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Phillies Rumors: Mariners moving on from Byrd?

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There are reports the Mariners are targeting David Price and Ben Zobrist, as talks with the Phils have cooled.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlon Byrd-to-Seattle Mariners talks have hit a snag, one that has Seattle looking elsewhere for help.

ESPN's Jim Bowden reported yesterday that, while Byrd is willing to waive his no-trade clause and go to Seattle (and it's still unfathomable to me that the Phils felt they needed to give Byrd a no-trade clause, even one that was limited to four teams), he wants the Mariners to agree to vest his 2016 option year at $8 million before he agrees to waive it. So far, Seattle has not agreed to do that.

So, not only is the no-trade clause creating headaches, the ever-popular, third year vesting option that the Phillies don't seem to understand aren't a required part of all contract negotiations, is throwing a monkey wrench into things as well.

Of course, this could all be a leverage play, aimed at getting the Phils to pitch in and pay for part of that 2016 option. Bowden says Seattle doesn't want the exposure of a third Marlon Byrd season and is instead looking for either a rental right fielder or a contract that will expire after next season. But acquiring Price and Zobrist would do even more than that.

If Seattle falls through, I still think the Kansas City Royals would be a great fit, although they'd likely have the same opposition to guaranteeing Byrd's vesting option for 2016 as well.

Ruben Amaro is going to have to eat a lot of that '16 salary if he wants to move Marlon.

Dodgers Eyeing Papelbon

Is it possible that someone out there actually does want to trade for Phils' closer Jonathan Papelbon?

I don't want to get your hopes up, kiddos, but ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon says... maybe.

It's been speculated the Dodgers could have interest in Cole Hamels and/or Cliff Lee, but the Papelbon news is surprising, given the fact that the Dodgers have not been mentioned as a team with a real need for a closer.

Player ERA Saves K/9 BB/9 FIP fWAR
Jonathan Papelbon 1.21 22 7.96 2.17 2.33 1.1
Kenley Jansen 3.49 27 14.43 2.79 1.87 1.2

Jansen, despite an ERA that is almost three times higher than Papelbon's, actually has probably had a better season overall. His strikeouts per nine is almost double Papelbon's and his FIP is lower. He's walking a few more batters than Papelbon, but the walk rate isn't that much higher.

It's questionable what possible motivation the Dodgers would have in acquiring Papelbon. I know they have a lot of money, but there is no way they are going to pay Jonathan $13 million a year to be their set-up man.

If L.A. was going to acquire Papelbon, it would like be to move Jansen, who saved 25 games in 2012 and 28 games last year, with an ERA of 2.35 and 1.88 respectively, to the 8th inning. And that doesn't make any sense either.

Still, it's out there. We report, you decide.

Ooh, I like that. I may have to trademark that baby.

Red Sox Looking At Hamels?

No one thinks the Red Sox are buyers here in 2014. But they might be looking at players who can help them make another run at it in 2015 and beyond. And one of the players they may be looking at is Cole Hamels.

One of the interesting aspects about Hamels is, because he is signed through at least 2018, it's not just teams that are in the playoff hunt this year that are taking a look at him. Teams that expect to contend in 2015 and in the years after could also see an opportunity and take a serious run at Hamels.

That might include Boston, who could very easily lose their ace, Jon Lester, after the season as a free agent. If they think they can get Hamels for a few prospects, they'll have themselves a ready-made, in-house replacement in Hamels, signed for less of a commitment than they would have to give Lester.

Carlos Ruiz Begins Rehab

Carlos Ruiz was hit in the head by a pitch on June 26 and suffered a concussion. He has not played since, but appears closer to returning.

Chooch will begin a rehab assignment today in Clearwater, with the hopes of joining the team after their series in San Francisco. Ruiz was hit in the head in the 11th inning of their 14-inning win over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. He finished the game, but baseline tests later showed he had a concussion.

Not that Cameron Rupp hasn't been awesome and everything, but having Chooch back would be a welcome development.