Philadelphia Phillies – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-02-20T12:12:05Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Camp Battles: Phillies’ Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190927 2020-02-20T02:12:32Z 2020-02-20T02:12:32Z Finishing an even 81-81, the Phillies were a disappointment in 2019, in part because of their rotation. Their starting staff wound up 17th in the majors in ERA, 20th in K/BB ratio and 23rd in fWAR. The subpar production from the Phillies’ group of starters contributed to the team’s eighth straight year without a playoff berth, but the club has since since made a real effort to improve its rotation and better its chances of earning a postseason spot in 2020.

The Phillies’ biggest move of the winter was signing right-hander Zack Wheeler to a five-year, $118MM guarantee. He’s now near the top of a staff that’ll also include Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta from one through three. Right-hander Zach Eflin’s set to occupy the fourth position, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, which leaves a handful of names vying for the last place in the Phillies’ rotation. Touted prospect Spencer Howard could make his debut this year, but the Phillies will bring him along slowly, so it doesn’t seem he’s in the running for a season-opening rotation spot. Here’s a look at those who are…

  • Vince Velasquez, RHP: The 27-year-old Velasquez throws hard (around 94 mph), but his ERA has hung around the 5.00 mark in recent seasons. He worked out of the Phillies’ rotation and bullpen last year, striking out just under 10 batters per nine (against 3.11 BB/9) from the team’s rotation. Problem is that Velasquez didn’t do well to prevent runs in either role. He ended up with a 4.91 ERA/5.21 FIP over 117 1/3 innings.
  • Nick Pivetta, RHP: Pivetta was an effective starter for the Phillies as recently as 2018, but the wheels came off last season. He concluded the year with an ugly 5.38 ERA/5.47 FIP in 93 2/3 innings, some of which came as a reliever, though he did continue to post an average fastball upward of 94 mph.
  • Ranger Suarez, LHP: The 24-year-old Suarez didn’t make a single start for the Phillies last season, but he did turn in a 3.14 ERA/3.89 FIP with 7.77 K/9, 2.22 BB/9 and a 55.1 percent groundball rate in 48 2/3 innings from their bullpen. Suarez does have quite a bit of starting experience in various levels of the minors, though. He owns a 4.02 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 87 1/3 innings in Triple-A ball.
  • Cole Irvin, LHP: Irvin, 26, made his major league debut last season, mostly working from the Phillies’ bullpen. He tossed 41 2/3 frames of 5.83 ERA/5.06 FIP ball with 6.7 K/9 and 2.81 BB/9. Irvin was far better as a Triple-A pitcher from 2018-19, during which he logged a 3.07 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 255 innings.
  • Damon Jones, LHP: Jones, 25, was an 18th-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 who hasn’t gotten to the majors yet, but he does rank as their 20th-best prospect at MLB.com. However, Jones had difficulty across a 34-inning Triple-A debut last season, when he walked just under seven batters per nine. Overall, Jones has issued free passes to a bit under five hitters per nine in the minors, so despite a lofty K/9 (11.1), it’s difficult to imagine him opening the season in Philly’s rotation if he doesn’t significantly improve his control.
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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Outright Nick Martini]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190889 2020-02-19T19:09:40Z 2020-02-19T19:04:01Z The Phillies have outrighted outfielder Nick Martini after he cleared waivers, according to a team announcement. He’s going to stay in camp as a non-roster player.

Martini, 29, was recently dropped from the menu in favor of new addition Kyle Garlick. They’ll end up competing to join the same outfield mix, though the former is a left-handed hitter and the latter swings from the right side.

This worked out well for the Phils, as they’ll get to keep the depth on hand for the rest of camp. Martini had a nice 2018 showing in the majors but drooped in the next campaign. He owns a .401 career OBP through nearly fifteen hundred career plate appearances at Triple-A.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Arbitration Hearings Set For Realmuto, Neris]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190635 2020-02-17T01:18:03Z 2020-02-17T01:18:03Z The arbitration hearings for Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and reliever Hector Neris are coming up this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports, with Realmuto’s case being heard on Wednesday and Neris on Friday.  Once Realmuto’s case has been decided, Phils GM Matt Klentak said “we’ll come to the table and see if we can find common ground on a long-term deal.  I hope that we can.  It would be nice to have some resolution prior to Opening Day….If we can’t, we could always continue those talks during the season or even into free agency if we can.”

The arbitration hearings for Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto and reliever Hector Neris are coming up this week, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports, with Realmuto’s case being heard on Wednesday and Neris on Friday.  Once Realmuto’s case has been decided, Phils GM Matt Klentak said “we’ll come to the table and see if we can find common ground on a long-term deal.  I hope that we can.  It would be nice to have some resolution prior to Opening Day….If we can’t, we could always continue those talks during the season or even into free agency if we can.”

I recently explored what an extension might look like for Realmuto, and the pros and cons that both he and the team will be weighing in trying to work out a deal.  Both sides have expressed mutual interest in an extension dating back to the end of last season, and Realmuto continued to be optimistic that a multi-year agreement can be reached.  “I could see myself staying in Philly and playing my entire career here,” Realmuto told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark.  “Also being one year away from free agency, that wouldn’t be a bad thing for me either, but I don’t think it will get to that.  I think the Phillies and myself could line up pretty well.”

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Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Phillies Discuss Innings Plan For Spencer Howard]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190605 2020-02-16T13:35:26Z 2020-02-16T13:35:26Z
  • The Phillies plan to start top pitching prospect Spencer Howard slowly in 2020, the organization tells Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The hope is to conserve some innings in the early going so the organization needn’t worry about shutting Howard down if they find themselves in a playoff race. “Every pitch he throws in March is a pitch he’s not going to be able to throw in September,” GM Matt Klentak told Lauber. “It’s not because something is wrong, and it’s not because we don’t like him. It’s because we like him a lot, and we need to set him up for success to pitch deep into the season this year.” The 23-year-old, Baseball America’s #27 overall prospect, threw fewer than 100 minor-league innings in 2019, in part due to a midseason shutdown with shoulder soreness. Nevertheless, it seems he’s likely to make his MLB debut at some point in 2020 now that his arm is fully healthy.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Phillies Acquire Kyle Garlick From Dodgers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190573 2020-02-15T21:29:14Z 2020-02-15T19:49:43Z The Phillies and Dodgers have agreed to a trade that will send outfielder Kyle Garlick to the Phillies, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. In return, the Dodgers will receive minor league left-hander Tyler Gilbert. To clear a spot for Garlick on the 40-man roster, outfielder Nick Martini was designated for assignment.

    Garlick had been designated earlier this week. He got a brief taste of the Majors with the Dodgers in 2019, appearing in 30 games and slashing .250/.321/.521 with three home runs. It was a nice showing from the 28-year-old rookie, who will have to show that he can hang around in the big leagues after an impressive showing at Triple-A.

    With two minor league options remaining, Garlick could be a nice reserve option for the Phillies in the corner outfield. He’ll compete with the likes of Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, and Jay Bruce for bench at-bats. For what it’s worth, Garlick is the only true righty of that group (Quinn is a switch-hitter).

    Gilbert is a 26-year-old reliever who was the Phillies’ 6th-round pick in 2015. He spent all of last season at Triple-A, pitching 47 2/3 innings of 2.83-ERA baseball, striking out 46 batters. With the Dodgers’ crowded bullpen unit, he’s a long shot to genuinely contend for a roster spot, but he at least represents good depth, especially in case of injuries.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zack Wheeler Heard “Crickets” From Mets In Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190523 2020-02-15T05:06:03Z 2020-02-15T04:49:13Z Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler and the Mets are engaged in a public feud. Wheeler, a Met from 2013-19, joined the Phillies on a five-year, $118MM contract during the offseason. However, Wheeler indicated Thursday that he had hoped to remain with his longtime team, revealing (via Greg Joyce of the New York Post) that he reached out to the Mets to gauge their interest in re-signing him before he became a Phillie. But Wheeler said he only heard “crickets” from the Mets, adding: “Because it’s them. It’s how they roll.”

    Wheeler went on to suggest the Mets are a dysfunctional organization, but general manager Brodie Van Wagenen took exception to his comments. Van Wagenen expressed “surprise” in regards to Wheeler’s statements, per Tim Britton of The Athletic. The GM also noted, “I feel like this organization supported him in giving him the opportunity to reach major league success.” He then took a shoot at Wheeler, contending, “Our health and performance department, our coaches, all contributed and helped him parlay two good half-seasons over the last five years into $118MM.”

    It should be pointed out that Wheeler has produced palatable results in every season but 2017 – his first year back from a March 2015 Tommy John procedure that helped cost him two campaigns. He has otherwise totaled three seasons with at least 180 innings and ERAs somewhere in the threes. The hard-throwing Wheeler was statistically one of the most effective starters in baseball from 2018-19, during which he put up a 3.65 ERA/3.37 FIP ERA with 8.91 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 377 2/3 frames. Considering that, Van Wagenen’s snipe doesn’t ring true.

    Neither side may look great in this situation, but the spat does make a division rivalry even more interesting. Both teams are looking up at the Braves and the Nationals in the NL East, though all four are arguably good enough on paper to at least compete for the division. Wheeler was the Phillies’ big-ticket acquisition during the winter, while the Mets still boast a strong rotation even in the wake of his departure. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz lead the group, and the Mets have added Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha since free agency opened.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Klentak, MacPhail On Phillies’ Stance Towards Luxury Tax]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190496 2020-02-15T01:58:04Z 2020-02-15T01:58:04Z As the Phillies have ramped up their spending in recent years, the question has become inevitable: will they cross the luxury tax line for the first time, and if so when? GM Matt Klentak and president Andy MacPhail discussed the subject in camp, as Scott Lauber and Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer report.

    Even as Klentak downplayed the importance of the $208MM line in the team’s decisionmaking, he also seemed to acknowledge it as a rather prominent factor in the internal decisionmaking process. Klentak labeled the Competitive Balance Tax line a “guide” rather than a “barrier.”

    The rubber meets the road when a stated principle is put to a real-world test. Klentak says that hasn’t quite happened just yet, explaining that the team “never got to the point of really asking ownership about [any moves] because we never lined up a baseball trade that we thought was right.” If and when an opportunity arises that would force the Phils to foot a luxury bill, Klentak says he “would expect to have a good, productive dialogue with our owners about” the matter.

    MacPhail suggested a clearer desire to push into the luxury realm if circumstances warrant. “It’s my hope and frankly my expectation that we’re going to exceed it this year,” he said. Read one way, that’s a strong indication that the club intends to spend. Read another, it’s an acknowledgement that the organization will plunk down more cash if the team finds itself in a competitive enough position. That’ll mean waiting to find out how the already assembled roster can perform.

    In comments of more general interest — to the MLBPA, if not the casual fan — MacPhail laid out rather clearly how teams — even those with revenues as great as the Phillies — view the function of the tax. “Nobody can live over it,” MacPhail says of the luxury line. “The penalties are too severe — not just economically, but it grabs you every different way.”

    It probably won’t take much to force a decision on the luxury tax matter. The Phils are right up on it already. Cot’s on Contracts has the club sitting at $203MM in CBT payroll, which is also Lauber’s estimate. Roster Resource has that number over $2MM higher, which would mean even less breathing room.

    Calculating payroll for CBT purposes is an evolving process, of course. Decisions taken during the season can move it up or down. And it isn’t as if there is any drastic penalty for going over (just 20% on the amount over the line). The actual financial hit only ramps up when you go into higher tax penalty levels and do so over multiple seasons.

    So, what does this all mean from a practical perspective? Perhaps Klentak should be taken at his word when he says the team is pleased with the talent it has assembled, which includes a long list of notable veterans on non-roster deals. There’s obviously room to improve and deepen the pitching staff and/or to add an established performer at third base or center field. But that’ll require a higher level of ownership involvement to complete, unless Klentak can work something out that’s mostly cost-neutral.

    Odds are, any movement past the line — should it occur — will happen during the season. MacPhail says the club intends to “evaluate what we have and make a determination in-season as if we are going to go over or not.” The front office has seemingly already committed most of the money it has been allocated, even if its spending is viewed as a guide rather than a “hard barrier.”

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Cubs, Kris Bryant]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190137 2020-02-14T00:47:49Z 2020-02-14T00:47:55Z TODAY: Casting further cold water on the Bryant/Arenado rumors, a source tells Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post that this speculation could be “media noise” from the Cubs themselves, trying to spur on better offers from other teams (i.e. the Phillies, Nationals, Braves) that could have interest in Bryant.

    FEBRUARY 12: When Major League Basbeall’s offseason started, the Cubs looked like one of the sport’s most intriguing teams. After collapsing last season and finishing with 84 wins, there was an expectation the Cubs’ roster would undergo a drastic makeover. That hasn’t happened at all, though, and the Cubs have largely been quiet this winter. They’ve made no earth-shattering acquisitions (apologies to Steven Souza Jr., Jason Kipnis and Jeremy Jeffress) or roster-altering trades, though they have lost a few notable players – including Nicholas Castellanos and Cole Hamels – since the winter began.

    President of baseball operations Theo Epstein addressed the Cubs’ offseason Tuesday, saying (via Jordan Bastian of MLB.com), “I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been as much turnover as we expected.” Epstein noted, though, that the Cubs aren’t going to make changes for the sake of it, and he still has high expectations for the team as it’s currently constructed.

    Chicago does indeed have quite a bit of talent still on hand, and third baseman/outfielder Kris Bryant may be atop the list. The former NL MVP continues to be the subject of trade rumors, however, and dealing him and his $18.6MM salary would enable the Cubs’ maligned ownership to get under the $208MM luxury-tax threshold in 2020. As things stand, the Cubs are projected for a tax payroll just south of $214MM, per Jason Martinez of Roster Resource and FanGraphs.

    If the Cubs are more worried about competing than ducking the tax, the 28-year-old Bryant could remain an important cog in helping them rebound in 2020. However, multiple teams have shown interest in acquiring him. The Rangers, Rockies, Nationals and Phillies have discussed Bryant with the Cubs recently, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

    Aside from the Rockies, who have the disgruntled Nolan Arenado at third base, those teams could use upgrades at the hot corner. There has been talk of an Arenado-Bryant swap, but that has always seemed far-fetched, and there aren’t indications that Bryant will wind up with anyone else imminently. The Cubs could instead choose to keep Bryant, attempt to push for a playoff spot this season and see where they stand around the July trade deadline. Considering that Epstein still believes in the talent the club still has, Chicago may well go that way.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Seranthony Dominguez ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190272 2020-02-13T05:26:27Z 2020-02-13T05:26:27Z
  • Phillies right-hander Seranthony Dominguez managed to avoid Tommy John surgery last year after an elbow scare, and he now appears to be on track for Opening Day, tweets Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Dominguez resumed throwing in December and has now thrown three bullpen sessions — including one earlier today. The 25-year-old was lights out in his debut effort back in 2018 and took a step back in limited action in 2019 before hitting the injured list. In 82 2/3 innings between those two seasons, he’s pitched to a 3.27 ERA with 11.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 16 saves.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Phillies To Sign Tommy Hunter]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189751 2020-02-12T18:29:14Z 2020-02-12T16:08:06Z FEBRUARY 12: It’s a big-league pact, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). It seems everything checked out in the medicals, as Hunter is said to be in uniform and ready to roll. The club has bumped David Robertson to the 60-day injured list to create roster space.

    Hunter will be promised $850K in the deal, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets. There’s also a $1.3MM incentives package.

    FEBRUARY 8: The Phillies have reached an agreement to sign free-agent right-hander Tommy Hunter, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. There’s no indication yet whether it’s a Major League deal.

    The 33-year-old Hunter is coming off a disappointing season in which he was limited to just 5 MLB appearances, thanks to a right forearm strain that forced him to make two stints on the 60-day injured list. In the 5 1/3 innings he was able to throw, he was effective and didn’t give up a run.

    It would’ve been the second year of the two-year, $18MM deal Hunter earned prior to the 2018 season. In his only full season with the Phillies, he worked 64 innings and recorded a 3.80 ERA while striking out 51 batters. He took a step back from the impressive 2017 season that he rode into free agency, but was nonetheless a serviceable bullpen contributor.

    We’ll see how quickly he can rebound from the forearm injury and return to form, but if and when that happens, there could be a spot on the Philly active roster waiting for him. The Philadelphia bullpen ranked in the bottom third of baseball last year, and while there haven’t been any major additions, Seranthony Dominguez should once again be ready to contribute after missing the majority of the 2018 season. Hunter, meanwhile, should have a chance to supplant Ranger Suarez or Deolis Guerra for a spot to round out the ’pen.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Outright J.D. Hammer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190036 2020-02-11T19:02:37Z 2020-02-11T18:58:29Z The Phillies have outrighted right-hander J.D. Hammer, the club announced. He had recently been designated for assignment.

    Hammer reached the bigs last year but didn’t exactly find success right out of the gates. He did manage a 3.79 ERA in his 19 innings of action, but did so in spite of an ugly 13:12 K/BB ratio.

    The 25-year-old Hammer also showed major walk problems during his time at Triple-A last year. But he was lights out before that at the penultimate level of the minors and has a history of gaudy K/BB numbers.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Hope For 2nd Half Return From David Robertson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=190031 2020-02-11T18:25:34Z 2020-02-11T18:25:34Z The Phillies are hopeful they’ve got a built-in summer acquisition in the form of veteran reliever David Robertson. As Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Twitter, new Phils skipper Joe Girardi says that he hopes Robertson will be able to make it back for the second half of the 2020 campaign.

    Long a steady and productive late-inning hurler, Robertson endured a brutal first year in Philadelphia after signing on to a two-year deal last winter. He made just seven appearances, breaking a string of nine-straight seasons of 60+ games, and ultimately required Tommy John surgery in mid-August.

    The timing of the procedure not only halted any hope of a late-2019 return, but also put Robertson’s 2020 availability in doubt. It was obviously a rough development for the Phils, who are in need of just the kind of output Robertson had long provided and still owe him $13MM (including a buyout on a club option).

    Fortunately, it now seems there’s enough progress that a return at some point in 2020 is possible to envision. The team probably can’t make any assumptions about whether, when, and in what form Robertson will make it back. But realistic hope is better than nothing and the Phillies may have more clarity by the time the trade deadline rolls around.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Re-Sign Blake Parker]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189432 2020-02-05T22:13:58Z 2020-02-05T20:42:23Z The Phillies have re-signed right-hander Blake Parker to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, per a team announcement. The Phillies also confirmed their previously reported minor league agreements with veteran infielder Logan Forsythe and right-hander Anthony Swarzak.

    Parker, 34, opened the 2019 season as the Twins’ closer but lost both his handle on that role and his roster spot in Minnesota after showing some troubles with his control — particularly when it came to his splitter. Parker notched a 4.21 ERA and 10 saves in 36 1/3 innings as a Twin but also turned in a lackluster 34-to-16 K/BB rate in that time. Beyond walking too many hitters, Parker also plunked a pair of batters and snapped off four wild pitches before being cut loose.

    In some regards, things worsened in Philadelphia. Parker’s bottom-line run prevention numbers took a turn for the worse (5.04 ERA in 25 innings), and he proved to be more homer-prone with his second club of the year. On the other hand, Parker rediscovered the handle on his split and registered an impressive 31-to-6 K/BB ratio. His 90.8 mph average heater was down considerably from the 92.4 mph he averaged in Minnesota, but Parker did seem to have better control of his arsenal.

    There’s little risk for the Phillies in taking another look at Parker this spring. He is, after all, a seven-year MLB veteran who has enjoyed his share of late-inning success — particularly in 2016-17 with the Angels. In all, Parker has 285 2/3 innings in the Majors, during which time he’s logged a 3.56 ERA and recorded 34 saves while averaging 10.1 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. He becomes the latest in a dizzying slate of veterans to land non-roster invitations to Phillies Spring Training; also in camp will be Anthony Swarzak, Drew Storen, Francisco Liriano, Bud Norris, Neil Walker, Logan Forsythe, Josh Harrison, Ronald Torreyes and Phil Gosselin.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Claim Deolis Guerra, Designate J.D. Hammer]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189428 2020-02-05T21:23:59Z 2020-02-05T20:39:28Z The Phillies announced this afternoon that they’ve claimed righty Deolis Guerra off outright waivers from the Brewers and designated fellow right-hander J.D. Hammer for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Philadelphia also announced that right-hander Trevor Kelley, who was designated for assignment late last week, cleared waivers and has been sent outright to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

    Guerra, 30, was dominant in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League in 2019, logging 66 2/3 innings with a 1.89 ERA, 11.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9 and a 42.9 percent ground-ball rate for Milwaukee’s top affiliate. He pitched just two-thirds of an inning in the big leagues and only has a total of 95 2/3 MLB frames under his belt in all, but Guerra ranked in the 80th percentile in fastball spin rate during his last full MLB season with the Angels in 2017.

    Milwaukee signed Guerra to a big league deal earlier this winter but opted to designate him for assignment last week after agreeing to a one-year deal with righty David Phelps. Guerra is out of minor league options, so he becomes a strong possibility to break camp with the Phillies, so long as he pitches reasonably well in Spring Training.

    Hammer, 25, posted a 3.79 ERA in his big league debut in 2019, allowing eight runs on just 15 hits in 19 innings of work. However, he also issued 12 walks against just 13 strikeouts in that time, continuing some troublesome control issues that surfaced in Triple-A (15 walks in 15 2/3 innings there). Injuries have combined to limit Hammer to just 170 total innings between the big leagues and the minors since he was selected by the Rockies in the 24th round of the 2016 draft. That, paired with his recent control issues, apparently made him expendable to the Phillies, who now have a week to trade Hammer, release him or try to pass him through outright waivers.

    The 26-year-old Kelley was also a waiver claim by the Phillies, coming over from the Red Sox organization in early December. He struggled in his MLB debut this past season (eight runs in 8 1/3 innings) but posted impressive minor league numbers in 2019 (1.79 ERA, 8.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings).

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Kris Bryant]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=189395 2020-02-05T06:28:16Z 2020-02-05T06:26:46Z Kris Bryant’s long-running service-time grievance against the Cubs finally came to an end last week. Bryant lost the hearing, meaning he’ll remain under team control for two more years instead of one. As you’d expect, the players’ association isn’t enamored of the results. MLBPA executive director Tony Clark issued a statement on the matter Tuesday:

    “The Players Association disagrees with the decision issued today in the Kris Bryant service-time grievance. While we respect the finality of that decision, we will continue to pursue any and all measures that incentivize competition, discourage service-time manipulation and ensure clubs field their best players. We applaud Kris’ courage and determination in challenging the Cubs’ actions and seeing the grievance through to the end.”

    Although Bryant understandably fought the Cubs over team control after they delayed his rookie promotion, he said last week he harbors no ill will against the club. While there doesn’t seem to be bad blood between the two sides, that doesn’t mean Bryant will be a Cub for much longer. The Cubs have had a modest offseason after last year’s dud of a finish, and if they’re as focused as getting under the luxury tax as, say, the similarly deep-pocketed Red Sox (who traded Mookie Betts and David Price on Tuesday), Bryant might not stick around for much longer. Bryant has been the subject of trade speculation for months, after all, and the fact that the $18.6MM man is controllable for two years instead of one should only help his value on the market.

    A 28-year-old former NL MVP, Bryant has a pair of suitors in the Nationals and Phillies, who have shown “at least exploratory interest” in him, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. This isn’t the first time either team has been connected to the 28-year-old Bryant this offseason, though, and it’s unclear whether they’re more inclined to trade for him now that the third base market has all but emptied out in free agency. The Nationals re-signed Asdrubal Cabrera, who figures to hold the position down until prospect Carter Kieboom’s set to take the reins, while the Phillies have the versatile Scott Kingery as their projected starter and Alec Bohm waiting in the wings.

    The Braves, yet another NL East team, are in questionable shape at the hot corner, where they look prepared to roll with Johan Camargo and Austin Riley in the wake of Josh Donaldson’s exit in free agency. Nevertheless, the Braves have not been discussing Bryant with the Cubs, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, so it continues to look unlikely that he’ll end up in Atlanta.

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