Let me see . . . I know I left my “dreaded” detector around here somewhere. While I’m looking for it, here are Jack Zduriencik’s comments about his manager:
“Don is our manager. Don and I, and his son went out to dinner last
night. We had a very nice evening, spent like three or four hours
together and talked about a lot of things. We talked where we’re
headed with the club, about Don and Don is our manager . . . Everybody is evaluated at all times. As we go forward,
you have to realize there is always an evaluation process going
on at all times. You take a week at a time, a month at a time, a
season at a time with everyone.”
I’m putting that squarely in the “dreaded” territory. The tip-offs: the stating of the bleeding obvious (“Don is our manager”), references to an evaluation process. A nice distraction with reference to a dinner out. A dinner that, with Wakamatsu’s son in tow, couldn’t have exactly gotten too deep into will-Wakamatsu-be-fired territory or not.
If I had to wager some greenbacks on this thing I’d say that, based on this vote of confidence alone, Wakamatsu is dismissed this fall.
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.