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Mike Rizzo wants anonymous Bryce Harper critic to 'put your name on it'

Mike Rizzo wants anonymous Bryce Harper critic to 'put your name on it'

Mike Rizzo is salty.

He said it himself.

On Monday, an article was released by Robert Murray of FRS Baseball sharing several text messages from a top National League executive — who he kept anonymous- strongly proclaiming that Bryce Harper is overrated.

The text messages were as followed:

He’s simply overrated. The good ain’t worth the bad. He’s a losing player. Cares about himself more than the team. If I was in charge and had money, my team would not pursue him. We would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players.

Then a follow-up text message.

He’s a losing player. I would not sign him. I would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players.

But wait, there's more.

If he gets more than 10-years, $300 million, I’d be surprised. I would not give him 10 years period and certainly not at that AAV. He’s just not worth it. He’s a selfish, losing player.

Oh. 

Those are some harsh words for a guy who is leading the National League in home runs with 19. 

As you would expect, word got back to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, and in return, he had some harsh words of his own.

"It pisses me off and I'm not gonna stand idly by and let these clowns make these disparaging remarks about a player they obviously don't know or they wouldn't have made the remarks," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's the Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"You calling Bryce Harper a loser when he's got the resume of one of the great players of all time at age 25, it shows your lack of knowledge of the subject matter. And also how cowardly are you to hide behind some anonymous quote? So yeah, I was salty." 

Salty enough that if Rizzo knew who this anonymous executive was, he would be receiving a phone call from Nats Park. 

"I would call him and I'd ask him what their situation is," Rizzo said. 

"What was the basis of the comments? Hey, everyone has their opinions. Bryce is a very polarizing Major League player. Your opinions are fine. I've got no problem with that [but] put your name on it and we have no problem with it. There's no issues." 

Rizzo is going to stand up for the face of the Nats organization, but in return, he would like the NL executive to stand strong behind his own claims. 

"Those comments were harsh," Rizzo said.

"They were totally inaccurate and [had] no basis to them or anything like that. Those were infuriating comments and to then hide behind [them] talking real, real tough and all that stuff, and then [to say] by the way 'this is off the record, don't use my name.' I mean, come on man." 

Calling Harper a "selfish, losing player" when he's a five-time All-Star, won NL Rookie of the Year in 2012, won the Silver Slugger Award, the NL Hank Aaron Award and lead the NL in home runs all in 2015 certainly comes without merit. 

"You better have your facts together when you say those kind of comments," Rizzo said.

You've been warned. 

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Nationals set to bring back Matt Adams

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Nationals set to bring back Matt Adams

The Nationals just checked another box.

They have reached an agreement to bring back first baseman Matt Adams, pending a physical, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed.

The deal is for one year with a mutual option in 2020.

Adams flourished last season with the Nationals when he delivered an .842 OPS with an 118 OPS-plus in 306 at-bats as a part-time player. He was crucial since Ryan Zimmerman spent the middle of the season on the disabled list.

The Nationals later flipped Adams to the St. Louis Cardinals for “cash considerations”, which made him little more than a waiver claim for St. Louis. The Nationals just saved the remainder he was owed on his contract following the Aug. 21 transaction.

Adams, a quiet professional, fit well in the clubhouse. One on-field tear earned him a T-shirt homage to his nickname: “Big City doing Big City things” that several of his teammates wore pregame.

His role will be the same as last season: insurance for Zimmerman, as well as a power left-handed bat off the bench who will receive the occasional start if Zimmerman is healthy.

Adams’ return also enables the Nationals to shop for a true second baseman as opposed to a hybrid player like Marwin Gonzalez. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has continually moved the needle from standing pat to hunting for a starting second baseman. For now, a platoon of Wilmer Difo and Howie Kendrick is in place.

The Nationals' largest gap remains in the rotation following the trade of Tanner Roark. They need to find 180 innings in a thin free agent pitching market to replace Roark’s production from the last three seasons.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported the agreement with Adams.

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Tanner Roark is out, who could be in?

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Tanner Roark is out, who could be in?

LAS VEGAS -- Let’s strip the name and take a blank taste test. Wednesday, the Nationals sent an average of 197 innings out the door. That’s 591 outs. It’s not something to shrug off.

Trading Tanner Roark for a reliever, a minor-league one at that, extracts a path to almost 600 outs. The Nationals need to find a new one. Choices to do so aren’t very enticing.

They are back in the starting pitching market because of Roark’s regression the last two seasons coupling with an increase in pay. He’s expected to earn around $10 million out of salary arbitration. The Nationals are gambling they can find equal effectiveness through another starter -- or two.

There’s money to allocate now. It’s not much for the remaining upper tier of free agents. It’s sufficient to bring in someone on a one- or two-year deal and perhaps apply to a more versatile bench piece than a straight backup at first base.

Washington made Patrick Corbin the highest-paid pitcher this offseason. He was priority one. In a vacuum, he may not be worth six years and $140 million. But not all players carry the same value with every franchise. The Nationals had a clear need for another potent starter, and preferably a left-handed one at that. They received the combination with Corbin.

The challenge for the Nationals is handling this market after Charlie Morton and Lance Lynn complicated it. Morton signed a two-year, $30 million deal with Tampa Bay. Lynn received a three-year, $30 million contract from the Texas Rangers. If the Nationals didn’t want to pay Roark $10 million, they surely don’t want to pay another pitcher something near what Morton and Lynn received, even if it allows more control. Roark was entering the last year of his contract.

Dallas Keuchel remains atop the available starters. By WAR, the next-best available pitcher is 34-year-old Anibal Sanchez. He put together what appears to be an outlier season in 2018 following three consecutive years of significant regression. Sanchez’s ERA-plus went 80, 73, 70 before spiking to 143 last season, the third-best mark of his 13-year career. Sanchez has also averaged just 138 innings pitched on average the last four years. That’s a lot of outs between the workload Roark handled and Sanchez has as he heads into his age-35 season.

Next on the list by WAR? Gio Gonzalez. Moving on.

After that? Not much inspiration. Left-hander Wade Miley pitched well in just 16 starts last season. He has a carer 4.26 ERA. Miley has not put together a strong full season since 2013.

Matt Harvey? Trevor Cahill? Clay Buchholz?

Brett Anderson? James Shields? Jason Hammel?

These are not exactly places to hang your hat.

However, the Nationals have little choice. Their solution to replace Roark’s outs will come from outside the organization. Depth at Triple-A Fresno is negligible. Options in Double-A to help the rotation now are non-existent.

They have one intriguing pitcher lurking: Henderson Alvarez. The Nationals signed him to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

“Chance to make the team, if not, to pitch in Triple A for us,” Mike Rizzo said of his outlook on Alvarez.

Alvarez threw a no-hitter in 2013. He was an All-Star in 2014. Shoulder surgery was followed by shoulder discomfort, then another shoulder surgery. Alvarez didn’t pitch in 2016. He started three games for Philadelphia in 2017. He then pitched in the Mexican League in 2018, where he finished with 4.60 ERA in nine starts. The wildest of wild cards here.

Washington has also kept an eye on Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, who is available through posting system.

Somewhere, they need to find another 180 innings.

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