The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Brad Ausmus

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Ausmus Dodgers.jpgSo tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. He’ll earn a base salary of $850k and there’s a mutual option for 2011.

Ausmus actually had a decent year with the stick by his standards in 2009, although it was in exceedingly limited play (.295/.343/.368 in 107 plate appearances). Before that, you’re looking at basically a solid decade of awful production, a good year or two back in the late 90s, and then a lot more nothin’ before that.

But as I noted last month, Ausmus, despite his extreme limitations at the plate, always manages to find a job.  A lot of that has been because of his defense, but in more recent years I have no doubt that it’s because of his work ethic. He has giant binders
on hitters’ tendencies and studies them all the time, and by all accounts, he’s the one of the most prepared and focused players in the game and spends tons of time teaching and helping his teammates. In this way he’s a good clubhouse guy, not because of some vague chemistry consideration like so many others who get that label, because he’s really valuable to have in the clubhouse for legitimately tangible reasons.

So sure, he may be 41 and he may not hit my daughter’s weight, but there are probably worse guys to have occupy the 25th spot on the roster.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

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.