Toronto has called up utility man Munenori Kawasaki from the minors for some infield depth and in a surprising move they demoted right-hander Steve Delabar to Triple-A to make room for him on the roster.
Delabar has struggled somewhat this season, walking 16 batters in 25 innings, but his 4.68 ERA is hardly disastrous and he’s a 30-year-old veteran of four big-league seasons with a career 3.68 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 157 innings. Oh, and he made the All-Star team last year.
Delabar has always had poor control, but he’s also always missed a ton of bats while being plenty effective overall. In fact, among all active pitchers with at least 150 career innings Delabar ranks seventh in strikeout rate with 11.6 per nine innings, behind only Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Greg Holland, Ernesto Frieri, and David Robertson.
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.