General manager Ken Williams spoke yesterday about the White Sox’s effort to re-sign Mark Buehrle and Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune writes that “he was bracing for the worst.”
Here are some of Williams’ quotes, which certainly don’t sound very optimistic at all:
Listen, it’s professional sports. There’s a time for everyone to come. There’s a time for everyone to go. I don’t know if this is his time to go. I don’t want this to come out the wrong way because he has been as consistent of a performer as you’d ever want over the time he’s been here.
So if it comes down to he’s not here, we got to make the adjustment. That’s just the business of baseball. But it doesn’t mean we like it. It doesn’t mean that’s our preferred course. It doesn’t mean we won’t want him here. Just means this is kind of the way it has to be.
Interestingly, so far at least there are no reports of Buehrle receiving a huge offer from another team. So either those offers have been kept under wraps or the cost-cutting White Sox simply aren’t in a position to make a serious bid to keep him anyway.
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.