The Orioles have free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus on their radar, but it seems that they might have some competition from another team in the American League East.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Rays have had discussions with Rasmus. Wil Myers and Matt Joyce have already been traded this winter and Ben Zobrist could soon follow him out the door, so that leaves Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza, David DeJesus, and Brandon Guyer to fill the outfield and the DH spot. That group might be sufficient even without Zobrist in the mix, but they are apparently keeping their options open depending on Rasmus’ asking price.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter met with Rasmus this weekend to get an idea of how he would fit in the team’s clubhouse. No word on how Showalter felt after the meeting, but Morosi hears that Rasmus came out of it with a “very favorable” impression of the O’s skipper and the team.
Rasmus, 28, batted .225/.287/.448 with 18 home runs and 40 RBI over 104 games last season with the Blue Jays.
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.