MLB Trade Rumors » » Philadelphia Phillies 2017-09-24T03:06:36Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rosenthal: Phillies Primed For Active Offseason]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103298 2017-09-23T23:47:59Z 2017-09-23T23:47:59Z Given their prospects and resources, the Phillies are in position to make at least one big offseason splash, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal observes (video link). “It’s no secret” the Phillies have interest in Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, and teammate Giancarlo Stanton could also be on their radar, Rosenthal says. Elsewhere, they’ll “actively” seek starting pitching, with Rosenthal naming impending free agent Rays right-hander Alex Cobb as a logical target, and may dangle shortstop Freddy Galvis to address a need in another area.  (Earlier Saturday on MLBTR, Mark Polishuk broke down the Phillies’ three biggest needs heading into the offseason.)

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Three Needs: Philadelphia Phillies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102986 2017-09-23T17:18:55Z 2017-09-23T17:18:55Z This is the latest edition in MLBTR’s Three Needs series. Click to read entries on the BravesTigersRedsPiratesGiantsMets, Blue Jays, Athletics and White Sox.

It’s been another tough year on the field for the Phillies, and though the team looks to have added some very notable building blocks in their rebuild, there are still plenty of holes to fill.  The Phils won’t be making a push to contend until 2019 at the earliest, so this winter will likely look much the same as last — adding veterans on short-term deals with an eye towards flipping those players at the trade deadline.  Here are a few needs that will be at the top of the Phillies’ list this offseason…

1. Add starting pitchingAaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff are penciled into next year’s rotation, and Vince Velasquez will get first dibs on a spot if healthy.  A variety of young arms (Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Zach Eflin) could be in the mix for the fifth starter’s job or as rotation depth, particularly given Velasquez’s multiple injury issues.

That leaves room for at least one or possibly two veteran starters to join the starting staff.  The Phillies obviously won’t be shopping at the top of the free agent market, instead targeting mid-range starters that could be had on a one-year deal.  Such pitchers could also be pursued in trades, akin to how the Phillies acquired Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox last offseason in the hopes that he would stay healthy and add rotation stability.  Citizens Bank Park isn’t the most pitcher-friendly environment for a hurler looking to perhaps rebuild his value for a more lucrative contract in the 2018-19 offseason, though the Phillies can certainly offer innings and opportunity.

2. Use short-term payroll space on both young and old talent.  The Phillies have less than $7MM on the books for 2018, so there’s plenty of room for creativity with so much payroll space to work with.  Some of that money will be spent on veterans added in signings or trades, though for the latter, the Phillies have the flexibility to take on quite a bit of money.

For instance, GM Matt Klentak could approach a team burdened by a pricey contract and offer to take that deal off the rival club’s hands, as long as a promising young player was also included in the trade.  This “buy a prospect” strategy would likely only be deployed in order to take on a starter or reliever’s bad contract since the Phillies are pretty set around the diamond in terms of players who have either earned everyday jobs or players the team wants to see more of — it would make little sense to block Nick Williams from regular duty by acquiring a pricey outfielder, for instance.

The exception to this would be if the Phils were to acquire a bigger-name talent who offered enough years of control that he could be part of the next contending Philadelphia team.  Last summer, the Phillies expressed interest in the Marlins’ Christian Yelich (who is under contract through 2021 with a club option for 2022) and were also reportedly open to eating some of the Marlins’ other bad contracts in order to make a Yelich deal happen.  If the Phillies were to make such a deal for Yelich or a similar player, you could see someone like Williams moved as part of the trade package.

The argument could be made that the Phillies could go after a big-ticket free agent this winter as sort of a harbinger of larger spending, akin to how the Nationals’ signing of Jayson Werth in the 2010-11 offseason served as an announcement that the team was looking ahead to being a contender in the near future.  Since it has been largely rumored that the Phils will be players in the star-studded 2018-19 free agent class, I’d argue that any “coming attractions” signing Philadelphia might make will come next offseason rather than this winter, since there are still too many question marks for the team (or a free agent looking to win) to assume that a guaranteed contender in 2019.

3. Identify and extend some cornerstone playersOdubel Herrera was signed to a five-year extension last winter that will keep him in Philly until at least 2021, making him the first player clearly marked as a key part of the team’s future plans.  Herrera was signed when he was a season away from becoming eligible for salary arbitration, which is the same situation that Nola and Aaron Altherr are in this winter.

The situations aren’t identical, of course, though there’s reason that signing an extension would make sense for Nola and Altherr at this junction.  Altherr, who turns 27 in January and only rose to prominence as a prospect within the last couple of years, would likely to be open to his first big payday.  Nola already made his first fortune in the sport when he collected a $3.3MM bonus as the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft, though since he already went through a UCL/flexor scare last year, Nola might also be eager to lock down some guaranteed money early in his career.

Cesar Hernandez is arb-eligible for the first time last winter, and he has three more trips through the arbitration process coming due to his Super Two status.  He’s due for a nice raise on his $2.55MM salary in 2017, and the Phillies could gain cost certainty on the second baseman via an extension.  On the flip side, Hernandez could also be a potential trade chip, with the Phillies using Freddy Galvis and, eventually, prospect Scott Kingery at second.  With Maikel Franco coming off a brutal year and top prospect J.P. Crawford coming off a pair of underwhelming minor league seasons, however, the Phillies might not want to lose Hernandez with that much uncertainty on the left side of the infield.  The team isn’t in any rush to make a decision either way, and the best course could be to just give Hernandez his arb raise and then see how things develop with their other infielders.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies’ Jesen Therrien Undergoes Tommy John Surgery]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=103175 2017-09-21T22:19:56Z 2017-09-21T22:19:56Z Phillies right-hander Jesen Therrien underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week and could miss the entire 2018 campaign as a result, as Jeremy Filosa of 98.5 FM Sports in Montreal (Therrien’s hometown) first reported, on Twitter.

[Related: Philadelphia Phillies depth chart]

The 24-year-old Therrien made his Major League debut this season, appearing in in 15 games and totaling 18 1/3 innings. As Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, his 92.6 mph average fastball in the bigs was diminished from his minor league velocity, and Therrien’s results were nowhere near the promising output he showed in the minors. Therrien obliterated minor league opponents, posting a ridiculous 1.41 ERA with 10.2 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 in 57 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. In the Majors, he logged an 8.35 ERA on 24 hits and seven walks with just 10 strikeouts.

The loss of Therrien for the 2018 campaign will deprive the Phils of one of their more promising relief prospects next season, though Therrien is certainly young enough to bounce back and make meaningful contributions when the Phils are closer to contention in 2019 and beyond.

In the meantime, the Phillies will turn to a bullpen group that is likely to feature Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Edubray Ramos, Kevin Siegrist and Adam Morgan next year. Other candidates will include young arms such as Victor Arano, Hoby Milner, Ricardo Pinto, Yacksel Rios and Zac Curtis, though the Philadelphia front office could certainly look to augment its internal options with some veterans on the free-agent and/or trade markets this winter. President Andy MacPhail, GM Matt Klentak and the rest of the Phils’ front office brought in veterans Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit last winter, both to help stabilize a group of inexperienced relievers and for the potential to emerge as summer trade chips.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cesar Hernandez A Valuable Chip For Phillies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102905 2017-09-17T03:03:39Z 2017-09-17T03:02:00Z
  • Second baseman Cesar Hernandez has emerged as either a legitimate building block for the Phillies or someone they could dangle over the winter in an effort to acquire sorely needed starting pitching help, Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com observes. The 27-year-old has combined for 7.0 fWAR and 5.5 rWAR in 1,139 plate appearances dating back to last season, thanks in part to a .293/.367/.406 batting line. Hernandez’s OBP over that span ranks 24th in the majors, and the Phillies’ front office places a great deal of value in his ability to get on base, Lawrence writes. The switch-hitter is controllable through 2020 via arbitration, further adding to his appeal.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Pete Mackanin Seems Likely To Return Next Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102889 2017-09-16T21:41:21Z 2017-09-16T21:41:21Z
  • The Phillies have struggled this season, but GM Matt Klentak still seems to have manager Pete Mackanin’s back, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. The Phillies extended Mackanin through 2018, with an option for 2019, in May. “When we signed him to the extension, the intention was to take the drama out of both this year and next year,” says Klentak. “Beyond that we’ll have to see, but I think when we signed Pete, that was right in the beginning stages of our struggles. The fact that he and his staff were able to weather the storm and get us going on the right track was really important for us this season.” The Phillies are 57-90, but it seems Mackanin will return next season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102751 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:

    Keepers

    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Added To The 40-Man Roster: Arano, Moya]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102634 2017-09-12T14:26:17Z 2017-09-12T14:23:33Z A couple of 40-man additions to kick things off Tuesday morning…

    • The Phillies will add not only Henderson Alvarez to the 40-man roster — as was reported yesterday — but also right-hander Victor Arano, according to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury (Twitter link). The hard-throwing 22-year-old, who ranks 27th on MLB.com’s list of the Phillies’ top 30 prospects, spent the season pitching against older competition with Double-A Reading and posted a 4.19 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 38.9 percent ground-ball rate. MLB.com’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo note in their free report on him that a move to the bullpen in 2017 and a focus on his slider as his primary breaking pitch have both allowed Arano’s stuff to play up in the bullpen. Arano needed to be added to the 40-man this winter anyhow in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so the Phils will add him a bit earlier and take a few looks at him against MLB pitching down the stretch. He opened the year with an arm injury — reportedly a sprained UCL — but made his way back to toss 38 2/3 innings this season.
    • The Twins look set to add lefty reliever Gabriel Moya to their 40-man roster. Venezuelan journalist Dessiree Castro tweeted that Moya was promoted to the Majors, and Moya’s former pitching coach in the D-backs’ minor league system did the same. Moya rated at the back-end of the Twins’ top 30 at MLB.com before the trades of Jaime Garcia and Brandon Kintzler added a couple of new names to that list. The 22-year-old has posted video-game numbers in Double-A this year, working to a combined 0.77 ERA with 13.4 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 with a ground-ball rate of about 41 percent through 58 1/3 innings. Acquired from Arizona in late July for catcher John Ryan Murphy, Moya would have been added to the 40-man this winter as well, so this move will just give Minnesota an earlier chance to evaluate him for a future role.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Phillies To Promote Henderson Alvarez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102588 2017-09-11T22:09:53Z 2017-09-11T20:33:56Z The Phillies are set to promote right-handed starter Henderson Alvarez to the major-league level, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Phillies have an open spot on the 40-man roster, so the organization will not need to make a corresponding roster move.

    It’s been a complicated road back to the majors for Alvarez, who last appeared at the MLB level with the Marlins in 2015. His season was cut short that year due to right shoulder surgery in July, and the Marlins non-tendered him in the offseason. The Athletics signed him to a major-league deal in that December, but he never made the major-league club and ended up back on the disabled list, ultimately undergoing a second shoulder surgery in September of 2016.

    After being unable to find a major-league deal for the 2017 season, he decided to showcase his talents by pitching for the Long Island Ducks in independent ball. The Phillies elected to sign him to a minor-league contract, assigning him to Triple-A LeHigh Valley to pitch for the Iron Pigs. It’s unclear when he will pitch for the Phillies, but with Mark Leiter Jr., Jake Thompson and Nick Pivetta struggling of late, it seems likely that he will get a chance to start at some point before the season is over.

    Alvarez’s greatest success came with the Marlins between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. During that time, he pitched to a sparkling 2.98 ERA with a 3.71 xFIP and 53.7% ground ball rate across 289 2/3 innings. He etched his place in history on September 29th, 2013 when he threw a no-hitter against the Tigers. Alvarez even made the NL All-Star team in 2014.

    Alvarez will fall short of the service time required to be a free agent, so if he pitches well, the Phillies will be able to retain him for another year through arbitration.

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Phillies Claim Zac Curtis]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102571 2017-09-11T19:56:36Z 2017-09-11T18:51:39Z The Mariners have announced that recently-designated left-hander Zac Curtis has been claimed by the Phillies. The Mariners also announced that right-hander Ryan Weber has been outrighted to Triple-A Tacoma.

    Curtis, 25, is best known for being part of the package the Diamondbacks sent along with shortstop Jean Segura in order to land Taijuan Walker from the Mariners. He did not allow an earned run in 4 2/3 innings at the major-league level this year and enjoyed some success with the Mariners’ Double-A affiliate, pitching to a 10.52 K/9 and 3.33 BB/9 with a 3.51 ERA in 51 1/3 innings. With two options and plenty of team control remaining, Curtis could be a nice cog in Philadelphia’s current rebuild.

    Weber was recently set to come off the 60-day DL. He’ll remain with the organization for now, but will have to work his way back to the majors. Before missing the past three months with a right biceps strain, Weber had pitched to a 0.85 ERA spanning five starts with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Though he didn’t show a penchant for strikeouts with the Rainiers (5.40 K/9), he showed excellent ground ball-inducing skills (72.5 GB%).

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Remain Confident In Maikel Franco]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102415 2017-09-09T15:10:56Z 2017-09-09T15:08:22Z
  • Phillies general manager Matt Klentak indicated Friday that he’ll emphasize acquiring pitching in the offseason, leading Todd Zolecki of MLB.com to suggest that the team could deal from its logjam of infielders for help in that area. That could mean moving struggling third baseman Maikel Franco, though Klentak still has a high opinion of the 25-year-old. “I absolutely believe in Maikel Franco’s future,” Klentak said. “I think there’s too much talent there. He has the bat speed, the strength, his defense has taken a step forward. All the components are there for Maikel to still be a really good player. I know his numbers right now aren’t what a lot of people expected or hoped, but we still believe strongly in his future.” Despite Klentak’s vote of confidence, Franco simply hasn’t given the Phillies much in the way of results since what looked like a breakout rookie year in 2015. This season has been particularly ugly for Franco, who has slashed a weak .224/.279/.392 and accounted for minus-0.7 fWAR in 559 trips to the plate.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Details On How Juan Nicasio Deal Came About]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102300 2017-09-07T04:57:38Z 2017-09-07T04:17:19Z
  • There are a few more details available on the strange circumstances that led to the Cardinals acquiring reliever Juan Nicasio from the Phillies earlier today– but without the ability to utilize him in the postseason. A team other than the Cards won the claim for Nicasio when the Pirates put him on trade waivers in August (only to pull him back when no deal was reached), per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Rather, it may actually have been yet another NL Central rival — the Cubs — that had the highest-priority claim on Nicasio last month, per Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — which would mean the Cards bypassed a shot at adding him at that time. In any event, St. Louis did place a successful claim this time around, when the Phillies ran him through trade waivers after acquiring him via outright waivers on the last day of August, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Acquire Juan Nicasio]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102261 2017-09-06T19:03:19Z 2017-09-06T18:34:24Z The Phillies announced that they have traded right-hander Juan Nicasio to the Cardinals in exchange for minor league infielder Eliezer Alvarez. Philadelphia had recently claimed Nicasio off outright waivers from the Pirates. Nicasio will give the Cardinals’ bullpen a boost, though since he’s been acquired after Aug. 31, he won’t be eligible for the postseason roster if St. Louis qualifies. Nicasio is a free agent after the season.

    Juan Nicasio | Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsNicasio’s time with the Phillies will last all of a week, bringing to a close one of the more puzzling sequences in recent August trade history. The Pirates were unable to pass Nicasio through revocable trade waivers last month, ultimately pulling him back off waivers and placing him on outright waivers and instead losing him to the Phillies, who had top waiver priority, for nothing other than salary relief that amounted to roughly $600K.

    The move was confusing enough that Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington felt the need to explain the team’s rationale to the media. Per Huntington, Nicasio was claimed by a “playoff-caliber” team on trade waivers — it’s not clear if that Cardinals were that club, though it’d make sense — and the Bucs opted to place him on outright waivers in hopes of getting him to an AL contender rather than helping a “direct competitor.” (Trade waivers are league-specific, whereas outright waiver priority ignores league and is solely determined in reverse order of MLB standings.)

    Nicasio will ultimately end up with a direct competitor of the Pirates anyhow, though he won’t be able to pitch in the postseason. Moreover, the Phillies will make out extremely well in this deal, as Alvarez entered the season ranked 10th on Baseball America’s list of the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects. He currently ranks 19th among St. Louis farmhands in the eyes of Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. In essence, the Phillies were able to claim a Cardinals prospect off waivers, which ultimately cost them about $138K in terms of salary (the pro-rated portion of Nicasio’s week-long tenure with the team).

    For the Cardinals, Nicasio immediately becomes one of their best relievers. Through 61 1/3 innings, Nicasio has averaged 8.95 K/9, 2.64 BB/9 and a 46.9 percent ground-ball rate en route to an excellent 2.79 ERA. The 31-year-old has averaged a career-best 95.4 mph on his heater in 2017 and is sporting a 10.7 percent swinging-strike rate that would rank third among current St. Louis relievers (not including the injured Trevor Rosenthal, who led the team’s bullpen in that regard).

    Alvarez, 23 next month, has spent the season with St. Louis’ Double-A affiliate, hitting .247/.321/.382 with four homers and eight steals (in 11 tries). Those numbers don’t immediately stand out, though it’s worth noting that Alvarez skipped Class-A Advanced entirely and was considerably younger than the league average in Double-A.

    Callis and Mayo note in their free scouting report that Alvarez has a line-drive approach with a knack for making hard contact and could eventually grow into more power. He’s an above-average runner and could profile as a regular at second base down the line if everything breaks right for him. Alvarez was added to the Cardinals’ 40-man roster last winter to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, so he’ll go onto the Phillies’ 40-man roster and fill the spot that was vacated by trading Nicasio.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Injury Notes: Imhof, Goldschmidt, Ahmed, Carpenter, Fedde]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102158 2017-09-05T13:34:14Z 2017-09-05T13:34:14Z Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer sat down with former Phillies pitching prospect Matt Imhof to discuss the tragic accident that derailed his once-promising career and left him without his right eye. His journey offers worthwhile lessons to everyone, especially those with a passion for baseball.

    Here are the latest updates on injury situations from around the National League:

    • The Diamondbacks are awaiting the results of an MRI on the right elbow of star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Goldschmidt himself suggests he’s not too concerned about the discomfort he has experienced in the joint — he describes it as tightness that recedes once he has loosened up — though the team is surely wise to take a proactive approach with such a key player.
    • Meanwhile, Diamondbacks infielder Nick Ahmed will undergo surgery after suffering a fractured wrist, as MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert tweets. Odds are, then, that he’s done for the year after twice suffering broken bones on pitched balls. The 27-year-old will qualify for arbitration this fall, though his injury-shortened season and lack of offensive output will tamp down on his earning power quite a bit. In just over three hundred total major league games, Ahmed has established himself as a quality defender but owns only a .226/.273/.345 batting line with twenty home runs.
    • The Cardinals are dealing with a few position-player injuries, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. Infielder Matt Carpenter will likely undergo an MRI and may also require an injection to deal with ongoing shoulder issues. It seems those problems have nagged Carpenter all season long, though it became a particular problem during yesterday’s contest and may now require some rest. Outfielder Tommy Pham is also dealing with some shoulder difficulties, though he’s not expected to miss time at this point.
    • Nationals righty Erick Fedde will be shut down for the rest of the season after he was diagnosed with a strained flexor mass, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports. Though GM Mike Rizzo explained that the injury isn’t all that worrisome — the strain occurred away from the elbow joint, which is not damaged — the club decided the time was right to put its best pitching prospect on ice. Fedde, 24, is generally seen as the organization’s top pitching prospect, though he has gone through some struggles over the second half of this season since moving up to Triple-A and then on to the majors. Depending upon the club’s offseason moves, Fedde could challenge for a rotation or bullpen spot next spring.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies To Promote J.P. Crawford]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102126 2017-09-04T22:37:35Z 2017-09-04T22:03:35Z The Phillies will promote long-time top shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford, Tom Housenick of The Morning Call reports on Twitter. He will need a 40-man roster spot before he can be called up.

    Crawford, 22, has been viewed as one of the game’s elite prospects for the past two or three years. While evaluators mostly forgave a less-than-inspiring run at Triple-A in 2016, though, they began to raise questions about Crawford’s outlook as he struggled there again this year.

    On mid-season ranking lists, Crawford plummeted. He currently rates 60th on MLB.com’s listing and 92nd on Baseball America’s, while missing on a spot amongst the top fifty prospects named over the summer by ESPN.com’s Keith Law.

    The change of heart seemingly motivated the former 16th overall draft pick, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote recently. Indeed, Crawford has been on a tear of late. In sixty games since the start of July, he’s slashing .284/.383/.533 with a dozen home runs. It’s especially promising to see the power coming for a player who is most known for his glovework and on-base/contact ability.

    Philadelphia will hope that Crawford can maintain that momentum with him to the majors. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s utilized upon his arrival. Freddy Galvis has moved around of late, opening some daylight at shortstop, though Crawford himself has spent some time appearing at other positions. Ultimately, the organization surely hopes that Crawford will take over everyday duties at short, so he’ll likely have an opportunity to stake a claim that job at some point.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Outright Brock Stassi]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=102023 2017-09-04T02:26:42Z 2017-09-04T02:25:48Z
  • The Phillies announced that they have outrighted first baseman Brock Stassi to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Stassi lost his spot on the Phillies’ 40-man roster when they claimed reliever Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pirates on Thursday.  Prior to his designation for assignment, the 28-year-old Stassi batted just .167/.278/.295 in his first major league action (90 plate appearances).  Stassi has been better – albeit not great – at Triple-A this year, having hit .256/.328/.354 in 186 PAs.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Phillies Claim Kevin Siegrist From Cardinals]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101963 2017-09-02T18:13:12Z 2017-09-02T18:02:11Z The Phillies have announced that they’ve claimed lefty Kevin Siegrist from the Cardinals. The Cards designated Siegrist for assignment on Thursday as they activated him from a stint he spent on the DL with forearm tendinitis. To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Phillies have transferred righty Jerad Eickhoff (hand) to the 60-day DL.

    Siegrist was a key reliever for the Cardinals in 2015 and 2016, when he combined for a 2.44 ERA, 10.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 over 136 1/3 innings. This season, though, he’s dealt with a neck injury in addition to the forearm problem, and he’s posted a 4.98 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 over 34 1/3 innings. He’s also dealt with somewhat diminished velocity, with his mid-90s heater dipping more into the 92-93 MPH range.

    Siegrist is, however, eligible for arbitration for two more seasons after this one and he’s making a modest $1.64MM this year. Assuming he’s able to come back healthy, the Phillies can use the rest of the season to get a read on him, then decide if they want to keep him in their bullpen as a relatively cheap addition for 2018. The Phillies, despite not contending this season, have also already shown somewhat of a willingness to take on short-term veteran bullpen upgrades, having also recently added Juan Nicasio on a waiver claim.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Release Casey Fien]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101837 2017-09-01T13:25:21Z 2017-09-01T13:25:21Z The Phillies announced that they’ve released veteran right-hander Casey Fien.

    Fien, 33, had been on the 60-day disabled list due to an impingement in his right shoulder and would’ve required a 40-man roster spot in the month of September upon his activation from the DL. Instead, the Phils will cut him loose and use that slot to look at other options in the season’s final month.

    Philadelphia acquired Fien from Seattle back in early May, but Fien didn’t log much time in the Majors for either the Phillies or the Mariners this year. In a total of 12 innings, he was tattooed for 17 runs on 23 hits and six walks with 10 strikeouts.

    Fien had a nice run with the Twins from 2012-15, pitching to a 3.54 ERA with 7.9 K/9 against 1.6 BB/9 in 223 2/3 innings, but he’s now struggled to a 7.19 ERA with the Twins, Dodgers, Mariners and Phillies over the past two seasons. If he’s healthy, though, he’ll likely find some minor league offers this winter, which would afford him the opportunity to break camp with a big league club in Spring Training next year.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Claim Juan Nicasio, Designate Brock Stassi For Assignment]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101702 2017-08-31T21:36:42Z 2017-08-31T18:54:50Z The Phillies announced that they’ve claimed right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pirates. Philadelphia designated first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

    Jun 20, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Juan Nicasio (12) throws a pitch during the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s a surprising move for the Phils: Nicasio is slated to reach free agency at season’s end; he’s owed another $600K or so through the end of the year; and Philadelphia clearly is not contending in 2017. It also seems unlikely Nicasio will be flipped via trade. (He was already claimed and pulled back from revocable trade waivers, and any deal would likely need to be struck by the end of the day — which represents the deadline for adding outside players with postseason eligibility.)

    Perhaps the Phils simply are willing to pay for Nicasio to help win some close ballgames over the final month of the season, though at this point the team is in position to earn the top 2018 draft pick (with the worst record in baseball — which also gave them the top waiver position). It also won’t hurt to have a veteran in the bullpen with so many young pitchers on the rosters.

    The cross-state rival Pirates, on the other hand, evidently saw an opportunity to save some payroll in what has turned into a lost season. GM Neal Huntington acknowledged as much, as Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (links to Twitter). Huntington also cited a desire not to “help a direct competitor” as well as to allow other hurlers a chance to pitch in the late innings.

    There’s little doubt that many contenders would have liked a shot at adding Nicasio down the stretch. He has thrown sixty excellent innings this year, working to a 2.85 ERA with a 60:18 K/BB ratio. Odds are, Nicasio will step into a late-inning role for the Phillies. So long as he maintains something like his current trajectory, the 30-year-old will likely be in line for a strong, multi-year contract over the winter.

    As for Stassi, the 27-year-old struggled in his first taste of the majors this year. Over 90 trips to the plate, he hit just .167/.278/.295 with a pair of long balls. He has also fallen off in the upper minors after two consecutive productive campaigns.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Eickhoff Dealing With Nerve Issue In Right Hand]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101625 2017-08-31T02:28:59Z 2017-08-31T01:17:55Z
  • Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff exited today’s start with a nerve issue in his right hand, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. Manager Pete Mackanin suggested that the injury came “out of the blue,” as Eickhoff had not given any prior indication of discomfort. As Zolecki points out, though, Eickhoff’s average fastball velocity in 2015-16 was 91.5 mph, but he averaged just 89.4 mph in his first five August starts and only 88 mph on Wednesday.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phils Still Determining Hoskins' Position; Crawford Will Be September Call-Up]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101512 2017-08-29T14:09:39Z 2017-08-29T13:52:33Z
  • The Phillies still aren’t certain exactly where Rhys Hoskins will play for the remainder of the 2017 season once Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera are activated from the disabled list, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. But, Hoskins’ historic start to his MLB career all but ensures that he’ll be in the lineup on a daily basis down the stretch. Manager Pete Mackanin suggested that he knows fully what Herrera and Altherr are capable of, so Hoskins could get some at-bats at their expense down the stretch. He’ll also be mixed in at first base, though Mackanin suggested that current first baseman Tommy Joseph “is an asset” for the Phils as well. Also of note, Zolecki notes that top prospect J.P. Crawford “is certain” to receive a September call-up, so Phils fans will soon have another look at one of the team’s hopeful core pieces.
    • The Phillies still aren’t certain exactly where Rhys Hoskins will play for the remainder of the 2017 season once Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera are activated from the disabled list, writes MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. But, Hoskins’ historic start to his MLB career all but ensures that he’ll be in the lineup on a daily basis down the stretch. Manager Pete Mackanin suggested that he knows fully what Herrera and Altherr are capable of, so Hoskins could get some at-bats at their expense down the stretch. He’ll also be mixed in at first base, though Mackanin suggested that current first baseman Tommy Joseph “is an asset” for the Phils as well. Also of note, Zolecki notes that top prospect J.P. Crawford “is certain” to receive a September call-up, so Phils fans will soon have another look at one of the team’s hopeful core pieces.
    • Zolecki focuses on the 2017 season, but the issues that he raises lead to the greater question of Joseph’s future with the team. The Phillies have likely seen enough from Altherr and rookie Nick Williams that they’ll want each to get regular at-bats in the outfield corners next season, thus preventing Hoskins from playing left field. It seems largely inevitable that Hoskins will claim the regular first base role in 2018, barring the trade of a young outfielder this winter, which either makes Joseph himself a trade candidate or pushes him into a bench role.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Giants Have Reportedly Expressed Strongest Interest In Giancarlo Stanton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101453 2017-08-28T17:14:07Z 2017-08-28T17:14:07Z The Phillies, Cardinals and Rangers are among the teams that have reached out to the Marlins to express interest in slugger Giancarlo Stanton, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale cites a “high-ranking Marlins executive” in reporting that the Giants are the club that has expressed the most interest.

    Miami has surged back to within striking distance of an NL Wild Card spot (largely due to Stanton’s recent heroics), so Stanton won’t be changing hands until this offseason, at the earliest. However, despite the recent offensive spike — Stanton is hitting .356/.462/.925 with 29 homers in his past 47 games — there are still numerous obstacles to a potential Stanton swap. Stanton’s 13-year contract affords him full no-trade protection, and Nightengale adds that not one prospective trade partner has expressed a willingness to absorb the remaining 10 years and $295MM on Stanton’s contract beyond the 2017 season.

    Beyond that, the Giants’ minor league system is not very well regarded. Tyler Beede entered the year as the top pitching prospect in San Francisco’s minor league ranks, but he’s had a poor season in Triple-A this year (albeit in a very hitter friendly environment). He’s now likely to miss the final two months of the season with a groin injury. Fellow right-hander Joan Gregorio posted a 3.04 ERA in 74 Triple-A innings but carried some questionable secondary metrics and saw his season end in early July due to a PED suspension.

    On paper, the Giants make a fair amount of sense as a trading partner for Stanton. San Francisco, as a team, ranks dead last in the Majors with 101 home runs this season. Stanton alone has nearly half that number, while the 29th-ranked Padres have out-homered the Giants by 25. That lack of pop is all the more glaring at a time when home runs are being hit at a record pace throughout the league.

    More specifically, the Giants’ outfield has been the worst in baseball this year by measure of slugging percentage, OPS and fWAR. They rank 29th in on-base percentage, ISO and wRC+ as well. Incumbent right fielder Hunter Pence will turn 35 next April and has struggled to a career-worst .254/.306/.378 batting line through 431 plate appearances this season. Stanton would provide a thunderous jolt to any lineup he joined, but there’s very arguably no team that has a more acute need for his skill set than the Giants.

    As for the Phillies, there may not be a team in baseball that can better handle his contract from a financial standpoint. Philadelphia’s only long-term commitment at present is to Odubel Herrera, and they have a history of lofty payrolls when contending. The Cardinals have been rumored to be in the market for an impact bat to place in the middle of their lineup since June, and the Rangers have little certainty in their outfield mix beyond 2017.

    All of this, of course, is putting the cart before the horse. There’s no guarantee that the new Marlins ownership group will be in a rush to trade Stanton on the heels of the best season of his excellent young career. Doing so would come with massive public relations repercussions and could start the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter-led ownership group out on the wrong foot with a fan base that has long harbored a potent distrust of previous owner Jeffrey Loria. That’s especially true when considering the fact that the Marlins would likely have to pay Stanton’s contract down to the point where an interested partner felt it carried enough surplus value not only to acquire Stanton but also to part with well-regarded young talent.

    The Marlins’ preference under new ownership, according to Nightengale, is to keep the payroll around $100MM, and Stanton’s salary will jump to $25MM next season. He’ll be paid $26MM in both 2019 and 2020, after which he can opt out of the remaining seven years of the deal. If he forgoes the opt-out, Stanton will be paid $29MM in 2021-22, $32MM in 2023-25, $29MM in 2026 and $25MM in 2027. Stanton’s contract also includes a $25MM option for the 2018 season, which comes with a $10MM buyout.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Notes: Hoskins, Rotation]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101354 2017-08-27T02:23:14Z 2017-08-27T02:23:14Z Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins hit his 10th home run in his 17th major league game Saturday, making him the fastest player in MLB history to reach the double-digit mark. All the more remarkable: Joey Davis, the scout who implored the Phillies to draft Hoskins out of Sacramento State in 2014 (they did, in the fifth round), only saw him as a potential 15- to 20-homer type at best, according to Matt Gelb of Philly.com. Davis was nevertheless bullish on Hoskins, and after the first baseman/outfielder joined the Phillies organization, minor league hitting coordinator Andy Tracy told him to add a leg kick in order to generate more power. Hoskins did, and both that mechanical adjustment and some mental tweaks he made with the help of Double-A Reading hitting coach Frank Cacciatore turned him into the slugger he is today, Gelb explains. “With scouting, it’s a team effort,” said Davis, who Gelb notes is close with Hoskins to this day. “We have to give them good players, and they have to do a good job of coaching. That’s what happens. You have a kid like this who is willing to learn and put in the work. He has the body and the size. So it was worth a shot in the fifth round.”

    • While Hoskins looks like an excellent find for the Phillies, they still own the majors’ worst record (37-81) and appear to be a long ways from contention. One of the team’s problems this season has been a starting rotation that entered Saturday 23rd in the league in ERA (4.82) and 20th in fWAR (6.5). Manager Pete Mackanin would like to see the front office add outside help to the staff over the winter. “I think we have to upgrade,” Mackanin told reporters, including Ben Harris of MLB.com. Among the Phillies’ young starters, the only locks for rotation spots next year look to be Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez, Harris notes. Veteran reinforcements could be on the way, then, and Mackanin suggested that the Phillies should look for more Jeremy Hellickson types or “try to do even better.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Activate Daniel Nava]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=101224 2017-08-25T22:08:35Z 2017-08-25T22:08:35Z The Phillies announced on Friday that outfielder/first baseman Daniel Nava has been activated from the disabled list. The 34-year-old Nava missed nearly two weeks with a lower back strain.

    While the activation of a veteran role player from the disabled list isn’t necessarily significant in a vacuum, Nava’s return stands out a bit more due to his status as a fairly straightforward trade candidate for the Phillies. Prior to landing on the DL, Nava ranked near the top of MLBTR’s weekly ranking of August trade candidates owing to his affordable $1.35MM salary and his solid .298/.390/.427 batting line through 200 plate appearances.

    Nava will now have at least a few days to demonstrate his health to contenders seeking a veteran bench bat for the stretch run. While he won’t command a significant return, the switch-hitter’s .347/.427/.492 slash through 143 plate appearances from the left side of the plate ought to hold some level of allure for clubs looking to round out a roster down the stretch and into the postseason. Nava holds a career .281/.374/.405 batting line as a left-handed hitter, though he has posted fairly weak numbers as a right-handed hitter both in 2017 and throughout his career.

    Nava will earn only another $273K through the end of the season, so his salary shouldn’t be difficult to fit for many teams. While any acquisition requires a 40-man spot, clubs won’t need to worry much about active roster space with September about a week away. A niche player such as Nava can have added value, in the right circumstances, at this stage of the season — when active roster limitations go out the window and every edge is needed to eke out wins.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Vince Velasquez To Undergo Surgery For Vascular Issue]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100957 2017-08-22T18:19:38Z 2017-08-22T17:32:59Z Phillies righty Vince Velasquez is headed for surgery to address a vascular problem that has caused issues with Velasquez’s right middle finger, manager Pete Mackanin tells reporters including MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter).

    It’s never great to end a season with a medical issue, but it sounds as if Velasquez will not require a terribly significant procedure. GM Matt Klentak tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link) that Velasquez will only need six to eight weeks of recovery time. Philadelphia has already placed Velasquez on the 60-day DL.

    Today’s news raises new concerns for the talented 25-year-old, who has dealt with some arm issues and questions about his long-term role while also flashing quite a lot of talent through his first 258 2/3 MLB innings. Velasquez broke into the bigs with the Astros, but moved to Philadelphia as part of the trade that sent young closer Ken Giles to Houston.

    Velasquez made 24 starts for the Phils in 2016, posting a solid 4.12 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. Sporting a 94.7 mph average fastball velocity and 11.2% swinging-strike rate, Velasquez was dominant at times. But he was also touched for 1.4 home runs per nine innings, a problem that has grown in 2017.

    Thus far in the present season, Velasquez has permitted 1.88 long balls per regulation game while carrying only about half the K%-BB% (10.8%) that he did last year (19.4%). The results have followed, as he has only lasted 72 innings over 15 outings and carries an ugly 5.13 ERA.

    Despite those struggles, Klentak says that the organization still views Velasquez as a starter. Indeed, there’s little reason for the team not to keep giving him opportunities to stick in the rotation. The Phils likely won’t view themselves as likely contenders in 2018, Velasquez has shown an intriguing ceiling.

    So long as Velasquez can return to health by the time camp rolls around — and he’ll have plenty of time to do so — the Phillies will likely pencil him into one of the team’s five starting slots. Philadelphia has a variety of internal options who’ll likely do battle, though, and seems likely to introduce some veteran competition (if not commit a rotation spot or two to a free agent or trade target), so nothing will be assured.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies To Sign Henderson Alvarez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100952 2017-08-22T17:56:47Z 2017-08-22T17:02:36Z Right-hander Henderson Alvarez is in the process of signing on with the Phillies, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). It’s a minors pact that would pay Alvarez at a $750K annual rate for any time he spends in the big leagues this year.

    Alvarez turned in a 2.65 ERA over 187 innings back in 2014, earning an All-Star nod and Cy Young consideration, but has battled significant shoulder injuries ever since. Two surgeries and extensive rehab has kept him from pitching in the majors since early 2015.

    The righty put on a showcase earlier this summer in hopes of landing an opportunity, but ended up settling for a shot with the indy ball Long Island Ducks. He has made seven starts this year, working to a 3.09 ERA in 32 frames. Alvarez also managed only 13 strikeouts against 14 walks in that span, though his health is surely more important than the results at this point.

    Heyman does note that Alvarez has been clocked at up to 98 mph with his fastball. That would appear to suggest that he has at least regained any lost arm strength. Alvarez sat between 94 and 95 with the heater for most of his time in the majors, but had suddenly dropped to the low nineties in his four starts before hitting the DL back in ’15.

    The Phillies could simply like the idea of bolstering their depth down the stretch, but the club may see a larger opportunity here, too. By giving Alvarez a chance at a late-season MLB platform, the Phils will also be getting an up-close look at the potential reclamation candidate. And Alvarez can still be tendered arbitration one final time, giving the team an option to retain him for 2018.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies "In Rebuilding Purgatory" Due To Pitching Needs]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100860 2017-08-21T03:26:32Z 2017-08-21T01:03:28Z
  • “Essentially, the Phillies are in rebuilding purgatory,” David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.  The Phils find themselves in a bit of a catch-22 of needing some reliable arms to fill out next year’s rotation, as though it makes little sense to spend the significant dollars necessary for such pitching when the club is still in a rebuilding phase, though getting good pitchers at bargain prices will be difficult-to-impossible.  While the Phillies aren’t planning to contend yet, Murphy argues that “the goal should be to make next season watchable,” and a lack of pitching could undermine what appears to be some promising development from the team’s young hitters.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Likely To Use J.P. Crawford At Third Base If Promoted This Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100843 2017-08-20T21:37:48Z 2017-08-20T21:37:48Z
  • Given that they’ll need to add him to their 40-man roster over the winter, a promotion could come this year for Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford when Triple-A Lehigh Valley’s season ends, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. If the Phillies do call up Crawford, he could see time at second and third base initially, assistant general manager Ned Rice told Gelb. Crawford lined up at third base Sunday, making it the first time he has played a position other than short in the minors. The Phillies still regard Crawford as a long-term shortstop, but incumbent Freddy Galvis is vying for a 162-game season there. Meanwhile, Maikel Franco is in the midst of a disappointing season, so he’s a candidate to cede playing time to Crawford. The 22-year-old topped out as Baseball America’s sixth-best prospect after the 2015 season, but he’s just 92nd on the outlet’s latest list. Crawford has improved his Triple-A output since last season’s unspectacular showing, though, having batted .242/.349/.406 with 13 home runs and 68 unintentional walks against 84 strikeouts in 485 plate appearances.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Phillies Outright Pedro Beato]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100706 2017-08-19T21:31:55Z 2017-08-19T19:07:39Z
  • The Phillies have announced that they’ve outrighted righty Pedro Beato to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They designated Beato for assignment when they selected Pedro Florimon’s contract last week. Beato pitched just once for the Phillies before heading to the DL with a hamstring strain. He’s posted a 3.65 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 49 1/3 innings in Lehigh Valley’s bullpen this year.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Phillies Likely To Pursue Starting Pitching This Winter]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100705 2017-08-19T17:18:17Z 2017-08-19T17:18:17Z Phillies righty Zach Eflin left yesterday’s game with shoulder discomfort, and while there’s no indication yet that the injury is serious, it continues a pattern for Phillies starters that’s likely to lead to the team pursuing rotation help this winter, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. The ten starters the Phillies have used this year include two pitchers who are now injured (Clay Buchholz and Vince Velasquez); Jeremy Hellickson, who’s now with Baltimore; and several younger pitchers who haven’t yet laid clear claim to more permanent spots. Their 2018 rotation now includes only two locks, Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff. That means they’re likely to pursue veteran starting pitching help this winter. A high-profile free agent like Yu Darvish seems unlikely, but the team could pursue any number of lower-tier options on the free agent and trade markets. Here’s more from the National League.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBTR Mailbag: Lowrie, Bruce, Giants, Controllable Starters]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100678 2017-08-19T14:50:12Z 2017-08-19T13:24:38Z Thanks as always for your questions! If yours wasn’t selected this week, you can always pose it in one of our weekly chats: Steve Adams at 2pm CST on Tuesdays, Jason Martinez at 6:30pm CST on Wednesdays, and yours truly at 2pm CST on Thursdays.

    Here are this week’s questions and answers:

    Why is it so hard for the A’s to move Jed Lowrie? — Rene H.

    Well, there has been a bit of a game of musical chairs in the second/third base market. The Red Sox went with Eduardo Nunez. The Nationals grabbed Howie Kendrick, who can also play outfield. The Brewers ended up with Neil Walker in August. Those deals filled some of the main needs out there, though there are at least a few teams that could still make a move. The Angels stand out; the Indians have looked in this area; and the Blue Jays could be a dark horse if they make a run.

    But let’s suppose a few organizations are indeed still poking around on Lowrie. Those same teams will also have other options to consider. Ian Kinsler is now off the market after his waiver claim was revoked by the Tigers. But Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart are both pending free agents who could move. Yangervis Solarte may not clear waivers, but could be claimed and pursued. And Asdrubal Cabrera also represents a possibility.

    Cabrera, like Lowrie, comes with a club option for 2018. In Lowrie’s case, it’s just a $6MM cost to keep him (against a $1MM buyout). He has surely played well enough to make that a decent asset to move over the winter. And perhaps Oakland isn’t all that anxious to press Franklin Barreto into everyday duty in the majors just yet. After all, he’s only 21, didn’t hit much in his brief debut, and has encountered a rising strikeout rate at Triple-A. Lowrie could help stabilize the infield the rest of the way or even in 2018, or he could still be flipped if a decent offer comes along.

    How do you guys see the [free-agent] market for Jay Bruce developing? I have a hard time believing that a 30/31-year-old who has six seasons where he OPSed over .800 would have trouble locking down a fourth year at a $13MM AAV. — Alex W.

    As Alex helpfully pointed out in his email, there are indeed quite a few corner outfielders that have landed free-agent contracts in that range. Recent deals that could work as comparables run from Nick Markakis (4/$44MM) and Josh Reddick (4/$52MM) up to Nick Swisher (4/$56MM) and Curtis Granderson (4/$60MM). Bruce is a plausible candidate to land in that general realm.

    I do think Bruce is flying under the radar a bit, given the obvious appeal of his quality offensive output this year — .267/.334/.541 with 32 homers. It doesn’t hurt that he has turned things on thus far since going to the Indians, has finally reversed the abysmal defensive metrics, and is regarded as a top-shelf professional. The two lost seasons of 2014 and 2015 are hard to ignore entirely, and he has never hit lefties nearly so much as righties, but he has returned to his prior trajectory since and has been average at the plate when facing southpaws this season. Plus, there won’t be any draft compensation to contend with.

    But where exactly he falls, and whether he gets a fourth year or instead takes a higher AAV over three, will depend upon market forces. J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton (if he opts out) would be the two top corner outfielders, but both are righty bats that would require very significant contracts. Granderson and Melky Cabrera will present alternatives for teams seeking lefty pop, but neither has quite Bruce’s present power and both are much older. All things considered, Bruce should be fairly well positioned.

    I’m wondering if the Giants’ plan to re-tool, rather than rebuild, has a reasonable chance of success. Does SF have only two or three spots, like one outfielder and two pitchers, that will make the difference in being competitive? Or will the re-tooling need to involve more spots on the roster, like two outfielders, maybe an infielder (third base), and three or four pitchers? And are there players available in free-agency for them to do that? — Tim D.

    Let’s start with the presumption that Johnny Cueto opts into the remainder of his deal. That would fill one of the rotation slots but also keeps a lot of cash on the books — over $150MM total already for 2018, with more than $100MM promised in each of the next two seasons. And the club will also have to consider what it’ll cost to keep Madison Bumgarner around past 2019.

    Looking over the roster — see the current depth chart here — the Giants will face questions in a variety of areas. Third base is unresolved, the team needs at least one starting outfielder (a center-field-capable player would perhaps be preferred, bumping Denard Span to left), and several bench/platoon roles are open to question. The team will likely at least look into adding a starter, though it could choose instead to go with Matt Moore along with Ty Blach or another less-established pitcher to line up behind Cueto, Bumgarner, and Jeff Samardzija. Bullpens can always be improved, though the Giants can hope for a bounceback from Mark Melancon and continued performance from reclamation hit Sam Dyson in the late innings.

    On the whole, then, perhaps a more dramatic roster overhaul isn’t really needed. Assuming the club is willing to spend up to, but not past, the $180MM-ish payroll it carried entering the current season, that leaves some room to add. But the long-term commitments and 2017 downturns certainly also speak in favor of exercising some caution. I’d expect a focus on striking shorter-term deals with veterans.

    Possibilities at third could include Pablo Sandoval, Todd Frazier, and Yunel Escobar, or the Giants could go bigger and chase the still-youthful Mike Moustakas. In the outfield, Lorenzo Cain would be the top center-field target, though he’ll be entering his age-32 season and won’t be cheap. There are some interesting alternatives, including Carlos Gomez, Jon Jay, and Jarrod Dyson. It’s also possible the Giants could chase Bruce or another corner piece while adding a player like Austin Jackson to platoon with Span in center. And as ever, there are lots of different pitchers available at different price points should they look to add there.

    Ultimately, there ought to be decent value available in the price range the Giants will be shopping. Whether that’ll work out or not … well, that’s dependent upon quite a few other factors and is tough to predict at this point.

    Which young, controllable starters (like Chris Archer, for example) will potentially be available via trade this upcoming offseason? –Matt H.

    Archer is certainly a good example of a guy who could be available and who’ll be asked about quite a lot. Depending upon how things end up for the Rays this year — currently, it’s not trending in the right direction — they may be more or less inclined to undertake a more dramatic move such as dealing the staff ace.

    Generally, though, I’d expect the pickings to be slim. Several teams that sit in the bottom of the standings and have young arms don’t seem likely to move them. For instance, I don’t really expect the Mets (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, etc.), Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez), or Phillies (Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez) to be looking to deal young starters.

    There are a few other names to watch, though. Michael Fulmer of the Tigers would figure to draw some of the most fervent interest, and Detroit has to be thinking creatively entering an offseason full of questions. The Pirates could decide that now’s the time to move Gerrit Cole, though he’ll only have two years of control remaining so may not really meet the parameters. Julio Teheran of the Braves will surely again be a topic of speculation, at least, and the Marlins will have to consider cashing in Dan Straily.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Designate Pedro Beato, Select Contract Of Pedro Florimon]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100590 2017-08-17T23:38:15Z 2017-08-17T23:29:51Z The Phillies have designated righty Pedro Beato for assignment. He’ll make way for the activation of infielder Pedro Florimon, who is joining the active roster.

    Beato made just one appearance for the Phils before landing on the DL, though he did return to the majors for the first time since 2014. He had spent each of the two prior years pitching at Triple-A with the Orioles organization, producing sub-3.00 earned run averages in each season. And Beato was similarly effective in his 46 1/3 innings this year at the Phillies’ top affiliate, posting a 2.72 ERA with 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.

    As for the 30-year-old Florimon, this move puts him in the majors for the seventh consecutive season. He owns a meager .200/.261/.297 slash over 742 career MLB plate appearances, though he keeps earning opportunities due to his highly regarded glovework. Florimon has been useful at the plate this year at Lehigh Valley, batting .265/.347/.410 and even hitting ten home runs.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/16/17]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100470 2017-08-16T19:34:50Z 2017-08-16T19:34:50Z Here are some of the latest minor moves from around the game, courtesy of Baseball America’s Matt Eddy except where otherwise noted:

    • The Mariners outrighted right-hander Christian Bergman to Triple-A after he cleared waivers, per a club announcement. Bergman, 29, had the right to opt for free agency now or at the end of the season; given that he’s now listed on Tacoma’s roster, it seems he’ll wait and consider the latter option when the time comes. Bergman, 29, has thrown 51 1/3 innings on the year for Seattle, working to a 4.91 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • Outfielder Daniel Robertson will return to the Indians on a minors deal after being designated for assignment and then released, the club announced. The 31-year-old has appeared in each of the past four MLB campaigns — each time with a different team.  This year, he took 88 plate appearances for Cleveland, slashing .225/.287/.338. While it’s not clear whether Robertson will factor at the major league level again this year, the fleet-footed, high-contact 31-year-old could conceivably make for a useful bench piece once rosters expand in September.
    • The Diamondbacks have added right-handers Andury Acevedo and Louis Coleman on minors deals. Acevedo, who’ll soon turn 27, was intriguing enough to land a 40-man spot with the Cubs a few years back, but has yet to show any consistency on the mound in the upper minors. As for Coleman, who threw 48 innings of 4.69 ERA ball last year for the Dodgers, he’ll return to Arizona after briefly testing the open market. He has worked to a 2.05 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 over 57 innings this year in stints with the D-Backs’ and Reds’ top affiliates.
    • Heading to the Reds on a minors deal is slugging outfielder Adam Walker. He has bounced around via waiver claims and minor-league deals of late, seeing time in three organizations thus far in 2017. All told, he has compiled a tepid .185/.220/.410 batting line — with a dozen home runs but also 88 strikeouts against just ten walks — in his 241 plate appearances in the upper minors.
    • The White Sox released infielder Grant Green, who had previously seen brief action in the majors this year with the Nationals. On the season, Green owns an overall .232/.306/.300 slash over 245 plate appearances at the Triple-A level with those two organizations. The 29-year-old was once considered a notable possible contributor with the Athletics and Angels, but has managed only a .248/.283/.336 batting line in his 353 trips to the plate in the majors.
    • Six-year MLB veteran Collin Cowgill has been released by the Padres. Cowgill, 31, joined the organization on a minors deal over the winter, but never earned a crack at a return to the majors. He carries a .235/.297/.390 slash through 220 plate appearances
    • Finally, the Rangers have released lefty Bobby LaFromboise and righty Jaye Chapman. The former has made 27 MLB appearances and shown some intriguing numbers at times, but struggled last year at Triple-A with the Phillies and was sidelined for much of the current season. The 30-year-old Chapman, meanwhile, is looking to work back toward the majors for the first time since his lone stint back in 2012. But he was hit hard in his 36 2/3 innings at Triple-A Round Rock, with a 6.63 ERA and 6.9 K/9 against 5.2 BB/9.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Place Daniel Nava On Disabled List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=100454 2017-08-16T19:09:14Z 2017-08-16T03:48:37Z
  • The Phillies announced tonight that outfielder Daniel Nava has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to a lower back strain. The veteran Nava’s injury is especially noteworthy given the fact that he seemed a logical August trade candidate for the Phils. The 33-year-old switch-hitter hasn’t done much against left-handed pitching this year — he’s always been weaker as a right-handed bat — but he’s clubbed righty pitching at a .347/.427.492 clip through 143 PAs and could’ve been a solid bench addition for a contender. There’s still time for Nava to get back and demonstrate his health to interested parties, but his back injury clearly diminishes the chances of a trade.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Phillies' Plans For Prospects]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99940 2017-08-11T13:51:34Z 2017-08-11T13:51:34Z The Brewers have gone a horrid 9-17 since the All-Star break, yet they’re still only two games behind the Cubs for the National League Central lead. As such, general manager David Stearns remains on the hunt for potential upgrades, writes Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The Brewers “are constantly monitoring the waiver wire,” revealed Stearns, who’s optimistic that he’ll be able to add outside help in the coming weeks. “I wouldn’t put it as a definite, but I certainly think it is a possibility that between now and the end of August we are able to pull something off,” he said. Milwaukee is specifically looking to breathe life into its sputtering offense, according to McCalvy, which aligns with their reported interest in Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler. The veteran might not even make it to the Brewers via waivers, though, and McCalvy relays that the team has failed in its attempts to add players via claims this month. When the Brewers have claimed players, clubs ahead of them in the waiver pecking order have either beaten them to the punch or the players’ teams pulled them back.

    More from the NL:

    • In an effort to put a disastrous 2017 behind them and return to relevance next year, the Giants could make big offseason changes, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Manager Bruce Bochy admitted that the Giants must add to their offense, telling Nightengale, “We really need a big bopper in that lineup, just to take the pressure off everybody else.’’ In response, Nightengale lists free agents-to-be J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce as potential targets for the outfielder-needy Giants. The club could also explore trades involving the likes of first baseman Brandon Belt and second baseman Joe Panik, relays Nightengale, though moving either or both would not signal a rebuild. “We’ve had a lot of heavy lifts over the years in the 25-year history of this investor group, but we don’t believe we have to have a tear-down,” said CEO Larry Baer. “We’re not fearful, but actually very optimistic we’ll turn this around. Our history shows us that if we have a down year, we bounce back.”
    • The surging Cardinals are now within a game of the Cubs, and they’re largely content with their roster as a result, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network. The Redbirds do have interest in trading for a reliever, though, Morosi adds. St. Louis’ bullpen has already been a bright spot this year, as the group entered Thursday seventh in the majors in ERA and 10th in fWAR. Cardinals relievers have been even better in the season’s second half, having posted a 2.83 ERA with 9.99 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9. In any event, if they do look to further bolster their bullpen, MLBTR’s Steve Adams just named some relievers who could change homes this month.
    • Newly promoted slugger Rhys Hoskins will initially play left field for the Phillies, but he’ll shift to his natural position – first base – when Aaron Altherr returns from the disabled list in a few weeks, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. That will relegate first baseman Tommy Joseph to the bench. The Phillies were unable to find a taker for Joseph before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, and they’re likely to resume their efforts to move him in the offseason, notes Zolecki. As for other Phillies prospects, neither second baseman Scott Kingery nor shortstop J.P. Crawford are shoo-ins for season-opening spots in the club’s lineup in 2018. The Phillies instead seem content to continue with Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis if they win spring training position battles. GM Matt Klentak doesn’t believe Hernandez or Galvis have reached their peaks yet, so he’s fine with keeping the soon-to-be 28-year-olds around in prominent roles.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Promote Rhys Hoskins]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99863 2017-08-10T18:46:58Z 2017-08-10T15:24:36Z The Phillies have promoted young slugger Rhys Hoskins to the active roster for the first time today, as MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki first reported (via Twitter). It had been anticipated that he’d receive a promotion at some point in the near future, but the precise arrival date was not yet clear.

    Hoskins, 24, has raked in obscurity for most of his minor-league career since going to the Phils in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. But prospect evaluators have come around on his future outlook as Hoskins has continued to dominate opposing pitchers into the upper minors. He’s currently considered one of the game’s hundred-best prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com.

    While Hoskins could surely have drawn an earlier call-up, the Phillies were not willing to bump him up in place of fellow young first baseman Tommy Joseph. Instead, the Phils have decided to give Hoskins a run in left field. Whether he can handle the position in the long run remains to be seen, but he’ll get a shot to do so in the majors and will test his bat against top-level pitching — allowing Philadelphia to assess both him and Joseph for the future.

    At some point, production is hard to deny. In Hoskins’s case, he has impressed more than ever this year at Triple-A. Over 475 plate appearances, he’s slashing a robust .284/.385/.581 with 29 long balls. That’s impressive in and of itself, but what’s especially encouraging is the fact that he’s walking nearly as much as he’s striking out (13.5% versus 15.8%).

    It’ll be interesting to see how Hoskins looks in left and how the Phils handle the logjam over the winter. For now, the rebuilding club will be content watching its top young talent compete in the majors. Several other players have filtered up this year, and long-awaited shortstop J.P. Crawford may not be long in making his own move — depending upon how the organization decides to handle incumbent middle infielders Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez.

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    Jason Martinez <![CDATA[Knocking Down The Door: Acuña, Borucki, Calhoun, Crawford, Hoskins]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99724 2017-08-09T17:28:17Z 2017-08-09T17:28:17Z “Knocking Down the Door” is a regular feature that identifies minor leaguers who are making a case for a big league promotion.

    Ronald Acuña, OF, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett) | Braves Depth Chart

    The Braves were non-contenders in 2016 when they surprisingly called up top prospect Dansby Swanson from Double-A and inserted him into the starting lineup. Out of playoff contention late in the season once again, would they do the same with the 19-year-old Acuña, considering how Swanson has mostly struggled in his first full MLB season?

    There is one notable difference between Swanson in 2016 and Acuña in 2017. Swanson was having a decent season in Double-A (.261/.342/.402 in 84 games) at the time of his call-up. Acuña has been absolutely tearing the cover off of the ball and seemingly getting better throughout the season during stints in High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. In 26 games since a July promotion to Gwinnett, the right-handed batter is slashing .347/.426/.574 with four homers, seven doubles, 13 walks and 22 strikeouts.

    While the Braves will likely explore a trade for one of their current outfielders this offseason in anticipation of Acuña’s arrival as an everyday player in 2018, they could work him into the mix late this season with three-to-four starts per week.

    Ryan Borucki, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (Double-A New Hampshire) | Blue Jays Depth Chart

    The 23-year-old lefty was pitching in High-A less than a month ago, so a promotion to the Major Leagues soon after probably seems unrealistic. However, the recent trade of Francisco Liriano and the fourth disabled list stint for Aaron Sanchez has left the team’s rotation so thin that journeyman Nick Tepesch is being added to the 40-man roster to start on Wednesday to replace another journeyman, Cesar Valdez, who was placed on the disabled list after allowing 12 earned runs over his past two starts.

    Meanwhile, Borucki has been outstanding since a promotion to Double-A, posting three consecutive seven-inning starts with a total of 18 strikeouts while allowing only one earned run, 11 hits and three walks in 21 innings. The former 15th-round pick, who idolized Mark Buehrle as a kid and is comparable in many ways, is already on the team’s 40-man roster and only at 119 innings on the season.

    Willie Calhoun, 2B/LF, Texas Rangers (Triple-A Round Rock) | Rangers Depth Chart

    In six games since the July 31st trade that sent him from the Dodgers to the Rangers for Yu Darvish, Calhoun is 7-for-25 with four homers, pushing his season total to 27. Not only can the lefty-swinging Calhoun hit for power—he also had 27 homers and 25 doubles in Double-A in 2016—he’s one of the toughest hitters to strike out in the Minors. Hitting 25+ homers in the upper minors is notable, but accomplishing that feat while striking out fewer than 100 times is extremely rare. The 22-year-old struck out 65 times while drawing 45 walks in 2016. He has 36 walks and only 50 strikeouts this season.

    The good thing about being traded to the American League is that Calhoun’s future position in the Major Leagues, whether it’s second base or the outfield, probably doesn’t have to be sorted out before he gets the call to the Majors. The kid can flat out rake. With Mike Napoli struggling—he’s 4 for his last 32 with 17 strikeouts— the Rangers could give Calhoun plenty of at-bats at the DH spot with an occasional look at second base or in left field.

    J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley) | Phillies Depth Chart 

    USATSI_9933826_154513410_lowresAfter an impressive stint in Double-A earned him an early-season promotion to Triple-A in 2016, Crawford appeared to be on the fast track to the Majors. Of course, only the “light-hitting” Freddy Galvis appeared to be standing in his way at the time. But in an unpredictable turn of events, Galvis went on a home run binge while the 21-year-old Crawford, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, struggled during his first taste of Triple-A. Since last July, Galvis has homered 24 times in 706 plate appearances while posting an OPS over .700.

    Crawford was never going to simply be handed the starting shortstop job, but any chance of a 2017 promotion was dwindling unless he forced himself back into the picture. His performance in July, and so far in August, probably fits that description. With an OPS over 1.000, 10 homers, six doubles, three triples, 21 walks and 27 strikeouts over that span, Crawford has earned a late-season look as the Phillies’ regular shortstop. Galvis, who will be a free agent after the 2018 season, has probably done enough over the past year to generate some offseason trade interest whether he plays regularly down the stretch or not.

    Rhys Hoskins, 1B/LF, Philadelphia Phillies (Triple-A Lehigh Valley) | Phillies Depth Chart

    With the Phillies committed to giving Tommy Joseph a full season to show what he can do as the team’s starting first baseman, it appeared that Hoskins, one of the most productive hitters in the Minors over the past three seasons, would probably have to wait until 2018 before getting a chance. But following the release of Michael Saunders, the trade of Howie Kendrick, and Aaron Altherr’s second trip to the disabled list, the Phillies’ outfield is looking thin enough that the 24-year-old Hoskins was given the green light to play left field for the first time in his professional career on Monday. He played there again on Tuesday.

    While a slight increase in defensive versatility could be a key to Hoskins arriving in the Majors this season, maybe as soon as this week, it’s hard to imagine him not being the starting first baseman in 2018. Joseph is having a below-average season for a first baseman (.741 OPS, 16 HR, 97 K) and is currently in a 1-for-22 slump. Hoskins still has to prove that he can hit MLB pitching, but his current .280/.383/.571 slash line with only 75 strikeouts is a pretty good indicator that he will do just that.

    Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Knapp Out A "Couple Weeks" With Hand Fracture]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99760 2017-08-09T03:13:51Z 2017-08-09T03:11:22Z
  • The Phillies will be without catcher Andrew Knapp for at least a “couple weeks” after an MRI revealed a fracture in his right hand, according to Matt Gelp and Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Knapp had been on the DL with a hand contusion and would’ve been eligible to return on Monday but will now be sidelined a fair bit longer. That will give the Phils more of a chance to look at prospect Jorge Alfaro, and manager Pete Mackanin tells Gelb and Breen that he plans to give the 24-year-old Alfaro a fair bit of playing time. “I’ll pick my spots, but I’ll play him,” said Mackanin. “I can’t catch Rupp everyday. He’ll get a good bit of playing time.”
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Darren Daulton Passes Away]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99647 2017-08-07T14:34:16Z 2017-08-07T04:06:41Z Darren Daulton, the longtime former catcher for the Phillies, passed away tonight at the age of 55 after a five-year battle with brain cancer.  Renowned as a clubhouse leader in Philadelphia, Daulton played 1109 games and parts of 14 seasons in a Phillies uniform, reaching three All-Star games, twice finishing in the top seven of NL MVP voting and winning a Silver Slugger Award in 1992.  He played a particularly big role in the Phillies’ pennant-winning 1993 club, and he ended his career as a champion.  After a July 1997 trade to the Marlins, Daulton’s final game was Game 7 of the ’97 World Series, going out on a high note as the Fish won their first title.  We at MLB Trade Rumors send our condolences to Daulton’s family and loved ones.

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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Phillies Place Aaron Altherr On DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99495 2017-08-05T14:53:33Z 2017-08-05T13:47:11Z The Phillies are placing Aaron Altherr on the DL after the outfielder aggravated his injured hamstring, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Altherr spent ten days on the DL due to a hamstring problem last month. When healthy, the 26-year-old has been a highlight of the Phillies’ season, batting .285/.357/.536 with 16 home runs in 336 plate appearances, but now it appears he’ll be on the shelf for at least a short time. Here’s more from the East divisions.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Notes: Tocci, International Market]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99445 2017-08-04T17:53:39Z 2017-08-04T17:53:39Z
  • Phillies outfield prospect Carlos Tocci has forced his way into consideration for a 40-man roster spot this offseason, writes Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 21-year-old could “play center field in the big leagues tomorrow” from a defensive standpoint, per Phillies international scouting director Sal Agostinelli. But, as Breen explains, his improved play at the dish in Double-A would make him extremely likely to be selected in this year’s Rule 5 Draft after being left unprotected last winter. Tocci is hitting .313/.370/.410 in Double-A this season and has improved as the season wears on. Phillies fans — and those who follow the Rule 5 Draft in general — will want to take a full look at Breen’s piece, as he runs through a number of locks and borderline candidates to land on Philadelphia’s 40-man this winter. (Breen also shares an interesting anecdote about the Rangers actually outbidding the Phillies for Tocci at the last minute while Agostinelli was with Tocci’s family in Venezuela, though Tocci nonethless signed with the Phillies.)
  • In a separate column, Breen speaks to Agostinelli about his excitement over the additional international bonus money that GM Matt Klentak acquired in trades that sent Howie Kendrick to the Nationals and Jeremy Hellickson to the Orioles. “During a period of the year, sometimes you have to give more money than you wanted to a particular guy. A lot of teams don’t have any money left,” Agostinelli explains. He goes on to recall the story of how the Phillies came to sign right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who was throwing 86-87 mph when most scouts saw him leading up to the international signing period but saw that velocity build up to the low 90s later that summer. “We had the extra money and we signed him for 300 grand. It’s kind of the same ideology,” says Agostinelli.
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    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Pirates Acquire Joaquin Benoit]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=99120 2017-07-31T22:27:33Z 2017-07-31T20:21:03Z The Pirates acquired veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit and cash considerations from the Phillies for right-handed relief prospect Seth McGarry, according to a team announcement.

    Benoit, 40, has a 4.07 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.07 HR/9, and 31.5% groundball rate in 42 innings this year, missing ten days in June with a knee sprain.  The Pirates will be the eighth team for which Benoit has pitched.  As a long shot for the playoffs, the Pirates wouldn’t appear to have a strong need for  a rental like Benoit, who has about $2.6MM left on his contract this year.  But perhaps Benoit is meant to replace Tony Watson, who the Pirates sent to the Dodgers earlier today.

    McGarry, 23, was drafted by the Pirates in the eighth round in 2015 out of Florida Atlantic University.  This year in High-A, he owns a 1.34 ERA, 8.5 K/9, and 3.1 BB/9 with just one home run allowed in 40 1/3 innings.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Hyun Soo Kim's Playing Time Won't Increase With Phillies]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98688 2017-07-30T03:11:33Z 2017-07-30T02:56:47Z Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson changed clubs when the Phillies traded him to the Orioles on Friday, but a car crash has delayed his arrival to meet his new teammates, reports Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (on Twitter). Hellickson was rear-ended on his way to the airport to fly to Texas, where the Orioles are playing, and he and his girlfriend had to go to the emergency room as a result. Fortunately, it seems the two avoided major injuries. “I think Jeremy is OK, but his girlfriend had to go to the emergency room,” manager Buck Showalter said Saturday (via Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com). “I know Roger (McDowell) has talked to him a couple of times. If everything stays…if she gets cleared, they’ll be in Baltimore tomorrow. No reason to come here (to Texas) now. We’ve got a catcher set up tomorrow in Baltimore.”

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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Phillies Select Pedro Beato's Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98633 2017-07-29T20:51:49Z 2017-07-29T20:50:56Z
  • The Phillies have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty Pedro Beato from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Beato will presumably take the roster spot vacated when the Phillies traded Howie Kendrick yesterday. Beato, 30, posted a 2.72 ERA, 7.0 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 46 1/3 innings of relief with Lehigh Valley. He’s pitched in the big leagues with the Mets, Red Sox and Braves, but hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2014.
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    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Reactions To The Jeremy Hellickson Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98619 2017-07-29T18:25:03Z 2017-07-29T18:24:08Z Here’s a roundup of reactions to the Orioles’ somewhat puzzling weekend acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson and cash from the Phillies for Hyun Soo Kim, minor-league pitcher Garrett Cleavinger and the rights to international bonus spending.

    • From the Orioles’ perspective, the Hellickson deal feels like part of a broader plan the team hasn’t yet made clear, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun writes. The move signals that the Orioles could be ready to part ways with someone from their struggling current starting rotation (Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jimenez), but Hellickson’s own numbers (he has a 4.73 ERA, and his 5.21 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and 35.1% ground-ball rate are even less encouraging) don’t suggest he can be much better.
    • Orioles exec Dan Duquette says the team made the deal because it sought a reliable starting pitcher, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes. “We’d like to be competitive,” says Duquette. “Nobody’s running away with the American League. We’ve got our bullpen back. If we can get some stability to our starting pitching, the rest of our team is intact. Hellickson has been a consistent performer and very competitive.” Duquette further explains that Trey Mancini’s emergence made Kim expendable. Mancini is batting .297/.343/.516 in a surprising rookie season. “The on-base capability that (Kim) showed last year and the ability to hit velocity, he probably didn’t have enough at-bats to sustain that with the way Mancini played as an everyday player,” he says.
    • The Phillies had little leverage in trading Hellickson, who was performing poorly and would have been a free agent at the end of the season, Corey Seidman of CSN Philly writes. Kim is also a free agent at the end of the season, and Garrett Cleavinger, the minor-leaguer the Phillies received, has unimpressive statistics as a Double-A reliever and might end up being “just a guy.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Jeremy Hellickson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=98526 2017-07-29T05:16:02Z 2017-07-29T04:00:17Z The Phillies have agreed to a trade that will send right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and cash considerations to the Orioles in exchange for outfielder Hyun Soo KimDouble-A left-hander Garrett Cleavinger and international bonus money, the teams announced on Friday night.

    The move is a surprising one from an Orioles club that is currently seven games out of first place in the AL East and six games back from a Wild Card spot in the American League. Most talk on the Orioles recently has been about the possibility of trading short-term pieces such as Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Seth Smith.

    Jeremy Hellickson | Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that that may still be the case, which makes the move all the more head-scratching on the surface. However, Rosenthal suggests that Baltimore simply feels it needs rotation additions to get through the season, and GM Dan Duquette indeed indicates that he simply needed to add some innings to a starting staff that has entered Friday with the fourth-fewest innings and second-highest ERA in baseball.

    “Jeremy Hellickson is a solid, dependable, veteran Major League starter who knows how to win in the American League,” Duquette told reporters (Twitter links via PressBoxOnline.com’s Rich Dubroff). “He should provide some quality innings for the Orioles.”

    Hellickson, 30, accepted a qualifying offer from the Phillies this past offseason, locking him in at a $17.2MM salary for the 2017 season. He’s still owed about $6.1MM of that sum through the end of the year, though the Phillies have reportedly been willing to include cash in a deal to help enhance their return.

    Hellickson struggled greatly to open the season, limping to a 4.91 ERA with a league-worst 3.97 K/9 rate through his first 14 starts. Since June 20, however, he’s averaged 7.9 K/8 against just 1.8 BB/9 en route to a 4.33 ERA that is supported by more favorable xFIP (3.81) and SIERA (3.99) marks. Even if he maintains the uptick in strikeouts and to complement his typical brand of excellent control, Hellickson won’t be confused for a front-of-the-rotation arm. But, he’s been a durable mid- or back-of-the-rotation starter for much of his career. Outside of a 2014 season that was cut short by an elbow injury, Hellickson has averaged 30 starts per season and is on pace to equal or exceed last year’s career-best mark of 32 starts.

    That may well be all the Orioles are focused on, as Dylan Bundy is the only Orioles starter with an ERA even south of 5.00 (currently 4.53), and Bundy has struggled mightily over the past month and a half. Each of Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley, Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez has an ERA of 5.69 or higher, and the Orioles have little in the way of upper-level depth that inspires confidence as a starting option. Alec Asher has been hit hard in the Majors, while Gabriel Ynoa has a 6.54 ERA in Triple-A. Righties Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright have also struggled in multiple MLB looks over the past couple of seasons.

    Kim’s inclusion in the trade may be nothing more than a financial mechanism. The 29-year-old has been scarcely used in 2017 and is in the second season of a two-year, $7MM contract. Once a star in the Korea Baseball Organization, Kim had a nice MLB rookie season at the plate in 2016 when he hit .302/.382/.420 in 346 plate appearances. This year, though, he’s struggled to a .232/.305/.288 slash while earning $4.2MM.

    Kim can temporarily step into the spot once held by the now-also-traded Howie Kendrick, but the Phils may not give him all that long a leash as their young outfielders inch increasingly closer to Major League readiness. Kim can become a free agent at season’s end anyhow, so he’s a short-term addition even in the seemingly unlikely event that the Phils hang onto him for the remainder of the year.

    Cleavinger, 23, is currently ranked 27th in a weak Orioles’ farm system at MLB.com, so he probably won’t rank nearly as high in a deeper Phillies farm system. His fastball reaches 96 at times but sits 89-92, per MLB.com’s free scouting report, and he pairs that with an average curveball. Cleavinger’s control has been a problem in each of the past two seasons, though, and he’s limped to a 6.28 ERA with 9.8 K/9, 5.4 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent ground-ball rate in 38 1/3 innings at Double-A this year.

    With all that said, this trade may be largely about the Phillies using their considerable payroll capacity and lack of near-term commitments to take advantage of the Orioles’ willingness to eschew spending on the international market. Adding Cleavinger gives them a fairly advanced MLB player, though one with a fairly limited ceiling. But, the new collective bargaining agreement has placed a hard cap on international spending, giving teams starting bonus pool ranging from $4.75MM to $5.75MM and allowing teams to acquire up to 75 percent of their original pool.

    The Phillies, as a team that isn’t the Competitive Balance lottery, began with a $4.75MM pool but can add up to an extra $3.56MM. While the exact amount acquired from the O’s isn’t yet known, GM Matt Klentak tells reporters that he’s already acquired north of $1MM to add to his bonus pool via the trade market (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki).

    Zolecki reported that a trade was in the works after Hellickson was scratched, and Rosenthal first said that the Orioles were in the mix. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the agreement (on Twitter). Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com reported details on the return (all Twitter links). Heyman tweeted that Kim was in the deal.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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