Brad Bergesen turned a lot of heads with a nice little run when he came up last year, but then he took a comebacker at the end of July and didn’t pitch again all season. Then, this winter, he injured his shoulder while filming a television commercial. After three horrendous starts this season — he’s allowed 14 earned runs and has walked six guys in 10.1 innings — he’s being sent down to Norfolk. The O’s have called up reliever Alberto Castillo to take his place.
The Orioles likely won’t need a fifth starter until May 1st. When they use one there’s no guarantee that it will be Bergesen, as both Jake Arrieta and Chris Tillman are biding their time and probably deserve a shot. Arrieta has pitched better than Tillman so far, but it’s possible that the O’s will want to see Tillman first because he’s tall and has some major league experience and stuff.
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.