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 Phillies announced that they’ve signed right-hander Juan Gutierrez to a minor league contract. The 31-year-old Gutierrez, a client of Godoy Sports, had recently opted out of his minor league deal with the Giants. He’ll head to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the time being.
Gutierrez joins Kevin Correia as the second player to sign with the Phillies today after opting out of his minor league deal. (Correia, however, received a big league deal.) He’ll provide the Phillies with an experienced depth piece that should have a chance to join a somewhat overworked bullpen that has relied very heavily on Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Giles, Jeanmar Gomez, Justin De Fratus and the struggling Luis Garcia. (Lefty Jake Diekman, one of their most oft-used relievers, was just optioned to Triple-A due to his own struggles.)
Last year, Gutierrez tallied a 3.96 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 36.8 percent ground-ball rate in 63 2/3 innings. His fastball averaged a healthy 93.5 mph, and his career mark in that regard is 94 mph. Gutierrez struggled a bit early on in the Triple-A season this year and wound up posting a 4.39 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 26 2/3 innings with Sacramento. He made a rare start on his final day with the Giants organization and fired three scoreless innings, yielding one walk and one hit with a pair of strikeouts before electing free agency. Gutierrez has a 4.49 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 286 1/3 big league innings.
2:35pm: Correia will receive a $650K base salary and can earn up to $400K via incentives, tweets ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The prorated amount of that salary comes out to about $427K from here through season’s end.
1:53pm: The Phillies announced that they have signed right-hander Kevin Correia to a Major League deal. Correia, a client of Damon Lapa and Scott Leventhal’s All Bases Covered Sports Management, will join the team for its series in Cincinnati.
Correia, 34, wrapped up a two-year $10MM deal last season that was originally issued by the Twins (though he finished the deal as a member of the Dodgers). The veteran hurler was a serviceable source of league-average innings for the 2013 Twins, totaling 185 1/3 frames with a 4.18 ERA, 4.9 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 44 percent ground-ball rate. He was hit hard in 2014, though, finishing with a 5.44 ERA and a .301/.345/.473 opponents’ batting line.
That rough year led to a minor league deal with the Mariners for Correia, but he went the free agent route late in Spring Training upon learning that he wouldn’t make Seattle’s 25-man roster. Correia returned to the Giants — the organization that originally selected him in the fourth round of the 2002 draft — and pitched quite well for their Triple-A affiliate. In 37 2/3 innings there, Correia notched a 3.58 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.
In the press release announcing this move, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said: “Kevin fills a need by adding depth, durability and experience to our pitching staff. We hope that he can give us quality innings to take some heat off the bullpen.” That seems to indicate that Correia will be given a shot to hold down a spot in the starting rotation — a fact that is also evidenced by the fact that that the team optioned young righty Severino Gonzalez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley yesterday.
Correia will join Cole Hamels, Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and Sean O’Sullivan in the rotation, though it’s fair to speculate that the starting five could look markedly different in a few months’ time. Hamels and Harang are prime trade candidates, and Correia himself could even be moved if he is throwing well at the deadline. Prospects such as Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin and Ben Lively are in the mix to get a look in the Majors this season, so Correia’s role will be to help bridge the gap to a group that the Phillies hope can help to compose their rotation for years to com.
High school catcher Tyler Stephenson has made a swift rise up many draft boards, including some speculation that the Diamondbacks may take him with the first overall pick. Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic profiles Stephenson, who said that he has attended pre-draft workouts for the D’Backs, Braves and Phillies.
The Phillies have released catcher John Hester, MLBTR’s Steve Adams tweets, noting that Hester had surgery on his meniscus this spring but is now healthy. The 31-year-old has played in ten minor-league games this season. He spent 2014 with Triple-A Salt Lake in the Angels organization, batting .261/.338/.411. He has a career .216/.294/.351 line in 232 big-league plate appearances spread over four seasons with the Diamondbacks and Angels.
Several notable players are en route to the big leagues. The Giants have brought back third baseman Casey McGehee after he hit well in a brief Triple-A stint (having accepted an optional assignment). Fellow veteran Dustin McGowan, a right-hander, has been recalled by the Phillies; he had been outrighted off the 40-man earlier in the year. And the Dodgers have called up outfielder Scott Schebler, the organization’s minor league player of the year in 2013, who will see his first MLB action. He was placed on the club’s 40-man roster last year, though his numbers have fallen off somewhat early this season after two consecutive .900+ OPS campaigns in the high minors.
In this week’s edition of his Inside Baseball column, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports begins by examining the possibility of the Astros making a run at the Phillies‘ Cole Hamels. Houston is seeking a top-of-the-rotation starter, and Hamels is on their radar, Heyman hears, even though he’s something of a long shot. The Astros are seeking a No. 1 or No. 2 starter, one person told Heyman, though Houston GM Jeff Luhnow indicated they’d be interested in any arm that could start Games 1-3 of a playoff series. The Phillies are said to be intrigued by outfield prospects Preston Tucker and Brett Phillips, among others, Heyman notes. Houston won’t part with top prospect Carlos Correa or impressive rookie right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., and they’d prefer to keep righty Vincent Velasquez as well. Heyman adds that it’s uncertain whether or not Hamels would approve a trade to Houston, with one source indicating that they didn’t find the scenario likely. If Hamels were to approve the trade, he’d likely ask that his 2019 option be exercised, and the Phillies would almost certainly have to pay down some of the $24MM he is owed annually, per Heyman.
Some more highlights…
The Yankees are interested in the Athletics‘ Ben Zobrist as an option at second base and also still like Dustin Ackley despite his struggles with the Mariners. New York has been surprised by Jose Pirela‘s troubles to this point, and they still have questions about Rob Refsnyder‘s glove at second base. Heyman adds that the Yankees don’t expect to be big players on Cole Hamels this winter, and they were worried about Mark Teixeira enough this offseason that they checked in on Ryan Howard, though clearly those concerns have dissipated in light of Teixeira’s excellent resurgence.
As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News discussed with host Jeff Todd on yesterday’s MLBTR podcast, the Rangers are likely to be tempted mostly by high-quality arms at the deadline. Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com opines that Texas may be the Phillies‘ best match in terms of prospects. Seidman speculates that a package centering around Jorge Alfaro and Nomar Mazara — two names previously said by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman to be of interest to Philadelphia — makes sense for Cole Hamels, as the Phillies are “desperate” to add a young catcher and would like an outfielder with some pop. Seidman wonders if including a rejuvenated Aaron Harang or paying a chunk of Jonathan Papelbon‘s contract and including him, too, would entice the Rangers. Of course, all of this boils own to speculation at this juncture, but the Rangers do seem to be a fit given their somewhat unexpectedly strong start.
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