Jason Bay cleared for physical activity, still wants to return this season

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Jason Bay has finally been cleared to begin physical activity, however he’s not sure if he will be able to play again this season, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

“I expect to. But, at the same time … I haven’t done anything in a
month and there’s a certain rigor of programs you need to go through,”
Bay said. “I’m also fighting not just getting back into shape, but also
making sure my head doesn’t hurt, either. You’re going against two
things.

“I fully expect to and I want to [return]. I also
understand we have time constraints as well. If the consolation to all
of it is going into the offseason knowing I didn’t have any
restrictions, that’s definitely something that I need to do.”

Bay said his persistent headaches began to subside about a week ago. He suffered a concussion when he ran face-first into the left field wall in Los Angeles on July 23. Since then, he has had time to speak with several athletes who have gone through concussions, including his friend and fellow countryman Justin Morneau, who continues to experience symptoms.

It would be nice to see Bay return in September, but it won’t change the reality that his first season in Queens has been a disappointment for all involved. Signed to a four-year, $66 million contract over the winter, Bay is batting just .249/.347/.402 with six homers, 47 RBI and a 749 OPS.

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).