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Bryce Harper on why he turned down the Nationals' $300 million contract offer

Bryce Harper on why he turned down the Nationals' $300 million contract offer

One thing Nationals fans will never get used to is seeing Bryce Harper in a Phillies uniform. It's still red, but it's certainly not Nationals red.

The former Nats superstar signed the biggest contract in professional sports history: 13-years, $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies. No opt-outs. 

Soon after Bryce's mega-deal contract was signed, there were reports that $100 million of that $300 million offer from Washington was deferred money, meaning Harper wouldn't see it until he turned 65 years-old. He spoke with ESPN about why he turned it down.

"I grew up in front of those fans and that city, and I enjoyed every minute of it," Harper said to ESPN. "But I didn't know if I fit into their plans. About $100 million of that contract was deferred 'til I was 65 years old." He stops and turns his palms to the sky in disbelief. Few people can turn down a $100 million retirement fund; Bryce is one. "It's like, 'What does that do for me? What does that do for my family?'

The attraction to signing a 13-year long contract is that Harper will be 39-years-old when the contract is up. He'll never have to go through the circus of free-agency and whispers of "Who's Harper meeting with now?" ever again. Again, from ESPN:

"During the seven years I spent in DC, all everybody talked about was me going somewhere else," Harper told The Magazine in his first extensive interview since signing with the Phillies. "From the day I signed, it was: 'He's going to the Yankees'; 'He's going to the Dodgers'; 'He's going to the Cubs.' I didn't want to hear that. I was in that city, and I wanted to be in that city. So now I'm just so happy that I'm able to sit here right now and say I can play until I'm 39 years old and I don't have someone sitting around the corner saying, 'He's going to go here next.'"

The Nationals welcome* Harper and the Phillies to town April 2nd.

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New York governor Andrew Cuomo says pro teams can resume training

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USA Today Sports Images

New York governor Andrew Cuomo says pro teams can resume training

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says teams in his state can return to their facilities for training after a pause of more than two months.

"Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps," the Democratic governor said during a news conference Sunday.

The New York City area was one of the hardest-hit parts of the U.S. by the coronavirus pandemic, but COVID-19 deaths and new infections in the state have been trending downward.

Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL are discussing the resumption of their seasons with their players' unions.

"I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena -- do it! Do it!" Cuomo said. "Work out the economics, if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports. To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do. It's a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible. And we'll work with them to make sure that can happen."

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The state of MLB last May 24, when the Nationals hit rock bottom

The state of MLB last May 24, when the Nationals hit rock bottom

May 24 is a date that will forever hold significance in Washington, D.C. Despite entering that day last season with a 19-31 record, the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 12-10 to begin their improbable turnaround before claiming their first World Series title in franchise history.

And yet on that very day, no one knew it would be the start of something historic. Friday, May 24, 2019, was just an ordinary day with a full slate of baseball games being played. Players were signed, home runs were hit and nothing seemed to be too much out of the ordinary.

Knowing that things were far from ordinary that day, let’s take a look back at the state of baseball on May 24.

Standings

NL East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies (29-21)
  2. Atlanta Braves (28-23) / 1.5 GB
  3. New York Mets (24-25) / 4.5 GB
  4. Washington Nationals (19-31) / 10 GB
  5. Miami Marlins (16-31) / 11.5 GB

NL Central

  1. Chicago Cubs (29-19)
  2. Milwaukee Brewers (29-22) / 1.5 GB
  3. Pittsburgh Pirates (25-22) / 3.5 GB
  4. St. Louis Cardinals (25-24) / 4.5 GB
  5. Cincinnati Reds (22-27) / 7.5 GB

NL West

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers (32-18)
  2. San Diego Padres (26-24) / 6 GB
  3. Arizona Diamondbacks (25-25) / 7 GB
  4. Colorado Rockies (22-26) / 9 GB
  5. San Francisco Giants (21-28) / 10.5 GB

AL East

  1. New York Yankees (32-17)
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (29-18) / 2 GB
  3. Boston Red Sox (27-23) / 5.5 GB
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (20-30) / 12.5 GB
  5. Baltimore Orioles (15-35) / 17.5 GB

AL Central

  1. Minnesota Twins (33-16)
  2. Cleveland Indians (25-24) / 8 GB
  3. Chicago White Sox (23-26) / 10 GB
  4. Detroit Tigers (18-30) / 14.5 GB
  5. Kansas City Royals (17-32) / 16 GB

AL West

  1. Houston Astros (33-18)
  2. Texas Rangers (24-23) / 7 GB
  3. Oakland A’s (26-25) / 7 GB
  4. Los Angeles Angels (22-27) / 10 GB
  5. Seattle Mariners (23-29) / 10.5 GB

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Major headlines

- The Blue Jays called up prospect Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, to make his MLB debut. Cavan joined Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the lineup to give Toronto the distinction of being the first team in MLB history to start a pair of teammates that were both sons of Hall of Famers.

- Giants center fielder Steven Duggar made the web gem of the day by securing a diving catch in the sixth inning of a game against the Diamondbacks despite his team trailing 11-2.

- Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich became the first player to reach 20 home runs. By doing so in just his 45th game of the season, he broke Prince Fielder’s team record set in 2007 for the fewest number of games needed to reach 20 homers. Yelich was the fastest of any player since Josh Hamilton did it in 44 games for the Rangers in 2012.

- Speaking of home runs, the Twins joined the 1999 Mariners to become only the second team in MLB history to hit at least 100 homers in their first 50 games. Minnesota would go on to lead the league in homers with 307, setting a new record for most home runs hit in a season

- The Mets gambled on a couple of veterans trying to dip into the fountain of youth, signing Matt Kemp and Ervin Santana to minor-league deals. Neither player would go on to suit up for New York in 2019.

- A’s designated hitter Khris Davis was placed on the 10-Day Injured List with a left hip/oblique contusion. Davis hurt his hip May 5 by running into a railing at PNC Park. He tried playing on it for a few weeks but ultimately needed some time off before he could play at full strength.

- It was Bartolo Colon’s birthday and he celebrated with one of the most elaborate baseball cakes that’s ever been made.

Where They Were: Nationals

Here is a list of what every player who appeared in a game for the Nationals last season was doing on May 24.

RP Austin Adams – After being traded to the Mariners on May 5, he was in Oakland but didn’t appear in the game for Seattle.

1B/OF Matt Adams – Batting fifth and playing first base, he went 2-for-5 with a home run in the Nationals’ 12-10 comeback win over the Marlins in D.C.

RP Kyle Barraclough – Despite an adventurous eighth inning, he was the pitcher of record for the Nationals in their win over the Marlins.

C Tres Barrera – He went 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, who went on to beat the Reading Fightin Phils at home 11-2.

RP Aaron Barrett – He was with AA-Harrisburg but didn’t appear in its game against Reading.

RP Michael Blazek – Playing for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in relief before the team beat the Tacoma Rainiers on the road 9-6.

RP James Bourque – After being called up to the majors for the first time only a day prior, he was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

INF Asdrúbal Cabrera – Playing for the Rangers, Cabrera went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI as Texas beat the Angels in Anaheim 4-3.

SP Patrick Corbin – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

INF Wilmer Difo – Sent down from the majors less than a week prior, he went 1-for-5 for AAA-Fresno in Tacoma.

RP Sean Doolittle – He allowed three hits, including a leadoff home run to Jorge Alfaro, but still managed to secure his ninth save of the season in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

2B Brian Dozier – Batting sixth and playing second base, he went 0-for-3 with two walks and a run scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RF Adam Eaton – Batting second and playing right field, he went 1-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Roenis Elías – Playing for the Mariners, he was in Oakland but didn’t appear in the game for Seattle.

SP Erick Fedde – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

C Yan Gomes – Batting eighth and playing catcher, he went 1-for-4 with a single and reached on an error in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Matt Grace – He pitched around a two-out walk to toss a clean sixth inning in relief for the Nationals in their win over Miami.

RP Javy Guerra – After being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays four days prior, he was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

SP Jeremy Hellickson – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a shoulder strain that ultimately ended his season.

RP Daniel Hudson – Playing for the Blue Jays, he was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) in Toronto’s 6-3 loss at home to the Padres.

RP Dan Jennings – He was a free agent after being released by the Nationals on May 22.

INF Howie Kendrick – Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter in the sixth, he went 0-for-1 with a strikeout in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

SS Carter Kieboom – He was in Tacoma but didn’t appear in the game for AAA-Fresno.

SP Kyle McGowin – He started for the Nationals that day, receiving a no-decision after going four innings and allowing five runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in their win over Miami.

RP Justin Miller – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a rotator cuff strain that ultimately ended his season.

1B Jake Noll – Playing for AAA-Fresno, he went 2-3 with a double, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Grizzlies’ win over Tacoma.

OF Gerardo Parra – Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter in the seventh, he grounded into a double play in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Tanner Rainey – Despite allowing the first two batters he faced to reach, he worked a scoreless seventh inning with two strikeouts in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

C Raudy Read – Playing for AAA-Fresno, he went 0-for-5 with an RBI in the Grizzlies’ win over Tacoma.

3B Anthony Rendon – Batting third and playing third base, he went 2-for-4 with a home run, double, walk, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

CF Victor Robles – Batting seventh and playing center field, he went 1-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Fernando Rodney – Playing for the Athletics, he was on the active roster for the team’s home game against the Mariners but didn’t appear in the contest.

RP Trevor Rosenthal – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a viral infection.

SP Joe Ross – He pitched in relief for McGowin, allowing three runs on two hits and a walk in the fifth inning of the Nationals’ win over Miami.

INF Adrian Sanchez – In his first game back with AA-Harrisburg after a stint in the majors, he went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored in the Senators’ win over Reading.

SP Aníbal Sánchez – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a left hamstring strain.

SP Max Scherzer – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

RP Tony Sipp – He gave up a leadoff double to Curtis Granderson in the eighth inning before being pulled for Kyle Barraclough in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

LF Juan Soto – Batting fourth and playing left field, he went 3-for-4 with a home run, walk, 3 RBIs and two runs scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

OF Andrew Stevenson – Playing for AAA-Fresno, he went 1-for-4 with a triple, walk, two RBIs and a run scored in the Grizzlies’ win over Tacoma.

SP Stephen Strasburg – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

RP Hunter Strickland – He was on the 60-Day Injured List with a right lat strain.

RP Wander Suero – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

C Kurt Suzuki – He was in Miami but didn’t appear in the game for Washington.

OF Michael Taylor – Coming off the bench as a pinch hitter in the fourth, he hit a double but was stranded at third in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

SS Trea Turner – Batting leadoff and playing shortstop, he went 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored in the Nationals’ win over Miami.

RP Jonny Venters – He was a free agent after being released by the Braves on May 18. (Washington signed him May 29.)

SP Austin Voth – He was in Tacoma but didn’t appear in the game for AAA-Fresno.

RP Austen Williams – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder that ultimately ended his season.

1B Ryan Zimmerman – He was on the 10-Day Injured List with plantar fasciitis.

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