Rays claim Rob Delaney off waivers from the Twins

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Today the Rays added another reliever to the mix for their rebuilt bullpen, claimining right-hander Rob Delaney off waivers from the Twins.

Minnesota designated Delaney for assignment earlier this week to make room on the 40-man roster for left-hander Dusty Hughes, who’s older and has a significantly less impressive minor-league track record, but did spend most of last season in Kansas City’s bullpen.

Delaney has pitched well in two seasons at Triple-A with a 130/38 K/BB ratio in 128 innings, but his ERA there is an unremarkable 4.65 thanks to serving up 17 long balls.  As a fly-ball pitcher with so-so raw stuff Delaney has little room for error and having only a cup of coffee in the majors at age 26 shows that the Twins viewed him skeptically.

However, he’s racked up lots of strikeouts with a repertoire headed by a low-90s fastball and has very good control with just 1.9 walks per nine innings. His upside is likely middle reliever and flopping is very possible, but he’s capable of being a solid contributor and he should get a legitimate opportunity in Tampa Bay.

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.