Category Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies trade Kendrick to the Nationals

The Philadelphia Phillies continued trading away their veteran players as they sent left fielder Howie Kendrick to the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor league pitching prospect McKenzie Mills.

 

Philadelphia Phillies analysis/grade:

This trade makes a lot of sense for the Phillies since Howie Kendrick is a free agent after the season and he wasn’t a starter for the Phillies anyway. Kendrick provided the Phillies with a player that can play many positions and he provided quality veteran leadership to the young Phillies roster. However, it made sense for the Phillies to trade away Kendrick now rather than lose him for nothing. The Phillies ended up acquiring 21-year old left-handed starting pitcher prospect McKenzie Mills who is having an outstanding season in Low-A. Mills has a 12-2 record with a 3.01 ERA in 18 starts this season which is remarkable considering how terrible he was in his first 2 minor league seasons. Mills is striking out tons of batters and he seems to have improved his control considerably this year. He is still far away from reaching the major leagues, but if he can continue to pitch well consistently like he has this season then he could reach the MLB level in a few years. Mills is an intriguing prospect and it is a good return for the Phillies to get for a veteran player that didn’t play much anyway.

Grade: B

 

Washington Nationals analysis/grade:

This is a good trade for the Nationals to make in order to improve their depth as they look to make a deep postseason run this season. Kendrick is 34 years old and he will only be a rental player for the Nationals since he is a free agent after this season. However, Kendrick has proven that he can still be a very effective player as he hit .340 with 18 RBI’s for the Phillies in limited playing time this season. The Nationals will probably have Kendrick split time with Adam Lind in left field, but Kendrick is very useful since he can play many different positions. The Nationals didn’t have to give up much for Kendrick and he should be a useful player for the Nationals as they look to make a world series run. Washington lacked depth on their bench prior to this trade and Kendrick definitely will improve this team immediately.

Grade: B+

howie kendrick

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Phillies trade Hellickson to the Orioles

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their lengthy rebuild just before the trade deadline as they sent starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for outfielder Hyun Soo Kim and minor league pitcher Garrett Cleavinger.

 

Philadelphia Phillies analysis/grade:

Jeremy Hellickson had really hurt his trade value this season with the Phillies as he had a 4.73 ERA for the team. However, Hellickson was set to be a free agent after this season so the Phillies had to get at least something in return for him. The most notable player that the Phillies received in this trade is Hyun Soo Kim who has been a backup outfielder for the Orioles. Soo Kim had a good 2016 season for Baltimore as he hit .302 with 6 home runs in his first major league season. However, Soo Kim has struggled this season as he is hitting only .233 with 1 home run in limited playing time. Soo Kim is a free agent after the season, so he is likely just a temporary solution for the Phillies in the outfield. He should get a lot more playing time the rest of this season with the Phillies than he did in Baltimore since Philadelphia is not competing for a playoff spot. The Phillies also received 23-year old minor league relief pitcher Garrett Cleavinger in this trade. Cleavinger was a 3rd round pick in 2015 by the Orioles, so he clearly has the potential to be a major league player. However, Cleavinger is having a terrible season in 2017 as he has a 6.28 ERA in Double-A. Cleavinger is still an intriguing prospect and if he can return to the type of player that he was in 2015 and 2016 then he could be a good bullpen piece for the Phillies. Overall, the Phillies didn’t get much in return for Hellickson, but this trade was definitely worth it since he was probably going to leave in free agency anyway.

Grade: B

 

Baltimore Orioles analysis/grade:

The Baltimore Orioles have struggled to find quality starting pitchers for years and they especially don’t have much depth in their rotation right now. However, the addition of Hellickson should at least add some starting pitcher depth for the Orioles this season. If Hellickson can pitch like he did in 2016 or like he did early on in his career, then he could make a big difference for Baltimore. However, Hellickson is very inconsistent and he hasn’t had a good 2017 season as he currently has a 4.73 ERA. The Orioles still have very slim playoff hopes this season, but this isn’t the type of trade that will get them there. Hellickson is only a rental player for the Orioles since he is a free agent after the season which is why it is strange that the Orioles traded for him since Baltimore doesn’t have much of a chance at the playoffs this season. The Orioles didn’t give up much to acquire Hellickson and maybe they can re-sign him this offseason, but this is a trade that won’t make much of a positive impact for Baltimore.

Grade: C-

jeremy hellickson

Phillies trade Neshek to the Rockies

The Philadelphia Phillies continued their lengthy rebuild as they sent all-star relief pitcher Pat Neshek to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league prospects Alejandro Requena, J.D. Hammer, and Jose Gomez.

 

Phillies analysis/grade:

Pat Neshek was pretty much the only bright spot for the Phillies this season as he was the team’s only all-star since he had a 1.12 ERA before being traded. However, Neshek is about to turn 37 years old and he is going to be a free agent after the season which made it an easy decision for the Phillies to trade him. The Phillies also received 3 good prospects from the Rockies in exchange for Neshek. Jose Gomez is the top prospect that the Phillies received in this trade as he could be a good starting middle infielder one day. Gomez has been outstanding in the minor leagues as he has a career .316 batting average and he is once again impressing this season as he has a .324 average with 33 RBI’s. He doesn’t provide much power as he only has 9 career home runs, but his offensive ability is still impressive. Gomez also has 73 career stolen bases, so he clearly has above average speed. Gomez is a shortstop right now, but he will probably move to 2nd base at some point because he doesn’t have great arm strength. Gomez is still a long way from being major league ready, but he projects well as a good starting infielder in the MLB. The Phillies also received 23-year old right-handed pitching prospect J.D. Hammer in this trade. Hammer was a 24th round pick by the Rockies last season and he has been good so far in his minor league career and he has a 2.25 ERA so far this season. He projects well as a middle relief pitcher as he has the ability to strike out batters effectively. Hammer is in High-A right now, so it is possible that he could make it to the majors in a few years. The final prospect that the Phillies acquired in this deal is 20-year old starting pitcher Alejandro Requena who is having a good year in Low-A with an 8-3 record and a 2.85 ERA. Requena struggled during his first 3 minor league seasons, but his impressive 2017 season shows that he does have some potential. Requena doesn’t throw very hard, but if he can continue to control his pitches well then he has a chance to make it to the MLB at some point. This is a very good return for the Phillies to receive for an aging relief pitcher that they weren’t going to re-sign anyway. The Phillies now have another 3 good prospects to work with as they continue their rebuild.

Grade: A

 

Rockies analysis/grade:

The Rockies desperately needed some more consistency from their bullpen since the only reliable relief pitcher that they have is closer Greg Holland. The addition of Pat Neshek should not only help to secure Colorado’s playoff spot, but it should help them to possibly go deeper in the playoffs this year. Neshek has a 1.12 ERA this season and his side-armed pitching style still should work well despite pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Neshek gives the Rockies a terrific 8th inning option to try and setup closer Greg Holland in the 9th inning. Neshek is probably just a rental player for Colorado since he is about to be 37 years old and he is set to be a free agent after this season. The Rockies did give up some good prospects with potential, yet they didn’t give any top prospects in this deal so it won’t affect the Rockies minor league system much. We’ll see if Neshek can continue to pitch well in the worst stadium for pitchers, but at least he gives the Rockies with a much better 8th inning option. The Rockies did give up some talented young prospects, but they didn’t give up too much in return for Neshek and this is a move that should help to solidify a playoff spot this season.

Grade: B

pat neshek

Biggest need remaining for every NL East team

Atlanta Braves – Biggest need: 2nd base

There is no doubt that Jace Peterson will be the Braves everyday starter at 2nd base, but he will need to be more consistent than he was last season. Peterson hit .254 with just 7 home runs last season, so Atlanta will need him to be better going forward. The Braves did add utility infielder Sean Rodriguez this offseason as a backup 2nd baseman. However, Atlanta will have to do something to improve the position very soon.

Miami Marlins – Biggest need: Shortstop

Adeiny Hechavarria is a shortstop that makes incredible defensive plays often, but his offense has certainly been a weakness throughout his MLB career. Hechavarria hit only .236 with 3 home runs last season so he is definitely an issue in the Marlins lineup. He doesn’t hit consistently and he doesn’t hit for much power as well. The only reason that he is the Marlins everyday shortstop is because of his defensive abilities. Miami needs some more depth at the position either way and it isn’t worth starting Hechavarria just for his defense since he is a liability offensively.

New York Mets – Biggest need: Catcher

The catcher position was a major weakness for the Mets last season especially after their starter Travis d’Arnaud was injured for a large portion of the year. d’Arnaud wasn’t a great option anyway for the Mets as he hit only .247 with 4 home runs in 2016. The Mets have solid depth at catcher, yet they need to find an upgrade at the position over d’Arnaud.

Philadelphia Phillies – Biggest need: Right Fielder

Philadelphia has a big need in right field as they have two inexperienced players that will compete for the starting job in 2017. Roman Quinn is the projected starter in right field right now, but he has hit only .263 in 57 career at-bats. Aaron Altherr has more experience than Quinn, but Altherr is a career .212 hitter which isn’t very promising. Either way, it is a mystery as to how Quinn or Altherr will perform with the starting right field job. The Phillies need to sign a veteran right fielder to a 1-year deal in order to provide a temporary solution to the position.

Washington Nationals – Biggest need: Closer

The Nationals let go of closer Jonathan Papelbon after he had a poor season in 2016 and the team was confident that they would be able to sign a top free agent closer. However, all of the top free agent closers are now signed and yet the Nationals still have a need for a closer. The Nationals’ options at closer are running out and it appears that they’ll have to find a closer from their roster. Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen, and Sammy Solis are all candidates to be the team’s closer in 2017. However, none of those guys seems like a very good option especially for a team that has world series aspirations.

Red Sox trade Clay Buchholz to the Phillies

The Boston Red Sox made a move that many people knew was coming as they traded veteran starting pitcher Clay Buchholz to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league 2nd baseman Josh Tobias.

Red Sox evaluation:

This trade makes sense for the Red Sox because they just didn’t have any spot for Clay Buchholz in their starting rotation especially after they traded for star pitcher Chris Sale. Buchholz has been injured often especially in recent years for Boston, but when he is healthy and pitching well then he is definitely an all-star caliber pitcher. Boston’s starting rotation is already set with 5 quality starting pitchers and they knew that they couldn’t rely on Buchholz to be productive consistently. I would have been shocked if Buchholz would have been on the Red Sox roster in 2017 considering how talented their rotation is. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are getting a decent prospect in this trade by acquiring infield prospect Josh Tobias. He has been a productive player in 2 minor league seasons as he has hit .301 so far in his career. However, Tobias doesn’t provide much power as he has hit only 13 home runs in 2 minor league seasons. Tobias will likely start 2017 in Double-A for Boston and he is still a couple of years away from the MLB level at least. The Red Sox probably should have received more in return for a talented pitcher like Buchholz. However, this trade does make sense since Buchholz would not have been able to give him an opportunity to be in the starting rotation next season.

Grade: A-

Phillies evaluation:

This trade makes some sense for the Phillies as well since it provides some more stability to Philadelphia’s young starting rotation. The Phillies already have really good starting rotation, but the addition of Buchholz makes the rotation complete. Philadelphia is still in the rebuilding process, although Buchholz makes them a more competitive team in 2017. Buchholz is an all-star caliber pitcher when he is healthy, but staying healthy has been a major issue for him in recent seasons. It will be interesting to see how many innings that he can give Philadelphia next season, although he can provide some solid leadership at least. Buchholz brings world series experience and he is 32 years old, so he can be a mentor to some of the young Phillies pitchers. Buchholz didn’t have a great season for Boston in 2016 as he went 8-10 with a 4.78 ERA. However, I expect those numbers to improve next season as long as he stays healthy. Philadelphia didn’t give up much to get Buchholz which makes this trade even better and we’ll see if Buchholz can return to his all-star form. The Phillies could be better than people expect in 2017 and if Buchholz can pitch well then their starting rotation appears to be very good.

Grade: B+

clay-buchholz

Phillies sign Benoit to a 1-year deal

The Philadelphia Phillies needed to upgrade their bullpen this offseason and they did just that as they signed veteran relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit to a 1-year/$7.5 million deal. Benoit had a solid year for the Mariners and Blue Jays last season as he went 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA. He is 39 years old which is somewhat a cause for concern, but he has actually been a better pitcher the last several years than he was early on in his career. He has had an ERA of below 3.00 during 6 out of the past 7 seasons. This overall is a solid signing for Philadelphia because they need help especially at the back end of their bullpen. Hector Neris had a great year for the Phillies in 2016 and he figures to be the team’s closer next season, but Benoit figures to be the 8th inning setup guy for the Phillies. Benoit might retire or go somewhere else after the 2017 season. However, he is a temporary fix for the Phillies bullpen while the team tries to develop their young talent and rebuild. The Phillies bullpen still isn’t very good, although Benoit should provide some consistency for the bullpen in 2017. This is a solid signing for Philadelphia and he will help the Phillies at least be a respectable team while they continue the rebuilding process in 2017.

Grade: B

joaquin-benoit

Free Agent that every NL East team should re-sign

Atlanta Braves – A.J. Pierzynski – Catcher – 2016: .219 avg. and 2 home runs

Sure, A.J. Pierzynski isn’t a very productive offensive player anymore as he is about to turn 40 years old in December. However, Pierzynski offers something more valuable to the rebuilding Braves and that is leadership to all of the young players. Atlanta probably won’t be in a position to compete next season, but the Braves should consider re-signing Pierzynski to be their backup catcher just to provide a veteran leader for the team.

Miami Marlins – Mike Dunn – Relief Pitcher – 2016: 3.40 ERA

The Marlins bullpen hasn’t been very good in recent years, but the one relief pitcher that has been consistent for Miami is Mike Dunn. He had a 3.40 ERA last season as a setup man for the Marlins and he is one of the most underrated players in the entire MLB. It won’t cost much at all to re-sign Dunn and without him the Marlins bullpen will be awful. Also, it’s not easy these days to find quality left-handed bullpen arms like Dunn, so letting him leave in free agency would be a major mistake for Miami.

New York Mets – Yoenis Cespedes – Outfielder – 2016: .280 avg. and 31 home runs

I don’t know where the Mets would be without Yoenis Cespedes because he basically carried the entire offense with 31 home runs last season. Cespedes is the only consistent offensive threat that the Mets have right now, so if they lose him this offseason then their offense would be a complete mess next season. Cespedes surely will ask for a ton of money in free agency, but the Mets need to do anything it takes to try and re-sign him.

Philadelphia Phillies – David Hernandez – Relief Pitcher – 2016: 3.84 ERA

Philadelphia seems closer to contention than they were at this time a year ago. However, for this team to contend again then they will need a quality bullpen to be successful. The issue was that the Phillies didn’t have a very reliable bullpen in 2016. David Hernandez was a bright spot in the Phillies bullpen as he had a 3.84 ERA for them in 70 games. He has been a very consistent relief pitcher the past few years and he likely won’t cost much to retain. Hernandez is a veteran middle relief pitcher that can provide some stability to the bullpen and Philadelphia would be silly not to bring him back for that reason.

Washington Nationals – Wilson Ramos – Catcher – 2016: .307 avg. and 22 home runs

Ramos had by far the best year of his career last season as he hit .307 with 22 home runs for the Nationals. However, a late season torn ACL really is the one reason that the Nationals could have some concern re-signing him since he might never be close to the same type of player again. Either way, it is extremely difficult to find catchers that are as talented offensively as Wilson Ramos is. Also, Washington doesn’t really have another catcher that they could replace him with. Ramos is in the prime of his career and the Nationals should do anything to re-sign him despite the uncertainty regarding his knee injury.