Boston’s attempt to trade for Chris Capuano last week failed, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox are still trying to acquire a veteran starting pitcher for a potential Game 163 tiebreaker tomorrow and one possible target is Bruce Chen of the Royals.
Their reported offer to the Mets for Capauno was a cash deal, so presumably the Red Sox offered the same to the Royals for Chen, who’s actually scheduled to start tonight against the Twins in Minnesota.
Tampa Bay has struggled against left-handed starters lately, so Chen–or any other veteran southpaw, really–would make sense as a last-second addition even though pitchers acquired this late wouldn’t be eligible for the postseason. Kansas City won’t know whether Boston will still want Chen for tomorrow until after he’s slated to take the mound tonight, so a late scratch would confirm that something is in the works.
On a related note: Anyone know where Pedro Martinez is right now?
UPDATE: Our own D.J. Short points out that Chen is currently projected to be a Type B free agent, in which case the Royals would seemingly need a decent prospect in return for passing up a draft pick.
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.