Phillies Set to Meet With Free Agent Bryce Harper
The Phillies have their first major moves in the bag, acquiring All-Star shortstop Jean Segura along with relievers James Pazos and Juan Nacasio. The club simultaneously was able to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base by moving Carlos Santana in the deal. The move opened a spot in the outfield.
That could be a spot for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper. The Phillies are very much in the Harper sweepstakes and are gearing up to make their pitch.
According to Tim Brown and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Phillies are among hte teams set to meet with Harper:
Officials from the Los Angeles Dodgers, 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. Other meetings already are set for a site away from MLB’s winter meetings, which start Sunday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Brown and Passan say that the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs are also "expected to check in" and his former team, the Washington Nationals remain in.
Some teams are bringing out their big guns, too.
Magic Johnson will be the one recruiting Harper from the Los Angeles Dodgers much like he worked to recruit LeBron James to the Lakers. Former Phillies first baseman Jim Thome will be part of recruiting efforts. Not for the Phillies, though; Thome works for the Chicago White Sox as a special assistant and will represent the White Sox organization.
The Phillies signed Santana last year to be a middle-order left-handed bat and subtracting Santana leaves that open again. Segura is indeed left-handed at the plate but he will likely be at the top or bottom of the lineup.
The Winter Meetings begin Monday in Las Vegas and should include lots of activity. Some have said that Harper might want to announce his new team in Las Vegas, his home city. However, Boras clients are known to wait for the last dollar.