I don’t think anyone’s crying for the Red Sox, but this from Peter Abraham of the Globe is notable: for the first time since 2001, the Red Sox only have one All-Star representative.
He’s a deserving one, obviously — it’s David Ortiz — so this isn’t a Scott-Cooper-in-1993-and-1994 situation, but it is crazy that a team like the Sox only has one. Injuries are a killer.
But All-Star-light or not, the season has quietly turned around in Boston. Since that 4-10 start, they’re 38-27. The Rays have slid down below them and the Sox have sole possession of third place. New York seems difficult to catch, but I don’t think anyone is banking on the O’s staying ahead of them for long. If the season ended today Boston would be a half-game from a playoff spot.
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.