Red Sox, Angels fail to agree to Mike Napoli trade

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The Red Sox claimed Mike Napoli off waivers from the Angels last week, but a deal was unable to be agreed to prior to the Monday afternoon deadline, WEEI’s Alex Speier reports.
The only real surprise about the turn of events that gave Boston a chance to make an offer for Napoli was that the one of the game’s top offensive catchers made it past eight American League teams on waivers. Of course, it’s doubtful the Mariners could have made a deal for Napoli either, but it wouldn’t have hurt to try.
Napoli, 28, is hitting .249/.317/.478 with 21 homers in 370 at-bats this season. He has a career OPS of 837 since entering the league in 2006, which is nearly a match for Victor Martinez’s 838 mark over the same timeframe, and he’s not going to be eligible for free agency until after the 2012 season.
The Angels probably weren’t inclined to move Napoli now, but they’ll almost certainly deal one of their three catchers this winter and Napoli could be the favorite to go. He’s due a raise to $4.5 million-$5 million in arbitration, and that might be too rich for the Angels, considering how little Mike Scioscia thinks of his defense.

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.