The Rays have inquired about Anthony Rizzo

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Now that the Padres have Yonder Alonso in the fold, they have one-too-many first base prospects about whose future I’m dubious.  Probably need to trade one.  There have been some alleged talks with the Cubs — alleged because Jed Hoyer has shot them down as fiction — but now we have a report that the Tampa Bay Rays have come a-knockin’.

And why not? My dubiousness notwithstanding, young, cheap and promising is pretty much the prototypical Rays player. Rizzo hit .296/.366/.514 in 1629 minor league plate appearances, so his poor major league showing thus far is not yet too big a concern.  Certainly worth a shot on a team that doesn’t hesitate to play kids.

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.