Cody Asche Rumors

Phillies Notes: Asche, Hamels, Nola

The Phillies announced today that Cody Asche has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, indicating that the former third baseman’s transition to left field will continue at the Major League level. After being sent to Triple-A to work on the position, Asche batted .295/.358/.393 in 15 games. A corresponding roster move has yet to be announced, but the presence of Asche will further crowd an outfield mix that currently includes Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera, Grady Sizemore, Jeff Francoeur and Darin Ruf. Veterans Sizemore and Francoeur have each struggled at the plate this season, and it seems fair to speculate that Asche’s presence could squeeze fellow lefty swinger Sizemore out of a roster spot.

Here’s more on the Phillies…

  • Cole Hamels is becoming a more attractive trade chip with each passing day, writes Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. While GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has taken his share of flak, Lawrence opines that he’s played the Hamels situation “close to perfect,” as Hamels is the most attractive trade chip in a market filled with teams in need of rotation help. Johnny Cueto and Scott Kazmir each hold their own appeal, Lawrence notes, but Cueto recently underwent an MRI after being scratched from a start, whereas Scott Kazmir had an MRI on his left shoulder after experiencing pain of his own. Neither test revealed structural damage, but the MRIs could create a bit of unease as teams look at the pair of rentals, Lawrence notes. He also reminds that Amaro and team president Pat Gillick expressed in Spring Training a desire to get more bats into a minor league system that has added some intriguing arms over the past year or so. I’m inclined to agree with Lawrence — it didn’t make sense late in the offseason or in Spring Training for Amaro to merely take the best offer he could get for Hamels, and he’s now in a position where multiple teams will need to show interest, thereby increasing the possible return by forming somewhat of a bidding war.
  • Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes that “all signs point to the Red Sox” as the team on which the Phillies are focused in looking to move Hamels. Salisbury cautions that the interest may not be reciprocated, but he did speak to a scout who feels that the two teams can line up on a trade, even without including Mookie Betts or Blake Swihart. Salisbury runs down several of the names listed in their conversation, though they’re listed in a speculative nature.
  • Todd Zolecki of MLB.com feels that while Amaro’s comments about impatient fans “not understanding” the game were regrettable, there was merit to his message that the development of top prospects like Aaron Nola is a process that shouldn’t be rushed. Zolecki looks at top draft picks from the 2006-12 drafts and notes that highly drafted college pitchers have averaged 32.4 starts in the minors before establishing themselves as big leaguers. (The number jumps to 34.7 if Mike Leake — an exceptionally rare case who skipped the minors entirely — is excluded.) To this point, Zolecki notes, Nola has made just 20 minor league starts. While Stephen Strasburg and Tim Lincecum jumped to the Majors after 11 and 13 minor league starts, respectively, those two and Leake are more of the exception than the rule.

NL Notes: Asche, Franco, Kang, Rockies

The Phillies announced that Cody Asche will be optioned to Triple-A and converted into an outfielder. That move seems all but certain to herald the return of top prospect Maikel Franco, a third baseman. As Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News tweets, Philadelphia will wait until at least Friday to formally move Franco up, which will ensure that the club will add an additional year of control.

  • Meanwhile, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that the club is continuing to talk with other clubs, as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com tweets“We’ve been in dialogue about a lot of things,” said Amaro. “That really hasn’t stopped since the offseason.” Obviously, with Philadelphia having long been established as a seller, plenty of homework and groundwork has already been accomplished heading into the summer.
  • Jung-ho Kang continues to produce at the plate for the Pirates, and Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says that it isn’t too soon to increase his workload. The Pittsburgh front office and field staff is favorably impressed with Kang’s effort to adapt to his new environment, both on and off the field. Colleague Adam Bittner, meanwhile, offers a counterpoint, arguing that both Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer have enough of a track record and promise in their peripherals to warrant continued patience.
  • Rockies GM Jeff Bridich addressed his club’s pronounced struggles, as MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. “We have a good collection of players,” said Bridich. “And at this point, meaning the last two weeks of the season, they’ve added up to a bad team.” Colorado’s head baseball decisionmaker went on to discuss the fundamental problems he sees, such as a failure to move runners and hit when runners do reach scoring position (on the offensive side) and issuing too many walks while failing to attack the strike zone (for the club’s pitchers). While there may be plenty of truth in that assessment, and while it would surely be hard for Bridich to say much else at this stage, the fact remains that a broader roster shake-up looks like an increasingly strong option for the front office to consider.

Why I Chose My Agency: Cody Asche

Over the years, third baseman Cody Asche has drawn comparisons to Chase Utley from wishful Phillies fans.  However, even though they’re both infielders that bat left-handed, Asche is a different type of player and is still working towards making that major step forward at the big league level.  This spring, Asche has given the Phillies plenty of reason to believe that 2015 could be his year to break out.  Last week against the Twins, Asche took Mike Pelfrey deep for his third homer in just five games.  Prior to his next outing against the Astros on Wednesday, Asche spoke with MLBTR in the team’s Clearwater clubhouse about his representatives at Arland Sports.

On how he first came in contact with his primary agent, Jason Wood:

He was close to one of my summer coaches in high school and he represents one of my good friends, Jake Odorizzi (Odorizzi spoke with MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes back in 2013 about Arland Sports).  We kept in contact a little bit and when it came time in college to find someone, me and my family just felt really comfortable with him.  We didn’t really interview anyone else, we just knew that he was a good guy with the same kind of morals as us so we went with him.

On whether there’s an advantage to being with a smaller agency like Arland Sports:

I think for sure there’s an advantage, just because you get to know him on such a personal level.  I wouldn’t even consider him my agent first, I would consider him my friend first before calling him my agent.  But, being that he’s a smaller agent, only having a couple guys in the big leagues, we get a lot more attention than someone might get at a bigger agency.

On the things his agency does for him outside of baseball:

Anything, you name it.  He’ll help me with restaurant reservations, tickets to games, lots of stuff like that.  A lot of the time I’ll just reach out to him so that I can go to dinner with him.  Obviously, he also helps me line up things like apparel deals.  Also, my wife Angie is a dietician and he’s helped a lot with her startup business, Eleat Sports Nutrition, and getting that off the ground.  Overall, I try not to ask Jason for too much though and I’m not the most demanding guy, so there’s not a ton of stuff I really want.

On whether he’s tried to recruit other players to the agency:

I haven’t done that a lot, I’ve had it more the other way actually.  I’ve had a lot of guys say to me, “If you ever want to talk to [my agent] about making a change you can,” but I think everyone knows that I’m rock solid with Jason and all of Jason’s guys are rock solid and a lot of people in the business know that. Myself, Jake Odorizzi, and David Phelps are the three main guys we have in the big leagues right now, all three of us know what he’s about, we’re loyal, and I couldn’t foresee a situation where any of us would ever want to leave.



Quick Hits: Halsey, Kuroda, Wandy, Everth, Asche

MLBTR would like to send its deepest condolences to the friends and family of former Major League left-hander Brad Halsey, who died tragically in a climbing accident near his Texas home, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. Halsey, just 33, spent three seasons in the Majors with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and A’s from 2004-06. He was one of three players traded from the Yankees to Arizona to acquire the legendary Randy Johnson.

As we keep the family and loved ones of Brad in our thoughts, here are a few notes from around the game…

  • Hiroki Kuroda has yet to decide whether he wants to return for the 2015 season, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. At this point, Kuroda is weighing one more season in the Majors, one more season in Nippon Professional Baseball or retirement.
  • Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has recovered from knee surgery and will pitch in a winter league this year as he gears up for a comeback, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Rodriguez, who turns 36 in January, pitched just 26 2/3 innings for the Pirates this season before being released. He underwent knee surgery roughly a month later and said at the time that he had received some interest from other clubs. However, he preferred to correct a lingering issue in his knee that had been hindering him, in an effort to be as best-prepared as possible for the 2015 season.
  • The Associated Press reports that Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was charged with resisting arrest after police stopped him for suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. While DUI charges are not planned, according to the report, Cabrera was cited for possession of marijuana in the car and could face up to a year in jail if convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • The Phillies have no plans to move Cody Asche off of third base at this time, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. While the idea of trying Asche in the outfield has been kicked around within the organization, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said the team decided at last week’s organizational meetings that Asche will remain at the hot corner. The plan next season is to platoon Asche and Maikel Franco if the team cannot move Ryan Howard this offseason. It seems that at some point, Asche or Franco will have to move off the position, but Amaro told Zolecki the team views both as third basemen right now. “Maikel Franco is a third baseman who plays some first base,” said Amaro.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Cards, Yanks, Phelps, Asche, Turner

In his latest notes column, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports quotes one rival executive that said Cardinals GM John Mozeliak realizes he has more talent than anyone else — and he’s reluctant to get rid of it.” (That reluctance is illustrated by Mozeliak’s comments to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as the GM told him that external changes aren’t much of a consideration at this time.) Rosenthal looks at some of the recent improvements in the Cardinals’ offense and echoes Goold’s initial report that patience seems the likely route for St. Louis at this point.

More trade-, draft- and prospect-related highlights from a lengthy piece that also looks at slow starts in the AL East and a surprising start from the Twins…

  • The Yankees have better pitching depth than many realize, Rosenthal opines, noting that Adam Warren could be moved into the rotation when Shawn Kelley is healthy again. He also points to a quartet of hard-throwing relievers at Triple-A — Diego Moreno, Jose Ramirez, Danny Burawa and Branden Pinder. A trade is still something the Yanks will likely explore, but despite the aforementioned depth, the team likely doesn’t have the firepower to land someone like Cliff Lee, in Rosenthal’s eyes. They have little more to offer than relief help and high-end catching talent and could be competing with at least two other AL East teams in the Orioles and Blue Jays.
  • David Phelps wasn’t the Yankees‘ priority when scouting director Damon Oppenheimer went to see Notre Dame play prior to the 2008 draft. Oppenheimer was scouting Phelps’ teammate Kyle Weiland, but Phelps impressed him with his competitiveness, prompting Oppenheimer to push for him in the 14th round, which looks to be a nice bargain pickup six years later.
  • The Phillies are having internal discussions about moving Cody Asche to the outfield in 2015 in order to clear room on the 25-man roster for top prospect Maikel Franco at third base.  Though Rosenthal doesn’t mention this, that does raise the question of what will become of Domonic Brown, the team’s left fielder who is once again struggling after what looked to be a breakout 2013 season.
  • Rosenthal hears that NC State shortstop Trea Turner is drawing interest from teams in the No. 6-10 range of the upcoming draft. The fleet-footed shortstop also has pop in his bat (he’s second in the ACC in homers), but some scouts wonder if he can stick at shortstop. Rosenthal points out that both the Mariners (No. 6) and the Mets (No. 10) have needs at shortstop heading into a draft that is light on college shortstops.
  • Analysts from the Pirates and Marlins made the same comment to Rosenthal in the past week: the most useful data regarding defensive shifts comes from where hitters put the ball in play against a team’s own pitchers. The Marlins aren’t particularly focused where batters hit the ball against soft-tossers, due to the flamethrowing nature of their rotation. Likewise, the Pirates’ shifts are based largely on batted ball data against Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton.