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.
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.
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.