The Rangers told Derek Holland to tone things down

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As far as his media profile goes, that is:

… it’s always been a mixture of good with the bad with Holland, who has also parlayed his goofball personality into some extra time in front of the cameras. Whether he’s a master self-promoter or just a kind-hearted soul who won’t refuse a request for his time, Holland has been told to try toning down the act and to put more attention on baseball.

Holland says he’ll be doing fewer interviews, goofy skits and spending less time on Twitter. Which is kind of sad because he’s one of the few ballplayers who seem like a lot of fun in that regard.

Of course goofing off doesn’t pay the bills. Pitching does. And even if there isn’t a connection between his pitching and his media profile, if the former goes south, people won’t hesitate to blame the latter, because that’s just how people are.

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.