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Breaking down the surprise new team that jumped into the discussion on Bryce Harper's future

Breaking down the surprise new team that jumped into the discussion on Bryce Harper's future

A new day, a new what-if for Bryce Harper.

Multiple reports stated Thursday he will be meeting with the San Diego Padres on Thursday night in his hometown of Las Vegas. Yes, the Padres, an organization that has averaged 72 wins annually since Harper arrived in the major leagues and has five playoff appearances to its credit during a 50-year existence.

Everyone would be right to consider living in San Diego. But why would Harper?

Location and lifestyle certainly fit. Access to his hometown would be readily available in a day. As previously mentioned, San Diego is San Diego.

Plus, the Padres have 10 prospects in MLB Pipeline’s latest top 100 list. That’s the most in the major leagues.

Which also means San Diego -- with or without Harper -- is not close to winning yet. Its top prospect, Fernando Tatis Jr., should be up this season. Others, like right-handed pitcher Chris Paddack or left-hander Logan Allen, also have a chance to be in the majors on Opening Day. That’s due in part to the Padres’ desperate need for more talent following a 66-win, last-place finish in 2018, their worst season since 2008, and the young players’ skill level.

The Padres also toil in the National League West, which is home to the two-time defending National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Where San Diego lags is a tradition -- something believed to be sought by Harper as a piece of the total package -- a significant chance at a World Series title in his prime, and overall panache in the sports landscape for one of the game’s most marketable stars.

This meeting could also well be an attempt by Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, to stir a stagnant market. Spilling news about a new meeting Jan. 31 can reboot what had become a lagging, somewhat exhausted, topic. Boras can use this new wrinkle to strike back at any team that believed it could just wait to drive down cost. This is status quo for him. The question is how serious the Padres are or Harper would ever be about them.

As this moves forward, it’s also fitting to recall how Boras managed the Alex Rodriguez negotiations in 2000. Texas outbid everyone, some believe by twice as much, when gifting Rodriguez a record $252 million contract. Boras will always hunt a modern repeat.

Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks. Harper is linked -- in varying degrees -- to the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Nationals and now Padres. However, he remains unemployed and is likely to stay that way well after this conversation.

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DC bar to brew special beer to celebrate Nationals' World Series appearance

DC bar to brew special beer to celebrate Nationals' World Series appearance

Plenty of beer was consumed Tuesday night when the Nationals advanced to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Before Game 1 of the World Series next Tuesday, fans will be able to enjoy a new, special beer. Bluejacket, a bar near Nationals Park, is brewing a double IPA, aptly named 86 Years to commemorate the last time a Washington MLB team went to the World Series.

The beer is "a hazy double IPA double dry-hopped with Galaxy – it's a juicy fruit bomb of a brew that shows intense notes of passionfruit, peach and orange," per a release from the restaurant group.

The beer will be available on draft before Game 1 on Tuesday and available in cans by Game 3 when the series returns to the nation's capital. 

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Davey Martinez tells great story of Gerardo Parra's rise as 'Baby Shark'

Davey Martinez tells great story of Gerardo Parra's rise as 'Baby Shark'

WASHINGTON -- As the great ice skater Chazz Michael Michaels once said, "it gets the people going."

Nationals manager Davey Martinez was enjoying the evening with his team up 7-4 in Game 4 of the NLCS on Tuesday, just nine outs away from a World Series berth, when he felt something was missing. This game needed some juice.

The crowd had gone through a frontload of emotions with seven runs in the first inning and they were in the middle of a long wait until Clinchmas. So, Martinez peered down the dugout and called on the life of the Nationals' party, Gerardo Parra.

That gave the 43,976 fans in attendance what they really came to see and hear. They wanted their favorite band to play their biggest hit; 'Baby Shark.'

"I only put him in the game today to get the fans going again," Martinez joked.

Parra, though, came through with a single to back it all up. He has become a fan favorite on the 2019 Nationals and, for the most part, his production on the field has justified the hype.

Parra's greatest asset for the Nationals, however, is not his game. It is his presence in the clubhouse as the odd-ball who zips to his locker every day on a scooter, blows a party whistle after wins and wears red-tinted sunglasses in the dugout.

He's weird, but in a good way. And he is undeniably a key ingredient to a Nats team that is now further than any D.C. baseball club has been in 86 years.

As he sat at the podium soaked in various forms of celebratory alcohol on Tuesday night, Martinez told a detailed story about Parra earlier in the season, how a conversation between the two helped Parra realize exactly what his role for the Nationals needed to be.

"There was a point in time where he was struggling real bad. He was like 2-for-30, and it was kind of -- everything was kind of down a little bit. I didn't feel that energy, and I brought him in the office, and I said, 'hey, what's going on?' And he goes, 'oh, you know, I'm not hitting. I'm not helping the team.' I go, 'no, no, no.' I said, 'I don't care if you're 2-for-100, your job is to bring the energy every single day. That's who you are.' I said, 'you play that music loud. You pump up the guys.' I said, 'you're the guy that brings that energy every day,' and he just looked at me, and he goes, 'you're right.' He said, 'I'm not doing my job.' I said, 'well, go do your job'," Martinez recalled.

"Needless to say, after that, he started hitting again, and he came back to my office a few days later, and he goes, 'hey, thank you. I didn't realize that I need to have fun too, not worry about' -- I said, 'yeah, hey, bring it every day.'"

Parra has been the symbol of the Nationals' clubhouse chemistry this season which has been hailed as a strength. Major League Baseball is an everyday grind of 162 games and Parra has helped everyone on the team remember on a daily basis that it is just a game.

Martinez and the Nationals believe that approach overall is a big reason why they were able to overcome a 19-31 record to make the playoffs and now the World Series. Parra, though it may not show up in wins above replacement, has been invaluable.

"What he's done in that clubhouse has really changed the way these guys go about their business. I mean, it was business. There wasn't a whole lot of -- he made it fun for this team," Martinez said.

"Those guys up there, every one of his teammates love him, love him. All the fans love him. He's just that guy. He's the Parra Shark."

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