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July 13, 2017

MLB Trade Deadline rumors: Phillies 'vocal' about Christian Yelich

Earlier this week, we passed along some whispers involving the Phillies and a pair of Marlins outfielders, Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. While the former is clearly the bigger name here, I just read on Facebook that the latter may be of more interest to the Phillies.

Let me explain. When I say I read it on Facebook, it's not some meme my uncle posted or a friend posting that he heard it from his girlfriend's mom's co-worker's son's brother-in-law who gets his hair cut at the same place as Matt Klentak. No, this came from Ken Rosenthal, a trusted baseball reporter at FOXSports who suddenly finds himself without a place to write following his company's decision to go all-video.

Here's what he had to say: 

You should click over and give him the page views, if for no other reason than to show why their decision is silly.

But here are the nuts and bolts of it:

•  There's been no dialogue between the Phillies and Marlins about what it might take to get a deal like this done, since the size of Stanton's contract would likely limit the number of prospects the Marlins would get in return.

•  The Phillies have not expressed any outward interest in Stanton, says Rosenthal, citing high-ranking officials with both teams. But since the Phillies have more than enough money to spend, they've "kicked around the concept internally."

•  When it comes to Yelich, however, Rosenthal says the Phillies "have been vocal" about their desire to land Yelich, even expressing an interest to assume "bad money" — say, reliever Junichi Tazawa’s $7 million in 2018, for starters — as part of the deal."

Rosenthal's main point here was that the Marlins badly want to get some of these contracts off their books. So much so that they could toss in some cash in order to make the deal work – that's also part of the reason Yelich has become attached to Stanton. His relatively team-friendly deal makes up for the $295 million you'd owe Stanton.

Finally, Rosenthal says there are multiple teams have already expressed interest in the Marlins outfield – remember, the Phillies are not one of them – but also adds that perhaps there's a chance no team would be willing to take on his massive contract, especially with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado scheduled to be free agents after next season.

Of course, they could always throw in some cash to sweeten the deal or decide to make two separate trades:

When the time comes, I’m guessing the Marlins will not even try to attach Yelich to Stanton, knowing that they would be better off trading them separately. They can get a great deal for Yelich and his $11.1 million average salary going forward, a good one for Stanton if they pay him down to, say, $20 million per season.  []

So while Rosenthal is hearing that the Phillies are at least interested in one of the players the Marlins seem more than willing to trade, there's nothing imminent. And the interest, at least on the Phillies side, seems to be more directed at Yelich than Stanton. 

The Marlins are going to purge. The Phillies are going to spend. And while a Stanton-Yelich package might not be realistic for either party, you can understand why creative minds would start spinning.  []

It's hard not to think about this possibility, especially since it seems like it makes sense for both sides. 

Corey Seidman of wrote about just that – why it makes sense for both the Phils and Marlins – on Thursday and even went a little further, speculating as to what Klentak would have to give up if he wanted to try for the Stanton-Yelich package:

If the Phillies did decide to make an offer for both players, they'd have to pay the salaries and also give up several young players. 

Would something like Franco, Velasquez, another pitcher and two outfielders from the Herrera-Nick Williams-Dylan Cozens-Roman Quinn group get it done?

The Marlins would have to think long and hard about that sort of offer. They'd get younger and cheaper while adding major-league-ready pieces. They probably want pitching more than anything else.  []

What would you be willing to give up? And you better think quickly, because the MLB Trade Deadline is only 18 days away.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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