Phillies

Yankees, Marlins reportedly have Giancarlo Stanton trade in place

usa-giancarlo-stanton-marlins-yankees.jpg
USA Today Images

Yankees, Marlins reportedly have Giancarlo Stanton trade in place

MIAMI -- After helping the New York Yankees to five World Series titles, Derek Jeter might help them win another.

The Yankees and Jeter's Miami Marlins have agreed to a trade that would send NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to New York, pending a physical, a person familiar with the negotiations said Saturday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn't announced the agreement.

Second baseman Starlin Castro would go to Miami as part of the trade, a second person familiar with the negotiations said. A third person said the Marlins would also receive prospects Jorge Guzman, a right-hander, and Jose Devers, an infielder who is a cousin of Boston prospect Rafael Devers.

The third person said the deal calls for the Marlins to send $30 million to the Yankees if Stanton doesn't exercise his right to opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the 2020 season.

Stanton has a no-trade clause in his record $325 million, 13-year contract and has indicated he will approve the trade, one of the people said. St. Louis and San Francisco said Friday that Stanton had vetoed deals to them.

As for the physical, injuries curtailed Stanton's season in four of the past six years, but he played a career-high 159 games in 2017 and led the majors with 59 homers and 132 RBIs.

If the Yankees complete the trade with Jeter, their former captain and the new Marlins CEO, the Bronx Bombers would pair Stanton with Aaron Judge, who led the AL with 52 in his rookie season. That would give them a one-two punch to rival Ruth-Gehrig or Mantle-Maris, making for must-see batting practice.

Judge sent a tweet to Stanton showing a clip from the movie "Step Brothers" with Will Ferrell saying, "Did we just become best friends?"

Obtaining the 28-year-old Stanton would be reminiscent of the Yankees' acquisition of AL MVP Alex Rodriguez from Texas after the 2003 season for second baseman Alfonso Soriano. Rodriguez signed a $275 million, 10-year contract after the 2007 season that ran through age 42; Stanton's deal runs through age 38.

An eight-year veteran with 267 home runs, Stanton has never played on a winning team and might now go to a club that hasn't had a losing record since 1992. The Yankees reached Game 7 of the AL Championship Series this season in the first full year of a youth movement.

New Yankees manager Aaron Boone, along with the front office, would have to sort where Stanton will play. He has played his whole big league career in right field, as has Judge. The Yankees also have the option of using one of them as a designated hitter.

Stanton is owed $295 million over the final decade of his record $325 million, 13-year contract. The All-Star right fielder led the majors in homers and RBIs, but his salary will rise to $25 million in 2018.

Jeter is expected to reduce payroll by at least 20 percent to $90 million or less. The Marlins shed $38 million of salary through 2020 by trading two-time All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday for three prospects.

Castro, who hit .300 with 16 home runs this year, could replace Gordon at second base -- or might also be dealt by Miami because of his contract. He's due $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019 plus a $16 million club option for 2020 with a $1 million buyout.

Gary Denbo, the Marlins new vice president of scouting and player development, spent the past eight years with New York and oversaw a farm system that ranks among the best in baseball. Guzman went 5-3 this year with a 2.30 ERA for Class A Staten Island. Devers, who just turned 18, batted .245 with 16 steals in 53 games for two teams in the low minors.

More Marlins deals are possible at the winter meetings beginning Sunday in Lake Buena Vista; Castro and outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna possibly are on the trading block.

The Yankees' payroll for purposes of baseball's luxury tax was about $209 million this year, and owner Hal Steinbrenner has vowed to reduce it below next year's $197 million threshold, which would reset the team's base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent in 2019. That would put the Yankees in better position for next offseason's free agent class, which includes Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw.

Stanton counts as $25 million for the luxury tax, but trading Castro cuts New York's tax payroll by $8,801,786. Rodriguez ($27.5 million) comes off the payroll after this year, and five high-priced Yankees have become free agents: CC Sabathia ($20 million), Matt Holliday ($13 million), Michael Pineda ($7.4 million), Todd Frazier ($4,918,033) and Jaime Garcia ($4,961,721).

New York could trade third baseman Chase Headley ($13 million), expendable because of prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who counts as $21,857,143, appears to be superfluous in an outfield that includes Stanton, Judge, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner. Ellsbury is owed $21,142, 857 in each of the next three years as part of a deal that includes a $21 million team option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout.

After missing out on Japanese right-hander Shohei Ohtani, the Yankees are expected to seek starting pitching to bolster a rotation currently projected to include Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and Luis Cessa.

Stanton would take a cut in take-home pay for his games in the Bronx. While Florida has no state income tax, New York State has an 8.82 percent top rate on income and New York City a 3.876 percent top rate. But he might make up the difference in new endorsements.

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

uspresswire-ap-phillies-cubs-williams-arrieta.jpg
AP Images/USA Today Images

Nick Williams talks up Phillies to a free-agent Cy Young winner

It's not clear whether the Phillies will add a starting pitcher before opening day, but surely they would like to.

General manager Matt Klentak “is busting his ass every single day looking for every possible opportunity to upgrade our team from every perspective,” manager Gabe Kapler said on Tuesday. “That includes looking at every option possible for the rotation.”

Klentak has kept a close eye on the trade market, but has found the prices (i.e., the young talent that must be surrendered) for top, controllable starters to be prohibitive.

He has kept a close eye on the free-agent market, but the length of contracts that top pitchers are looking for has given him pause.

For months, the Phillies have distanced themselves from speculation that has connected them to elite level free-agent pitchers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

But with spring training less than a month away and both pitchers still unsigned, the Phillies would at least have to consider both pitchers if their asking prices experience a January thaw.

Six or seven years? No way.

Three years? Hmmm. Let's talk.

The Phillies are hosting a number of their young players this week. Rhys Hoskins, Jerad Eickhoff, Mark Leiter and Nick Williams were all in town on Tuesday.

Williams has set his sights on making the National League All-Star team in 2018.

“That's what I'm shooting for,” he said at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday. “I think I had a pretty good year last year. I'm shooting for more now. I don't think being an All-Star is shooting too high.”

Williams, 24, hit .288 with 12 homers, 55 RBIs and an .811 OPS in 83 games, mostly in right field, with the big club as a rookie last season.

To give himself the best chance of surpassing those numbers — and achieving his goal of making the All-Star team — Williams has spent the offseason in Austin, Texas, working with personal trainer Jeremy Hills, a former University of Texas football player.

Williams is working hard on agility, which will help him in the outfield and on the base paths.

And guess who one of his daily workout partners is?

Free-agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.

Back in Austin, between reps and protein shakes, Williams has occasionally talked up Philadelphia as a potential landing spot to Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner who will turn 32 in March.

“He loves it here,” Williams said of Arrieta, who, as a free agent and a Scott Boras client, is astute enough not to rule out any team, particularly one as deep-pocketed as the Phillies. “He has told me he likes working with young guys. I'm like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I'm not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I'm not really in his position.”

Williams smiled.

“I hope to be one day,” he said.

Williams marveled at Arrieta's work ethic in the gym.

And he expressed gratitude for the kindness and generosity Arrieta has showed him.

“He's bought a lot of my protein shakes,” Williams said.

Time will tell if the Phillies add a starting pitcher to the group that already consists of Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin and other youngsters. The hunch is they will, though it's unclear what the magnitude of that talent will be. Klentak's search for an arm likely won't stop with the addition of one pitcher and it will likely continue through July. And beyond. The quest to build a championship-caliber staff never stops.

“The pursuit is very real,” Kapler said of Klentak's search for pitching. “I have a lot of trust that we'll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we're better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Rhys Hoskins on 'surreal' rookie year, position switch, expectations

usa-rhys-hoskins.jpg
USA Today Images

Rhys Hoskins on 'surreal' rookie year, position switch, expectations

For a couple of weeks in August, Rhys Hoskins might have been Philadelphia's most popular athlete. Fans marveled at the nightly power display that the young slugger put on in the middle of the Phillies' batting order. Carson Wentz and the Eagles had not yet begun their magnificent season. Hoskins was the man in town.

It hit him one night after a game. He stopped in Center City for some late-night eats. A man and his young son approached. They offered their congratulations and asked for an autograph.

"That's when I was like, 'OK, this might be something that's about to be part of my life,' " Hoskins said. "But it was cool because I used to be that kid."

Hoskins was back in the area Monday night for the 114th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Dinner. He was honored with a special achievement award for a torrid major league debut in which he clubbed 18 homers and drove in 48 runs in just 50 games last season.

Hoskins was raised in Sacramento, California but moved to San Diego this offseason. His 18 homers in 2017 were the most ever hit by a player who did not make his season debut until after Aug. 1. Hall of Famer Ted Williams, who hit 13 homers after returning from the Korean War in 1953, was the previous record holder.

Williams was a San Diego native.

"Surreal," Hoskins said of that 50-game stretch last season and the buzz that has followed him into the offseason. "Indescribable."

He is now a recognizable face, a signature talent, in a sports-crazy town.

And he's ready for it.

"Enjoy it," he said. "Take it by storm and enjoy it. It's supposed to be fun and that's probably the best approach to take. I think my thought is what happened may never happen again. Tomorrow something might happen. Tomorrow I might never be able to step on a baseball field again. So I think you have to take it by storm and enjoy it.

"If you had asked me a year ago if I would be walking down the streets of Philadelphia and would people recognize me I'd probably laugh at you. But that’s where we are now.

"It's just a testament to how passionate the people of Philadelphia are and how much they love their sports."

Hoskins will report to Clearwater for spring training at the end of this month. He wants to get a head start so he can ramp up his workouts in left field. A first baseman by trade, he began playing the position occasionally last season. He will move there full-time in 2018 as newly signed Carlos Santana takes over at first base.

Hoskins got a 30-game taste of left field last year. He is OK with the move.

"Having Carlos is exciting for the city and exciting for the team," Hoskins said. "We add a guy who has proven himself in this league for five or six years at a very high level so to kind of insert that into the lineup and into the clubhouse, especially with such a young team — I think we're going to feel that exponentially throughout the year.

"Left field is a challenge. It's a challenge that I'm definitely excited about. I started to feel more comfortable out there toward the end of the year.

"I think I can be just fine out there. I'm not necessarily going to be a Gold Glover. I just don’t have the speed that some guys out there do, especially in today's game. But I think I'll be just fine and contribute to the team defensively as much as I can and make the plays that I'm supposed to."

Hoskins will turn 25 on March 17. He projects to bat cleanup in new manager Gabe Kapler's lineup.

"He's energized, intense and thorough," Hoskins said of the new skipper. "He can captivate a room. I'm curious to see how that dynamic works in the clubhouse. I think he's going to be a pretty exciting guy to work with."