Yankees president says team has “absolutely no intention” of trading Brett Gardner

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It’s a fact by now that the Yankees have explored a Brett Gardner trade, but it sounds like they’re ready to pull him off the block for the rest of the winter.

Yankees president Randy Levine had a radio interview Sunday morning with Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York and discussed the still-swirling Gardner rumors. “We think he’s going to be on the roster,” Levine told O’Connor. “One of the reasons the baseball people signed Jacoby Ellsbury is the two of them together present a tremendous dynamic one-two or nine-one, whatever Joe Girardi decides to write in at the top of the lineup. … One will play left, one will play center, and it’s a tremendous defensive situation. So no there’s absolutely no intention to move Brett Gardner.”

Ichiro Suzuki could be the one to go to free up the Yankees’ outfield logjam.

Gardner, 30, hit .273/.344/.416 with 24 stolen bases in 145 games this summer for New York.

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.