Cardinals interested in infielder Mark Ellis

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The Cardinals got most of their offseason shopping done early this year, but the club still wants to add a right-handed-hitting infielder to provide insurance behind young second baseman Kolten Wong.

And there may be a specific target in mind.

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Cards spoke to the agent for Mark Ellis on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. Slusser notes that Ellis’ agent has “met with a number of clubs,” but St. Louis has money to spend and is typically an attractive landing spot for free agents.

Ellis batted just .270/.323/.351 in 480 plate appearances this past season for the Dodgers, but the 36-year-old is a strong defensive second baseman and can serve as a kind of mentor to the 23-year-old Wong, who was the No. 22 overall pick in 2011.

Former number one pick Mark Appel DFA’d by the Phillies

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Life comes at you fast.

The Phillies have designated pitcher Mark Appel for assignment. Appel was the number one overall pick, taken by the Houston Astros, in the 2013 draft before being dealt to the Phillies in 2015. He was selected one slot ahead of Kris Bryant and 31 slots above Aaron Judge, by the way.

Appel, who is somehow already 26, posted a 5.27 ERA and 60/53 K/BB ratio over 82 Triple-A innings in 2017. He’s had a history of bone spurs and other ailments that have hindered his development.

It could still come together for Appel in a new location — the Phillies have seven days to trade or waive him — but at this point you can’t consider him a prospect.