Tackling the trade deadline: Philadelphia Phillies

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Philadelphia Phillies
First-half record: 57-34
Standings: 3 games up on Braves in NL East

Needs

Bullpen: Ryan Madson should return to form after he comes back from a hand injury, but the Phillies can’t rely on either Brad Lidge (shoulder, elbow) and Jose Contreras (elbow).  Adding another late-game reliever should be this team’s priority.  Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be an experienced closer, not with the way that Madson has stepped up.

Outfield: I think the Phillies can pass on an adding an outfielder.  Rookie Domonic Brown is hitting .371/.436/.400 through 35 at-bats this month, and even when he has struggled at the major league level, he’s never looked overmatched.  It wouldn’t hurt to bring in another part-timer — preferably a backup center fielder who could also serve as a defensive replacement for Raul Ibanez in left — but Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr. make for a nice pair of backups as is.

Infield: I’d rather see the Phillies go get themselves a legitimate backup for Chase Utley and Placido Polanco.  Wilson Valdez is a nice defender, but he’d be an awfully weak option as a regular if either Utley or Polanco gets hurt at the wrong time.  Omar Infante would be a great pickup if the Marlins decide they’re out of it.  Jeff Keppinger and Mike Aviles would also work.

Target

Luke Gregerson (RHP Padres): Gregerson makes more sense for the Phillies than Heath Bell: he’s an extreme groundball pitcher and he wouldn’t stretch the team’s budget.  He certainly won’t come cheap, not when he’s under control through 2014, but the Padres figure to be open to moving him if the right offer comes along.  They have plenty of needs, and they’ve never been shy about trading relievers to fill them.

Proposed deal

Gregerson for RHP Brody Colvin

Colvin entered the year as the Phillies’ top pitching prospect, but he’s fallen behind Jarred Cosart while missing some time and amassing a 4.16 ERA and a 43/22 K/BB ratio in 62 2/3 innings for high-A Clearwater.  He’d still be a really nice get for the Padres here, and he could be part of a promising 2013 rotation that’d also potentially include Cory Luebke, Casey Kelly and maybe Simon Castro, with Keyvius Sampson and Joe Ross on the way up.

Report: Christian Yelich’s relationship with Marlins ‘irretrievably broken’

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Joe Longo, the agent of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, said his client’s relationship with the Marlins is “irretrievably broken,” ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. He believes in the best interest of both Yelich and the Marlins to work out a trade before the start of spring training.

Longo said,

They have a plan. I respect that plan, but that plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career. He’s in the middle of the best years of his career, and having him be part of a 100-loss season is not really where [we] want to see him going.

The relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken. It’s soured. He’s part of the old ownership regime. The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and he needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win. The big issue is him winning and winning now.

He loves the city of Miami. He loves the fans. He’s had nothing but a good experience in South Florida, and he feels sorry where they ended up. But I think having him report [to spring training] and attempting to include him moving forward is going to be uncomfortable for both sides. I don’t see how it’s going to work.

This certainly comes as no surprise considering the offseason the Marlins have had after installing new ownership, going from Jeffrey Loria to Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter. The club traded All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last season, as well as Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. As Crasnick notes, Yelich isn’t the only player to express disappointment with the Marlins’ current direction — J.T. Realmuto and Starlin Castro have as well.

Yelich, 26, signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension with the Marlins in March of 2015. Given his career performance, that’s a bargain of a contract, which is why more than a handful of teams have inquired with the Marlins about him this offseason. Yelich finished the past season with a .282/.369/.439 triple-slash line along with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances.