This is getting ridiculous. Reds farmhand Billy Hamilton stole his 100th base last night. He’s played in 78 games. That puts him on a pace for 179 steals. When we last took notice of his pace in early June he was projected to steal a mere 160. The affiliated professional record is held by Vince Coleman, who swiped 145 for Macon in the Sally League in 1983.
Hamilton currently plays for Bakersfield in the California League, which is high-A. At present he’s hitting .327/.417/.447. While the team is mum about his future, it would seem time for him to find some catchers with better arms to humiliate.
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.