UPDATE: Sure enough, Jackson appears headed to St. Louis for Rasmus.
The deal sending Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for Jason Frasor and pitching prospect Zach Stewart is official, with Jackson learning of his fate after entering the White Sox clubhouse moments ago.
However, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and various other sources the trade may actually be expanding to include the Cardinals, with Jackson heading to St. Louis and Colby Rasmus ending up in Toronto.
Rasmus leaving the Cardinals is expected at this point, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos somehow getting a 24-year-old center fielder with huge upside in a deal that essentially has him parting with a good but not great 33-year-old reliever (Frasor) and a mid-level prospect (Stewart) would be an amazing move.
So good, in fact, that it’s tough to imagine Anthopoulos being able to pull it off without sending another prospect or something else of decent value to St. Louis. For now Jackson is Blue Jays property, but it sure looks like he’s not long for Toronto.
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.