- Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez is headed to the DL with right elbow inflammation, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. The club doesn’t believe it’s a serious issue, however. The 19-year-old right-hander, Baseball America’s 16th-ranked prospect (subscription required), has logged a 2.51 ERA with 8.68 K/9 and 2.12 BB/9 in 46 2/3 innings at the High-A level this season. He was closing in on a Double-A promotion prior to the DL placement, according to Salisbury, but that’s now on hold.
- Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins could return from the DL on Saturday, Matt Breen of Philly.com reports. That would represent a quick comeback for a player who suffered a fractured jaw May 28. In other positive news for the Phillies, the club has ruled out the possibility of thoracic outlet syndrome for injured righty Jerad Eickhoff, general manager Matt Klentak announced. Still, even though the Phillies have “ruled out a lot of bad stuff” for Eickhoff, according to Klentak, they’re unsure what’s causing the numbness in his fingers. Both that problem and a strained lat have shelved Eickhoff for the entire season thus far.
Manny Machado will likely be the most talked-about name on the trade market this summer, and it would appear that teams are already beginning to inquire with the Orioles about his services. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette confirmed to FanRag’s Jon Heyman that rival clubs have expressed interest, though he unsurprisingly declined to elaborate much.
“We don’t need to negotiate in the press, but I can tell you there are more teams interested now (than the winter),” said Duquette. “If you’re interested in making an impact, this is the player.”
Heyman does report, though, that the Phillies are among the teams that have already reached out on the superstar infielder. The Braves, he adds, have yet to inquire. Philadelphia’s interest in Machado is hardly a surprise given that president Andy MacPhail is the former head of baseball ops in the Orioles front office, while GM Matt Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice all came up through the Baltimore front office as well.
Heyman also notes that the Orioles’ asking price on Machado is believed by other teams to be far too high at the moment. It’s common in virtually any negotiation (trade or free agent), of course, for the early asking price to be considerably loftier than the ultimate price. Heyman cites a “Phillies-connected person” in suggesting that the Orioles have sought four young players in return for their star.
Certainly, that’s a lot to ask, though any package would typically be headlined by one or two high-level talents and a few secondary pieces. As Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote yesterday (subscription link), the O’s will want a package comparable to the Aroldis Chapman return from 2016, when the Cubs sent Gleyber Torres and three lesser others — Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford and veteran Adam Warren — to the Yankees to rent Chapman for a few months. Some have expressed skepticism about the possibility of that type of return after J.D. Martinez and Yu Darvish fetched more modest returns, though Rosenthal rightly notes that Machado would be the best position-player rental on the market in recent history.
The Cubs have already come up as an oft-speculated landing spot, though president of baseball ops Theo Epstein emphatically quashed those rumors late last month when he termed such speculation to be off in “fantasy land” and said trade negotiations to that point in the season had been “nil.” The Dodgers, too, are frequently mentioned as a possibility in the wake of Corey Seager’s Tommy John surgery, while the Diamondbacks were among the most heavily linked clubs to Machado in the offseason. Certainly, other clubs figure to join the fray as the deadline approaches, as many teams aren’t yet sure what type of trajectory they’ll plot in late July.
Righty Drew Hutchison has elected free agency after clearing outright waivers, the Phillies announced today. He had been designated for assignment recently.
Hutchison, 27, worked to a 4.64 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 over his 21 1/3 innings on the year. To be fair, much of the damage came in two long-relief appearances during a stretch in which he appeared just twice in a 26-day span.
In parts of five seasons in the majors, Hutchison owns a 4.92 ERA with 8.3 K/9 against 3.0 BB/9 over 439 innings. He’ll surely have little trouble catching on somewhere, though it’s anyone’s guess when he’ll receive his next shot at the MLB level.
- In a chat with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury and other reporters, Phillies scouting director Johnny Almaraz implied that the team will look to take a college player with the third overall pick in tomorrow’s amateur draft. Alvarez agreed with the general outlook that the draft is deep in quality college talent, noting “I see a lot of clubs moving in that direction where we’re going to try and get on these college players pretty quickly.” Oregon State infielder Nick Madrigal, Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm, and Florida pitcher Brady Singer have all been noted as potential picks for the Phils, and Salisbury believes one of the trio will be the choice, barring an unexpected development (like the Tigers passing on Casey Mize as the first overall pick).
- Despite suffering a fractured jaw this past Monday, Phillies left fielder Rhys Hoskins told reporters (including Matt Breen of Philly.com) that it’s possible he’ll be able to return as early as June 9. Whether that happens will depend on the news Hoskins receives during his follow-up appointment with the Phillies’ oral surgeon next week, per Breen.
- The Reds acquired right-hander Tommy Bergjans from the Phillies in exchange for cash, also per Eddy. Bergjans, 25, went from the Dodgers to the Phillies in the 2016 Carlos Ruiz/A.J. Ellis trade. He struggled to a 6.57 ERA with solid control but just 7.1 K/9 and a whopping 2.37 HR/9 in 50 1/3 innings at the Double-A level last season. He’s allowed just two runs through seven innings this season but has failed to record a strikeout in that time.
3:51pm: The injury will not require surgery and is considered “weeks thing, not a months thing,” Matt Gelb of The Athletic was among those to tweet.
2:14pm: The Phillies announced on Thursday that they’ve placed Rhys Hoskins on the DL with a fractured jaw and recalled outfield prospect Dylan Cozens from Triple-A Lehigh Valley in his place. Additionally, the Phils recalled right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. and cleared a spot on the roster by designating fellow righty Drew Hutchison for assignment.
Hoskins incurred the fracture on Monday this week when he fouled a ball into his jaw and was forced to exit the game. Initial x-rays proved to be negative, it seems, as Hoskins somewhat remarkably hit a pinch-hit double a day later on Tuesday. However, a CT scan revealed the fracture last night. At the time, he was reportedly set to return to Philadelphia for further evaluation by an oral surgeon. The Phillies have yet to announce the findings of that exam, though surgery was at least mentioned as a possible option.
Until the Phils make that announcement, there’s no way of knowing just how long Hoskins will be sidelined. In his absence, though, the organization will turn to former Cozens, the former second-rounder who has long held intrigue due to his light-tower power but has also displayed considerable struggles making contact in Triple-A.
It’s the first call to the Majors for the 23-year-old Cozens, who garnered plenty of attention with a 40-homer campaign as a 22-year-old in Double-A. Cozens posted an overall .276/.350/.591 batting line that season in a year which he and Hoskins were teammates who served as a source of great excitement for Phils fans. However, while Hoskins ascended to the Majors late in 2017 and took the big leagues by storm over the season’s final two months, Cozens struggled with a strikeout rate north of 35 percent in Triple-A. Overall, between 2017 and 2018, he’s batted just .214/.307/.424 with a 36.4 percent strikeout rate in 739 PAs at the Triple-A level.
With Hoskins on the shelf, the Phils could utilize Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr as the primary outfielders, although given Altherr’s struggles against righties, perhaps the makings of a corner-outfield platoon are present at Citizens Bank Park.
As for Hutchison, the 27-year-old made the Opening Day roster after coming to camp on a minor league deal, but he’s scarcely been used by skipper Gabe Kapler in recent weeks. Hutchison posted a 2.76 ERA with a 16-to-8 K/BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings of relief from Opening Day through May 4, but he appeared just two more times over the remainder of the month. The Cardinals tagged him for five runs in a long relief appearance on May 18, and he allowed a run in two innings to the Dodgers yesterday.
In all, Hutchison has a 4.64 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 5.5 BB/9 in 21 1/3 innings this season. He has experience starting in the Majors and is earning a fairly minimal salary, so perhaps a club in need of some rotation depth or a long man in the ’pen would be interested in adding him to its ranks, be it via waivers or a minor trade.
A CT scan taken of Rhys Hoskins’ jaw revealed a fracture that will likely send the slugger to the disabled list, writes Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Hoskins, who fouled a ball into his jaw Monday, is headed back to Philadelphia for further examination by an oral surgeon to determine whether he’ll require surgery or simply just rest and rehab. Salisbury’s colleague, Corey Seidman, writes that the Phillies look poised to recall prospect Dylan Cozens from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace Hoskins on the active roster.
Hoskins, 25, took the NL by storm in an explosive rookie season last year, hitting .259/.396/.618 with 18 homers and seven doubles in just 212 trips to the plate. His 2018 work has been solid but diminished, as he’s currently sporting a .233/.363/.415 slash with six homers in 216 PAs with a considerably higher strikeout rate (21.7 percent in 2017, 28.2 percent in 2018).
With Hoskins out of action for the time being, the Phils will likely turn to Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr as their primary outfield contingent, though Cozens will surely be dropped into the mix as well. It’s not clear how long Hoskins would be out in either the surgical or non-surgical route of treatment just yet, but manager Gabe Kapler did call a trip to the disabled list likely.
For the 23-year-old Cozens, this’ll represent the first call to the Majors. The 2012 second-round pick has long been considered to be among the Phillies’ top farmhands, but his star has dimmed a bit in recent seasons. Cozens had no trouble with Class-A Advanced pitching (.282/.335/.411) and utterly obliterated Double-A pitchers at the age of 22 (.282/.352/.594), but he faceplanted with a .210/.301/.418 slash in 542 Triple-A PAs last season.
More troubling was Cozens’ 35.8 percent strikeout rate in Lehigh Valley last year, and while his overall batting line has improved to .228/.323/.432, his strikeout rate is up to 38.3 percent. Cozens has walked in 11 percent of his plate appearances in Triple-A, helping to salvage a decent OBP, but his contact issues do present concern about how he’ll handle MLB pitching. As Seidman notes, though, the left-handed-hitting Cozens has been markedly better against right-handed pitching and does have a 40-homer season on his resume in the minors, so he’ll likely be utilized in a platoon capacity in his first stint with the Phils.
The Phillies announced that they’ve selected the contract of infielder Mitch Walding from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and created a spot on the 40-man roster by shifting righty Jerad Eickhoff from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. Walding will step into the spot that had been previously occupied by Pedro Florimon, who has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. Florimon sustained a broken bone last night when he fouled a ball into his foot.
Walding, 25, has played third base almost exclusively in the minors, so he won’t be able to replicate Florimon’s ability to handle shortstop. But he’ll bring a productive Triple-A bat to the table, having slashed .271/.379/.484 through 182 plate appearances so far in his first crack at the Triple-A level. Though Walding’s 29.7 percent strikeout rate and .372 BABIP in Lehigh Valley suggest that his overall line is likely to regress, he’s also walked at a 14.3 percent clip and largely continued the uptick in power he displayed at the Double-A level in 2017, when he smacked a career-high 25 homers.
As for Eickhoff, the move is largely a procedural one. The right-hander was placed on the 10-day disabled list at the beginning of the season due to a strained lat muscle, and the team recently halted his rehab program after he experienced some numbness in his fingertips. Eickhoff wouldn’t have returned by the 60-day mark of the season anyhow, and the move to the 60-day DL doesn’t reset his DL “clock,” so to speak, meaning he’ll still be eligible to be activated whenever the Phillies deem him healthy enough to embark on and complete a new minor league rehab assignment. That said, it’s not clear at all just when Eickhoff might be medically cleared to do so.