Nationals slugger Bryce Harper caused quite a stir earlier this week upon his return from a thumb injury, expressing his unsolicited opinion on the lineup that manager Matt Williams put together.
"I think [Ryan Zimmerman] should be playing left. Rendon's a good third baseman. He should be playing third. We've got one of the best second basemen in the league in Danny Espinosa," Harper told reporters. "Of course, we want the best-hitting lineup in there. [But] I think Rendon playing third and Zim playing left is something that would be good for this team. I think that should be what's happening."
Williams insisted everything was fine between the two. So did Denard Span, who was left off Harper's imaginary lineup.
The same, however, cannot be said about former major leaguers, who have made it clear that the brash 21-year-old needs to watch his mouth.
“He needs to keep his mouth shut,” former National Mark DeRosa said on MLB Network Monday. “I’m being honest with you. As a guy who played in the league for a long time, a 21-year-old kid popping off like this? I know what he’s saying. He doesn’t realize its impact. He doesn’t realize Denard Span is impacted by this, Ryan Zimmarman’s impacted by this, Adam LaRoche. Just play the game. Just shut up and play the game.”
In a column for Fox Sports, 13-year veteran Gabe Kapler reached out to two past teammates.
The righty stated emphatically, “I think it’s absolutely brutal. Yes, he’s an immature 21 year old. I get that. But as another example, he’s no Mike Trout. Shut up and play. You’re in no position to tell your manager how to fill out the lineup. And if you want to be a superstar leader, then you have your teammates’ back at all times. He better learn from this. His teammates have to resent this [crap].”
From the lefty: “He (Harper) has shown in the past that he’ll act like a child. He thinks he’s a veteran, he isn’t. He thinks he’s a superstar, he isn’t. Not yet, at least. He does not look like a good teammate right now.”
All of this is distracting from the fact that the Nationals have won five straight games.
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