Bryce Harper to Little Leaguers: ’No participation trophies’

Why that’s surprising: Holland was a great mystery this offseason. He hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 with the Royals, sitting out 2016 after Tommy John surgery, and nobody knew quite what to expect.

The Rockies rolled the dice, offering Holland a $6 million deal with a $10 million mutual option for 2018. The contract was loaded with incentives based on appearances and games finished. He’s been better than anyone could have reasonably expected ’ 19 for 19 in save opportunities, with a 1.37 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings. If teams would have known he’d be this good, you can bet he would have gotten more than a $6 million guarantee. Kudos to the Rockies for taking the chance.

Bryce Harper’s competitiveness has never been in question, so it’s no surprise he advocates honing that trait from an early age.

Speaking to a group of Little Leaguers in the D.C. area Saturday morning, the Nationals star offered up some advice during a Q&A session. Though the start of the exchange doesn’t appear on the video posted by a WJLA reporter, Harper concludes with this:

As much as they might tell you, ’Oh, it’s OK you guys lost’ ’ no, Johnny. No participation trophies, OK? First place only.

Take it from a guy who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16 and hasn’t looked back since, kids.

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