MLB Trade Rumors » » Philadelphia Phillies Fri, 19 Jan 2018 23:33:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Latest On Phillies' Rotation Search Thu, 18 Jan 2018 05:27:12 +0000
  • Nick Williams has been working out alongside free agent Jake Arrieta for much of the offseason in Austin, he tells Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, and the young outfielder has talked up Philadelphia in an effort to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies“He has told me he likes working with young guys,” said Williams. “I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.” While Williams’ pitch to his workout buddy should hardly be characterized as a legitimate connection between the Phils and Arrieta, Salisbury notes that the team is still actively trying to add to the rotation. If the price tag for Arrieta or another top starter comes down to a shorter length — Salisbury suggests three years, though it’s tough to see Arrieta dropping to that point — the Phillies’ interest could be piqued.
  • ]]>
    Agent: Yelich’s Relationship With Marlins “Broken” Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:55:12 +0000 In the latest dose of Marlins-related drama, agent Joe Longo of Paragon Sports International, who represents Christian Yelich, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that a trade of his client in the next month would be in the best interest of both team and player.

    Longo states that he respects the Marlins’ long-term plan for a return to contention, but states that the “…plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career.” Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins has been “irretrievably broken” and has “soured,” according to Longo, who goes on to speak about the disappointment that Yelich has felt in watching the Marlins’ new ownership group gut the roster in trades that have sent Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna elsewhere.

    “The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and [Yelich] needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win,” Longo tells Crasnick. The agent goes on to explain that Yelich signed his seven-year, $49.57MM contract extension with the Marlins in a “completely different climate” — that is, one where the organization looked to be making a clear push to win in the short term. Yelich’s deal (which Longo and Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed at length with MLBTR’s Zach Links back in 2015) was agreed upon in the same offseason that saw the Fish sign Stanton to a record-setting $325MM contract. New ownership, however, clearly has no intent of pushing for a division title in 2017 as payroll has been slashed by roughly $50MM.

    Longo’s comments, of course, don’t ensure that a trade of Yelich will transpire before or during Spring Training. Such decisions are up to president of baseball operations Michael Hill and his staff, who needn’t feel pressure to move Yelich in the same manner as they did with regard to Stanton, Gordon and Ozuna. The Marlins’ payroll projection is inching closer to its reported target of roughly $90MM, and Yelich’s $7MM salary for the coming season isn’t especially burdensome. Moreover, the fact that Yelich can be controlled for another five years at a total of $58.25MM is a clear indicator that he’ll be an asset with considerable surplus value at virtually any point the Marlins decide to make him available.

    Yelich is hardly the only player that is less than enthused about the notion of suiting up for a Miami club that looks destined for the NL East cellar. Catcher J.T. Realmuto’s agents have reportedly informed the Marlins that their client would prefer to be traded, and infielder Starlin Castro (acquired as a financial component in the trade that sent Stanton to the Yankees) is reportedly hoping to be dealt elsewhere before so much as playing a single game for the Marlins.

    Per Crasnick, the Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, D-backs and Phillies are “among” the teams that have reached out to the Marlins to gauge the asking price for Yelich in a trade, though there are assuredly more team that have expressed interest. Toronto GM Ross Atkins recently suggested that virtually every team in the league would have interest in a Yelich trade, and reports have suggested that more than 15 teams have at least kicked the tires on the former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner.

    Yelich, just 26 years of age, is a career .290/.369/.432 hitter. He’s averaged 20 homers and a dozen steals over the past two seasons and has proven to be a capable center fielder or an elite defender in left field. Crasnick notes that Yelich himself may speak publicly in the coming days, and the column is stuffed with additional quotes from Longo. It’s well worth a full read-through, both for those that have been diligently tracking the Marlins’ offseason roller coaster and those who haven’t been monitoring the situation as closely.

    Minor MLB Transactions: 1/12/18 Sat, 13 Jan 2018 04:29:29 +0000 The Braves released Adonis Garcia recently to allow him to move to the KBO, and the full set of transactions is now in the books. The 32-year-old third baseman has inked a $800K deal with the LG Twins, as Dan Kurtz of notes on Twitter. He played in the majors in each of the past three seasons but clearly was not a part of Atlanta’s plans for 2018.

    Let’s catch up on a few minor moves from around the game, all courtesy of SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (links to Twitter) …

    • Righty Tyler Cloyd will join the Marlins on a minors pact. Now thirty years off age, Cloyd has made just a single MLB appearance since wrapping up his time with the Phillies in 2013. He spent most of 2017 pitching at Triple-A in the Mariners organization, where he worked to a 5.67 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 60 1/3 innings. While the output hasn’t been very encouraging of late, Cloyd could have a chance to push for an important place on the Miami depth chart. The rebuilding club is sure to have some pitching opportunities in the season to come.
    • The Nationals added right-hander Justin Miller as well as slugger Balbino Fuenmayor on minor-league deals. Miller, 30 has seen 88 1/3 total MLB innings, spread over the 2014-16 campaigns, with a composite 4.99 ERA. He has shown some swing and miss ability at times, though. Last year, he pitched to a 5.48 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 46 frames in the PCL. The 28-year-old Fuenmayor, meanwhile, played in Mexico last year after his once-prodigious upper-minors power output fizzled in 2016. He hit well in Mexico and has continued to rake in Venezuelan winter action.
    • Southpaw James Russell is headed to the Tigers organization on a non-roster arrangement. Whether he’ll receive a camp invite isn’t known in this case (or the others). The 32-year-old is long removed from his days as a solid bullpen presence. He last appeared in the majors, rather briefly, in 2016. Though he only threw 31 professional innings last year, all in the Mexican League, they were in a starting role. He worked to a 2.03 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9.
    Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:10:22 +0000 The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals,’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM.’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
    Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Cameron Rupp Wed, 10 Jan 2018 16:40:45 +0000 The Phillies have avoided arbitration with catcher Cameron Rupp, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Rupp will earn a $2.05MM salary for the coming campaign — just a hair shy of the $2.1MM that MLBTR projected he’d earn in his first arbitration year.

    Though Rupp was not quite as productive last year as he was in 2016, he has established himself as a decent MLB hitter with a lifetime .234/.298/.407 slash. As that line hints, Rupp delivers good power (30 total home runs over the past two seasons) but not much in the way of on-base skills. Rupp did boost his walk rate to 10.3% in 2017, though his strikeout rate also jumped to 34.4%.

    Defensively, the 29-year-old has not graded well as a framer. But Baseball Prospectus has graded Rupp as average in blocking balls in the dirt and controlling the running game.

    All told, Rupp is a solid part-time catcher in an appealing contract situation. Given the presence of younger options — Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro — some have wondered whether the Phillies would end up dealing Rupp this winter. That could still come to pass, though the organization likely isn’t in any rush to anoint one or both of those backstops.

    East Notes: Frandsen, Franco, Machado, Orioles Tue, 09 Jan 2018 05:20:27 +0000 The Phillies announced on Monday that former big leaguers Kevin Frandsen, Kevin Jordan and Kevin Stocker will join their broadcast team. According to the announcement, that trio of former Phillies will rotate through road games and serve as color analysts alongside play-by-play broadcaster Scott Franzke. The 35-year-old Frandsen is the most recent member of the group to have suited up in the Majors, appearing in seven games for the 2015 Giants. Frandsen seemingly never made a formal declaration of his intention to retire as a player, though he has not appeared in a professional game since that 2015 season. It seems fair to assume, then, that he’ll embark upon a new career as he breaks into the media world.

    A couple more notes on the Phillies and some other east coast clubs…

    • In less pleasant news, third baseman Maikel Franco was suspended from his team in the Dominican Winter League for “violating the organization’s discipline code,” per Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Franco and teammates Moises Sierra, Garabez Rosa and Eduardo de Oleo were photographed partying at a Dominican club as late as 6am on the day of one of the team’s playoff games, per the report. It was a disappointment for both his DWL team and the Phillies alike, prompting an apology from the third baseman: “I apologize to the team, the fans and our sponsors, it’s something that will not happen again,” said Franco. The 25-year-old Franco, who impressed mightily as a rookie in 2015, has regressed in each of the past two seasons and is coming off his worst MLB campaign to date. In 623 plate appearances, Franco slashed just .230/.281/.409 with 24 homers.
    • Orioles skipper Buck Showalter is overseeing what Roch Kubatko of calls a “delicate situation” on the left side of the infield, where Manny Machado has reportedly indicated a desire to move to a shortstop position that would otherwise be occupied by Tim Beckham. While Showalter isn’t tipping his hand, he says there’s been progress in resolving who’ll play where — assuming, at least, that Machado is ultimately retained by the O’s. The manager says he has “positioned us to maneuver regardless of what happens between now and the season starting.”
    • Showalter and Kubatko also cover a variety of other topics of interest to the Baltimore faithful in that as well as another post, focusing in particular on a trio of lefties. Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes has drawn early praise from the skipper, though of course he’ll still need to earn and keep an active roster spot. Elsewhere, the general prognosis on key reliever Zach Britton seems to be positive, though that’s not to say there’s any change to the mid-summer timeline for him to return from his Achilles tear. Kubatko also held an interesting chat with Richard Bleier, who recognizes that his sparkling 1.99 ERA from 2017 doesn’t guarantee him anything entering camp.
    Nationals, Braves Interested In Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:59:07 +0000 11:59am: The Nationals, too, are interested in both Realmuto and Yelich, writes’s Joe Frisaro. The Nats’ interest in Realmuto has been previously reported by the Washington Post and, among others, though GM Mike Rizzo’s club hasn’t been prominently linked to Yelich due to its own strong collection of outfielders. Per Frisaro, the Nats could have interest in trying to land both players, though that’s likely true of many teams.

    Frisaro notes that the Marlins would covet both Victor Robles of the Nationals and the Braves’ Acuna, though both clubs would likely be reluctant to part with their top-ranked minor league talents. Rosenthal tweets that the Nationals would be loath to part with either Robles or fellow outfield Juan Soto, for instance. It’s a similar tale for the Phillies — an oft-cited Yelich suitor — as Frisaro writes that Rhys Hoskins would surely appeal to the Marlins, but it stands to reason that he’d be near untouchable after his stellar 2017 debut.

    Talks regarding both Yelich and Realmuto are expected to pick up next week, according to Frisaro.

    8:52am: Not only have the Braves called the division-rival Marlins to express interest in Christian Yelich (as has been previously reported), they’ve also tried to engage Miami in talks on catcher J.T. Realmutoper Jon Morosi of Talks between the two sides haven’t advanced too far in either case as of late, he notes, but it seems as though the Braves have some level of interest in attempting to pry one or both players out of South Florida. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hears that the Braves have expressed interest in acquiring the pair, though he classifies it as doubtful that new GM Alex Anthopoulos would part with the overwhelming level of talent it’d take to land both players.

    Atlanta will trot out a pair of solid veterans on one-year commitments — Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki — to handle the bulk of their catching duties in 2018, whereas Realmuto and his remaining three years of control would give them a longer-term answer behind the dish. There’s a clearer spot for Yelich following the trade of Matt Kemp to the Dodgers, but Atlanta wants to leave space for top prospect Ronald Acuna to debut in an outfield corner as well. O’Brien speculates that perhaps the Braves could convince Miami to take on Nick Markakis and his salary if Martin Prado or another pricey veteran heads back to Atlanta in the deal.

    While both Yelich and Realmuto are immensely popular trade targets — Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic writes (subscription required/recommended) that “virtually every club” is interested in trading for Yelich — it seems that there was at one point some positive momentum between the two sides.’s Mark Bowman tweets that Atlanta and Miami “made some progress toward” a trade involving Yelich back at the Winter Meetings. The Marlins, though, pumped the brakes on talks a bit as they dealt with significant PR backlash from trading away the likes of Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna, according to Bowman. He does add that talks were expected to resume eventually.

    Certainly, acquiring even one of the two would require a massive haul. (Rosenthal, for instance, spoke to one exec who suggested that the Marlins could rightly ask three to four “genuine assets” in exchange for Yelich alone.) Acquiring both in one swoop would presumably require one of the largest packages of young, controllable talent in recent memory.

    Even after being stripped of a dozen prospects on the heels of their recent front office scandal, the Braves have one of the game’s strongest farm systems, though there are still untouchable players in the organization (O’Brien has tweeted more than once that Acuna simply is not available in discussing scenarios with his followers). On paper, then, it’s possible that the two sides could line up for a swap, though things are never quire so simple. Other factors to consider include the financial component of a deal, whether the Marlins would charge some type of premium for dealing their top two remaining stars to a division rival, and what type of splash the new Anthopoulos-led Braves front office wants to make on its first significant move in Atlanta.

    It’s worth stressing, again, that the Braves are merely one team that is interested in the pair of young Miami stars. In that same column, Rosenthal writes that the Nationals have already checked in on Realmuto, while the Astros “would figure to be interested” in the Miami backstop as well.’s Joe Frisaro wrote yesterday that upwards of  dozen clubs were in on Realmuto. As for Yelich, the Cardinals, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Giants, White Sox and even the outfield-heavy Cubs are among the teams that have been connected to him in previous reports, and surely there are others that have at least gauged the asking price as well.

    Phillies Sign Will Middlebrooks To Minor League Deal Wed, 03 Jan 2018 22:06:04 +0000 4:06pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Middlebrooks’ deal with Philadelphia contains a $1.2MM base salary if he makes the big league roster. The contract also has opt-out language to afford Middlebrooks the right to pursue opportunities in Asia should they arise.

    3:58pm: The Phillies announced 10 minor league signees today, including one for former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. (SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo had previously tweeted that a match between the two sides was likely.)

    Philadelphia also announced its previously reported minor league agreements with righties Pedro Beato and Steve Geltz, infielder Pedro Florimon and catcher Eric Fryer. Others joining (or re-joining) the Phils organization include catcher/infielder/outfielder Matt McBride, infielders Heiker Meneses and Mitch Walding, catcher Logan Moore and outfielder Danny Ortiz. All 10 players received invites to Major League Spring Training.

    Middlebrooks and McBride are the only two newly revealed signees to bring MLB experience to the table. It’s now been five years since Middlebrooks looked to be a rising star in the Red Sox organization after hitting .288/.325/.509 with 15 homers in 286 plate appearances as a rookie. Since that time, the now-29-year-old Middlebrooks’ star has faded; he’s batted just .210/.256/.356 in 948 plate appearances split between the Red Sox, Padres, Brewers and Rangers. Last year, Middlebrooks hit .211/.231/.368 in 39 PAs with the Rangers.

    McBride, 32, played in 92 games with the Rockies and A’s from 2012-16, batting a combined .201/.228/.299 in 202 PAs along the way. He does carry a lifetime .299/.343/.506 batting line in parts of eight Triple-A seasons — during which time he’s logged more than 1000 innings as a catcher, first baseman, left fielder and right fielder.

    Phillies Sign Steve Geltz To Minor League Deal Wed, 03 Jan 2018 05:02:17 +0000
  • The Phillies have agreed to a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Steve Geltz, Cotillo tweets. Geltz worked exclusively with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017 and posted a 2.67 ERA, 9.67 K/9 against 4.00 BB/9 and a 37.1 percent groundball rate over 27 innings. The 30-year-old previously saw major league action with the Angels (2012) and Rays (2014-16). Across 104 1/3 big league frames, Geltz owns a 4.23 ERA to accompany 8.54 K/9, 3.71 BB/9 and a 28.8 percent grounder mark.
  • ]]>
    Phillies Notes: Outfielders, Hamels Sun, 31 Dec 2017 04:11:02 +0000
  • Nick Williams seems to be the likeliest of the Phillies outfielders to be used as a trade chip, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes, though there’s also a case to be made for the team to move one of Odubel Herrera or Aaron Altherr.  (Rhys Hoskins almost surely is staying put.)  Given that all three outfielders, and even Hoskins, have their share of question marks and can’t be entirely counted on as sure things going into 2018, Murphy notes that the Phillies might indeed stick to their stated plan of keeping all four players and juggling playing time based on matchups and situations.  Plans could change, of course, if the Phils are required to include one of the players in a trade for a young and controllable starting pitcher.
  • The Phillies are known to be looking for pitching, though Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury writes that the team could wait until the July trade deadline to make a big addition to the rotation.  Asking prices could be lower for some pitchers by July, or the Phillies could have a better idea of what young players they’d be more comfortable giving up in a trade.  Interestingly, Salisbury notes that Cole Hamels could be targeted by the Phils if the Rangers fall out of contention, as both Hamels and the Phillies would have interest in the 2008 World Series hero returning to Philadelphia.
  • ]]>
    Phillies Very Unlikely To Bring Back Chase Utley Fri, 29 Dec 2017 02:27:25 +0000
  • There is very little chance of Chase Utley returning to the Phillies,’s Todd Zolecki writes.  Whether Utley returns for a 16th MLB season or retires, Zolecki figures Utley will remain on the west coast, either staying at home or playing for the Dodgers.  Zolecki also refutes a report that Utley was a candidate to become the Phillies’ bench coach, noting that Utley wasn’t even under consideration for the job before the team eventually hired Rob Thomson.
  • ]]>
    Phillies To Re-Sign Pedro Beato Sat, 23 Dec 2017 04:09:21 +0000
  • Also agreeing to a minor-league pact is righty Pedro Beato, who Heyman tweets will remain with the Phillies. Beato, 31, returned to the majors in 2017 with the Phils for the first time since 2014. He only received a single appearance, though. In 55 2/3 innings at Lehigh Valley, Beato posted a 2.75 ERA — his third-straight season with excellent results at the highest level of the minors. Of course, Beato also averaged a less-than-dominant 6.8 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9, with his success coming in no small part due to some batted ball fortune (.233 BABIP, 5.2% HR/FB rate) that he likely would not carry with him to the majors.
  • ]]>
    John Middleton On Phillies’ Spending Plans Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:52:33 +0000 Phillies owner John Middleton believes that his team is ready to start winning again, Mike Sielski writes in an article for It appears as though the franchise is actively looking to end its five-year run of fourth- and fifth-place finishes, based on some of Middleton’s comments about their budget and spending plans. Here’s what he had to say following a news conference introducing recent signee Carlos Santana.

    Yeah, I think we’re closeThey came to us with a budget, and we said, ‘Guys, if you want to put that number in for the budget, that’s fine, but don’t live with that. If something comes up, and it breaks the bank relative to the budget, and you don’t pursue it, we’re going to be upset.’ And they know that.

    Sielski writes that Middleton wants to spend money, and doesn’t want the “small-market, too-thrifty label that the franchise slapped on itself a generation ago.” Middleton certainly isn’t the type of owner that has tremendous patience for losing, but the piece sheds some light on how he views the team’s rebuilding process. In a colorful analogy, he compares the team’s progress to a duck swimming on top of water. While the Phillies haven’t been making much progress on the surface, there’s certainly been a furious process underneath that’s not visible to the public eye.

    A large part of that process has come in the way of a typical rebuild for a baseball team: trade away current major-league assets for future potential, accept a losing record and the high draft picks that come with it, and be patient throughout the process while focusing efforts on the development of future stars. But another significant part of the club’s rebuild has come in the form of a transformation of the way the club operates. As Sielski notes, the team has focused on creating and maintaining a successful analytics department.

    Indeed, the organization has made some changes to their front office in recent years that reflect a shift in baseball philosophy. For example, in January of 2016, the club gave major promotions to two analytically-minded members of its staff. Scott Freedman, who was hired as a baseball analytics manager in 2013, was made director of baseball operations. They also promoted talented analytics intern Lewis Pollis, then 23 years old, to a a full time role in baseball research development. Pollis is a graduate of Brown University whose senior thesis on MLB front office personnel was published by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and widely-read throughout the baseball industry.

    The above moves and more are evidence of Philadelphia’s “underwater” moves to push the club towards sustainable success for the long-term. It seems as though Middleton’s comments and the Santana signing are major signals that the Phillies are ready to come out the other side of their rebuild. Budding stars such as Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola, Jorge Alfaro and others look primed to lead the club towards a winning season at long last, and a number of highly-touted prospects in the club’s farm system should keep them in contention for years to come. As Sielski points out, the timing is great for them; the Marlins are entering a full teardown of the major league roster, the Mets appear unwilling to spend big, and the Nationals may be nearing the end of their window of contention. Even the Braves, who are beginning to look good at the MLB level, just watched their farm system and front office get thrown into disarray after former GM John Coppolella circumvented MLB’s international signing rules.

    Perhaps most significantly, Middleton describes the asking prices for Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole as “an arm and a leg.” While fact that the Rays and Pirates are asking a lot for their starting pitchers doesn’t come as a surprise, the news that the Phillies GM Matt Klentak has been involved in discussions for those players points to a genuine desire to get back in the mix for an NL East pennant. It’s clear that an acquisition of Archer or Cole would involve giving up significant assets for a major-leaguer with only two years of team control remaining. Of course, it’s easily possible that inquiries on these pitchers were simply due diligence, but a particular quote from the conference suggests that the Phillies would move on one of them at the right price. I’ve got a deal over here, and it’s a bad deal,” Middleton said, quoting Klentak “I think if I tweaked it this way, it would be a good deal. I’d be willing to do this deal, not their deal.”

    I recently noted in MLBTR’s offseason outlook for the Phillies that their rebuilding process had begun to bear fruit and that they looked to be on the rise. But signing Santana to a three-year deal and exploring trades for pitchers who become free agents after 2019 both reveal an aggressive, win-now mindset. With this information in mind, the rest of the offseason carries an added level of suspense for Phillies fans. It will be fascinating to see what other moves they make in an attempt to add wins in the short term.

    ]]> 53 Phillies Hesitant To Sell Low On Franco Wed, 20 Dec 2017 23:56:39 +0000

  • While the above-noted third baggers have drawn most of the attention this winter, another — Maikel Franco of the Phillies — has also been chatted about here and there. At present, though, there’s no indication that the Philadelphia front office is willing to give up Franco’s upside when his value has ebbed; indeed, Jerry Crasnick of tweets that a rival executive has been left with the impression the Phils won’t sell low on the talented youngster.
  • ]]>
    Phillies Sign Carlos Santana Wed, 20 Dec 2017 14:03:05 +0000 DECEMBER 20: The Phillies have announced the deal. Sanchez has the full breakdown (via Twitter): Santana receives a $10MM signing bonus, with annual salaries of $15MM, $17MM, and $17.5MM. The math would suggest that there’s a $500K buyout on the option year.

    DECEMBER 15, 1:28pm: Santana’s contract is still pending a physical, tweets Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Salisbury also tweets that Hoskins will indeed play a significant amount of left field, freeing up the possibility of the trade of an outfielder. Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams had been slotted in as the Phillies’ corner outfielders, with Odubel Herrera lined up as the center fielder.

    12:52pm: Jesse Sanchez of reports that Santana’s deal also comes with a $17.5MM club option for a fourth season (Twitter link).

    12:32pm: In a surprising move, the Phillies have agreed to a deal with first baseman Carlos Santana, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). It’s a hefty three-year, $60MM contract, according to Heyman. Santana is represented by Octagon.

    Carlos Santana | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

    Philadelphia has been linked to Santana on multiple occasions, though it’s long seemed like a curious fit given the emergence of Rhys Hoskins as the presumptive starter at first base. However, the Phils deployed Hoskins in left field last season, and he turned in passable results in a small sample of 237 innings there (-1 Defensive Runs Saved, scratch defense per Ultimate Zone Rating).

    The Phillies could opt to continue utilizing Hoskins in the outfield in order to get Santana’s bat into the lineup. Santana does have 225 innings of experience at third base, though he received poor defensive ratings there, and his superlative glovework at first base is a significant component in his value. Santana, of course, broke into the Majors as a catcher but hasn’t suited up behind the dish since the 2014 season and hasn’t played more than 100 innings there since 2013, owing in part due to concussion issues.

    [Related: Updated Philadelphia Phillies depth chart]

    Santana jumps out as the most significant position player to come off the board and does so in impressive fashion, matching the dollars that his now-former teammate, Edwin Encarnacion, received with the Indians just one offseason ago. Santana landed a considerably stronger average annual value than many pundits predicted — MLBTR pegged him at three years and $45MM in total on our Top 50 free agent list — though the Phillies likely had to pay a premium to convince a top-tier free agent to sign with a club that has spent the past several seasons rebuilding.

    The 31-year-old Santana (32 in April) should play no small part in helping the Phils further their efforts to return to contention in the National League East, though. He’s coming off a strong .259/.363/.455 batting line in 667 plate appearances last season and turned in a career year in 2016 when he hit .259/.366/.498 with 34 homers.

    Overall, the switch-hitting Santana has turned in a .363 OBP in nearly 4600 plate appearances since establishing himself as a Major League regular back in 2011, averaging 153 games played and 24 homers per season along the way. One would think that a move to a much more hitter-friendly environment, Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, should help to improve his power output as well (though his .196 ISO in that time is already plenty strong).

    Because Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4MM qualifying offer from the Indians, he comes with draft compensation in the form of the Phillies’ second-highest draft pick — in this case, their second-round pick — and a $500K hit to their 2018-19 international bonus pool. The Phils will lose not only that second-round pick, but also the slot money that would’ve come along with it, thus noticeably shrinking next year’s draft pool.

    The Indians, meanwhile, will secure a compensatory pick between the end of the first round and the start of Competitive Balance Round A due to the fact that Santana’s contract exceeded $50MM in total guarantees.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Phillies Sign Eric Fryer Tue, 19 Dec 2017 01:36:00 +0000
  • Catcher Eric Fryer is heading to the Phillies on a minors deal with a spring invite, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports on Twitter. Now 32 years of age, Fryer has seen action in each of the past seven MLB campaigns but has only once topped one hundred plate appearances. He spent last year as a little-used backup in St. Louis. Overall, Fryer carries a .232/.320/.300 batting line in his major-league career.
  • ]]>
    Phillies Asked About Marcus Stroman, Danny Duffy Mon, 18 Dec 2017 05:19:20 +0000 The Phillies have been aggressively shopping for controllable pitching this winter, as the team has “inquired on just about every young starter that could be traded this winter,” Matt Gelb and Matt Breen of report.  This list of targets include their previously-reported interest in Chris Archer, and the Phillies also checked in with the Blue Jays about Marcus Stroman and the Royals about Danny Duffy.

    It’s clear that Philadelphia is looking to take its rebuild to the next level, after signing Carlos Santana and even adding veteran relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek on multi-year contracts.  The rotation remains a major need for the club — Aaron Nola is the only member of a young projected starting five that looks like a solid bet for 2018.  It has been expected that the Phillies would try to land at least one veteran innings-eater this winter, though they’re apparently also setting their sights higher for a pitcher that could contribute when the team returns to contention.

    Of the two new names mentioned in the Phillies’ search, Stroman is by far the less likely to be available.  The Jays are planning to contend in 2018, and moving Stroman would be an even bigger indicator of a total rebuild than even a trade of Josh Donaldson, given that Donaldson is only under contract for one more season.  Stroman, by contrast, still has three years of arbitration eligibility remaining.  MLBTR projects him to earn $7.2MM this winter through the arb process, and while Stroman’s price tag will continue to grow through his arbitration years, Toronto will happily shoulder that cost if Stroman keeps producing as he did in 2017.  Stroman posted a 3.09 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 2.65 K/BB rate and a league-best 62.1% grounder rate over 201 innings, cracking the 200-inning threshold for the second consecutive season.

    Duffy, on the other hand, has already drawn a lot of trade attention this winter, with the Cubs, Yankees, and Orioles reportedly among the teams interested.  The Royals seem to be on the verge of a rebuild given all of their expected free agent losses, though they aren’t yet “aggressively shopping” Duffy’s services.  It was just 11 months ago that K.C. locked Duffy up on a five-year, $65MM extension with the hope that he would be one of the cornerstone pieces of the next era of Royals baseball, though it remains to be seen just how extensive a rebuild the Royals may have in mind.  If the team hopes to reload over a year or two, Duffy will still be an asset for when Kansas City aims to once again open a contention window.

    If a longer rebuild is necessary, the $60MM remaining on Duffy’s contract makes him a logical trade chip.  The Phillies certainly have the open payroll space to accommodate his salary; Santana, Neshek, Hunter, and Odubel Herrera are the only players beyond the 2018 season.  Philadelphia has widely been expected to target the top stars of next year’s free agent class, though the team has gotten a jump-start on that plan now by landing Santana.  Given the Phillies’ payroll flexibility, they could try to land their desired pitching help by offering to take another big and/or undesirable contract off the the other team’s hands with little prospect capital going back in return.  (In the Royals’ case, for instance, the Phillies could offer to take on Ian Kennedy’s deal in order to land Duffy.)

    NL East Notes: Nats, Rendon, Mets, Phillies Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:49:01 +0000 Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon implied to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and other reporters Sunday that he’d be open to discussing an extension with the team (Twitter link). “Why not stay with one organization?” said Rendon, who has been a member of the franchise since it chose him sixth overall in the 2011 draft. The Scott Boras client has turned into an elite-level player since then, and he’s only two years away from free agency (he’ll make a projected $11.5MM in 2018). Unsurprisingly, general manager Mike Rizzo suggested earlier this week that the Nats would be interested in locking up Rendon before he’s able to leave.

    More on Washington and two of its division rivals:

    • The Mets’ front office enters each offseason “flying blind,” without an exact idea of how much money is available to spend, Marc Carig of Newsday reports. Carig reached out via email to Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon to discuss the team’s payroll, but the executive declined comment through a spokesman. As a result, Carig goes on to criticize the Mets for a lack of transparency and accountability, an unwillingness to spend like the huge-market team they are, and their almost nonexistent scouting presence in the Pacific Rim and Cuba.
    • Even with Carlos Santana, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek now aboard, the Phillies may not contend for a playoff spot in 2018. However, those signings are credibility-building moves that will help the team make progress in the win-loss column next season, thus making it a more attractive option for premier free agents in a year, Matt Gelb of observes. According to Gelb, the club has done a lot of planning around next winter’s class, one that’s currently slated to include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and other superstars.
    • Reliever Brandon Kintzler turned down offers to close elsewhere to return to the Nationals as a setup man, Rizzo revealed Sunday (Twitter link via Mark Zuckerman of “Part of the thing we like most about him is he’s about the name on the front of the jersey, more so than the name on the back,” Rizzo said. More on Kintzler from Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, who reports (Twitter link) that the righty’s agent, Kevin Kohler, asked Rizzo during negotiations if he’d re-up Kintzler to a one-year, $5MM contract. Rizzo said he would, but he expressed doubt that Kintzler would accept that. Kintzler’s camp then responded with a two-year, $15MM proposal. In the end, the sides settled on a two-year agreement with a $10MM guarantee and a chance for $6MM million more in incentives.
    Giants Showed Interest In Maikel Franco At Winter Meetings Sun, 17 Dec 2017 05:21:03 +0000
  • The Giants expressed some interest in Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the Winter Meetings, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link). It’s unclear, though, whether the two sides engaged in any substantive talks. The 25-year-old Franco’s value clearly isn’t at its peak, as he has fallen flat since a terrific 80-game debut in 2015. He’s now coming off a season in which he hit a woeful .230/.281/.409 in 623 plate appearances. Franco will try to rebound in 2018, his first of four potential arbitration years (he’ll earn a projected $3.6MM).
  • ]]>
    Phillies Interested In Chris Archer Sun, 17 Dec 2017 01:18:02 +0000 The Astros and Phillies have interest in Rays right-hander Chris Archer, joining a slew of previously reported clubs, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays clearly wouldn’t have any trouble finding a taker for Archer, thanks to his track record, age (29) and team-friendly contract (four years, $34MM). Teammate and face of the franchise Evan Longoria, the Rays’ longtime third baseman, is three years older than Archer and costs far more (a guaranteed $86MM over a half-decade). But that doesn’t seem to be a prohibitive price tag, as the three-time All-Star is drawing some interest from the division-rival Yankees as well as the Giants, Mets and previously reported Cardinals, according to Topkin.

    Phillies Sign Tommy Hunter Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:16:18 +0000 The Phillies on Friday announced that they’ve officially signed free-agent right-hander Tommy Hunter to a two-year contract. The Moye Sports Associates client will reportedly be guaranteed $18MM on the contract, with a $6MM signing bonus and successive $6MM salaries.

    Tommy Hunter

    Hunter joins Pat Neshek as the Phillies’ second big bullpen signing and fourth notable transaction of the week, as the Phils also traded Freddy Galvis to the Padres earlier today and reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with first baseman Carlos Santana as well.

    After an injury-shortened 2016 season, Hunter had to settle for signing a minor league deal with the Rays last winter, though he revived his value with a strong performance. Hunter posted a 2.61 ERA, 4.57 K/BB rate and 9.82 K/9 over 58 2/3 frames out of the Tampa bullpen. That K/9 was a career-best for Hunter, who had never been much of a strikeout pitcher over his career despite a fastball that has averaged better than 96 mph in four of the last five seasons.

    Both Neshek and Hunter received two-year guarantee from the Phils, meaning the two veterans will provide sturdy setup depth behind young closer Hector Neris, for the foreseeable future. While the Phillies short-term acquisitions in prior seasons (e.g. Jeremy Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit, Neshek) have often emerged as trade candidates, their multi-year commitments to Hunter, Neshek and Santana suggest that the Phils will instead begin operating with an eye on fielding a more competitive roster.

    [Related: Updated Phillies Depth Chart]

    That goal, undoubtedly, was hastened by the emergence of slugger Rhys Hoskins and steps forward from the likes of Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams and Aaron Nola this past season. The Phils also have J.P. Crawford, Scott Kingery and Jorge Alfaro all on the cusp of significant big league readiness.

    The addition of Hunter and Neshek should help to shore up what was a questionable bullpen, though the Phils certainly have space for further additions should GM Matt Klentak, president Andy MacPhail and the rest of the front office see fit. It also stands to reason that the Phillies could look to add some veteran innings to their rotation as the team sets its sights on transitioning from rebuilding club to contender over the next two seasons.

    Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the two sides were progressing toward a deal (via Twitter). FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman first reported the agreement. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that it was a two-year pact (via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted the financial range, while Heyman tweeted the final details.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Phillies Sign Pat Neshek Fri, 15 Dec 2017 20:14:47 +0000 Free agent reliever Pat Neshek is officially back with the Phillies just four months after being traded to the Rockies. The Phillies on Friday announced a two-year deal with the free-agent righty, who will reportedly be guaranteed $16.25MM in the pact. The contract also comes with a club option for a third year.

    Pat Neshek | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

    Neshek, a client of Meister Sports Management, will reportedly receive a $4MM signing bonus in addition to salaries of $5.75MM in both 2018 and 2019. The option is said to be valued at $7MM and comes with a $750K buyout. The deal also includes a $500K assignment bonus in the event of a trade.

    The Phillies are a familiar club for Neshek, who spent the first three-plus months of last season in Philadelphia before the team traded him to Colorado in late July. The 37-year-old Neshek excelled with both teams in 2017 and earned the second All-Star nod of his career thanks to his output with the Phillies. In all, the right-hander tossed 62 1/3 innings of 1.59 ERA, with a similarly minuscule FIP (1.86), and struck out 69 batters while issuing just six walks. While Neshek only managed a 36.4 percent groundball rate, he somewhat offset that with an impressive infield fly percentage (15.5).

    [RELATED: Updated Phillies Depth Chart]

    Last year was the latest in a long line of successful campaigns for the sidearming Neshek, who has typically been terrific since he debuted with the Twins in 2006. Even though he doesn’t throw particularly hard, Neshek has pitched to a 2.75 ERA/3.50 FIP combination across 445 2/3 innings in Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, Houston and Philly, also posting 9.03 K/9 against 2.54 BB/9 and limiting home runs despite a low grounder rate (33.2 percent).

    The grizzled Neshek will once again serve as the elder statesman in what’s currently a fairly young Phillies bullpen in 2018. Thanks largely to his tremendous half-season production in 2017, an otherwise less-than-stellar Phillies relief corps finished with respectable rankings in ERA (14th) and fWAR (13th).

    Jon Heyman of FanRag reported that Neshek had a pair of offers in hand (Twitter link).  Jerry Crasnick of ESPN added (via Twitter) that the Phillies and Neshek were moving toward a deal. Todd Zolecki of tweeted that the Phillies could announce the signing this week. Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reported the exact total (Twitter link). USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported the details on the contract (via Twitter).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Padres Acquire Freddy Galvis Fri, 15 Dec 2017 18:10:34 +0000 12:10pm: The two teams have announced the trade.

    11:15am: The Padres look to have found their shortstop for the 2018 season, as they’ve reportedly reached a tentative agreement to acquire switch-hitting Freddy Galvis from the Phillies in exchange for minor league right-hander Enyel De Los Santos. The teams have yet to announce the trade.

    Freddy Galvis | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Galvis, who turned 28 last month, is a free agent following the 2018 season but will provide the Padres with a strong defender to serve as stopgap while ballhyhooed prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. continues developing in Triple-A El Paso. It’s been suggested in the past that Tatis could debut late in the 2018 season, so a one-year placeholder may be all the Friars truly need at the position. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects Galvis to earn $7.4MM in 2018 after his final trip through the arbitration process.

    In Galvis, they’ll acquire an OBP-challenged defensive specialist that has significantly increased his power output over the past two seasons. Galvis hit a combined 20 homer from his rookie season in 2012 through the end of the 2015 campaign. However, he popped 20 long balls in 2016 and 12 this past season while batting a collective .248/.292/.390 in those two seasons.

    Defensively, Galvis ranks sixth among MLB shortstops in terms of Ultimate Zone Rating over the past two seasons. Defensive Runs Saved is less enthusiastic about his work, pegging him as an average defender and ranking him 12th among big league shortstops. Regardless of one’s preferred defensive metric, it’s clear that Galvis will represent a mammoth upgrade on the defensive side of the game for a Padres club that ranks dead last in shortstop DRS (-38) and UZR (-38.4) across the past two seasons.

    For the Phillies, Galvis was on the verge of becoming expendable with top infield prospects J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery on the cusp of MLB readiness. Dealing him to San Diego will allow the Phils to deploy Crawford at shortstop from the get-go in 2018, assuming he looks ready to be tested against MLB pitching on a full-time basis in Spring Training. He’ll line up between Maikel Franco at third base and Cesar Hernandez at second base, assuming Hernandez (another trade candidate) isn’t moved prior to Opening Day as well. That trio will be joined by breakout slugger Rhys Hoskins at first base.

    De Los Santos, who will turn 21 on Dec. 25, was the 13th-ranked prospect in a strong Padres system, per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of He fell shy of Baseball America’s offseason list of the Padres’ top 10 prospects, though BA’s Kyle Glaser tweets that De Los Santos would be a top 10 name in many systems throughout the league. Glaser tweets that De Los Santos sits 94-98 mph with a heater that he commands to both sides in the lower portion of the strike zone. Callis and Mayo note that he already has an average curveball and a changeup that flashes above-average at times.

    The 2017 season was a strong one for De Los Santos, who logged 150 innings over the life of 26 appearances (24 starts) and averaged 8.3 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 with a 44.2 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 3.78 ERA. It’s not clear where the Phils intend to start him in 2018, but he’ll likely either return to Double-A and be in line for a quick bump to Triple-A early in the season or just open the year in Triple-A right out of the gate.

    Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller first reported that the two sides were in serious negotiations (Twitter link). AJ Cassavell of tweeted that the two sides were close and that a pitcher would go back to Philadelphia in the deal. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the agreement had been reached and that De Los Santos would be sent to the Phillies in return (Twitter links).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Phillies Notes: Hernandez, Mets, Flores Fri, 15 Dec 2017 02:48:41 +0000
  • The Mets are still looking for help at second base, though they don’t appear to be close on some of the options on the trade market, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes.  Team officials “indicated there was little momentum” in talks with the Phillies on Cesar Hernandez and the Pirates about Josh Harrison, while the Twins are giving the impression that Brian Dozier is unlikely to be dealt.  The BrewersJonathan Villar is available in the wake of his down year, though Villar isn’t seen “as a serious possibility” by the Mets for now.  Looking at outside-the-box possibilities, signing shortstop Zack Cozart and switching him to second base seems like a “long shot” scenario, a source tells Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter link).
  • The Phillies announced the hiring of Jose Flores the team’s first base coach and baserunning/infield instructor.  This is Flores’ first job on a Major League coaching staff, after spending the last five years as the Cubs’ minor league infield coordinator, and several teams coaching and managing in Puerto Rico, including two years as the manager of Puerto Rico’s national team.
  • ]]>
    Pirates Acquire Rule 5 Pick Nick Burdi From Phillies For International Pool Space Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:55:37 +0000 The Phillies announced a deal involving Rule 5 selection Nick Burdi. His rights were shipped to the Pirates in exchange for $500K of international bonus pool spending capacity, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

    Burdi, a high-powered righty relief prospect, started the day with the Twins. He went third in today’s Rule 5 proceedings, but the Phillies decided to hand off his rights to Pittsburgh.

    The 24-year-old Burdi landed in the Minnesota organization after being taken in the second round of the 2014 draft. It seemed he was nearing MLB readiness after 17 frames at Double-A in 2017, over which he allowed just one earned run on nine hits and four walks while racking up twenty strikeouts.

    Unfortunately, that came to a halt with a UCL injury that ultimately required Tommy John surgery. Burdi will likely return at some point in the middle of the upcoming season, at which point the Bucs will need to keep him on the active roster in order to obtain his full rights. If Burdi is not on the MLB roster for ninety days in the 2017 season, he’d then need to open the ensuing campaign there in order for the rights to fully convey.

    Rangers Acquire Carlos Tocci Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:45:44 +0000 The Rangers have acquired outfielder Carlos Tocci from the White Sox in exchange for cash, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Chicago had selected him with the No. 4 pick in the Rule 5 draft (out of the Phillies’ system).

    Tocci was a fairly high-profile sign out of Venezuela for the Phils back in 2011, taking home a reported bonus of $759K at the time. Though he’s never exactly dominated in the minors, he’s coming off a solid .294/.346/.381 slash line in 528 plate appearances between the Phillies’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates — his first stop at each of those levels on his rise through the Majors. Tocci doesn’t come with any power and isn’t a base-stealing threat, but he’s an excellent defensive center fielder with a strong hit tool, per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of, who had rated him 23rd among Phillies prospects.

    Tocci will retain his Rule 5 status with the Rangers, meaning he cannot be optioned to the minors without first being exposed to waivers and then offered back to the Phillies for $50,000. If he lasts the entire season on the Rangers’ big league roster (with at least 90 days on the active roster and not on the DL), he’ll become their property without any restrictions in 2019.

    Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils Thu, 14 Dec 2017 03:44:39 +0000 Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
    Pitching Market Chatter: Phils, Yanks, Greinke, Cole, Archer, Duffy, CC, Jays Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:51:51 +0000 With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.

    Greinke is the latest hurler to land on the radar of the Yankees, who have also eyed Pirates righty Gerrit Cole. Consequently, the Bucs “are gathering names of young, controllable” Yankees they could acquire in a Cole deal, though there’s “nothing close,” Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports (on Twitter). Notably, Brink adds that the Yankees are also “looking at” Rays righty Chris Archer. The 29-year-old has drawn significant interest this winter, but it’s unclear whether the Rays will move him.

    Plenty more pitching rumors…

    • The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
    • As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
    • Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
    • The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
    • Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
    • The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
    • Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
    • Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
    Latest On Phillies' Interest In Manny Machado Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:38:40 +0000
  • The Phillies are intrigued by the possibility of a Machado trade but would want a negotiation window to discuss an extension to be included in any trade, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman. However, Heyman hears that Machado isn’t likely to grant such a window when he’s just one year removed from reaching free agency at the age of 26. As things currently stand, Machado seems highly likely to have a case for a record-setting contract next winter, and there’s little incentive to discuss a long-term deal right now unless a team pays that rate in advance. Machado has already banked more than $23MM in his career between the draft and player salaries to date, and he’s projected by MLBTR to earn $17.3MM next year in his final season of arbitration eligibility.
  • ]]>
    Mets Interested In Cesar Hernandez Wed, 13 Dec 2017 05:47:42 +0000
  • The PhilliesCesar Hernandez is the latest second baseman on the Mets’ list of targets, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Hernandez may come with the highest asking price, however, of any of the players — Ian Kinsler, Josh Harrison, Jason Kipnis — the Mets are considering, given Hernandez’s controllable salary.  One infielder the Mets aren’t interested in is new Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro.
  • ]]>
    Phillies Haven’t Completed Deal With Addison Reed Wed, 13 Dec 2017 01:37:28 +0000 7:37pm: The early reports about a three-year deal with the Phils “at present isn’t accurate,” FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  Indeed, now it seems as if the Phillies are close to a contract with Tommy Hunter and may have moved on from Reed.

    7:13pm: The Phillies are closing in on a three-year contract with right-hander Addison Reed, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link).

    Padres Still Considering Freddy Galvis Trade Tue, 12 Dec 2017 22:34:43 +0000
  • The Padres’ rather surprising pursuit of Hosmer has drawn headlines, though Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller tweets that San Diego is more focused on either signing Zack Cozart or acquiring Freddy Galvis from the Phillies during the Winter Meetings.  Either infielder would address a more pressing need at shortstop.  Preller said (hat tip to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune) that the Padres have a list of eight or nine shortstop options that they feel could be acquired.  Lin also hears from some rival officials that the Padres would possibly be open to dealing a young pitcher in exchange for a shortstop.
  • ]]>
    Conflicting Reports On Phillies’ Interest In Jake Arrieta Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:57:24 +0000 2:57pm: Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer casts significant doubt on the idea that the Phils will chase Arrieta. While the team tried for Tyler Chatwood and may yet attempt to land someone like Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, and will also look intro trades, Gelb writes flatly that the organization “will not spend” on top-of-the-market arms Arrieta and Yu Darvish.

    GM Matt Klentak provided some thoughts that certainly support that viewpoint. He also indicated that part of the team’s strategy is to bolster the bullpen in order to limit the wear on the starting staff, which helps explain the team’s deal with Pat Neshek and pursuit of Addison Reed.

    8:28am: The Phillies are considering a pursuit of free agent righty Jake Arrieta, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports (Twitter link).  Arrieta is a known quantity to several Phils executives that used to work in the Orioles’ front office, as Arrieta was originally drafted and developed by the Baltimore organization.

    While the Phils are still rebuilding, it has been widely assumed that the team will begin to spend to its usual levels as early as next winter, when several superstar free agents will hit the market.  Signing Arrieta now would serve as a clear signal that the Phillies are ready to compete, plus having Arrieta in the fold would also serve as a good selling point to next year’s free agent crop.  Philadelphia is also sorely in need of rotation help now, so the team could be deciding on making a big splash now when an ace they like is on the market, rather than test the trade or free agent waters in a year’s time.  On the other hand, Arrieta would cost the Phils their second-highest draft pick and $500K in international bonus pool funds, as Arrieta rejected the Cubs’ qualifying offer.

    The Brewers, Rockies, Twins, Blue Jays, Rangers, Astros, and Nationals have all expressed some degree of interest in Arrieta’s services, and Theo Epstein said yesterday that he would check in with Scott Boras, Arrieta’s agent, about the possibility of a return to the Cubs.

    Despite this interest, it isn’t clear what Arrieta will earn on the open market, given his age (32 in March) and his somewhat lesser numbers in 2017, fueled in part by an increased home run rate.  One executive told’s Ben Nicholson-Smith that he has “no clue what [Arrieta] will get.”  MLBTR ranked Arrieta fourth on our list of the winter’s Top 50 Free Agents and projected him for a four-year, $100MM deal.

    Needless to say, Boras is aiming higher for his client.’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Boras is marketing Arrieta by directly contacting MLB owners (rather than their front offices) with a 75-page booklet detailing the right-hander’s strengths.  One team executive believes that Boras is seeking a deal in the $200MM range for Arrieta, though Boras said he hadn’t talked salary specifics with any teams.

    As he outlined to Crasnick, Boras believes Arrieta offers a package of postseason success, durability, and relative lack of workload on his arm in terms of career innings.  The main comparison seems to be Justin Verlander, whose seven-year, $180MM extension with the Tigers is at least in the ballpark of that alleged $200MM figure.

    I don’t put values on anything.  I just look at performance,” Boras said.  “I look at the marketplace and say, ’How does he stack up against the top pitchers in the game, and why?’….I give them all the book, and the onion starts to peel. And all of a sudden there’s only a small group left who do what Verlander, Arrieta and [Max] Scherzer do.”

    Obviously there’s no small amount of salesmanship in Boras’ comments, and his method of directly approaching owners isn’t a new one; he has used the tactic to great effect in the past, particularly with the Nationals and Tigers.  Two anonymous general managers, however, expressed doubt to Crasnick that Boras’ strategy is still as effective as it once was.  While an $180MM-$200MM deal for Arrieta seems very optimistic, Boras does have a long track record of finding larger-than-expected contracts for his clients.

    Phillies Engaged In Talks With Addison Reed Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:34:38 +0000 The Phillies are looking to make multiple bullpen additions, it seems. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, the organization is engaged in “ongoing discussions” with free agent righty Addison Reed.

    Reed, who’ll soon turn 29, has been a lights-out reliever ever since he joined the Mets in the middle of the 2015 campaign. He just wrapped up a 76-frame campaign, split between the Mets and Red Sox, in which he carried a 2.84 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.

    Though Reed’s elite control is perhaps his most notable attribute, he also jumped to a career-high 13.7% swinging-strike rate in 2017. All told, with youth on his side and loads of late-inning experience in multiple roles, it’s no surprise that Reed has drawn interest from a number of organizations (such as the Cardinals, Mets, and Cubs).

    The Phils already inked veteran Pat Neshek to a two-year pact, so bullpen improvement is obviously a priority. While that is arguably a bit of a surprise for an organization that is coming off of a 66-win season and has more evident need in the rotation, it’s important to note that the Phillies have loads of available salary capacity to work with and have shown an inclination in recent years to spend on veterans even while rebuilding. Plus, it’s far too soon to count the club out of yet more significant starting pitching acquisitions.

    Pitching Market Rumblings: Brewers, Rays, Duffy, Nicasio, Arrieta Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:28:06 +0000 Starting pitching is in the news this morning, with several notable names being discussed. But there are a whole lot of other moving pieces out there. Let’s run down the latest chatter on the pitching market:

    • The Brewers have chatted with the Rays about their potential rotation trade pieces, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter), who cautions that there’s no indication to this point that “any traction was made.” It’s not immediately clear which Tampa Bay hurlers have piqued the interest of the Milwaukee front office, though surely they’d have the trade pieces necessary to swing a deal for just about anyone. Chris Archer remains the big name to watch, though we don’t yet know whether he’s truly available. The Brewers could conceivably have interest in other pitchers, too, including veteran Jake Odorizzi, but it’s all speculation at this stage.
    • Meanwhile, the Brewers are said to have interest in righty Jesse Chavez, Haudricourt also tweets. We heard yesterday the veteran swingman was likely to find a new home this week.
    • Veteran closer Fernando Rodney has met with the Rangers and Twins, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter) and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is, though Rodney might conceivably be an option for either club, both of which have largely unsettled ninth-inning plans.
    • Another interesting possibility on the rotation market is Royals lefty Danny Duffy. He has drawn interest from the Cubs, per Robert Murray of Fan Rag. Indeed, K.C. has been contacted by rivals on Duffy and a few other notably interesting assets,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. It’s entirely unclear at this point what kinds of scenarios might be pondered on Duffy, but the Royals will surely want a significant return for a player they only recently extended. His contract runs through 2021 and promises him $60MM. While a DUI arrest and elbow surgery introduce some uncertainty into the situation, from a pure on-field perspective Duffy remains a valuable asset as he nears his 29th birthday.
    • The Mets are among the organizations with interest in free agent righty Juan Nicasio, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (via Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched quite well throughout 2017, both before and after an odd series of August transactions. He ended the year with a 2.61 ERA over 72 1/3 innings, with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • We’ve heard some possibility that the Nationals could have interest in free agent righty Jake Arrieta, and’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that agent Scott Boras is working to sell that potential fit to the team’s ownership. Then again, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post characterizes the Nationals’ interest as “tepid” in a tweet. The division-rival Phillies are reportedly also a possibility, along with several other teams, as we covered this morning. Given that the Nats have an opening in their rotation, it isn’t at all surprising to hear that Boras is pushing for it to be filled by Arrieta; after all, his connection to the organization’s ownership is quite well-established by this point. Of course, adding yet another high-priced starter would carry some pretty notable risk for the organization, so it stands to reason that the club will explore other possibilities before deciding whether to join the pursuit of the 31-year-old Arrieta. Crasnick also takes a broader look at Arrieta’s still-developing market, including an extensive examination of Boras’s marketing strategy.
    • While there is action at the top of the pitching market, the Blue Jays seem to be taking a patient approach, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. While GM Ross Atkins says there’s a lack of depth in the rotation market, he also has indicated no interest in pushing hard to strike a deal. It seems the organization’s inclination remains to seek value in bolstering the rotation depth.
    • For the Diamondbacks, meanwhile, the team may at least be preparing to consider deals involving some fairly surprising players. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic runs down the team’s options for trade candidates who might free up some payroll space and enable the team to achieve future value. At the top of the list are center fielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin. Meanwhile, the D-Backs are certainly still looking to field a competitor in the near term as well. They are one team with some level of interest in reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Murray. Oh was not able to match his compelling MLB debut season in 2017, but still posted 8.2 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 while carrying a 4.10 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.
    Orioles Notes: Machado, Rule 5 Draft, Relievers, Catching, Pena Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:04:48 +0000 It remains unlikely that the Orioles will trade Manny Machado at all, and while the Phillies certainly have interest in the star third baseman, they know they’re probably not an ideal fit if the O’s did shop Machado, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  With Machado only under contract through the 2018 season, it doesn’t make sense for the rebuilding Phillies to make a move for him right now.  As NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury notes, the Phils could just wait until next winter to pursue Machado in free agency.  That way, he costs just money, whereas trying to trade for him now would cost both money (if a contract extension can be worked out) and several prospects.

    Some more rumblings out of Camden Yards…

    • Speaking of a link between the Orioles and Phillies,’s Roch Kubatko writes that Baltimore could consider Phillies left-handed pitching prospect Austin Davis in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.  A 12th-round pick in the 2014 amateur draft, Davis has a 3.07 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.71 K/BB rate over 228 2/3 minor league innings, none above the Double-A level.  The O’s have frequently mined the Rule 5 Draft for young talent, including taking both Anthony Santander and Aneury Tavarez last year.
    • Davis could fit the Orioles’ desire for another southpaw option in the bullpen.  Team executive VP Dan Duquette told Kubatko and other reporters that a hard-throwing lefty reliever is “on our radar” as an offseason need.  With Zach Britton closing, the Orioles’ other left-handed pen options include Richard Bleier and Donnie Hart, both of whom “are more finesse from the left side,” Duquette said.  Kubatko figures Bleier is a good bet for a bullpen job in 2018, so Hart could be Triple-A depth if the Orioles did get another southpaw.
    • The O’s want to add a veteran to their catching mix of Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns.  Duquette said the team had interest in re-signing catcher Francisco Pena but revealed that “he’s going to sign with somebody else.”  Pena only appeared in 19 MLB games for Baltimore over the last two seasons, though was held in high regard as a depth option due to his strong defense.  Pena was designated for assignment and outrighted off the Orioles’ roster three times in 2017, and he became a free agent after the season.
    • Minor league left-handers Keegan Akin and Alex Wells have both received trade interest from other teams, Duquette said (hat tip to’s Rich Dubroff).  Akin and Wells respectively ranked 8th and 16th on’s list of the top 30 Orioles prospects; Baseball America recently cited Wells as owning the best control of any pitcher in the farm system, though neither he or Akin made BA’s list of top 10 Baltimore minor leaguers.  The O’s aren’t considered to be particularly deep in young talent, particularly on the pitching side, so it would be a little surprising to see them part with Akin or Wells unless they can get very good value for either southpaw.
    Trade Chatter: Machado, Phils, Yanks, Bucs, Cole, Ellsbury, Tigers, Brewers Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:59:07 +0000 Should the Orioles decide to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado prior to 2018, his contract year, they could find a taker in Philadelphia. The Phillies are among “the more interested parties” in Machado, Roch Kubatko of reports. The Orioles have studied the Phillies’ farm system in the event of a deal, and they now “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Baseball America’s 61st-best prospect), per Kubatko. Second base prospect Scott Kingery and major league shortstop Freddy Galvis could also be involved in a potential trade, Kubatko writes. But a swap would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to extend the 25-year-old Machado, according to Kubatko, and hammering out an agreement could be a tall order given that he’s so close to hitting the open market.

    More of the latest trade chatter:

    • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
    • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.
    • The Tigers expect to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler, GM Al Avila told Evan Woodbery of and other reporters (Twitter link). Meanwhile, they’ve gotten “mild inquiries” on arguably their most valuable trade chip – righty Michael Fulmer – but they’re not actively shopping him (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter). “There are a handful of teams out there that have the players to do it, but we have not come close to those conversations,” Avila said of a potential Fulmer trade (Twitter link via Jason Beck of
    • While the Brewers are listening to offers for outfielder Domingo Santana, there’s not a lot of traction in trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Brewers want “an affordable impact starter” for Santana, Crasnick suggests. GM David Stearns told reporters Monday that “if we’re going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return” (via Adam McCalvy of, on Twitter).
    Pirates Claim Engelb Vielma Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:04:14 +0000 The Pirates have claimed infielder Engelb Vielma off waivers from the Phillies, Adam Berry of tweets. The addition of Vielma, who has two minor league options remaining, leaves the Pirates with two open spots on their 40-man roster. The Phillies are also at 38 players.

    The 23-year-old Vielma lasted less than a month with the Phillies, who claimed him from the Giants on Nov. 20. Vielma had spent his entire professional career with the Twins before joining the Giants via waivers in mid-September. Known for his glove, the switch-hitting Vielma has batted just .256/.316/.302 in 2,171 minor league plate appearances since debuting in 2012. He divided last season between the Twins’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates and slashed a combined .229/.273/.280 in 455 PAs.

    Mariners Claim Cameron Perkins Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:34:15 +0000 The Mariners have claimed outfielder Cameron Perkins from the Phillies, the team announced and Devan Fink of SB Nation first tweeted. He had been placed on outright waivers recently. The move leaves the Phils with one open 40-man spot and the Mariners with three.

    Perkins, 28, struggled badly in his first taste of the majors in 2017. But the 2012 6th-rounder had shown more at times in the minors. Over 295 plate appearances at Triple-A in 2017, he slashed .288/.374/.447. Though he hit just seven home runs, Perkins drew thirty walks against 47 strikeouts in that span.

    Phillies Weighing Interest In Galvis, Hernandez Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:24:40 +0000 The Padres are one of the only teams in baseball with a clear need at shortstop, and they appear to be shopping around the potential market. Per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, via Twitter, San Diego has “real interest” in free agent Zack Cozart. He’ll surely command a fairly significant contract, though there may also be an opportunity to realize value given the lack of demand at short. The Friars are also looking into Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Galvis is projected to earn a healthy $7.4MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility, so he’d likely be available for a reasonable price — so long as the Phils decide it’s time to move on.

    • Meanwhile, the Phillies are said to be setting a fairly lofty price tag on second baseman Cesar Hernandez, per Heyman (Twitter link). The 27-year-old switch-hitter has established himself as a quality regular with two consecutive seasons of above-average offensive production and quality glovework. He’s projected to take home $4.7MM this year and is eligible to be tendered contracts for two more seasons. Hernandez is arguably the most valuable of the second basemen that can reasonably be considered plausible trade candidates.
    Phillies Notes: Neshek, Infielders Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:24:52 +0000
  • The Phillies have had internal talks about signing Pat Neshek, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Neshek was acquired by the Phils last winter in a trade with the Astros and then pitched superbly before being flipped to the Rockies for three prospects at trade deadline.  Neshek enjoyed arguably the best of his 11 MLB seasons in 2017, posting a 1.59 ERA over 62 1/3 combined innings with Philadelphia and Colorado, recording 69 strikeouts against just six walks.
    • The Phillies have had internal talks about signing Pat Neshek, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Neshek was acquired by the Phils last winter in a trade with the Astros and then pitched superbly before being flipped to the Rockies for three prospects at trade deadline.  Neshek enjoyed arguably the best of his 11 MLB seasons in 2017, posting a 1.59 ERA over 62 1/3 combined innings with Philadelphia and Colorado, recording 69 strikeouts against just six walks.
    • The Phillies are reportedly open to the possibility of starting the season with a surplus of infielders, though Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that the team is best served by trading at least one of their veteran players (i.e. Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis) this winter and giving J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery a clear path to regular playing time.  Juggling those four players and Maikel Franco during the year leads to fewer at-bats for everyone and, Gelb notes, less opportunity for Hernandez or Galvis to improve their value for a midseason trade.
    Padres Interested In Freddy Galvis Fri, 08 Dec 2017 01:00:50 +0000
  • At shortstop, the Padres have taken a look at Phillies veteran Freddy Galvis, says Heyman. The team is also weighing free agent Alcides Escobar. Either would seemingly make sense as a stop-gap option for the rebuilding club.

  • ]]>
    Phillies To Sign Abrahan Gutierrez Wed, 06 Dec 2017 01:18:22 +0000 The Phillies have agreed to a deal with former Braves prospect Abrahan Gutierrez, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The young catcher will receive a $550K bonus.

    Gutierrez was among the recent international signees who were stripped from the Braves as punishment for rules violations. He’s the third of the bunch to sign today, with Kevin Maitan joining the Angels and Yefri del Rosario signing on with the Royals.

    With the move, the Phillies have added a player that was considered one of the better catching prospects from the 2016-17 July 2 class. The 18-year-old Venezuelan received a $3.53MM bonus from Atlanta; he’ll keep those funds while also earning his new payout to head to Philadelphia.

    Gutierrez has not yet had much time at all to show his skills at the professional level, but he did appear in 35 Gulf Coast League games in 2017. Over 141 plate appearances, Gutierrez slashed .264/.319/.357. That’s not an impressive output, of course, but for a player of his age and experience the focus at this stage remains on skills and development.

    Phillies Have Received Offers On Galvis, Hernandez Mon, 04 Dec 2017 20:28:26 +0000 The Phillies have received formal trade proposals for both Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez, reports Jim Salisbury of, though nothing that has been to the team’s liking. The Phils are very open to the idea of moving either but are also comfortable heading into the 2018 season with both players, even if it crowds the infield picture for the time being. The Phillies figure to have Rhys Hoskins locked in at first base, leaving Hernandez, Galvis and J.P. Crawford as options up the middle. Any of the bunch could presumably see some time at third base over Maikel Franco as well. Eventually, top second base prospect Scott Kingery will likely force his way into the mix as well, however, further muddying the picture.

    Phillies Drawing Trade Interest In Galvis, Hernandez Mon, 04 Dec 2017 05:17:50 +0000
  • Two Phillies middle infielders are drawing trade buzz, as the Padres have interest in shortstop Freddy Galvis, while the Angels continue to have interest in second baseman Cesar Hernandez, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (subscription required).  The Halos have long been connected to Hernandez for their second base vacancy, with interest dating back to last offseason.  San Diego have also long been looking for an answer at shortstop, though the Friars are reportedly now just in the market for a short-term fix until top Fernando Tatis Jr.  is ready.  Galvis is such a fit, as he will hit free agency next winter.  While the Phils have J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery ready to move into regular action in the middle infield, however, Rosenthal notes that the team is content having depth at second and short, and isn’t in any rush to move Galvis or Hernandez unless the right trade can be found.
  • Every team in baseball is monitoring the Giancarlo Stanton trade talks given their importance to the rest of the offseason transaction business, though the Nationals are perhaps watching closer than most,’s Mark Zuckerman writes.  Should Stanton end up with the Dodgers, that would all but eliminate Los Angeles from pursuing Bryce Harper in free agency next offseason.  If the Giants or Cardinals (two teams that probably won’t be prime suitors for Harper next year) land Stanton, that leaves the Nats with another major threat in L.A. to worry about for Harper’s services, to go along with the interest he’s expected to draw from big spenders like the Yankees, Cubs, or Phillies.  Beyond that long-term issue, the Nats obviously also are concerned about the idea of Stanton going from an inter-division threat to a team that could end up facing Washington in the postseason.