Marty Brennman takes the Reds broadcast to a very dark place

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Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley were doing the old Twitter question mailbag during a Reds game the other night and someone asked Marty what his greatest fear was.

Kind of a cool question. Certainly better than “who should the Reds trade for” or something. You figure Marty would go with “spiders” or “crowded elevators” or something. Instead, he gets real. Like, almost too real:

You have to tip you hat to Marty for being 100% honest — you can tell he thinks about this, maybe a lot — but I have never in my life been more thankful for Jeff Brantley being around to lighten the mood in my life. I’m just trying to think how he could top it.

“Well, Jeff, I often think of how bad it would be to be buried alive — Votto takes the 2-2 pitch up and in and the count is full — buried alive the way Uma Thurman was in ‘Kill Bill 2.’ Meeting eternity clawing and scratching at the inside of a pine box, screaming in vain. Votto takes ball four high and that’ll bring up Jay Bruce. Awareness of one’s imminent death, I feel anyway, may be life’s greatest possible horror. A horror we all must meet, but some of us, mercifully, unwittingly.

“Bruce is 6 for 20 lifetime against Garcia . . .”

(h/t to Deadspin)

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).