Jeremy Hermida signs with the Athletics

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Just days after being released by the Red Sox, Jeremy Hermida has signed a minor league contract with the Athletics.

Hermida debuted with Triple-A Sacramento last night and helped the RiverCats clinch the Pacific Coast League Pacific South division title by going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, a run scored and an RBI, according to Alex Espinosa of MLB.com.

Limited to just 52 games at the major league level this season, Hermida is batting just .203/.257/.348 with five home runs and 27 RBI. He missed six weeks due to fractured ribs and was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket after being designated for assignment on July 31.

We’re still waiting for any signs of the player who posted an impressive 870 OPS at the age of 23 with the Marlins in 2007. He’s a perpetual tease at this point, but it’s tough to blame Billy Beane for taking a flier here.

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.