Cardinals convert former second-round pick Robert Stock from catcher to pitcher

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From Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch comes word that the Cardinals have converted prospect Robert Stock from a catcher to a pitcher. Rather, they’re going to try to, sending him to minor league camp to begin the process.

Stock, the No. 67 overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, batted just .241/.320/.347 with 10 home runs in 189 minor league games. He was drafted as a catcher out of the University of Southern California, but the 22-year-old was actually one of the Trojans’ best pitchers in his final year there, registering a 2.90 ERA and 86/39 K/BB ratio in 77 2/3 innings.

The Post-Dispatch‘s Joe Strauss tweets that “draftniks swore his future was” on the mound at the time the Cardinals selected him. Now the Redbirds will have to hope they didn’t act too late.

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.