Chris Snyder joins Nationals on minor league contract

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Injuries have derailed what was a pretty solid career for Chris Snyder and the 32-year-old catcher must not have drawn much interest as a free agent because Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that he signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals.

Washington was already facing a playing time crunch behind the plate with Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos, so there isn’t much opportunity for Snyder to crack the roster and carve out a role unless Ramos struggles to come back from the knee injury that ended his 2012 season.

Snyder was the Diamondbacks’ starting catcher from 2005-2010, posting a .737 OPS in 556 games, but he’s hit just .195 for the Pirates and Astros during the past two-and-half seasons while struggling with back problems.

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.