Yesterday I wrote that most of the reporters covering the Mets “didn’t even bother” to go up to the press box to watch the game. I owe those guys an apology. I’m informed today — politely, by a writer who covered the Mets for several years, but who was not at the game Sunday — that most of the seasoned guys watch from the stands, near the scouts. This makes perfect sense, really, given that they’re (a) better seats; and (b) you can get a lot more good info from hanging around scouts than you can from sitting up in the box.
Anyway, apologies if my ignorance on this point made a bad and misleading impression. I stand by what I said later in the day: the beat guys have a hard job and do it well. Given that they weren’t up squinting from where I was, they probably do it better than I even imagined.
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.