UPDATE: The deal is done, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Young, the Rangers’ all-time leader in hits and games played, has been traded to the Phillies.
Nightengale hears that Young agreed to the deal after receiving $1.2 million in benefits from the Rangers and a full no-trade clause from the Phillies. The Rangers agreed to pay about $10 million of Young’s $16 million salary for 2013, so it’s a relatively low-risk gamble for Philadelphia. Still, that’s a pretty old infield.
1:20 PM: Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Young has “indicated a willingness” to accept a trade to the Phillies. However, the deal is not finalized because some of the financial aspects still need to be worked out.
Young is expected to get some form of compensation for waiving his full no-trade clause while MLB must approve the salary (more than $10 million, says Grant), being covered by the Rangers. But it sounds pretty close to being done. Grant hears that the Phillies will send reliever Josh Lindblom and prospect right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla to Texas.
10:28 AM: Michael Young has been taking his time to decide whether to waive his no-trade clause and accept a trade to the Phillies. But it appears that he has come to a decision.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com was told by industry sources that Young is expected to OK the deal and that the trade could go down as soon as today. The 36-year-old was expected to have a diminished role with the Rangers in 2013, so it makes for a pretty easy baseball decision, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports hears that the biggest consideration was his family.
Young batted .277/.312/.370 with eight home runs, 67 RBI and a career-low .682 OPS this past season and is expected to take over as the Phillies’ starting third baseman in 2013. The Rangers will reportedly cover at least half of Young’s remaining $16 million salary, as well as receive a reliever and prospect in return.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.
The Nationals are trying to go big this offseason, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that they are still in trade talks for White Sox’ left-hander Chris Sale and Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen. Both players figure to command a big return, as Sale delivered another Cy Young-worthy performance in 2016 and, despite a downturn in his production rate, McCutchen is still one of the more coveted sluggers in the National League.
In 2016, Sale led the league in complete games, with six, and turned in a 3.34 ERA and 5.2 fWAR in 226 2/3 innings. While teams have been sniffing around the White Sox’ ace since the trade deadline, the club is expected to maintain a high asking price — so high, said FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, that it may keep the left-hander in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
According to Heyman, four other teams are reportedly in the mix for Sale, including the Red Sox, Astros, Rangers, and Braves, though parts of Rosenthal’s tweet hinted that the Red Sox were maintaining their interest in hopes of striking a more affordable deal. Should the Nationals pursue a deal for Sale, it’s likely that they’d have to move shortstop/center fielder Trea Turner, which they appear reluctant to do.
McCutchen, meanwhile, is also drawing interest around the league after batting .256/.336/.430 with 24 home runs in 675 PA during 2016. He didn’t appear to lose much power in his eighth season with the Pirates, but took considerably fewer walks and struck out at a career-high clip.
The Nationals were said to be in the lead for McCutchen on Thursday, and there was some expectation that the club would wrap up a trade for the center fielder by the non-tender deadline on Friday. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi pointed out that the Rangers were also talking to the Pirates, however, and no deal has come to fruition as of yet.