Phillies trade rumors - For Blanco, Philly was only choice
by Scott Butler 2/22/17

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:

February 21

Andres Blanco On Re-Signing With Phillies

In the weeks between the opening of free agency in November and Andres Blanco’s December re-signing with the Phillies, the utility infielder refused to entertain other teams’ advances, he told Matt Gelb of“Just wait. They will call,” Blanco advised his agent, referring to the Phillies. They finally did – with a $3MM offer – in part because Blanco’s a respected figure in the team’s clubhouse and a favorite of manager Pete Mackanin, per Gelb. It helps that the 32-year-old has also been quite productive in Philadelphia, having slashed .274/.337/.457 in 523 plate appearances since 2014.

February 20

Jeremy Hellickson Likely To Be Phillies' Opening Day Starter

The Phillies seem inclined to hand the ball to righty Jeremy Hellickson when they start play this season, as Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes“He’s probably got the best chance to be our Opening Day starter,” said manager Pete Mackanin. Hellickson, who took the organization’s $17.2MM qualifying offer rather than testing the open market, will be aiming to replicate a solid 2016 season and then test free agency without being saddled with draft compensation. (Under the new CBA, he won’t be eligible to receive a second qualifying offer.)

February 19

Re-Examining The Jayson Werth Signing

Werth’s decision to leave the Phillies for a seven-year, $126MM free agent deal from the Nationals after the 2010 season generated a lot of controversy at the time, directed at both the Nats for seemingly overpaying and at Werth for leaving a contender to join a perennial also-ran.  In hindsight, however, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes that Werth made the right choice in leaving the Phils just before their decline began, and just before the Nationals grew into an NL East power.  “My focus was on winning, but at the time that’s not really what it looked like.  Everybody was like, ’The Nats were crazy, Werth is money hungry’ and whatever else was said,” Werth said.  “Honestly, I was in a position to pick and choose what I wanted to do.  What I thought was cool about the Nats was that it was a total underdog situation, but they had good owners…and a core group of players with a high ceiling.  It was a situation where I thought we could build something.”

February 16

Mackanin: Gomez Is Phillies' Closer

Sticking with the NL East closer theme, Phillies skipper Pete Mackanin feels that right-hander Jeanmar Gomez “deserves” to be the team’s closer, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mackanin acknowledged that Gomez had a dreadful drop-off in production late in the 2016 season but likened his faith in Gomez to the faith former manager Charlie Manuel showed in Brad Lidge back in 2009. “Charlie showed [Lidge] confidence and stayed with him,” Mackanin said, referencing a dismal season for Lidge (7.21 ERA in 58 1/3 innings). “I think it was the right thing to do.” Mackanin did acknowledge that both Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos have “shown closer’s stuff,” but he stressed that Gomez is the current closer. The 29-year-old Gomez carried a 2.97 ERA into the 2016 season’s final month before being shelled for 17 earned runs in his final eight innings.

February 13

Andy MacPhail On Phillies' Spending Plans

Phillies president Andy MacPhail shared his thoughts on the status of the organization’s rebuild with’s Todd Zolecki. Expressing his agreement with the offseason maneuverings of GM Matt Klentak, MacPhail emphasized that he’s expecting tangible progress, but won’t necessarily reduce his assessment to the team’s win-loss record. Notably, MacPhail suggested that the organization could be readying to further open its substantial pocketbook next winter. The organization’s fairly significant investment in short-term veterans this winter was driven by ownership’s determination to improve the on-field product, he indicated, and it seems that yet further spending is contemplated for the future. MacPhail acknowledged that the Phillies could “absolutely” boost their payroll into the top half or third of the league by the 2018 season.

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