The last-place Phillies will be open for business at the trade deadline, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. While free agents-to-be like Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava stand out as obvious trade candidates, Zolecki suggests that the Phillies could also listen to offers for some controllable players. That list includes first baseman Tommy Joseph, injured second baseman Cesar Hernandez and shortstop Freddy Galvis. Joseph is currently on a minimum salary and won’t even be eligible for arbitration until 2020, but moving him would enable the Phillies to open up first base for prospect Rhys Hoskins, who’s destroying Triple-A pitching. Hernandez, meanwhile, is on a $2.55MM salary and has three arbitration-eligible years remaining. However, he’s blocking another hot-hitting prospect – Scott Kingery, who’s at Double-A. Galvis is the most expensive of the three right now ($4.35MM) and only has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining. Behind him is J.P. Crawford, who hasn’t hit much at Triple-A since debuting there last year. Nevertheless, he still ranks as Baseball America’s 19th-best prospect.
The latest on a few other NL teams…
- The Marlins probably won’t trade any major pieces as long as their ownership situation is in flux, tweets Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. If true, that would rule out deals involving the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto, all of whom have been part of rumors this year. However, Frisaro notes that trades featuring lesser players (including Adeiny Hechavarria, Tom Koehler and certain relievers) remain possible.
- The Cardinals will recall outfielder Randal Grichuk, whom they demoted to the minors May 29, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Redbirds sent down Grichuk after he batted a paltry .222/.276/.377 with a 29.8 percent strikeout rate in 181 plate appearances. He fared better at Triple-A, slashing .270/.313/.603 in 67 PAs, but struck out even more frequently (29.9 percent) and only posted a 4.5 percent walk rate. It’s unclear how often Grichuk will play in his return to St. Louis, at least initially, as the team has gotten terrific production in his spot (left field) from Tommy Pham. The Cardinals also have Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty as everyday outfielders, of course, so there’s no obvious fit for Grichuk in a starting role.
- Right-hander Jon Gray will make his long-awaited return to the Rockies’ rotation during their series against Arizona next weekend, per Nick Groke of the Denver Post (Twitter links). Gray entered the season as the de facto ace of Colorado’s staff, but he has been out since mid-April with a stress fracture in his left foot. Still, the Rockies have stormed out of the gates at 47-30, and Gray’s return should only help the team’s already high playoff odds. The Rox will deploy a five-man rotation when Gray comes back, meaning someone will have to exit the group, observes Groke.
- Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks threw Saturday for the first time since going on the disabled list June 8, and he told reporters – including Glenn Sattell of MLB.com – that it was a pain-free session. “The arm felt good. I’ve been doing a lot of shoulder work. It took a few throws to find the arm slot and actually felt pretty normal,” said Hendricks. “I was actually surprised by it.” A return isn’t imminent, though, with manager Joe Maddon noting, “It’s probably aggressive to think he’d be back by the All-Star break, but I don’t want to rule anything out.”