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Report: Dodgers likely to sign Sergio Romo

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The Dodgers appear to be closing in on a deal with free agent right-handed reliever Sergio Romo, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. While initial reports had Romo inking a deal with the team on Friday, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says that a contract agreement isn’t in place just yet, as a mystery team is still trying to up their bid for the reliever.

Romo, 33, is coming off of a nine-year career with the Giants. He turned out decent numbers in 2016, putting up a 2.64 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 9.7 SO/9, but pitched just 30 2/3 innings after landing on the 60-day disabled list with a forearm injury in April.

While Romo frequently occupied the closer’s spot during his near-decade in San Francisco, he is expected to revert to a setup role for closer Kenley Jansen should he take a deal in Los Angeles. As for the mystery team, Heyman thinks it could be the Nationals, though the Jays, Mets and Rays also received honorable mention. With the flurry of bullpen signings the Mets completed on Friday, however, it seems unlikely that they’d still be in play for the veteran right-hander.

Whatever the case may be, it seems unlikely that a decision will be announced until Romo completes his run in the Caribbean Series. Per Heyman:

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.