Michael Young Is Biggest MLB Trade Deadline Loser

July 31, 2013 by Benjamin Klein  
Filed under Fan News

Poor Michael Young.

It appeared that if anyone was going to get traded before Major League Baseball’s July 31 trade deadline, it was going to be Young. And yet, instead of packing his bags and saying his goodbyes, he’s starting at first base for the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com:

The deadline has now come and gone, and it appears that Young is going to be with the Phillies for the remainder of the season. It had to have been a rough couple of days for the veteran infielder, as it seemed like there was a new report every 10 minutes about which teams he'd waive his full no-trade clause to go to.

It all started when Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that Young would only waive his no-trade clause to head back to the Texas Rangers:

The infielder’s biggest problem was that Texas didn’t want to bring him back for a reunion. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported a few days before the deadline that the Rangers weren’t interested in trading for him, and that a deal between the Rangers and Phillies wasn’t going to happen.

Once Rosenthal came out with the report, everyone wondered if it was true, and whether Young would really be reluctant to go to a contending team like the Boston Red Sox or the Baltimore Orioles, among others. Would he turn down the opportunity to play for the New York Yankees?

The Phillies were the ones who gave Young the no-trade clause in the first place, and as Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports points out, they probably regret it after they were having a tough time finding a landing spot for him:

Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro may not have cared to hear that Young would only be willing to go to the Rangers—if that was even accurate—so it appeared that he started to play hardball. Amaro promoted the team’s future third baseman, Cody Asche, to the big leagues on Tuesday, per the Associated Press via USA Today.

Young was still in the lineup for the Phillies against the Giants on Tuesday night, and he even hit a home run. But it was expected that in the coming days and weeks, Asche would be getting the nod at the hot corner over Young, which could mean the veteran would be forced to come off the bench, per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Whether the idea of that sat well with Young or not, deadline day came and went. At 4:01 p.m. ET, he was still a member of the Phillies. It doesn’t seem likely that he would pass through waivers in a potential late-season deal, so now the 36-year-old is stuck in Philadelphia for the remainder of the year.

Through 99 games, Young is hitting .279/.345/.411 with eight home runs and 34 RBI. A contender definitely could’ve used him at third base or as a designated hitter for the last stretch of the season. But nope. Young will likely see a large drop in playing time and will enter the offseason as a free agent seeking a new home.

Young could’ve been a key factor in midst of a playoff run for one of the better teams in the game. Instead, he’ll be riding the bench of the rest of 2013 for the 50-56 Phillies.

Michael Young is, without a doubt, the biggest loser of this year’s trade deadline.

 

All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are current through July 30. All injury information in this article was obtained via Baseball Prospectus and all contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts.

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Phillies Trade Rumors: Philadelphia Wise to Put Very High Price on Cliff Lee

July 31, 2013 by Matt Fitzgerald  
Filed under Fan News

By placing such a high trade cost for teams attempting to deal for former Cy Young Award-winner Cliff Lee, the Philadelphia Phillies are putting themselves in a win-win situation regardless of what Lee's fate is after Wednesday's non-waiver MLB trade deadline expires.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com recently reported that the Phillies would require three or four prospects of their choosing in exchange for Lee, along with the hefty salary the pitching ace has in his current contract.

It would surprise Heyman if anyone would pay the vested option following the end of Lee's lucrative deal along with valuable young assets:

FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal cited a rival executive, who said it would take, "a lot!!!" to get Phillies general manager Rubén Amaro Jr. to pull the trigger and part ways with Lee.

Parting ways with Lee and building for the future makes sense for Philadelphia, but only if the club can get enough young assets to justify letting a talent like Lee go relatively early.

The 34-year-old southpaw still has at least two years left on his deal, with a club option available for 2017. His salary is $25 million, which is justifiable for a hurler of Lee's caliber.

In 2013, Lee is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA and is showing no signs of slowing down despite not having the strongest arm in the big leagues.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that everyone is on the trade block aside from Domonic Brown, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels, a former World Series MVP who sports just a 4-13 record this season. What's also noted by Salisbury is that Philadelphia wants Lee to stay and headline the 2014 rotation along with Hamels.

There is still a fairly promising nucleus at the core of the Phillies, who could still return Roy Halladay if he's healthy due to the team having a club option in 2014 to pick him up for $20 million.

Halladay reportedly feels as good as he did 10 years ago after undergoing surgery on his right throwing shoulder (h/t CBS Philly). If that is indeed the case and the Phillies can get a bounce-back year out of him and Hamels along with a solid one from Lee next year, there's no telling how far Philadelphia could go.

Making a run with that trio of pitchers is at least worth one more shot, especially with a key power hitter in Ryan Howard missing from the lineup since early July with a torn meniscus. The production from Philly's batting lineup can't get much worse, either, considering it ranks 25th in the MLB in runs scored thus far.

Unless the Phillies were to be offered an absolutely ridiculous crop of prospects, a young and superior superstar or both, a move involving Lee shouldn't be on the cards.

One source told Jim Bowden of ESPN that Lee indeed won't be shipped anywhere:

It's probably in both parties' best interests for Philadelphia to keep Lee.

Despite the fact that the postseason is bleak after a recent eight-game losing streak, there is still reason for Lee to stick around and contribute to what could be a legitimate World Series contender in 2014.

 

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Philadelphia Phillies: Grades for Every Player in July

July 31, 2013 by Alec Snyder  
Filed under Fan News

This July has been one of the strangest months in recent history for the Philadelphia Phillies.

It's involved one of the team's best stretches all season—and also its worst. At the beginning of July, the Phillies went 9-4 leading up to the All-Star break, including a 10-game stretch that saw them go 7-3. However, the Phillies have mustered just two wins since play resumed and have lost eight straight, resulting in their ugly 11-12 record this month.

Heading into the final day of the month, heavier thoughts weigh down the minds of Phillies players, fans and front-office members.

Yes, it's that time of year again: the MLB trade deadline.

By 4 p.m. ET July 31, the team could look relatively similar to how it looked when you woke up that morning—or it could look incredibly different. Players like Michael Young, Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon could find themselves packing their bags.

Meantime, until news of trades (or lack thereof) comes through, here's something to take your mind off the deadline. Here are grades for the Phillies in the month of July.

 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz in Philadelphia as Deadline Approaches

July 31, 2013 by Matt Fitzgerald  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly being active in shopping the majority of their roster as Wednesday's Major League Baseball trade deadline closes in.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the only players not on the trade block are second baseman Chase Utley, young rising star Domonic Brown and 2008 World Series MVP pitcher Cole Hamels.

Unfortunately, the club has endured an eight-game losing streak to wrap up its recent road trip, so the Phillies are definitely in the selling mood with the playoffs being unlikely at this juncture of the 2013 season.

Let's take a closer look at the specific buzz surrounding some of Philadelphia's marquee players, including analysis as to where they could land.

 

Why Trio of Phillies are Untouchable

The prior report by Salisbury outlined reasons for why each of the three cornerstones he mentioned wouldn't be on the market.

In the case of Utley, sources tell Sailsbury that the 34-year-old veteran and the team are working towards a contract extension and have a mutual desire to continue their relationship. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported GM Ruben Amaro Jr. views Utley as a "Phillie for life," too.

After a dubious start to 2013, Brown exploded in the month of May, batting .303 with 12 homers and 25 RBI to win NL Player of the Month honors and drive him to his first All-Star appearance. His power and young age is something the organization reportedly covets and needs more of, per Salisbury.

As for Hamels, it's been a combination of him not having his best stuff (4.09 ERA) and poor run support that has led to a miserable 4-13 record.

According to Salisbury, the Phillies feel Hamels' season is a fluke rather than a trend, and he's being counted on to lead the team's staff into the next era.

 

Chatter on Stars Who Could be Dealt

Pitching ace Cliff Lee is going to command a lot in return for his services, but it remains to be seen if the Phillies will be able to acquire enough assets to justify letting a talent like him go.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports cites a rival executive who said Lee would only be traded "for a lot!!!" Plus, Rosenthal points out how the financial resources aren't pressing Philadelphia to deal Lee, and Salisbury notes how the team prefers to keep him as a fixture atop the rotation along with Hamels.

MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports that the Phillies are open to moving ex-Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was recently outspoken about the team's need for improvement.

Veteran infielder Michael Young has been the subject of trade rumors, but a reunion with the Texas Rangers doesn't seem likely. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram indicates that the team is not keen on making any big moves before the deadline.

Those are the most specific points of chatter on many of the top Phillies, but as Salisbury notes, very few can be ruled out even at this juncture.

 

Jimmy Rollins Won't Wave No-Trade Clause, Even if Asked

The longtime Phillies shortstop has been with the team since 2000, but has a no-trade clause in his contract that could allow him to go to a contender. At age 34 and without much long-term value, though, there isn't much reason to ship him off at this point even if he did agree to leave.

Rollins isn't going anywhere, according to the Philadelphia Inqurier's Matt Gelb:

In Zolecki's report, he also documented how Rollins said he still had several statistical categories he wanted to rank first in for the Phillies' franchise before his career was over. Thus, it seems he'd be even less inclined to play for his first new MLB team.

With one year still remaining on Rollins' contract, it would make more sense to trade him at or before the 2014 deadline, if ever.

Given the many years Rollins and the Phillies have enjoyed together, though, it appears he'll start and end his illustrious career in Philadelphia—especially since he has the power to make that happen with his current deal. 

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MLB Rumors: Examining the Hottest Potential Deals as Deadline Nears

July 30, 2013 by Adam Wells  
Filed under Fan News

Rumors and speculation are at the forefront of the Major League Baseball world this week, as the July 31,  non-waiver trade deadline approaches on 4 p.m. ET Wednesday. 

Every team, good or bad, has a specific plan that they want to execute this time of year. If you are a bad or disappointing team, you want to look toward 2014 and beyond by trading aging players and expiring contracts to replenish your system. 

On the flip side, the teams that really drive the deadline are contenders. Those that have identified their flaws, carried out plenty of scouting, and preparing offers they hope will satisfy the other general managers. 

If only things were that simple. Right now, what we get is a lot of whispers from around the league that will end up being nothing more than that. Bringing in a second wild-card team to each league has given more hope to franchises that otherwise would be planning their offseason moves. 

As we look at all the latest news and rumors coming out, here are our thoughts on what is being said. 

4 p.m. ET

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Trade Rumors: Latest Info on Players Who Might Be Dealt

July 30, 2013 by Brian Mazique  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies have lost eight games in a row. They have slipped to 11.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. There's no question, then, they should be in selling mode.

Teams around the majors still in contention have begun to inquire about the availability of a few Phillies players, since there are still several talented players throughout the roster that can help some good teams get over the hump and make a serious postseason push.

Here's the latest on those players who Philly might consider dealing before the deadline.

 

Cliff Lee Is Coveted

Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Cliff Lee is on the wish list of a few contenders, but the Boston Red Sox may be at the front of the pack. He's owed $70 million through 2015, which includes a $12.5 million buyout for 2016.

It is clear to see why teams fancy Lee. He's 10-4 this season with an ERA of 3.05. He's pitched over 200 innings each of the last three seasons and is on pace to equal that again this season.

Perhaps more appealing is Lee's stellar work in the postseason. Even with an uncharacteristically bad postseason showing in 2011, Lee is still 7-3 with an ERA of 2.52 in the second season.

These qualities may even have the Phillies considering holding on to Lee for another run next year. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki tweeted:

With information flying in all directions, it's anyone's guess what happens with Lee at this point. But one thing is for sure: if Lee does get moved, Philadelphia would like see a huge return.

 

Michael Young's No-Trade Clause Is a Major Hurdle

Even if the Phillies desperately wanted to move Young, his no-trade clause is an issue. Per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Young is only willing to go back to the Texas Rangers or possibly to the Boston Red Sox.

That significantly handicaps the Phillies in a deal, thus it seems unlikely Young moves on—unless he has a change of heart.

The veteran infielder is having another steady season at the plate, and without many quality third basemen available, Young's situation is going to be a key storyline through Wednesday.

 

Kevin Frandsen Drawing Interest

The Kansas City Royals have won six in a row, and that surge may have them thinking wild card. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Royals may have some interest in Frandsen to play second base.

He's hitting .280 with three home runs in 118 at-bats this season.

The Royals are now at .500, and while a run at the wild card still seems a bit of a long shot, Frandsen could be an upgrade at second over Chris Getz who is hitting .209 this season.

 

Follow me for sports news, rumors and spirited opinions.

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Assembling Perfect Cliff Lee Trade Packages for Top 5 Suitors

July 30, 2013 by Mike Rosenbaum  
Filed under Fan News

Although the Phillies are reportedly willing to entertain offers for Cliff Lee, they’re asking for the farm in return.

According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is asking for three or four top prospects in return for Lee, as well as the assumption of the remainder of his contract.

Given that information, there are only a few organizations with both the financial flexibility and depth on the farm to make a run at the 34-year-old left-hander. And while it’s increasingly doubtful that any team would be willing to part with such a significant portion of its future under those circumstances, there are several clubs expected to at least kick the tires over the next 24 hours.

Here’s a look at five teams capable of putting together a loaded prospect package to land Cliff Lee before Wednesday’s deadline.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

2013 MLB Trade Deadline: Key Moves Philadelphia Phillies Could and Should Make

July 30, 2013 by Brandon Glass  
Filed under Fan News

As the 2013 Major League Baseball trade deadline is just over 24 hours away, the Philadelphia Phillies have several key decisions to make about some core players on their roster. 

About two weeks ago, the Phillies found themselves in pretty good position to make a postseason run, as they were within shouting distance of the Atlanta Braves and the National League East lead. 

However, two weeks and an eight game losing streak later, the Phils are a whopping 11.5 games behind the Braves, as well as nine games back of the Cincinnati Reds for a Wild Card spot. 

With an aging and injury-plagued roster, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has some major decisions to make within the next day that may decide the future of his organization.

Superstars such as Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Michael Young may wind up on the trading block throughout Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon. 

With that said, let's take a look at three possible deals that Philadelphia could and should make by Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. 

 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Where Michael Young May Wind Up

July 30, 2013 by Benjamin Klein  
Filed under Fan News

Philadelphia Phillies infielder Michael Young may be dealt at any moment, but the veteran’s destination is unclear.

A move appears imminent, though, as the Phillies announced Tuesday afternoon that the team was promoting Cody Asche from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Asche isn’t getting the call to sit on the bench, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer thinks he’ll be starting, and if Young stays past tomorrow, he’ll be the backup.

Young is hitting .277/.342/.402 with seven home runs and 32 RBI through 98 games for the Phillies this year. He can play any infield position and could serve as a designated hitter as well. All signs point to him playing for an American League contender for the last two months of the season.

If the Phillies are planning on trading Young in the next few hours—or just before Major League Baseball’s deadline tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET—Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that he isn’t going to be headed to the Bronx:

If not New York, then where will Young be playing for the rest of the 2013 season? Well, he has a full no-trade clause in his contract, and that makes things a little bit tricky. But by calling up Asche, the Phillies may now have some leverage on the veteran. He might rather be traded than sit on the bench going forward.

Let’s examine two of the potential destinations for Young.

 

Texas Rangers

Young played for the Rangers from 2000 through last season, and it seems likely that he’d be open to returning to Texas. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that if Young is going to waive his no-trade clause, it’ll only be to head back to the Rangers:

Texas doesn’t have any immediate openings in its infield, and as I mentioned in a recent article, it wouldn’t make much sense to play him over Mitch Moreland at first base. That being said, the Rangers could use Young as the regular designated hitter, as Lance Berkman is currently on the disabled list.

If that’s the case, Jurickson Profar—who has played all over the place this season—could go back to the outfield. While he only has four games of big-league experience outside of the infield, David Murphy hasn’t shown that he’s worthy of a starting position. Profar could head to left field for the remainder of the year.

The Rangers just need to focus on getting someone who can provide some power to the position. Of the teams in the American League, Texas has the fewest home runs from the designated hitter’s spot with six. Young only has seven homers on the year, and it doesn’t appear that he’s going to be a power threat with Texas.

There are better options available in the next day or so than Young. While I’m sure the Rangers are flattered that he’d be interested in making a comeback with the club, he just doesn’t fit what they need right now. Unless he wants to be an option on the bench, he shouldn’t want to go to Texas. Texas shouldn’t really want him either.

 

Boston Red Sox

While Rosenthal noted that Young would only be willing to waive his full no-trade clause to return to the Rangers, some reporters have heard otherwise. Sherman, for one, reports that Young would likely waive it to go to the Red Sox as well:

Young would likely be Boston’s third baseman going forward if he went there. The Red Sox started the season with Will Middlebrooks at third base, but he got injured and hit poorly in his limited time with the team. In 53 games with the Red Sox, he hit .192/.228/.389 with nine homers and 25 RBI.

Boston has gone with Jose Iglesias at third base since Middlebrooks’ demotion to Triple-A and was playing quite well. From April through June—a stretch of 39 games—the infielder hit .409/.455/.530 with 12 extra-base hits and 23 runs. In July, he’s hitting .200/.244/.213 and could end up losing his starting job.

The Red Sox have a couple options regarding the third base spot in the lineup. Boston could keep going with Iglesias at third for the rest of the year, go with someone like Brandon Snyder, recall Middlebrooks, promote someone like Xander Bogaerts or make a deal to trade for someone like Young.

Young probably won’t cost the Red Sox a ton to acquire, which is one reason the team might see it as a risk worth taking. As long as he hits better than Iglesias has in recent weeks, it’ll be a win for the team. If he doesn’t work out, the Red Sox let him go at the end of the season knowing they only lost a low-level prospect.

 

All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are current through July 29. All contract information in this article was obtained via Cot’s Contracts and all injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus.

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Phillies Trade Rumors: Philladelphia Smart to Shoot for Moon Regarding Cliff Lee

July 30, 2013 by Jesse Reed  
Filed under Fan News

Cliff Lee is reportedly drawing interest from teams looking to add a starting pitcher for the playoff hunt, but the Philadelphia Phillies have smartly set an exorbitant price their star pitcher. 

According to sources, Philadelphia has received offers from "multiple teams" for Lee, as noted by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. responded to those inquiries, per Crasnick:

I never put any real absolutes on anything. Although we don't have any desire to move a guy like that because we view him as someone who will be key to our future, I am a businessperson, as well, and I'll be a good listener. 

Amaro knows how much Lee is worth to his franchise, however, and he's set a high price tag on Lee's value, as noted by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com:

"He's telling people it'll take you three or four best prospects, plus you'd have to take all the money," one competing executive said of Phillies GM Ruben Amaro. Another executive put it thusly, "You'd have to give up your first born, second and third born, too."

Tell us how you really feel.

Prospects are highly valuable, but the money involved is just as much of a sticking point. Lee is slated to earn $25 million the next two seasons and $27.5 million in 2015 (via Spotrac.com). By that time, he'll be 37 years old, and it's extremely risky to carry such a massive contract in an aging player.

This approach is exactly how the Phillies should handle this situation, however. 

Yes, Lee is getting older, and he's not the same guy who won the Cy Young Award in 2008, but he's still capable of producing at the highest level.

This season, despite the overall struggles facing the Phillies, Lee has been a stalwart, leading the team's starting rotation. Posting a record of 10-4 with an ERA of 3.05, the veteran has struck out 131 batters while allowing just 22 walks. 

There's no indication that Lee will be unable to continue performing at this high level for the next couple of years, and if he does, then the Phillies will be set up to make a strong push back to the playoffs.

He'd be extremely valuable to any playoff-contending team that needs another starting pitcher, and Amaro knows it. He isn't worth trading unless the Phillies receive a huge prize in exchange. 

By setting the bar so high, Amaro essentially ensures that his team will come out ahead—regardless of whether Lee gets traded or not. 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78

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