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:
The Phillies have been aggressively shopping for controllable pitching this winter, as the team has “inquired on just about every young starter that could be traded this winter,” Matt Gelb and Matt Breen of Philly.com report. This list of targets include their previously-reported interest in Chris Archer, and the Phillies also checked in with the Blue Jays about Marcus Stroman and the Royals about Danny Duffy.
It’s clear that Philadelphia is looking to take its rebuild to the next level, after signing Carlos Santana and even adding veteran relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek on multi-year contracts. The rotation remains a major need for the club — Aaron Nola is the only member of a young projected starting five that looks like a solid bet for 2018. It has been expected that the Phillies would try to land at least one veteran innings-eater this winter, though they’re apparently also setting their sights higher for a pitcher that could contribute when the team returns to contention.
Of the two new names mentioned in the Phillies’ search, Stroman is by far the less likely to be available. The Jays are planning to contend in 2018, and moving Stroman would be an even bigger indicator of a total rebuild than even a trade of Josh Donaldson, given that Donaldson is only under contract for one more season. Stroman, by contrast, still has three years of arbitration eligibility remaining. MLBTR projects him to earn $7.2MM this winter through the arb process, and while Stroman’s price tag will continue to grow through his arbitration years, Toronto will happily shoulder that cost if Stroman keeps producing as he did in 2017. Stroman posted a 3.09 ERA, 7.3 K/9, 2.65 K/BB rate and a league-best 62.1% grounder rate over 201 innings, cracking the 200-inning threshold for the second consecutive season.
Duffy, on the other hand, has already drawn a lot of trade attention this winter, with the Cubs, Yankees, and Orioles reportedly among the teams interested. The Royals seem to be on the verge of a rebuild given all of their expected free agent losses, though they aren’t yet “aggressively shopping” Duffy’s services. It was just 11 months ago that K.C. locked Duffy up on a five-year, $65MM extension with the hope that he would be one of the cornerstone pieces of the next era of Royals baseball, though it remains to be seen just how extensive a rebuild the Royals may have in mind. If the team hopes to reload over a year or two, Duffy will still be an asset for when Kansas City aims to once again open a contention window.
If a longer rebuild is necessary, the $60MM remaining on Duffy’s contract makes him a logical trade chip. The Phillies certainly have the open payroll space to accommodate his salary; Santana, Neshek, Hunter, and Odubel Herrera are the only players beyond the 2018 season. Philadelphia has widely been expected to target the top stars of next year’s free agent class, though the team has gotten a jump-start on that plan now by landing Santana. Given the Phillies’ payroll flexibility, they could try to land their desired pitching help by offering to take another big and/or undesirable contract off the the other team’s hands with little prospect capital going back in return. (In the Royals’ case, for instance, the Phillies could offer to take on Ian Kennedy’s deal in order to land Duffy.)
Even with Carlos Santana, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek now aboard, the Phillies may not contend for a playoff spot in 2018. However, those signings are credibility-building moves that will help the team make progress in the win-loss column next season, thus making it a more attractive option for premier free agents in a year, Matt Gelb of Philly.com observes. According to Gelb, the club has done a lot of planning around next winter’s class, one that’s currently slated to include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and other superstars.
The Giants expressed some interest in Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the Winter Meetings, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia (Twitter link). It’s unclear, though, whether the two sides engaged in any substantive talks. The 25-year-old Franco’s value clearly isn’t at its peak, as he has fallen flat since a terrific 80-game debut in 2015. He’s now coming off a season in which he hit a woeful .230/.281/.409 in 623 plate appearances. Franco will try to rebound in 2018, his first of four potential arbitration years (he’ll earn a projected $3.6MM).
The Astros and Phillies have interest in Rays right-hander Chris Archer, joining a slew of previously reported clubs, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. The Rays clearly wouldn’t have any trouble finding a taker for Archer, thanks to his track record, age (29) and team-friendly contract (four years, $34MM). Teammate and face of the franchise Evan Longoria, the Rays’ longtime third baseman, is three years older than Archer and costs far more (a guaranteed $86MM over a half-decade). But that doesn’t seem to be a prohibitive price tag, as the three-time All-Star is drawing some interest from the division-rival Yankees as well as the Giants, Mets and previously reported Cardinals, according to Topkin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 MLB.com 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).
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 MLB.com 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.
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.
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.
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 Galvisfrom the Phillies in exchange for minor league right-hander Enyel De Los Santos. The teams have yet to announce the trade.
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 MLB.com. He fell shy of Baseball America’s offseason list of the Padres’ top 10 prospects, though BA’s Kyle Glaser tweetsthat 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 MLB.com 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).
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 Brewers’ Jonathan 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.
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.
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 MLB.com, 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.
With a pair of relief signings being wrapped up, the Phillies seem to feel good about that aspect of their roster. Per MLB.com’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 FanRagwrites. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Neshekand 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 yesterdaythat 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 Sportsnet.ca’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. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnickreports 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.
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.
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, MASNsports.com’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.
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 MASNsports.comreports. 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.
The Pirates have claimed infielder Engelb Vielma off waivers from the Phillies, Adam Berry of MLB.com 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.
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.
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.