Yankees close to acquiring Vernon Wells from Angels

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The Yankees’ front office sure is getting desperate.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, there are serious trade talks taking place between the Angels and Yankees concerning outfielder Vernon Wells. Passan says the deal could be completed by the end of the day Sunday if Wells signs off on it.

Wells has a full no-trade clause, but the Yankees can offer him much more playing time than he would get this year in Anaheim behind Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Peter Bourjos. Then again, Wells has stated that he plans to retire from baseball after the 2014 season so maybe he doesn’t care about reestablishing himself as a viable starting outfielder.

Wells batted just .230/.279/.403 with 11 homers and 29 RBI in 262 plate appearances last season for the Halos. The 34-year-old is owed a $21 million salary in 2013 and another $21 million in 2014.

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UPDATE, 3:54 PM ET: ESPN’s Buster Olney heard from a source that Wells is “excited about the possibility” of playing for the Yankees and that there’s a “strong chance” a swap gets done. The Angels will have to eat a large majority of the money still owed to Wells, so working everything out could take some time.

UPDATE, 4:12 PM ET: CBS Sports’ Scott Miller reports that the Yanks are looking over Wells’ medicals.

UPDATE, 4:30 PM ET:  According to Passan, Wells has informed the Angels that he will accept the deal. Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times adds that Wells’ things are being removed from the Angels’ spring training complex. It sounds like there are only a few more minor details to be worked out.

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.