According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the Red Sox will meet with Bob Garber, the agent for C.J. Wilson and Roy Oswalt, at the Winter Meetings next week in Dallas.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington spoke with Garber at the general managers’ meetings last month in Milwaukee, though it was believed to be a matter of due diligence at the time. While the club is in the process of negotiating with free agent slugger David Ortiz and evaluating their options to replace closer Jonathan Papelbon, they apparently haven’t ruled out making an addition to a starting rotation which wilted down the stretch.
The Nationals, Angels and Marlins are among the teams who have expressed serious interest in Wilson thus far. The Rangers are still in the mix, though Jon Heyman of SI.com reported this afternoon that they haven’t made much progress in talks. The market for Oswalt hasn’t been nearly as strong, likely due to concerns over his degenerative back condition, but the idea of a multi-year contract might be easier to swallow for teams like the Red Sox, Yankees or Nationals.
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.