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Philadelphia Phillies Rumors
The Phillies and A.J. Burnett have each declined their sides of the right-hander’s $15MM option for 2015, The Associated Press reports. This expected move leaves Burnett until Monday to decide whether or not to exercise his $12.75MM player option for next season.
Burnett has considered retirement in recent years, though latest rumors have him leaning towards pitching in 2015 and Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. believes the veteran will return. Burnett posted a 4.59 ERA, 1.98 K/BB rate and 190 strikeouts over 213 2/3 IP last season, a step back from his strong performances with Pittsburgh in 2012-13, though Burnett’s track record would still net him plenty of attention on the free agent market (if perhaps not at a $12.75MM price tag). While he would undoubtedly prefer to pitch for a contender rather than a rebuilding club like the Phillies, Burnett has been vocal about wanting to play for a team close to his Maryland home, so he could decide to just pick up his player option and remain in Philadelphia.
Here are today’s minor moves from around the league, via Baseball America’s Matt Eddy on Twitter.
- The Mets have released Juan Urbina, reports Baseball America’s Matt Eddy (via Twitter). In five years with the Mets, the 21-year-old left-handed pitcher failed to pass Low-A ball. While he generally posted strong strikeout rates in limited work, he walked nearly the same number of hitters. The once-prospect signed for $1.2MM in 2009 and is the son of former big leaguer Ugueth Urbina.
- The Phillies have signed outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darin Mastroianni to minor league deals. Bogusevic last appeared in the big leagues in 2013 and spent last season hitting .260/.349/.411 in 311 plate appearances for Triple-A New Orleans in the Marlins system. Mastroianni appeared briefly for the Twins and Blue Jays in 2014 but spent most of the season with Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .267/.349/.369 in 393 plate appearances.
- The Blue Jays have re-signed righty Bobby Korecky. The 35-year-old had a strong season in the Buffalo bullpen, posting a 1.97 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 64 innings.
- The Athletics have signed righty Kevin Whelan, who briefly appeared with the Tigers in 2014 and a 2.70 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 43 1/3 innings with Triple-A Toledo.
- The Royals have signed 24-year-old corner infielder Balbino Fuenmayor, who hit .347/.383/.610 in 413 plate appearances with Quebec in the Canadian-American Association, earning BA’s Indy League Player Of The Year award. The Blue Jays released Fuenmayor in 2013.
- Cubs outfielder Ryan Kalish, White Sox outfielder Michael Taylor and Phillies shortstop Andres Blanco have all elected free agency. All three players were recently outrighted.
- The Tigers have re-signed third baseman Mike Hessman. The 36-year-old Hessman has gotten few chances in the big leagues, but he’s still a feared slugger in the International League, where he hit 28 home runs and batted .248/.330/.500 in 2014. The veteran has 417 career minor league home runs, including 307 at the Triple-A level.
The Yankees have spoken with veteran Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez about their hitting coach position, George A. King III of the New York Post writes. Since Ibanez was still technically a Royal during the team’s World Series run (although he was not on their active roster), the Yankees waited until late this week to contact him. The 42-year-old Ibanez has an excellent clubhouse reputation, although, obviously, he has never been a professional hitting coach. The Yankees have interviewed Chili Davis (who ended up in Boston) and Dave Magadan (who returned to the Rangers). Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Phillies‘ pair of deals involving current Giants star Hunter Pence turned out horribly, Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News writes. Jarred Cosart is already contributing in the big leagues, and Jon Singleton and Domingo Santana, who joined Cosart in heading to Houston when the Phillies acquired Pence, are both promising. Meanwhile, little remains of the Phillies’ haul when they sent Pence to San Francisco — catcher Tommy Joseph has struggled to stay healthy, while pitcher Seth Rosin, who will be 26 next week, was demoted to Double-A at one point this summer.
- The Marlins appear likely to exercise their option on catcher Jeff Mathis, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. The 31-year-old Mathis has never hit well (he batted just .200/.263/.274 last season), but he’s competent defensively and he’s cheap, at just $1.5MM for 2015. If the Marlins do in fact pick up his option, he’ll spend another season as Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s backup.
The Phillies have declined their $6MM club option on reliever Mike Adams, the club announced. Of course, the attentive reader would have already realized this fact from looking over this morning’s MLBPA release, which listed Adams among the free agents.
Needless to say, the move is not a surprise. Adams, 36, had an injury-plagued two-year run in Philadelphia and never had much of a chance to live up to his contract. He was effective enough when he was not hurt, and ultimately contributed 43 2/3 innings of 3.50 ERA ball, but the price was too steep to bring him back for 2015.
Adams will surely generate plenty of interest in spite of his shoulder problems. He was rather good early in 2014, ending the year with 10.1 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 to go along with a 56.3% groundball rate. Though a substantial guarantee would be a surprise, we have seen significant outlays made to injured hurlers (Jesse Crain and Gavin Floyd, for example) in recent years .
The Braves are expected to make a qualifying offer to Ervin Santana, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In the event that Santana leaves, the team may pursue a top-of-the-rotation type of arm, O’Brien writes, but their lack of financial flexibility would make the trade market a more likely avenue than free agency. O’Brien adds that he finds it unlikely that Santana would accept the QO — a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree. He also notes that should the club lose Santana, it might be more motivated to try to retain Aaron Harang, even though he is in line for a sizable raise from the $2MM he earned in 2014 (including incentives). MLBTR’s Zach Links recently profiled Harang, pegging him for a two-year, $14MM contract. Santana was also profiled by MLBTR, with Tim Dierkes projecting a four-year pact worth $56MM.
Elsewhere in baseball’s Eastern divisions…
- The Red Sox are prioritizing Pablo Sandoval and Chase Headley as the look toward the offseason, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The team may also look at Aramis Ramirez, though he’s not believed to be as coveted as Sandoval or Headley and is said to prefer a return to Milwaukee, per Heyman, who adds that the Yankees would like to re-sign Headley. Red Sox third basemen combined to hit just .245/.305/.351 in 2014.
- Red Sox people strongly denied a previous report that Yoenis Cespedes is hated by the team’s coaching staff, Heyman writes in a second piece. One source called the report “totally untrue,” and manager John Farrell added on MLB Network Radio that the notion was “completely unfounded,” Heyman adds. He goes on to write that a trade of Cespedes is unlikely (though not impossible), given Boston’s overall need for power.
- The Phillies announced today that their entire coaching staff has agreed to return to the club for the 2015 season.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post looks at the second round of changes coming to the dimensions of Citi Field and writes that the new dimensions may give some type of hint as to which players are most likely to be traded by the Mets this offseason. The Mets are planning to make Citi Field more homer-friendly and build the pitching staff around arms that emphasize strikeouts and ground-balls. Names like Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler fit that description, but Bartolo Colon, Dillon Gee and, to a lesser extent, Rafael Montero are all more prone to fly-balls, making them more likely to be dealt.
Here are today’s minor moves and outrights from around the league…
- The Angels have outrighted righty Ryan Brasier and outfielder Tony Campana off the 40-man roster, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Brasier, 27, threw nine innings of relief for the Halos last year but has worked above the 4 earned-per-nine level at Triple-A over the last two seasons and missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 28-year-old Campana, who joined the Angels on a mid-season waiver claim from the Diamondbacks, owns a .249/.296/.288 slash over 477 plate appearances in parts of four seasons at the MLB level.
- The Phillies announced that right-hander B.J. Rosenberg has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The 29-year-old Rosenberg has 56 2/3 innings of big league experience, but he’s struggled to a 5.72 ERA in the Majors. At the Triple-A level, however, Rosenberg owns a much more palatable 3.87 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 in 148 2/3 innings. He’s worked almost exclusively out of the bullpen since being selected in the 13th round of the 2008 draft; in 257 games between the Majors and Minors, he’s made 224 relief appearances against just 33 starts. Philadelphia’s 40-man roster is now down to 38.
The Orioles have spoken to Nick Markakis‘ agent and will continue contract discussions this week, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. Markakis is expected to hit free agency when the O’s decline their half of a $17.5MM option on the outfielder’s services for 2015. “Both sides want to get a deal done, but….A hometown discount has its limits,” Kubatko writes. Indeed, Markakis will draw a lot of interest on the open market, with MLBTR’s Steve Adams predicting Markakis will find a three- or four-year deal worth between $39-$48MM (depending on whether the Orioles extend a qualifying offer).
Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- The Red Sox had some preliminary talks with Adam Katz, then Yoenis Cespedes‘ agent, about a four- or five-year extension, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports. Since then, however, Cespedes changed his representation to Roc Nation Sports and is expected to look for a longer-term deal, making it more likely that the Sox explore trading him this winter. Beyond contract reasons, Boston could look to move the outfielder because, as a source tells Madden, Cespedes “marches to his own drum and the [Red Sox] coaches all hate him.”
- The Red Sox could use Cespedes as a trade chip for starting pitching, and Madden speculates that the Mets line up with the Sox as trade partners. Boston is also “exploring” what the Phillies would want for Cole Hamels, though Philadelphia isn’t interested in Cespedes.
- Ex-Rays manager Joe Maddon spoke with Fangraphs’ David Laurila in September (before the current drama surrounding Maddon’s opt-out) and discussed why pitching and defense are dominating the sport. Beyond the PED crackdown, Maddon pointed out that quite a bit of recent significant sabermetrics work has been focused on pitching and defense, rather than offense. Maddon also said driving a starter out of a game no longer presents the opportunity it once did, as “You see a lot of 95-plus out of the pen now, and some of those guys have quality secondary pitches. I think it’s become easier to build bullpens, and it’s rare a team has a bad one.”
- Maddon also suggested speed might become a more crucial part of the game than it has been in the recent past, when homers and walks became the blueprint for offensive production. The Red Sox, however, are one team that plans to stick to its offensive philosophy, GM Ben Cherington tells Laurila. “We know we need to build a better offense, but we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” Cherington said. “If we can see pitches and get on base, and still hit for power and hit with runners in scoring position, I still think that’s a formula to score runs.”
The Nationals will try to re-sign some combination of Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond and Doug Fister this offseason, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes. The trio combined for 10.8 fWAR in 2014, and all three are eligible for free agency following the 2015 season. The Nats might have to make decisions about which of the three to extend, and could consider trading those they don’t, although GM Mike Rizzo suggests no trades are imminent. “I think we’re a long way from that conversation,” he says. Kilgore adds that Zimmermann became more difficult to sign when the Reds signed Homer Bailey to a $105MM deal last February, changing the market for starting pitchers. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Interim president Pat Gillick’s recent comments that the Phillies did not figure to contend again until at least 2017 marked a change in philosophy for the organization, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. “We’ve been talking about a lot of things internally,” says GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “[I]t’s pretty clear that we have had a shift. … [W]e’ve got some regrouping, rebuilding — whatever you want to call it. There’s things that we have to do that are different.” That means the Phillies will try to deal Ryan Howard this offseason, and they’ll also consider dealing Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins if they get the right offers (and if Utley and Rollins approve trades). The Phillies could also sign Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, who would be expensive but who would add youth and star power.
- The Phillies are willing to deal Hamels, but they’ll be asking a lot, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Hamels should fetch a strong return on the trade market despite the four years and $96MM remaining on his contract, Heyman writes, because free agent aces Max Scherzer and Jon Lester are likely to get even more. Hamels has a 20-team no-trade list that he must update by November 1. Until then, Hamels can be traded to the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Cardinals, Nationals, Braves, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers without his consent. The Cubs claimed Hamels off revocable waivers in August.
- The Rays‘ list of candidates to replace Joe Maddon could include bench coach Dave Martinez, Triple-A manager Charlie Montoyo, FOX Sports analyst Gabe Kapler, White Sox coach Joe McEwing and former Rangers interim manager Tim Bogar, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. Topkin notes that Martinez has interviewed for five other managerial jobs already.
Here’s the latest on Joe Maddon, whose agent Alan Nero (via a tweet from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo) says is still “early in the process” of deciding what to do in 2015. Nero adds that taking a year off might be a possibility for Maddon.
- Joe Maddon exercising the out clause in his contract might have been the result of a deliberate strategy by the Rays, Cork Gaines of Rays Index speculates. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted yesterday that Maddon wasn’t even aware he had an opt-out clause until Rays president Matt Silverman told him. So why, Gaines wonders, did the Rays tell Maddon? With Andrew Friedman heading to the Dodgers, Maddon had lost a close friend. One possibility is that, with only one year left on his contract, it would have been a foregone conclusion that Maddon would leave after 2015 anyway, given the salary he might have sought. That would have made him a lame duck, and the Rays might have wanted a fresh start rather than continuing with a manager who they knew would be gone within months anyway.
- The Cubs need to hire Maddon as soon as possible, Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Triune writes. Maddon’s approach to the game is consistent with those of Theo Epstein and the Cubs, and his reputation as a player-friendly manager might help the Cubs attract free agents.
- One team Maddon will not be managing to open the 2015 season is the Phillies, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes. “We have a manager,” says GM Ruben Amaro Jr. “Ryne Sandberg is our manager.” Maddon is a Pennsylvania native, and he has connections to Amaro. Salisbury notes that there is the possibility that Amaro will be fired at some point in 2015, in which case Sandberg might be dismissed as well. If Maddon hasn’t found another team to manage at that time, he would likely become a contender for the Phillies position.
The Phillies have agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration with lefty Cesar Jimenez, the club announced. Terms were not made available, though MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projected Jimenez to earn just over league minimum, $600K, through the arbitration process.
In concert with the team’s recent one-year extensions — really, pre-market free agent deals — with Grady Sizemore and Jerome Williams, it appears that Philadelphia is pursuing a strategy of locking in cost certainty early on with several veterans.
Jimenez, 29, had his best season as a pro in 2014. After largely struggling in limited MLB action, he tossed 16 innings of 1.69 ERA ball. But his peripherals were less promising, as he struck out 4.5 and walked 3.9 batters per nine while generating a 40.8% groundball rate. And ERA estimators provided cause to expect regression, as Jimenez put up a 4.26 FIP, 5.22 xFIP, and 5.02 SIERA.