Bobby Valentine rips the Marlins on ESPN

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Bobby Valentine on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” yesterday, talking about the Marlins’ hiring process:

“If this is a major-league process, I hope I’m never in the process
again. It’s very
disturbing, confusing and it was insulting at times, but it’s over.”

The linked articles goes a bit more into the details of why he and the Marlins couldn’t come to a meeting of the minds, suggesting that Valentine’s desire to have say in personnel decisions was in conflict with the baseball operations people’s preferences for a less-demanding manager.

This explanation makes sense and feeds into what, to me at least, seemed like an internal clash on the Marlins’ part between Jeff Loria on the one hand, who clearly wanted his friend and big media wheel Valentine, and team president David Samson and GM Larry Beinfest on the other hand who — no matter what you say about the Feesh — run a pretty tight and competent ship on their side of the equation and probably prefer more of a company man in the dugout.

After all of this, one wonders if the Samson-Beinfest team even wanted to fire Fredi Gonzalez in the first place.

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.