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Phillies, Charlie Manuel making progress towards contract extension

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Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said a couple weeks back that he doesn’t want to talk about extending his expiring contract if a deal can’t be worked out before Opening Day. As if there was any doubt, we probably won’t have to worry about that deadline.

According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Manuel’s agent Pat Rooney had an hour-long meeting with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro earlier today.

“It was productive,” Rooney told CSNPhilly.com after the session. “We’re getting closer. There was some give and take. Both sides made some movement, but we’re still a little ways away. They know our position so we’ll keep working on it.”

Rooney added that he left the talks feeling “hopeful” that a deal can be worked out by Opening Day.

Manuel has done just about everything right during his six-season tenure in Philadelphia, so an extension is something of a no-brainer. He has led the Phillies to a 544-428 record (.560) during the regular season, including four straight division titles, two NL pennants and a World Series championship in 2008.

Report: Mariners acquire Chris Heston from the Giants

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.

Joe Nathan wants to pitch in 2017

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 16: Joe Nathan #36 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in the ninth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Comerica Park on August 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Mariners 4-2.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images
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Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.

Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.

According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.