Brandon Phillips AP

The Yankees turned down a Brett Gardner-for-Brandon Phillips deal


UPDATE: Well, now it makes more sense. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was told by an NL source that before the Yankees turned down the deal, Phillips asked to the Reds re-open his contract and give him more money as an incentive to agree to a trade.

Phillips has a limited no-trade clause which allows him to block trades to 10 teams, so apparently the Yankees are one of them.

10:34 p.m. ET: Here’s an interesting one. According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Yankees have turned down a trade that would have sent outfielder Brett Gardner to the Reds for second baseman Brandon Phillips.

It sounds like a pretty good match on paper, as the Yankees have a surplus of outfielders and Phillips would help fill the void at second base now that Robinson Cano has agreed to a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners. Meanwhile, Gardner would give the Reds a quality option to take over the leadoff spot (and potentially center field) with Shin-Soo Choo expected to sign elsewhere. However, the Yankees passed on the opportunity.

It’s worth wondering whether Phillips’ contract had something to do with the Yankees passing here, as he’s owed $50 million over the next four seasons and is already 32 years old. There isn’t much out there among free agent second basemen beyond Omar Infante, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them revisit the possibility later on.

Phillips amassed 18 homers and a career-high 103 RBI this past season, but he posted a mediocre .703 OPS in the process. Gardner, a popular trade target at this year’s Winter Meetings, batted .273/.344/.416 with eight homers and 24 stolen bases over 145 games this past season. He can become a free agent next winter.

Astros stave off AL West elimination, beat the Diamondbacks

Colby Rasmus, Gary Pettis
AP Photo

Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.

Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.

The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.

The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.

If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.

If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.

Video: Kelby Tomlinson slides in for an inside-the-park home run

Kelby Tomlinson
AP Photo
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Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.

Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.

It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.