All hail Dan Duquette?

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The comments are a fertile place for discussion topics this morning.  This one comes from rockthered1286 in the And That Happened thread, giving kudos to Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette for pushing buttons to give this team Nate McLouth, Jim Thome, Omar Quintanilla, Manny Machado, Randy Wolf and Joe Saunders.

I’ll grant him Machado as a good move before it was made and after, and one that some GMs wouldn’t have made. And I’ll note that not all of those guys have performed well for the O’s (i.e. Wolf), but man, how often do a series of moves involving guys like that, either in age or talent, bring about a playoff appearance? Who said when any of those guys were acquired that yes, now, the Orioles are going to the playoffs? No one, obviously.

I don’t want to oversell the “Orioles are lucky!” angle because (a) it doesn’t matter now because the wins and the playoffs are in the bank; and (b) it’s been beaten to death. However, to say that the 2012 Baltimore Orioles have not been the beneficiaries of good fortune and all manner of happy shiny phenomenon would be to miss the essence of the season.  And as far as I’m concerned, it’s what makes it all the more special and fun.

In other news: if your team isn’t playing the O’s in a playoff series, how can you not root for them?

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.