Joel Sherman reports that the Yankees have been in “regular contact” with the Dodgers about starter Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda, however, told MLB.com last night that “My honest feeling is that I can’t fathom wearing another uniform than the Dodgers uniform right now.”
And given that he has a full no-trade clause, he doesn’t have to wear any other uniform if he doesn’t want to.
Kuroda would be a good get for any number of teams given his a 3.11 ERA and 103/36 K/BB ratio in 133 innings. But with that no-trade clause and various rumblings about how happy he is in Los Angeles, I’m skeptical that any deal can happen with the guy.
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.