Quick Hits: Phillips, Olsen, Rangers, Greinke

The great Mickey Mantle announced his retirement on this day in 1969.  The Mick was coming off his worst of his 18 Major League seasons, a .237/.385/.398 performance in 1968.  While a .782 OPS would be a pretty decent performance for most mortals, it was well behind Mantle's .977 career OPS.  Mantle retired with 536 home runs, seven World Series rings and legendary status with both the Yankees and the sport as a whole.

Some news items…

  • Brandon Phillips wants to play for the Reds beyond his current contract, and John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculates how much it might cost to keep Phillips in Cincinnati.  The club holds a $12MM team option on Phillips for 2012, and Fay thinks Phillips would have to accept less tham $12MM per season in a new deal.  Fay guesses Phillips will ask for a Dan Uggla-esque contract, while the Reds will try to sign him to a deal similar to Juan Uribe's pact with the Dodgers.  If I had to guess, I'd say the Reds' financial situation might make them hard-pressed to pick up Phillips' 2012 option, let alone give him another expensive, multiyear deal.  Another year of pennant contention and more fans in the Great American Ballpark would certainly change things, of course.
  • It came as news to Scott Olsen that Pirates GM Neal Huntington listed him as as a bullpen candidate if he doesn't make the rotation, reports Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “They didn’t bring me in here to be a bullpen guy,” Olsen said. “They want to do that, we are going to have to have a conversation about it, and we haven’t had one about it.”  Olsen's contract with Pittsburgh includes $3MM in incentives based on the number of starts that Olsen makes, so obviously Olsen has a stated interest in staying out of the bullpen.
  • The Rangers' payroll for 2011 will be almost 70% higher than it was in 2010, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
  • Zack Greinke says he "kind of had to play the bad guy" by requesting a trade from the Royals, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com.  "The way things were in Kansas City, if I hadn't done that, the fans would have been outraged if I was traded," Greinke said.  "The fans — I don't know why, but they really liked me."
  • Keith Law of ESPN.com lists six prospects who might be "this year's Mike Trout" and have a breakout minor league campaign.
  • One of Law's breakout candidates is Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos, a supplemental first-round pick (44th overall) for Detroit in 2010.  John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press talked to the 18-year-old about playing alongside his childhood hero, Miguel Cabrera.
  • The Cubs have already paid back the $3MM they owed Ryan Dempster in contract deferral payments, reports ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine.
  • Matt Eddy of Baseball America recaps the week's minor league transactions.

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