harper could be a Phillie until he retires. The amount of the deal is interesting seeing as Harper is coming off a year that saw him bat just .249, though he did hit 34 home runs and broke the century mark in RBI for the first time in his career.

Whether intentional or Harper’s part or not, the signing is a pretty big slap in the face to his former club. Philly and Washington have been rivals since the days of the Montreal Expos. And though it may not be tantamount to Babe Ruth going from Boston to New York, it’s one of the biggest examples of stars joining rival teams in sports history. The Nationals won’t be the same team without Harper, who was the centerpiece of what was once a potent offense. The team is trending downward however and the absence of its biggest bat may have the basement calling.

The Phillies, on the other hand, may have become contenders as a result of gaining such a big star. Gabe Kapler’s team turned many heads in 2018 and wound up missing the playoffs by a far slimmer margin than was ever expected. Giving a young team on the rise a jolt in the form of one of the game’s biggest names could pay handsomely in a hurry. Harper has been on-and-off in his career and has struggled a lot with injuries, but the Phillies are obviously confident that a change of scenery will do the outfielder good.

Is the signing wise? Did Philadelphia overpay for a star who has struggled with consistency? Find me on Twitter at @Flat_Manigen74 and let me know.

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National League

Phillies, Bryce Harper Agree to 13-Year, $330 Million Deal



The Philadelphia Phillies seem to have finally gotten their big superstar this offseason, and at a historically hefty price to boot.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Harper will sign a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies after a months-long courtship this offseason.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Harper’s deal with the Phillies will not include any opt outs, adding that Harper “didn’t want one.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Harper’s deal will include $20 million as a signing bonus with no deferred money.

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Colorado Rockies

Rockies Sign Bud Black to Contract Extension



The Colorado Rockies have announced that they have agreed to terms with manager Bud Black on a three-year contract extension that will run through the 2022 season, according to the Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders.

Black, 61, has enjoyed success during his first two seasons at the helm in Colorado, posting a 178-147 record and leading the Rockies to a pair of postseason appearances with Wild Card berths, finishing third in National League Manager of the Year voting in each of his two seasons.

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