The Player of the Week awards were announced this afternoon. The winners: Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Jay Bruce of the Reds.
Konerko went 10-for-23 with three doubles, three home runs — including his 400th career bomb — and drove in four. He’s having another quietly great Paul Konerko year thus far, hitting .383/.444/.679. Someday we’re all gonna look back at the past 15 years or so and wonder why in the hell people didn’t talk about him more than we did.
In the NL, it was Jay Bruce, who went 10-for-21, hit four homers — in consecutive games — drove in ten and got on base at a .542 clip, leading the suddenly frisky Reds to a 4-2 record.
I should also add that I have this feeling that one day we’ll look back at Jay Bruce’s career a lot like Paul Konerko’s.
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.