Trade talk: Michael Young stays ... for now

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Trade talk: Michael Young stays ... for now

The Phillies remain in trade talks with several teams about infielder Michael Young. There’s a hitch, though.

“He only wants to go to one team,” a person with knowledge of Young’s thinking said on Tuesday.

Young, who has a full no-trade clause, would OK a trade to the Texas Rangers. That was the word 24 hours before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline. Whether Young softens his stance as the deadline approaches remains to be seen. If he did, he wouldn’t be the first player to do so. In addition to Texas, Young has drawn interest from the Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles.

Young started at third base for the Phillies on Tuesday night. Before the game, he would not answer specific questions about which teams he’d accept a deal to and which ones he would not, but he did acknowledge speaking with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. about the topic Tuesday afternoon.

“I had a talk with Ruben today, but we’ll keep that confidential,” he said. “Those things deserve to stay between me and the Phillies. The last thing I want to do is make this thing bigger than it needs to be. The Phillies have been straightforward with me and I’m trying to do the same thing with them.”

Young was asked whether he believed he would still be a Phillie after Wednesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

“It’s difficult to say,” he said. “I really don’t know. I don’t know.”

Texas is an attractive destination for Young, 36, because he spent 12 seasons with the Rangers before joining the Phils in a trade last winter. Young’s wife and young children have remained in the Arlington, Texas area while he has played in Philadelphia. The Rangers are looking for a right-handed bat and Young could fill the need.

However, the Phils are not going to give Young away and so far have been underwhelmed by the Rangers’ offers.

Despite this hurdle, signs still point to Young being dealt. The Phillies on Tuesday afternoon recalled third-base prospect Cody Asche, 23, from Triple A Lehigh Valley and they did not bring him up to sit (see story). Manager Charlie Manuel said Asche would start at third on Wednesday night. Young could still find playing time at first base. However, Asche’s promotion makes it pretty clear the Phillies are banking on dealing Young. The team was under no pressure to bring up Asche.

During Young’s brief time with the Phillies, he has proven to be classy, mature and professional. He said he was not troubled by Asche’s arrival even though it could pinch his playing time if he remains with the Phillies.

“I love Cody,” Young said. “I think he’s a great kid and I’m going to help him any way I can. I hope Cody has a fantastic career. We worked together a lot in spring training. He bounced a lot of ideas off me and I want to help him any way I can. He’s a great kid and I hope the best for him. He’s going to have a great career. I want him to stay healthy and be the best he can be and, like I said, I’ll help him any way I can.”

Young said it was not difficult to concentrate on baseball during such a frenzied time.

“The only thing on my plate right now is tonight’s game and that’s what I’m focused on,” he said. “I want to win tonight. Whatever happens down the road happens down the road. The last thing I want to do is hamstring the team I’m playing for. I want to make sure this is a good relationship from start to finish. Like I said, I don’t think there is anything right now that is imminent, so my thoughts are on the game right now.”

Amaro, in an interview with MLB Network, said he did not expect Young to be traded. He also said he did not expect Cliff Lee to be traded. In Young’s case, that might be posturing. As for Lee, the Phillies are seeking a huge return in talent and that could spell Lee’s staying put. Boston has interest in Lee, but is reluctant to give up top prospect Xander Bogaerts. The Phillies would require him in any deal involving Lee.

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies-Mets 5 things: All the pressure on Mets, Gsellman

Phillies (70-85) at Mets (82-73)
1:10 p.m. on CSN

After two rough losses for the Phillies and their pitching staff, the offense picked them up and came through with a 10-8 win. 22-year-old Jake Thompson takes the hill this afternoon while Robert Gsellman starts a crucial game for the Mets.

Here are five things to watch on Sunday.

1. All the pressure on New York, Gsellman
The Mets remain 0.5 games up on the final National League playoff spot. 

While their pitching staff was falling apart at the seams going into (and during) this series, the one saving grace for New York was its soft schedule, facing the Phillies seven times in its last 10. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals have to deal with the MLB best Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants end the year vs. the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, a loss on Saturday (thanks in part to Noah Syndergaard getting scratched with strep throat) puts the Mets in a precarious position. They're tied in the loss column with the Cards and Giants while fighting for one of two playoff spots and their rotation most closely resembles their Triple A team from Opening Day. 

Gsellman is one of those pitchers who started the year never having tasted the major leagues. In fact, he started the year in Double A. His first career start came at Citi Field last month against the Phillies and resulted in his first career loss after he allowed four runs in six innings. 

He's been better since that start, carrying a 3.13 ERA into Sunday. The 23-year-old righty will likely start vs. the Phillies again next weekend, meaning the Mets' season rides in part on a rookie with just 31 2/3 innings in the majors. 

2. Young man on a roll
While Gsellman lost his last start, Thompson has won his last two starts. The young righty is on a hot streak as his season nears an end.

Thompson's ERA has goe down in each of his last five starts, a stat made less impressive by the fact that he began that run with a 9.78 ERA. He has gone at least five innings in his last eight starts and has shown glimpses of why he was such a valued prospects.

In September, Thompson is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA over four starts. He's still allowed 33 baserunners in 23 1/3 innings during that span, but it's been much better than his lackluster August.

While Thompson is in line to start next weekend against the Mets as well, today could be his final start of the season. He has already set a career-high in innings and the Phillies may not want to extend him one more start.

3. What to look for in the season's final week
Including Sunday, the Phillies have just seven games left in their season. They're eliminated from playoff contention, but there's still plenty to watch as the Phils take on Braves and Mets.

Ryan Howard's final fairwell: With his five-year, $125 million deal coming to a close this year, Howard is almost certainly playing his final games in Philadelphia next week. He'll get plenty of starts and may even face the Mets' Bartolo Colon, who he's smacked three home runs off of in his career.

Playing spoiler: As mentioned above, the Mets have everything on the line both today and next weekend in Philadelphia. There are few better ways to end a postseason-less season than knocking a rival out of playoff contention.

More looks at the kids: Roman Quinn's emergence over the last two weeks has been fun to watch and Jorge Alfaro may get more chances in the last seven games. Beyond them, Thompson, Tommy Joseph and others close out a nice first season. 

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Maikel Franco has looked more like his 2015 self over the last few weeks. He's batting .310 in September with three home runs, matching his August total. His 15 RBI this month are his most in a month other than July. 

Mets: Asdrubal Cabrera has been on fire this month as well. After battting .405 in August, he's batting .333 and has five home runs, including the walk-off homer on Thursday. He's slugging .628 this month after putting up a .786 slugging percentage in August. 

5. This and that
• In Gsellman's August start vs. the Phillies, he only allowed one run while he was in the game. However, he left the bases loaded in the 7th with no outs before A.J. Ellis knocked in the decisive two-run double to give the Phils a lead they would not relinquish.

• Six different Phillies batters had hits off Gsellman, including Jimmy Paredes who went 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Despite pitching injuries, the Mets have the eighth-best team ERA in September with a 3.64 average. The Phillies are 15th in baseball with a 4.10 ERA this month.

• The Phillies are 6-9 against the Mets this year. They're already ensured of a better finish than last year's 5-14 mark vs. New York.

Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

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Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, killed in boating accident

MIAMI -- Jose Fernandez, the ace right-hander for the Miami Marlins who escaped Cuba to become one of baseball's brightest stars, was killed in boating accident early Sunday morning. Fernandez was 24.

The Marlins announced Fernandez's death, and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that Fernandez was one of three people killed in a boat crash off Miami Beach.

In the statement, the Marlins say they are "devastated by the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time."

Chief Petty Officer Nyxolyno Cangemi told The Associated Press that a Coast Guard patrol boat spotted an overturned boat at 3:30 a.m. on a jetty near Government Cut. The bodies were discovered a short time later.

Because the boat was on a jetty, the Coast Guard notified Miami-Dade police, which turned the investigation over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Fernandez was on a 32-foot vessel that had a "severe impact" with a jetty, said Lorenzo Veloz of the Fish Commission.

A news conference was planned for later Sunday morning.

Fernandez was a two-time All-Star who went 38-17 in his four seasons with the Marlins, winning the NL's Rookie of the Year award in 2013. The native of Santa Clara, Cuba became a U.S. citizen last year.

He tried to defect from Cuba at least three times -- landing in jail after one of those unsuccessful tries -- before eventually getting to the U.S. and going to high school in Tampa, Florida. The Marlins drafted him in 2011 and Fernandez was in the majors two years later.

The Marlins' game Sunday at home against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled.