If you pay attention at all to the MLB Amateur Draft, you’re probably familiar with pitcher Barret Loux.
The 6-foot-5 righty from Texas A&M was selected sixth overall in June 2010 by the Diamondbacks but went unsigned after a physical revealed a labrum tear in his shoulder and multiple issues with his elbow.
He spent the rest of the summer getting healthy, then landed a free agent contract — with a $312,000 signing bonus — from the Rangers in November.
And now the Rangers have traded him to the Cubs, according to MLB.com beat writer Carrie Muskat, along with a player to be named later. Going to Texas in return is Jacob Brigham, a 24-year-old right-hander who began his career in the Rangers’ system. He was traded to Chicago this July for catcher Geovany Soto.
Loux, 23, has a 3.62 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 227 strikeouts in 236 career minor league innings. He posted a 3.47 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 100/41 K/BB ratio across 127 frames this past season at Double-A Frisco.
Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus says Loux projects as a “back of the rotation” starter.
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.