Philadelphia Phillies – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-12T03:59:34Z WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Place Archie Bradley On 10-Day Injured List]]> 2021-04-11T20:52:17Z 2021-04-11T20:50:39Z 3:50 pm: Bradley’s IL placement is now official, with the team announcing it’s a left oblique strain. The Phillies recalled southpaw JoJo Romero in a corresponding move.

1:51 pm: The Phillies will be placing right-hander Archie Bradley on the 10-day injured list due to an oblique injury, The Athletic’s Matt Gelb reports (Twitter links).  Bradley just pitched yesterday, allowing two hits and recording one out against the three batters he faced, and he was charged with the loss as Philadelphia dropped a 5-4 result to Atlanta.

IL visits are rare for Bradley, who hasn’t officially missed any time since the 2015 season.  The severity of the oblique problem isn’t yet known, as more severe strains can lead to months-long absences.  Even a 10-day stint for Bradley would represent a blow to the Phillies’ bullpen, which has posted some solid results this year following a thoroughly disastrous performance in 2020.

Bradley was one of several new faces added to the rebuilt bullpen over the offseason, as he signed a one-year, $6MM deal with Philadelphia after being non-tendered by the Reds earlier in the winter.  The Reds’ decision was seemingly more based around saving money on Bradley’ arbitration salary (projected to fall between $4.3MM and $5.7MM) than on Bradley’s performance, as he posted a 2.95 ERA/3.44 SIERA over 18 1/3 combined innings with the Diamondbacks and Reds in 2020.  Bradley has worked as a closer in the past, but seemed slated for set-up duty or general high-leverage usage thus far with the Phillies.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Andrew McCutchen Discusses Injury Recovery]]> 2021-04-10T20:42:22Z 2021-04-10T20:00:21Z
  • Between a torn ACL in 2019 and then a tough time recovering from that injury (on top of all the other unusual elements last season) in 2020, Andrew McCutchen has some unfinished business as he enters the last guaranteed season of his three-year, $50MM contract with the Phillies.  “I had a lot of catching up to do last season,” McCutchen told The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, noting that it wasn’t until the Phillies’ last few games in September that he really felt comfortable.  Now, however, McCutchen is entering the year with the benefit of a full Spring Training, and there are “no limitations for myself.  No hindrance.  No thinking, second-guessing.  Really pushing myself to where I didn’t I feel like I had to guard….So, going into this spring, I was just saying, ’I feel like myself.  I can squat and play and do what I need to do here in the games.’ ”  It’s a good sign for McCutchen as he enters his age-34 season as the Phils’ regular left fielder, and he also pointed out that there aren’t many everyday outfielders of his age remaining in a sport that has become increasingly less inclined to regularly play veteran players.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Revisiting Phillies' Offseason Shortstop Pursuit]]> 2021-04-07T01:17:44Z 2021-04-07T01:17:44Z
  • The Phillies re-signed Didi Gregorius to a two-year, $28MM contract in free agency, but he wasn’t the team’s preferred option at the position. Rather, the Phillies were hoping to sign Andrelton Simmons, and they believed in January that they had a legitimate chance to bring him aboard, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Simmons wound up signing a one-year, $10.5MM pact with the Twins late that month – just a few days before Gregorius agreed to remain in Philadelphia. While Gregorius is the more threatening hitter, the Phillies were interested in switching to Simmons because he’s the better defender, according to Rosenthal.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Adam Haseley Returns From Hamstring Issue]]> 2021-04-05T03:01:28Z 2021-04-05T03:01:28Z
  • Braves reliever Chris Martin left today’s game due to an unspecified finger issue, manager Brian Snitker told reporters (including The Athletic’s David O’Brien).  Martin pitched to five batters during the eighth inning, sandwiching two outs around three consecutive singles to Phillies batters that resulted in the game’s winning run.  It remains to be seen how serious Martin’s problem could be, and an absence would be a tough loss to the bullpen considering Martin’s 2.45 ERA and outstanding 30.93% strikeout rate over 36 2/3 innings in an Atlanta uniform from 2019-20.
  • After leaving Thursday’s game with tightness in his left hamstring, Adam Haseley was able to return to the Phillies’ starting lineup today, collecting a single in two plate appearances.  As Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, Haseley seems to have the edge over switch-hitter Roman Quinn in what should ostensibly be a platoon in center field, but manager Joe Girardi told Lauber and other reporters that “there’s no exact science to” the duo’s usage.  “If Q has some good days, or one of them gets hot, I’ll play them….Q contributed the other day.  They’re both going to have to help out,” Girardi said.
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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Phillies Outright Kyle Dohy]]> 2021-04-02T01:36:50Z 2021-04-02T01:36:50Z
  • Phillies left-hander Kyle Dohy cleared waivers and was outrighted to their alternate site, per a team announcement. Dohy was a 16th-round pick in 2017 who has pitched to a 3.89 ERA in 155 minor league innings. He made his Triple-A debut in 2019 but struggled to a 6.19 ERA over 56 2/3 frames. FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen ranked the 24-year-old as the Phillies’ 32nd-best prospect last month, writing that his “plus changeup and mid-90s velo” could someday make him a viable relief option in the bigs.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Announce Roster Decisions]]> 2021-03-31T02:11:12Z 2021-03-31T02:11:12Z
  • The Phillies announced this afternoon they’ve reassigned outfielder Odúbel Herrera to the alternate training site. Adam Haseley has made the Opening Day roster. Herrera and Haseley were among the group competing for the Phils’ center field job. The latter was set back by an early-March groin strain but has apparently made a quick enough recovery to be ready for Thursday’s season opener.
  • In other Phillies news, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters (including Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer) that top prospect Spencer Howard will work primarily out of the bullpen in 2021. It’s not a permanent switch, as Dombrowski stressed the organization sees Howard as a starting pitcher long-term. The Phils are being particularly cautious in monitoring the young righty’s innings after he worked just 71 minor-league frames in 2019 and was limited to 24.1 MLB innings during last year’s shortened season.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Phillies To Select Ronald Torreyes, Release C.J. Chatham]]> 2021-03-29T01:08:05Z 2021-03-29T01:08:05Z After the Phillies made the surprising decision to option Scott Kingery to Triple-A, manager Joe Girardi was in need of a utility option for his opening day roster. Thus, Ronald Torreyes has been told that he made the team, per’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). Torreyes, 28, appeared in four games with the Phillies in 2020, though he saw significant playing time with the Yankees from 2016 to 2018. Also appearing for the Dodgers and Twins, Torreyes owns a career .277/.306/.369 line in 639 plate appearances across six years. He has mostly split his time between second, third, and short, though he has technically seen time in each of the three outfield positions, albeit sparingly.

    The Phillies also announced the release of C.J. Chatham, per the Athletic’s Matt Gelb (via Twitter). The right-handed infielder and former second-round pick of the Red Sox was another contender for the roster spot that went to Torreyes. Chatham has yet to make his Major League debut, though he posted a solid season in the upper minors in 2019. He marked a .297/.333/.403 in 376 plate appearances in Double-A and a .302/.333/.430 in 91 plate appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket.

    Torreyes’ presence on the roster likely means that only two of Adam Haseley, Roman Quinn, and Odubel Herrera will make the team. The likeliest outcome is that Haseley begins the season in the minors. He has options remaining and missed a decent chunk of the spring due to injury. Quinn has the best numbers this spring with a .294/.351/.441 line across 38 plate appearance, and since he is out of options, it’s safe to assume he’ll make the roster. That said, the stats themselves aren’t necessarily the barometer that Girardi and company are using to make these roster decisions.

    Philadelphia does have two open spots on their 40-man roster. Torreyes needs one of those spots, however, and Matt Joyce would need one as well if he makes the team. Herrera and Brandon Kintzler are also roster candidates who would need to be added to the 40-man.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Phillies Option Scott Kingery, JoJo Romero; Release Christian Bethancourt]]> 2021-03-28T16:47:03Z 2021-03-28T16:14:15Z The Phillies announced a set of roster moves, including the news that utilityman Scott Kingery, left-hander JoJo Romeo, and catcher Rafael Marchan have been optioned to Triple-A.  Outfielder Travis Jankowski and catcher Rodolfo Duran were reassigned to the team’s minor league camp, and catcher Christian Bethancourt (in camp on a minors contract) has been released.

    Though Kingery has had a tough time at the plate in Spring Training, it still counts as something of a surprise to see the 26-year-old not break camp with the team.  While Kingery could be recalled in relatively short order, today’s move underlines how the former top prospect has struggled since the start of the 2020 season, a year that saw him suffer through a positive COVID-19 diagnosis during the summer and then hit just .159/.228/.283 in 124 plate appearances once he got onto the field.

    The Phillies thought so highly of Kingery’s potential in 2018 that he was signed to a contract extension before even debuting in the majors.  Though he had a rough 2018 rookie season, Kingery looked to be turning the corner with a respectable .258/.315/.474 slash line over 500 plate appearances in 2019 before his season-long setback last year.  Heading into the current season, Kingery was seen as a candidate to win the Phillies’ center field job.  While Kingery would still have been a backup option at multiple other positions, it seemed as though he would primarily be focused on outfield work — perhaps a necessary move, given how Kingery has spoken in the past about the extra difficulties associated with a super-utility role.

    With Kingery now in the minors, it could be a sign that the Phillies are confident that Brad Miller will be ready to go on Opening Day and assume super-utility duties.  Miller has been out since March 10 due to an oblique injury, but he is in Philadelphia’s lineup today for their Spring Training game with the Yankees.

    Romero’s demotion also counts as a bit of a surprise, both because he’d pitched well in camp and because Jose Alvarado now looks to be the only left-hander in the Philly bullpen after Tony Watson opted out of his minor league contract earlier this week.  The hard-throwing Romero (a fourth-round pick for the Phillies in the 2016 draft) worked exclusively as a reliever when making his MLB debut in 2020, but since he has otherwise operated as a starting pitcher in the minors, he could be kept stretched out as potential rotation depth.

    Bethancourt signed minor league contracts with the Phillies in each of the last two offseasons, but has yet to appear in a big league game with the team.  Bethancourt hit .222/.252/.316 over 489 PA with the Braves and Padres from 2013-17 and hasn’t since returned to the Show, spending 2018 with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate and playing in South Korea in 2019.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mark Appel Preparing For Comeback Attempt]]> 2021-03-28T03:44:43Z 2021-03-28T03:11:10Z Mark Appel, the first overall pick of the 2013 draft, is preparing for a comeback with the Phillies, according to Matt Gelb and Evan Drellich of The Athletic (subscription required).  Just over three years ago, Appel announced that he was stepping away from baseball, but didn’t rule out a possible return in the future.

    That time appears to be now, as Gelb/Drellich write that Appel is planning to report to the Phillies’ minor league spring camp.  Appel has also worked out at Driveline Baseball during his three-plus years away from the game, so he has already taken some previous steps towards getting back on the mound.

    Appel’s 1-1 status in 2013 represented the third time he was drafted by a big league team.  The Tigers took a 15th-round flier on Appel in 2009 to see if they could convince him to break his commitment to Stanford, and the Pirates took Appel with the eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft.  However, Appel’s drop to the eighth spot in the first place was due to his high asking price, and Appel returned for another year at Stanford after his representatives and the Pirates failed to reach an agreement on a contract.

    That set the stage for the beginning of Appel’s pro career as the Astros top pick, though he was never able to pitch with much consistency throughout his days in the minor leagues.  His early struggles led Houston to make a quick pivot by including Appel as part of a five-player package to the Phillies in a trade for Ken Giles and Jonathan Arauz in December 2015.  The change of scenery didn’t help Appel, and he soon ran into elbow and shoulder injuries that limited his ability to stay on the field.

    Beyond the physical problems, Appel also faced a mental toll that was at least as significant, and he openly discussed his frustrations and the pressures he faced in trying to get his career on track with Bleacher Report’s Joon Lee“I had high expectations.  I didn’t live up to those for a number of reasons,” Appel said.  “If you want to call me the biggest draft bust, you can call it that….If I never get to the big leagues, will it be a disappointment?  Yes and no.  That was a goal and a dream I had at one point, but that’s with stipulations that I’m healthy, I’m happy and doing something I love.  If I get to the big leagues, what’s so great about the big leagues if you’re in an isolated place, you’re hurt and you’re emotionally unhappy?  How much is that worth to you?”

    Appel made it as high as the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate, but didn’t reach the majors, recording a 5.06 ERA and 18.75% strikeout rate over 375 1/3 combined innings in the Philadelphia and Houston farm systems.  Appel is one of seven first overall picks who have never appeared in a big league game, though obviously more recent picks like Spencer Torkelson, Adley Rutschman, and Royce Lewis are earlier along in their professional careers.

    Still only 29 years old, Appel would be one of the all-time late bloomer stories if he was able to make it all the way back and find some big league success.  Most importantly, it’s a terrific sign that Appel is in a good enough personal space just to make the attempt, and find some closure for himself in baseball.

    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 3/27/21]]> 2021-03-28T02:52:30Z 2021-03-28T02:52:52Z The latest minor moves around the league:

    Most Recent

    • The Diamondbacks have re-signed catcher Bryan Holaday to a new minor league contract, the team announced.  The 33-year-old catcher was in camp as a non-roster invitee and was released last night. Holaday has played for the Tigers, Marlins and Orioles over a big league career that has spanned parts of nine years. He got a little bit of MLB action in Baltimore last year, picking up 33 plate appearances.

    Earlier Today

    • The Phillies announced they’ve released reliever Michael Ynoa. The 29-year-old pitched in six games this spring as a non-roster invitee. Ynoa hasn’t pitched in the majors since a 2016-17 stint with the White Sox. Once a top prospect, the right-hander has signed with each of the Royals, A’s and Phillies since being cut loose by Chicago but hasn’t made it back to the highest level. Ynoa has a 4.42 ERA/5.12 SIERA over 59 MLB innings.
    • The Rangers have released right-hander Nick Vincent, per a team announcement. Texas has interest in bringing Vincent back to the organization on another minor-league deal, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning-News (Twitter link). The Rangers also re-signed catcher Drew Butera to a second minor-league deal in a procedural move. Both Vincent and Butera were Article XX(B) free agents- players with six years of service time who were in camp on minor league deals after finishing the 2020 season on big league rosters. As such, they’d have been entitled to respective $100K retention bonuses had Texas kept them on their original contracts without adding them to the major league roster.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tony Watson Opts Out Of Phillies Deal; Kintzler, Joyce Make Roster]]> 2021-03-26T19:52:49Z 2021-03-26T19:27:25Z 2:27pm: Righty reliever Brandon Kintzler and outfielder Matt Joyce, who also signed minors pacts, have earned roster spots, Matt Gelb of The Athletic tweets. Kintzler will make $3MM, while Joyce’s salary isn’t known yet.

    Long an effective, grounder-inducing late-game option, Kintzler piled up 12 saves and recorded a 2.20 ERA over 24 1/3 frames. While the 36-year-old notched ugly strikeout and walk percentages (13.9 and 10.9, respectively), his 57.3 percent groundball mark once again helped him keep runs off the board at a quality clip.

    Joyce, also 36 and Kintzler’s teammate in Miami last year, has been an on-base threat for most of his career. He slashed .252/.351/.331 with two home runs in a limited role (46 plate appearances) in 2020.

    2:10pm: Veteran left-handed reliever Tony Watson has opted out of his minor league contract with the Phillies, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.

    Watson, whom the Phillies signed during the winter, would have earned a somewhat hefty $3MM salary had he cracked their roster. Considering the Phillies would like to stay under the luxury-tax threshold, it’s not that surprising that they’re unwilling to pay Watson that sum – especially in light of his struggles this spring. The 35-year-old allowed four earned runs in five innings and surrendered nine hits in exhibition play, though he did total seven strikeouts against two walks. His exit leaves the Phillies with Jose Alvarado, JoJo Romero, Damon Jones and Ranger Suarez – all on the 40-man roster – as their primary southpaw relievers.

    As for Watson’s next step, he should at least be able to land another minors deal somewhere, as the former Pirate, Dodger and Giant has regularly produced good results. Owner of a lifetime 2.80 ERA, Watson logged a 2.50 mark and a 3.75 SIERA over 18 innings in San Francisco last season. He also amassed 15 strikeouts against three walks, posted a 50 percent groundball rate and was tough on both lefty and righty hitters.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ivan Nova, Hector Rondon Granted Release By Phillies]]> 2021-03-25T17:40:10Z 2021-03-25T17:27:12Z Veteran right-handers Ivan Nova and Hector Rondon have requested and been granted their release by the Phillies, per a club announcement. They were both in camp on minor league deals and hoping to win roster spots. Both had out clauses in their deals.

    The 34-year-old Nova was signed in late January — not long after president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski voiced a desire to add some veteran rotation depth on minor league pacts. However, his hopes of making the Opening Day roster were likely dashed just a few weeks after he inked his deal; the Phillies signed both Matt Moore and Chase Anderson to one-year, Major League contracts in early February. A poor showing in camp didn’t do him any favors, either. Nova yielded 10 runs on 15 hits and an uncharacteristic nine walks in 12 1/3 innings of work, striking out six along the way.

    Rondon, 33, has been tagged for six earned runs on eight hits in seven innings, but he has a more encouraging 8-to-2 K/BB ratio in that time. The Phillies have some openings in their bullpen, but it’s widely expected that Brandon Kintzler and Tony Watson are leading the pack of non-roster invitees competing for those remaining jobs. It’s plausible that one or both of Kintzler and Watson make the club. Both have March 24 opt-outs in their deals — the same as Rondon — but the team hasn’t announced a move regarding either pitcher yet. Assuming both Kintlzer and Watson triggered their out clauses, the Phils have until tomorrow afternoon to add them to the roster or grant them their release.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jeff Mathis Granted Release By Phillies]]> 2021-03-24T14:11:19Z 2021-03-24T14:11:19Z The Phillies announced Wednesday that veteran catcher Jeff Mathis, who was in camp on a minor league contract, has requested and been granted his release by the club. He’s once again a free agent.

    Mathis, 38 next week, went 6-for-29 with a homer and a pair of doubles with the Phillies this spring. His chances of making the roster seemed to improve when J.T. Realmuto sustained a small fracture in his thumb early in camp, but Realmuto has returned to the lineup and is now looking likelier to be ready for the opener. Mathis’ release only seems to add to that likelihood.

    Now back on the market, Mathis will likely seek another opportunity from a club looking to add a glove-first backup behind the plate. Offense has never been Mathis’ calling card, but his bat bottomed out from 2019-20 with Texas, when he produced just a .159/.212/.252 batting line through 312 plate appearances. His work this spring was a bit more encouraging, however, and Mathis has long been regarded as one of the game’s premier defensive players at any position. Even if last year’s defensive ratings took a dip, another club in need of a lightly used backup could show interest in bringing him aboard for his defensive aptitude and the extensive knowledge he can share with the organization’s younger catchers and/or pitchers.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Facing Decisions On Veteran Relievers]]> 2021-03-23T16:05:06Z 2021-03-23T16:03:40Z The Phillies will soon have several decisions on their hands as veterans Brandon Kintzler, Tony Watson and Hector Rondon all have Wednesday opt-outs in their respective minor league deals with the club, per Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    The Phillies’ 40-man roster is full at the moment and doesn’t have an obvious candidate for the 60-day IL, so there aren’t any injury situations that could clear up a roster spot. Lauber notes that manager Joe Girardi prefers to carry a five-man bench and an eight-man bullpen, too, so it doesn’t seem likely that the Phils will simply carry an extra reliever early in the year. Kintzler has had the best showing of the three this spring, tossing 7 2/3 shutout frames. Watson would give the Phillies an experienced lefty to pair with the inconsistent Jose Alvarado and/or the yet-unproven JoJo Romero.

    There are also luxury tax implications tied to these decisions — particularly with regard to Kintzler and Watson. Both signed minor league deals with rather hefty $3MM guarantees should they make the club. Rondon’s deal calls for a $1.5MM base if he makes the team. All three relievers could also earn at least an additional $1MM via incentives.

    With veteran outfielder Matt Joyce also on a minor league pact, the Phils have too many non-roster veterans to carry them all without going over the $210MM luxury barrier. They’re currently about $8.3MM shy of that mark, per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez, and most clubs prefer to leave themselves at least some slight wiggle room for in-season dealings.

    There’s been some speculation throughout camp about the possibility of a Vince Velasquez trade, which would free up $4MM of breathing room. The right-hander’s upside has long tantalized the organization, and he has at times flashed brilliance in the Philadelphia rotation. But Velasquez has yet to demonstrate much consistency through parts of five seasons. It’s also worth noting that since the Phils made the decision to tender him a contract, they’ve hired a new president of baseball operations (Dave Dombrowski), a new general manager (Sam Fuld) and signed a pair of veteran arms to fill out the rotation: Chase Anderson and Matt Moore.

    Velasquez himself told reporters earlier this spring that he knew he wasn’t a lock to be tendered a contract, and Lauber has previously reported that the Phillies at least “gauged interest” in Velasquez even after tendering him a contract. The situation is complicated somewhat by the fact that Velasquez has been sidelined by an oblique issue of late (link via’s Todd Zolecki), though he threw from 60 feet over the weekend.

    As has been well-documented by now, teams are going to be more reliant on their rotation depth than ever before while monitoring workloads in the wake of last year’s shortened season. Because of that, there’s good reason to keep Velasquez around — even if he’s in the bullpen as a long man to begin the season. That appears the likeliest outcome at this point, leaving the Phils with some crucial decisions to make by week’s end. Opt-out clauses in minor league deals typically give a club 48 hours to put the player in question on the roster.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Zach Eflin]]> 2021-03-23T04:09:54Z 2021-03-23T04:09:54Z
  • Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin has dealt with a back issue since last week, but it doesn’t look as if it will keep him from making his first start of the regular season. Eflin will throw a simulated game Wednesday and then appear in a Grapefruit League game next Monday, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports. While Eflin’s pitch count might be somewhat limited in early April, he’s still on track to be part of the Phillies’ rotation at the outset of the season. Eflin enjoyed a career year last season with 59 innings of 3.97 ERA/3.50 SIERA pitching and a tremendous strikeout-walk percentage of 22.4.
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