In an ideal world, A.J. Pierzynski would like to play for the Braves

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As a Braves fan, I’m not sure how I feel about this. From Dan Hayes at CSNChicago.com on free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski:

“In a perfect situation, if there were no other deciding factors (money, another catcher), my ideal situation would be to play for the Braves,” Pierzynski said. “I grew up a Braves fan. That would be ideal, but with Brian McCann I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

I appreciate Pierzynski’s merits as a player and I think he probably gets way too much crap thrown at him for his attitude and character and stuff than is deserved. He’s had some incidents, but his teammates have almost always had his back which makes me think the “Pierzynski is a jerk” stuff is way overblown. But it also has never occurred to me that he and I would have similar rooting interests. I just … don’t know, man.

Guess it’s not that bad though. Especially when compared to the non-trivial possibility that Shane Victorino could actually be patrolling center field for Atlanta next year.

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.