Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins
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Report: Red Sox interested in Fernando Rodney

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Twins closer Fernando Rodney has landed on the Red Sox’ radar this summer, according to a report from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The club is reportedly looking to deepen their bullpen reserves in advance of a push for the postseason, and Crasnick points out that GM Dave Dombrowski has more than a passing familiarity with the reliever from their time together on the Tigers.

The 41-year-old Rodney hasn’t looked himself lately — and that’s a good thing. He recorded 18 saves in his first 23 save opportunities this year, paired with a respectable 2.97 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 30 1/3 innings. While Rodney’s durability and effectiveness might be due for a more significant regression over the next few years, he figures to be one of the more affordable arms on the market this year and could give the Red Sox an easy way to spruce up an already-dominant crew.

It also helps that Rodney wouldn’t be thrust into the kinds of high-leverage situations he’s facing with the Twins, given that fellow right-hander Craig Kimbrel has been pretty well established as the team’s closer over the last three years. The Red Sox’ relief corps currently ranks third among AL teams and fifth in the league overall with a collective 3.24 ERA and 3.6 fWAR — totals that could still use a little boost from Rodney’s stellar 2018 campaign. Naturally, Rodney isn’t the only potential setup man under consideration; the Red Sox have also reportedly been asking around about Orioles left-hander Zack Britton and Reds right-hander Raisel Iglesias, among others.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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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.