BE BRYCE’S BUDDY
This is the critical season where Bryce Harper hits free agency at the end. Although there is a growing possibility he signs an extension, the money and power of him hitting the open market is a major temptation.
Although relationships between players and managers are well-kept secrets in Washington, it is fair to say Harper and Dusty Baker carried a strained one at times. You cannot say Harper forced Baker’s dismissal, but you know heading into this year making Harper happy is important.
No, not suggesting we have switched to the NBA where the stars run teams. Martinez is the boss and everybody has to follow the rules.
However, by giving Martinez a longer deal, the Nats made it clear about Washington’s focus for the near-future. One where everyone hopes Harper remains a strong part of.
Younger than Baker by 15 years, the hope is the two carry more in common and can build a strong relationship. Harper’s buddy Kris Bryant knows Martinez well from their time together with the Chicago Cubs. No question the two compared notes.
How well Harper and Martinez work together goes a long way establishing what the superstar does after 2018. The less we hear about it the better. There are other factors in whatever Harper decides, but a solid working relationship between the two is important.