Barry Larkin to manage Brazil in World Baseball Classic

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With the World Baseball Classic qualifying round coming up in less than two months American-born Reds Hall of Famer Barry Larkin has been hired to manage the Brazilian team.

Larkin was in Brazil earlier this year as part of an MLB camp for young players and according to the Associated Press his daughter “recently recorded a single in Brazil” called “Bring On The Nite” and “the song is one of the themes of the country’s top soap opera.” She performs under the name CymcoLe.

Larkin has his hands full, because Brazil doesn’t have much in the way of baseball history and is currently ranked 26th by the international baseball federation. This season Yan Gomes of the Blue Jays became the first Brazilian-born major leaguer.

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.