Play­ers feel heat of trade ru­mors

Phillies, Cards, Blue Jays linked to trade re­ports

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - SPORTS - By Craig Davis Staff writer

MI­AMI — When a team is dou­ble-digit games out of a chance to play in Oc­to­ber at this time of year, as the Mi­ami Mar­lins were Mon­day, trade ru­mors swirl like hun­gry birds at the land­fill.

It is dif­fi­cult to look around the Mar­lins’ club­house without see­ing a ser­vice­able player hear­ing the whis­pers or the sub­ject of shouts on so­cial me­dia. There should be an app to keep straight who is sup­pos­edly headed where.

“It’s tough,” closer A.J. Ramos said. “You’re get­ting tagged in dif­fer­ent team’s stuff. It’s just like not fo­cus­ing on peo­ple that are hating on you. There’s al­ways go­ing to be some neg­a­tiv­ity go­ing on and some dis­trac­tions. That’s part of be­ing a big lea­guer. This is an­other thing to just ig­nore. Be­cause this is not some­thing you can con­trol.”

As the last-place Phillies ar­rived for a three-game se­ries, so did re­ports of at least three key Mar­lins be­ing coveted by Philadel­phia man­age­ment: out­field­ers Chris­tian Yelich and Gian­carlo Stan­ton, as well as for­mer bat­ting cham­pion Dee Gor­don.

Gor­don, who the Mar­lins got in a trade with the Dodgers af­ter his first All-Star sea­son in 2014, is also re­port­edly a tar­get of the Toronto Blue Jays.

He also watched his father, for­mer pitcher Tom Gor­don, move to eight teams in 15 sea­sons.

“I’ve played for two now,” Gor­don said. “There’s a bunch of other guys here maybe it’s the first time of be­ing brought up in any­thing. They prob­a­bly are a lit­tle bit more ner­vous about it than I would be.

“There’s not much I can do other than play base­ball. I’m a Mar­lin un­til the day I’m gone.”

The Phillies might seem un­likely buy­ers con­sid­er­ing they are go­ing nowhere this sea­son. But with only one player un­der con­tract for 2018, out­fielder Odubel Her­rera, they have pay­roll flex­i­bil­ity to spend on young tal­ent to build around.

The Mar­lins, by con­trast, have $95.3 mil­lion com­mit­ted to eight play­ers next sea­son.

Yelich and Mar­cell Ozuna are also be­ing linked to in­ter­est by the St. Louis Car­di­nals, with the Mar­lins re­port­edly eye­ing pitch­ing prospect Dakota Hud­son. In any trade, the Mar­lins will be look­ing to re­stock with young tal­ent, and the Car­di­nals have a deep farm sys­tem with five of MLB Pipe­line’s top 100 prospects.

With two weeks un­til the July 31 non-waiver trade dead­line, the ru­mors are only go­ing to in­ten­sify. Man­ager Don Mat­tingly said he has spo­ken to the team about it — as he does ev­ery year.

“We ad­dressed it the first day af­ter the [All-Star] break,” Mat­tingly said. “Ev­ery team I’ve ever been with, ev­ery year it’s the same. I watch the MLB [Net­work] and all they do is talk about trades this time of year. Every­one is ei­ther, are we go­ing to get a guy or are guys go­ing some­where?

“It is some­thing we talk about just a lit­tle bit I think be­cause of where were at and all the talk with us.”

Ozuna, who has started the past two All-Star Games and has two years of salary ar­bi­tra­tion el­i­gi­bil­ity re­main­ing, car­ries value that makes him highly sought af­ter and likely to be dealt.

JEFF ROBERSON/AP

Mar­lins sec­ond base­man Dee Gor­don has been linked to trade ru­mors with Blue Jays and Phillies.

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