Bad news Wednesday night out of Giants camp.
According to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News, left-handed reliever Jeremy Affeldt will be shut down for the next 10-15 days with a sprained MCL in his right knee. That means that he will open the 2014 regular season on the 15-day disabled list.
Affeldt posted an underwhelming 3.74 ERA and 5.6 K/9 in 33 2/3 innings last year before suffering a July groin strain that lingered into September. He had a 2.66 ERA and 8.0 K/9 in 125 innings the two years prior and landed a three-year, $18 million contract from the Giants in November 2012. Affeldt had allowed seven earned runs in six frames this spring.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com suspects that the Giants will carry either Derek Law or J.C. Gutierrez to make up for Affeldt’s early-season absence. Final cuts are expected to be made Sunday.
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.