Former major league All-Star Curt Schilling revealed Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.
“I’ve always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges,” the 47-year-old said in a statement. “We’ve been presented with another challenge, as I’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer. Shonda and I want to send a sincere thank you and our appreciation to those who have called and sent prayers, and we ask that if you are so inclined, to keep the Schilling family in your prayers.”
Through an ESPN spokesman, Schilling declined to say what type of cancer he’s battling.
Schilling won 216 games, was a three-time Cy Young runner up and won three world championships before retiring at the age of 40 in 2007. He’s been eligible for the Hall of Fame the last two years, receiving 39 percent of the vote in 2013 and 29 percent on this year’s overstuffed ballot. Since retirement, he made news by starting a video game company that later went bankrupt, leading to a lawsuit against him by the state of Rhode Island. He’s recently done studio work for ESPN on Baseball Tonight, and he had been slated to join the network’s broadcast booth for Sunday Night Baseball this season.
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.