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MLB rumors: Bryce Harper to meet with Yankees, many others in Vegas

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MLB rumors: Bryce Harper to meet with Yankees, many others in Vegas

Bryce Harper is one of the best players set to hit the MLB free-agent market, and a large amount of teams are vying for his services.

How many teams? More than a third of the league, per Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

"Officials from the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees are among upward of a dozen teams that have traveled or plan to travel to Nevada to meet with Harper, league sources familiar with the discussions told Yahoo Sports," Passan and Brown wrote. "Other meetings already are set for a site away from MLB’s winter meetings, which start Sunday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas."

Harper, who has spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Washington Nationals, could be the first player to receive a contract worth $300 million or more. You can debate if any player really is worth that much, but there's no question he's among the better hitters in the league and someone whose passion for the game sells tickets and merchandise. 

The 26-year-old right fielder batted .249 with 34 home runs, 100 RBI and a .393 on-base percentage in 2018. He also struck out a career-high 169 times. 

The Yankees scored the second-most runs in the American League last season. They have plenty of power in their lineup and don't really need Harper's bat. New York's pitching was exposed in its American League Division Series loss to the rival Boston Red Sox. That's the area the Yankees should explore improving, which makes starters Dallas Kuechel and Nathan Eovaldi better (and cheaper) fits.

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Dustin Pedroia: Red Sox are "scared" to have me on Opening Day roster

Dustin Pedroia: Red Sox are "scared" to have me on Opening Day roster

Dustin Pedroia can comprehend why the Boston Red Sox are placing him on the injury list to start the season.

But that doesn't mean he has to agree with it.

Shortly after Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Monday that Pedroia won't be on the Opening Day roster as he rehabs a knee injury, the second baseman offered his side of the story.

"It is what it is. I didn’t really think about it. I think the whole thing, I don’t think the team was expecting me to come in and look the way I looked," Pedroia told reporters Monday in Fort Myers, via WEEI.com. "They just want to make sure they do it right. That’s basically it."

Pedroia appeared in just three games last season after undergoing cartilage restoration knee surgery in October 2017. The Red Sox have played it safe with the 35-year-old this spring, limiting him to four Grapefruit League games and five or fewer innings in each of those contests.

Pedroia may argue the club is being a little too cautious.

"They have had to hold me back. I’m ready for Opening Day. It’s just they’re scared," Pedroia added.

"No one has ever come back from something like this. They want me to make sure I follow the right steps to do that and make sure everyone is 100 percent confident that when I come back, I come back and stay back and not have any issues.

"... I feel like I’m ready. It’s just they just want to see how my knee responds when I do that, which I understand. We’ll just go from there. It’s only, I think, a week or something, the plan that they set. If it’s being smart for a week and we make sure I respond great to everything thrown at me then it’s a good decision."

Boston has the luxury of not rushing Pedroia, as Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez can split time at second base in his absence. Whether the 14-year veteran still has good baseball in him remains to be seen, but he at least wants a chance to prove himself as soon as possible.

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MLB rumors: Brewers talking to former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel

MLB rumors: Brewers talking to former Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel

We're just over one week away from Opening Day, and Craig Kimbrel somehow remains unsigned.

But finally, there appears to be a team showing interest in the former Red Sox closer. That team is the Brewers, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

If he indeed heads to Milwaukee, Kimbrel would join an already-scary bullpen that includes Corey Knebel, Josh Hader, and Jeremy Jeffress.

Earlier this month, the Nationals and Braves were said to have interest in Kimbrel. But a recent report stated both teams are no longer "in" on the hard-throwing right-hander. Kimbrel's former Red Sox teammate Brock Holt said the free-agent closer had not received any offers as of last month.

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