Joe Girardi contemplates a change in uniform number

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Girardi famously selected number 27 to serve as championship inspiration when he was hired last year. Yesterday he said that he may make a move to 28:

That’s something I talked to Brian Cashman briefly about today. I think I will. I’ve got to talk to Shelley Duncan to see if he allows me to wear it.”

It’s cute that anyone cares what Shelley Duncan thinks in all of this.  More to the point, however, Girardi should probably ask whoever speaks for Sparky Lyle, Spud Chandler, Charlie Keller, Al Leiter, Tommy Byrne, David Justice, Melky Cabrera and Chad Curtis, all of whom have a stronger claim on the number than does Duncan. If the Yankees repeat and Girardi wants to change again, he’ll have to go through Mike Stanton and the estate of Catfish Hunter for number 29.  Willie Randoph checks in at 30 and Dave Winfield at 31.

It’s all a matter of negotiation until he gets to 32. That was Elston Howard, and his number is retired, so there’s probably not a chance of him taking it.  Of course if the Yankees win four more titles before Girardi is done managing he’ll have the juice to demand just about anything he wants. Not that it will matter. If that happens every non Yankee fan in the world will have killed himself by then, and baseball will probably cease to be.

(thanks to Bronx Banter for the historical Yankee uniform numbers).

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.