The Padres have finalized their contract with Aaron Harang. According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, it turns out he’ll receive a one-year, $3.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2012.
Harang, a San Diego-native, is 18-38 with a 4.71 ERA since finishing fourth on the ballot for the National League Cy Young in 2007. The 32-year-old right-hander went 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA over 22 games (20 starts) with the Reds this past season and was left off the team’s postseason roster for the NLDS against the Phillies.
Harang’s peripherals, which have been pretty healthy in the past, took a bit of a slide this past season, but he’s well worth signing at these terms. While his flyball tendencies hurt him at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him rebound next season pitching half of his games at the cozy confines of PETCO Park.
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.