One sure sign we’re rapidly approaching silly season? Plenty of conflicting reports.
While Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported over the weekend that negotiations between the Yankees and general manager Brian Cashman were going smoothly and a new contract could be completed within the week, it appears they aren’t very far along in the process. Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News today that talks haven’t taken place.
“None of that’s true,” Cashman said. “We haven’t had any talks whatsoever. We don’t currently have plans to meet and there’s no flights to Tampa.”
Cashman could technically walk away from the Yankees when his contract expires the end of this month, but most consider it a foregone conclusion that the two sides will eventually hammer out a new deal.
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.