Here are a few highlights from the latest column by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
- The Phillies are willing to listen to trade offers for righty Jeremy Hellickson. That’s hardly a surprise, since Hellickson is a short-term asset pitching for a 13-19 team that’s trying to rebuild, but it was also recently reported that the Phillies could also consider extending Hellickson, who accepted their qualifying offer last winter. Hellickson has posted a 3.49 ERA, 4.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 38 2/3 innings thus far in his second season in Philadelphia.
- Speaking of the Phillies, former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has won praise from current team execs for his series of trades before being dismissed following the 2015 season. Those trades include an impressive haul for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman that included Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, Jorge Alfaro, and Nick Williams; the trade of Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals, which brought back Nick Pivetta, a starter who made his big-league debut this year; the trade of Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers, which brought back Zach Eflin, who’s pitched well for the Phillies this season; and the deal of Marlon Byrd to the Reds, which returned Ben Lively, who’s emerging as a good depth rotation option. Amaro is currently the Red Sox’ first base coach.
- Former White Sox teammate Chris Sale thinks oft-rumored trade target Jose Quintana should be able to thrive anywhere, Cafardo writes. “He’s not a guy who lets outside factors bother him,” says Sale. “I think his middle name was ‘No-Decision,’ and how he handled himself through those times where he went out there seven innings, gave up two runs, and had nothing to show for it, never altered his attitude or his work ethic. And seeing that was impressive.”
- Rangers third baseman Will Middlebrooks hopes to return in mid- to late June after breaking his hand in April. It’s been awhile since the 28-year-old Middlebrooks made much of an impact in the Majors, but after signing a minor-league deal with the Rangers last winter, he was off to a hot start at Triple-A Round Rock, batting .313/.377/.625 in his first 53 plate appearances there.