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Phillies Rumors: Club has expressed interest in Yelich, not Stanton

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

The hot-stove, well, it's scalding right now. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Phillies did internally discuss the idea of making a supertrade for Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. However, they haven't formally shown interest in Stanton. They have, however, displayed quite a bit of interest in fellow Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. 

The Phils kicked around the concept internally, sources said. Their only commitment for 2018 is outfielder Odubel Herrera at $3.35 million, giving them the flexibility to acquire virtually any high-priced player they want. But they have not — repeat, not — expressed interest in Stanton, according to high-ranking officials with both clubs.

The Phillies, according to one source, have been “vocal” about their desire to land Yelich, even expressing an interest to assume “bad money” — say, reliever Junichi Tazawa’s $7 million in 2018, for starters — as part of the deal.

Then again, 28 other clubs likely would be just as vocal if the Marlins made Yelich available, considering that he is guaranteed a “mere” $44.5 million from 2018 to ’21, including a $1.25 buyout on a club option for ’22 — and that he has taken a step back offensively this season, perhaps lowering the Fish’s asking price.

Last month, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe reported that the Phillies had "significant chatter" internally about the idea of trading for Stanton. He also noted that he had heard that they team may ask for Yelich in the deal as well. 

What Cafardo said actually isn't contradicted by Rosenthal. Both have now said that the Phillies discussed Stanton within their organization. Rosenthal is simply saying that the discussions surrounding Stanton have remained in-house. (For what it's worth, Buster Olney of ESPN once reported that the Phillies internally discussed a Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols trade, so these type of discussions are pretty normal.)

Stanton, 27, has had somewhat of a bounce-back season, as he's slashing .277/.360/.572 with 27 home runs and 58 RBIs in 2017. The problem is that Stanton has a heavily backloaded contract that runs through 2028, his age-38 season. The Phillies may feel they need a superstar, but Stanton hasn't performed like one in recent years and is super-unlikely to be performing like one in a decade. 

Yelich, on the other hand, may make quite a bit of sense. Still just 25, the former first-round draft pick is slashing .280/.359/.406 with eight home runs, eight stolen bases and 43 RBIs in 2017. Of course, any trade interest would depend on the asking price, but Yelich has a team-friendly contract that runs through 2022. Perhaps that would make the Phillies more interested in moving top prospects to acquire the services of Yelich, especially if they feel that he projects to be more like the player he was in 2016 over the long run. 

For what it's worth, Rosenthal pointed out that the Marlins don't seem motivated to move Yelich right now and may struggle to move Stanton, the face of their franchise, in the midst of trying to sell the team. 

The MLB's non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, but it feels like this story won't go away when the calendar flips to August. 

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