MLB Trade Rumors » » Philadelphia Phillies 2017-12-16T06:34:02Z Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Sign Tommy Hunter]]> 2017-12-16T04:19:08Z 2017-12-15T20:16:18Z The Phillies on Friday announced that they’ve officially signed free-agent right-hander Tommy Hunter to a two-year contract. The Moye Sports Associates client will reportedly be guaranteed $18MM on the contract, with a $6MM signing bonus and successive $6MM salaries.

Tommy Hunter

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

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

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

[Related: Updated Phillies Depth Chart]

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Sign Pat Neshek]]> 2017-12-16T04:19:49Z 2017-12-15T20:14:47Z Free agent reliever Pat Neshek is officially back with the Phillies just four months after being traded to the Rockies. The Phillies on Friday announced a two-year deal with the free-agent righty, who will reportedly be guaranteed $16.25MM in the pact. The contract also comes with a club option for a third year.

Pat Neshek | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

[RELATED: Updated Phillies Depth Chart]

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Agree To Terms With Carlos Santana]]> 2017-12-15T19:34:10Z 2017-12-15T19:28:05Z 1:28pm: Santana’s contract is still pending a physical, tweets Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Salisbury also tweets that Hoskins will indeed play a significant amount of left field, freeing up the possibility of the trade of an outfielder. Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams had been slotted in as the Phillies’ corner outfielders, with Odubel Herrera lined up as the center fielder.

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

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

Carlos Santana | Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

[Related: Updated Philadelphia Phillies depth chart]

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Acquire Freddy Galvis]]> 2017-12-15T18:11:19Z 2017-12-15T18:10:34Z 12:10pm: The two teams have announced the trade.

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

Freddy Galvis | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Notes: Hernandez, Mets, Flores]]> 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z 2017-12-15T02:48:41Z
  • The Mets are still looking for help at second base, though they don’t appear to be close on some of the options on the trade market, Mike Puma of the New York Post writes.  Team officials “indicated there was little momentum” in talks with the Phillies on Cesar Hernandez and the Pirates about Josh Harrison, while the Twins are giving the impression that Brian Dozier is unlikely to be dealt.  The BrewersJonathan Villar is available in the wake of his down year, though Villar isn’t seen “as a serious possibility” by the Mets for now.  Looking at outside-the-box possibilities, signing shortstop Zack Cozart and switching him to second base seems like a “long shot” scenario, a source tells Newsday’s Marc Carig (Twitter link).
  • The Phillies announced the hiring of Jose Flores the team’s first base coach and baserunning/infield instructor.  This is Flores’ first job on a Major League coaching staff, after spending the last five years as the Cubs’ minor league infield coordinator, and several teams coaching and managing in Puerto Rico, including two years as the manager of Puerto Rico’s national team.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pirates Acquire Rule 5 Pick Nick Burdi From Phillies For International Pool Space]]> 2017-12-14T14:55:37Z 2017-12-14T14:55:37Z The Phillies announced a deal involving Rule 5 selection Nick Burdi. His rights were shipped to the Pirates in exchange for $500K of international bonus pool spending capacity, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

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

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

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

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Carlos Tocci]]> 2017-12-14T15:04:09Z 2017-12-14T14:45:44Z The Rangers have acquired outfielder Carlos Tocci from the White Sox in exchange for cash, tweets Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Chicago had selected him with the No. 4 pick in the Rule 5 draft (out of the Phillies’ system).

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

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

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils]]> 2017-12-14T03:45:12Z 2017-12-14T03:44:39Z Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Chatter: Phils, Yanks, Greinke, Cole, Archer, Duffy, CC, Jays]]> 2017-12-14T00:51:51Z 2017-12-14T00:51:51Z With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per’s Todd Zolecki, via Twitter, the team will turn its gaze to improving the rotation. Both they and the Yankees checked in with the Diamondbacks regarding right-hander Zack Greinke, Robert Murray of FanRag writes. Greinke ending up with either club is unlikely, however, sources informed Murray. With the Rangers also having shown interest in Greinke, we now know at least three teams have inquired about the expensive 34-year-old this offseason.

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

    Plenty more pitching rumors…

    • The Royals are giving serious consideration to dealing southpaw Danny Duffy, who’s “extremely popular” on the trade market, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Duffy suggested on Twitter that he doesn’t want to go anywhere, for what it’s worth. “Bury me a Royal,” he declared.
    • As the Blue Jays look for pitching reinforcements, they are giving real consideration to veteran CC Sabathia, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. Though manager John Gibbons suggested his own priority is to add bats, he also said he’d welcome the addition of the veteran Sabathia — who has a lengthy history with the Jays’ current front office leadership stemming from their time in Cleveland together.
    • Teams have given up on trying to acquire Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Heyman reports on Twitter. The Reds understandably want an enormous haul back for the 27-year-old star, who’s under affordable control for the foreseeable future.
    • The Twins and Rays have chatted about veteran righty Jake Odorizzi, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter), who adds that Tampa Bay was not interested in Minnesota’s initial offer.
    • Although they’re at the beginning of a full, cost-cutting rebuild, the Marlins aren’t feeling any urgency to deal righty Dan Straily, per Joe Frisaro of (Twitter link). Miami’s de facto ace will play his first of three arbitration-eligible seasons in 2018. He’s projected to earn a $4.6MM salary, which even the Marlins can afford.
    • The Mets are not likely to sign another free agent reliever, at least in the near term, according to GM Sandy Alderson and as’s Anthony DiComo tweets. Instead, after landing Anthony Swarzak, the organization expects to begin looking to fill its other needs.
    • Brewers GM David Stearns discussed his organization’s situation with reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (Twitter links). He said the team was willing to go to two years to get Swarzak, but wasn’t willing to match the dollar amount he ultimately took. The club still has open payroll capacity, which Stearns says he’ll put to good use. “We have spending power this offseason,” he said. “I’m confident we are going to find places to use that effectively.”
    • Before the Astros agreed to a deal with Joe Smith on Wednesday, Brian McTaggart of hinted on Twitter that the team could have interest in free agent righty Hector Rondon. Whether that still stands remains to be seen, but the Astros are already chock-full of righty relievers as it is.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Phillies' Interest In Manny Machado]]> 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z 2017-12-13T16:38:40Z
  • The Phillies are intrigued by the possibility of a Machado trade but would want a negotiation window to discuss an extension to be included in any trade, tweets FanRag’s Jon Heyman. However, Heyman hears that Machado isn’t likely to grant such a window when he’s just one year removed from reaching free agency at the age of 26. As things currently stand, Machado seems highly likely to have a case for a record-setting contract next winter, and there’s little incentive to discuss a long-term deal right now unless a team pays that rate in advance. Machado has already banked more than $23MM in his career between the draft and player salaries to date, and he’s projected by MLBTR to earn $17.3MM next year in his final season of arbitration eligibility.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mets Interested In Cesar Hernandez]]> 2017-12-13T05:47:42Z 2017-12-13T05:47:42Z
  • The PhilliesCesar Hernandez is the latest second baseman on the Mets’ list of targets, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Hernandez may come with the highest asking price, however, of any of the players — Ian Kinsler, Josh Harrison, Jason Kipnis — the Mets are considering, given Hernandez’s controllable salary.  One infielder the Mets aren’t interested in is new Marlins second baseman Starlin Castro.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Haven’t Completed Deal With Addison Reed]]> 2017-12-13T01:39:15Z 2017-12-13T01:37:28Z 7:37pm: The early reports about a three-year deal with the Phils “at present isn’t accurate,” FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  Indeed, now it seems as if the Phillies are close to a contract with Tommy Hunter and may have moved on from Reed.

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

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres Still Considering Freddy Galvis Trade]]> 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z
  • The Padres’ rather surprising pursuit of Hosmer has drawn headlines, though Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller tweets that San Diego is more focused on either signing Zack Cozart or acquiring Freddy Galvis from the Phillies during the Winter Meetings.  Either infielder would address a more pressing need at shortstop.  Preller said (hat tip to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune) that the Padres have a list of eight or nine shortstop options that they feel could be acquired.  Lin also hears from some rival officials that the Padres would possibly be open to dealing a young pitcher in exchange for a shortstop.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Conflicting Reports On Phillies’ Interest In Jake Arrieta]]> 2017-12-12T21:24:59Z 2017-12-12T20:57:24Z 2:57pm: Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer casts significant doubt on the idea that the Phils will chase Arrieta. While the team tried for Tyler Chatwood and may yet attempt to land someone like Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, and will also look intro trades, Gelb writes flatly that the organization “will not spend” on top-of-the-market arms Arrieta and Yu Darvish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Engaged In Talks With Addison Reed]]> 2017-12-12T19:34:38Z 2017-12-12T19:34:38Z The Phillies are looking to make multiple bullpen additions, it seems. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, via Twitter, the organization is engaged in “ongoing discussions” with free agent righty Addison Reed.

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

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

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

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Pitching Market Rumblings: Brewers, Rays, Duffy, Nicasio, Arrieta]]> 2017-12-12T17:59:15Z 2017-12-12T17:28:06Z Starting pitching is in the news this morning, with several notable names being discussed. But there are a whole lot of other moving pieces out there. Let’s run down the latest chatter on the pitching market:

    • The Brewers have chatted with the Rays about their potential rotation trade pieces, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter), who cautions that there’s no indication to this point that “any traction was made.” It’s not immediately clear which Tampa Bay hurlers have piqued the interest of the Milwaukee front office, though surely they’d have the trade pieces necessary to swing a deal for just about anyone. Chris Archer remains the big name to watch, though we don’t yet know whether he’s truly available. The Brewers could conceivably have interest in other pitchers, too, including veteran Jake Odorizzi, but it’s all speculation at this stage.
    • Meanwhile, the Brewers are said to have interest in righty Jesse Chavez, Haudricourt also tweets. We heard yesterday the veteran swingman was likely to find a new home this week.
    • Veteran closer Fernando Rodney has met with the Rangers and Twins, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter) and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (via Twitter). It’s not clear at this point how serious the interest is, though Rodney might conceivably be an option for either club, both of which have largely unsettled ninth-inning plans.
    • Another interesting possibility on the rotation market is Royals lefty Danny Duffy. He has drawn interest from the Cubs, per Robert Murray of Fan Rag. Indeed, K.C. has been contacted by rivals on Duffy and a few other notably interesting assets,’s Jeffrey Flanagan tweets. It’s entirely unclear at this point what kinds of scenarios might be pondered on Duffy, but the Royals will surely want a significant return for a player they only recently extended. His contract runs through 2021 and promises him $60MM. While a DUI arrest and elbow surgery introduce some uncertainty into the situation, from a pure on-field perspective Duffy remains a valuable asset as he nears his 29th birthday.
    • The Mets are among the organizations with interest in free agent righty Juan Nicasio, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times (via Twitter). The 31-year-old pitched quite well throughout 2017, both before and after an odd series of August transactions. He ended the year with a 2.61 ERA over 72 1/3 innings, with 9.0 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
    • We’ve heard some possibility that the Nationals could have interest in free agent righty Jake Arrieta, and’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that agent Scott Boras is working to sell that potential fit to the team’s ownership. Then again, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post characterizes the Nationals’ interest as “tepid” in a tweet. The division-rival Phillies are reportedly also a possibility, along with several other teams, as we covered this morning. Given that the Nats have an opening in their rotation, it isn’t at all surprising to hear that Boras is pushing for it to be filled by Arrieta; after all, his connection to the organization’s ownership is quite well-established by this point. Of course, adding yet another high-priced starter would carry some pretty notable risk for the organization, so it stands to reason that the club will explore other possibilities before deciding whether to join the pursuit of the 31-year-old Arrieta. Crasnick also takes a broader look at Arrieta’s still-developing market, including an extensive examination of Boras’s marketing strategy.
    • While there is action at the top of the pitching market, the Blue Jays seem to be taking a patient approach, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of writes. While GM Ross Atkins says there’s a lack of depth in the rotation market, he also has indicated no interest in pushing hard to strike a deal. It seems the organization’s inclination remains to seek value in bolstering the rotation depth.
    • For the Diamondbacks, meanwhile, the team may at least be preparing to consider deals involving some fairly surprising players. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic runs down the team’s options for trade candidates who might free up some payroll space and enable the team to achieve future value. At the top of the list are center fielder A.J. Pollock and lefty Patrick Corbin. Meanwhile, the D-Backs are certainly still looking to field a competitor in the near term as well. They are one team with some level of interest in reliever Seung-Hwan Oh, according to Murray. Oh was not able to match his compelling MLB debut season in 2017, but still posted 8.2 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9 while carrying a 4.10 ERA over 59 1/3 innings.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Machado, Rule 5 Draft, Relievers, Catching, Pena]]> 2017-12-12T12:04:48Z 2017-12-12T12:04:48Z It remains unlikely that the Orioles will trade Manny Machado at all, and while the Phillies certainly have interest in the star third baseman, they know they’re probably not an ideal fit if the O’s did shop Machado, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets.  With Machado only under contract through the 2018 season, it doesn’t make sense for the rebuilding Phillies to make a move for him right now.  As NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury notes, the Phils could just wait until next winter to pursue Machado in free agency.  That way, he costs just money, whereas trying to trade for him now would cost both money (if a contract extension can be worked out) and several prospects.

    Some more rumblings out of Camden Yards…

    • Speaking of a link between the Orioles and Phillies,’s Roch Kubatko writes that Baltimore could consider Phillies left-handed pitching prospect Austin Davis in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.  A 12th-round pick in the 2014 amateur draft, Davis has a 3.07 ERA, 8.7 K/9 and 2.71 K/BB rate over 228 2/3 minor league innings, none above the Double-A level.  The O’s have frequently mined the Rule 5 Draft for young talent, including taking both Anthony Santander and Aneury Tavarez last year.
    • Davis could fit the Orioles’ desire for another southpaw option in the bullpen.  Team executive VP Dan Duquette told Kubatko and other reporters that a hard-throwing lefty reliever is “on our radar” as an offseason need.  With Zach Britton closing, the Orioles’ other left-handed pen options include Richard Bleier and Donnie Hart, both of whom “are more finesse from the left side,” Duquette said.  Kubatko figures Bleier is a good bet for a bullpen job in 2018, so Hart could be Triple-A depth if the Orioles did get another southpaw.
    • The O’s want to add a veteran to their catching mix of Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns.  Duquette said the team had interest in re-signing catcher Francisco Pena but revealed that “he’s going to sign with somebody else.”  Pena only appeared in 19 MLB games for Baltimore over the last two seasons, though was held in high regard as a depth option due to his strong defense.  Pena was designated for assignment and outrighted off the Orioles’ roster three times in 2017, and he became a free agent after the season.
    • Minor league left-handers Keegan Akin and Alex Wells have both received trade interest from other teams, Duquette said (hat tip to’s Rich Dubroff).  Akin and Wells respectively ranked 8th and 16th on’s list of the top 30 Orioles prospects; Baseball America recently cited Wells as owning the best control of any pitcher in the farm system, though neither he or Akin made BA’s list of top 10 Baltimore minor leaguers.  The O’s aren’t considered to be particularly deep in young talent, particularly on the pitching side, so it would be a little surprising to see them part with Akin or Wells unless they can get very good value for either southpaw.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Machado, Phils, Yanks, Bucs, Cole, Ellsbury, Tigers, Brewers]]> 2017-12-12T21:23:43Z 2017-12-11T22:59:07Z Should the Orioles decide to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado prior to 2018, his contract year, they could find a taker in Philadelphia. The Phillies are among “the more interested parties” in Machado, Roch Kubatko of reports. The Orioles have studied the Phillies’ farm system in the event of a deal, and they now “covet” right-hander Sixto Sanchez (Baseball America’s 61st-best prospect), per Kubatko. Second base prospect Scott Kingery and major league shortstop Freddy Galvis could also be involved in a potential trade, Kubatko writes. But a swap would require a 72-hour window for the Phillies to extend the 25-year-old Machado, according to Kubatko, and hammering out an agreement could be a tall order given that he’s so close to hitting the open market.

    More of the latest trade chatter:

    • The Yankees reportedly came away from talks with the Pirates with the impression that they won’t move righty Gerrit Cole. However, the Pirates are at least willing to listen to offers for Cole, per Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link). The Yankees and Bucs match up well for a potential Cole trade, sources tell Olney, who notes that Bombers general manager Brian Cashman and the Pirates’ Neal Huntington have swung plenty of deals in the past.
    • In the wake of the Giancarlo Stanton acquisition, the Yankees are loaded with outfielders. Although that seems to be bad news for Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s toward the bottom of the Yankees’ current outfield depth chart, he’s still “unlikely” to waive his no-trade clause, Mark Feinsand of tweets. The belief is that the Yankees would eat roughly half of the $68MM to jettison Ellsbury, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag, but it could be a moot point if he’s unwilling to go anywhere. And Cashman said Monday that Ellsbury “has a spot on the roster” and “will compete to take his job back,” Alex Speier of the Boston Globe relays (Twitter link). On the other hand, if the Yankees make 23-year-old outfielder Clint Frazier available, the Athletics would unquestionably have interest, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via Twitter). However, the price to acquire Frazier would likely be too high, Slusser adds.
    • The Tigers expect to deal second baseman Ian Kinsler, GM Al Avila told Evan Woodbery of and other reporters (Twitter link). Meanwhile, they’ve gotten “mild inquiries” on arguably their most valuable trade chip – righty Michael Fulmer – but they’re not actively shopping him (via Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, on Twitter). “There are a handful of teams out there that have the players to do it, but we have not come close to those conversations,” Avila said of a potential Fulmer trade (Twitter link via Jason Beck of
    • While the Brewers are listening to offers for outfielder Domingo Santana, there’s not a lot of traction in trade talks, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. The Brewers want “an affordable impact starter” for Santana, Crasnick suggests. GM David Stearns told reporters Monday that “if we’re going to even consider trading someone who is such an important part of our team, we are going to expect a sizable return” (via Adam McCalvy of, on Twitter).
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Pirates Claim Engelb Vielma]]> 2017-12-11T21:16:32Z 2017-12-11T21:04:14Z The Pirates have claimed infielder Engelb Vielma off waivers from the Phillies, Adam Berry of tweets. The addition of Vielma, who has two minor league options remaining, leaves the Pirates with two open spots on their 40-man roster. The Phillies are also at 38 players.

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

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Claim Cameron Perkins]]> 2017-12-11T20:34:15Z 2017-12-11T20:34:15Z The Mariners have claimed outfielder Cameron Perkins from the Phillies, the team announced and Devan Fink of SB Nation first tweeted. He had been placed on outright waivers recently. The move leaves the Phils with one open 40-man spot and the Mariners with three.

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

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Weighing Interest In Galvis, Hernandez]]> 2017-12-11T18:40:15Z 2017-12-11T18:24:40Z The Padres are one of the only teams in baseball with a clear need at shortstop, and they appear to be shopping around the potential market. Per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, via Twitter, San Diego has “real interest” in free agent Zack Cozart. He’ll surely command a fairly significant contract, though there may also be an opportunity to realize value given the lack of demand at short. The Friars are also looking into Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Galvis is projected to earn a healthy $7.4MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility, so he’d likely be available for a reasonable price — so long as the Phils decide it’s time to move on.

    • Meanwhile, the Phillies are said to be setting a fairly lofty price tag on second baseman Cesar Hernandez, per Heyman (Twitter link). The 27-year-old switch-hitter has established himself as a quality regular with two consecutive seasons of above-average offensive production and quality glovework. He’s projected to take home $4.7MM this year and is eligible to be tendered contracts for two more seasons. Hernandez is arguably the most valuable of the second basemen that can reasonably be considered plausible trade candidates.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Notes: Neshek, Infielders]]> 2017-12-11T05:24:52Z 2017-12-11T05:24:52Z
  • The Phillies have had internal talks about signing Pat Neshek, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Neshek was acquired by the Phils last winter in a trade with the Astros and then pitched superbly before being flipped to the Rockies for three prospects at trade deadline.  Neshek enjoyed arguably the best of his 11 MLB seasons in 2017, posting a 1.59 ERA over 62 1/3 combined innings with Philadelphia and Colorado, recording 69 strikeouts against just six walks.
    • The Phillies have had internal talks about signing Pat Neshek, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Neshek was acquired by the Phils last winter in a trade with the Astros and then pitched superbly before being flipped to the Rockies for three prospects at trade deadline.  Neshek enjoyed arguably the best of his 11 MLB seasons in 2017, posting a 1.59 ERA over 62 1/3 combined innings with Philadelphia and Colorado, recording 69 strikeouts against just six walks.
    • The Phillies are reportedly open to the possibility of starting the season with a surplus of infielders, though Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that the team is best served by trading at least one of their veteran players (i.e. Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis) this winter and giving J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery a clear path to regular playing time.  Juggling those four players and Maikel Franco during the year leads to fewer at-bats for everyone and, Gelb notes, less opportunity for Hernandez or Galvis to improve their value for a midseason trade.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Interested In Freddy Galvis]]> 2017-12-08T04:38:33Z 2017-12-08T01:00:50Z
  • At shortstop, the Padres have taken a look at Phillies veteran Freddy Galvis, says Heyman. The team is also weighing free agent Alcides Escobar. Either would seemingly make sense as a stop-gap option for the rebuilding club.

  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies To Sign Abrahan Gutierrez]]> 2017-12-06T01:18:22Z 2017-12-06T01:18:22Z The Phillies have agreed to a deal with former Braves prospect Abrahan Gutierrez, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The young catcher will receive a $550K bonus.

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

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

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

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Have Received Offers On Galvis, Hernandez]]> 2017-12-04T20:29:20Z 2017-12-04T20:28:26Z The Phillies have received formal trade proposals for both Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez, reports Jim Salisbury of, though nothing that has been to the team’s liking. The Phils are very open to the idea of moving either but are also comfortable heading into the 2018 season with both players, even if it crowds the infield picture for the time being. The Phillies figure to have Rhys Hoskins locked in at first base, leaving Hernandez, Galvis and J.P. Crawford as options up the middle. Any of the bunch could presumably see some time at third base over Maikel Franco as well. Eventually, top second base prospect Scott Kingery will likely force his way into the mix as well, however, further muddying the picture.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Drawing Trade Interest In Galvis, Hernandez]]> 2017-12-04T05:17:50Z 2017-12-04T05:17:50Z
  • Two Phillies middle infielders are drawing trade buzz, as the Padres have interest in shortstop Freddy Galvis, while the Angels continue to have interest in second baseman Cesar Hernandez, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports (subscription required).  The Halos have long been connected to Hernandez for their second base vacancy, with interest dating back to last offseason.  San Diego have also long been looking for an answer at shortstop, though the Friars are reportedly now just in the market for a short-term fix until top Fernando Tatis Jr.  is ready.  Galvis is such a fit, as he will hit free agency next winter.  While the Phils have J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery ready to move into regular action in the middle infield, however, Rosenthal notes that the team is content having depth at second and short, and isn’t in any rush to move Galvis or Hernandez unless the right trade can be found.
  • Every team in baseball is monitoring the Giancarlo Stanton trade talks given their importance to the rest of the offseason transaction business, though the Nationals are perhaps watching closer than most,’s Mark Zuckerman writes.  Should Stanton end up with the Dodgers, that would all but eliminate Los Angeles from pursuing Bryce Harper in free agency next offseason.  If the Giants or Cardinals (two teams that probably won’t be prime suitors for Harper next year) land Stanton, that leaves the Nats with another major threat in L.A. to worry about for Harper’s services, to go along with the interest he’s expected to draw from big spenders like the Yankees, Cubs, or Phillies.  Beyond that long-term issue, the Nats obviously also are concerned about the idea of Stanton going from an inter-division threat to a team that could end up facing Washington in the postseason.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Have Made Managerial Hiring Decision]]> 2017-12-02T00:51:24Z 2017-12-02T00:49:37Z 6:49pm: Meulens is remaining in San Francisco, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle hears. (Twitter link.) In conjunction with the other reports, that would appear to suggest that Boone is the choice.

    6:10pm: New York has made its decision, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets, though it’s still not clear whether it’ll be Boone or Meulens.

    5:00pm: Thomson has been informed that he will not get the job, Joel Shermanof the New York Post tweets. Likewise, Beltran has been told he’s no longer under consideration, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports tweets.

    2:42pm: It is “likely” that either Boone or Meulens will receive the nod to become the next Yankees skipper, according to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. Beltran was also among the group that “made the strongest impressions,” per the report, but Madden reasons that he is unlikely to get the job since he just wrapped up his playing career.

    Meanwhile, Thomson is said to be a “leading candidate” to join the Phillies as their bench coach, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). WFAN’s Sweeny Murti had reported recently (via Twitter) that Thomson was interviewing with Philadelphia.

    8:09am: The Yankees will not conduct any further interviews as they seek to fill their managerial vacancy, general manager Brian Cashman tells reporters (Twitter links via Ken Davidoff of the New York Post). The Yankees will not conduct a second round of interviews with the six candidates that have sat down with the team, either, Davidoff adds.

    The latest development in what has been one of the lengthiest managerial searches in recent memory means that one of Rob Thomson, Hensley Meulens, Eric Wedge, Chris Woodward, Aaron Boone or the recently retired Carlos Beltran, who interviewed for the post yesterday, will be the Yankees’ new skipper. Unless Wedge is the ultimate selection for the Yankees, they’ll head into 2018 with a rookie skipper. More surprising is the fact that two of the final candidates, Boone and Beltran, have never even coached at the professional level.

    To this point, none of the six has been characterized as any sort of favorite, though ESPN’s Andrew Marchand hears from two sources that Boone did quite well in his interview (Twitter links). Marchand also notes that he’s heard a positive review for Meulens and one for Beltran following their respective interviews as well.

    Thomson, who served as the Yankees’ bench coach since 2015, would be a familiar choice for both the players and the front office. The Yankees may risk the possibility of losing him to another organization if he doesn’t ultimately get the managerial nod, as WFAN’s Sweeny Murti reported (on Twitter) this week that Thomson was also interviewing for the Phillies’ currently vacant bench coach position.

    Meulens played with the Yankees from 1989-93 and has served as the Giants’ hitting coach dating back to 2010 (including in each of San Francisco’s three World Series-winning seasons). The Curacao native speaks five languages, including Spanish, Dutch and Japanese, which would serve him well as he communicates with a diverse group of players on the Yankees’ roster.

    Wedge managed the Indians from 2003-09 and the Mariners from 2011-13 but hasn’t been in a big league dugout since the conclusion of that Seattle tenure. He spent two years serving as an ESPN analyst in the interim before taking a player development job with the Blue Jays prior to the 2016 season.

    Woodward, the Dodgers’ third base coach, was on the Mariners’ coaching staff from 2014-15 and has been in his current position with the Dodgers since the 2016 season. He’s previously worked as a minor league infield coordinator (also with the Mariners) since retiring as a player back in 2012.

    Neither Boone nor Beltran brings any field experience to the table, though that certainly doesn’t disqualify them as serious candidates for the job. Beltran only recently announced his retirement from a 20-year playing career that may very well culminate with enshrinement in Cooperstown. Boone has been a mainstay on ESPN since 2010 and enjoyed a solid 12-year playing career that included one of the most famous home runs in Yankees franchise history.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Promote Rick Kranitz To Pitching Coach]]> 2017-12-01T21:48:24Z 2017-12-01T21:48:24Z The Phillies have announced that Rick Kranitz will become the team’s pitching coach. Joining the staff as assistant pitching coach is Chris Young.

    Kranitz, 59, had most recently served as the job that’ll now go to Young. He has previously served as the pitching coach for the Marlins, Orioles, and Brewers. As for Young, he comes over from the Astros organization, where he had served as a scouting supervisor, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

    These moves begin to give some clarity to the staff of new manager Gabe Kapler, though there are still some openings. It does seem, though, that Rob Thomson is slated to join on as the bench coach. Todd Zolecki of gives the clearest indication yet, tweeting that the team will hire Thomson and could announce the move early next week. Reports have indicated that move will likely follow a decision by the Yankees on their open managerial job, for which Thomson has interviewed.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Shohei Ohtani Rumors: Thursday]]> 2017-11-30T20:45:29Z 2017-11-30T20:45:16Z The question of whether Shohei Ohtani can successfully lead a big league rotation and serve as a legitimate member of its offense on a semi-regular basis is one of the most fascinating storylines in recent memory, and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports takes an excellent look at the viability of that scenario. Brown spoke to GM, scouts, coaches and players throughout the league, and though the prevailing opinion was that while it would be difficult and unlikely, there’s also a sentiment that those in the industry are nonetheless rooting for Ohtani to succeed at both.

    Rays righty Chris Archer tells Brown that a successful two-way player would “change our perspective” on the game. Archer and free-agent outfielder Jayson Werth both chatted with Brown about their daily schedules and recovery programs, which Brown uses as a means of illustrating the challenges of Ohtani successfully serving as a starter and a DH/outfielder. Brown also talks with former pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel about the summer he spent as a starter and a DH in A-ball. Ankiel suggests that the true question isn’t one of whether Ohtani can physically handle a two-way role but rather one of whether Ohtani can thrive in both areas. “Can he be great at both here?” Ankiel asks rhetorically. “That depends on how good he really is.”

    Some other notes on the game’s most intriguing free-agent-to-be, who should be formally posted by Saturday…

    • The Athletics can only offer $300K to Ohtani after exceeding last year’s allotted international pool, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports a detailed account of their pitch to Ohtani. Oakland is will to not only let Ohtani hit but also play the outfield on occasion, she notes, and their sales pitch also centers around an emerging young core of comparably aged players to Ohtani — led by Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. The A’s hope to be in a new ballpark by 2023, if not sooner and are hoping to sell Ohtani on helping them usher in that new facility as one of the faces of the team. They also highlighted manager Bob Melvin’s relationship with Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui as well as Oakland’s relative proximity to Japan, among many other aspects.
    • Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have “earmarked” the $1.315MM they now have in their international pool after today’s trade with the Braves for a pursuit of Ohtani.

    Earlier Updates

    • The Phillies haven’t been mentioned in connection with Ohtani, but’s Todd Zolecki writes that they do plan to take their shot at landing him, even if they’re considered long shots. The Phils have $900K to offer Ohtani in terms of a signing bonus, and new skipper Gabe Kapler spent a season playing in Nippon Professional Baseball, giving him some familiarity with Japanese baseball and culture. Zolecki also notes that former Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel, a senior advisor in the front office, enjoyed an excellent six-year career in NPB and is likely a known name for Ohtani, even if Manuel wrapped up his playing career before Ohtani was born. Nonetheless, the Phils will also need to convince Ohtani that their rebuilding club is near contention, and Zolecki further notes that other markets like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have considerably larger Japanese populations and communities.
    • Pennsylvania’s other MLB club may also be a long shot, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington still spoke optimistically in his team’s ability to make a competitive pitch for Ohtani in a recent appearance with Chris Mueller and Joe Starkey on 93.7 The Fan“We are going to do everything in our power, and hopefully, have him honor us with the ability to get beyond the written presentation, get beyond the initial 30-club presentation and really dig into why it would be an honor for us to have him become a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates,” said Huntington. In terms of potential bonus offer, the Bucs are one of the better-positioned teams, with a bit more than $2.2MM to offer, but Ohtani is widely expected to make far more through endorsements than his initial signing bonus anyhow, so the bonus itself may not be an enormous separator.
    • David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago writes that the Cubs have sent scouts to Japan to watch Ohtani for weeks at a time in the past, and some rivals believe the Cubs to be a serious threat to land him. One exec remarks to Kaplan that president of baseball ops Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have success in setting up support systems for international stars thanks to their acquisition of Daisuke Matsuzaka with the Red Sox in the 2006-07 offseason. The Cubs are capped at a $300K signing bonus, though again, that doesn’t appear to be as significant a strike against them as it would be in the pursuit of a more traditional free agent.
    • Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals crafted a presentation in English, which international scouting assistant Taisuke Sato then translated to Japanese for Ohtani’s consumption. Janes notes that the Nationals, who are also capped at $300K, cannot compete financially in terms of signing bonus and don’t have previous experience in signing Japanese players under GM Mike Rizzo to demonstrate a proven plan for helping an NPB star transition to the Majors. That said, the team has very recently made a significant investment in its medical staff, boasts a new Spring Training facility and a fairly new ballpark in D.C., and can attempt to sell Ohtani on the allure of joining an immediate contender with an open rotation spot. Janes paints the Nats as long shots but notes that they, like all 30 other clubs, will at least perform their due diligence in attempting to entire Ohtani.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mark Appel, Alberto Tirado Clear Waivers]]> 2017-11-27T19:33:32Z 2017-11-27T19:33:32Z The Phillies announced that right-handers Mark Appel and Alberto Tirado have been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after clearing waivers. The pair was designated for assignment last week as Philadelphia set its roster in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.

    Now 26 years of age, Appel was the top overall pick in the 2013 draft by Houston, who surprised some a year prior by passing over Appel and taking Carlos Correa with the first overall pick in 2012. (Appel did not sign in 2012 after being selected eighth overall and returned to the ’13 draft).

    Appel went from Houston to Philadelphia in the Ken Giles trade and has struggled with the Phils as much or more than he did with the Astros. In 188 2/3 career innings of Triple-A work, Appel has pitched to a 4.82 ERA with 7.4 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9, battling shoulder and elbow troubles along the way.

    As for Tirado, the 22-year-old ranked as high as eighth in the Blue Jays’ system during his prospect tenure, per Baseball America. The Phillies picked him up in the 2015 trade that sent Ben Revere to Toronto, but he’s largely stalled out at the Class-A Advanced level. Tirado was showing promise at that level, albeit with extreme control issues, in 2015 when the Jays traded him. He’s repeated the level twice now without significantly better results, however. While he did make his Double-A debut this past season, the bulk of Tirado’s year was spent at Class-A Advanced, where he logged a 3.69 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 5.4 BB/9 in 63 1/3 innings of relief.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[What We Know About The Giancarlo Stanton Situation]]> 2017-11-25T03:37:39Z 2017-11-25T03:36:29Z As of Black Friday, the 2017 offseason has been astonishingly quiet. The trade and free agent market seems as though it’s being held up in large part by the situation surrounding NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Once that massive domino falls, it’s possible we’ll see a flurry of free agent activity follow. In the meantime, however, Stanton rumors are a heavy focus of the baseball media cycle, and as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd pointed out in an in-depth piece earlier this month, his market is wide and complex. As we approach the weekend, here’s an overview of what we know about the Marlins’ attempt to deal their All-Star outfielder.

    He’s the best player available on the market- This may be redundant considering I already mentioned his brand new MVP award, but the subject is well worth its own spotlight. His .281/.376/.631 batting line is other worldly, and his 59 homers paced all of baseball in 2017. While his 6.9 fWAR only tied for fifth among all players in the majors, the rest of the top seven (Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout) won’t be available for teams to acquire in a trade. The top three free agents (Yu Darvish, J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer) aren’t anywhere near as valuable in terms of expected WAR output as Stanton.

    Teams perceive his remaining contract as close to market value- According to these three tweets from Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, multiple teams told the Marlins that the remaining 10 years and $295MM left on Stanton’s contract are a pretty good estimate of what he’d earn on the open market, were he a free agent this offseason.

    He has a lot of power over his own fate- Not only does Stanton have a full no-trade clause in his contract, but he also has the ability to opt out after the 2020 season, at which point he’d leave 7 years and $218MM on the table in search of a new deal. The opt-out makes trading him even more complicated, as it caps the contract value upside for his would-be new team. Meanwhile, the full no-trade protection gives him enormous leverage in the process. Many teams would love to add Stanton to their lineup, and the Marlins are looking to shed payroll. Ultimately, this means the Fish may not end up being able to accept the best offer, and could have to simply settle for the proposal from the city Stanton wishes to play for most.

    The Marlins’ leverage over him is nonzero- While Stanton is a coveted asset and enjoys no-trade protection, he’s made it well-known that he isn’t interested in being around for a rebuild. The slugger’s desire to leave Miami could result in him approving a trade he’s not thrilled about just to play for a contender. On the other hand, it could also result in a tense game of chicken between Stanton and the Marlins to see who will bend first. Although the Marlins have a firm mission to shed payroll, they can do so in other ways; they don’t actually have to trade Stanton at all. And as much as Stanton wants to be traded, he might be willing to hold out for a team of his choice and risk staying put. The case is fascinating.

    Some evaluators believe the Marlins’ asking price is unrealistic- While Miami’s asking price isn’t entirely clear, it seems as though they’re looking for a team to pay all (or nearly all) of his salary while including prospects. This has led some to suggest that the Fish need a “reality check” in terms of their asking price. If the contract is indeed roughly market value, then it’s difficult to imagine that a team will give up good prospects for the privilege to pay Stanton his full dollar value over the course of the deal.

    He prefers to play near a coast- While this doesn’t seem to be a firm deal breaker, it complicates matters for teams like the Cardinals and Phillies, who have the payroll space and prospect depth to swing a trade for the prolific slugger.

    The Cardinals and Giants have made formal offers- The Giants were the first to officially submit a trade proposal, with the Cardinals following suit later that same week. This doesn’t mean the trade discussions are finished; those trades could still be tweaked or even scrapped entirely in favor of starting from scratch. But the fact that there are at least two offers on the table gives the Marlins some options to weigh for the time being. It’s not known what those offers are, however, though we do know that the Cardinals included Sandy Alcantara in their proposal. It’s equally uncertain whether Miami even takes those offers seriously.

    As many as eight teams are engaged in talks for him- While only six of those eight teams are thought to be serious pursuers, the fact that so many teams are showing strong interest bodes well for Miami and their power in negotiations. In addition to the Cardinals and Giants mentioned above, we know that the Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox have had some level of dialogue with the Marlins. The Yankees, too, have reportedly done their due diligence, though it doesn’t sound as if they’re actively pursuing Stanton.


    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jorge Alfaro Changes Agents]]> 2017-11-24T18:08:29Z 2017-11-24T18:08:29Z Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro recently changed agents, according to Robert Murray of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He will now be represented by ISE Baseball, which has a long list of other MLB clients.

    Alfaro was seen as a significant prospect when he came over to Philadelphia as part of the Cole Hamels trade. He is still just 24 years of age and produced a strong .318/.360/.514 batting line in 114 MLB plate appearances last year.

    That said, there are some questions facing the out-of-options receiver. He had struggled quite a bit earlier in the year at Triple-A and carried his poor plate discipline with him into the bigs. Alfaro rode an unsustainable .420 batting average on balls in play to produce the impressive slash line; meanwhile, he struck out 33 times while drawing just three free passes.

    Though the Phillies likely still hope to take a shot on Alfaro, who comes with a fairly lofty prospect pedigree, the team also has another promising young receiver in Andrew Knapp. And Cameron Rupp has established himself as a useful MLB catcher, too, with a still-low salary increasing his appeal. It’ll be interesting to see how the Phils manage things over the winter and into camp.

    Alfaro joins Lewis Brinson as young former Rangers prospects changing agents in recent days. Both are reflected in MLBTR’s Agency Database.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Name Pedro Guerrero Assistant Hitting Coach]]> 2017-11-23T01:37:17Z 2017-11-23T01:19:11Z
  • The Phillies have named 28-year-old Pedro Guerrero, a former Dodgers minor league infielder, as their new assistant hitting coach, per a club announcement. As Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, that suggests that Rick Kranitz, who was the team’s assistant pitching coach in 2017, will be named the team’s new pitching coach for the 2018 season. The Phillies have previously announced that Kranitz would be on the staff next year but haven’t revealed his role with the team. However, they’re only allowed to add two more coaches before reaching the maximum allotment and still need a pitching coach, first base coach and bench coach. As for Guerrero, he’s an outside-the-box hire, to be sure. But, Guerrero has already spent two seasons as a minor league bench coach in the Dodgers organization  and has some familiarity with newly minted skipper Gabe Kapler from the pair’s time together in Los Angeles.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Claim Engelb Vielma, Designate Mark Appel & Alberto Tirado]]> 2017-11-21T03:13:15Z 2017-11-20T23:04:18Z The Phillies have claimed infielder Engelb Vielma off waivers from the Giants, per a team announcement. Philadelphia also designated righties Mark Appel and Alberto Tirado for assignment while outrighting lefty Elniery Garcia.

    To round out a busy day of 40-man moves, the Phillies also added righties Seranthony Dominguez, Franklyn Kilome, and Jose Taveras, as well as lefty Ranger Suarez, to their MLB roster.

    Vielma is seen as a gifted defender. But his switch-hitting bat has yet to develop. Still just 23, Vielma ended up with San Francisco through a late-season waiver claim from the Twins. He had earned his first promotion to Triple-A earlier in the year, but slashed just .206/.233/.260 in his 314 trips to the plate at the highest level of the minors..

    Appel, 26, was the first overall draft pick in 2013. He landed in Philadelphia along with righty Vince Velasquez and others in the swap that sent reliever Ken Giles to the Astros. At the time of the swap, he was seen as something of a change-of-scenery candidate. But he never really found his footing with the Phils while dealing with arm problems. In 2017, he pitched to a 5.27 ERA with 6.6 K/9 and 5.8 BB/9 over 82 Triple-A frames.

    The 22-year-old Tirado was also once considered a significant prospect, but hasn’t shown enough to hang onto a MLB roster spot. He pitched to a 3.69 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 in 63 1/3 High-A innings last year. Despite those marginal numbers, Tirado earned his first shot at Double-A, but coughed up 19 walks against just eight strikeouts in a dozen frames.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Interested In Jake McGee]]> 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z 2017-11-19T14:14:04Z
  • The Phillies are one of the teams eyeing left-hander Jake McGee, reports Morosi, who notes that the reliever was once teammates with new Philadelphia skipper Gabe Kapler in Tampa Bay. With Colorado in 2017, McGee, 31, posted a 3.61 ERA and logged 9.1 K/9, 2.51 BB/9 and a 40.5 percent grounder rate over 57 1/3 innings. Along the way, he was effective against both righty- and lefty-swingers, the latter of whom had their way against Phillies relievers (.270/.347/.459).
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Coach/Manager Notes: Ausmus, Blanco, Gott]]> 2017-11-18T16:15:08Z 2017-11-18T15:58:19Z Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) had a phone Q&A with Brad Ausmus. The former Tigers skipper explains his rationale in taking a year off from the field. Among his reasons for a hiatus is the ability to be more involved in his daughters’ lives. Ausmus also mentioned that the Red Sox managerial opening he interviewed for would have been a perfect fit due to a house up in Cape Cod and an emotional connection to the franchise, so he would have accepted the job in Boston. He was unwilling to comment on his interviews with other franchises, including the Mets. When asked about his time with the Tigers, Ausmus mentioned that he has no hard feelings about the way his tenure in Detroit ended, adding an anecdote about his disappointment that the Tigers didn’t win it all. “The only thing that bothered me the most is that we didn’t win,” Ausmus tells Strang. “We didn’t win a championship. That’s the only thing that stung.” The piece gives great insight into Ausmus’ experience and emotions.

    Other notes about coaches around baseball…

    • The Nationals’ hire of Henry Blanco as their new bullpen coach finalized their coaching staff for 2018. Blanco will leave his position as the quality assurance coach with the Cubs to join the Nats organization. Being that Washington’s new skipper Dave Martinez will also be coming over from the Cubs, the prior relationship between the two is a definite plus, as’s Jamal Collier notes in the above link.
    • The Phillies have announced that Jim Gott will fill their bullpen coach opening. As Todd Zolecki of notes, the 58-year-old Gott served as the pitching coach for the Angels from 2010-2012, and has spent the past five seasons as the Angels’ minor league pitching coordinator. Gott pitched in the major leagues from 1982-1995 and had a lifetime 3.87 ERA, notching 837 strikeouts against 466 walks.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Have Shown Past Interest In Cardinals' Outfielders]]> 2017-11-15T05:33:12Z 2017-11-15T05:33:12Z
  • The Cardinals are looking to trade multiple outfielders given their logjam of upper-level talent, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The PhilliesOrioles and Giants have had interest in some of the Cards’ outfielders in the past, Goold notes, adding that Randal Grichuk is the outfielder that “comes up the most often.” Goold also reports that the Dodgers tried to pry Tommy Pham away from the Cardinals prior to the non-waiver trade deadline but were unsuccessful in doing so. In addition to Grichuk and Pham, the Cards have Stephen Piscotty, Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez at the big league level. Beyond that, younger options include Harrison Bader, Magneuris Sierra, Randy Arozarena (who Goold profiles at the beginning of his column) and Tyler O’Neill.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Early Markets For Santana, Morrison Taking Shape]]> 2017-11-14T20:58:23Z 2017-11-14T19:40:44Z TODAY: The early interest in Santana is robust, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, who writes that Santana “is thought to be drawing interest from as many as 10 teams.”

    Among those reaching out to his representatives, per Heyman, are the Angels as well as two eyebrow-raising NL East clubs: the Mets and Phillies. The New York franchise has had its moments of frustration with Dominic Smith, though it would remain surprising to see him blocked entirely by a player that likely can’t be utilized anywhere other than first base. Mike Puma of the New York Post does tweet, though, that the club could send Smith back to Triple-A and eventually shop him. And the Phillies would appear to be set at first with Rhys Hoskins, though he could in theory be shifted to the corner outfield after experimenting there last year. (Of course, the team has other young players in the outfield and indications are that the preference is not to disturb that mix.)

    YESTERDAY: The Red Sox have an obvious hole at first base in their lineup, and they’re set to begin the preliminary stages of filling that vacancy at this week’s GM Meetings. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets that Boston will sit down with Carlos Santana’s agents at Octagon, while Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Sox have also lined up a meeting with Logan Morrison’s representatives at ISE Baseball.

    Boston isn’t alone in eyeing that pair, however. Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels are considering a run at Morrison as they look to add some left-handed punch to their lineup. Morrison is one of multiple players on Anaheim’s radar, Fletcher notes.

    Meanwhile, the Mariners have interest in bringing Santana into the fold, according to’s Jon Morosi (on Twitter). There have yet to be any “substantial” discussions between the two sides, Morosi cautions (as one would expect this early in the offseason), but first base is a definite area of need for the Mariners. Seattle saw both Yonder Alonso and Danny Valencia hit free agency when the season ended, and while Dan Vogelbach represents an internal option, he’s not considered to be a strong defender.

    Santana, 32 in April, is widely considered to be one of the best first basemen available on the free-agent market this offseason. While he wouldn’t necessarily provide the huge power bat that many Sox fans covet — he belted a career-high 34 homers in 2016 but saw that mark fall to a more typical 23 homers in 2017 — Santana is an on-base machine who has also worked himself into one of the premier defensive first basemen in the league.

    A switch-hitter, Santana batted .259/.363/.455 this past season and has never posted an OBP south of .351 in a season. Santana has walked at a 15.2 percent clip in his career against just a 17 percent strikeout rate (13.2 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively, in 2017). Originally a catcher, Santana eventually moved off the position to first base and has built up a quality reputation there. He was a Gold Glove finalist this past season after registering a +10 Defensive Runs Saved mark and a +4.8 Ultimate Zone Rating. The Indians made a qualifying offer to Santana, so he’d cost the Red Sox their second-highest pick in next year’s draft as well as $500K of their international signing pool. The Mariners would have a lighter penalty, only surrendering their third-highest pick.

    As for Morrison, he’s a younger option that’ll play most of next season at the age of 30. A longtime top prospect, Morrison’s career never fully took off as hoped in either Miami or in Seattle. However, he rebounded from a slow start with the Rays last year to hit .275/.350/.498 with 14 homers over his final 303 plate appearances before a wrist injury ended his season.

    Morrison returned to the Rays as a free agent on a one-year, $2.5MM contract this past offseason and proved to be one of the top bargains in all of baseball. In 601 plate appearances, Morrison posted a .246/.353/.516 line and 38 homers while receiving slightly above-average marks from DRS and UZR himself (+1 from each metric). He doesn’t come with the platoon issues that many left-handed hitters carry, either, as he hammers right-handed opponents and has been a bit above average against lefties over the past two years. Including his strong finish in 2016, Morrison has raked at a .256/.352/.510 pace (130 wRC+) with an 11.8 percent walk rate and a 23.1 percent strikeout rate in 904 plate appearances.

    Despite that huge season, the budget-conscious Rays opted not to extend a QO to Morrison. Tampa Bay had already extended a QO to righty Alex Cobb and surely didn’t relish the notion of taking the risk, however small, of two players accepting one-year salaries worth $17.4MM. Morrison now benefits from that decision, though, as he won’t require interested parties to surrender a draft pick or international money upon signing.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Unlikely To Pursue Giancarlo Stanton]]> 2017-11-14T05:19:16Z 2017-11-14T04:14:13Z
  • One team that has been tied to Stanton, the Phillies, may not be that realistic a suitor after all. Per Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia organization has not engaged the Marlins in “substantive talks” and do not see the slugger as a fit. As Gelb notes, GM Matt Klentak emphasized today that the club is “pretty comfortable with our position-player group right now” and prefers to “let those young players play” — barring, at least, “a pretty unique set of circumstances.” Klentak also acknowledged that “this offseason is the first time since I’ve been here that we will explore contracts of more than one year with free agents.”
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies To Re-Sign Pedro Florimon]]> 2017-11-13T23:24:37Z 2017-11-13T23:24:37Z The Phillies have agreed to a minors deal with utilityman Pedro Florimon, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Florimon may well have the “inside track on a bench job,” Gelb adds.

    Philadelphia evidently liked what it saw from Florimon, who’ll turn 31 in December. He only took 49 plate appearances at the MLB level, but recorded 16 hits — as well as 16 strikeouts. In 353 trips to the plate at Triple-A, Florimon slashed a palatable .265/.347/.410.

    There’s a broader history to consider here, of course. Florimon has seen some action in each of the past seven major-league campaigns, posting a cumulative .209/.269/.308 batting line in 791 plate appearances. That said, he’s valued mostly for his glove. Long considered a quality defender at short, Florimon has also shown more recently that he can be a plus fielder in the outfield.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Angels Likely To Target Cesar Hernandez In Trade Talks]]> 2017-11-13T03:16:13Z 2017-11-13T03:16:13Z
  • The Angels “extensively examined” Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez this season, Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times writes, and Hernandez figures to be on the Halos’ target list as the club looks to fill its longstanding hole at second base this winter.  The two teams also briefly discussed Hernandez last offseason but the Angels balked at Philadelphia’s high asking price.  If anything, that price tag will be even higher now, as Hernandez is coming off another strong campaign — .294/.373/.421 with nine homers and 15 steals over 511 plate appearances.  Hernandez is projected by MLBTR to earn $4.7MM in 2018, the second of four arbitration-eligible years as a Super Two player.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Execs/Agents: Phillies Could Make Unexpected Splash]]> 2017-11-12T04:56:45Z 2017-11-12T04:56:45Z
  • The team that makes a surprise splash in free agency is most likely to be the Phillies, according to a group of executives and agents who spoke with Mark Feinsand of “They say they aren’t doing anything, but I have a feeling they will go after someone big,” an exec told Feinsand, who points to right-handers Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb as potential targets for the team. On paper, either would improve a Phillies rotation that ranked 19th in fWAR and 21st in ERA in 2017, when Aaron Nola was their only starter who turned in a particularly strong performance.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Giancarlo Stanton: Talks Between Marlins, 4 Teams]]> 2017-11-11T03:39:30Z 2017-11-11T03:39:30Z The Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Phillies are early contenders to put together a trade for Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports (on Twitter). There has been “preliminary communication” regarding the right fielder between each of those teams and the Marlins, according to Morosi, who adds that talks are likely to “intensify” at next week’s general managers meetings.

    With the Marlins primed to slash payroll under new owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, Stanton stands out as their most obvious trade candidate. The 2017 major league home run king (59) and National League MVP finalist is owed either $295MM through 2028 or $77MM through 2020, depending on whether he exercises his opt-out clause. The amount of money left on the contract, the opt-out and Stanton’s full no-trade rights could combine to make a trade rather complicated. But the 27-year-old Stanton’s no-trade clause may not be a major hindrance, given that he is fed up with losing and would like to join a contender. The Marlins appear poised to embark on a lengthy rebuild, so it seems doubtful Stanton would stand in the way of a deal if he feels the acquiring team would give him a chance to play meaningful games into the fall – something he hasn’t done since bursting on the big league scene in 2010.

    While the Marlins have never even posted an above-.500 season during Stanton’s eight-year career, the Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants have typically served as contenders during that span (though San Francisco’s coming off a major league-worst 68-win season). The Phillies, meanwhile, have finished toward the bottom of the NL East for five years running, but several of their young players showed progress in 2017, and the club figures to return to its high-spending ways when it’s officially ready to leave its own long rebuild behind. Stanton reportedly wasn’t willing to waive his NTC to go to Philadelphia as of late in the season, though, and it could also hurt the team’s cause that it shares a division with the Marlins, who would have to face the p.r. backlash of dealing the face of their franchise to a close rival.

    As with the Phillies, there are reasons why a Stanton acquisition would and wouldn’t work for each of the other three suitors (and several other teams), as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd deftly laid out on Thursday. Regardless of whether the Marlins ultimately send him to one of the four front-runners or another club, the Stanton sweepstakes will go down as one of the most fascinating sagas of the offseason.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Hire John Mallee As Hitting Coach, Add Dusty Wathan To MLB Staff]]> 2017-11-10T17:15:54Z 2017-11-10T17:15:54Z The Phillies have announced that John Mallee will serve as the organization’s new hitting coach. He is one of several coaches that are now on board as the team begins filling out the staff of new manager Gabe Kapler.

    According to the team, Dusty Wathan will join on as third base coach after he made a strong run at the managerial post. He was already in the organization and under contract as the manager at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Assistant pitching coach Rick Kranitz will also remain as a coach, though his precise role was not announced. Both of those moves were reported yesterday by’s Todd Zolecki.

    Mallee, a former Phillies minor-leaguer in his playing days, previously served as the hitting coach for the Astros and, most recently, the Cubs. The carousel has been as dizzying as ever: he’s taking over for Matt Stairs (who left to take the top batting instructor job with the Padres) after being replaced in Chicago by former Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Outrighted: Twins, Phillies, Rays, Cardinals, Padres, Dodgers, Pirates]]> 2017-11-07T07:21:15Z 2017-11-07T03:40:14Z A variety of teams cleared 40-man space today. Some of the moves are reflected elsewhere on the site, but we’ll round up the others right here:

    • The Twins have outrighted catcher Chris Gimenez and left Ryan O’Rourke, as’ Rhett Bollinger tweets. Gimenez could have been retained for a projected $1MM arbitration salary, but Minnesota elected not to commit that much cash (and a roster spot) despite Gimenez’s 225 plate appearances of roughly league-average hitting in 2017. He tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer that he’ll likely elect to return to the open market, but would be open to a return (links to Twitter). As for O’Rourke, he was said to be exploring ways of hastening his return from Tommy John surgery, but Minnesota isn’t willing to gamble on the lefty’s recovery at this time.
    • Infielder Pedro Florimon and righty Jesen Therrien are now free agents after being outrighted off of the Phillies 40-man, per a club announcement. The 30-year-old Florimon has made his way onto a major league roster in each of the past seven seasons, compiling a .209/.269/.308 slash in 791 plate appearances but providing enough with the glove to keep earning return trips. The 24-year-old Therrien was knocked around in 15 relief appearances for the Phils this year, but did turn in 57 1/3 frames of 1.41 ERA ball (with 10.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9) during his time in the upper minors.
    • The Rays outrighted catcher Curt Casali, outfielder Cesar Puello, and righty Shawn Tolleson, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Casali played a bigger role on the 2016 MLB outfit and posted only a .698 OPS at Triple-A. The 26-year-old Puello has bounced around of late and struggled in a brief go at the bigs, but did manage a productive .327/.377/.526 slash in 379 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors (none of which came with a Tampa Bay affiliate). Tolleson required Tommy John surgery in May, so he’ll likely be looking for an organization to rehab with.
    • Departing the Cardinals’ 40-man were infielder Alex Mejia and catcher Alberto Rosario, according to’s Jenifer Langosch (via Twitter). Mejia struggled mightily in the bigs as a 26-year-old rookie, but slashed .291/.341/.413 in his 475 plate appearances in the upper minors. As for Rosario, who is thirty years of age, there just hasn’t been much opportunity for time behind the MLB plate.
    • Backstop Hector Sanchez and righty Tim Melville took free agency from the Padres after clearing outright waivers, per AJ Cassavell of (Twitter link). Sanchez, a 28-year-old switch-hitter who has seen action in each of the past seven MLB seasons, will surely be targeted as a depth acquisition by other organizations. Melville, who’s also 28, worked to a 2.95 ERA with 8.5 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 76 1/3 Triple-A innings — his best results in the minors — but was bombed in brief MLB time.
    • The Dodgers outrighted first baseman/outfielder O’Koyea Dickson, as J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group tweets. Dickson, 27, briefly touched the majors in 2017 but spent the bulk of his time at Triple-A for the third-straight season. After putting up big numbers there in 2016, Dickson managed a career-best 24 home runs over 458 plate appearances in his most recent campaign, but slipped to a .328 on-base percentage.
    • Finally, the Pirates outrighted lefty Dan Runzler,’s Adam Berry reports on Twitter. He’ll head back to free agency after refusing an assignment. Runzler, 32, made it back to the majors after a four-year absence, but only saw four innings in eight appearances. He pitched to a 3.05 ERA in 41 1/3 Triple-A innings, managing only 7.8 K/9 against 4.8 BB/9 but also generating typically strong groundball numbers.