Philadelphia Phillies Rumors
Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay will undergo surgery on his right shoulder to remove a bone spur and repair a partially torn rotator cuff and fraying labrum, he announced today. Halladay, who spoke to reporters today (including MLB.com's Todd Zolecki) remains optimistic that he will pitch again in 2013, as doctors will look to make the procedure as non-invasive as possible.
This is clearly a large blow to Hallday's free agent stock, as his contract expires at the end of the 2013 season. Halladay has a vesting option that triggers with 225 innings this season or a combined 415 innings between 2012-13. Obviously, neither of those is attainable with him likely on the shelf for what could be a few months.
Halladay will be 36 this offseason and will turn 37 in May 2014, so buyers will be understandably hesitant to commit to him following shoulder surgery. However, we've seen injury-plagued aces such as Ben Sheets (with the A's in 2010) and Dan Haren (with the Nationals this offseason) land one-year deals worth $10MM+, and that outcome seems possible for Halladay, particularly if he pitches again this season and looks sharp.
The veteran was dogged by questions about his velocity heading into the 2013 season and won't get the chance to silence his critics for at least a little while. Through seven starts, Halladay posted a 8.65 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 17 walks for the Phillies. Halladay was asked by reporters if he could be willing to return to the Phillies on a cut-rate deal but didn't seem willing to get into that at this juncture. The veteran also said he wouldn't rule out transitioning into a bullpen role if he can't get enough rehab innings on his way back.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Hunter Pence felt guilty after being traded from the Phillies to the Giants last season, Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News reports. "To be honest with you, I felt really guilty," says Pence. "I was heavily invested in
bringing the Phillies back, and it felt like… I felt guilty. I felt like
it was my fault that it fell apart." Pence hit .271/.336/.447 for the Phillies in 2012, and the team was 45-56 when it dealt Pence near the end of July. Here are more notes from around the National League.
- The Rockies are off to a surprising start, but Jeff Francis and Juan Nicasio haven't been positive parts of it, and it remains to be seen how long they'll be in the rotation, the Denver Post's Troy Renck writes. Francis has a 7.27 ERA thus far, and Nicasio has only lasted longer than five innings once this season.
- The Rockies might have payroll flexibility to take on salary in a trade for a starter at midseason, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. But that payroll flexibility will be tied to increased revenue, a club official says.
- Outfielder Donald Lutz of the Reds, who made his big-league debut last week, is likely the first German-raised player in MLB history, says Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. Lutz was born in the U.S., and his father is American, but his mother is German, and Lutz moved to Germany as a baby. Morosi points out that Germany lags behind the Netherlands and Italy in its development of baseball players, but that could easily change, since Germany is so populous.
Following Roy Halladay's placement on the disabled list with shoulder soreness, the Phillies are looking at external options to fill the current rotation hole, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters, including Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com adds (also via Twitter) that the team will go with an internal candidate to pitch in Halladay's spot on Friday, and Tyler Cloyd and Adam Morgan are the top candidates. Top prospect Jesse Biddle is not an option, according to Amaro.
It's a bit early in the season for major trades, but there's been plenty of speculation on the availability of Astros hurlers Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell. It would be easier for the Phillies to pursue a trade for a veteran that's currently on a minor league contract such as Chris Young of the Nationals or Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees. Both hurlers have opt-out clauses in their contracts but have not received a chance to crack their respective Major League rotations. Those names, of course, are sheer specuation on my part -- not comments made by Amaro.
Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Pettibone and Kyle Kendrick are the Phils' four healthy starters at the moment with John Lannan on the disabled list. The team's pitching depth was depleted somewhat this offseason after dealing Vance Worley and Trevor May to the Twins in order to acquire Ben Revere.
Today's minor moves:
- The Phillies signed left-hander Greg Smith, assigned him to Double-A Reading and released outfielder Ronnie Welty to create roster space, according to Reading Fightin Phils' director of PR Eric Scarcella (Twitter links). Smith, 29, was twice traded with Carlos Gonzalez -- first to the A's for Dan Haren and second to the Rockies for Matt Holliday. The LSU product has a 4.51 ERA in 229 1/3 big league innings. The Phillies originally acquired Welty at the end of Spring Training in a swap of minor leaguers with the Orioles. The 25-year-old has a career .281/.356/.464 batting line but hasn't climbed higher than Double-A.
- Orioles righty Zach Clark cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A, announced the team (via Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com). The 29-year-old had been designated for assignment on Saturday to open a 40-man roster spot for Freddy Garcia. Signed as an amateur free agent in 2006, Clark has spent his entire career in the Orioles' organization and made his big league debut with last Wednesday's relief appearance against the Mariners.
- Yankees righty Cody Eppley cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A, tweeted Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal yesterday. The 27-year-old had been designated for assignment on Friday to open a 40-man roster spot for Preston Claiborne. Eppley did a nice job keeping the ball on the ground in 46 frames for the Yankees last year.
- Three players currently reside in DFA limbo: Ezequiel Carrera and Mike McDade of the Indians and Jonathan Sanchez of the Pirates.
- The Cubs are expected to call up outfielder Ryan Sweeney today and option Dave Sappelt to the minors, reports MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. The Cubs will need a 40-man roster spot for Sweeney, so it appears someone will be designated for assignment today.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that it would be a shame if David Ortiz can't stay healthy given his level of production so far this year. Even as he seems locked in at the plate, he's not in perfect health. “I’m seeing the ball and hitting the ball good,” the 37-year-old said. “I just keep going out there, seeing and hitting the ball. I’m keeping it simple right now. I’m not trying to do too much and the hits are falling. And some hits get taken away. I’m still not 100 percent down there [pointing to his legs].” Here's more from today's column..
- Right-hander Jake Peavy is on the disabled list again, but he’s going to be very much in demand before the trading deadline if the White Sox start selling off. “He’s a great fit for a team like [the Orioles],” said one National League GM. “They’re looking to add that veteran, battle-tested pitcher to really finish off their staff and that Peavy type would be ideal.” The only problem is that the money might deter them. Cliff Lee of the Phillies would also be an ideal guy, but he too is pricey.
- Teams are still monitoring Javier Vazquez's recovery from knee surgery because he could be talked into pitching again and could be a solid mid-rotation starter. Vazquez was in winter ball and wanted to come back to the majors, but the knee issue seemed to put that to rest. For the right contract, however, he can have a change of heart.
- Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire doesn’t have a contract for next year, but he is earning one with Minnesota’s better-than-expected start. With the pitching staff performing well and the lineup exceeding expectations, don’t be surprised if he gets a mid-season extension.
- Hanley Ramirez is signed through 2014, so the Dodgers may eventually move Dee Gordon to second base, unless they feel they can sign Robinson Cano as a free agent after the season. The Dodgers are unlikely to pick up their $5.75MM option on Mark Ellis.
For those of you still up watching the epic Giants-Dodgers game unfold tonight, here are a few final notes from today:
- Assessing the Phillies' front office performance this past offseason, Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer leaves litle doubt as to his stance. He writes (via the Miami Herald) that the Phillies built their 2013 team "on the precarious hope that their aging veteran starters would pitch well and that their aging everyday players would regain their productivity. Around that central theme, the front office sprinkled journeymen and prospects who might be good enough if everything else went right." While the Philadelphia sits only three games under .500, that record has been built on a 9-3 mark against the Mets and Marlins. Unfortunately, opines Ford, there is little that the team can do at this point, especially as the team lacks impact minor league talent ready to help the big league club. With a turnaround always at least possible given the team's starting pitching corps, and with trade value difficult to maximize at this point in the year, Ford says that all the Phillies can do is continue down the path they have chosen and continue to hope for the best.
- In yesterday's matchup between likely first-round pitchers Mark Appel of Stanford and Trevor Williams of Arizona State, it was Appel that came up out on top, writes Keith Law of ESPN (on Insider). Law came away impressed with all of Appel's three primary pitches, along with his athleticism and mechanics. He noted that the Astros and Cubs scouts in attendance likely felt the same. Those two clubs, of course, possess the first two picks in the upcoming amateur draft.
- The prospective class of 2014 free agent starters is beginning to look deeper, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Heyman points to recent solid starts from Dan Haren, Jason Vargas, and Phil Hughes. While Heyman also notes that Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum have settled down since their less-than-promising beginnings to the season, both were roughed up again in their latest outings. With more question marks than sure things among the best rotation options in the 2014 market, pitchers like Haren, Vargas, and Hughes have a lot of room to improve their market positioning over the course of this season. Haren, a 32-year-old one-time ace, has battled through an abysmal early-going to register two consecutive starts that were more reminiscent of his former dominance. The 30-year-old Vargas has buttressed his case as a solid innings-eater, going deep into his last three games and maintaining a 3.72 ERA over 38 2/3 innings. And Hughes, still just 26, has steadily improved all year since returning from injury, most recently tossing an eight-inning, four-hit, nine-strikeout, no-run gem against the Athletics.
In his latest edition of Rumblings & Grumblings, ESPN.com's Jayson Stark looks at what we've learned around the 30-game mark of the season. The Red Sox have spent their money better than any team in baseball as Mike Napoli, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara, and Shane Victorino (before his back issues) have gotten off to excellent starts. Meanwhile, it looks like the Braves have made the best trade of anyone so far as they landed Justin Upton and Chris Johnson for Martin Prado and four players that aren't currently in the majors. Here's more from today's column..
- Teams that have checked in on Brian Wilson have been told that his target date to throw for interested clubs should be around the All-Star break. Wilson wants to ensure that he's fully recovered from Tommy John surgery before auditioning again.
- Giancarlo Stanton's hamstring injury should probably put any talk of a July trade to rest. "If they trade him in-season, they probably wouldn't get any major league talent," said one exec. "So given everything that's happened with their team and their attendance, are they really in a position to make a deal for him where they just get back prospects? Probably not." The exec concluded that the Marlins are better off waiting until the offseason and getting big league ready talent back for their star.
- The Rays may be the most closely-watched team in the league by contenders over the next few months. Teams know the Rays will keep David Price in July if they're alive in the AL East, and will listen hard if they're out of contention. If they're caught in between, one exec believes that the Rays still might move him if they feel like they're not good enough to win it all. The hurler's price tag is expected to by skyhigh if he hits the open market after the 2015 season.
- The buzzards are already starting to circle over the Phillies, Stark writes, but club officials have told teams that have checked in that they still expect their club to contend and won't even think about selling for another two months.
- If a Phillies sell-off happens, the biggest buzz would include impending free agent Chase Utley. One exec who has checked into things says his impression is that the Phillies would approach Utley first and get a feel for whether he wants to go elsewhere. Utley, who will be just short of 10-and-5 rights at the deadline - can block trades to 21 teams.
- Execs say they'd rather trade for Lucas Harrell than Bud Norris if they had a choice between the Astros pitchers. Harrell has two more years of control and one scout says that the big knock on Norris is that he's still basically a "two-pitch guy". Quite a few teams also think he profiles more as a bullpen weapon on a contender even though he's the Astros' ace.
- The Yankees want a right-handed bat, but one scout feels that they don't have enough pieces to land an impact deal. The Bombers added one right-handed hitter when they traded for Chris Nelson earlier this week.
Quintero hit .313/.353/.438 in his 17 plate appearances with the Phils this year while serving as the backup to Erik Kratz. Quintero was designated for assignment when Carlos Ruiz, the team's primary catcher, completed serving a 25-game suspension for amphetamines.
Despite a career batting line of just .234/.267/.324, Quintero has appeared in the Majors in each season dating back to 2003. The 33-year-old Venezuela native controls the running game well, as he's caught 32 percent of base stealers as compared to the 27 percent league average in his time. The majority of his career has been spent with the Astros, though he's also appeared with the Padres and Royals.
The Phillies have made multiple inquiries on the availability of Giancarlo Stanton over the past several months, Major League sources tell Jim Sailisbury of CSNPhilly.com, but have received the same answer as every other team in baseball: Stanton isn't available for the time being.
Salisbury notes that while the Phils lack a deep farm system, they do have plenty of near-MLB-ready arms such as Jesse Biddle, Jonathan Pettibone and Adam Morgan that could be used to headline a Stanton package. Of course, as Salisbury notes, if and when the Marlins decide to listen to offers on Stanton, they may not be keen on trading him within the division. That hasn't stopped the Phillies -- and reportedly the Mets -- from showing interest.
Salisbury writes that the very reason that the Phillies have such great need for Stanton's services could lead the team to be sellers come the trade deadline. Philadelphia outfielders are hitting just .215/.285/.330, which has contributed to their 13-16 record. Here are the highlights from his list of potential trade chips...
- Cliff Lee could become the prize of the July trade market should the Phillies sell. The Red Sox inquired on Lee before the Winter Meetings but were rebuffed. Given their first-place standing, they could look at Lee as a means to push them toward a World Series run.
- Jonathan Papelbon is another expensive piece that the Phils could move, and Salisbury wonders if the Tigers could be interested, given deep-pocketed owner Mike Illitch's desire to win a World Series. Detroit has had bullpen issues all season and recently re-signed Jose Valverde to reprise his role as closer. However, Salisbury reports that the Tigers are one of the team's in Papelbon's no-trade clause.
- Jimmy Rollins could be moved but would have to waive his full no-trade clause in order for that to happen.
- There's a sentiment that the Phillies would prefer to keep Chase Utley than deal him this summer if he remains healthy. Utley will gain 10-and-5 rights in August, Salisbury notes.
- Salisbury also mentions Carlos Ruiz, Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard and Delmon Young as players the Phillies would consider. Halladay's inconsistency and Howard's price tag would be prohibitive factors in any trade talks for that duo.
After receiving his work visa, former star closer Francisco Rodriguez is set to begin his comeback with the Brewers, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports. Rodriguez had been working out in extended spring training while waiting for the visa. The Brewers signed Rodriguez to a minor-league deal in mid-April. They have until May 17 to decide whether to promote him or allow him to become a free agent. Rodriguez appeared in 78 games for the Brewers in 2012. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- If the struggling Phillies don't move up in the standings, they could be very active on the trade market in July, MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince writes. Chase Utley, Michael Young and Delmon Young are all free agents after the season, Castrovince notes, and there's also the possibility the Phillies could begin trade talks involving Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins or Jonathan Papelbon. If the Phillies begin trading stars, Castrovince says, it's unlikely manager Charlie Manuel will return next season. "I don't envy any GM, especially on a big-market team, because you have to compete and you have to attract those big names or not let them leave," says Cole Hamels. "When you're not winning, you're always going to chase it until you win again and can breathe a little bit."
- Lee, in particular, could be on the move if the Phillies falter, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. Martino quotes an executive from another team who says, "If they're not in it, you think [Ruben Amaro Jr.] won't move Lee again?" Martino notes that Lee's contract (the Phillies owe him a minimum of $62.5MM after 2013) could make a trade tricky, however.
- The Orioles could designate utilityman Yamaico Navarro for assignment when Freddy Garcia is added to the roster Saturday, CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff speculates (on Twitter). Other possibilities for opening a roster spot involve sending Taylor Teagarden or Brian Roberts to the 60-day DL. Navarro is hitting .276/.359/.434 for Triple-A Norfolk.