Max Scherzer would like a long-term extension from Tigers

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Justin Verlander is already being asked about free agency, but rotation-mate Max Scherzer, who like Verlander is under the Tigers’ control through 2014, said yesterday that he’d like to sign a long-term extension:

My preference is I love Detroit. I love the city. I love being part of this organization. I love being part of this organization because of the winning atmosphere that comes from the owner that goes down to the GM, that goes down to management, that goes down to everybody.

Not every organization has that, and to be part of an organization that’s all about winning, it’s something you want to be a part of. And so, if they would want to include me in their long-term plans, I want to be a part of it because of the atmosphere and culture here in Detroit.

Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that the Tigers “brought up the possibility of a long-term contract” before avoiding arbitration for this season with a one-year, $6.725 million deal. Scherzer is a Scott Boras client and they tend not to pass up free agency, although Jered Weaver is a prominent recent example of a top-notch pitcher who did with a very team-friendly deal.

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.