Ryan Knuppel  |  Wed 5th Dec   | MLB

The courtship of one of baseball’s premier free agents is heating up, as several teams are flying to Las Vegas to court the young star in person. The Seattle Mariners are continuing their fire sale with a trade of another All-Star, and a World Series manager is getting a long-term extension. Here are the latest MLB news and notes.

Dodgers, White Sox among teams meeting with Harper

As teams are heading to Las Vegas for the Baseball Winter Meetings, several of them are scheduling a meeting with star outfielder Bryce Harper. Harper, a Las Vegas resident, is reportedly set to meet with the Dodgers, White Sox, Yankees, Phillies, and up to a dozen other teams to discuss his next contract.

A couple of those teams are pulling out all the stops to land the 26-year old. Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations and minority owner of the Dodgers, is traveling with team officials to pitch Harper on playing in L.A. The White Sox are using Hall of Fame slugger Jim Thome, who works for the team, in their meeting with Harper.

The Cubs, Padres, Astros, Cardinals, and Harper’s original team the Nationals are all expected to meet with Harper either before or during the Winter Meetings. The former unanimous MVP in 2015 is expected to reach a long-term contract worth over $300 million.

Phillies acquire Segura

In a trade between two of the most active teams in the offseason, the Phillies acquired All-Star shortstop Jean Segura from the Mariners. Segura, along with relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos, heads to Philadelphia, while first baseman Carlos Santana and shortstop J.P. Crawford go to Seattle.

Last season, Segura hit .304 with 10 home runs, 63 RBIs, and 91 runs in 144 games. In June 2017, during his first season in Seattle, Segura signed a five-year, $70 million extension keeping him with the Mariners through 2022. There is an option for 2023, which means Segura will be playing under a reasonable contract for up to the next five seasons in Philadelphia.

Segura slots in as the starting shortstop for the Phillies. Philadelphia is still very interested in free agent Manny Machado, but now a Machado signing would either mean he switches to third base or Segura shifts to second base. While he has played shortstop for nearly his whole career, Segura was the primary second baseman for the Diamondbacks in 2016, his only season in Arizona.

For the Mariners, Segura joins a growing list of players traded this offseason in an effort to rebuild. Earlier on Monday, the long-awaited Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz trade to the Mets became official. Seattle has also traded reliever Alex Colome to the White Sox, and ace James Paxton to the Yankees.

Roberts signs extension

Fresh off of another World Series appearance, the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts agreed to a four-year contract extension, keeping him in the dugout through 2022.

Roberts, 46, is 287-200 overall in his three years at the helm. He is the first manager in Dodger history to lead the team to the postseason in each of his first three years. L.A. has won the National League West every year with Roberts and has reached the World Series in the last two seasons. However, they have fallen short both times, losing in seven games to the Astros in 2017 and losing in five games to the Red Sox this past October.

After the season ended, the Dodgers exercised Robert’s 2019 option, keeping him for at least another season. This latest extension gives him an additional three seasons of job security.

Big free agents like Harper, Machado, and Patrick Corbin are getting closer and closer to signing. Not to mention all of the trade discussions happening across the league. It all leads up to the most active week of the offseason, the Baseball Winter Meetings, December 9th-13th at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Ryan Knuppel