Rockies sign Ramon Hernandez to two-year contract, trade Chris Iannetta to Angels

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From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Rockies have reached a two-year, $6.4 million free agent contract with veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez and have traded Chris Iannetta to the Angels for 21-year-old right-hander Tyler Chatwood.

Hernandez, 35, posted a .788 OPS in 328 plate appearances this year for the Reds. He’s not much of an upgrade offensively over Iannetta and he’s around seven years older, but it’s not a significant downgrade either and the Rockies have managed to grab a promising young starter in the three-pronged transaction.

Chatwood, a second-round pick in 2008, turned in a 4.75 ERA across 142 innings as a rookie in 2011. He struggled with his control to the tune of a 1.67 WHIP and 74/70 K/BB ratio, but he showed better command in the Angels’ minor league system and has plenty of time to develop that side of his game in Colorado.

So, in essence, the Rox get another promising young arm while barely losing any offensive potential and the Angels have secured a much-needed upgrade at catcher. Seems like there are positives for all parties.

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.