Pirates GM: “Very probable” Chris Snyder will start year on DL

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General manager Neal Huntington admitted yesterday that it’s “very probable” starting catcher Chris Snyder will begin the season on the disabled list due to back soreness.

Pittsburgh unsuccessfully tried to dump Ryan Doumit and his contract all offseason and throughout spring training, but Snyder’s injury actually opens the door for him to see some early action if manager Clint Hurdle is willing to use him behind the plate.

Doumit could split time at catcher with Jason Jaramillo until Snyder returns and Jenifer Langosch reports that John Bowker will take the open roster spot while replacing Doumit as a backup outfielder.

And if Doumit gets off to a good start offensively while not looking like a complete mess defensively, perhaps the Pirates will have an easier time unloading his contract once Snyder returns.

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.