Rob Dibble won't be calling Nationals games any time soon

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Nationals television analyst Rob Dibble was initially said to be on a two-game “vacation” after telling Stephen Strasburg to “suck it up” and “stop crying” about the elbow injury that proved to require Tommy John surgery, but he wasn’t on the air for either game this weekend and now MASN has announced that he won’t be with the team on their six-day road trip that begins tonight in Florida.
Asked to provide further details, MASN spokesperson Todd Webster said: “He asked for and was granted a few days off. Beyond that, I don’t have a comment.”
I’ve already written plenty about Dibble’s comments, so I won’t rehash that now, but suffice it to say that every Nationals fan I know is hoping they’ve seen and heard the last of him on the team’s broadcasts. And that really has very little to do with what he said about Strasburg.
Ray Knight has been subbing for Dibble and, while I’ve not tuned in to hear him yet, I can say with the utmost confidence that he’s a massive upgrade. If a good, well-liked announcer says something stupid, perhaps you give him a pass. If a terrible, almost universally disliked announcer says something stupid, just weeks after also saying something stupid … well, why not give Nationals fans some good news for once and drop him?

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.