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 last-place Phillies will be open for business at the trade deadline, reports Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. While free agents-to-be like Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava stand out as obvious trade candidates, Zolecki suggests that the Phillies could also listen to offers for some controllable players. That list includes first baseman Tommy Joseph, injured second baseman Cesar Hernandez and shortstop Freddy Galvis. Joseph is currently on a minimum salary and won’t even be eligible for arbitration until 2020, but moving him would enable the Phillies to open up first base for prospect Rhys Hoskins, who’s destroying Triple-A pitching. Hernandez, meanwhile, is on a $2.55MM salary and has three arbitration-eligible years remaining. However, he’s blocking another hot-hitting prospect – Scott Kingery, who’s at Double-A. Galvis is the most expensive of the three right now ($4.35MM) and only has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining. Behind him is J.P. Crawford, who hasn’t hit much at Triple-A since debuting there last year. Nevertheless, he still ranks as Baseball America’s 19th-best prospect.
Here’s the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love…
Maikel Franco is “more than available” in trade talks, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Franco is struggling through a terrible 2017 season that has seen him hit just .224/.284/.371 over 285 plate appearances — between Franco’s subpar hitting, fielding and baserunning, he has delivered below replacement-level (-0.6 fWAR) production. A trade would be surprising given that Franco was seen as a potential building block piece for the Phillies less than two years ago, though it’s worth noting that he was also a below-average hitter (92 wRC+) in 2016, his first full season in the majors. Franco’s age (24) and past status as a well-regarded prospect would net him some trade interest, though Philadelphia would definitely be selling low on the third baseman.
The Phillies have already received a “standing offer” for Pat Neshek, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports. The veteran reliever is expected to draw wide interest in the weeks leading to the trade deadline and as Salisbury notes, the Phils must believe they can do better than the current offer on the table. It’s hard to predict who the Neshek suitor is, given the widespread need for bullpen help across the league (though feel free to speculate on the #MysteryTeam in the comments section!)
The Adeiny Hechavarria trade buzz could be of interest to the Phillies as a gauge on what Freddy Galvis could net on the open market, Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Galvis is seven months younger than Hechavarria, also a free agent after the 2018 season and is better known for his glove than his bat, though Galvis did manage 20 homers last year. Over their careers, Galvis has been worth 5.1 fWAR over 2059 PA as compared to Hechavarria’s 1.7 fWAR in 2402 PA. Gelb reasons that a team who fails to land Hechavarria could turn to Galvis as an alternate plan.
Veteran Phillies players Michael Saunders and Jeanmar Gomez were each released, according to the MLB.com transactions page. Both were designated at the same time recently, and the Phils evidently couldn’t find takers in trade — which isn’t terribly surprising given their pronounced struggles and big salaries. Saunders, 30, had a strong 2016 season and has mostly been a better-than-average hitter in the big leagues, so he’ll surely find a new opportunity elsewhere. The same holds for Gomez, who always seemed miscast as a closer but might provide some solid innings in a middle-relief role. Though both can now be had for the league minimum, it would perhaps be a surprise were either to sign directly only a MLB roster at this stage of the season.
The Athletics signed left-hander Patrick Schuster last week, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports. Schuster joined the A’s organization just a couple of days after being released from his minor league deal with the Dodgers. This is Schuster’s second stint in Oakland, as he made his MLB debut last July before being claimed on waivers by the Phillies in September. Still just 26 and in his ninth year as a pro, Schuster has a 3.38 ERA over 474 2/3 IP in the minors (mostly as a reliever) as well as 11 big league games with the A’s and Phillies.
The Nationals have shown interest in Phillies righty Pat Neshek, reports FOX’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Other clubs are interested in the veteran setup man as well, he notes, which comes as little surprise given Neshek’s affordable salary and strong work thus far in 2017.
Indeed, the 36-year-old Neshek has been nothing short of exceptional for the Phillies since being acquired in an offseason swap with Houston. Through 28 innings out of manager Pete Mackanin’s bullpen, the side-armer has worked to a minuscule 0.64 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 1.3 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate. Though he’s had issues against left-handed batters in recent years, Neshek has held them to a mere .163/.205/.244 slash through an admittedly small sample of 45 batters faced in 2017. He’s had some good fortune on balls in play against lefties, but he’s also significantly dipped his walk rate against hitters that hold the platoon advantage.
Neshek is earning $6.5MM in 2017, and he’s still owed roughly $3.6MM of that sum through season’s end. While trades between division rivals aren’t especially common and are often trickier to work out, Neshek’s status as a rental likely makes it a bit easier for the two sides to align. And, it should of course be noted that the Nats and Phillies have lined up on trades in the past, with Philadelphia recently trading Jonathan Papelbon to Washington in a 2015 swap that netted the Phils right-hander Nick Pivetta.
Much of the focus on the Nationals has been on their need for an established closer, but in reality the team could benefit simply from adding multiple quality relievers. While names like David Robertson, Alex Colome and AJ Ramos may well be kicked around in connection with Washington, the Nats have seen what were perhaps projected as their top four arms — Blake Treinen, Koda Glover, Shawn Kelley and Joe Blanton — each post an ERA north of 5.00 this season. Deepening the relief corps as a whole, and not merely fortifying the ninth inning, figures to be the priority for the Nationals over the summer.
11:01am: Philadelphia has announced the signing of Haseley and six other picks from the first ten rounds of the draft. Second-round pick Spencer Howard, a righty from Cal Poly, will earn a $1.15MM bonus, Callis tweets. That’s shy of the $1,523,800 allocation for the 45th overall pick with which he was taken, though most of those savings will go towards Haseley’s payout.
8:42am: The Phillies have agreed on bonus terms with first-round pick Adam Haseley, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki. (CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury tweeted yesterday that the draftee was in Philadelphia.) While the deal has yet to be finalized, it is likely to be inked in the coming days.
Haseley will take home a $5.1MM bonus, per MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). He was tabbed with the eighth overall pick of the draft, which comes with a $4,780,400 bonus allocation.
It seems that the Phils have largely sorted out their pool money for this year’s amateur haul, as Zolecki also notes that the club has deals in place with the bulk of its top ten picks. That includes second-round pick Spencer Howard and third-rounder Jake Scheiner.
Haseley, an outfielder at the University of Virginia, emerged as a consensus top-ten draft prospect over the course of a huge junior season. The left-handed hitter isn’t seen as a major future power source, but did hit 14 long balls on the year and otherwise delivers strong tools across the board.
Many expect Haseley to be able to handle center field as a professional; that’s the view of ESPN.com’s Keith Law, who ranked him sixth overall. MLB.com’s prospect team isn’t so sure of that, ranking him 10th on the pre-draft board, though they note he has a solid-enough arm to profile in any of the three spots on the grass. While he featured as a two-way player at U.Va., Haseley isn’t valued nearly as highly as a pitching prospect
The Phillies made a rather dramatic roster move today, announcing that righty Jeanmar Gomez and outfielder Michael Saunders have been designated for assignment in one fell swoop. Lefty Hoby Milner and outfielder Cameron Perkins have had their contracts purchased.
While there were never realistic hopes of contention in 2017, the Phillies’ worst-in-baseball 22-and-46 record nevertheless represents a considerable disappointment. These two veterans are hardly the only poor performers, but their pronounced struggles were increasingly hard to ignore.
Still, it’s a bit of a stunner to see the move take place. Gomez was the Phils’ closer for the bulk of 2016 and is earning a cool $4.2MM with one more year of arb control remaining. And Saunders landed in Philadelphia over the winter on a $9MM guarantee. The Phils were hoping they had scored a bargain when his market failed to develop, but will instead punt on the rest of that deal — including the rights to an $11MM option for 2018.
It’s never easy to give up on such highly paid players, but Philadelphia no doubt felt some pressure to shake things up. And the writing seemed to be on the wall for these players, whose continued presence might only have taken opportunities from younger options.
In the case of Gomez, 29, a poor finish last year has carried over — and then some. He has had some strong years in the past, despite frequently lagging peripherals, but currently owns a 7.25 ERA on 31 hits (including seven home runs) in 22 1/3 innings. Though Gomez is generating far more swings and misses than usual, to go with his typically strong groundball rate, he’s also backing himself into a corner with a career-low 53.0% first-pitch strike rate.
The developments are yet more surprising with regard to Saunders, 30, who was streaky but generally quite good in 2016. He’s slashing just .205/.257/.360 with six home runs through 214 plate appearances on the season thus far. Though his .245 BABIP suggests some misfortune, Saunders is also making a lot of soft contact and has seen his typically solid walk rate dive to 6.1%.
As for the newcomers, the 26-year-old Milner gets his first call-up after failing to crack the Indians’ roster as a Rule 5 pick. he has posted a 2.60 ERA with 27 strikeouts and just four walks over 27 2/3 innings at Triple-A. Perkins, also 26, has previously failed to master the highest level of the minors. But the former sixth-round pick is carrying an excellent .298/.388/.476 slash through 241 plate appearances there this year.
Phillies left fielder Howie Kendrick will intrigue both the Red Sox and Yankees if he’s able to play third, writes Cafardo. Kendrick has a bit of experience there (18 games), but the 33-year-old primarily lined up at second base before switching to the outfield. Regardless of whether a move to third is on the horizon, the righty-swinging Kendrick has emerged as a likely trade chip for rebuilding Philadelphia, suggests Cafardo (and as MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk and Jeff Todd have recently noted). Kendrick isn’t cheap ($10MM), but the impending free agent has helped his stock with a .324/.383/.467 line in 115 PAs.comments powered by Disqus