Report: The Red Sox are still in on Carl Crawford

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It’s a little quiet tonight, don’t you think? A little too quiet…

Yeah, there isn’t much happening with Carl Crawford right now, but multiple Red Sox sources have confirmed to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the club is still interested in signing the free-agent outfielder, even after the recent acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez.

However, one source wonders how many years it will take to sign him, especially after Jayson Werth turned the market on its head by signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Nationals on Sunday. Perhaps that explains the general lack of chatter in regards to Crawford this week?

Meanwhile, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein was more of the “never-say-never” opinion when asked directly by Edes.

“It’s the same answer I gave yesterday. Obviously we’re in a new situation now after we’ve made a major acquisition, but like I said, anything is possible, right?”

While the Red Sox can’t be ruled out on Crawford, Epstein confirmed that he is exploring alternatives. With that in mind, Edes reports that the club has expressed interest in Josh Willingham of the Nationals and free agent outfielder Matt Diaz, both of whom hit from the right side of the plate. Aaron wrote this morning that the team also has interest in Magglio Ordonez.

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.