Russell Martin tells the New York Post that the Yankees made a mistake in not retaining him after the 2012 season. But unlike the usual “they should’ve kept me” stuff, Martin is not being emotional about it or trashing his former team out of some sense of being jilted. He’s actually making a spot-on bit of baseball analysis:
“It becomes an expensive mistake, no question . . . They can’t turn back the clock. They went and got a good guy who, offensively, puts up better numbers than I have and so costs a lot of money. I love McCann. They got a good one . . . I think the smart move is not to repeat a mistake. I think they paid the price for not acquiring an everyday catcher — or keeping one — and they went and got a good one this year.”
I don’t think there’s anyway to analyze the McCann signing without acknowledging that letting Martin go was a mistake. But apart from vague references to baseball being “just a business,” it’s not that often you hear a ballplayer look at some move involving himself in such objective terms.
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.