Jordan Zimmermann gave Steven Souza a Best Buy gift card for the catch that saved his no hitter last year. Max Scherzer upped the ante a bit. From James Wagner of the Washington Post:
. . . after Max Scherzer tossed his career first no-hitter on June 20 against the Pirates, he bought catcher Wilson Ramos a little something for his help that day. But Scherzer didn’t stop with Ramos. He also gave catcher Jose Lobaton, who was behind the plate when Scherzer tossed a one-hitter against the Brewers on June 14, the same gift: an elegant Hublot watch.
They’re not cheap, though Wagner does not know which model was given. They retail from between $2,000 and $80,000 or even more for crazy ones.
There are some nice, graceful quotes from Scherzer and his catchers in the article. It’s been a crappy second half for Washington, but this is nice at least.
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.