Tuesday, August 2, 2016

No Deadline Deals To Be Found

GAME RECAP: No Game Yesterday!
The Phillies return home from their road trip with the same roster in place and no moves on the horizon… it really was an off day off.

  • The Phillies went 4-6 on their road trip through Pittsburgh, Miami and Atlanta. They hit just .151 (13-for-86) with runners in scoring position.
  • Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp is quietly putting up some of the better numbers among catchers in baseball. He entered Sunday with a .797 OPS, which ranked fourth among 21 qualified catchers. Giants catcher Buster Posey ranked third (.803 OPS).
  • The Giants are happy to leave July behind. They entered Sunday with a 10-13 mark in July, making it their worst month of the season.
  • Giants infielder Eduardo Nunez went 2-for-5 with two runs and a stolen base Saturday in his first start with his new team. Since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, the only other Giants to drive in two runs and steal a base in their first start for the Giants are Johnny Vergez (1931 at Philadelphia) and Fran Healy (1971 vs. Cubs). 

The last time Giants ace Madison Bumgarner faced the Phillies, he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings in a loss at AT&T Park in June. Bumgarner (10-6, 2.09 ERA) hopes for better results Tuesday night against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, where the teams open a three-game series. Bumgarner is 4-3 with a 3.27 ERA in eight career starts against the Phillies. He faces Phillies rookie Zach Eflin (3-4, 4.23 ERA). Eflin allowed seven runs in five innings last week in a loss to the Marlins in Miami, but he had a 2.08 ERA in his previous seven starts, including a shutout on July 22 against the Pirates.


Holding Assets – Matt Klentak had talent to trade, but the Phillies stood pat as Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline passed. Sources indicated that the Phillies had a high asking price for Jeremy Hellickson. It is unclear if the club came close to a deal, but some teams balked at the Phillies' demands because Hellickson can become a free agent following the season. Phillies relievers Jeanmar Gomez and David Hernandez received little interest. The Phillies and Rangers seriously discussed a Vince Velasquez trade, but such a deal was never close to completion. "We were pretty focused on making sure we appropriately balanced both the present and the future," Klentak said on Monday evening. "If there was a trade to be made that made sense on both fronts, then we would have done it. We had a lot of dialogue with quite a few teams about a number of players on our club. Never once did I feel that the appropriate balance would be struck with the return in a trade." The Phillies, one of just three teams not to make a trade before the Deadline, had plenty of interest in Hellickson. The Marlins had engaged in serious talks. The Tigers, Blue Jays, Giants, Rangers and Orioles had scouted the right-hander's starts. But while 13 big league starting pitchers got moved before the Deadline, Hellickson remains with the Phillies. "Whether we have overvalued him in the trade market, I don't know," Klentak said. "But certainly, we do value what he brings to our team. The last two months of the year are as important as the prior four. We have some younger pitchers that are going to be approaching innings totals for the season that they have never approached. To me, having a veteran starter that is able and capable of giving us six or seven innings a night to continue to allow our young starters to develop the way that we want them to -- there's a huge value in that to us." Klentak also felt comfortable sticking to his demands because the Phillies are expected to make a qualifying offer to Hellickson following the season. Teams that make a qualifying offer receive a compensatory Draft pick if a player signs with another team. If history is any indication, Hellickson will reject the Phillies' qualifying offer. Only three of 20 players accepted a qualifying offer last year, and none accepted over the previous three years. Hellickson's agent is Scott Boras, who is likely to tout his client as a top pitcher in a relatively thin free-agent market for starting pitching. Expecting that Hellickson will decline the offer, the Phillies wanted a prospect commensurate in talent to a top Draft pick. If Hellickson surprises the Phillies and he accepts a qualifying offer, they can afford the one-year contract, which would be worth roughly $16.5 million, because they have almost no financial commitments beyond this season. And while Aaron Nola, Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Zach Eflin and Triple-A right-hander Jake Thompson certainly look to be the makings of a talented rotation, pitchers get injured and struggle. Hellickson could be a steadying presence in the rotation for another season. "I will say that we have very supportive ownership and very few future commitments," Klentak said about possibly retaining Hellickson next season. Of course, there is risk involved. First, prospects are coveted because they have a track record in professional baseball and are projectable, whereas top Draft picks are valuable but untested in pro ball. Second, teams that sign a free agent with a qualifying offer forfeit their highest unprotected Draft pick. The teams with the top 10 selections have their first-round picks protected. Attaching a qualifying offer to Hellickson could make him less attractive to teams and potentially push him toward accepting the one-year deal. Hellickson's stock might never be higher than it is now. He is 8-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 22 starts, having posted a 2.49 ERA in his last eight starts. He had a 4.86 ERA in 71 starts over the previous three seasons with the Rays and D-backs. Next season, if Hellickson regresses to his performance from 2013-15, the Phillies will have lost an opportunity to acquire talent for a pitcher who is not expected to be part of their long-term plans. "We have to factor in the risk, the reward, what harm it does to our Major League club if a player is not here anymore and assess that in totality," Klentak said. "Once a player is in professional baseball and has a track record of facing professional competition, we have a better sense of how that player is going to develop than we do at the collegiate and high school level. I'm happy to acknowledge that. I don't think that will come as a shock to anybody. But those Draft picks have value as well." So Klentak's first non-waiver Trade Deadline was a quiet one. Of course, trades can still be made before the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline, although they become more difficult. Perhaps Hellickson, Gomez, Hernandez, Peter Bourjos, Carlos Ruiz or others will be traded before then. "We're not under economic pressure to send money out the door, and we're not looking to just dump veterans for the sake of dumping veterans," Klentak said. "That's not the business we are in. We want to make sure that the kids on our team are being mentored by the right veterans and the product on the field is as good as it can be. Our position in August will be the same as it was this week. If there's a good baseball trade that provides us with the right value, then we will pursue it. If not, we will let it pass."

Williams Getting Some Attention – Here's a look at top prospects to watch in Tuesday's Minor League action: Hitter to watch: Nick Williams (Phillies' No. 3), Lehigh Valley vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Williams went 2-for-4 and hit a two-run home run on Monday to help power Triple-A Lehigh Valley past Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 22-year-old outfielder, ranked No. 60 on the Top 100, has gone deep 11 times in 97 games for the IronPigs, while the multi-hit performance improved his season average and OPS to .286 and .784, respectively.

Today In Phils History – Don Hurst hit his 6th homerun in as many games as the Phillies shut out the Pirates in 1929. 3B Dolph Camilli made 3 errors in the 1st inning of a game against the Dodgers in 1935. Tony Taylor hit a walk off grand slam against the Giants on this day in 1970. In 1986, the Phillies recorded a franchise record 5 triples (Gary Redus had 2) against the Cubs at the Vet. Jimmy Rollins hit his 4th leadoff homerun of the season (he added another long ball later in the game) to tie the franchise record for the 3rd year in a row in 2006. 3 years ago, the Phillies inducted Curt Schilling into the Wall of Fame.

The Phillies are currently 48-59 this season putting them on pace to beat most preseason predictions. All time, the Phillies are 46-58-1 on this day. I expect the Phillies to finish in the bottom half of the division but not last in the NL East by finishing the season with a 77-85 record.

No comments:

Post a Comment