Cleveland Browns first-round pick and former Yankees minor leaguer Brandon Weeden threw out the first pitch for the Indians tonight, missing high and inside.
It must have brought back memories.
Weeden pitched for five years in the minors, four in the Yankees’ system, after the Bombers made him a second-round pick in 2002 and went 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA and a 344/213 K/BB ratio in 374 1/3 innings before deciding to give up baseball for football.
Of course, things got a lot better for him with his new sport. After redshirting in 2007 and spending two years as a backup, Weeden became one of college football’s top quarterbacks the last two years, and despite his advanced age, the Browns made him the 22nd selection in April’s draft.
After the first pitch today, Weeden said it was the first time in four years he had picked up a baseball.
“I don’t miss it,” Weeden said of the minors. “If I had made it all the way up here (the majors) I’m sure it would be a different story.”
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.