Last month amid questions about how top prospect Jurickson Profar will fit into the Rangers’ lineup Ian Kinsler said he’d be willing to play wherever the team wants him:
I’m paid to be a Texas Ranger. Where I play on the field is not my decision. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win regardless of where I am on the fielder or where I’m hitting in the batting order.
That’s basically a perfect quote and exactly what any team would want a player to say, but it sounds like there might be a difference between Kinsler’s public stance and private stance on switching positions.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com the career-long second baseman “is not thrilled with the idea of changing positions less than a year after signing a five-year, $75 million contract extension.”
General manager Jon Daniels told Rosenthal that no decision has been made yet on Kinsler’s position for 2013, but if Profar is in the majors and Elvis Andrus isn’t traded Kinsler won’t be playing in the middle infield and Adrian Beltre isn’t going anywhere at third base.
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.