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Phillies trade rumors - Rupp, the Kevins, and Steve...Geltz?
by Scott Butler 1/10/18

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:

January 10

Phillies Avoid Arbitration With Cameron Rupp

The Phillies have avoided arbitration with catcher Cameron Rupp, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter). Rupp will earn a $2.05MM salary for the coming campaign — just a hair shy of the $2.1MM that MLBTR projected he’d earn in his first arbitration year.

Though Rupp was not quite as productive last year as he was in 2016, he has established himself as a decent MLB hitter with a lifetime .234/.298/.407 slash. As that line hints, Rupp delivers good power (30 total home runs over the past two seasons) but not much in the way of on-base skills. Rupp did boost his walk rate to 10.3% in 2017, though his strikeout rate also jumped to 34.4%.

Defensively, the 29-year-old has not graded well as a framer. But Baseball Prospectus has graded Rupp as average in blocking balls in the dirt and controlling the running game.

All told, Rupp is a solid part-time catcher in an appealing contract situation. Given the presence of younger options — Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro — some have wondered whether the Phillies would end up dealing Rupp this winter. That could still come to pass, though the organization likely isn’t in any rush to anoint one or both of those backstops.

January 2

East Notes: Frandsen, Franco, Machado, Orioles

The Phillies announced on Monday that former big leaguers Kevin Frandsen, Kevin Jordan and Kevin Stocker will join their broadcast team. According to the announcement, that trio of former Phillies will rotate through road games and serve as color analysts alongside play-by-play broadcaster Scott Franzke. The 35-year-old Frandsen is the most recent member of the group to have suited up in the Majors, appearing in seven games for the 2015 Giants. Frandsen seemingly never made a formal declaration of his intention to retire as a player, though he has not appeared in a professional game since that 2015 season. It seems fair to assume, then, that he’ll embark upon a new career as he breaks into the media world.

A couple more notes on the Phillies…

January 4

Nationals, Braves Interested In Christian Yelich, J.T. Realmuto

11:59am: The Nationals, too, are interested in both Realmuto and Yelich, writes MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro. The Nats’ interest in Realmuto has been previously reported by the Washington Post and MLB.com, among others, though GM Mike Rizzo’s club hasn’t been prominently linked to Yelich due to its own strong collection of outfielders. Per Frisaro, the Nats could have interest in trying to land both players, though that’s likely true of many teams.

Frisaro notes that the Marlins would covet both Victor Robles of the Nationals and the Braves’ Acuna, though both clubs would likely be reluctant to part with their top-ranked minor league talents. Rosenthal tweets that the Nationals would be loath to part with either Robles or fellow outfield Juan Soto, for instance. It’s a similar tale for the Phillies — an oft-cited Yelich suitor — as Frisaro writes that Rhys Hoskins would surely appeal to the Marlins, but it stands to reason that he’d be near untouchable after his stellar 2017 debut.

Talks regarding both Yelich and Realmuto are expected to pick up next week, according to Frisaro.

January 3

Phillies Sign Will Middlebrooks To Minor League Deal

4:06pm: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Middlebrooks’ deal with Philadelphia contains a $1.2MM base salary if he makes the big league roster. The contract also has opt-out language to afford Middlebrooks the right to pursue opportunities in Asia should they arise.

3:58pm: The Phillies announced 10 minor league signees today, including one for former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks. (SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo had previously tweeted that a match between the two sides was likely.)

Philadelphia also announced its previously reported minor league agreements with righties Pedro Beato and Steve Geltz, infielder Pedro Florimon and catcher Eric Fryer. Others joining (or re-joining) the Phils organization include catcher/infielder/outfielder Matt McBride, infielders Heiker Meneses and Mitch Walding, catcher Logan Moore and outfielder Danny Ortiz. All 10 players received invites to Major League Spring Training.

Middlebrooks and McBride are the only two newly revealed signees to bring MLB experience to the table. It’s now been five years since Middlebrooks looked to be a rising star in the Red Sox organization after hitting .288/.325/.509 with 15 homers in 286 plate appearances as a rookie. Since that time, the now-29-year-old Middlebrooks’ star has faded; he’s batted just .210/.256/.356 in 948 plate appearances split between the Red Sox, Padres, Brewers and Rangers. Last year, Middlebrooks hit .211/.231/.368 in 39 PAs with the Rangers.

McBride, 32, played in 92 games with the Rockies and A’s from 2012-16, batting a combined .201/.228/.299 in 202 PAs along the way. He does carry a lifetime .299/.343/.506 batting line in parts of eight Triple-A seasons — during which time he’s logged more than 1000 innings as a catcher, first baseman, left fielder and right fielder.

January 2

Phillies Sign Steve Geltz To Minor League Deal

The Phillies have agreed to a minor league contract with right-handed reliever Steve Geltz, Cotillo tweets. Geltz worked exclusively with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017 and posted a 2.67 ERA, 9.67 K/9 against 4.00 BB/9 and a 37.1 percent groundball rate over 27 innings. The 30-year-old previously saw major league action with the Angels (2012) and Rays (2014-16). Across 104 1/3 big league frames, Geltz owns a 4.23 ERA to accompany 8.54 K/9, 3.71 BB/9 and a 28.8 percent grounder mark.

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