Rays first base prospect Jake Bauers crushed his first major league home run in the bottom of the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Blue Jays. The blast came on a 1-1 sinker from Sam Gaviglio, giving the Rays a 5-4 lead.
Bauers, 22, was called up by the Rays on Thursday. He was 3-for-16 with a pair of doubles and four RBI in four games entering Monday’s action. He doubled in his first at-bat and drew walks in his second and fourth at-bats Monday night, sandwiching his homer. For those keeping score at home, he has reached base in all four plate appearances.
MLB Pipeline rates Bauers as the No. 5 prospect in the Rays’ system and No. 55 overall.
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.