If this comes together, the Phillies will possess one of the most expensive infields of all-time.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the Rangers and Phillies are in “advanced talks” about a deal that would send Michael Young and cash to the Phillies for a reliever and a prospect.
The Rangers would cover more than half of the $16 million that Young is due next year in the final season of his five-year, $80 million contract. The 36-year-old Young, who has a full no-trade clause, hit .277/.312/.370 with eight homers and 67 RBI in 611 at-bats last season. He was far better in 2011, batting .338/.380/.474 with 11 homers and 106 RBI in 631 at-bats.
In return, the Rangers would likely get “a young major league reliever,” according to Grant. The guess here is that it would be Justin De Fratus, but Josh Lindblom, Michael Schwimer and Jake Diekman would also qualify. It’s hard to imagine that big right-hander Phillippe Aumont would be involved.
Young would take over as the Phillies’ third baseman, replacing free agent Placido Polanco. The infield of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Young would make a combined $62 million next year.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.