UPDATE: Mets close to signing Chris Young

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UPDATE: Not so fast. According to Steve Popper of the Bergen Record, a baseball executive says the Mets and Chris Young are not close to an agreement yet. The two sides are said to be talking, though.

8:01 PM: Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that the Mets are closing in on a contract with free agent right-hander Chris Young.

Young, 31, has been limited to just 18 starts over the past two seasons due to shoulder problems. He went 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 15/11 K/BB ratio over four starts with the Padres this past season.

There’s no word on the terms of the deal, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports was told that Young had multiple one-year incentive-laden contract offers on the table.

Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta both formerly worked for the Padres, so history probably plays a significant part here. The Mets are also working with limited funds this winter as they wait for some bad contracts to come off the books, so low-risk/high-upside signings make sense, especially for a rotation that will be missing Johan Santana indefinitely. Young only throws in the mid 80s at this point and is primarily a flyball pitcher, but assuming he is healthy, Citi Field should be a pretty decent match for his profile.

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.