Is Jacoby Ellsbury being a wuss?

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ellsbury high-five.JPGTony Massarotti reports on the little dustup the Red Sox are having with Jacoby Ellsbury over his injury.  Short version: Ellsbury is still out of the lineup and says he’s hurting.  The Sox are downplaying it and wondering just how hurt Ellsbury really is.  Massarotti is siding with the team and is questioning Ellsbury’s desire to play:

Has Jacoby now become to the Sox what (medical) Bill Cartwright once was
to the New York Knicks? Is it Ellsbury – or DLsbury? . . . In the minds of the Sox – and others – Ellsbury has a reputation,
something only he can be responsible for. Earlier this month, Mike
Lowell openly wondered whether he still had a role on the Red Sox, but
at least Lowell’s remarks were motivated by the desire to play,
something that hardly makes him different from the majority of athletes. In Ellsbury’s case, the problem seems to be the opposite.
Does he want to play or doesn’t he?

I can’t say that partake in enough Red Sox Kremlinology to know whether or not Ellsbury is malingering or has questionable intestinal fortitude or what.  This smells to me, however, like something of an unfair broadside, if for no other reason than Massarotti cites the imagined pleas of “the pink hats in Camp Jacoby” and everyone’s favorite villain, Scott Boras in furtherance of his argument.

I don’t know if Ellsbury truly is well enough to play or not, but I don’t see how anything Massarotti cites in his article helps us figure that out.  This is one of those situations where an anonymous source who actually knows what’s going on medically-speaking could be useful.  Short of that, Massarotti is just knocking Ellsbury’s character, isn’t he?

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).