Davey Johnson, manager for the Washington Nationals, had decided to pull Bryce Harper from the lineup for the remainder of the team’s series against the San Diego Padres this weekend. While Harper is a budding superstar, Johnson’s decision was logical; Harper is in the midst of an embarrassing 0-18 slump, clearly being ineffectual at the plate.
Harper, however, was unhappy with the decision and texted Johnson on Friday night with a simple message: “Play me or trade me.”
Johnson said he laughed when he saw the text and decided to meet with Harper since, as the manager jokingly said, “Trading’s out of the question; I’m going to play him.” Johnson went on to discuss the reasons why he decided to bench Harper in the first place, saying he was a bit displeased with Harper’s body language. The discussion between the two went well, though, and Harper has been inserted back into the lineup.
The 20-year-old Harper won the National League Rookie of the Year last season, but he has struggled a bit so far this year, hitting .260 with 13 home runs and 25 RBIs (not woeful numbers by any means, but certainly below what was expected of the young phenom). He has missed over a month of games with a knee injury.