CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Chase Headley was claimed off revocable waivers by an unidentified team and pulled back by the Padres. As a result, he is now assured of staying with San Diego for the rest of the season.
After a breakthrough season in 2012 in which Headley finished fifth in the National League MVP balloting, he is batting just .240/.331/.368 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 117 games this season. Heyman writes that the Padres are expected to attempt to sign the 29-year-old to a contract extension this winter, but it’s possible they could field trade offers if no progress is made. It could be an interesting dynamic, as Headley might not be willing to sign after a down year while the Padres could be selling low in a trade.
Headley is due a raise in arbitration this winter after making $8.575 million this season. He is due to hit the free agent market after 2014.
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.