From Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notes column in the Boston Globe:
[Derek] Lowe understands teams wanting to go with younger pitchers, but if they’re not comfortable with that, he seems to provide the alternative.
“I’ve made my money, so it’s not about money for me,” Lowe said. “What you’d be paying a kid and what you’d be paying me isn’t that much. I love to pitch and I want to keep pitching because I know I can still do it.
“I would love to be a starter, of course, but I understand the reality of having to work out of the bullpen.”
Lowe posted a cool 3.04 ERA in 17 relief appearances (23 2/3 innings) with the Yankees at the end of last season, but he has not attracted any guaranteed offers this winter. He turned down a minor league deal (with a spring training invite) from the Rockies last week because he doesn’t want to have to compete for a 25-man roster spot.
The 39-year-old righty has a 4.00 career ERA and a 1.33 career WHIP in 16 MLB seasons.
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.