Michael Young Rumors
The Phillies are willing to listen to offers on any players except Domonic Brown, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. That includes Cliff Lee, though general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s preference is to hang onto him, and he'd need to be blown away to move his ace left-hander.
The Phillies view Hamels' poor season as an aberration, according to Salisbury, and their desire is for Hamels and Lee to front their rotation in 2014. Utley, of course, is said to be working on an extension with the Phillies, and Brown has emerged as the young power bat that the Phillies have hoped he could become.
Boston is currently the most interested team in Lee's services, according to Salisbury, and their interest dates back to the offseason when they were told he wasn't available. Salisbury adds that the Red Sox's reluctance to part with Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr. makes it likely that Lee will likely remain with the Phillies beyond the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Recent reports have indicated that Lee would require three or four top prospects to acquire, though at least one NL executive speculated that he did think Lee would be traded.
Both the Yankees and Red Sox continue to show interest in Michael Young, and Salisbury writes that Jonathan Papelbon is "very much available" as well. He notes that the Tigers' interest in Papelbon had cooled even before their acquisition of Jose Veras on Monday, so there may no longer be a fit between the two sides.
As Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes, it's been 10 years since the strangest week of Brandon Lyon's life. In 2003, the then-23-year-old Lyon was dealt by the Red Sox to the Pirates as part of a pacakage for lefty Scott Sauerbeck. The Pirates decided they weren't comfortable with the state of Lyon's elbow and sent him back to the Red Sox in a trade centering around Freddy Sanchez and Jeff Suppan just nine days later. Now with the Red Sox once again, Lyon tells Britton that he hopes to be with the big league club in the near future. Here's more on the AL East...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that as of Sunday, the Yankees had yet to receive a single trade offer for struggling right-hander Phil Hughes. That's fairly surprising, given Hughes' solid production away from Yankee Stadium (3.02 ERA in 53 2/3 innings compared to 6.02 in 58 1/3 innings at home).
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman feels that there may be more offense on its way to New York via the trade market before Wednesday's deadline, writes MLB.com's Bryan Hoch.
- The Red Sox are no longer in the mix for Joe Nathan, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, but they're still prioritizing right-handed relief help. The Red Sox remain in contact with the Phillies about Michael Young but find the asking price for Cliff Lee too high, according to Bradford. The same goes for Jake Peavy of the White Sox.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com takes a look at how the Red Sox stack up in terms of starting pitching, right-handed relief and third base options.
Four straight losses have dropped the Rangers to 1.5 games out in the wild card. Here's the latest:
- The Rangers aren't planning on making any major moves prior to the deadline, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. General manager Jon Daniels doesn't think his team will acquire a significant right-handed bat, nor does he plan on trading Joe Nathan. Daniels told Wilson that the idea of trading Nathan never gained much traction: "We'll talk about anything," Daniels said. "That's our jobs, but talking about something and having it happen are very different things." Wilson adds that the Rangers haven't had any serious talks about Alex Rios, Hunter Pence or Kendrys Morales recently, and they were never that big on the idea of re-acquiring Michael Young or Marlon Byrd.
- The Rangers are strongly considering standing pat, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
- Manny Ramirez doesn't have an opt-out in his minor league deal with the Rangers, writes Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but the team "never intended to keep him dangling." They haven't yet decided whether they'll keep Manny in the organization, though they aren't expected to promote him. The 41-year-old is hitting .269/.347/.418 in 75 Triple-A plate appearances.
- "I've never had to worry about this stuff before and I'm not going to start now," closer Joe Nathan told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News regarding his rumored availability. It's hard to picture which contender could offer a quality bat for a closer, anyway.
The latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- Phillies third baseman Michael Young is open to a deal to just about any contender. Stark sees the Yankees as the best fit, with the Orioles still interested. Talking to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki about waiving his no-trade clause, Young said, "I don't know. The first thing I want to do is talk to the Phillies about that."
- The Phillies have shown very little inclination to move catcher Carlos Ruiz, surprisingly. And while they'd like to trade closer Jonathan Papelbon, their unwillingness to assume some of his contract is likely to prevent a deal. Papelbon is owed at least $30MM through 2015.
- The Phils have quietly been asking potentially interested teams about shortstop Jimmy Rollins, which would be a long shot even if Rollins wasn't likely to block a deal.
- It's just speculation, but Stark says some people have wondered if the Dodgers should be open to trading center fielder Matt Kemp.
- Cardinals lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski is a candidate to be traded.
- Stark suggests the Indians' Carlos Carrasco could be a name to file away for the Rockies, with the Tribe interested in Colorado reliever Josh Outman.
"We are certainly not giving up on this season," Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Having won three in a row, the Nats are seven games back in the wild card. Rizzo would like to improve his current team, but plans to avoid rentals. "I'm not concerned that we need to go out and get a starting pitcher," he added in talking to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Rizzo also downplayed suggestions of a rift with manager Davey Johnson, after the GM's decision to fire hitting coach Rick Eckstein. More from the NL East...
- The Dodgers and Phillies have not discussed a Cliff Lee trade recently, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Though the Phillies are discussing lefty Lee with other teams, Rosenthal sees plenty of obstacles to a trade. One is his current stiff neck; it would definitely help if he jumps in to start Tuesday evening against the Giants.
- The Phillies are "marketing some players aggressively, including Michael Young," writes ESPN's Buster Olney, but not Lee or Chase Utley. Reportedly, the Phillies are currently trying to extend Utley.
- Retired closer Brad Lidge will sign a one-day contract Thursday with the Phillies and retire in their uniform, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
- The Nationals do not want to part with high-end young pitchers such as A.J. Cole, Robbie Ray, and Sammy Solis, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The Phillies have reached out to other clubs to let them know that players, including MIchael Young, are available, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. However, coveted starter Cliff Lee is not among those players on the block.
Last week, GM Ruben Amaro admitted that he will be willing to listen on any player and couldn't definitively rule out trading anyone. That idea was underscored by sources telling Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that the club would listen to offers on Lee, who would completely change the landscape of available starting pitching.
Young, who is hitting .277/.342/.402 with seven homers on the year, has drawn the interest of the Rangers, Red Sox, and Orioles. According to one report last night, however, Texas is not looking to reunite with Young before Wednesday's deadline.
The Phillies have a number of attractive pieces for contending clubs, including second baseman Chase Utley and closer Jonathan Papelbon. It's not clear if they are being made available in the coming days but if they are, it would mark a change in thinking for Amaro & Co. Amaro has publicly stated his desire to see Utley play out the remainder of his career in Philadelphia and has said that developing another closer of Papelbon's caliber would take time that the club doesn't have.
- Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com names the Orioles as a primary team involved in talks for the Phillies'Michael Young, along with the Rangers and Red Sox. The versatile Young appears to make the most sense for Baltimore as a DH, Edes says. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported earlier this evening that the Rangers aren't planning to reunite with Young.
- A top Orioles scout was in Seattle this week as the Mariners took on the Twins, who have made Justin Morneau available, Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun reports. An industry source tells Connolly that the Orioles have asked the Twins about the former MVP, who will earn about $6MM over the rest of the season, though the talks are considered "preliminary." As Connolly notes, DH might be Baltimore's biggest hole.
- The O's have liked Seattle's Mike Morse for years, Connolly adds. Morse, 31, is currently rehabbing a quadriceps injury in Triple-A, but has hit .251/.313/.454 in 227 plate appearances so far this year, appearing mainly in the outfield. Connolly also says the O's could add still another arm, potentially a lefty for a late-inning role, noting that the Mariners'Oliver Perez could fit that bill. However, "the sense within the organization" is that the Orioles might be done shopping, as the team is hesitant to add payroll and won't send top prospects in a deal for a rental player.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports posted his latest edition of Full Count. Let's take a look at the highlights..
- The Phillies' direction remains unclear and its possible that they might not even deal Michael Young. His .344 OBP is the highest of any team regular and the return that they would get on him is unknown. Young also has a full no-trade clause, so he can effectively control the process. If he's zeroed in on returning to the Rangers, he can conceivably block deals to other clubs until that gets done. Both sides are interested in a reunion.
- It will be interesting to see if the White Sox actually trade Alex Rios in the days ahead. The Rangers' interest is overstated, Rosenthal hears, and the Pirates wouldn't necessarily want to take on the balance of the outfielder's contract. Things can change, but White Sox might have to wait until the winter to find a palatable deal for Rios.
- The A's remain interested in Jake Peavy, figuring that if they can't fix their offensive issues, they might as well add to their pitching strength. They're not going to part with Sonny Gray or Addison Russell, but if they do acquire Peavy, they could promote Gray to their bullpen and send Tommy Milone down, keeping him in reserve as their No. 6 starter.
- The Blue Jays appear unlikely to make a big move and they're not going to trade Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion unless they can improve their big league club and it's hard to see how trading either would accomplish that. Toronto is far more open to moving Emilio Bonifacio and they're also drawing interest on their relievers. They're also in something of a bind with something on Josh Johnson: they could either take what they can get right now, which isn't much, or risk giving him a qualifying offer this winter and having him accept.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Yankees were the only team to which Soriano would accept a trade (Twitter link).
- Prior to acquiring Soriano, the Yankees contacted the White Sox to express interest in Alex Rios, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter). The Yankees are on Rios' no-trade list and were informed that he would not approve a deal to the Bronx. Rios, however, says he was never approached about accepting a deal to the Yankees, Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reports.
- Sherman also tweets that the Yankees have continued to contact the Phillies regarding Michael Young, but to this point they've been told that Young isn't available and might not become available at all.
Even after acquiring Matt Garza earlier this week, reports have indicated that the Rangers are looking for offensive upgrades. They've been linked to Alex Rios, Hunter Pence and Kendrys Morales already, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports now reports that the team has had internal discussions about re-acquiring Michael Young, given the news that Lance Berkman could miss the remainder of the season or even retire.
Heyman cautions that a Young trade isn't a likely outcome, and the Rangers are still more focused on adding outfield bats as they await the fate of Biogenesis-connected outfielder Nelson Cruz. The Yankees, Red Sox and Reds are all said to be considering Young as well. Heyman reports that the Rangers have also expressed interest in Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia and Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd, though reports indicate that the Mets feel little inclination to part with Byrd.
Texas has Manny Ramirez at Triple-A Round Rock, but his bat has cooled since a hot start, and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported late last night that the team was unlikely to give Ramirez a shot anytime in the near future. Passan reported that the Rangers may not recall Ramirez at all, and one scout who watched Manny told Passan:
"This isn't Manny Ramirez. This is a 41-year-old still trying to play baseball and not doing it very well."
Ramirez is hitting .250/.318/.417 with three homers in 66 plate appearances since signing with the Rangers and reporting to Triple-A. He's struck out eight times and drawn six walks, but an evaluator told Passan that his bat "looked slow."