Chad Tracy has only logged 68 plate appearances this year, but he has apparently made a pretty good impression on the Nationals.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced before tonight’s game that the club has signed Tracy to a one-year contract extension. No word yet on the terms, but he is expected to receive a raise from his $750,000 salary from this season.
After spending last season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan’s Central League, Tracy joined the Nationals over the winter on a minor league deal and made the Opening Day roster after Rick Ankiel suffered a quad injury. The 32-year-old suffered a torn right groin muscle in May and missed nearly two months, but he has made the most out of his limited opportunities off the Nats’ bench, hitting .283/.353/.517 with three home runs, 13 RBI and an .870 OPS.
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.