ORLANDO, Fla. — The Phillies were active in Thursday's Rule 5 draft. With the third pick, they selected right-hander Nick Burdi from the Minnesota Twins and spun him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade that netted them $500,000 in international signing bonus money.
That $500,000 goes into the Phillies' current pool and must be spent by June 15.
The Phillies also lost 22-year-old outfield prospect Carlos Tocci to the Chicago White Sox, who in turn traded him to the Texas Rangers. Tocci must stay in the majors for all of 2018 or be offered back to the Phillies.
CLEARWATER, Fla. — John Middleton’s private jet is on the ground in Las Vegas, a person in that city told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Friday night.
Las Vegas is the hometown of free-agent slugger Bryce Harper.
It is just a meeting and no deal will be signed Friday night, a source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia. No other details were immediately available, but the Phillies have had ongoing discussions with Harper since first visiting with him and his agent, Scott Boras, in Las Vegas on January 12.
The Phillies went into this offseason hoping to sign one of the game’s top free agents. They hosted Manny Machado in Philadelphia in December, but he ended up signing a 10-year, $300-million contract with the San Diego Padres this week.
Machado’s signing with the Padres left Harper as the Phillies’ primary focus.
Several clubs in addition to the Phillies have pursued the slugging outfielder. One of those clubs is the Washington Nationals, the team Harper came up with. The Nats made news early Friday when owner Mark Lerner said in an interview that the club had “moved on” from Harper. A comment like that would lead one to believe that the Nationals have pulled out of the Harper sweepstakes. However, in the same interview, Lerner said the “door was always cracked a little bit.” So maybe the Nationals are not out of it.
Harper is clearly seeking to top Machado’s deal and probably the $325 million guarantee that Giancarlo Stanton got from the Marlins in a 13-year extension. Stanton is now with the Yankees.
The Padres pursued Harper before signing Machado. The Giants have expressed interest. There has been talk of a mystery team. While it is unclear how many teams are still in pursuit of Harper, it is clear where the Phillies stand — or in this case, where they are parked.
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More on the Phillies
On this edition of At The Yard, Corey Seidman and Ricky Bottalico discuss the latest surrounding Bryce Harper's free agency. With the Nationals out on him, do the Phillies have any competition for the superstar? Who could be a mystery team?
If the Phillies sign Harper, which outfielder becomes the odd man out: Odubel Herrera or Nick Williams? Also, will we see a better season from Jake Arrieta?
1:00 - Nationals look out on Bryce Harper.
5:00 - Are the Padres contenders for Harper even after signing Manny Machado?
7:00 - If Boras rejects 10 years/$300 million, the Phillies should walk away.
10:00 - How much more is Harper worth than Machado?
13:00 - Odubel Herrera vs. Nick Williams.
18:30 - Phillie with the best chance to take a big step forward.
22:00 - Will Jake Arrieta be better this season?
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