Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox continue to pretend that they don’t have a deal

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The Adrian Gonzalez trade was prefaced by a negotiating window between Gonzaelz and the Red Sox. No contract was signed during that time, but it has been widely speculated that the sides agreed to a framework of a deal. Gonazalez spoke with the Providence Journal yesterday about that:

“We don’t have any set deadline. Hopefully, we can get it done sooner rather than later. But, from my end, I want to show them I’m healthy and I’m playing 100 percent out there.”

The Projo likewise spoke with Theo Epstein:

“It was well-documented that we had a lot of conversations during the window that led up to the trade. As we said at the time, we developed a lot of mutual trust and understanding, mutual faith that when the time is right, both sides will be able to sit down and be fair with each other and, hopefully, work something out.”

This is so cute. It will be even cuter when, almost immediately after Opening Day, they announce the deal they have likely reached but have not yet formally completed.  With Opening Day being relevant, of course, because announcing a new contract then and not now kicks the Red Sox’ luxury tax hit down the road a year.  They did the same thing with the Josh Beckett deal last season.

There’s no way to really prove this, of course.  It’s not like Major League Baseball is going to put people under oath in an effort to find out if the Sox and Gonzalez actually do have a deal in place. They’re not even going to investigate it. And, technically speaking, there’s no ink on a contract.

But it does feel like the system is being gamed a bit. Does that bug you?  It doesn’t keep me up at night or anything, but it kinda bugs me.

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).