Cubs sign Nate Schierholtz to one-year, $2.25M contract

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From ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Cubs agreed to a one-year contract on Wednesday night with free agent outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

Financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.

Schierholtz attracted a pretty strong market after being non-tendered in late November by the Phillies, at one point drawing interest from nine different teams — the Yankees included. But the Cubs, who need outfield insurance in case top prospect Brett Jackson isn’t quite ready to make the jump, apparently came in with the best offer.

Schierholtz hit .257/.321/.407 with six home runs and 21 RBI in 269 plate appearances this past season between San Francisco and Philadelphia. The 28-year-old is a .270/.319/.409 career hitter in MLB.

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UPDATE, 9:45 PM: Crasnick says the deal is worth $2.25 million and carries $500,000 in incentives.

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.