Roy Halladay prefaced all of this by saying that he loves Charlie Manuel and that he was great, but he told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that it was time for a change:
“But from what I’ve seen, Ryne [Sandberg] came in and made some changes and addressed some issues that I think were being overlooked. So from that standpoint, as much as I miss Charlie, I think that Ryne’s going to do a good job and I think he’s going to bring back a little more of the Phillie baseball style than we’ve had the last couple of years. You know, we really haven’t had that whole team effort and the whole team hustle that I think we’ve had in prior years.”
Salisbury asked him about the things that “were being overlooked” and Halladay referred to punctuality, extra BP and practice and little things like that.
I guess everyone has their own way of looking at this stuff, but ultimately it comes down to wins and losses. When there is a stickler in place and the team starts losing people are quoted as saying that a more player-friendly, softer touch may be in order to relax people. When that guy is in place and the team loses there is inevitably a call for a firmer hand.
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.