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National League

Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks Says Bud Norris ‘Has the Best Intentions for Me’ in Harsh Treatment

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St. Louis Cardinals rookie reliever Jordan Hicks doesn’t believe that veteran Bud Norris is too hard on him, shooting down rumors of the contrary.

“He has the best intentions for me. I think he’s nudging me in the right direction” Hicks said, during an interview with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“That’s the best way to put it. … It’s a collective group doing it. You have to learn 10 times faster in the big leagues. You have to adjust 10 times faster. You have to be mentally stronger than you have ever been before. You have to make all of that happen faster. I have no problem with anybody getting on me. I get that. I have to listen.

“Bud is not bad at all. He’s getting on me because he wants me to be a better player, and I know it’s to make me a better teammate. That can happen.”

The Athletic’s Mark Saxon recently published an article that stated that Norris “mercilessly rides” Hicks, leading the constant discussion on the matter.

“It’s pretty much like the music thing—I’m trying to keep track and not get confused” Hicks said.

“I’m a rookie. I need guys guiding me. [Norris] actually does care about me. I know that. There are times, though, when he or anyone basically says, ‘You should know better.'”

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Miami Marlins

Marlins Release Dan Straily

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The Miami Marlins have released right-hander Dan Straily, according to Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill (h/t MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro).

Straily will be going on release waivers and is he clears, he will his free agency Wednesday afternoon.

Straily, 30, pitched the tune of a 4.20 ERA last season for the Marlins.

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Harper Jumps Ship To NL East Rival Phillies

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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

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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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