Late last night several reports had Bobby Abreu all but traded to the Indians, but this morning a deal seemed far less certain and now Abreu is actually in the Angels’ lineup for this afternoon’s game.
That may not mean anything in terms of him eventually being traded, as removing a player from a spring training game is easy enough and perhaps the Indians wanted to get one last look at him or something, but obviously the deal either wasn’t as close to being finalized as initially believed or something has changed to hold it up.
Whatever the case, Abreu is batting sixth and playing left field against the Diamondbacks and his $9 million salary remains on the Angels’ books … for now.
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.