Report: MLB to name relief pitcher awards after Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman

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Jon Heyman has a scoop:

Major League Baseball will add two big touches of class to its top reliever award, with sources saying it plans to rename the annual honor for the best reliever in each league after brilliant all-time bullpen greats Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman.

The work perfectly for that given that each spent their entire careers in their respective leagues and given that they are 1-2 in career saves.

One quibble, though: can we occasionally name someone who isn’t a closer the best reliever in baseball? It happens, you know. A guy without a gaudy save total being the best relief pitcher. Even before the awards were named after closers, relief pitcher awards of various stripes have almost always gone to closers. Now, I presume, they will exclusively.

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.