A-Rod rips Harper on hustle, bad reputation

Brian Tinsman
July 17, 2018 - 11:10 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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It's hot take season, which preceeds MLB's hot stove season by about six months.

On Monday (before Bryce Harper went on to win the Home Run Derby), Alex Rodriguez unloaded about him to Colin Cowherd. It turns out, it's not just Harper's bad batting average; it's about his perceived bad attitude:

"Ironically, it's been a really tough first half for Bryce Harper (for) two reasons," Rodriguez said. "You mentioned the .214 batting average but I can get over that because he's a world-class athlete. 

"But he's taken an enormous, enormous hit within the game, Colin, with his reputation. What I mean by that is he is pissing off so many people with not running to first base. And they keep showing these replays over and over. And yes, he's done it like that for eight years, and is that the Washington Nationals' fault as much as his?

"Perhaps, but here's the problem and I've been here twice: when people are talking about 300, 400, 500 million dollars for one player and you're not running down to first base, everything is highlighted on a year like this year.

"So, that's something to watch. He's dug himself a big hole statistically and reputationally, but it will be very interesting to see what happens to Bryce Harper in the second half."

Rumors are going to arise about almost any player heading into a big negotiation, and analyists like Rodriguez should be aware of the motives for any source.

Positive rumors about the player are frequently leaked by player agents. Negative rumors get a little trickier to place.

It's possible that the source has a vendetta against Harper (perhaps a jilted agent or other team's scout), but it's entirely plausible that a report like this comes from a source that really likes Harper.

There is no reason to believe that this rumor was leaked from the Nats, but they stand to benefit from rumors that suppress his value. By getting other teams to think twice about joining the Harper sweepstakes, the Nats could conceivably gain in their efforts to retain him.

Either way, the hot take season is in full swing, and Harper's second half will be at least as stressful as his first half. With any luck, he can turn everything around in the second half and prove the unnamed sources wrong.

 

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