Sure, Terry Francona would manage again if someone called him

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Terry Francona has taken to baseball commentary better than most ex-players and ex-managers do, but he’s not ruling out getting back in uniform. Well, in his case it’d be back in windbreaker, but you know what I mean. Bob Nightengale reports:

Francona, whose eight-year, stint with the Red Sox ended last September, told USA TODAY Sports he’d be interested in managing, but only for the right job.

“If something down the road presents itself and it’s the right job, I’d like to do it,” Francona said. “But I don’t want to manage just to manage.”

I hope he doesn’t manage next season because I have a sneaking suspicion Bobby Valentine is gonna be back on ESPN in 2013 and I think their banter would be rich.

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.