Tag Archives: James Pazos

Phillies looking for a win in suddenly heated series with division-rival Mets

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The Big Apple hasn’t been a friendly place for the Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies (12-11) haven’t found themselves this close to the .500 mark since sweeping their opening series at home against the division-rival Atlanta Braves.

But now after dropping the first two games of their current series in the Big Apple against the New York Mets (13-10) the injury-depleted Phillies are just a game above that break-even mark and the club is reeling.
Having dropped five of their last six games the Phillies will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the host Mets in the Wednesday night series finale at Citi Field.
The chief culprit of late has been a suddenly anemic offensive attack. The Phillies have scored three runs or fewer in eight of their last 11 games. Over the last two nights in New York the club has scored just one run and recorded only eight hits, just three for extra-bases.
Now a little extra drama seems to be injecting itself into the proceedings. As the game was winding to a close, a heretofore anonymous relief pitcher with the Mets apparently was used to deliver some sort of message.
With two outs in the 9th inning and his team leading by an overwhelming 9-0 score, 26-year-old right-hander Jacob Rhame making just his second big-league appearance of the season fired a pair of offerings over the head of Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins.

This followed on the heels of two Mets batters getting hit by Phillies pitching in Monday night’s series opener. Now there appears to be a question of retaliation as the two clubs prepare to meet for the last time until late June.

Hoskins quite obviously felt that it was intentional. Patrick Gordon of the Philadelphia Baseball Review quoted him: “I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.
During an appearance on local Philly SportsRadio 94WIP’s Morning Show on Wednesday, manager Gabe Kapler stated “I think that we have to get together as a group. We have to decide how to handle the situation. Those are matters that are handled internally, we don’t talk about those publicly. I know that it’s something that would be nice to kind of have out on a show like today, but not gonna happen. There’s no chance.”
Bryce Harper addressed the situation with the following statement per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia: “I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the ass. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”
Whether the Phillies retaliate or not, the bigger issue will be getting a win and avoiding a series sweep at the hands of their division rivals. The Phillies won two of three against the Mets last week at Citizens Bank Park. They would like to escape from New York with the hosts doing no more than the same.

WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS AND PREVIEW

PHILLIES LINEUP
  1. McCutchen LF
  2. Realmuto C
  3. Harper RF
  4. Hoskins 1B
  5. Franco 3B
  6. Hernandez 2B
  7. Rodriguez SS
  8. Velasquez P
  9. Quinn CF

PHILLIES HOT & COLD

Not many truly “hot” hitters with the Phillies these days, but one exception has been Maikel Franco. The third baseman is slashing .400/.455/.550 over his last five games, though he has no RBIs and just one run scored in that time.
J.T. Realmuto is slashing .367/.375/.633 with two home runs, nine RBIs, and six runs scored in his last 32 plate appearances over eight games.
Righty Hector Neris could be considered the Phillies closer at this point. He has allowed just four hits and two runs over 9.2 innings with a dominating 15/2 K:BB ratio. Lefty Adam Morgan remains unscored upon over his first nine innings, allowing just three hits with a strong 10/1 K:BB ratio.
Young ace Aaron Nola has not pitched to last year’s Cy Young-contending levels this season. After a Quality Start on Opening Day in which he walked five batters, Nola has allowed 28 hits and 19 runs, 18 of those earned, over his last 19 innings and four starts.
METS LINEUP
  1. McNeil LF
  2. Conforto RF
  3. Cano 2B
  4. Ramos C
  5. Smith 1B
  6. Frazier 3B
  7. Rosario SS
  8. Lagares CF
  9. Vargas P

METS HOT & COLD

This little tidbit courtesy of Newsday Mets beat writer Tim Healey: utility player Jeff McNeil, who now seems to be emerging as the latest in a long line of noted Phillies-killers, has a 400 batting average with two strikes. As Healey said, that is “just silly.” McNeil is hitting .368 with a .446 on-base percentage over his last 65 plate appearances across 15 games.
Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, one of the leading early candidates for the NL Rookie of the Year honors, went 0-4 on Tuesday. But prior to that, Alonso was slashing ..325/.419/.725 with eight homers, 21 RBIs, 16 extra-base hits, and 18 runs scored in his first month of big-league action.
Right fielder Michael Conforto is enjoying an All-Star caliber campaign to date, slashing .302/.419/.593 with six homers, 13 extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and 19 runs scored. He was a 2017 NL All-Star previously.
Robinson Cano, who had done nothing during his first few weeks in a Mets uniform, appears to be finally coming around. The veteran second baseman is slashing .417/.440/.667 with four extra-base hits over 25 plate appearances in his last seven games. He blasted his first home run for New York this past Sunday.
New closer Edwin Diaz continues to be strong at the end-game: seven Saves with a 16/2 K:BB ratio across 8.2 innings in which he has yielded just one run. Righty setup man Robert Gsellmanhas also been strong with a 14/2 K:BB ratio, a 2.57 ERA, and a 1.143 WHIP.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Vince Velasquez: 0-0, 2.55 ERA, 0.962 WHIP, 13 hits allowed over 17.2 innings across four games (three starts) with a 16/4 K:BB ratio.
  • Jason Vargas: 1-0, 9.58 ERA, 2.323 WHIP, 17 hits allowed over 10.1 innings across four games (three starts) with a 6/7 K:BB ratio.
  • The 36-year-old Vargas is a 14-year big-league veteran who signed with the Mets as a free agent in February 2018. He pitched four years in Seattle and four in Kansas City, and was a 2017 AL All-Star with the Royals during a season in which he won a career-high 18 games. The left-hander finished fifth in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting all the way back in 2005 with the Marlins.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Prior to the game the Phillies optioned pitcher Drew Anderson and infielder Mitch Walding back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, calling up utility player Sean Rodriguez and right-hander Enyel De Los Santos. They also announced that lefty reliever James Pazos as been DFA’d. He came from Seattle as part of the Jean Segura trade.
  • Conforto has Velasquez in his personal home run ledger three times thus far with seven RBI, hitting .500 against the Phillies starter.
  • For a hurler with as much experience as Vargas, the Phillies have no hitters with much experience facing him. There are 17 total career at-bats by players on the active roster against the southpaw, and none have homered off him.
  • When the Phillies return home they will wear the old powder blue uniforms for a “Throwback Thursday” event in the opener of a four-game series with the Miami Marlins.

WEDNESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION


Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies will try to avoid a sweep by the Mets in the Big Apple”

Phillies improved but still missing a strong lefty arm in bullpen

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Paredes signed as a free agent and has pitched well this spring

The best Phillies teams of the last half-century, a period of time in which bullpen usage has become more and more critical in Major League Baseball, have featured strong left-handers helping the team get through the late innings and close out tight ball games.

Most famous of all was the late screwballer and Phillies Wall of Famer Tug McGraw. The popular Tugger blew a fastball past Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals to close out the 1980 World Series.
That 1980 team also got 40 appearances from Kevin Saucier and dealt for veteran southpaw Sparky Lyle, who was a tremendous help during the push to the NL East crown in September.

Three years later, the ‘Wheeze Kids’ reached the World Series with a trio of lefties in McGraw, Al Holland and May trade acquisition Willie Hernandez.
In 1993, a surprising Phillies club captured another National League pennant with lefty Mitch Williams as their closer. That club also featured left-hander David West coming out of the bullpen to appear in a staff-high 76 games.
The Phillies emerged in the early 21st century from years of losing, beginning a run of more than a decade as a postseason contender. Lefty Rheal Cormier was a key member of the bullpen during the entirety of the first-half of that decade. Veteran Dan Plesac joined him to close out the Veteran’s Stadium years in 2002-03.

Wall of Famer Tug McGraw pitched for the Phillies from 1975-84 and closed out the 1980 World Series.
For the 2004 season and the opening of Citizens Bank Park the Phillies acquired lefty closer Billy Wagner. For the next two seasons, fans became electrified at each 100 mph fastball that blazed from the diminutive fireballer’s left arm.
As the Phillies team of that mid-2000’s era tried to step up from near-miss contender to actual playoff team, a June 2007 trade brought in left-hander J.C. Romero via trade. He would spend much of the next five years helping the Phillies become a champion, earning a pair of wins in the 2008 World Series.
Scott Eyre was acquired in a 2008 August waiver trade and became a key situational left-hander out of Charlie Manuel‘s bullpen for two straight Phillies pennant-winning teams.
When the 2011 Phillies set a franchise record with a 102-win regular season the bullpen contributions of young left-hander Antonio Bastardo were crucial.
During this recently completed off-season the Phillies management and ownership checked off a number of boxes in helping push the club back to contending status. But those checks came mostly in the positional lineup as the team added outfielders Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, shortstop Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Those were fantastic additions to be sure. But many felt that the team could really use both a veteran starting left-handed pitcher and a strong bullpen left-hander to really fill out a true championship contender.

The proven bullpen lefty was out there in free agency if they wanted him. But on January 11, Zack Britton surprised many by choosing to return to the New York Yankees. He’ll have a chance to win championships with the Bronx Bombers and is being paid $13 million per season. Many felt that he would leave for a chance to close, which he will not get in New York, at least not in the short-term.
Now more than halfway through the 2019 Grapefruit League season the Phillies have a group of southpaws battling for a chance to come out of Gabe Kapler‘s bullpen when the regular season begins.
There are currently five lefty relievers still with the club. Adam Morgan is the lone holdover from last season. Trade acquisitions James Pazos and Jose Alvarez and non-roster invitees Edward Paredes and Jeremy Bleich also remain. Here is a look at a few of their key numbers entering Saint Patrick’s Day:
Morgan and Paredes were clearly the most effective of the group heading into the Sunday game in Clearwater against the Yankees. The 29-year-old Morgan has been with the organization since his selection in the third round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. He remains under club control through arbitration over the next two years.
Paredes signed as a free agent with the Phillies back on January 11. The 32-year-old has pitched in 15 games across the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched in 10 minor league seasons with the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Cleveland Indians. Paredes has also pitched for 10 years during the off-season in his native Dominican Republic.

Edward Paredes is a 10-year minor league veteran who appeared in 15 games with the Dodgers in 2017-18. (Th3TruthPhotos/WikiCommons)
Paredes has an 11:2 K/BB over 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and no earned runs. Morgan brought an 8:1 K/BB ratio over 5.2 innings during which he allowed just one earned run and four hits into Sunday. That production had to give the club hope.
Unfortunately, Morgan looked bad on Sunday. He surrendered four runs, three of those earned, on three hits and a walk while also committing an error over 1.1 innings. Morgan hurt himself, throwing away a dribbler back to the mound with one out in the top of the 7th inning. Troy Tulowitzki followed with a long two-run homer onto the roof of the Tiki Bar in left at Spectrum Field on a hanging curve ball.
You can pretty much count on the Phillies bullpen having a half-dozen right-handers on Opening Day: Seranthony DominguezDavid RobertsonHector NerisPat NeshekJuan NicasioEdubray Ramos. Depending on whether the club wants to carry a seven or eight-man pen to open the season, that leaves room for one or two more relievers.
Things can certainly change based on injuries and late performances, as Morgan’s implosion today demonstrated perfectly. As things stand right now you have to like the chances of Paredes, a long-shot when camp opened in February, lining up for introductions at Citizens Bank Park on March 28.

Andy MacPhail addresses the media at Phillies 2019 spring training

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Team president Andy MacPhail addressed the media at 2019 spring training

The Philadelphia Phillies have been running their decision-makers out in front of the media this week as spring training has gotten underway down in Clearwater, Florida. Two days ago it was manager Gabe Kapler, and yesterday general manager Matt Klentak took his turn in front of the press.

Today it was president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail who sat down and provided organizational updates and then answered questions from the gathered media members.
MacPhail started off wanting to provide a history of how the Phillies got to the point where they are today during his tenure with the club. That tenure began when he was hired as a special assistant to then-president Pat Gillick in June 2015. MacPhail would succeed Gillick as the club president at the conclusion of that season.
I don’t think this organization really committed to a rebuild until July of 2015,” said MacPhail, obviously equating that start with his arrival in town. He went on to list some of the player salaries shed in the aftermath of his arrival, and then said that the contract savings were used to make “a series of significant investments in the infrastructure of the franchise while our payroll was diminished.

Those investments came in the areas of facilities, personnel, and technology.
Funds invested in the area of facilities took a number of forms, including a new Phillies academy opened in 2016 in the Dominican Republic, which is a traditional hotbed of amateur baseball talent.
There were also improvements made last year at Citizens Bank Park, including major changes to the fan experience in the right field area of Ashburn Alley. MacPhail said there will be further noticeable improvements this year to the third base/outfield area.
Fans who live and travel in the area have noticed scaffolding around the perimeter of the ballpark during this off-season. This was described by MacPhail as part of a process that the organization is undergoing in applying for their Safety Act to help “create an environment where it is a much more secure and safe place for our fans.
MacPhail also told of “a huge new building that’s being built” on Darien Street near the ballpark which fans will notice as they arrive to games for the 2019 season. He said that when he addressed the personnel area, there would be further explanation of what this building would be used for, but never specifically got back to the topic, unless this will be the place to house the new hires.
Funds invested by the club in the personnel area took on three forms: traditional baseball roles, “new ground” areas as far as the Phillies interest in hiring people to such positions, and finally the hiring of new personnel on the business side.
The Phillies have added two minor league teams and added a fourth coach at each affiliate in the traditional baseball area. The club has “increased our scouting in every way, shape, and form that you can, whether it be domestic, professional, or international,” said MacPhail. “Specifically, a huge investment in international because now we have a good prominence in the Far East, where we did not in the past.
MacPhail became the Phillies president in fall 2015. He addressed the media today at 2019 spring training. (Photo by Keith Allison/WikiCommons)
MacPhail went on to explain what he meant by “new ground” personnel, stating that these were the types of resources that some other clubs already employed but that are new to the Phillies, specifically mental skills coaches, a robust analytics department, a team chef, a cultural assimilation department, player information coordinators at both the big-league and minor league levels, nutritionists, and more.
On the business side, MacPhail emphasized that the Phillies had to “significantly increase the technology footprint, personnel-wise, of our organization.” He described roles for those individuals as having to do with social media and business analytics.
MacPhail then wrapped his description of the recent improvements made by the Phillies organization by speaking to the increased use of technological advances by the club, much of which he described as “proprietary” and which could evaluate a player’s development from rookie ball through the major leagues.

“It’s an arms race. Our opponents have it, and if we want to compete, we need to have it.“

The Phillies thus used most of the money saved by a greatly decreased payroll to improve their base infrastructure. MacPhail then stated that with that firmer base established, it has now become time to use funds to improve the actual player roster.
We were by far the youngest team in baseball as we started the 2018 season. We were coming off a 66-win season the year before. That team (the 2018 Phillies) would end up improving by 14 games, and we would spend 38 days in first place over the course of the summer.
MacPhail recognized what he termed the “abysmal” finish of the team over the final seven weeks of that 2018 campaign. However, the performance as a whole led the Phillies decision-makers to determine that it was time to “support that ’18 group” by adding to the payroll.
I think the acquisitions that Matt (Klentak) and the baseball operations made are gonna do a lot to improve our defense. Moving Rhys (Hoskins) back to first base, the acquisitions of Segura and McCutchen, uh, Realmuto. Those things will only help, significantly.
MacPhail believes that one of the major challenges that the Phillies faced a year ago was the “wampum” from big lefty hitters in the lineups of their NL East opponents. The 2018 team had a 23-34 combined record against the Braves, Nationals, and Mets a year ago. Finding a way to reverse that record would make them a true playoff contender.
He feels that the addition of righty reliever David Robertson, who has strong career numbers against left-handed hitters, as well as lefty arms James Pazos and Jose Alvarez will help turn around those divisional results by better neutralizing those lefty opposition bats in the late innings.
I sit, at this point, largely happy that those areas that I thought were important have been addressed.” MacPhail went on to note that “We are still, despite all the acquisitions…a very young baseball team. We stand to only have one position player on the roster on Opening Day that’s reached 30. And we still have 80% of our starting rotation as under 27. So, I’m pretty happy and pleased with where we sit at the present time.

MEDIA QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION

At that, MacPhail opened the floor to questions from the gathered media representatives. Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94.1FM WIP opened the session by getting right to the biggest issue on the minds of fans, the pursuit of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
Eskin asked whether MacPhail was “concerned that the fan base will not be happy if that one major free agent is not signed, and, since there’s reports every day, why don’t I just ask you, do you know anything about the reports?
To begin his response, MacPhail immediately highlighted that he may not be capable of fully relating to his club’s fan base. “I’ve been around a long time. I won’t pretend to be something I’m not. I’m not a Philly-centric guy. I spent four years in Carlisle (123 miles west of Philadelphia), that’s as close as I got.
Asked about the labor situation in baseball, you can hear in his response an acknowledgment of the Harper and Machado situations.
I don’t think that we should make the assumption…that a lack of a signature on a contract on February 15th necessarily means that’s lack of interest or lack of a market. And all we have to do is go back and look at last year…from February 15 to Opening Day (2018)…Major League Baseball clubs committed over a half-billion dollars to contracts…35 players were signed…so just because the market is moving slowly doesn’t mean that there isn’t interest. I have to think that it is a strategy employed by some who think that is in their best interest.
Harper (L) and Machado (R) became the main topics focused on by the media during their Q&A with MacPhail on Friday. (Arturo Pardavila III and Ian D’Andrea)
When specifically asked about the wisdom of handing a lengthy contract to a player in the 8-10-year range, MacPhail responded as follows:
I think each case you have to evaluate individually. I’m not talking about either one of them (Harper or Machado) specifically. But I think your appetite for something long is going to be significantly different for someone who is 26 as opposed to someone who is 30-31. That’s why you have to make a series of judgments about whatever player you’re talking about in terms of how will he hold up, what position does he play, what else can he do. There’s just a host of variables that go into that.
Later asked whether he would be disappointed to not land either Harper or Machado, MacPhail reiterated his happiness with where the team stands right now.
I think it would be a hard thing to make a case that we are not a considerably better team than we were a year ago…I would like us to get better yet…It’s conceivable that could happen. It may not. But if it doesn’t happen, we’re still gonna be a considerably better team than we were a year ago.”
When faced with a question regarding overwhelming fan preference for Harper to Machado, the club president responded, “You can make the case that they bring different things, but I think they’re both beneficial to your club.
Asked whether the messaging to fans that the Phillies are supposedly trying to become big winners might not be accepted well by fans considering the marquee players remain unsigned and available, MacPhail stated that “we’re just half of the equation“, implying that the Phillies are ready and willing to sign one of them, but the players need to also be willing.

NON-HARPER/MACHADO QUESTIONS

When asked about the controversy which cropped up involving Kapler’s response to the assault on a young female during his days with the Dodgers, MacPhail stated: “All the stuff that was regurgitated again this winter, there was nothing in there that made me think that the vetting (of Kapler when hired) was anything but very thorough, very impartial, and very fair. We were satisfied then when we hired him. We’re satisfied today.
On fan interest reflected in ticket sales, MacPhail stated that “we’re about 150,000 ahead of where we were a year ago…we’re good, but we’re not great.
On owner John Middleton and his desire to win: “I think the thing that separates John is that if we won this year, he’d want to win just as much next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Which is one of the reasons why it’s essential to us to make sure that we have enough resources to address future needs as they evolve from year to year to year.”

Phillies 2019 bullpen just one piece short of elite status

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Juan Nicasio brings a veteran presence to deeper Phillies bullpen

Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak had four major boxes that needed to be checked off when this off-season began if he wanted to truly build a contending team for the 2019 season.

Those four were a proven impact run-producer for the middle of the batting order, a better defensive lineup, another veteran starting pitcher (preferably left-handed), and improvements to the bullpen.
With the additions of Andrew McCutchen in left field and Jean Segura at shortstop, the defense should be improved. The club continues to search for the middle-order bat and the southpaw rotation arm.
It cannot be argued that Klentak has not improved the bullpen. Given health, the Phillies relief corps is both talented and deep, and should prove to be a strength for manager Gabe Kapler.
The Phillies have added three new arms to their bullpen. Right-hander Juan Nicasio and left-hander James Pazos arrived as part of the Segura trade from Seattle. Then just days ago the club signed one of baseball’s top relievers over the past decade, David Robertson, as a free agent.

Those three join a returning group that could include any from among righties Hector NerisSeranthony DominguezPat NeshekTommy HunterVictor Arano, and Edubray Ramos. There are two returning lefties in Adam Morgan and Austin Davis as well.
The Phillies could still use a better situational left-handed arm. But a closer look at the statistics shows that the arms needed to win match-ups with big lefty bats may already be here.
Robertson had a 53/10 K:BB ratio against left-handed hitters a year ago. Those opposing lefty batters hit the right-handed Robertson for just a .176 BAA as well as a .378 slugging percentage.
The one negative for Robertson against those lefties was that they got to him for a half-dozen home runs over 132 plate appearances against him. In comparison, he surrendered just one long ball to a right-handed batter over 151 plate appearances against.
During his breakthrough rookie campaign a year ago, lefty batters hit for just a .188 average against Dominguez. His biggest problem with them were walks, as Dominguez handed out 14 free passes to lefties in 116 plate appearances. Compare that to just eight right-handers that he walked over 115 plate appearances.

Ramos also had decent success against left-handed hitters, holding them to a .208 batting average against. Over 58 plate appearances those lefties got to Ramos for just two homers over 58 plate appearances, and he walked just five opposing hitters.
The three primary left-handed relief options at the present time are newcomer Pazos and returnees Morgan and Davis. All three of those southpaw pitchers actually achieved far greater success against right-handed hitters.
Against lefty bats, the Pazos/Morgan/Davis trio allowed 66 hits and walked 26 batters over 273 plate appearances when facing opposition left-handed hitters. Pazos got hit too regularly (.288 BAA) by lefties. Davis was hit hard (.603 slugging percentage) by them. Morgan had severe control issues against them, walking 14 over 121 plate appearances.
I am going to assume that Kapler, Klentak and the Phillies coaching regime are aware of their left-handers’ numbers. My hope is that they won’t simply bring in a lefty arm to face a lefty bat every time. They’ll break down the numbers even further would be my guess, seeing how a particular lefty batter fares against left-handed pitching, for instance.

Klentak is likely not done dealing. There is already a glut of outfielders with McCutchen joining Nick WilliamsRoman QuinnOdubel Herrera, and Aaron Altherr. If the Phillies were to sign Bryce Harper, that glut gets even worse.
If the Phillies were successful in signing Manny Machado, that would create a similar glut on the infield. He and Segura would join Cesar HernandezMaikel Franco, and Scott Kingery.
If Machado signs, plays shortstop, and Segura plays second, then Hernandez is likely trade bait. If it’s Machado at third and Segura at short, then Franco likely becomes the trade bait.
Bottom line is that Klentak is likely to shop every outfielder not named McCutchen, along with either Hernandez or Franco or both, depending on the outcome of the Harper/Machado situations.
Klentak also could be shopping any of the starting pitchers except Aaron Nola or Jake Arrieta. In a trade return the Phillies GM is likely to be looking for an impact left-handed pitcher for either the rotation or the bullpen.
The Phillies bullpen is now noticeably improved. The overall mix could still use that one more piece of a dominant late-innings left-hander. But as of today, the Phillies relief corps is deeper, more talented, and more experienced.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Relief pitching additions give Phillies a stronger, deeper bullpen

James Pazos not just a throw-in in trade between Phillies and Mariners

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Pazos arrives to Phillies as part of Jean Segura trade

The Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners have completed a tradethat was anticipated for days. In the formal announcement, the Phillies have sent Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford to Seattle in exchange for Jean SeguraJuan Nicasio, and James Pazos.

Phillies fans are very familiar with the stories of the two players who are headed out to the Pacific Northwest, so I won’t spend time regurgitating the details of their careers.
Segura is the obvious centerpiece of the deal from a Phillies perspective. He upgrades the shortstop position immediately. Nicasio is a 32-year-old veteran right-handed reliever who doesn’t beat himself with walks, and who is owed just one year at $9.25 million on his contract.
Pazos, the “third” piece in the deal coming to the Phillies, is the player in this deal with whom fans are least likely to have some familiarity. While he is not a lights-out closer-type pitcher, he is far more than a simple throw-in on the back-end of a big deal.
Pazos is a 27-year-old native of Gilbert, Arizona who was the New York Yankees 13th round selection in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft out of the University of San Diego. His big-league debut came in 2015 and he would make 18 total appearances with the Yankees over two seasons.
On November 18, 2016 the Yankees dealt the southpaw to the Mariners in a straight-up deal for right-handed pitching prospect Zack Littell. New York would subsequently flip Littell to the Minnesota Twins in the July 2017 trade for veteran starting pitcher Jaime Garcia.

Over the last two seasons Pazos has become a key member of the Mariners bullpen. He has allowed just 98 hits over 103.2 innings across 119 games with a 3.39 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and a 1.322 WHIP during those two seasons.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times found the inclusion of Pazos in the deal to be “curious”, writing the following in his own story on the deal:

“Pazos’ inclusion in the deal is curious but speaks to his struggles and lost velocity at the end of last season. The big lefty’s fastball slowly deteriorated from upper 90s down to low 90s and still no ability to consistently spot what was labeled an average breaking ball. The Mariners said publicly that it was a mechanical issue that led to the decrease, but some people in the organization worried that he was dealing with an injury.” ~ Ryan Divish, Seattle Times

While Pazos isn’t the kind of power lefty that free agents Andrew Miller or Zach Britton, both of whom remain on the Phillies radar, would bring he is a steady option from that side for manager Gabe Kapler to use in the match-up game that the skipper prefers.
However, Pazos was actually much more effective in 2018 against right-handed batters than against left-handers. The righties hit just .228 against him over 125 plate appearances while lefties hit him at a .280 mark in 86 plate appearances. Per Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia he was often a one-pitch hurler last season.
New Phillies lefty reliever James Pazos threw 802 pitches last season and 736 were 4-seam fastballs — 91%

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If you’re worried that his success might have been a product of the favorable pitching environment at Safeco Field, which ranked 27th of 30 MLB ballparks in runs allowed during this past season, don’t. Opposing hitters got to Pazos for just a .233 batting average against on the road while hitting him at a .263 mark in Seattle.

He also brings financial affordability for his experience level. Pazos made just over a half-million dollars for the 2018 season. He won’t be eligible for arbitration until after next season, and cannot become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as In Phillies – Mariners big trade, James Pazos not just a throw-in