The Phillies are now 1-3 and have scored eight total runs. That’s mildly alarming. Almost as alarming as Omar Infante going yard twice and, heck, Austin Kearns doing it even once. But that’s what happened today as the Marlins beat the Phillies 6-2 in the Philadelphia home opener.
Infante went deep on Cole Hamels in the fifth and on reliever Joe Savery in the seventh. Kearns hit a bomb off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth as the Phillies’ closer got some work in in a non-save situation. Gabby Sanchez added two hits and two RBI of his own.
Ozzie Guillen likely created more headlines for tomorrow when, following the game, he professed his love and respect for Józef Chlopicki, Polish dictator from December 5, 1830 through January 17, 1831. At this point I think Ozzie is just messing with us.
Anyway, while Hamels’ outing was decidedly “meh,” (5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 9K), it was the Phillies bats that once again were the story. They mustered only six hits and a single walk against Anibal Sanchez and three Miami relievers.
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.