Blue Jays sign Vladimir Guerrero to minor-league deal

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Vladimir Guerrero recently asked for and received tryouts with the Indians and Diamondbacks, but neither team decided to sign him.

However, the 37-year-old former MVP has finally found a taker: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Guerrero has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays that will be worth a prorated share of $1.3 million if/when he reaches the majors.

For now Guerrero will head to extended spring training and try to convince the Blue Jays’ decision-markers that he’s not washed up after posting career-lows in on-base percentage (.317), slugging percentage (.416) and OPS (.733) in 145 games for the Orioles last season.

Guerrero is basically only a designated hitter option at this point because he can’t play the outfield regularly and is brutal defensively when he does, but Adam Lind has been terrible and the Blue Jays could potentially move Edwin Encarnacion to first base to open up the DH spot.

UPDATE: Jonah Keri of Grantland notes that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was an Expos fan/employee, so there might be a bit of nostalgia in the signing.

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.