Yu Darvish is coming to the United States . . . in 2012

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People have been getting rather excited over the possibility of Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish coming to America for some time.  Recently we learned that, nope, it won’t be in 2011.  David Lennon of Newsday reports however that it will happen in 2012.

Interesting, I suppose, but one of the biggest knocks on Darvish is that he’s had a pretty heavy workload in Japan. This season alone he had multiple 150+ pitch outings and at least a half dozen of 135 or more (note: I got that from an NPB tracker post from June; he most likely had more such outings since then).  He’s less valuable to Major League teams now than he would have been a couple of years ago because of that, and if he’s similarly abused in 2011 — and if he’s all but gone after the season, why wouldn’t his Japanese manager abuse him all the more? — he might be a shell of his former self by the time he’s posted for the U.S.

Consider me bearish in the extreme on this guy. His ERA has been sparkling, but he’s got more miles on that odometer than U.S. pitchers several years his senior.  Buyer beware.

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.