Dioner Navarro sued by former agent

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According to the St. Petersburg Times, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro is being sued by his former agent for breach of contract.  From the Times’ Marc Topkin:

In the suit, filed last week in Hillsborough Circuit Court, Startrust
claims Navarro and his wife owe fees and expenses dating back to 2005
and seeks reimbursement, including money loaned Sherley Navarro to cover
her cell phone and data card bills.

Let’s hope everything is settled civilly and the suit does not carry into the regular season.  Navarro, who hit just .218/.261/.322 last year, has a whole lot of proving to do in 2010.  The Rays brought in Kelly Shoppach this winter and it’s safe to say that Navarro’s handle on the starting catching gig in Tampa is shaky at best.

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.