While this news is hardly unexpected given what we heard over the weekend, the Mets announced this afternoon that catcher Anthony Recker was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. This officially clears the way for top prospect Travis d’Arnaud to remain in the big leagues.
D’Arnaud made his major league debut on Saturday after John Buck was placed on the paternity leave list. There was some speculation that the 24-year-old backstop would head right back down to the minors once Buck was ready to return, but the Mets now appear committed to giving him as much playing time as possible down the stretch. In other words, common sense has prevailed.
D’Arnaud, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey deal, is 0-for-7 with five walks and two strikeouts through his first three games in the majors. Injuries have been an issue for him in the minors, but he has the potential to be a long-term solution behind the plate.
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.