The Latest on the Phillies at the Winter Meetings
A hodgepodge of news from the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee…
Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco have filed grievances against their teams alleging they were kept in the minor leagues unnecessarily and had their service time manipulated to delay future free agency, multiple major league sources told Yahoo Sports.Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports
Maikel Franco‘s case is much weaker than Kris Bryant‘s, as Franco struggled in 58 plate appearances at the major league level in September 2014 and didn’t perform well in spring training ahead of the 2015 season. There was plenty of justification for having Franco start the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Unless Franco somehow has some hard evidence where the Phillies explicitly admit to playing with his service time, he’s highly unlikely to win his case. That being said, I’ll always side with labor over ownership so I hope he wins anyway.
Pete Mackanin says he is "50-50" on whether or not he will platoon Ryan Howard at 1st base and will decide after holidays #philliestalk
— Rachel Micali (@RachelNBCS) December 7, 2015
It’s amazing that it will be 2016 and Ryan Howard still won’t officially have been platooned yet. Here’s one of the many charts I made over the years showing his deficiencies against same-handed pitching:
Ideally, the Phillies are able to re-home Howard by the time the regular season rolls around to make this a non-issue. They’re paying him $35 million ($25 million for the 2016 season plus a $10 million buyout for 2017) whether he takes one plate appearance or 650. He has no relevance to the team beyond this season and the Phillies shouldn’t allow him to take away valuable playing time and a roster spot. Corinne Landrey made the case for letting Howard go recently.
One potential trade target to monitor: Phillies LHH 3B/LF Cody Asche. They want pitching. Angels could part with Gott, Morin or Bedrosian.
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) December 7, 2015
I’m totally on board with this, as I suggested trading Cody Asche back in September. A major league-ready relief arm or a quad-A type position player is all the Phillies could realistically hope to get for Asche, as he was one of the game’s least valuable players this past season.
Of the three players Gonzalez mentioned, Mike Morin would be my number one target even though the Phillies would have team control over him for fewer years — he would be eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Morin posted a 6.37 ERA in 35 1/3 innings this past season, a far cry from his dominant 2014 output though his strikeout and walk rates remained stable and elite. The right-hander has struck out 24 percent of batters faced and walked seven percent of them in his first two seasons in the big leagues. Morin has a 91-93 MPH fastball along with a slider and a change-up.
Bedrosian misses a lot of bats, but has struggled with control throughout his professional career. He’s a two-pitch pitcher, utilizing a mid-90’s fastball and a slider. Bedrosian has higher upside than Morin but his lack of control makes him a riskier target.
Gott had terrific results in 47 2/3 innings with the Angels in 2015, posting a 3.02 ERA, but his peripherals were uninspiring as he struck out only 27 and walked 16. The right-hander was able to miss bats in the lower level of the minor leagues but hasn’t had that ability as he has ascended. Gott averaged 96 MPH on his fastball and also uses a curve ball and, scarcely, a change-up. Like Bedrosian, the Phillies would be gambling in acquiring Gott, but he has the potential to be a dominant relief arm.
Gambling on a Bedrosian or Gott would go hand-in-hand with a Ken Giles trade. Trading Giles would allow the Phillies to add at least one more high-end prospect into the system. If their Morin/Bedrosian/Gott venture pans out, then it’s a huge win. If it doesn’t pan out, back ends of bullpens aren’t too difficult to build, particularly considering how much payroll flexibility the Phillies will be working with going forward.
Former Phillie Cliff Lee drawing interest from 15 teams
Brewers, Pirates, Rangers could have interest in Jeff Francoeur