Phillies, Yankees Not Likely To Deal

When the Yankees sent Alfonso Soriano to Texas, we all figured it was a matter of time until they acquired a higher caliber second baseman than Enrique Wilson. With the Phillies having both Placido Polanco and Chase Utley and the Yankees having a top catching prospect, rumors of a deal started to surface. Not so fast. The Yankees appear set to keep their catching prospect and seem happy with Wilson.

Even though he's one of the Phillies top prospects, Chase Utley found himself as the center of trade rumors this past winter. The rumors really heated up when Doug Glanville was signed creating somewhat of a logjam on the Phillies roster. Speculation ran high about a pending deal. Another scenario had the Phillies giving the second base job to Utley and dealing Placido Polanco.

Speculation also ran high that the Yankees would replace Enrique Wilson as their starting second baseman after they parted with Alfonso Soriano in the Alex Rodriguez deal.

When you combine those two thoughts and also realize that the Yankees have a hot catching prospect coming along, which the Phillies desperately need, it began to look like a trade had to be in the works between the two teams. While it's not out of the question that the clubs could deal, don't figure that it would be the kind of deal Phillies fans were thinking about.

Dioner Navarro is a switch-hitting catcher signed out of Venezuela. Quickly nicknamed "Pudgito" because of his similar style and appearance to Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Navarro has shown himself to be tough and a definite major league prospect. Mark Rubin of Pinstripes Plus had this to say about Navarro. "He is an excellent hitter at a young age (hit .341 in 208 AB at AA at just 19) and just turned 20. He'll be starting the season at AA but should move to AAA with continued success. Navarro can hit for average, projects to have decent MLB power and doesn't strike out often (53Ks in 405 at bats last year). His defense is top-notch and he has drawn comparisons to a young Ivan Rodriguez."

Rubin also doubts that the Yankees would deal Navarro, especially for the talent that the Phillies might be offering. "He's the Yankees' best prospect by a large margin, and the Yankees have been unwilling to trade him thus far for players of a higher calibre than Polanco or Utley," reports Rubin, noting that the Yankees refused to include him in the Alex Rodriguez deal. Keep in mind too, that the Yankees aren't generally known for making deals that bring young, unproven players like Utley to New York. Plus, the Yankees seem satisfied with Wilson, who is having a solid spring, as their second baseman. After all, it's not like they need an offensive upgrade.

As for the Phillies, they don't seem too willing to make a deal that would involve Utley or Polanco, either. With continued injuries plaguing David Bell and Utley's improved versatility, the Phillies are likely to keep both players around. Since Polanco is in the final year of his contract, he could be dealt later in the season if the Phillies can add an upgrade somewhere else in the lineup and Utley is ready to play on a full-time basis.

Plus, there is also the chance that the Phillies will send Utley back to AAA where he could play on an everyday basis. Of course, with the spring that Utley is having, it's also likely that he will simply show himself to be too good for another trip to northeastern Pennsylvania and the confines of Lackawanna County Stadium.

As for the Phillies and Yankees hooking up on any sort of major deal, the odds right now just don't seem to be too good. This is baseball though and there is a long summer ahead of both teams, so don't say "never" should circumstances change.

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