Washington has signed Miguel Batista, late of Seattle, to a minor league deal. He turns 39 next month. Last year he went 7-4 with a 4.04 ERA in 56 relief appearances for the Mariners. Before last year he had mostly been a starter, though he’s spent some time as a swingman and was exclusively a reliever in 2005 for the Blue Jays.
Recently the Nats said that they’re looking for “a Livan Hernandez type.” Though they apparently don’t think Livan Hernandez fits that description, Batista is probably a reasonable facsimile in that he generally stays healthy and isn’t all that good anymore. Oh, and I’m assuming his crime novels and poetry are better than Livan’s.
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.