Shawn Kelley, the newest Texas Rangers reliever, spent 2016 and 2017 and half of last season with the Washington Nationals, and along the way got to know free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper.
They are buddies, and Kelley said on Wednesday that he spoke to Harper recently to check in on how he was doing as camps across baseball were starting with him still on the market.
Kelley knows a team will come calling, but he also provided this nugget:
“I talked to him the other day, and he said it’s actually slower than you guys think,” Kelley said.
The San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies are believed to be the front-runners for Harper, who reportedly turned down an offer during the season for the Nationals of 10 years and $300 million.
The Rangers, as has been the case all off-season, do not appear to be in the mix.
General manager Jon Daniels said that the Rangers are still considering adding players during spring training, but more along the kind of guys who could provide depth and competition.
Signing Harper, or fellow mega free agent Manny Machado, would definitely create some depth.
Kelley said that he told manager Chris Woodward that “there is a whole squad of guys who could put us in the driver’s seat. But you have to pay for it.”
The Rangers will pay Kelley $2.5 million this season to provide veteran late-inning relief.