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Phillies trade rumors - Maikel Franco "more than available"
by Scott Butler 6/26/17

Philadelphia Phillies Trade Rumors

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:

June 25

Phillies Could Listen To Offers For Trio Of Infielders

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 NeshekHowie KendrickJeremy HellicksonJoaquin 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 Josephinjured 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.

June 24

Phillies Notes: Franco, Neshek, Galvis

Here’s the latest from the City Of Brotherly Love…

June 24

Phillies Release Michael Saunders, Jeanmar Gomez

June 22

Nationals Among Teams With Interest In Pat Neshek

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 RobertsonAlex 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 TreinenKoda GloverShawn 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.

June 21

Phillies Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Adam Haseley

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 Haseleyaccording 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

June 20

Phillies Designate Jeanmar Gomez, Michael Saunders

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.

June 17

Phillies Rumors: Stanton, Yelich, Kendrick

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.

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