Michael Young trade rumors refuse to die, get resuscitated by Buster Olney

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Rangers president Nolan Ryan appeared to put the seemingly never-ending Michael Young trade speculation to rest last week by saying Young “is going to be our designated hitter on Opening Day,” but now Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that Texas has “recently continued to explore a possible trade.”

And, like the previous 1,000 stories about Young being on or off the trade market, Olney pegs the Rockies as the most likely landing spot. I’m not sure what, if anything, has changed since last week or last month (or last year, since this all started at the winter meetings in December), but the likelihood of Young actually being traded continues to depend on how much of his remaining contract the Rangers are willing to eat.

Young is owed $16 million in each of the next three seasons, so unless the Rangers take back a similarly unwanted contract as part of the swap they’d presumably have to cover at least $20 million or so of that $48 million. Right now Young is slated to be the Rangers’ primary designated hitter, with plans to use him as a super utility man when needed.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.