Jesus Montero is playing a lot of first base in winter ball

12 Comments

Jesus Montero has only ever caught and played DH. But now he’s in the Venezuelan Winter League and he’s playing a ton of first base, reports MLB.com.

It’s probably good that he’s learning a new skill. After a rookie year in which he did sorta alright, he hit a mere .208/.264/.327 with three homers in 101 at-bats, got demoted and then got suspended for PEDs. The Mariners have probably given up on him. Still, he’s young and since he once showed a lot of promise he’ll get more chances in the game.  Better that he have as many tools in the toolbox as possible if he wants to take advantage of them.

He’s hitting down in Venezuela too. Maybe his disaster of 2013 was a wakeup call for him.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.