Phillies’ General Manager, Matt Klentak, continued adding to the organization in the second week of the off season. Following the waiver acquisition of RHP Dan Otero on November 2nd, the Phillies FA LHP James Russell on November 12th and traded for Arizona Diambacks’ RHP Jeremy Hellickson. True to his word (and remarkably similar to his predecessor), Klentak is proving that his emphasis will be adding to (improving?) the pitching depth in the organization.Hellickson joins Otero on the 40-man roster. He posted a 9-12 record in the NL West with a 4.62 ERA. He logged 146.0 innings in 27 starts. Hellickson represents a cheap solution to the Phillies’ starting pitching needs for the upcoming season. The departures of Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Chad Billingsley, and the uncertainty of the readiness of the next wave of minor league starting pitchers has left the Phillies with few options to fill their starting pitching needs.
Otero is coming off a horrid season where he posted a 6.75 ERA in 41 appearances. However, that was coming off a season where he made 72 appearances and posted a 2.28 ERA. A return to his earlier success would certainlty bolster the bullpen.
Otero is controllable arm for a few more seasons. He becomes arb eligible after the 2016 season and a free agent after the 2019 season. He made slightly over the league minimum ($512.5K) last season.
Hellickson is a different story. He is coming off a season in which he made $4.275M. This is his last year of arbitration and MLB Trade Rumors’ Tim Dierkes projects his arbitration salary to be $6.6M. Hellickson avoided arbitration the last two years when he signed contracts prior to the arbitration meetings. A good first half could lead to a mid-season trade, but the Boras client is not likely to be tendered at the end of the season.
The Phillies acquired Hellickson for a low minors pitcher, Sam McWilliams. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2014 Amateur Draft. He was among the earliest signings that spring (He and Matt Shortall signed on June 7th.). The 6’7, 190 lb RHP spent his first two seasons in the GCL. He was among the best pitchers during XST both seasons, and could have easily been assigned to Williamsport both years. He showed marked improvement in 2015 before being shut down in August with a sore arm. He returned to participate during Instructs, and although he had resumed his throwing regimen, McWilliams did not throw in any of the Instructs games. However, that is not unusual for a pitcher going through Instructs for the second time. Prior to being shut down, McWilliams had shown significant improvement in all pitching peripherals, and had added a couple MPH to his fastball.
The following is just an update of the Phillies’ offseason roster status, which currently stands at 33 players –
Free Agents (5)
- Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Jerome Wiliams, Chad Billingsley, and Jeff Francoeur
Guaranteed Contracts (4) – contract information from COTS
- Ryan Howard ($25M for 2016, $23M club option or $10M buyout for 2017)
- Matt Harrison ($13M for 2016, $13M for 2017, $13.5M club option or $2M buyout for 2018)
- Carlos Ruiz ($8.5M for 2016, $4.5M club option or $0.5M buyout for 2017)
- Miguel Gonzalez ($4M for 2016, and a vesting option for 2017).
Arbitration Eligible Players (4) – salary projections from Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors
- Jeremy Hellickson ($6.6M)
- Andres Blanco ($1.0M)
- Jeanmar Gomez ($1.5M)
- Freddy Galvis. (1.9M)
(25) Remaining roster players – Elvis Araujo, Alec Asher, Jesse Biddle, David Buchanan, Jerad Eickhoff, Luis Garcia, Ken Giles, Severino Gonzalez, Dalier Hinojosa, Mario Hollands, Adam Morgan, Colton Murray, Hector Heris, Aaron Nola, Nefi Ogando, Joely Rodriguez, Jorge Alfaro, Cameron Rupp, Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, Darin Ruf, Darnell Sweeney, Aaron Altherr, Cody Asche, Odubel Herrera
Miguel Gonzalez had shown significant improvement in back-to-back starts before a step backwards in his last start. He gave up 6 ER in 1.2 IP.
Rhys Hoskins (.283/.356/.566) and Cord Sandberg (.310/.396/.405) are performing well in Australia.
Drew Stankiewicz (.409/.435/.545) is off to a fast start in the AFL after his call up following J.P. Crawford’s thumb injury.
Tom Windle (1.93 in 9 appearances) and Yacksel Rios (2-1, 2.37 in 5 starts/19.0 IP) are pitching well in Arizona.
Joely Rodriguez has a 1.26 ERA in 4 appearance/3 starts in the DWL. Ranfi Casimiro has posted a 2.57 ERA in 3 starts. Relievers Ulises Joaquin (3.24, 9K in 8.1 IP)and Jimmy Cordero (0.00 ERA in 6 appearances) are throwing well.
Maikel Franco reported to his DWL team, the Gigantes del Cibao, and has been added to their roster but hasn’t played yet.
Several Phillies prospects are playing in the WBSC Premier 12 in Japan. Roly de Armas is one of the coaches. Cody Forsythe, Joey Denato, and Kyle Martin are on the USA team. Free agents Anthony Vasquez, and Tyler Pastornicky are also on the roster. They have advanced past the first round. Chris Leroux is on the Canadian roster. Former Phillies Ethan Stewart, Pete Orr, and Phillippe Aumont are also playing for Canada.