Philadelphia Phillies Rumors

Philadelphia Phillies trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Cafardo On Hamels, Astros, Howard, Craig

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that teams second guessing themselves is just a regular part of the offseason.  A lot of folks are second guessing the A’s, but manager Bob Melvin has confidence in GM Billy Beane.

We’re looking to get a little bit younger, yet if you want to look back to the end of 2011 and leading into 2012, we traded our last three All-Stars in [Trevor] Cahill[Andrew] Bailey, and [Gio] Gonzalez and we ended up winning the division,” said Melvin. “We’re looking to compete again. This isn’t something where we’re breaking it down and moving in a different direction. The players that we’re getting back we like. There’s always a balance here for us in that we have to look down the road. We lost quite a bit of talent the last couple of years, making some trades. Billy is about as good as it gets as far as being able to handle that balance and keep us competitive currently, yet also having to look down the road for the future.”

More from today’s column..

  • The Astros are a sleeper team in the Cole Hamels chase, Cafardo writes.  The Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Padres, and Rangers are also interested in the Phillies left-hander, but Houston could join the bunch and the Giants may also be in if they can’t land James Shields.
  • The Phillies are trying to get teams interested in Ryan Howard, and a team source indicated to Cafardo that they are willing to pay a great majority of his contract to move him.  Howard is owed $60MM between 2015 and 2017, including a buyout.  The Rays and Orioles have DH needs and he could theoretically fit the bill.
  • Both the Marlins and the Brewers have active interest in Red Sox first baseman Allen Craig.  Craig, 30, had some strong years with the Cardinals before joining the Red Sox at last year’s deadline.
  • Agent John Boggs says that he’s having “discussions with several cubs” about client Ichiro Suzuki, though no deal is imminent at this time.
  • Dan Uggla’s agent, Terry Bross, was trying to market his client for a comeback at the Winter Meetings.  Cafardo hears that a lot of the 34-year-old’s decline may have had to do with an undetected concussion.

AL Notes: Cespedes, Mariners, Orioles, Howard

Trading Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier will likely cost the Tigers a draft pick, as MLive.com’s Chris Iott explains. Porcello and Cespedes are both free agents after the 2015 season, but the Tigers will not be able to extend Cespedes a qualifying offer. Cespedes’ will only have four years of service time, and so in order for his team to meet the requirement that he be a free agent after the season, he’ll have to be non-tendered. Non-tendered players can’t be extended qualifying offers. There are no such restrictions on Porcello (or most other pending free agents) being extended qualifying offers. So unless Porcello has a poor season (or re-signs with the Red Sox), the most likely outcome of the deal is that the Red Sox will get a draft pick as a result, and the Tigers will not. Here’s more from the American League.

  • Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik thinks he’ll be able to add an extra outfielder or two this offseason, Shannon Drayer of 710AM ESPN tweets. “I feel confident we will get something done,” he says. “There may be more than one thing.” The Mariners have reportedly made Melky Cabrera a three-year offer, and they’ve also had serious trade talks with the White Sox about Dayan Viciedo. Justin Upton is another possibility.
  • Another team looking for an outfielder is the Orioles, who seem more likely to sign one than to trade for one, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. Delmon Young and Michael Morse are possibilities, and so is Cabrera, but only if he’s willing to settle for less than four or five years. The Orioles were also connected to Colby Rasmus last week. Kubatko notes that the O’s spoke to the Phillies about Marlon Byrd, but the Phillies offered a package that included Byrd and Ryan Howard. Howard, of course, is owed $60MM over the next two seasons, so taking on Howard’s contract just to get a good but not franchise-changing outfielder in Byrd would seem like a very tough sell for any team.

Phillies Notes: Wood, Utley, Gonzalez

While we wait to learn about the finalization of the deal sending Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, let’s check in on the latest out of Philadelphia:

  • The Phillies have asked the Cubs about lefty Travis Wood, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports in a broader piece about the Cubs. Philadelphia could be a match for displaced starting backstop Welington Castillo, Wittenmyer also mentions. It seems to me that Philadelphia would probably look to move Carlos Ruiz if it added a player such as Castillo, though that is pure speculation on my part and may not be a necessity.
  • Connecting the dots on the Phillies and second baseman Chase Utley, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders whether the veteran might okay a trade now that the club has begun to follow up on its public declaration of a pushed-back contention timeline. Gelb recalls that Utley — who has full no-trade protection — said at last year’s All-Star game that he was “told we were going to continue to try to contend” before he inked his extension. Ultimately, Gelb calls a deal unlikely but possible, explaining several barriers including the Phillies’ disinclination to undergo a full teardown.
  • The Phillies seem inclined to give Miguel Gonzalez a chance to build up as a starter next spring, Gelb also reports. Though he is far from a sure thing to join the rotation, it will be interesting to see to what extent the team’s offseason plans are impacted at all by the possibility. As things stand, it would seem that the Phils will need to add at least one starter to the books for 2015, all the more so if Cole Hamels is traded.


AL East Notes: Yanks, Detwiler, McLouth, Melky, Sox

The Yankees came away from the Winter Meetings without completing any deals, though it wasn’t for lack of trying, GM Brian Cashman told reporters, including MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch“We threw a lot of ideas a lot of different ways, but we’ve got a long way between now and Opening Day,” said Cashman as he left the meetings. We’ll keep our conversations that still are ongoing alive, and just wait and see.” Hoch writes that the Yankees never made proposals to David Robertson or Brandon McCarthy, the latter of whom “went to a level we couldn’t play on,” in Cashman’s words.

More from the AL East…

  • The Orioles had definite interest in Ross Detwiler before the Nats traded him to the Rangers, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. That he ended up in Texas may be best for the player himself, however, as Kubatko notes that Baltimore would’ve kept Detwiler in the ‘pen. The Rangers plan to use him as a starter, which is his preference.
  • Also from Kubatko, the Orioles have interest in bringing back old friend Nate McLouth, though not at his current $5MM (plus a $750K buyout of a 2016 option) price tag. The Nationals are willing to eat part of that salary to move McLouth, Kubatko adds, but the Orioles will wait to see if he is released for the time being.
  • The Orioles have some interest in Melky Cabrera, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but only on a two- or three-year deal (Twitter link). Cabrera is said to be eyeing a five-year deal, however, and the Mariners’ previously reported interest appears to be stronger than that of the Orioles, based on Encina’s tweet.
  • Though the Red Sox have five starters (or will have five, once the Wade Miley trade is completed), Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweets that they’re still a match for Cole Hamels. He speculates that an arm like Joe Kelly could be a part of a trade with the Phillies, thereby opening a spot in the Boston rotation.
  • Peter Gammons looks at the reconstructed Red Sox rotation, noting a heavy emphasis on ground-ball pitchers that places some pressure on Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval. Gammons notes that the Red Sox brass is aware of its lack of a front-line starter. They’d like to add James Shields, but “exit polls” at the Winter Meetings had him going to the Giants, according to Gammons. Johnny Cueto is of interest, but the “timing and price isn’t there right now,” and Hamels negotiations with the Phillies have been difficult for all teams involved.

Quick Hits: Hamels, Forst, Rule 5 Draft, BoSox

We at MLBTR would like to thank our readers for their support during this memorable Winter Meetings.  Our 24/7 coverage over the last four days proved necessary given all of the news and major transactions that came out of San Diego, and our committed readership was right there with us by checking in with MLBTR at all hours of the day and night.  Here’s some more news from around baseball…

  • ESPN’s Jayson Stark lists the teams he feels were the winners and losers of the Winter Meetings.
  • The Phillies‘ hopes of landing a huge return for Cole Hamels took a hit during the Winter Meetings, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.  The Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers (the three teams usually cited as the top potential suitors for Hamels) all made moves to solidify their rotations, thus robbing the Phils of some leverage in trade talks.
  • Athletics assistant GM David Forst discusses his team’s offseason moves, the challenges of competing in Oakland and more as part of an insightful interview with Fangraphs’ Eno Sarris.
  • With the Rule 5 Draft in the books, Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper looks at the scouting reports of the players taken and analyzes the prospects’ chances of lasting the entire season on their respective Major League rosters.
  • The Mets checked in on Yoenis Cespedes at the end of the season but were told by the Red Sox that it would take Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler to obtain the outfielder, Newsday’s David Lennon reports.  Needless to say, negotiations failed to proceed from there.  Rival teams are constantly asking the Mets about deGrom, Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard, Lennon notes, while the club is instead trying to deal Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese or Dillon Gee from its pitching surplus.
  • The Red Sox need an ace to headline their rebuilt rotation, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe opines.  From that same piece, Cafardo talks to an NL scout who believes the Sox got the better of the Wade Miley trade.  The scout calls the young left-hander an “unrefined [Jon] Lester right now, but he’s on his way to being a No. 2 [starter].  Not sure what the D’Backs are thinking on this one, except to get more bodies.”

Dodgers Close To Acquiring Jimmy Rollins

TODAY, 12:33pm: Zach Eflin, acquired by Los Angeles in the Matt Kemp deal, could be one of the pieces going to the Phillies, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggested on Twitter. That is indeed the case, with the Phillies also likely to acquire lefty Tom Windle in the deal, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports on Twitter.

YESTERDAY, 7:03pm: Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Twitter link) that some of the prospects the Dodgers acquired from the Marlins in the Dee Gordon trade could be involved in the Rollins deal.  A third team is also involved in the Rollins trade, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki tweets.

6:38pm: The deal requires approval from the Commissioner’s Office since the Phillies are sending some money to the Dodgers in the trade, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.  The two clubs have otherwise agreed to the trade.

4:51pm: The trade is basically done and the teams are just working out some minor details, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times (via Twitter).

4:37pm: The Phillies are believed to getting two young pitchers back as part of the Rollins trade, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.

4:20pm: The trade is “close” but isn’t yet completely finalized, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.  The teams haven’t worked out which players will be in the deal and a third team could possibly be involved.

4:07pm: The Dodgers have acquired shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies, CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports, hearing from an industry source that the transaction is a “done deal.”  As reported earlier today, Rollins was willing to waive his 10-and-5 rights to accept a trade to the Dodgers.

After losing Hanley Ramirez to the Red Sox in free agency, Los Angeles filled its vacancy at shortstop with another high-profile veteran.  Rollins actually generated more fWAR (3.6 to 3.4) than Ramirez in 2014, as while Ramirez delivered more at the plate, Rollins far outpaced Ramirez defensively.  Rollins is no longer the offensive force that he was in his prime, but he still posted an above-average 102 wRC+ in 2014, hitting .243/.323/.394 with 17 homers and 28 steals over 609 plate appearances.

Rollins reached a vesting option in his previous contract that earned him an extra year and an $11MM salary for the 2015 season.  Since the Dodgers’ commitments to both Rollins and third baseman Juan Uribe will be up after 2015, that allows the club some flexibility in deciding the future of Corey Seager.  The top prospect is a shortstop now but many project him to eventually require a move to third base.

Rollins, 36, spent his entire 15-year career in Philadelphia, with the highlights including the NL MVP Award in 2007 and a World Series title in 2008.  Rollins is the Phillies’ all-time franchise leader in hits and doubles, and only Mike Schmidt played more games in a Phillie uniform.


Orioles Notes: Chen, Davis, Wieters, Bastardo

Orioles executive Dan Duquette says his team attempted to trade for pitching Wednesday, but that attempt fell through, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. That means the Orioles might not end up accomplishing much more at the Winter Meetings than making a selection in the Rule 5 Draft. “Keep in mind who the Orioles are,” says Duquette. “We’ve got an established pitching staff. We’ve got a strong everyday lineup. We’ve got to fill a few holes. We’re going to look at some options in the major league free-agent market and sign a couple players.” The Orioles have received plenty of trade interest in starter Wei-Yin Chen, Encina writes. Here are more notes on the Orioles.

  • Agent Scott Boras expresses optimism that the Orioles can work out ways to keep Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, Encina reports. Both players are eligible for free agency after the season. “I do think there’s a chance with all players,” Boras says. “Dan and I talk a great deal and, obviously, we have to do our arbitration for annual contracts here soon. I think both players enjoy playing in Baltimore.” Boras says he and Duquette have not talked about a potential extension for Chen.
  • The Orioles discussed a trade with the Phillies for lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo before Philadelphia shipped Bastardo to the Pirates, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. (That’s not the unconsummated pitching trade that Duquette alluded to, Kubatko clarifies in a reply.) Even with the departure of Andrew Miller, the Orioles already have several good lefties in Zach Britton, T.J. McFarland and Brian Matusz, although Britton is slated to close and MacFarland could pitch in the Triple-A rotation.

Dodgers, Phillies Discussed Chase Utley

While negotiating the Jimmy Rollins trade, the Dodgers and Phillies also discussed Chase Utley, Yahoo’s Tim Brown reports (Twitter link).  As Brown notes, L.A. could now have a more pressing need for a second baseman with Dee Gordon on his way to the Marlins.

Utley has full trade protection as a 10-and-5 veteran (like Rollins) and he has been steadfast in saying that he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia.  That said, it’s fair to speculate if Utley would be interested in playing alongside his longtime double-play partner Rollins for a contending team.

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro told reporters (including MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki) today that he had received “a lot” of interest in both Utley and Rollins and that he hasn’t talked to Utley today.


Pirates Acquire Antonio Bastardo

The Pirates have acquired southpaw reliever Antonio Bastardo from the Phillies in exchange for minor league left-hander Joely Rodriguez. After adding Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett to the rotation, Pittsburgh was thought to now be turning its attention to acquiring relief pitching, and now the Bucs have added a solid bullpen arm from their in-state rivals.

Bastardo has a 3.36 ERA, 2.61 K/BB and an impressive 11.6 K/9 over 216 2/3 IP with Philadelphia since 2011.  The lefty is solid against both right-handed and left-handed batters, though control is something of an issue, as Bastardo has posted a 4.6 BB/9 over the last three seasons.  Tony Watson was the only other established lefty in the Pittsburgh bullpen, so Bastardo’s addition gives the Bucs another solid late-game option against left-handed hitters.

Rodriguez posted a 4.84 ERA, 4.9 K/9 and 1.70 K/BB rate over 134 Double-A innings last season. The 23-year-old has mostly been used as a starter over his six pro seasons and has a career 4.02 ERA over 441 1/3 minor league innings.

Robert Murray was the first to report the deal, with FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal confirming that the two sides were close to an agreement. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported the trade had been finalized, with Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting Rodriguez’s involvement. (all links to Twitter) CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury initially reported Pittsburgh’s interest in Bastardo earlier today.


Latest On Dodgers, Phillies Trade Rumors

3:01pm: The Phillies are active in discussions with the Dodgers on Rollins, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

2:56pm: Jayson Stark of ESPN.com (via Twitter) is getting increasing indications that there’s a real chance of a deal that could send Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers.  However, something involving Cole Hamels going to L.A. seems less likely.

1:42pm: Philadelphia could strike a deal with the Dodgers involving both Cole Hamels and Rollins, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki suggests in the course of a broader discussion of Hamels’ market. Zolecki says that the Phillies might be able to get one of the Dodgers’ top prospects in a deal, noting that an expanded package — possibly including Rollins — may provide a means of sweetening the pot.

The best chance of the Phils pulling off a deal this week could involve Rollins going to Los Angeles, reports Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

12:44pm: Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins would approve a trade to the Dodgers, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Of course, a deal would have to be worked out first, and Heyman says there is at least some chance of that happening.

Rollins is said to have a fairly short list of teams to whom he would approve a trade. He has ten-and-five rights, giving him full no-trade protection. Heyman says that the Mets and Athletics are among the teams to which Rollins would not approve a deal, while he “apparently” would have okay’ed a deal to the Yankees had it come to fruition earlier in the offseason.

Los Angeles is still in the market for a shortstop after letting Hanley Ramirez walk, though it does have internal options to fill the void. The team was said at one point to have interest in veteran Alexei Ramirez, which at least lends facial plausibility to the idea of the club considering Rollins, who is in the final year of his contract.