Report: Rangers, Red Sox discussed Ellsbury, Beckett deal

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According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Rangers and Red Sox discussed a blockbuster trade that would have sent Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Kelly Shoppach to Texas for undisclosed players.

Two sources told Bradford of the talks, with one describing them as preliminary and another talking about them as more advanced before falling apart. If that’s true, the talks likely died before Monday night’s deal that sent Geovany Soto to Texas. The Rangers also acquired Ryan Dempster just before Tuesday’s deadline.

The Red Sox might not have needed much back in return for Beckett and Shoppach, but they would have wanted some top talent in exchange for Ellsbury, the 2011 AL MVP runner-up who won’t be a free agent until after next season. They may have even requested shortstop Jurickson Profar, who is regarded by many as the game’s top position prospect.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. The two teams could explore a deal again in the offseason if Ellsbury doesn’t prove amenable to a contract extension with the Red Sox.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.