Could Johnny Damon still end up in Atlanta?

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Many assume that if the White Sox indeed pull their offer to Johnny Damon it pretty much means the “Tigers or bust,” but don’t forget that the Braves have already offered Damon a one-year contract with some deferred money — somewhere around $4 million or less.

After Friday’s developments, Braves general manager Frank Wren told Mark Bowman of MLB.com that “Nothing has changed on our end.” This doesn’t really mean anything to me, other than saying “our original offer still stands.”

Even though the Tigers are known to have offered at least a one-year, $7 million contract, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution still thinks there’s a “reasonable chance” Damon winds up with the Braves:

It’s seemed odd to me that the Braves’ interest in Damon was
practically dismissed by a couple of other media outlets in the last
week, Atlanta described as having only lackluster interest and not
making a serious push for him.

The team that made him an offer nearly two weeks ago, before Detroit or the Chicago White Sox made offers. The team that had Chipper Jones call
Damon the same day it made its offer, to emphasize to him how much the
Braves wanted him and how well he’d fit in their lineup and on their
team.

I think it’s pretty simple. Scott Boras wanted to dangle Damon in the AL Central for a while to see if he could create some sort of mini bidding war. It doesn’t seem to be working. This posturing has been fun and all (not really), but it’s high-time for Damon to step up and make his preference known, no matter the salary.

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.