Are the Phillies scouting Cliff Lee, or is it something else?

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There was some buzz around the Twitterverse late this morning about how the Phillies had sent a scout to watch Cliff Lee pitch against the Yankees last night.  Could they be trying to get in on that hot, hot Cliff Lee action?!

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times says no:

What the heck would [Phillies top scout Charlie] Kerfeld have to check out Lee for? I mean, Lee
pitched for the Phillies a year ago, won two games in the World Series
and has gotten even better since. The Phils know all they have to about
Lee . . .I’m guessing the
Phils have more pressing needs for Kerfeld to be racking up hotel points
on. In fact, they do. It’s called second and third base.

Baker thinks it’s the Mariners’ infielder Jose Lopez that has piqued the Phillies’ interest, and that they’d like him as a means of filling the hole opened by Chase Utley and Placido Polanco’s injuries.

Makes sense to me.  A hell of a lot more sense than the Phillies chasing after Lee again. Which I don’t think Amaro would do simply because to do so would be to admit he made a mistake tading him in the first place, and big league execs don’t often do that, even if they should.

In other news, how hilarious is it that Charlie Kerfeld is the Phillies’ top scout? I don’t mean to trash the guy — I’m sure he’s great at what he does — but having watched the guy pitch and drink Busch Light and pour it all over Nolan Ryan’s head and everything back in the 80s, I didn’t think that one day he’d be a top lieutenant in well-run Major League front office. 

Yoenis Cespedes: “I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland”

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Yoenis Cespedes told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wants to finish his career with the Athletics, according to an exclusive interview released on Friday. The Mets’ 31-year-old outfielder praised Oakland manager Bob Melvin, telling Slusser, “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin” and adding that while he didn’t know if a return to Oakland would be possible, his love for the city had not faded.

Melvin, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised that the slugger wants another go-round with his first major league club, even if only as a final hurrah. Cespedes hit well over two and a half seasons with the A’s, compiling a cumulative .262/.318/.470 batting line from 2012 to 2014 and enjoying two postseason runs with the club before he was traded for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes in 2014.

There’s been relatively little for Cespedes to complain about since his departure from Oakland, of course: he turned in a career-best performance in 2015, slashing .291/.328/.542 with 35 home runs and 6.7 fWAR in back-to-back gigs with the Tigers and Mets, and netted a whopping three-year, $75 million contract prior to the 2016 season. Still, there’s something special about the A’s, as the slugger relayed to teammate Jerry Blevins:

I told Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.

Whether or not Cespedes gets his wish, it’s unlikely he’ll pursue any kind of deal with the A’s for the time being. He’s still owed $23.75 million in 2017 and 2018 and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2019.

Brewers sell Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes

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The Brewers offloaded outfielder Michael Choice’s contract to the Nexen Heroes of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a team announcement on Friday. Choice signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in early May, but did not earn a major league stint in 11 weeks with the team.

It’s been two full years since the 27-year-old outfielder snagged a big league opportunity of any kind. He last appeared with the Rangers in 2015 and played in just one game, striking out in his only at-bat. His production rate sagged through three consecutive minor league assignments with the Indians, Orioles and Brewers and peaked in 2016 after slashing .246/.304/.456 with 14 home runs for the Indians’ Triple-A Columbus. He was off to a decent start this season for the Brewers’ Double-A Biloxi, working a .272/.349/.503 batting line with nine home runs and an .852 OPS through his first 195 PA.

Choice is poised to join several other ex-major leaguers on the Heroes’ roster, including left-hander Andy Van Hekken, right-hander Jake Brigham and infielder/outfielder Danny Dorn.

6:43 PM: Danny Dorn no longer plays for the Nexen Heroes, as he was released to clear roster space for Choice.