In the long history of Major League Baseball, few players have left a mark with their personality quite like Bill "Spaceman" Lee. A former left-handed starter, Lee played 14 seasons and was a one-time All-Star, but perhaps he is better known for his antics both on and off the field. He famously created the 'Leephus' pitch, wrote several books, and publicly spoke out on politics and drug use.
The former Red Sox and Expos pitcher is still well-known among baseball fans and hosted a chat with the website Deadspin on Tuesday. Most of the questions from fans were about drugs and what he is doing after baseball, but one question-and-answer hit home for Nats fans.
A reader posed a question to the Spaceman asking which current big leaguer most resembles his pitching style. Here is the back-and-forth:
Deadspin reader: what current pitcher would you say pitches most like you? Zito?
Lee: No, the guy who used to be with Oakland and is now with Washington
Unless Lee is referring to Henry Rodriguez, the "guy" he is talking about is Gio Gonzalez. Gio was traded to the Nationals over the offseason from the Athletics and is left-handed. Gonzalez also happens to be the life of the Nationals' locker room.
Statistically, they really aren't that similar. Both pitchers have maintained low ERAs across 200 inning seasons, but Gonzalez both strikes out and walks a lot more batters than Lee ever did. In 1974 Lee pitched 282.1 innings and posted just 95 total strikeouts, Gio has 168 this season through 159 13.
The "Spaceman" would be considered a pitch-to-contact guy much more than Gio Gonzalez and he was also a bigger pitcher at 6'3". Lee didn't elaborate, or specifically use Gonzalez' name, so as with most of what we know about Bill Lee, we may have to fill in the blanks.
The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.
If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017.
Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015.
According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.
Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work.
With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017.
Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster
Nationals star Bryce Harper has a bold fashion sense, that's for sure. Just take a look at that hair. But he a more romantic fashion risk for his own wedding with a custom suit jacket.
He opted for a navy blue tuxedo with black piping. It was the lining that really stood out as special.
If you look closely, you'll see photos of Harper and his wife, Kayla, decorating the lining of the jacket.
There's also the date of wedding and script reading "Mr. and Mrs. Harper."
He credited the makers of his tuxedo, Stitched, in the tweet.
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