- Phillies Extend Grady Sizemore For 2015
- Braves Name John Hart President Of Baseball Operations
- Phillies Extend Jerome Williams For 2015
- Brian Roberts To Retire
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- Orioles Extend J.J. Hardy
- Jeff Bridich Named Rockies GM; O'Dowd, Geivett Step Down
- Josh Beckett To Retire
- Yasmany Tomas Declared Free Agent
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Though it’s early in the process, the market for Yasmany Tomas is beginning to develop, tweets MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. To this point, the Rangers, Phillies, Padres, Giants, Mariners and Dodgers have all shown strong interest in the young slugger. Most of those clubs are logical fits, though the Dodgers are a bit surprising given the logjam of outfielders the team already has under contract. The Dodgers are already unable to find regular at-bats for Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Scott Van Slyke, so adding another outfielder to the mix would make a semi-surprising addition.
Some more news items from around the league…
- Braves right-hander Garrett Fulenchek and his agent, Craig Rose, have joined MSM Sports, MLBTR has learned. The 18-year-old Fulenchek was selected with the 66th overall pick in this year’s draft and will join the same agency that is home to No. 8 overall pick Kyle Freeland and Josh Harrison of the Pirates.
- The Royals and Orioles have built somewhat unconventional rosters, writes ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, pointing out that their meeting in the ALCS marks the first time in the divisional era (beginning in 1969) that two teams that ranked in the bottom five of the league in walks will meet in an LCS or World Series. Crasnick looks at each team’s emphasis on defense as well as the Orioles’ emphasis on power and aggression and the Royals’ emphasis on speed. Somewhat incredibly, Baltimore ranked first in the Majors in homers and last in steals, while Kansas City ranked last in homers and first in steals. Crasnick spoke with Adam Jones, Buck Showalter and the Elias Sports Bureau’s Steve Hirdt for the piece, the latter of whom opined that clubs have gone from undervaluing walks to overvaluing them.
- Crasnick’s colleague, Jayson Stark, writes that players feel underrepresented as MLB experiments with new rules to increase the pace of play. No active players were included on the seven-man committee to look into the matter, though MLBPA executive director Tony Clark (a former Major Leaguer himself) is on the committee to serve as a voice for the players, commissioner-elect Rob Manfred explained to Stark via email. Nonetheless, players such as Curtis Granderson, Kevin Slowey and Brad Ziegler all went on the record with Stark, and a number of players who wished to remain anonymous brought up several issues they’ve taken with the endeavor. Some players feel that too much of the blame has been placed on them, when there’s been little talk of shortening commercial breaks or the consequences that an increasingly matchup-based game has brought about (i.e. more pitching changes). More than anything, players hope to have a voice in the matter before changes are implemented, Slowey and Granderson explained.
- Baseball America’s Matt Eddy compiled an “All-Rookie Team” for the 2014 season, highlighting the excellent work of Travis d’Arnaud, Jose Abreu, Mookie Betts, Nick Castellanos, Danny Santana, Billy Hamilton, Kevin Kiermaier, George Springer, Kennys Vargas, Jacob deGrom, Collin McHugh, Marcus Stroman, Masahiro Tanaka, Yordano Ventura and Dellin Betances. Names such as Matt Shoemaker and David Peralta also earned mentions, and you can read Eddy’s rationale behind his selections in the full article.
A.J. Burnett has a $12.75MM player option for the 2015 season, but he’s also debated retirement on multiple occasions over the past two seasons, so whether or not he picks it up remains uncertain. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears, however, that Burnett is leaning toward pitching again in 2015. Heyman spoke to people close to Burnett and got the sense that given the righty’s love of pitching and the solid $12.75MM payday, there’s a “good chance” that he’ll pitch in 2015.
The news may bring about mixed reactions among Phillies faithful, as Burnett unquestionably struggled this season. Though the 37-year-old posted his highest innings total since 2008 (213 2/3) and made an NL-leading 34 starts, he also posted a disappointing 4.59 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 50.6 percent ground-ball rate. Burnett posted an NL-worst 18 losses as well, though clearly that total is also reflective of his defense and a lack of run support. Beyond that, Burnett also pitched through a hernia for much of the season, an injury that, as Burnett told MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, will require offseason surgery.
However, the prospect of a healthy Burnett in 2015 would improve the Phillies’ outlook. Currently, the team has little certainty in the rotation beyond ace Cole Hamels and righty David Buchanan (117 2/3 innings of 3.75 ERA in 2014), as it’s impossible to know what to expect of Cliff Lee next season as he recovers from a flexor tendon injury. Kyle Kendrick and Jerome Williams, each of whom occupied a rotation spot late in the 2014 season, are both free agents. Aaron Nola, the team’s first-round selection from 2014, could eventually factor into the equation. Other in-house options include Jonathan Pettibone and Jesse Biddle, though the latter certainly figures to need some more time to develop in the minors, and the former missed much of 2014 following shoulder surgery.
Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton projects to land a $13MM payday in his second run through arbitration, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz (via MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes). That figure would be double Stanton’s salary from last year, and sets the table nicely for the 24-year-old as the team prepares to open extension negotiations.
Here are the latest front office moves from the NL East:
- The Phillies will hire Johnny Almaraz as their new head of scouting, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Almaraz had served as the Braves‘ director of international scouting. He will take over for the departed Marti Wolever.
- Also, the Phillies announced that they have hired Rafael Chaves away from the Dodgers to serve as their new minor league pitching coordinator. Chaves filled the same role with L.A. from 2009-13 before serving as a special assistant of player personnel this past season.
- The Braves have announced a series of front office shifts, most of which were already reported. Gordon Blakely and Roy Clark were named special assistants to the general manager, Brian Bridges was promoted to scouting director, and Dave Trembley has been hired as director of player development. Trembley’s assistant will be Jonathan Schuerholz, the son of club president John. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recaps the action amongst the Atlanta brass.
As outrights pick up pace across the league, here are the latest minor moves:
- After outrighting him yesterday, the Phillies have released righty Sean O’Sullivan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. O’Sullivan was set to become a minor league free agent anyway, so this just moves up his appearance on the open market.
- After seeing three players fail to clear waivers today, the Diamondbacks did manage to get another trio through. Per the PCL transactions page, outfielder Brett Jackson, lefty Joe Paterson, and catcher Bobby Wilson have all cleared and been outrighted to Triple-A. Jackson, a 26-year-old former top prospect, had another disappointing season at Triple-A, posting a .208/.299/.350 line in 271 plate appearances. Paterson, 28, again posted solid numbers in Triple-A (2.95 ERA over 42 2/3 frames) but failed to return to the regular MLB pen role that he had in 2011. And Wilson, 31, saw his first MLB action since 2012 with the Angels, but spent most of his time putting together a .267/.324/.341 slash over 299 trips to the plate at Triple-A.
- Also clearing waivers and being outrighted was Jeff Bianchi of the Brewers. Bianchi, who turned 28 on Sunday, struggled in limited MLB action this year. The utility infielder owns a lifetime .534 OPS through 402 plate appearances in the bigs. Over three seasons at Triple-A, he has posted a more attractive .299/.349/.428 line.
The Phillies fell to the basement of the NL East with a 73-89 record in 2014. Ominously, the club received decent performances from many over-the-hill veterans, suggesting the presence of additional downside. Youngsters and the rotation take most of the blame for the poor season. If there’s one bright spot (and there is only one), it’s the bullpen.
- Ryan Howard, 1B: $60MM through 2016
- Cliff Lee, SP: $37.5MM through 2015
- Cole Hamels, SP: $96MM through 2018
- Chase Utley, 2B: $15MM through 2015 (plus three $15MM vesting options from 2016-2018)
- Jonathan Papelbon, RP: $13MM through 2015 (plus $13MM vesting option for 2016)
- Jimmy Rollins, SS: $11MM through 2015
- Carlos Ruiz, C: $17.5MM through 2016
- Marlon Byrd, OF: $8MM through 2015
- Miguel Gonzalez, SP: $7MM through 2016 (plus unknown vesting option for 2017)
Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via Matt Swartz)
- Tony Gwynn Jr. (5.147): $900K projected salary
- Antonio Bastardo (5.054): $2.8MM
- Andres Blanco (4.007): $700K
- Ben Revere (3.149): $4MM
- Domonic Brown (3.078): $2.6MM
- Cesar Jimenez (3.020): $600K
- Non-tender candidates: Gwynn, Blanco, Jimenez
- A.J. Burnett: $15MM mutual option or $12.75MM player option ($1MM buyout)
- Mike Adams: $6MM club option
The Phillies entered the July trade deadline with few assets and an obvious need to retool. However, they opted to keep their most marketable pieces like Hamels, Papelbon, and Byrd. That trio were involved in a wide range of trade rumors, but a deal was never finalized. Philadelphia did swing a notable August trade, securing prospects Jesmuel Valentin and Victor Arano from the Dodgers for starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez. The Phillies also netted Gustavo Pierre for backup outfielder John Mayberry Jr.
GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may be on the hot seat due to a combination of bad contracts and a failure to turn veterans into future talent during the season. For example, several playoff-bound clubs like the Tigers, Giants, or Dodgers could have benefited from Papelbon, but Amaro was unable to unload him. For what it’s worth, former team president Dave Montgomery and interim team president Pat Gillick have issued multiple votes of confidence on behalf of Amaro. The club’s failure in 2014 should make it easier for the front office to accept a rebuilding process.
Philadelphia lacks near-ready position prospects beyond Maikel Franco. Their offense ranked 27th in baseball per wRC+, a context neutral advanced statistic. They barely outpaced the Padres, Reds, and Diamondbacks among the league’s worst offenses. A focus on finding new, long-term assets should be the top priority.
While it’s obvious the club should rebuild, the how of it is muddier. The outgoing free agents do not represent a substantial chunk of the payroll, so a Yankees-like spending spree isn’t a possibility. A quick turnaround will require shrewd moves on the free agent, trade, and waiver markets. When this club was last successful, they found Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth on the scrap heap. This time around Philadelphia needs to find even more hidden gems.
Before fixating on the Phillies myriad problems, let’s examine their biggest strength – the bullpen. Papelbon posted a fine season with 39 saves and a 2.04 ERA. His fastball velocity declined for a fourth straight season – now down to 91 mph. His peripherals are worrisome, especially his unusually low .247 BABIP and 2.7% HR/FB ratio. If both numbers regress to league average, we should expect a corresponding bump in ERA.
Papelbon found himself in the rumor mill this summer but ultimately stuck with the club. His contract, vesting option, and reputation as a distraction will make him difficult to trade. He can block deals to 17 clubs, but he’s said he will accept a trade to any contender who uses him as their primary closer. The emergence of Ken Giles – 1.18 ERA, 12.61 K/9, 2.17 BB/9, and 97 mph fastball – gives Philadelphia an alternative to their veteran star. However, Giles has struggled with command in the minors, so it may be prudent to confirm he can maintain a strong walk rate. Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal offers a cautionary tale.
Another reliever to emerge this season is Jake Diekman. The left-handed slinger dialed up the gas with an average fastball at 97 mph and the ability to touch triple digits. He improved throughout the season and finished with a 3.80 ERA, 12.68 K/9, and 4.44 BB/9. Diekman’s presence could make Bastardo expendable. The club’s longest tenured lefty reliever is entering his third and final season of arbitration eligibility and is expected to earn $2.8MM. The Phillies can also turn to right-hander Justin De Fratus to shorten games.
Papelbon is not the only player who should expect a swirl of trade rumors this winter. With several high profile players, the question is: will they return? Burnett may consider retirement rather than accept his side of the option (worth at least $12.75MM). Even if he does decide to continue playing, there’s no guarantee he won’t opt to serve with another franchise.
One reason Burnett chose Philadelphia was that he thought he could help them compete. Despite an 18-loss season, teams would probably be willing to bet on Burnett returning to a healthier and more productive state in 2015. He pitched nearly the entire season with a hernia and posted the highest walk rate of his career. A healthy Burnett could more closely resemble his strong 2012-13 seasons.
In many ways, it’s fortunate that outfielder Yasmany Tomas was declared a free agent last Thursday. The Phillies were the first club to organize a private workout with the Cuban and are said to have always preferred him over fellow countryman Rusney Castillo. The power hitter would fit the Phillies need of young talent without necessitating a trade. The outcome of the Tomas pursuit could accelerate the club’s rebuilding plans – assuming they can swallow a possible nine-digit price tag.
If payroll stays consistent around $175MM, Howard, Lee, and Hamels represent over 40 percent of expenditures. Currently, about $132.67MM is guaranteed in 2015 with another $10MM estimated through arbitration. Burnett’s $12.75MM player option will play a big role in available payroll. Depending on his decision, the Phillies appear to have about $20MM to $35MM to spend over the offseason. It’s possible declining attendance will lead to a lower payroll, or perhaps valuable opportunities like Tomas will lead to more spending.
Hamels is the club’s most valuable Major League asset. Amaro reportedly asked teams for their three top prospects in return for Hamels – a price at which many scoffed. Dave Cameron of FanGraphs confirmed that Hamels has some value with his current contract, but the financial cost does make it hard for another club to justify an exorbitant prospect fee.
As the Phillies’ most marketable trade commodity, the club will have trouble pulling the trigger on a Hamels deal. Most rebuilding franchises will conduct a fire sale and count on a quantity of well-regarded prospects to provide value down the road. The Phillies basically get to take one shot at finding their future. Prospect-rich teams like the Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers are expected to make a play for Hamels, who can block trades to 20 clubs.
The team has caught a lot of flak over the years for Howard’s contract, and the criticism seems well deserved. Since his current contract kicked in prior to 2012, Howard has provided -1.0 fWAR. That places him among the worst players over that time span despite collecting one of the highest annual salaries.
Philadelphia has tried to dump Howard to any AL franchise while assuming most of the remaining payroll. So far, the fish won’t bite. The club could opt to dismiss the former star and eat his salary, although that seems like a hasty measure without an alternative in place. Darin Ruf is the backup first baseman, with Franco in apparent need of more minor league seasoning.
Lee is another pricey player who might not live up to his contract. Whereas there is little hope of a resurgence from Howard, Lee could recover his past form if the flexor tendon in his left elbow heals over the offseason. This year, he pitched to a 3.65 ERA with 7.97 K/9 and 1.33 BB/9 in 81 innings while missing most of the second half.
Lee’s $27.5MM option for 2016 becomes guaranteed if he throws 200 innings next season without ending on the disabled list with a left arm injury. Otherwise, it becomes a club option with a hefty $12.5MM buyout. An offseason trade of Lee seems unlikely due to his injury, though it’s possible that a team like the Dodgers would be willing to assume some or all of the contract as a way to acquire a possible star at a minimal prospect cost.
With the Phillies’ top three starting pitchers uncertain to return and/or produce in 2015, rotation depth will be a priority for the club. Kendrick could be re-signed as a familiar face. He’s a reliable if unexciting option to absorb innings for a rebuilding club. Internal options include David Buchanan, 2014 draftee Aaron Nola, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, and Jonathan Pettibone. Prospect Jesse Biddle could figure as a mid-season addition.
Even if the Hamels, Lee, and Burnett remain in Philadelphia, the team may want to acquire two starters via free agency or trade. A top-flight free agent is an unlikely acquisition, and competition could keep them away from mid-market targets. Again, Tomas’ decision could affect the club’s direction in the rotation. It would be easier to justify signing a Brandon McCarthy if a quick path to contention was evident. Similarly, if Burnett declines his option, the Phillies may be more inclined to investigate other mid-market options.
The outfield is perhaps an area of consternation for the Phillies. Byrd performed as expected, as did Revere. However, Brown turned in a lousy season with just 10 home runs and a .235/.285/.349 line. The club may be ready to execute a change of scenery move. Certainly, Brown’s grasp on regular playing time has eroded.
The free agent market for outfielders is fairly thin, and trading for a notable outfielder could be difficult to balance with the club’s priorities. Philadelphia could still cash in on Byrd over the offseason to take advantage of the paucity of outfielders in free agency. As for depth pieces, the club received solid production from Sizemore and could consider another one-year deal. Perhaps they would consider recently designated outfielder Jose Tabata too. Most internal options like Cesar Hernandez and Gwynn are defense-oriented. The lone exception is prospect Kelly Dugan, but he’s struggled with injuries and has yet to show much in-game power.
On the face of it, the infield is stable. Howard, Utley, and Rollins have manned their respective positions since 2005 while Cody Asche or Franco will probably handle third base. If Howard isn’t back for 2015, the club has a few internal solutions. Utley could move to first base with either Asche, Hernandez, or Freddy Galvis serving at second base. Alternatively, Franco or Ruf could step directly into the first base job. Some speculate that playing first base could help Utley remain healthy and effective, although such claims are not accompanied by evidence.
While an external hire is unlikely, third base is an area of depth in free agency. If Philadelphia has its eyes on the postseason, Aramis Ramirez might be of interest – assuming he turns down his half of a mutual option. Ramirez is entering his age-37 season, which doesn’t appear to be a good fit for the Phillies. However, he could give Asche and Franco space to develop while improving the on-field product. He may come with a qualifying offer attached, but the Phillies’ first round pick is protected, meaning he would require forfeiture of a second-round selection.
Since he’s available to sign now, Tomas appears primed to be the first domino to fall in the free agent market. His decision may affect the direction of the Phillies offseason. If Philadelphia gambles on the Cuban, they might be more inclined to aim for a competitive roster in the next couple years. Unless they find a similarly high-ceiling youngster around which to build, the situation looks bleak.
26-year-old Kenta Maeda of Japan’s Hiroshima Carp is expected to become available through the posting system, making him an intriguing potential addition to the upcoming free agent market. Ben Badler of Baseball America has a report on Maeda’s last outing in the Nippon League, writing that he “flash[ed] three average or better pitches with good fastball command.” Though slight in build, Maeda steadily worked in the 90-94 mph range. Ultimately, Badler indicates that, while the righty is not viewed as a top-of-the-rotation arm at the MLB level, he should draw plenty of interest if he is made available.
Here are a few more stray notes from around the game:
- The Yankees may be interested in re-signing mid-season acquisition Chase Headley, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. A move to bring back the third baseman would appear to be a strong indication that Alex Rodriguez is not expected to be an option there, Heyman explains.
- The Tigers thought they were going to acquire then-Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller at the trade deadline after meeting Boston’s asking price, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. But the Sox gave the Orioles one last chance, resulting in Eduardo Rodriguez heading north to a division rival. As Sherman notes, the eleven outs that Miller recorded in the ALDS for the O’s, rather than the Tigers, had an undeniable impact on Baltimore’s three-game sweep.
- Looking ahead to Miller’s free agency, one executive tells Sherman that three years and $21MM is probably just the starting point for the southpaw’s market. The ability to deploy Miller in the way that the Yankees used Dellin Betances in his breakout year — often throwing multiple innings in winnable games — greatly increases his value, says Sherman.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says “there’s nothing that’s really off the table” for the team as it enters the offseason, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Though he said he does not believe “this organization needs a philosophical overhaul as far as how we evaluate players,” Amaro said the team needs to get younger and more athletic while “looking for more long-term solutions” in the player market. Ultimately, the organization could put added emphasis on “speed and contact” given the lack of power bats available.
With teams in preparation for the upcoming offseason, there will be numerous minor outrights over the coming weeks. We’ll run down today’s outrights and other minor moves in this post…
- After being designated for assignment late in the year by the Mariners, first baseman/DH Corey Hart has elected free agency after clearing outright waivers, MLB.com’s Greg Johns tweets. Though it may or may not have any practical import, Hart will be eligible to sign a new deal now, rather than waiting until until after the World Series for the official onset of free agency.
- The Phillies announced that they have outrighted Sean O’Sullivan off the 40-man roster. The right-hander will be eligible to become a minor league free agent. O’Sullivan made three appearances (two starts) for the Phils this season, yielding nine runs on 15 hits and a pair of walks with seven strikeouts in 12 2/3 total innings. In parts of five big league seasons, the 27-year-old O’Sullivan has a 5.91 ERA in 231 1/3 innings with 4.3 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 40 percent ground-ball rate.
The AL East champion Orioles are looking for their first playoff sweep since they eliminated the A’s in the 1971 ALCS as they face the Tigers in Game Three of their ALDS. The NL East champion Nationals, meanwhile, will look to avoid being swept by the Giants tomorrow in their NLDS.
Here’s the latest from baseball’s East divisions:
- Pablo Sandoval, with his personality and left-handed bat, would be a good fit for the Red Sox, opines the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Despite Sandoval’s weight issues and a declining OPS over the past four seasons, Cafardo hears the third baseman will command a five-year, $100MM pact with the Yankees and Dodgers joining Boston in the bidding.
- A.J. Burnett‘s decision whether to exercise his $12.75MM player option will dictate how the Phillies‘ offseason unfolds, according to CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman. If Burnett declines the option, the Phillies will have the financial flexibility required to make impactful free agent signings and begin the necessary roster overhaul, Seidman writes.
- The James Shields-Wil Myers trade between the Rays and Royals is still under evaluation, notes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. At this point, who “won” the trade depends on whom you ask.
- The Mets don’t need a spending spree to improve for 2015, posits Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Of course, it would be nice if they could spend the necessary money to sign free agent catcher Russell Martin, but there are cheaper ways they can upgrade their offense. One idea Sherman has is calling the Red Sox to inquire on a Bartolo Colon for Shane Victorino deal.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: A.J. Burnett | Bartolo Colon | Boston Red Sox | James Shields | Kansas City Royals | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marc Topkin | New York Mets | New York Yankees | Pablo Sandoval | Philadelphia Phillies | Russell Martin | San Francisco Giants | Shane Victorino | Tampa Bay Rays | Wil Myers
The Phillies have issued a statement refuting a FOX 29 report from last night which claimed president and CEO David Montgomery was forced out of his position in order for partial owner John Middleton to become the team’s majority owner. Via CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury (Twitter link), here is the Phillies’ statement:
“Contrary to the FOX 29 report last night, David Montgomery’s leave of absence from the Phillies is entirely due to his medical condition, as previously announced. There is absolutely no other reason for his leave from active involvement in the Phillies management. Over the life of the Phillies partnership no one entity or family has owned a majority of the partnership, and we do not foresee this changing in the future.”
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer also spoke to multiple unnamed sources that “strongly” refuted the notion that Montgomery was forced out (Twitter link). But, in a full article, Gelb writes that not all of what FOX 29’s Howard Eskin reported can be refuted. While the notion that Montgomery was forced out appears decidedly incorrect, Gelb confirmed with two sources that Eskin was correct in reporting that Middleton now has a 48 percent share of the team. It’s not clear how long he’s held such a large share, according to Gelb, but it does appear to be unusual for a Phillies minority owner to have such a large stake in the team.
According to Gelb, Middleton is not expected to make a push for majority ownership, even if he is technically positioned to do so. Additionally, Gelb spoke with multiple sources who said that were it not for Montgomery’s battle with cancer, he would still be assuming his duties as team president. He adds that the Phillies are expecting Montgomery to make a full recovery and return to his post, though a timetable is unclear.
Should the Phillies make a move for a permanent replacement for Montgomery, Gelb continues, senior vice president of marketing and advertising sales Dave Buck is viewed as one of the top internal candidates. Middleton himself told someone with whom Gelb spoke that Montgomery’s situation would not be evaluated until at least January. For the time being, interim president Pat Gillick has “unilateral control of the franchise,” and has deferred day-to-day business matters to senior VP of administration and operations Mike Stiles.
With the regular season in the books, it’s worth assessing how things ultimately shook out from last winter’s Rule 5 draft. Only nine players were taken in this year’s draft. Here’s where things stand:
Remember, players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they aren’t on the 40-man roster four or five years after signing, depending on the age at which they signed. If a team makes a selection, it pays the former team $50K and must keep that player on the Major League roster all season or offer him back to his original team for $25K. (Note that Rule 5 selections can change hands like any other player, with an acquiring team stepping into the shoes of the original selecting club. Click here for more details.)
- Patrick Schuster, LHP (taken first overall by the Astros from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. But not before a somewhat eventful tour. He was first dealt to the Padres, then placed on waivers and claimed by the Royals before finally being sent back. He never ended up throwing a big league inning, and ultimately struggled to 4.50 ERA in 18 frames at Triple-A once back with the D’backs.
- Adrian Nieto, C (taken third overall by the White Sox from the Nationals): Retained by Chicago. The switch-hitting, 24-year-old backstop hung on all year, posting a .236/.296/.340 line in his first 118 MLB plate appearances. He is now White Sox property.
- Kevin Munson, RHP (taken fourth overall by the Phillies from the Diamondbacks): Returned to Arizona. Munson never made it onto the active roster, and was sent back in mid-March. Though he never saw MLB action this year, he did post a rather dominant campaign at Triple-A: 2.60 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9.
- Tommy Kahnle, RHP (taken eighth overall by the Rockies from the Yankees): Retained by Colorado. The 25-year-old was an oft-used bullpen piece for the Rockies, posting a 4.19 ERA in 68 2/3 frames with 8.3 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. Colorado owns his rights moving forward.
- Brian Moran, LHP (taken ninth overall by the Blue Jays from the Mariners): Still in limbo after season-ending surgery. Moran was dealt by Toronto to the Angels on the day of the draft, and opened the season DL’ed on the active roster. But his left elbow ultimately required Tommy John surgery, meaning that he ended up on the 60-day DL. The Halos do not yet own Moran’s rights permanently: to keep him, the club will need to carry him on the active roster without a DL stay for at least 90 days.
- Seth Rosin, RHP (taken tenth overall by the Mets from the Phillies): Returned to Philadelphia. Dealt immediately after the draft to the Dodgers, Rosin was claimed by the Rangers late in the spring and made three appearances before his roster spot was needed and he was returned. Back at Triple-A with the Phillies, he worked to a 3.86 ERA over 58 1/3 rames.
- Wei-Chung Wang, LHP (taken eleventh overall by the Brewers from the Pirates): Retained by Milwaukee. It took some doing, but a contending Brewers club was able to hold onto Wang for the entirety of the season. Though he did miss 45 games with a DL stint, Wang ultimately made only 14 appearances for the club. The 22-year-old will presumably be stretched out as a starter again as he returns to his development track in the lower minors.
- Marcos Mateo, RHP (taken fifteenth overall by the Diamondbacks from the Cubs): Returned to Chicago. Mateo was the first player to be returned, heading back in mid-March. The 30-year-old threw to a 3.86 ERA in 37 1/3 innings upon his return to Triple-A with his original team.
- Michael Almanzar, 3B (taken sixteenth overall by the Orioles from the Red Sox): Returned to Boston … but ultimately traded back to Baltimore. Shelved with injury for much of the year, Almanzar was returned to the Red Sox in the middle of the summer after a rehab stint. But the O’s obviously wanted him back, and added him as part of the Kelly Johnson deal. Over 233 minor league plate appearances on the year, Almanzar posted a .245/.322/.389 slash.
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