Sure, it’s only 40 percent of what the Dodgers sold for, but $800 million isn’t bad.
The Padres sale to Peter O’Malley’s group was completed Monday, pending league approval that could come during the Aug. 16 owners meetings.
O’Malley is settling for the Padres after coming up short in his attempt to re-buy the Dodgers earlier this year. Among his investors is golfer Phil Mickelson, but it’s expected to be primarily a family-run team by Peter, his sons Kevin and Brian O’Malley and his nephews Peter and Tom Seidley.
Approval of the sale figures to go down without a hitch, as commissioner Bud Selig publicly endorsed the bid last month. Of course, the Padres’ first sale to agent Jeff Moorad didn’t go so smoothly. It proved to be a boon for current owner John Moores, though, as the new sale price is much higher than the previous $500 million figure.
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.