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Nationals manager Matt Williams “pissed” at the thought of demoting scuffling Bryce Harper

Aug 6, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

Nationals manager Matt Williams was asked on Wednesday evening whether there has been any talk of sending struggling outfielder Bryce Harper to Triple-A Syracuse. has the video:

So, yeah … not gonna happen. Harper is hitting .207 with a .616 OPS since July 4 and .249 with a .692 OPS overall, but this isn’t a typical slumping 21-year-old. It’s a 21-year-old with 1,299 career plate appearances in the major leagues and a world of raw talent. He’s going to have to figure it out in Washington, not Syracuse.

  1. whiteknightblackheart - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    I drafted him and Joey Votto. I should have just donated the money to charity.

    • yahmule - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:20 PM

      You donated it to the guy who drafted Puig and Abreu.

    • ironcurtin64 - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      I also drafted both and Will Myers and Joe Mauer. S@$t season.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:15 PM

        I drafted Mauer because w/Yahoo, at least, he had catcher eligibility still. I figured I’d get a catcher who played every day and didn’t wear down. ….

      • boogerhill - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        A glass, wimpasaurus!

    • apkyletexas - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:35 PM

      At least you didn’t pick Bryce for the NL MVP on your national blog before the season. Like Craig.

      • floodoobious - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

        Craig is garbage anyway. You can tell he wrote something after the 1st couple of sentences. He has strong opinions – they just happen to be wrong constantly. I love this site for the rumors and rumbling of transactions, but I can’t stomach this a-clown at all.

    • Reflex - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:38 AM

      I just realized that I am not going to make the playoffs for only the second time in my 12 season keeper league when McCutchen went down. After Goldschmidt. After Zimmerman (twice). After Wieters.

      Its been one of those seasons. You can’t have that many prime guys go down in a 14 team highly competitive league and still stay in the hunt. I have Rendon, Baez, Bogaerts, Yelich and Stanton so my future is still bright, but geez this season is out of reach.

    • mjphoto45 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      Luckily I don’t have him but I do have Trout!

  2. bajamex - Aug 6, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    “Demote him? That’s a clown question, bro!”.

  3. laxer37 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    Maybe his plan to get “as big as a house” in the offseason isn’t exactly the best approach for a baseball player.

  4. irishlad19 - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    There is most likely a physical/medical issue here; he is too naturally talented to slump like that for no reason.

  5. stoutfiles - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:43 PM

    Don’t worry Harper skeptics, Mr. Glass will get hurt again soon enough.

  6. rcali - Aug 6, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    Well, he hasn’t hit his “innings limit” yet so he should be good to go but can’t be too careful right Nats?

  7. teejayss - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    Nats first place, on way to NL east title… and your team is??

  8. nattybroh - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Who the hell does this coach think he is?

  9. philipharmonic - Aug 6, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    when Harper ends up in Yankee pinstripes, one of the reasons will be because of mishandling by first year manager Williams. This is an example. Below is a link to his comments from this morning in which he did not immediately the idea. His waffle has resulted in a self-created quagmire.

    [As an aside: I question the decision to bring in a first time manager for a talented, but young, club. Ausmus and Metheny have done well in their first years, but their teams have /had much more post-season experience than the Nats.]

    “Is it a terrible idea – just a wacky idea – to send him down to Syracuse for a week, just to get him right?” one of the Junkies asked. “Is that just a stupid idea on my part?”

    “I don’t know,” Williams answered. “I don’t think it’s stupid. Generally, if you have young players, that’s what you do. But this guy is a special young player. We all know that. It’s different. I think he works hard every day. He’s the first one in the ballpark, generally, to get his day going. He’s grinding. We’re doing everything we can to get a good feel going in there and help him with his confidence and all that. It’s not easy, by any stretch. But I don’t know if it’s a good idea at this point to do that, because it’s completely different pitching. We all know the big difference between Triple A pitching and big league pitching. It’s probably more of an option to have him feel good here, get it back. We’ve seen him, certainly, good and hitting well. For me, it’s not necessarily that he can’t hit, of course. It is that he’s in some kind of a slump. What we have to do is try to work our way through it and get him out of it as quickly as possible. He grinds every day, you guys. He’s doing everything we can to get out of it, and so are we.”

    • jamnew44 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      Philipharmonic, there wasn’t any waffle there. The national media took the interview and tried to shape in to something else. Williams said it was not generally a stupid idea for most players, however Bryce Harper is different because he is a special young player. We all know what Harper did to minor league pitching when he went down for his rehab assignment. He destroyed it with 3 homers in one game. Bryce needs to work on going to the opposite field on the pitches to the outer half of the plate. Once he does that he will start to get the pitches to the inner half that he can eat up.

      • thenaturalmevs - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        It’s been all season Jamnew44, Phillipharmonic is absolutely right. The initial quote did waffle. It did leave room. And it’s other things too Williams does to Harper. The benching for not hustling. Hitting him 6th. Sitting him after the All Star break against a guy he’s had success against (Hamels). Sitting him other odd days just because he wants to play Scott Hairston. Challenging Harper to be back early when he first got injured and Harper coming back with “I’ll return when I feel ready”. They don’t like eachother. Harper looks completely miserable. This is easy to see if you’ve followed the situation closely. Williams would rather manage a team minus Harper too. This is really going to come to a head.

    • thenaturalmevs - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      I can’t agree more with you… he’s going to NY and he’s going to because Williams is treating him badly and the organization is allowing it. Williams is an asshole and you can see the biggest problem with Harper is he’s miserable.

  10. spg3081 - Aug 6, 2014 at 11:26 PM

    Harmonic – to be fair, Williams has a weekly call in with the Junkies, which is the morning show on the radio station that pays good money to broadcast Nationals games. He’s probably going to avoid saying anything in a way that’ll create tension on future calls.

    I don’t see where he waffled – I’d say his opinion is the same in both instances. He merely said the question wasn’t stupid, whereas he reacted as if the question was stupid in the other instance. In both cases, the message was consistent: Harper won’t be sent to AAA, that he’s the exception where other 21 year old talents would be sent to AAA.

    I do agree as to the question of was Williams the best hire for this team, given the lack of playoff experience & pennant chase experience of all involved. Ausmus or Matheny would have been better choices, however they went with other teams. Was Williams the best option left? We’ll find out.

    If the inexperienced manager is a big reason why these talented Nats teams never capitalize on their potential, then I’d see that being a reason why Harper ends up in New York, not the waffling. Either way, you were fairly spot on with that observation, even if you were coming from a slightly different approach.

    • boogerhill - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Easy on the Roid rage, baldie!

  11. uyf1950 - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    Remember when Boras (Harper’s Agent) said he would never settle for the type of extension Trout recently signed fo,r for Harper. At the rate Harper’s going he’ll be lucky if the Nationals even offer him an early extension.

    • thenaturalmevs - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Ha, Remember rumors Harper wanted baseball’s first $400 million contract? He’s hardly worth $400,000 a year now.

  12. randygnyc - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    Is it too early to declare Harper a washout?

    • deepstblu - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      Yes. Yes, it is.

      • thenaturalmevs - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        It’s not too early to say his ceiling is J.D. Drew, rather than Mickey Mantle.

  13. lgwelsh1 - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:27 AM

    He is only 21 and has a lot to learn yet, clearly he is no Mike Trout, but who is. I think the pressure has gotten to him and his maturity level isn’t able to handle it. That’s most likely the issue.

    • NatsLady - Aug 7, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      Well, that and he’s playing with an injured hand (thumb). That’s his upper hand and he’s been trying different stances to try to cope with it.

      • thenaturalmevs - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Oh, but isn’t that the same thumb he used to hit 4 minor league home runs with in 2 rehab games? That same thumb? Is that the one sapping his power? Just making sure we get our excuses correct here!

    • echech88 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      The maturity and pressure issues are his own doing. His interviews coming out of JC were that of an insanely cocky and entitled teenager who already felt he was a superstar. Mike Trout at 17 was more of a big leaguer purely in terms of his humility and self-awareness than Harper is 3 years into his career at the MLB level.

    • boogerhill - Aug 7, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      You’re right, he didn’t put on 30 pounds of muscle in ONE off season!! Things that make you go HMMMMMMM!

  14. bisonaudit - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    This is a tempest in a teapot. Williams didn’t say or do anything to give anyone with two brain cells to rub together the idea that Harper was going to be sent down. He was justifiably pissed in the media room because some of those guys were trying to turn a nothing response to a nothing question into click bait instead of acting like the professional journalists they’re supposed to be.

    The Washington NFL team could learn a thing or two.

  15. echech88 - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Remember a month ago when Harper was dictating what the lineup should be and where he should play in the field and that he should replace Span? Now Span is their hottest hitter, Harper is horrible and there is actual talk about him needing to go to AAA.

    Imagine any other youngster hitting .200 publicly saying that.

    Can we pump the breaks on Harper until he actually puts a season together that is wroth talking about? He’s not 18 anymore so the ZOMG HES SOOOO YOUNG THOUGH garbage doesn’t play.

    • yahmule - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM

      Much truth in this post.

  16. thenaturalmevs - Aug 7, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    He’s definitely “still young”, God knows people used that for Jay Bruce up until this year. Suck is suck. The reason Harper isn’t any good right now is two issues, 1) his swing is horrible mechanically and has been all season. Perhaps an injury caused that. It’s not that his power is ‘sapped’ from a wrist injury. He hit four homers in two rehab games. I’m sure he’s hitting 450 foot shots in BP occasionally. His power is there. The other reason (2) is that he’s miserable playing for Williams and it shows in his game. Those are the two reasons for his struggles. Plan and simple.

  17. wvufan82 - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Probably a good thing he didn’t, just hit a walk off HR opposite field LOL

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