While making an appearance at a school in Harlem to promote literary R.A. Dickey gave an update on his contract talks with the Mets, saying that “the pace is slow” and reiterating that he won’t continue to negotiate once the season begins.
Dickey is under contract for $5 million in 2013 and has said all along that he won’t talk in-season, making it clear that he’d like to get an extension worked out sooner than later. He also noted that he thought talks would proceed more quickly based on what general manager Sandy Alderson said early in the offseason.
“We have until spring training, but I would think they would formulate some kind of plan so they can know what they can do forthcoming,” Dickey said, via Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. “They have offered and we have countered. That’s kind of the stage that we’re in. We’re hoping to hear back from them soon and get the dialogue going again.”
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.