Jose Mijares opts out of deal with Red Sox

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From Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports comes word that veteran reliever Jose Mijares officially opted out of his minor league contract with the Red Sox on Sunday morning to pursue a better opportunity.

Mijares was buried too far down the Boston bullpen depth chart to have a legitimate shot at an Opening Day roster spot and will try to latch on with a team that is a little more desperate for relief help. He had an ugly 5.14 ERA in seven innings this spring in Red Sox camp, but the 29-year-old left-hander boasts a 3.23 career ERA in 259 total major league frames.

Mijares has held left-handed batters to a .225/.288/.335 slash line since breaking into the bigs as a 23-year-old in 2008 with the Twins. He should have no trouble finding another contract.

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.