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Phillies trade rumors - 2017 Opening Day edition
by Scott Butler 4/3/17

Allen Iverson Bud Selig

MLB Trade Rumors is a site which describes themselves as "a clearinghouse for relevant, legitimate baseball rumors." Each week at Phils Baseball, we grab their latest Phillies rumors and put them all together in one weekly post.

Here are the latest Phillies rumors:

March 30

Nava, Stassi Win Bench Jobs With Phillies

The final two spots on the Phillies’ bench have been won by the well-traveled Daniel Nava and veteran minor leaguer Brock Stassi, per Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com (Twitter link). Nava hit .362/.455/.489 this spring and can serve as a backup to corner outfielders Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick in the Phillies’ new-look outfield. He also has some experience at first base and could serve as a left-handed complement to Tommy Joseph at times, though the same could be said of the 27-year-old Stassi. A veteran of six minor league seasons and the older brother of Astros backstop Max Stassi, Brock Stasi was emotional in discussing what will be his MLB debut (Twitter video link via Philly Voice’s Ryan Lawrence). A former 33rd-round selection, Stassi reached Triple-A for the first time last season and hit .267/.369/.437 before posting an outstanding .333/.397/.702 batting line and six homers this spring.

March 30

Advance Consent Clause Prevented Coghlan From Making Phillies

It seems the Phillies would have carried veteran Chris Coghlan, except that he declined to sign a 45-day advance consent form. While not an oft-discussed clause, the 45-day advance consent allows a team to cut or option a healthy veteran — the clauses can only be offered to players with five or more years of service — for any reason within the first 45 days of the season. Former MLBTR scribe Zach Links (now the editor of our sister site, Pro Football Rumorstook a much deeper look at advance consent clauses back in 2014 after veteran left-hander Randy Wolf somewhat surprisingly requested his release from the Mariners when asked to agree to such a condition.

March 30

Phillies Designate Tyler Goeddel For Assignment, Select Brock Stassi’s Contract

4:56pm: The Phillies have now announced that Goeddel has been designated for assignment in order to clear a 40-man spot for Stassi, whose contract has been officially selected from Triple-A.

4:06pm: The Phillies will designate outfielder Tyler Goeddel for assignment in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi, who has won one of the final bench jobs in Philadelphia, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). The Phillies could look to trade Goeddel, their 2016 Rule 5 pick (out of the Rays organization), in the coming days, Gelb adds.

The 2016 season was a struggle for Goeddel, 24, though that was perhaps to be expected after skipping the Triple-A level entirely as a Rule 5 selection back in 2015. Though Goeddel batted .279/.350/.433 in Double-A back in 2015, Goeddel logged an anemic .192/.258/.291 batting line across 234 plate appearances in his big league debut last season.

Of course, the Phillies didn’t have the option of sending Goeddel to the minors to help him get back on track, as he had to remain on the roster as a Rule 5 pick or else be exposed to waivers and offered back to Tampa Bay. Ultimately, it seems that the waiver route will now be a possibility for Goeddel anyway, though the Phils could also find a trade partner and exchange him for a non-40-man player. Any team that acquires Goeddel, however, would be able to option him to the minors for the 2017 season, as the Rule 5 restrictions no longer apply to Goeddel having survived the 2016 season on Philadelphia’s 25-man roster.

March 30

Maikel Franco Changes Agents

Brewers righty Neftali Feliz and Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco have each switched their representation to California Sports Management, the agency announced on Twitter. Feliz inked a one-year pact to join the Milwaukee pen over the winter; he’ll be looking to set himself up for another foray into free agency after the conclusion of the upcoming season. Franco, meanwhile, is in an interesting situation. He’ll likely qualify as a Super Two next winter, and could conceivably profile as an extension candidate, though he has already agreed to a deal with Fantex that would provide him an up-front guarantee in exchange for a cut of his earnings.

March 28

Orioles Acquire Alec Asher

The Orioles have acquired righty Alec Asher from the Phillies, per a team announcement. Baltimore will send a player to be named in the transaction, which gives Philadelphia an open 40-man spot.

This is the second trade the 25-year-old Asher has been a part of since the Rangers chose him in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Texas sent him to Philadelphia as part of the package to acquire Cole Hamels in 2015, though Asher scuffled that year in his major league debut with the Phillies. Across seven starts and 29 innings, he logged a 9.31 ERA, 4.97 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 36.1 percent ground-ball rate. Asher was far more effective at the big league level last season (2.28 ERA, 4.23 K/9, 1.3 B/9 and a 35.2 percent grounder rate), but he did serve an 80-game Triple-A suspension after testing positive for a testosterone-related performance-enhancing drug.

With two minor league options remaining, Asher figures to see further Triple-A time with Baltimore, though general manager Dan Duquette expects him to contribute to the Orioles this year.

“Asher is a solid major league pitcher who our scouts have liked for a few seasons that we believe will help our club this season,” said Duquette (via Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun). “He has good size, three major league pitches and command of himself and his pitches.”

March 28

Phillies Release Chris Coghlan

The Phillies have announced the release of veteran outfielder/infielder Chris Coghlan. He was an Article XX(B) free agent, meaning today was the deadline for the organization either to promise him an active roster spot or commit to paying him a $100K retention bonus.

Coghlan, 31, had signed a minors pact over the offseason and seemingly had a good chance of cracking the rebuilding Phillies’ roster. But he didn’t do much to win a job with his performance in the Grapefruit League. Coghlan ended up with a .231/.319/.282 batting line in camp.

Still, the veteran has done enough in recent years to think he’s still plenty capable of functioning as a handy MLB bench piece, featuring defensive versatility and quality production against righties. While he got off to a terrible start last season, he finished strong with a .252/.391/.388 batting line over his final 128 plate appearances.

With Coghlan on his way back onto the open market, the Phils may be set to turn to Brock Stassi as a bench option. He certainly has done all he can this spring to earn a shot, with a .320/.370/.680 batting line in game action.

That said, there could be something else afoot, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). The organization may end up dealing a pitcher off of its 40-man roster in a swap that would deliver an alternative bench option, Gelb suggests.

March 27

Phillies Release Bryan Holaday, Ryan Hanigan

Veteran catcher Bryan Holaday has exercised the opt-out clause in his minor-league deal with the Phillies, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The Phillies told Holaday he wouldn’t make the team’s Opening Day roster. The Phillies have also released veteran catcher Ryan Hanigantweets MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. It therefore appears Andrew Knapp has made the team as the backup catcher to Cameron Rupp, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

The Phillies signed Holaday and Hanigan over the winter to provide veteran competition for youngsters Knapp and perhaps Jorge Alfaro. Holaday, though, played somewhat sparingly this spring, receiving just 24 at-bats even though he out-hit Knapp in a small sample. Hanigan hit even better and played even less. Of course, a catcher’s job is about far more than hitting, particularly over just a handful of games, and Knapp (the primary catcher at Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year) appeared to be the favorite for the job heading into camp.

The 29-year-old Holaday has appeared in parts of five big-league seasons, batting .245/.282/.346. He played for the Rangers and Red Sox last year. Hanigan, a ten-year veteran, also played for the Red Sox in 2016.

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