Marlins optimistic for resolution with the man formerly known as Leo Nunez

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The last we heard about Juan Carlos Oviedo — the man formerly known as Marlins’ closer Leo Nunez — he was back in the Dominican Republic working through legal issues after admitting in September that he faked his identity.

The Marlins provided a bit of an update on the matter this afternoon and while details were scarce, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that team president Larry Beinfest is hopeful Oviedo’s situation will be resolved so that he will pitch in the majors next season.

“I’m not real comfortable going into the ins and outs of it, but we have been in communication with Baseball,” Beinfest said. “There’s been some work quietly on the immigration side and his status. He’s been very cooperative and the team has worked very hard to try to get clarity because I think it’s better for everybody, but yes, we do understand how we have to deal with him given his situation.

“We’re all hopeful he’s going to be back here as Juan Carlos Oviedo and back in the country and issued a visa, then we can work on the business side of it.”

Oviedo was placed on the restricted list in September, but is not expected to face any criminal charges in the Dominican Republic.

While Oviedo may pitch in the majors next season, it might not be with the Marlins. With his salary projected to fall in the $5-6 million range as a fourth-time arbitration-eligible player and the saturated market for closer-types this winter, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be non-tendered before the December 12 deadline.

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.