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Jonathan Pettibone Rumors
Mets GM Sandy Alderson indicated today that the trade landscape for bats is starting to take shape, as Mike Puma of the New York Post reports on Twitter. “The target market is just beginning to reveal itself,” said Alderson. New York’s most obvious needs seem to be on the left side of the infield, where the shortstop position continues to be a source of consternation and third bagger David Wright remains an uncertainty.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- Other teams believed the Phillies were nearing a deal involving closer Jonathan Papelbon at some point in June before putting talks on hold, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports (links to Twitter). Per Stark, there is a sense that the decision to pull back came from above GM Ruben Amaro Jr., with Philadelphia choosing to hold off when the Andy MacPhail hiring neared completion. Clubs that were in the conversation included the Blue Jays, Cubs, Rangers, and one of the Los Angeles franchises, according to the report. MLBTR recently posed the question on Instagram whether Papelbon or Francisco Rodriguez is the better closer target. Check it out to join the discussion.
- Phillies righty Jonathan Pettibone is set for another shoulder surgery, the club announced. The 24-year-old once seemed primed to function as a quality rotation piece, but has not pitched competitively since early last season.
- The Nationals are waiting to decide on a DL stint for center fielder Denard Span until he sees a back specialist tomorrow, Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com tweets. Span has been excellent when healthy, but continues to deal with a series of nagging injuries. The progress of this particular malady could play a significant role not only in his future free agent case, but also Washington’s motivation to land a player like Ben Zobrist to provide the team with options down the stretch. While Michael Taylor and Matt den Dekker are capable of playing center, the club is also dealing with the absence of Jayson Werth and several other injury and performance issues that could make an addition desirable.
Phillies GM Ruben Amaro said Tuesday that he’s not under any pressure to make to make a trade and won’t be forced into moving a player, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Zolecki notes that Amaro is very likely posturing, but the GM implied that the Phillies could wait until the offseason to move some of their pieces. “We’ve debated here internally about when is the greatest value of some of these players, a number of them,” said Amaro. “When does that player become the most valuable asset? Again, a lot of it depends on who’s going to step up, and who’s going to satisfy some of the things that we’re trying to do in a trade. If someone does, and we feel like it’s the right thing to do, we’ll do it.” Amaro did, however, say that he “would like to do something” on the trade market.
More notes from the NL East to kick off Wednesday morning…
- Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone may need another surgery, writes the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jake Kaplan. The 24-year-old Pettibone is currently rehabbing from right shoulder surgery, but Amaro told reporters yesterday that he had to shut down a simulated game at the team’s spring complex in Clearwater early. The loss of Pettibone has been a notable one for a Phillies team that is thin on upper-level rotation depth; Pettibone tossed 100 1/3 innings of 4.04 ERA ball in his rookie season back in 2013.
- Jon Niese has posted stellar results of late, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that a run of six straight starts has done little to restore the trade value of the Mets lefty. “It changes nothing for me,” an NL exec told Martino. “Stuff has gotten lighter every year. The Mets are going to tell everyone it’s as good as ever to keep trade value high.” A second evaluator told Martino, “I would assume GMs wouldn’t overreact to recent performance, and would consider the long term picture along with health and the financial commitment.” Niese’s hot streak — he has a 2.41 ERA over his past six starts — came up in yesterday’s MLBTR Chat, though I offered a similar take; six starts does little to override a history of shoulder issues, and Niese’s secondary stats haven’t been as impressive as his ERA in that time anyhow.
- Many reports this offseason noted that the Marlins were interested in, if not close to acquiring Wade Miley prior to the Diamondbacks stepping back and eventually accepting another offer from the Red Sox. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier spoke with GM-turned-manager Dan Jennings about his club’s interest in Miley: “We had conversations. The closeness, I don’t want to say, but we definitely had conversations,” said Jennings. One source indicated to Speier that the Marlins thought the deal was nearly complete before Boston swooped in.
- The Braves continue to work toward a deal with No. 14 overall pick Kolby Allard, assistant GM John Coppolella tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re still going through the process, and we’re very hopeful that we can sign Kolby,” said Coppolella. “You would’ve like to have had him signed earlier, but you understand that it’s a process. I wouldn’t say there’s a holdup on his end or our end, we just haven’t reached the finish line yet.” O’Brien recently reported that there’s a “legit chance” that the Braves won’t ink Allard. He notes that there’s been some speculation that adviser Casey Close of Excel Sports has been seeking a bonus more in line with where Allard would’ve been drafted had a back injury not dropped his stock a bit. As I noted at the time of O’Brien’s initial report, the Braves can offer Allard about $3.462MM (which is $626K over slot) without incurring the loss of a pick.
Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Phillies president David Montgomery recently underwent surgery to remove cancer from his jaw. The procedure, which involved taking a bone from Montgomery’s leg and transplanting it to his mouth, will leave the 67-year-old hospitalized for another week. He is expected to make a full recovery. MLBTR wishes Montgomery a speedy return.
Here’s the latest on the Phillies…
- Cliff Lee has been placed on the disabled list with what has been termed a mild flexor tendon sprain, the team announced yesterday. The Inquirer’s Matt Gelb writes that doctors stressed to Lee the fact that he has no ligament damage. Still the team could be without its ace for at least three weeks, as Lee will rest entirely for one week then spend two weeks rebuilding the strength that rest will cause him to lose.
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark spoke with GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who said that he doesn’t yet know how Lee’s injury will impact his team’s strategy this summer. Amaro pointed out the parity throughout the game right now, citing it as another reason that he can’t assess whether his team will be a buyer or seller. He said David Buchanan is the most likely candidate to replace Lee, though he wouldn’t commit to that 100 percent. Darin Ruf has been called up for the time being, though Amaro termed that a “three-day fix.”
- Amaro also provided an update on righty Jonathan Pettibone, as Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports (Twitter links). A visit to Dr. James Andrews revealed a small labral tear, but Pettibone will not undergo surgery at this time. Instead, he will be treated with an anti-inflammatory shot and continue resting before starting to throw again. It was Pettibone’s decision to try to avoid surgery, reports Salisbury, which seems to imply that a procedure could still be a possibility in the future. As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes, the so-called SLAP tear can present serious issues, and it is far from certain that Pettibone will ultimately avoid a more drastic solution.
- Veteran shortstop Jimmy Rollins has put up quite an impressive performance through the first quarter of the season. His current pace — a .275/.369/.458 triple-slash with 6 home runs and 6 steals — is not only a bounce back from a rough 2013, but is reminiscent of his form in the glory days of the mid-to-late 2000’s. The 35-year-old has combined with Chase Utley to form one of the game’s most productive middle-infield duos. In theory, that makes Rollins an intriguing trade chip and, potentially, upcoming free agent. In fact, it is still far from clear that the Phils will look to deal him, let alone that he would agree to waive his ten-and-five rights. And Rollins is now exceedingly unlikely to hit the open market after the season. With 177 plate appearances already in the bag, the vesting of his $11MM option for next year seems a virtual shoo-in, barring significant injury. (It would vest at 600 plate appearances this year or 1,100 combined between 2013-14, though the latter scenario has injury protections built in for the team.)
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.
The Phillies currently sit at four games under .500. While that leaves them just 4.5 games back in the NL East heading into the day’s action, the team is carrying a -34 run differential (third-worst in baseball) and falls among the bottom five clubs in the game in hitting, pitching, and defense by measure of fWAR. Here are a few notes out of Philadelphia:
- The club received some bad news on the injury front today. Righty Jonathan Pettibone, who was expected to be an important part of the rotation mix this year and in the future, has been placed on the minor league DL and will visit Dr. James Andrews to explore the possibility of surgery on his ailing right shoulder, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. After entering 2013 rated fourth by Baseball America among the organization’s prospects, Pettibone delivered 18 solid starts of 4.04 ERA ball. But he was shut down with shoulder troubles, and managed only two MLB starts this year (allowing nine earned in just nine innings).
- In more positive news, international free agent signee Miguel Gonzalez has begun working through the low minors and is throwing in the low-to-mid 90s. “His control was a little off, but it sounds like he’s healthy,” said manager Ryne Sandberg. “He must be healthy if he’s throwing that hard. Now it’s just about getting his games in.”
- The Phillies’ bullpen was an area that many thought could have used additional help, and the club has paid the price for failing to make any moves. Zolecki writes that the club’s talent evaluators believed they had the necessary pieces in place. “Looking back doesn’t do us all that much good,” said Amaro. “What we have to do is find either internal solutions to improve or just hope that the guys start to do their thing.”
- One tantalizing option for relief help — young fireballer Ken Giles — will not be aggressively promoted, Amaro said, while also indicating that the same holds true for top prospect Maikel Franco. “We’re not going to force them because some other guys aren’t performing,” said Amaro. “They can’t be saviors for us. They might be able to help us at some point, but when they’re ready, when they have forced our hand to do it, they’ll come.”
- The cost to acquire center fielder Ben Revere still looks low in retrospect, argues Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com, with Vance Worley falling apart and Trevor May still not quite matching results to his talent for the Twins. (I would push back somewhat on the characterization of May, who is a fairly valuable asset that could have been an important piece this year in Philly. Baseball America ranked him 8th in a deep group of Minnesota prospects, and he has 10.5 K/9 against 3.3 BB/9 in his first seven starts at the Triple-A level.) But while the deal seems okay in terms of value, says Seidman, that does not mean that it delivered a starter to Philadelphia. With middling defense, non-existent power, and lagging on-base numbers, Seidman argues that Revere is entering his prime years playing like a late-career Juan Pierre. Needless to say, the club would face yet more questions if Revere is not the answer in center for the next several years.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that some of the club’s difficulties to start the year can be attributed to “part of the growing pains you have with young players,” Revere among them, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Though that comment strikes an unmistakably ironic chord for the veteran-laden Phils, Zolecki points out that the team’s aging, big-dollar stars are actually playing quite well on the whole, while its younger assets are scuffling. That is indeed the case — as the team’s fWAR hitter and pitcher leaderboards show, the team has thus far received a positive net contribution from just one player who has yet to turn 30 (Jake Diekman). It appears that the warning in my review of the Phillies’ offseason could be coming to pass; as I wrote then, even if the team gets production from all of its elder statesmen, the rest of the roster may not be good enough to support a legitimate post-season run. It is not as if injuries are to blame. With Darin Ruf returning from injury, there is little argument that the Philles are at “full strength” in terms of available personnel, notes Justin Klugh of the Philadelphia Inquirer.