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:
This is the second trade since last August involving the 31-year-old Venditte, whom Seattle acquired from Toronto for minor league infielder Tim Lopes. A 20th-round pick of the Yankees in 2008, Venditte debuted in the majors with the Athletics in 2015 and has since logged a 4.97 ERA, 7.46 K/9, 4.09 BB/9 and 36.2 percent ground-ball rate in 50 2/3 innings. Twenty-two of those frames came last year for Venditte, who ran up a 5.73 ERA between the Blue Jays and Mariners.
While he possesses the ultra-rare capability of being able to pitch with either arm, Venditte has been far more successful as a southpaw, having held left-handed hitters to a .179/.242/.366 line. Righty-swingers have handled him, evidenced by a .277/.380/.523 line. Currently pitching for Italy in the World Baseball Classic, Venditte will join the Phillies as a non-roster player when the team is eliminated or the tournament ends, per Jayson Stark of ESPN (Twitter link).
Curletta, who turned 23 this past Monday, has also been involved in a pair of trades since last year. The Phillies acquired him from the Dodgers in September to complete the deal that featured catchers Carlos Ruiz and A.J. Ellis. The Dodgers chose Curletta in the sixth round of the 2012 draft, and he has since ascended to the Double-A level. Curletta struggled there last year, though, as he hit just .206/.280/.371 in 107 plate appearances.
Baseball America previously wrote that the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Curletta is a “physical monster” with “light-tower power” as a right-handed hitter. However, scouts have questioned whether he’ll hit in the big leagues, and BA noted that doesn’t provide any speed or defensive value. Curletta will now head to the Mariners’ minor league camp, tweets Greg Johns of MLB.com.
Fellow young hot corner slugger Maikel Franco agreed to a $560K deal with the Phillies. Franco, 22, went through a similar sophomore slump as Sano while matching him in the long ball department. These two seem likely to be compared for years to come. Franco, though, will likely qualify for arbitration a year earlier, as he’ll easily reach Super Two status next winter so long as he stays on the MLB roster for the bulk of the upcoming season.
As his organization embarks on a year in which it hopes to see continued growth, Phillies GM Matt Klentak discussed the state of the club on MLB Network on Sirius XM (Twitter link). Klentak says he sees “a lot of growth,” with many young players joining major league camp for the first time. The club’s winter strategy was to “do everything we can to supplement this group” of young talent, he says, while being careful “not to stunt the development of our young players.” As for hyped shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford, Klentak says that having two established middle infielders in Freddy Galvis and Cesar Hernandez allows the team to avoid rushing him to the bigs after an aggressive promotional timeline through the minors.
Roy Halladay is in camp with the Phillies as a special guest instructor this week and tells Ryan Lawrence of PhillyVoice.com that he’s enjoying his time working with the team’s younger pitchers. Halladay, who also coaches his son’s 12-U team and his other son’s varsity high school team, seems to enjoy passing his knowledge on to younger arms but tells Lawrence that he’s not yet sure if this current position will lead to a more permanent role with the Phillies organization. “I think that’s something we’re still talking about,” the former Cy Young winner tells Lawrence. “There are all kinds of options. … I’m going to enjoy this first week here, being a guest coach, and see where things go. We’ll continue talking, but, you know, I think it’s always trying to find a good fit, too.” Young Philadelphia righty Jake Thompson lauded Halladay’s baseball acumen and explained to Lawrence that he and the team’s other young arms relish the opportunity to learn from one of the best arms of the past generation.
The Phillies may have hoped that Thompson (wrist) and fellow righty Zach Eflin (knee) were a bit further along in their injury rehab timelines by this point, but at least the club is seeing progress, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. Both are throwing live BP sessions, with the possibility of reaching game readiness by next week. Eflin says he’s feeling stronger than ever as he continues working back from surgery to both knees, while Thompson says he’s healthy but is “still knocking off a little rust.” It remains to be seen whether either will be ready to open the season on time, but surely both are destined for Triple-A regardless.