The Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers have talked about a deal that would send the Rangers' all-time hits leader, Michael Young, back to Texas. But sources familiar with those discussions described those talks as exploratory and said no deal is close.
The Rangers, who dealt Young to Philadelphia this past winter, have been hunting for a right-handed bat but haven't come close to landing one, according to multiple sources who have spoken with them.
Their targets have included Alex Rios of the White Sox, Hunter Pence of the Giants, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse of the Mariners, Justin Ruggiano of the Marlins, and others. Because Texas would prefer to acquire an outfielder, third baseman Young is considered mostly a back-burner possibility.
However, teams that have talked with the Phillies say they've shifted course in the past 24 to 48 hours, after a six-game losing streak that has dropped them nine games back in the NL East and 9½ behind in the wild-card standings.
Before this streak, the Phillies had been looking to add bullpen arms and outfield bats. However, they're now telling clubs they're open to listening to offers on players such as Young, catcher Carlos Ruiz, closer Jonathan Papelbon and even players such as Cliff Lee.
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported Friday that the Phillies had gotten recent offers on Lee from multiple teams. To which their general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., responded:
“I never put any real absolutes on anything. Although we don't have any desire to move a guy like that because we view him as someone who will be key to our future, I am a businessperson, as well, and I'll be a good listener.
“I can't sit here and say I'm not going to trade Chase [Utley] or Cliff, or Michael Young, or Chooch [Ruiz], or any of these guys. Some guys are less tradable than others. But I think I owe it to us as an organization to listen. If teams are going to come at us and suggest things, I'm not going to turn off the faucet and stop listening to them.”
Sources say the Phillies would need to be overwhelmed to trade Lee, even in the wake of their agreement Friday to sign Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who is viewed as being likely to pitch in their rotation as soon as next season. However, they’re said to be more open to trading Young, who can be a free agent after this season and is unlikely to re-sign in Philadelphia.