MLB rumors: Phillies remaining hopeful for Bryce Harper; Cubs haven’t had extension talks with Javier Baez

It’s Feb. 24 with spring training games in action, and yet free agents such as Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel remain unsigned. Let’s round up all the rumors out there, shall we? 

Phillies optimistic on Harper

The Phillies seem like the most logical landing spot for Harper at this point, given everything we’ve been hearing for weeks. Still, a deal isn’t yet done. The word du jour is “optimism” as Phillies owner John Middleton just met with Harper and his wife in Las Vegas. Full story here

On Sunday, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported the following on the Harper sweepstakes:

There is a feeling around baseball that the Harper derby could reach the finish line sometime this week. Opening day arrives a month from Thursday and Harper and his agent, Scott Boras, are both smart enough to realize that the player will need to get into camp to get the necessary at-bats to be ready for the start of the season. Teams that have been chasing Harper are also ready for this thing to be over.

If the Phillies end up closing out a deal with Harper this week — most likely a record-breaking deal — the team will conclude an offseason in which the team added All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen, All-Star reliever David Robertson and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.

Kershaw’s issue is his shoulder

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was shut down last week with a then-undisclosed arm injury. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed Sunday that it is Kershaw’s left shoulder that is the problem and that’s, well, pretty concerning. Roberts insisted that Kershaw will still be the Dodgers Opening Day starter and even offered up some hope: 

Still, it’s pretty difficult to be excited over Kershaw’s prospects to start the season on time, with opening day only a month and four days away. 

No extension talk yet on Baez, Hendricks

With free agency becoming such a joke the last two offseasons, it might behoove some players a few years away from free agency to think about signing extensions with their current teams. Two names that might make sense for the Cubs are infielder Javier Baez and starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks. In an article in the Chicago Sun Times, both players say they’d love to stay in Chicago long term but that the Cubs haven’t yet approached them about extensions. We’ve previously mentioned Baez as a very good target for the Cubs to extend

Soroka has shoulder issue

Braves starter Mike Soroka is also dealing with shoulder discomfort. He told reporters that he expects to start throwing again “in a couple days,” per Gabe Burns of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Soroka missed nearly all of the 2018 season due to a shoulder injury, but he told reporters this issue is in a different spot. He made five starts last season as a 20-year-old. 

The top four spots in the Braves’ rotation are pretty well set, with Mike Foltynewicz, Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman and Sean Newcomb. The final spot likely comes to down to Soroka and Touki Toussaint, though Max Fried, Kolby Allard and Luiz Gohara could also figure in the mix. 

Categories: National Sports

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