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The Phillies announced that they’ve hired former Twins general manager Terry Ryan as a special assignment scout. The move will reunite Ryan with team president Andy MacPhail, whom he knows well from the pair’s days together in Twins organization back in the 80s and early 90s, when Ryan came up through the Twins’ system and rose to the position of vice president of player personnel under then-GM MacPhail.
While Ryan’s Twins were an unequivocal disappointment in 2016 and many of his most recent free-agent signings haven’t panned out, he’s long been respected throughout the industry for his scouting acumen. A two-time Sporting News Executive of the Year, Ryan will bring more than three decades of scouting and front office experience to the Phillies’ front office and to their player evaluation process.
“I’m very happy to be joining the Phillies and have the opportunity to provide some impact and evaluation,” said Ryan in a press release announcing the move. “This is an exciting time for the franchise as they have what many in the industry consider to be one of the top farm systems in baseball.”
“I have known Terry for more than a decade and have enormous respect for all that he accomplished during his tenure with the Twins,” said GM Matt Klentak in the release. “Terry’s work ethic, loyalty and track record as a talent evaluator are simply unparalleled in our game. … “While we have made significant investments in our analytical endeavors over the past year, it is important to remember that quality talent evaluation is essential to making quality baseball decisions. We are thrilled to welcome Terry to the Phillies.”
Scott: That puts four former GM's in the front office: Ryan joins Pat Gillick, Ed Wade, and Dallas Green.
There’s mutual interest between the Phillies and veteran catcher A.J. Ellis about a reunion for the 2017 season, reports ESPN’s Jayson Stark. The Phils would like to have Ellis back and consider him both a leader and an “unofficial coach,” Stark notes.
The 35-year-old Ellis (36 in April) went from the Dodgers to the Phils alongside Tommy Bergjans and Joey Curletta in a surprising August swap that sent fellow veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz to Los Angeles. Ellis logged just 11 games with the Phils but showed well, hitting .333/.371/.500 in a tiny sample of 35 plate appearances. Those numbers brought up his overall season production a bit, but he still finished the year with an overall disappointing line of .216/.301/.298.
As it stands, the Phils project to have Cameron Rupp as their everyday catcher on the heels of a solid season. Rupp hit .252/.303/.447 with 16 homers and controlled the running game at an average rate (27 percent) while drawing slightly below-average framing marks from Baseball Prospectus. Ellis would profile as a backup to the 28-year-old Rupp and would offer a veteran source of advice for a pitching staff that, outside of right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, is quite young and lacks significant experience. None of Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez or Jerad Eickhoff has thrown even 250 innings in the Major Leagues, and the Phils’ fifth starter will likely have even less experience. (Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Zach Eflin and Ben Lively are among the candidates.)
Ellis would also serve as a stopgap to catching prospects Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp, both of whom come with MLB upside but likely require additional minor league seasoning. If Ellis ultimately lands elsewhere, the free-agent market offers many other options for the Phils, as names like Kurt Suzuki, Alex Avila, Geovany Soto, Ryan Hanigan, Jeff Mathis and Chris Iannetta, among others, are all available this offseason.
Righty David Buchanan has been given his release by the Phillies, per a club announcement. He was designated for assignment recently as the team overhauled its 40-man roster. Buchanan ought to draw interest from teams looking for rotation depth. He pitched to a 3.75 ERA over twenty big league starts in 2014, though he was hammered to the tune of a 6.99 earned run average in his 15 starts in the following year. Buchanan fared better at Triple-A in 2016, though, posting a 3.98 ERA over 167 1/3 innings.
The Nationals have acquired minor league righty Jimmy Cordero from the division-rival Phillies, per a club announcement. Philadelphia will receive cash or a player to be named in the agreement.
Cordero, who recently turned 25, was designated for assignment as part of the Phillies’ house-cleaning effort in advance of the recent deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft. Though he hasn’t appeared in the majors, he was added to the 40-man last winter to prevent other organizations from staking a Rule 5 claim on him.
Arm issues limited Cordero to just 22 appearances last year, spread across the Phillies’ farm system. But he showed promise in 2015, when he ran up 67 innings of 2.55 ERA pitching with 8.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Cordero was acquired by the Phils in the middle of that season in the deal that sent Ben Revere to the Blue Jays.
Phillies GM Matt Klentak recently explained why the organization had made the decision to move Cordero off of the big league roster. “A year ago at this time, we were pretty high on Jimmy,” Klentak said. “His year was not as productive as we had hoped and as he had hoped. It becomes a numbers game. That may sound cliche, but truly that’s the reality of it. We like him a lot and we would love to keep him in the organization, if possible.”
Instead of stick in Philly, Cordero will move south to D.C. For the Nats, he represents a reasonably high-upside arm on which to take a chance. Scouts have been intrigued in the past by Cordero’s sometimes-triple-digit velocity and promising slider. While the control hasn’t always been there and his health is now in question, there’s some reason to believe that he could be ready for major league action in the near-term.comments powered by Disqus