The Latest on the Phillies at the Winter Meetings

A hodgepodge of news from the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee…

Maikel Franco files grievance

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.

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.

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

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  1. Sean f

    December 08, 2015 07:59 AM

    I like what I saw from Gott. He would be my preference.

    • Timber

      December 08, 2015 10:03 AM

      A 96 mph sinking fastball that he can throw for strikes. Sign me up. If he can get more swings and misses out one of his secondary offerings, he’d be a monster.

  2. Evan

    December 08, 2015 08:06 AM

    Bedrock Jr.! This should happen on name alone.

    • Romus

      December 08, 2015 09:22 AM

      Evan…agree, city has had a few Rocky Balboas, why not a Bedrock II?

  3. CJ

    December 08, 2015 10:08 AM

    “That being said, I’ll always side with labor over ownership so I hope he wins anyway.”

    Ha. This is why we can’t have nice things.

  4. CJ

    December 08, 2015 10:12 AM

    “Pete Mackanin says he is “50-50″ on whether or not he will platoon Ryan Howard at 1st base”

    He’s platooning logic with emotion.

  5. Gil

    December 08, 2015 10:46 AM

    With all the talk of elite closers on the trading block, a little reminder of the great haul Bedrosian Sr. brought back from SF in June 1989.

    Would you trade Giles for today’s talent equivalent to Terry Mulholland, Dennis Cook and Charlie Hayes?

    • Greg

      December 08, 2015 04:16 PM

      Well, Mulholland WAS pretty for on and after the Phillies, and pretty much revolutionized the lefty pickoff throw to first that most people credit Pettite with.. Cook was pretty useful if I recall as well. Charlie Hayes’s biggest claim to fame for me is Dave Hollins’ quote that he didn’t see himself replacing Mike Schmidt, he was replacing Charlie Hayes.

      • DB9

        December 09, 2015 01:26 AM

        I always remember Charlie Hayes spearing a line drive on the final out of the game to preserve a Terry Mulholland no-hitter (although I am conveniently ignoring that play was only necessary due to his error being the only blemish preventing the game from being a Perfecto).

  6. SJ Haack

    December 08, 2015 11:23 AM

    I had similar feelings on the Franco filing vs Bryant’s slam dunk, but then the article reminded me that the Phillies sent Asche down without making a corresponding roster move for 2-3 days until they called Franco up on the 15th. How lucky! that it just happened to be the date that would give the Phillies one more year of team control.

    • Marvin

      December 08, 2015 11:50 AM

      Seems likely that Franco is just doing what the MLBPA wants him to do, but I question the union’s strategy by including Franco – if anything that seems to weaken the overall case/issue v. just pressing Bryant’s cause. Oh well, all this will be moot with the new CBA – can’t imagine that it won’t explicitly address this issue one way or the other.

  7. JRFarmer

    December 08, 2015 12:12 PM

    Help me understand this…

    Why would we trade Ken Giles (a reliever) for Morin, Gott or Bedrosian (all relievers). What are the Phillies gaining in a trade like that?

    It makes more sense to me, as was written on this very blog, to trade Giles for a starter or a position player.

    • JRFarmer

      December 08, 2015 12:14 PM

      Nevermind, I guess I misunderstood the “go hand-in-hand” part of the article. I suppose flipping Asche for a reliever is sensible. Get something for him.

  8. Major Malfunction

    December 08, 2015 03:30 PM

    15 teams interested in a 37 year old pitcher with a bad elbow that’s already tried to come back twice and failed?

    I loved Cliff Lee in a Phils uniform and wish he never had the elbow blow out, but it is what it is. I’m thinking he’s got this burning desire to get one more “good” season in so he can go out on his own terms. I just don’t think that’s going to happen with an elbow that was recommended for surgery and already shit the bed twice on comebacks.

    You have nothing left to prove Cliff, shut it down.

  9. Mark

    December 09, 2015 11:09 AM

    Astros best fit….a j Reed power 1st sacker, martes promising rhp starter for giles.

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