Yesterday we heard that Kendrys Morales may begin the year on the DL. Today Mike Scioscia elaborated on that, and it doesn’t sound good:
“It’s not a setback; there are just some plateaus guys hit,” said Scioscia. “You can’t force things. He’s going to keep working, keep moving forward.”
One thing that I wonder: how much of his “plateau” has to do with conditioning? I didn’t write about it when I was at Angels camp in Tempe, but Morales does look to be a tad roundish and out of shape. Which, on some level, is understandable given that his particular injury — his ankle — makes running and getting on an exercise bike troublesome. But it also can’t help a guy trying to work out at first base after so much time off.
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.