The Yankees aren’t going to bid on Hiroki Kuroda

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Ever since Hiroki Kuroda came off the notion of playing of the Dodgers or no one else — and that he’d be willing to take a one-year deal someplace — it has been widely speculated that the Yankees would be in on that action.  It just makes so much sense. They could use a good starter. Neither side wants a big commitment. It’s like a friends with benefits thing or something.

But not so fast says Wally Matthews of ESPN New York. He hears from sources that the Yankees don’t want to incur any more luxury tax overages and thus won’t bid on Kuroda. Rather, to the extent they have any interest, it’s phony:

Assuming the person is telling me the truth – and I am — any Yankee “interest” in Kuroda is probably designed to drive up the price for the Red Sox.

Know what’s gonna be cute? When the Red Sox are still playing these little cold war games while the Rangers and Angels are cruising to the best records in the American League. It’ll be like England and France arguing over Brittany while the Soviets and the Americans send people into outer space.

OK, maybe that’s overstating it. I’m just bored today and there’s no Phillies news with which to troll anyone. Trolling Yankees and Red Sox fans is a way, way, way distant second place, but it’ll have to do for now.

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.