Tag Archives: Tanner Roark

With Zack Wheeler on board, updating the latest Phillies rumors

The Baseball Winter Meetings open on Sunday, December 8 in San Diego and the ‘Hot Stove’ season in Major League Baseball is already fully underway with hot new rumors coming out every day.

The Philadelphia Phillies were expected to be one of the most active teams in free agency and perhaps in the trade market as well during this off-season period.

With his job squarely on the line, general manager Matt Klentak is under the spotlight, tasked with filling a number of holes in order to elevate his now .500 team to a genuine 2020 contender.

The Phillies landed one of the top starting pitchers on the free agent market in right-hander Zack Wheeler. Reports this afternoon are that he will receive a five-year contract with a total value at over $110 million.

There were also reports that Wheeler had received a higher offer from the Chicago White Sox than the $118 million total dollars which he will receive from the Phillies.

However, Wheeler’s wife is a Jersey girl, and that appears to have been a decisive factor once the offers were relatively close. The Phillies also beat out the Chisox for Bryce Harper last off-season.

The Phillies have been linked to a number of top free agent names to this point. They cannot possibly land every big name that the fan base is hoping to add. However, they surely will be successful in luring at least one or two talented veterans.

Let’s take a quick look at the very latest rumors involving the Phillies interest and involvement in the pursuit of the most interesting players available.

Starting Pitchers

Cole Hamels – He was “the people’s choice”, as Phillies fans wanted him back. Hamels also telegraphed that he wanted to return and was willing to settle for a one-year deal to return to the club with whom he starred for a decade.

It turns out that he got that deal – but from the division-rival Atlanta Braves. It was announced this afternoon that Hamels and the Braves had agreed to a one-year, $18 million deal.

Time to turn the page here, Phillies fans. We’ll get to cheer him again one day at his Wall of Fame ceremony. But before then, count on him getting booed strongly next season at Citizens Bank Park.

Gerrit Cole – The Yankees are making a big push to land Cole. However, many believe that the Newport Beach, California native genuinely wants to pitch on the west coast. The Phillies have the money to be in this discussion, but I just don’t see the interest on his part.

The Dodgers, Angels, and Padres are probably going to end up as the finalists for Cole, with the Yankees trying to shove their way in with lots of money and that old Bronx Bomber prestige and history.

Stephen Strasburg – After meeting with Cole on Tuesday, the Yankees are spending their Wednesday meeting with Strasburg. If they feel that Cole is committed to the west coast, Strasburg could become New York’s main target, which could blow any other team out of the water…assuming the big righty is interested in pitching in the Bronx.

There have been no major rumors involving a Phillies link to either Cole or Strasburg, unless you count this afternoon’s generic “the Phillies are looking at Strasburg” tweet from Jon Heyman.

My guess is that the club has already been informed by their agent, Scott Boras, that the Phillies would be secondary options for the two biggest pitching prizes.

Madison Bumgarner – Back in May, MadBum put the Phillies on his no-trade list. However, that was strategic per Rosenthal. Bumgarner didn’t want to leave San Francisco, and listed as many teams as he could who appeared likely to go after him at that time.

Rosenthal did a nice sales pitch for Bumgarner earlier today on MLB Network. It has been about a week since any talk linking him with the Phillies. But Jon Morosi reported that reps of the player and team have been in touch, and Morosi also stated that the Phillies are “actively interested” in the veteran lefty.

Hyun-Jin Ryu – The Phillies could really use a left-hander, if not two, for the starting rotation. Scott Lauber lumped the Korean southpaw in with Wheeler and MadBum this afternoon as a possible Phillies target.

Dallas Keuchel – Well, since the Braves snatched Hamels, perhaps the Phillies could snatch up Keuchel, who pitched last season in Atlanta?

After he shut the Phillies down in a September start for the Braves, Keuchel called out Phillies management for not going after him when the pitcher was available and the club had a need per Jim Salisbury at NBC Sports Philadelphia:

I mean, if you don’t come calling what is there for me to be mad about? I think a lot of those guys over there in the front office are second-guessing themselves, and, I mean, I would too.

There have been no rumors linking the pitcher and the team. But if the Phillies aren’t seriously looking at him at this point, they have to be letting their egos get in the way.

Infielders

Didi Gregorius – The hottest name linked to the Phillies thus far this off-season, Gregorius is a favorite of new manager Joe Girardi from his years with the Yankees.

While I personally don’t think Gregorius is a major upgrade over incumbent shortstop Jean Segura defensively, he would bring more pop to the Phillies lineup.

Salisbury reported this morning that “the Phils are engaged in talks with free-agent shortstop Didi Gregorius.” It would appear to be more than speculation or rumor at this point.

Cutting ties with Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco opens two spots on the Phillies infield. The club already has the potential to fill second base with Scott Kingery. Watching how they choose to align the 2020 infield will be one of the more interesting Phillies situations this off-season.

Josh Donaldson – The Phillies have a hole at third base with the Franco non-tender. Kingery is not a good option on an every day basis. Top prospect Alec Bohm is nearly ready, and could push his way to Philly no later than mid-summer of the 2020 season.

So, the question becomes would the Phillies shell out big bucks and tie up third base for multiple years. That is what it will likely take to land Donaldson, who played on a one-year contract in Atlanta last season and is not likely to settle for such a deal again.

There have been no real rumors linking the team and player other than a Monday tweet from Morosi that the Phillies were “maintaining contact” with reps for both Gregorius and Donaldson.

Anthony Rendon – While a big ex-Nationals reunion joining Bryce Harper with Strasburg and/or Rendon would be wonderful on the field, it likely wouldn’t work on the Phillies balance sheets.

Rendon is going to be the highest-priced position player free agent this off-season. The Dodgers have already met with he and Strasburg, and many feel that Rendon will end up with the Texas Rangers, with whom he has also already met.

Two weeks ago, Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philly called Rendon “the perfect fit” for the Phillies. However, there has been nothing to really link the team and player directly to this point.

In my opinion and that of most others, the Phillies need to add not one, but two more proven veteran starting pitchers to their rotation.

The Phillies have successfully landed Wheeler with a lengthy contract at a high salary. Should they now fall short on the other arms listed previously you can expect them to shop for a pitcher in the “third tier” of free agents.

Were that to happen, arms such as Rick Porcello, Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, and Julio Teheran to get a longer look from the club. But this is not what the Phillies want or need, not really.

Wheeler adds a much-needed talented arm. He gives them a nice 1-2 punch with Aaron Nola. What would go well now would be a battle-tested and still talented left-hander. Someone like Bumgarner.

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Phillies have a number of potential starting pitching trade targets this summer

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Marcus Stroman is a major trade chip for Blue Jays

Like pretty much every other legitimate contending team in Major League Baseball, the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies could really use another solid veteran pitcher to bolster their starting rotation.

The top four starters for the club this season have been Aaron NolaJake ArrietaZach Eflin, and Nick Pivetta. The Phillies have also given regular turns to Jerad Eickhoff to this point, and just recently finally made the long-anticipated move of flipping Vince Velasquez to the bullpen.
When emergencies have cropped up, 25-year-old lefty Cole Irvin has been given three starts. Manager Gabe Kapler even turned to Jose Alvarez as an “opener” in one game, using the veteran lefty for the first two innings and then bringing in Irvin to cover nearly four frames on June 1 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
In most of the Phillies recent seasons, Eickhoff would deserve more of a chance. And he will continue in the rotation as long as he remains healthy and doesn’t completely implode. Having allowed four earned runs or more in half of his 2019 starts, Eickhoff would likely be the odd man out if general manager Matt Klentak was able to bring a solid option in to bolster the rotation.
But is such an arm actually out there and available? In evaluating the landscape in Major League Baseball, there would appear to be a number of such options. Their skills and experience levels are wide-ranging. It could be arguable as to whether a couple of them would be a legitimate upgrade.
These 10 arms seem to be the best possibilities for a trade to the Phillies. Many of them will absolutely find themselves putting on the uniform of a new team prior to the July 31 MLB trade deadline. You can bet that Klentak has already been considering most, if not all, of these pitchers, and has perhaps already been engaging in some preliminary negotiations.
Each pitcher is listed with their their team, “handedness”, age, and 2019 statistics through games of June 8. Also shown is their current contract status.
Trevor Bauer (28/CLE/RHP): 4-6, 3.93 ERA, 1.156 WHIP, 66 hits allowed over 91.2 IP across 14 starts with a 103/40 K:BB. Contract moved from $6.25 million last year to $13 million this year through arbitration. He is again arbitration-eligible for the 2020 season, after which he is due to become a free agent at age 29.
Madison Bumgarner (29/SF/LHP): 3-5, 4.05 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 80 hits allowed over 80 IP across 13 starts with a 79/16 K:BB. He turns 30-year-old on August 1, and will be a free agent after this season. Currently making $12 million in the final season of an eight-year deal worth just north of $58 million total.
Andrew Cashner (32/BAL/RHP): 6-2, 4.73 ERA, 1.379 WHIP, 71 hits over 70.1 IP across 13 starts with a 51/26 K:BB. The least attractive arm on this list, but perhaps also the least expensive from the perspective of what you would have to give up. Making $9.5 mill this year, $10 mill option for next year is guaranteed if he reaches 187 innings this season, which is not likely. If not, he becomes a free agent after this season, so the commitment is also short-term.
Zack Greinke (35/ARZ/RHP): 7-2, 2.87 ERA, 0.935 WHIP, 68 hits over 87.2 IP across 14 starts with an 82/14 K:BB. Did you realize Greinke was already 35-years-old? Good for you, because I thought he was about three years younger before researching this piece. He is owed $35 mill in each of the next two seasons. His performance has shown no signs of slipping over the last few years. Can he actually remain an All-Star caliber ace for two more? That would be the big bet.

Lefty Mike Minor of the Texas Rangers will be a hot commodity as the 2019 MLB trade deadline approaches. (Keith Allison)
Mike Leake (31/SEA/RHP): 5-6, 4.30 ERA, 1.273 WHIP, 88 hits over 81.2 IP across 13 starts with a 56/16 K:BB. Along with Cashner, he isn’t going to elicit excitement in the fan base. But Leake is a steady, reliable, experienced starting pitcher who got a start in the 2014 NLDS for the Cincinnati Reds. He will earn $15 mill next year, with $4 of that paid by Saint Louis. He has a 2021 mutual option for $18 million with a $5 mill buyout.
Mike Minor (31/TEX/LHP): 5-4, 2.55 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 73 hits over 81.1 IP across 13 starts with an 87/26 K:BB. The southpaw is owed $9.83 mill for next season and then is due to become a free agent. After missing most of the 2015 season and all of 2016 following shoulder surgery, Minor came back in 2017 as a reliever with Kansas City. Texas signed him as a free agent, moved him back into the rotation where he began his career in Atlanta, and he has looked strong.
Tanner Roark (32/CIN/RHP): 4-5, 3.74 ERA, 1.411 WHIP, 68 hits over 67.1 IP across 13 starts with a 69/27 K:BB. He will become a free agent after this season, in which he is being paid just $10 million. The ultimate pure rental.
Aaron Sanchez (26/TOR/RHP): 3-7, 4.25 ERA, 1.542 WHIP, 71 hits over 72 IP across 14 starts with a 61/40 K:BB. The youngest and cheapest salaried arm on this list is making $3.9 mill this year and arbitration-eligible next season, after which he can become a free agent. What is Sanchez? Starter or reliever? Sort of a Velasquez-type situation. Do the Phillies want to get involved in that again? Do they believe he can be more?
Marcus Stroman (28/TOR/RHP): 3-8, 3.31 ERA, 1.322 WHIP, 80 hits over 81.2 IP across 14 starts with a 63/28 K:BB. Making $7.4 million, eligible for arbitration next season, and then up for his first possible taste of free agency. Stroman is one of the more intriguing options out there and will be highly sought at this year’s deadline. The Jays could wait until the off-season or even into next year before making a deal, so the cost in trade to add a talented arm in his prime would be high.
Zack Wheeler (29/NYM/RHP): 5-3, 4.61 ERA, 1.226 WHIP, 78 hits over 84 innings across 13 starts with a 93/25 K:BB. Pending free agent would be a great candidate for a trade-for-and-extend deal for the Phillies. However, his being on the market at all would require the Mets falling totally out of the race, so it wouldn’t happen until after the MLB All-Star break in all likelihood, if at all. Even then, would the Mets deal him inside the division? Sure, if the Phillies paid the right price. Tough one. Would probably have to give up good prospects, with no guarantee beyond the last 2-3 months of this season.

First-place Phillies host last-place Reds at Citizens Bank Park

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The last-place Cincinnati Reds visit the first-place Phillies

Things were really looking bleak for the Philadelphia Phillies (35-27) just a few days ago. The club had dropped the first four games on a west coast trip and had lost starting outfielder and leadoff man Andrew McCutchen for the season.

But then the Phillies turned things around, fighting back to capture the final two games of the trip in San Diego. Now as they return home to Citizens Bank Park for the next week, the Phillies lead the National League East Division by two games. They have sat on that perch atop the division for all but seven days in this 2019 regular season.
The opposition for the weekend will be the Cincinnati Reds (28-33), who find themselves at the bottom of the NL Central Division standings. But don’t let that fool you, the Reds are an interesting team that is not out of the postseason hunt by a long shot.
After winning their season opener, the Reds proceeded to lose their next eight straight and 12 of their first 17 games. However, since that time, Cincinnati has gone 23-20. They have not lost more than two straight games since April 17, and have not won more than three in a row in that same span.
The Reds have scored 265 runs so far this season, which is just 11th of the 15 teams in the National League. They rank just 12th in OPS, and are at the bottom of the league in doubles. However, they can hit the long ball, as Cincy hitters rank 7th in the NL with 85 home runs.
Pitching and defense, that is where Cincy has buttered their 2019 bread. Reds pitchers have the NL’s second-best ERA and batting average against marks. They also rank second in the league in strikeouts.
Cincinnati excels with their gloves. The Reds have the National League’s second-highest fielding percentage, and their 25 errors committed rank only behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, who happen to be following the Reds in to Citizens Bank Park next week.
The Reds have played exactly .500 ball this season at home in Great American Ball Park, but have just a 13-17 road mark. The Phillies the season series a year ago by a narrow 4-3 margin after Cincy captured four of the six meetings between the two teams in each of the previous three seasons.
Generally, Cincinnati is a sound ball club. They won’t beat themselves, so for the Phillies to take the series they are going to need to hit the ball consistenly while not giving away runs themselves. With the weather warming up, you can expect to start seeing more balls flying over the walls at Citizens Bank Park. That could well become a factor this weekend in South Philly. Keeping the ball in the yard will be a key for each team.

CINCINNATI REDS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Joey Votto: The now 35-year-old first baseman is one of the best hitters of the last decade. The 2010 NL Most Valuable Player (top 7 in voting five more times), runner-up for the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year Award, 2011 Gold Glover, 6x NL All-Star. Age may finally be slowing him down, as Votto is slugging just .246/.338/.362 with four homers and 11 RBIs this year. But don’t count him out this weekend. His 10 doubles and 30 runs scored are both second on the team, and he is hitting .293 for his career at Citizens Bank Park with 13 extra-base hits over 30 games.
Eugenio Suarez: The 27-year-old third baseman was a first-time NL All-Star a year ago. He is slashing .277/.353/.527 and leads the Reds with 40 RBIs, 27 extra-base hits, and 32 runs scored. His 14 homers are second on the club.
Derek Dietrich: One of MLB’s biggest breakout hitters this season, the 29-year-old signed as a free agent back in February after playing his first six big-league seasons with the Marlins. Dietrich is slashing .263/.369/.684, leads the team with 17 home runs, and is second with 37 RBIs. All that damage was done in just 157 plate appearances, as he has bounced around the lineup, used at four different positions. He has spent most of the year as the club’s starting second baseman, however.
Yasiel Puig: “The Wild Horse” is now 28-years of age. The right fielder came to Cincy in a December trade from the LA Dodgers, with whom the Cubano had spent his first six big-league seasons. Puig remains wildly inconsistent at the plate, slashing just .210/.257/.388 to this point. But his 11 homers and 33 RBIs are both third on the club and demonstrate that he can still be extremely dangerous on any given night.
Jose Iglesias: The Reds 29-year-old starting shortstop leads the team with a .294 batting average, and his 21 RBIs are fourth-best in their lineup.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Nick Senzel: One of baseball’s top rookies, Senzel was handled similarly to Scott Kingery in that he was a natural infielder who was bounced around by the Reds organization in order to find a place for his bat. They moved him from third base to second, and now Senzel is their starting center fielder.
The 24-year-old was the club’s first round pick at 2nd overall in the 2016 MLB Draft, chosen right after the Phillies had selected Mickey Moniak at first overall. The 24-year-old Senzel is holding his own in his first taste of big-league life, slashing .266/.331/.453 with 14 extra-base hits in 143 plate appearances since being promoted from Triple-A on May 3.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

Tyler Mahle (FRI): 24-year-old RH, 2-5, 4.26 ERA, 1.255 WHIP, 63 hits over 61.1 IP across 11 starts with a 67/14 K:BB
Tanner Roark (SAT): 32-year-old RH, 4-4, 3.47 ERA, 1.396 WHIP, 62 hits over 62.1 IP across 12 starts with a 65/25 K:BB
Sonny Gray (SUN):29-year-old RH, 2-5, 3.54 ERA, 1.213 WHIP, 51 hits over 61 IP across 12 starts with a 68/23 K:BB

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES

Kyle Farmer: 28-year-old utility infielder has come off the bench to provide five homers and 16 RBIs over 82 plate appearances.
Curt Casali: 30-year-old backup catcher is slashing .292/.347/.438 in 38 games and 98 plate appearances.
Raisel Iglesias: The Reds 29-year-old Cuban closer has a 2.93 ERA and 1.301 WHIP. The righty has allowed 26 hits over 27.2 innings across 26 games while recording a dozen Saves with a 39/10 K:BB. He can be alternatingly dominating and disheartening at the end of games for Cincy.
Michael Lorenzen: 27-year-old righty setup man has allowed 36 hits over 33 innings across 27 games with a 31/10 K:BB
David Hernandez: Former Phillies 2016 reliever and a 10-year big-league veteran righty has allowed 28 hits over 27 innings across 29 appearances with a 35/10 K:BB ratio.
Amir Garrett: The top lefty out of the pen, the 27-year-old has a nice 1.69 ERA. Has allowed 20 hits over 26.2 innings with a 39/12 K:BB ratio. If you examine these numbers so far, you will see that the Reds truly have a power bullpen, as far as striking out hitters and keeping walks to a minimum.
Jared Hughes: 33-year-old, 9-year big-league veteran righty has allowed 21 hits over 25.2 innings with a 17/8 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

David Bell: Phillies fans who were around to follow the team as Citizens Bank Park first opened should be very familiar with Bell. After signing as a free agent in December 2002, he was the Phillies starting third baseman from 2003 into the 2006 season. He was then dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers just prior to the 2006 MLB non-waiver trade deadline. Bell slashed .258/.331/.385 over 470 games with the Phillies, almost all of those at the hot corner, and produced 137 extra-base hits. In 2004 at Citizens Bank Park, Bell hit for ‘The Cycle’ against the Montreal Expos, the last Phillies player to accomplish that feat.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

FRIDAY: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees at 7:05PM first pitch, dropping into the mid-70’s during the game with light winds and no chance of rain whatsoever.
SATURDAY: Cloudy, 80 degrees at 4:05PM first pitch, temps holding with a moderate breeze about 10mph throughout and no chance of rain whatsoever.
SUNDAY: Cloudy, 78 degrees at 1:05PM first pitch with a moderate breeze at around 12mph and a slight chance of showers. Conditions steady throughout the game. Precipitation does not look like a real factor at this point.

Nationals Have Pitching to Deal

The Washington Nationals have great starting pitching depth and could move an arm or two to shore up a couple of other problem areas.

The NL East Division champion Washington Nationals had until yesterday afternoon to decide whether or not to exercise the 2017 contract option on left-handed starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
Picking up the $12 million option on the 31-year-old southpaw would have been a slam dunk for almost every team in Major League Baseball. 
Gonzalez went 11-11 this past season with a 4.57 ERA and 1.342 WHIP. He also allowed 179 hits over 177.1 innings with a 171/59 K:BB ratio.
Those are certainly not “ace” numbers. And they also don’t measure up to the strong five-year stretch that Gonzalez registered from 2010-14.
And it’s not as if the Nats don’t have other options. While most teams are searching high and low for quality starting pitching options, Washington has an embarrassment of riches on the mound.

Stephen StrasburgMax ScherzerTanner Roark, and Joe Ross will be back. Also available are a trio of talented, highly considered youngsters in Lucas Giolito, Reynoldo Lopez, and A.J. Cole.
The Nationals could have simply decided to give the kids a full shot, and save $11.5 million by instead paying Gonzalez a $500,000 buyout.
But this was a smart signing based on the knowledge that nothing is usually as it seems where starting pitching is concerned. 
A contending team, and the Nationals remain that, will always need depth and insurance on the mound.
The Nationals now have a strong and deep group of arms to get them through a 2017 season that should see them return as favorites in the NL East. 
But what the group also gives them is a set of enviable trade chips.
Left fielder Jayson Werth will turn 38 years old in May and is entering the final year of the lucrative seven-year contract that he signed following the 2010 campaign.
Infielder Danny Espinosa will be a free agent after the 2017 season, and phenom Trea Turner, who could play center field in 2017, should take over the shortstop position by no later than that point.
The Nationals are likely going to find themselves a bat or two short no later than a year from now. 
They also would love to be able to add a strong bat that might become available at next season’s trade deadline. Having more arms available to deal makes such a move much easier. 
The Nationals will enter the 2017 season with strong depth to help themselves early, and trade chips to help themselves late.