Nationals GM Mike Rizzo defends Bryce Harper against 'cowardly' and 'chicken s***' unnamed sources

Nationals outfielder and free-agent-to-be Bryce Harper has long been a divisive figure in baseball. When you're tabbed for greatness at an early age, that tends to be the case. Harper, while producing at an exceptionally high level at pretty much every turn, has also had his moments of controversy. Throw in the fact that he's going to sign for, oh, $400 million or so this coming offseason, and the backbiting's surely going to continue. 

Speaking of which, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports recently heard from an anonymous highly placed NL executive regarding Harper. Please enjoy the flames ... 

Text one: "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."

Text two: "He's a losing player. I would not sign him. I would use that money to sign 2-3 winning players."

Text three: "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."

All right. As you might expect, these anonymous comments made their way to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, and Rizzo took vigorous exception to them. Via Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Rizzo pushes back against the idea that Harper is some how a "losing player." After all, Harper since arriving in the majors in 2012 has never endured a losing season. He's also been a core part of four division winners. No, the Nats haven't advanced beyond the first round in the postseason, but in those postseason games Harper's put up a respectable .801 OPS. Also, Rizzo wasn't done ... 

"And these anonymous quotes from these unnamed sources like a National League executive, it's cowardly, it's chicken s***, and it's gutless."

Yeah, gotta side with Rizzo here. This unnamed NL exec said a bunch of inflammatory stuff but didn't have the fortitude to put his name on the comments. There's a time and a place for anonymous comments, to be sure, but hiding behind the curtain in order to drag an opposing player you've probably never even met isn't one of them. 

Anyhow, Rizzo comes off looking pretty good here. He defended his guy, and he rightly punches back at the anonymous exec for lacking personal courage. 

As Harper, that "losing" player, the SportsLine Projection Model presently tabs his Nats for 95 wins and yet another NL East title. 

CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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