“I am the only rabbi in the world with the ability to manage in the majors”

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The Blue Jays still don’t have a manager. Zev Icyk, who is studying at the Rabbinical College of America, has sent in an application. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun has the story:

“I have drive, motivation, experience and personality to take the Jays where Alex Anthopoulos wants them to go,” an e-mail titled ‘The Jays’ vacant manager position’ read.

“The Jays would be the most aggressive and exciting team in the bigs. I am the only rabbi in the world with the ability to manage in the majors.”

His qualifications, apart from pluck and desire, include (a) hailing from a Toronto suburb; and (b) throwing a no-hitter when he was in junior college in Iowa. He makes another good point too:

“One thing for sure, if a Chabad rabbi is the manager, the Jays will be the most hyped team in 2013.  The hype paired with the young talent-filled roster that the Jays already have could be something very special. What do they have to lose?”

I’ll admit to some skepticism, but ask yourself: would you be more interested in the Jays if they hired this guy or if they hired some retread like Jim Tracy or Don Wakamatsu?

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.