Hmmm. Maybe Bud Selig is retiring next year after all

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Bud Selig has said he plans to retire after the 2012 season. Most people don’t believe he will. They believe that some emergency or some groundswell of support from the owners or the simple fact that there isn’t an obvious successor will cause him to extend his time in a job that (a) he truly seems to love; and (b) everyone who has a say in the matter loves him to be in.

But maybe he is retiring. Or at least moving MLB headquarters to the History Department of the University of Wisconsin, because they have a whole office set up for him with furniture and TVs and everything. There’s a nice story about it complete with pics and stuff here. It’s actually a sweet little setup and — for a guy who has been able to have minor leaguers killed at his command and who has been fed the finest meats and cheeses by the fairest maidens in the land for the past 18 years — the digs are fairly modest.

He plans to write his memoirs and help the nearby Wisconsin Historical Society archive his papers. He has endowed a history chair for someone there too because Bud loves history.  People in the department seem to like him a lot and call him “kind of fun.”

Will Bud really go gentle into that good night?  Watch the Madison office sublease listings on Craigslist next year to be sure.

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.