On the radio Wednesday morning, Nationals manager Matt Williams was thrown a hypothetical question about the struggling Bryce Harper, and whether he thought a stint in the minors could help him. It was sort of a tossed-off question, one thoroughly and unequivocally answered by Williams. But he really, really doesn't want to hear anyone bringing it up again.
The question and answer came on Williams' weekly radio spot with The Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. The Washington Post has the full transcript—here's a snippet:
"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...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."
This is a reasonable answer. Bryce Harper has already proven that he has Major League talent, and Williams believes he's not going to recapture his swing facing Minor League pitching.
But in his press conference yesterday afternoon, Williams was asked again about the possibility of sending down Harper, who after a 1-for-3 night is now hitting .250/.337/.359. Williams wasn't happy.
"I will caution everybody in this room: the minute you think you can read my freaking mind, you're sorely mistaken. It pisses me off to even think about the fact that somebody would take a comment I made on the radio and infer that I am thinking one way or another. I've had it. Don't do it anymore.
"Bryce Harper is one of the guys on our team, he's a very important part of our team. Just like everybody else is.
"Do we understand each other?
"It's not fair to the kid, it's not fair to the rest of the guys in that clubhouse, to even think about sending Bryce Harper to the minor leagues, or to cause a stir. It's unacceptable. It won't happen. Is that good enough for you?"
If "should Bryce Harper be sent to the minors?" wasn't a thing before—and it shouldn't have been—it kind of is now.