There’s a flu bug going around the Cubs clubhouse and the latest victim is Matt Garza, with manager Dale Sveum saying this morning that the right-hander is “iffy” to make his scheduled Sunday start.
Garza was originally supposed to start today before being pushed back in the rotation and Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs have “summoned” Travis Wood from Triple-A to be on call in case Garza can’t pitch against the Dodgers.
Wood was acquired from the Reds in the Sean Marshall trade and has an ugly 5.18 ERA in five starts at Triple-A, but that comes along with a strong 30/8 K/BB ratio in 28 innings and the 25-year-old southpaw has a 4.18 ERA in 209 career innings as a big leaguer.
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.