Baseball America tells the Jairo Beras story

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Baseball America’s Ben Badler has a must-read breakdown on the whole Jairo Beras saga. Beras, as you may remember, changed his date of birth before signing a $4.5 million deal with the Rangers in February. MLB initially declined to approve the contract, but did so in July, a move that left several other teams unhappy.

Badler notes that neither the Rangers nor Beras received any real punishment over the affair. Beras technically was suspended for a year, but it’ll hardly have any effect on him:

Beras will be allowed to work out at the Rangers’ Dominican academy and play in an unofficial league for July 2 signings over the summer. Then he will go to Arizona for instructional league, participate in the team’s Dominican winter program and go back to Arizona for spring training. He can play in spring training games and extended spring training games.

What Beras won’t be able to do is play in official games during the first half of next season, but he wasn’t going to do that anyway; as a (perhaps) soon-to-be 18-year-old, he was always destined to play in the short-season leagues that begin at the end of June.

Badler also has quotes from MLB’s Rob Manfred, defending the league’s eventual decision to approve the contract, and from executives displeased with the way the whole thing came down. It’s a well researched piece on a pretty convoluted situation.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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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.