Tom Dougherty

Phillies trade left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner to Tampa Bay Rays

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Phillies trade left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner to Tampa Bay Rays

While all eyes are on Manny Machado, the Phillies on Saturday night made a minor move.

The Phillies traded left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations. Milner was designated for assignment on Tuesday.

Milner, 27, began the season with the Phillies but was sent to Triple A Lehigh Valley on April 21 after allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings over 10 appearances.

In 25 appearances with the IronPigs, Milner allowed seven runs over 26 1/3 innings. He struck out 28 batters and walked 14.

A 2012 seventh-round pick, Milner came north with the Phillies out of spring training as the team's lefty specialist but couldn't replicate the success he had in 2017.

Last season, the lefty posted a 2.01 ERA in 37 games (31 1/3 innings). That was a far cry from the pitcher the Phillies saw in 2018.

In Game 1 of the Gabe Kapler era, the first-year manager opted to replace Aaron Nola with one out in the sixth inning and the Phillies up 5-0 in Atlanta to face Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Milner served up a two-run homer to Freeman. The Phillies ended up losing, 8-5, on a walk-off homer from Markakis (see story).

Milner was also the pitcher Kapler called into action on April 1, Game 3 of the Kapler era, without ever throwing any legitimate warm-up pitches (see story).

Since then, however, Kapler has proven to be a capable major-league manager. The Phillies are in first place of the NL East with one game left before the All-Star break.

And now, Milner finds himself a new opportunity to prove himself again.

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Phillies reportedly increase trade offer for Manny Machado

Phillies reportedly increase trade offer for Manny Machado

Perhaps we haven't seen the last of Manny Machado this summer in Philly.

The Phillies have upped their trade offer for the Orioles' shortstop, according to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. Per the report, the Yankees and Dodgers still have the strongest offers.

It's no secret the Phillies have long desired Machado's services, whether it's signing the perennial MVP candidate this winter or trading for him by the July 31 trade deadline.

When the Orioles were in Philadelphia last week, Machado did not rule out signing an extension this summer (see story).

To acquire Machado from Baltimore, the Phillies will have to pay a significant price. The Orioles have already messed up their handling of Machado, and they can't do so again this July.

Last week, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported the O's would want "young, controllable starting pitching" in return for Machado.

From Morosi:

Prior to this season, Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin had a career 5.85 ERA in 22 Major League starts. He was sent to Triple-A at the end of this Spring Training and spent all of April in the Minors. If the Orioles had called in April with a one-for-one trade proposal -- Machado for Eflin -- it's reasonable to believe the Phils would have accepted.

Now? The circumstances have changed. Eflin has a 2.97 ERA in 11 Major League starts this year. If Baltimore made the same proposal today -- a half-season of Machado for 4 1/2 of Eflin -- Philadelphia likely would say no, one source told MLB.com.

The Phillies also would be reluctant to part with right-hander Sixto Sanchez -- their No. 1 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com -- in a trade for Machado. It's unclear how the Phils will react if Class A right-hander Adonis Medina, who ranks No. 2 on that list, is the Orioles' formal request in a Machado offer on July 31.

Heading into their final series before the All-Star break, the Phillies are 52-40 and in first place in the NL East. Yes, the Phils are in the middle of a pennant race.

While talking recently about what he believes the Phillies need at the trade deadline, first-year manager Gabe Kapler deflected to general manager Matt Klentak (see story).

But when asked about Zach Eflin, he said: "I don't think we are where we are today if not for Zach Eflin's performance in the last five weeks. He's been incredibly valuable for us."

We're about two weeks away from the trade deadline. The hot stove will continue to heat up and we'll continue to hear more and more reports about Machado until a decision is made.

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Chase Utley will retire at end of the season

Chase Utley will retire at end of the season

Updated: 9:31 p.m.

"The Man" will be calling it a day … effective at the end of the 2018 season.

Chase Utley will retire at the end of the season, he announced in a press conference Friday night. He is ready to be a "full-time dad," he said.

Utley, 39, had one year left on his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has two sons — Benjamin, who is 6 years old, and Maxwell, 3 years old.

"The thing I'm having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad," Utley said. "That's really the reason why I'm shutting it down because I'm ready to be a full-time dad."

Utley said he had not yet told his boys.

"They've asked me a few times, 'Dad, how much longer are you going to play? Why do you have to go to the field today?'" Utley said with a smile. "That conversation will come soon. I think it will be a good conversation."

Everyone knows why No. 26 became a legend in the Delaware Valley. The all-out hustle and blue-collar approach endeared him to fans. It also didn't hurt that he produced some of the organization's most iconic moments while playing an integral role in the club's golden era from 2007-11 — five straight NL East titles, two NL pennants, a World Series crown and a franchise-record 102-win season.

"Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, got a chance to play in the big leagues with them for a long time," Utley said. "Played in front of some amazing fans."

Utley was traded to the Dodgers in August 2015 as the Phillies were in full rebuild mode. With the Dodgers, his childhood team, he has left an immeasurable impact on the clubhouse and has played in the playoffs the past three seasons.

With the Phillies, though, is where he truly left his mark. Among the franchise's all-time leaders, Utley ranks first in hit by pitches (173), second in WAR (61.8), fifth in doubles (346), sixth in home runs (233), seventh in RBIs (916) and ninth in hits (1,623).

Not one for attention, Utley was happy to make this announcement now.

"I'll be at ease a little bit more," he said. "I can kind of go into my last chapter of my baseball career with enthusiasm and excitement, but most of all, a clear mind."

Utley's final trip to Philly is right around the corner as the Dodgers will be visiting the Phillies on July 23-25.

When he returned to Philly for the first time as a Dodger on Aug. 17, 2016, the standing ovation was surreal. He's received cheers every time he's been back since.

This time, Citizens Bank Park will be even more electric.

More on 'The Man'

• Phillies have World Series heroes Utley and Lidge on their minds

• Now is a fun time to look back at Utley's history of tormenting Mets

• Fans react to news of Chase Utley's retirement

• 26 times Chase Utley was The Man

• This is such a Chase Utley milestone