Red Sox owners have met with Bobby Valentine

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Remember last year when Bobby Valentine was rumored to be in the running for every single managerial job there was?  Yeah, that was fun.  Well buckle up, because here we go again.

Ken Rosenthal reports — confirmed by Gordon Edes — that Red Sox ownership has reached out to Bobby V. and that the interest is mutual.  Rosenthal says that there has been a meeting between Valentine and one Red Sox owner and that he will meet with others soon. Pair this up with this morning’s report that the Sox want someone with a lot of major league managing experience, and everything is explained.

I can think of worse fits for Bobby Valentine.  He’s a big personality and you probably have to be to wade into what’s going on in Boston these days. He’s managed clubs with a lot of veterans on it. He’s interesting, so when he inevitably leaves he’s the kind of guy we’re likely to hear all kinds of good leaked stories about.

It’s actually pretty perfect.

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.