Remember all that talk about a right elbow issue potentially derailing the Mariners’ new seven-year, $175 million contract extension with staff ace Felix Hernandez? Don’t feel too bad if not because it’s a distant memory for the two main parties involved.
According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told reporters on Wednesday that Felix got a “clean bill of health” from Mariners doctors during his pre-signing physical. “Our doctors were very satisfied,” said Jack Z.
So the elbow thing was either extremely minor or a negotiating tactic. Whatever the case, the M’s have finalized the record extension and will hand the ball to “King Felix” on Opening Day against the A’s.
The 26-year-old righty from Venezuela is now the highest-paid pitcher in baseball history.
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.