Thursday, December 10, 2015

Roster Slowly Morphing… Giles Heading Out


Replacing Giles? – The Phillies made their first move of the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, and it proved to be a precursor to the Ken Giles trade. The Phillies signed right-handed reliever David Hernandez to a one-year, $3.9 million contract. It gives them a late-inning reliever who could stabilize the bullpen once Giles is dealt to Houston. Sources told on Wednesday night that the Phillies and Astros have agreed to that trade, which would send four players to Philadelphia. The deal is pending physicals. "Sometimes, if you sign a David Hernandez, that may open the door to a different trade possibility than we had anticipated," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "Or if you make a trade, that might open the door to a different free-agent signing. We're trying to balance it all. That makes us no different from any team. We have a lot of balls in the air, most of which you're working on never come to fruition. But every once in a while something will." Hernandez, 30, went 1-5 with a 4.28 ERA in 40 appearances last season with Arizona. He missed 2014 and the first two months of the '15 season following Tommy John surgery. Before that, Hernandez was Arizona's setup man, compiling a 3.42 ERA and picking up 17 saves over three seasons. He began his career with the Orioles, who drafted him in the 16th round in the 2005 Draft. "It was a priority for us to add someone to the back of our bullpen who has pitched in high-level situations in the past," Klentak said. "Throughout the last couple of months, we've been adding a lot of depth to our bullpen. Many of those players don't come with a lot of experience. So we wanted to make sure that we added at least one player who added a lot of experience who could help to pitch in the late part of the game." Phillies president Andy MacPhail and Klentak were with the Orioles when Hernandez made his big league debut in 2009. Player development director Joe Jordan helped draft Hernandez in '05.

Moving Forward – Maikel Franco filed a grievance against the Phillies, claiming they manipulated his service time to delay his eligibility for free agency. Franco opened the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley before being recalled May 15. Franco accrued 170 days of Major League service time, which is two days short of a full season. Those two days delayed his free agency from 2020 to '21. Franco's agent, Ryan Royster, said Monday the grievance will not be an issue for Franco moving forward. Phillies general manger Matt Klentak agreed. "I wasn't here for the first year of his career with the Phillies," Klentak said. "I'm not particularly concerned with there being a carryover or on-field effect."

More Netting On The Way – The Phillies announced Wednesday they plan to extend the netting at Citizens Bank Park to conform to Major League Baseball's new recommendations regarding fan safety. Phillies executive vice president and chief operating officer Mike Stiles said in a statement that the club anticipates it will expand the protective netting behind home plate about 10 feet in width on both sides, reaching to the near side of each dugout. The Phils also plan to replace their existing netting with newer material that is just as strong, but thinner and more easier to see through. "We understand that our fans differ in their opinions about sitting behind protective netting and we will do our best to accommodate those different preferences," Stiles said. "We will take the opportunity in the upcoming season to remind all of our fans about the importance of being alert to the possibility of balls and bats entering the stands throughout the ballpark. "We also anticipate that a similar modest expansion of protective netting will be installed at Bright House Field, our Spring Training ballpark in Clearwater, Fla., to conform to the MLB recommendations."

The Phillies finally put an end to the season finishing in last place in the NL East with a record of 63-99. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and bipolar performances, this has ended up being one of the worst seasons in franchise history! However, at least Ryan Madson got another ring this year.

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