Rosenthal: Nationals may offer Drew Storen for Twins’ Denard Span

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It worked last year, as the Nationals picked up their long-term catcher by sending their closer to the Twins.  Now they could make a similar move, only grabbing a center fielder instead, if FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is correct.

According to Rosenthal, Drew Storen may be in play in the trade talks between the Nationals and Twins regarding Denard Span.  Previous reports had shortstop Ian Desmond as the possible return for Minnesota, but the Twins may prefer getting a long-term closer instead.

And Drew Storen is definitely that.  The 23-year-old has a 2.37 ERA and is 25-for-28 saving games for the Nationals this season.  He’s under control through 2016, and he’s about as good of a bet as any current closer in the major leagues to still be in that role five years from now.

But do the Twins really want to go this route again?  Last year, they sent Wilson Ramos to the Nationals for Matt Capps.  It worked out just fine initially, as Capps has a 2.00 ERA and was 16-for-18 saving games for Minnesota down the stretch.  Plus, Ramos was always viewed as expendable because of Joe Mauer’s presence behind the plate.

However, Ramos would have been of great use to the Twins this year while Mauer missed most of the first half, and Capps, having blown seven of 22 save chances, has been getting booed off the mound at Target Field.

This one probably wouldn’t work out so badly.  Span is a nice regular and he’s not going to be a free agent until after 2014, but the Twins do have Ben Revere behind him, and while Revere probably won’t match Span offensively, he could be a decent regular at a bargain price.  Plus, their top position prospect, Aaron Hicks, also possesses the range to play center field in the majors.

I’d still give the idea of a Span-for-Storen swap a thumbs down for the Twins; there are better ways to cash in Span than trading him for a closer.  However, at least in this case, they’d be getting a whole lot more than a Matt Capps in return.

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.