Phillies looked into Michael Young, talks didn’t get far

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From ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick comes word that the Phillies reached out to the Rangers recently about a possible trade for disgruntled infielder Michael Young, but that talks did not get far.

A source told Crasnick that the Phils were only “tire kicking” and that the conversation was “brief.”

As it should have been.  The Phillies are already committed to Placido Polanco at third base, Jimmy Rollins at shortstop and Chase Utley at second.  And they should be happy with that crew.

But it makes sense that the Phils would at least ask.  The Rockies have done the same, as have the Dodgers, Astros and Cardinals.  It’s safe to assume, really, that almost every major league club has at least made contact with the Rangers’ front office to see what kind of swap they might be open to.

The Rangers are really going to struggle to find a landing spot for Young.  He is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, his defense at the hot corner is not great, and he has not produced quality offensive numbers away from the power-friendly confines of the Ballpark in Arlington.  On top of all that, he is 34 years old.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels is not going to be forced into making a bad deal and he’s not simply going to eat the money remaining on Young’s contract.  The veteran may simply have to suck it up and begin traveling to Rangers camp.  There are plenty of at-bats available to him in Texas at DH and first base.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.