How quickly things change. In less than 4 weeks, could the fans’ honeymoon with new GM Matt Klentak be over?
Not too long ago, the Phillies introduced Klentak to the media at a news conference on October 26th. Since then the GM has been involved in only a few publicly observed team decisions and a couple of press conferences that revealed some of his thoughts –
- 11/2 – the Phillies declined Cliff Lee‘s option,
- 11/2 – Klentak stated that he would preserve the core offense, improve pitching, continue to focus on young talent,
- 11/3 – the Phillies claimed RHP Dan Otero off waivers from Oakland Athletics,
- 11/5 – Klentak explained how Howard and Ruiz fit into the team’s 2016 plans, and reiterated that he is committed to the core group of young prospects,
- 11/6 – Klentak stated that the Phillies would take best payer with first pick in the draft regardless of whether that player is high school, college, position player, or pitcher; that the drop in value off from 1:1 to 1:2 is the largest delta among any picks in the draft; and that prospects will dictate their own timeline to the majors by performance,
- 11/11 – Klentak opined that there is more than one way to build a winner,
- 11/12 – the Phillies signed free agent LHP James Russell to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training,
- 11/14 – Arizona Diamondbacks traded RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Philadelphia Phillies for RHP Sam McWilliams,
- 11/18 – the Phillies invited non-roster RHPs Reinier Roibal and Chris Leroux to spring training; and signed free agents Ryan Jackson (2B), Frank Herrmann (RHP), and Emmanuel Burriss (2B) to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training,
- 11/20 -The Phillies claimed A.J. Achter off waivers from the Minnesota Twins; and selected the contracts of Roman Quinn, Jimmy Cordero, and Edubray Ramos from Reading Fightin Phils.
The decision to trade McWilliams for Hellickson sparked some discussion among the prospect-following community as bloggers and readers weighed in on it. The general consensus was that while the Phillies may or may not have been able to pick up a similar pitcher from the free agent heap, the acquisition of Hellickson for a GCL prospect was a reasonable risk. Although those who have followed or seen McWilliams would have preferred a different trade piece offered by the Phillies.
The real maelstrom occurred Friday when the Phillies claimed a right-handed reliever off waivers in Achter who has roughly a 90 mph fastball, then left players like Carlos Tocci and Alberto Tirado unprotected for this year’s Rule 5 Selection Selection Meeting.
I read some nasty comments on Twitter and in blogs directed toward Klentak, and I read inferences that the Phillies had returned to the ways of the old regime (actually, inference is probably not a strong enough word).
The following is an update of the Phillies’ offseason roster status, which currently stands at 37 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)
(29) 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, A.J. Achter, Roman QuinnJimmy Cordero, Edubray Ramos
in the VWL, Miguel Gonzalez allowed an unearned run in his most recent start. He gave up 7 hits and 2 walks in 5.0 innings while striking out none. He has a 4.13 ERA in 7 starts – 12 BB, 19 K in 32.2 IP.
Rhys Hoskins (.257/.321/.514) and Cord Sandberg (.275/.373/.373) have cooled off a little bit in Australia.
The AFL completed its season last week. Drew Stankiewicz (.483/.531/.621) responded well after his call up following J.P. Crawford’s thumb injury. Tom Windle (1.74 in 10 appearances) pitched well. Yacksel Rios (2-2, 5.14) got lit up in his final start and saw his ERA jump by about 3.00, however he pitched well in his other starts.
In the DWL, Joely Rodriguez has a 2.50 ERA in 5 appearance/4 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 (2.45 ERA in 7 appearances) are throwing well. AS is Nefi Ogando (1.93 in 6 appearance). Maikel Franco still hasn’t played yet.
In Puerto Rico, Jesmuel Valentin has put up a respectable .262/.314/.323 in 65 AB. Hoby Milner has posted an ERA of 0.00 in 8 appearances. Reinier Roibal has a 2.45 ERA in 3 starts – 11 IP, 10 K, 3 BB.
The US entry in the WBSC Premier 12 in Japan took silver when they lost to South Korea in the final. ( Roly de Armas was one of the coaches. Cody Forsythe, Joey Denato, and Kyle Martin were on the USA team.)