Phillies Trade Jesse Biddle to the Pirates

Update: The Phillies got pitcher Yoervis Medina in return for Biddle. Medina is 27 and has four years of team control remaining, meaning he’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. The right-hander had a pair of solid years pitching out of the Mariners’ bullpen in 2013 and ’14, posting ERA’s of 2.91 and 2.68, respectively. However, Medina has struggled with command as his 12.4 career walk rate illustrates. He struggled immensely last season between the Mariners and Cubs, spending most of his season facing Triple-A competition. Medina will battle in spring training for a spot at the back of the Phillies’ bullpen.

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Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Phillies have traded pitcher Jesse Biddle to the Pittsburgh Pirates for an as yet unknown return. Biddle had been designated for assignment earlier this week, which gave the club 10 days to trade, release, or waive the lefty.

Biddle underwent Tommy John surgery in mid-October, which means he won’t be back on the mound until 2017. He had also dealt with concussion issues after he was hit in the head by a hailstone. Some very unfortunate luck has derailed a once-promising career for the 24-year-old, the Phillies’ first-round pick (27th overall) in the 2010 draft.

Going to the Pirates might be good for Biddle as he’ll have an opportunity to work under pitching coach Ray Searage. Searage has helped former Phillie J.A. Happ as well as Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez, among others, turn around their careers. It isn’t just junk science, either, as Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review documented some of the changes Searage has helped pitchers make.

Like Liriano and Volquez who flourished in Pittsburgh, Searage saw Happ using inefficient movement in his delivery. Instead of striding directly to home plate, Happ, like Liriano and Volquez, had too much rotational movement in his motion which dropped his arm slot and made the ball easier to track for opposing hitters. It also negatively impacted his control.

Regarding reliever Arquimedes Caminero, via Sawchik:

While it’s a small sample of March baseball, it could be a meaningful change. After struggling with command in his brief stints with the Marlins and walking 4.4 batters per nine innings in his minor-league career, Caminero credited Pirates pitching coaches Jim Benedict and Ray Searage with finding delivery flaws in the Bradenton, Fla. video rooms.

“(They are) just simplifying things that were there that I didn’t notice much and now I’m noticing,” Caminero said. “I’m just going easier in my mechanics. I was trying to throw too hard. … I feel more confident. I’m hitting my target more often.”

It is unfortunate we won’t have the chance to see Biddle take the mound at Citizens Bank Park in a Phillies uniform. Hopefully, he is able to rebound and get his career back on track with the Pirates.

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8 comments

  1. smittyboy

    February 03, 2016 12:24 PM

    Ray Searage needs to hire Scott Boras as his agent. Can’t you see a 5 year $35 million contract ? with an opt out after 2 years ?

  2. Mark

    February 03, 2016 12:25 PM

    Good move, esp for biddle

  3. Mudge

    February 03, 2016 12:28 PM

    The heck with Biddle. It is a shame we will not see Searage in a Phillies uniform.

  4. JustBob

    February 03, 2016 01:24 PM

    Traded for cash? Tells you the new front office thought he has no real shot at making the majors even as a reliever down the line.

    At this point, it is fair to label Biddle as a pretty big bust since he never got above Reading along with the rest of the 2010 draft.

  5. glovesdroppa

    February 03, 2016 10:36 PM

    Sucks he would’ve been a hometown guy. His entire time was cursed with the concussion snafu and Tommy John. Six years in he’d have to be labeled a bust

  6. smittyboy

    February 04, 2016 12:00 AM

    Always thought was over drafted in the first place. He had attended a local prep school that did not play alot of significant meaningful competition – much like Larry Greene. Prep products who competed against other prep youngsters who by the nature of their leagues, are not battle tested. Moreover, he was a sexy Philly native from a patrician family noteworthy for its connection to the city and it was supposed to be the “perfect combination.” Sadly, he appears to be an affable and wholly earnest young man who in this instance,, couldn’t be the one who ” got to go home again.” Wishing him well but ultimately the Phillies did the right thing and moved on……after all, he would be hard pressed to make the top 25 prospects on his own team !

  7. Shawn

    February 04, 2016 10:50 AM

    All in all, seems like a good trade. Lost a lot of faith in Biddle being able to produce anything with the big league club after all the bad luck with injuries. In return for a real project that will be an old prospect once he returns from Tommy John in 2017 we received a guy that has contributed from the bull pen on a major league roster. Another back end of the bullpen lottery ticket type that will be under team control for four more years. I think it’s a good move overall.

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