Joel Sherman reports that that new Mets GM Sandy Alderson wants to bring Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi on board. Both of these guys, you’ll recall, worked under Alderson in Oakland before going off on their own GM frolics. Depodesta’s was, in hindsight anyway, pretty successful with the Dodgers, even if they still don’t realize it. Ricciardi’s in Toronto, not so much, but not terrible either. Whatever you thought of them as top dogs, though, both are smart baseball guys and rarely do you go wrong by assembling a team full of smart people.
Sherman also says that Alderson is likely to go with an Oakland A’s-style manager: low key, low profile, and totally subservient to the front office. This would seem to eliminate Wally Backman from consideration. That won’t make a lot of Mets fans happy — the fascination with Backman seems to be taking on epic proportions — but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring him in as a third base coach or something. Whatever happens, I have this feeling that Alderson will navigate that PR minefield just fine.
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.