Sammy Sosa’s corked bat goes unsold at auction despite $14,000 bid

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Sammy Sosa’s former Cubs teammate Mike Remlinger somehow got his hands on the slugger’s corked bat from 2003 and put it up for auction, but Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports that the item went unsold last night when the high bid of $14,407 did not meet Remlinger’s “reserve” price.

Grant DePorter, who’s the CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, submitted the high bid, which apparently fell just short of Remlinger’s reported $15,000 asking price.

“The next step is to offer it to the highest bidder or try to sell it privately,” Ray Schulte of Schulte Auctions told Mitchell. “Usually the owner takes a couple of days to think about it.”

If the difference between high bid and reserve price is truly only $600 or so it seems like a no-brainer that the two sides can work out a side deal, although perhaps once he’s away from the auction mindset DePorter will realize that he’d be paying $15,000 for the broken barrel of a corked baseball bat and decide against it.

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.