Diamondbacks release slugger Wily Mo Pena

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Wily Mo Pena earned a promotion to the major leagues in late June after slugging 21 home runs and posting an electric .363/.439/.726 batting line across 63 games with the Triple-A Reno Aces.

Pena served as Arizona’s primary DH during the final few weeks of the interleague schedule and showed impressive power, blasting five homers in 17 games.

But he’s such a poor defensive outfielder that the Diamondbacks designated him for assignment immediately following the All-Star break.

And now, according to the club’s official Twitter feed, he has been released.

Pena is only 29 years old and should get an opportunity elsewhere, probably in the American League. He would make for a useful late-innings pinch-hitter down the stretch on any contending team.

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.