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Negotiations between Cole Hamels and Phillies “are heating up”

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Cole Hamels’ agent is in Florida this week and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that long-term contract negotiations with the Phillies “are heating up.”

According to Salisbury, agent John Boggs has already met with general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. once and plans to do so again later this week.

Asked to describe the present status of negotiations, Boggs said:

Basically, we’re talking. It’s a process. We’ve had a conversation and we’ll continue the dialogue. Ruben and I have a very good relationship.

However, he replied “I don’t see that happening” when asked if he thought it was possible for the two sides to reach an agreement before he leaves Florida.

The good news for the Phillies is that Boggs and Hamels apparently aren’t setting any sort of deadline for talks, so unlike many other impending free agents they won’t cut off all negotiations on Opening Day. So while they won’t be giving the Phillies a hometown discount, they also won’t be trying to pressure Amaro and company into what Boggs called “a frenzy” that can be created by self-imposed deadlines.

Ultimately it’s going to take more than $100 million to keep Hamels in Philadelphia beyond this season, but it sounds like the Phillies will have every opportunity to retain him if they’re willing to make that commitment before he hits the open market next winter.

Angels sign Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11:  Eric Young Jr. #4 of the Atlanta Braves slides safely into third base on a RBI triple in the fifth inning against the New York Mets during the Braves opening series at Turner Field on April 11, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  Andrelton Simmons #19 scored on the triple.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.

The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.

Report: Blue Jays close to a deal with Jarrod Saltalamacchia

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 9: Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 9, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.

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The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.

Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.

The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.