Don’t count the Giants out on Carlos Beltran yet

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Apparently satisfied with the state of their outfield following the recent acquisition of Melky Cabrera, Jon Heyman of SI.com reported last week that the Giants were no longer expected to attempt to bring back Carlos Beltran. It sounded pretty ridiculous at the time and fortunately for Giants fans, that’s not necessarily the case.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Giants are still in the market for an outfielder and Beltran is at the top of their list.

The market for Beltran has been strangely quiet in the first couple of weeks of the Hot Stove season. The Red Sox are expected to pursue him, but they are busy attempting to re-sign David Ortiz right now. And we heard something about the Marlins the other day, but let’s be honest, they are in on pretty much everybody and it’s pretty difficult to say whether they are actually serious about any of them. Beltran is one of the top free agents out there, so business should pick up as we get closer to the Winter Meetings next month.

Beltran, who turns 35 in April, batted .300/.385/.525 with 22 homers, 84 RBI and a .910 OPS over 598 plate appearances this season, including a .323/.369/.551 batting line over 44 games with San Francisco.

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.