I hadn’t seen this until Baseball Think Factory linked Phil Mushnick’s column at the New York Post. And I gotta say, if you ever find yourself agreeing with Phil Mushnick about something, man, there is something weird going on in the cosmos. But agree I do, as Mushnick was taking Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez to task over his comments about Padres pitcher Alex Torres last Sunday.
As Mushnick describes, SNY put up a photo of Torres from the night before, wearing his protective cap. Hernandez mocked Torres for looking “absurd, and said “If you’re scared, get a dog.” As if a person wanting to protect themselves from a real threat is somehow a coward.
Maybe the cap isn’t the best looking thing in the world yet. But perhaps Hernandez could just note that without spewing macho crap that could, depending on who’s hearing it, make it less likely that players will take reasonable steps to protect themselves and adopt new safety devices as they come online.
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.