Phillies Trade Juan Nicasio for Real Person

When the Phillies acquired Juan Nicasio on waivers on August 31 it looked like a pure salary dump for the Pirates and opportunistic way of shoring up a struggling bullpen for the Phillies. I personally scoffed at the idea that the Phillies would flip Nicasio for anything in trade…

Alvarez is not going to turn any heads or make the Phillies farm system great on his own, but he is a real prospect. After spending his first 4 seasons in short season ball, Alvarez hit .323/.404/.476 as a 21 year old in the Midwest League and was rated the 10th best prospect in the Cardinals’ system following the year. The Cardinals then added him to their 40 man roster last offseason and double jumped him to AA this season where he has hit only .247/.321/.382 in 54 games (he missed time with an ankle injury).

Alvarez can run, he has shown in the past that he can hit, but he also doesn’t have much power, and he is not a great defender at second base (due to footwork and actions, not physical tools). As Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen pointed out, he bears physical resemblance to Cesar Hernandez and I would push that to say his path to this point and profile also resemble the Phillies’ current second baseman. Hernandez got plenty of chances in Philly to work through all of his warts and came out a pretty good baseball player. Alvarez is still hard away from that, but he does have a ceiling as an everyday regular.

Prospect wise he fits into the same group of prospects as Jesmuel Valentin and Jose Gomez who are on the fringes of the Phillies top 30 prospects. That group plus SS Malquin Canelo really represents the middle infield gap between J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery and the next wave headed by Daniel Brito and Arquimedes Gamboa. There won’t be any expectations for Alvarez, who will join an already crowded 40 man roster, but the depth does give the Phillies a better chance at finding a trade chip or future utility infielder.

So nothing ground breaking, but the Phillies got a RP for free and turned him into a real prospect in the span of a week, that is pretty neat.

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  1. RK

    September 06, 2017 03:59 PM


    I can’t believe this trade. Nicasio was and is exactly what the Phils need–a solid performer! ready for next years 7th and 8th inning Alvarez? we already have Hernandez he is solid and he is young. There is no need for Alvarez.
    Dumb but than again no one ever accused the Phillies management of being smart. The Cardinals on the other hand? Have never been called dumb when it comes to management–good move for them.

    • s

      September 06, 2017 04:15 PM

      Nicasio is a free agent after the season. Keeping him accomplishes nothing unless they somehow could have gotten him to accept an extension. My guess is being traded this late in the year he was always going to go the free agent route.

    • Matt Winkelman

      September 06, 2017 04:36 PM

      Nicasio was a pending FA.

      Nicasio also won’t be playoff eligible should the Cardinals go on a hot streak

      • Gil

        September 06, 2017 07:05 PM

        This astonishing trade looks like a win for Klentak and maybe one for the Phillies. It also suggests they’re considering trading Cesar Hernandez before next season. Nicasio will be a free agent this winter, so the Phillies could elect to sign him and could possibly even trade him a second time depending on how 2018 goes. Stranger things have happened, though not often.

      • Eddie

        September 06, 2017 11:26 PM

        I think it was safe to assume they’ll be looking for offers for Hernadez anyway, due to Kingery; Alvarez probably isn’t in the 2018 picture, certainly not to start the season.

  2. Eddie

    September 06, 2017 06:53 PM

    “…he has shown in the past that he can hit, but he also doesn’t have much power…”

    You sure about that? I see a guy who averages about 50 XBH per 150 games. Most of them are doubles, obviously, but I’m wondering if he he has any room on his frame to add some muscle and hit a few of those out?

    • Matt Winkelman

      September 07, 2017 09:25 AM

      His frame is pretty maxed out.

      Right now there are 10 second baseman in baseball with at least 20 home runs and 24 with at least 10 home runs. The definitions if what is power have changed dramatically.

  3. Mike Fassano

    September 06, 2017 11:19 PM

    At the trading deadline the Phillies (besides players) acquired several million dollars in international signing money. My understanding is that it must be used by the next signing period. If it’s not used, where does it go? Is there a specific time or deadline to sign additional players? Did we sign a couple of players, and I missed it?

    • Eddie

      September 07, 2017 06:55 AM

      They spent essentially all of their own allotment on a few big signings on July 2. They acquired approx $1 million at the deadline, which is all they have to spend on IFAs until next July 2. If it’s not used, it’ll be lost.

      Most likely, given their track record, is that Sal Agostinelli will spread that money around to a couple dozen lottery tickets — $50K here, $20K there. The Phillies run 2 DSL teams, so they sign a lot of new guys every year.

    • Romus

      September 07, 2017 08:43 AM

      MikeF….Phillies signed over 60 players last period, and normally they were in the 25/35 range every year prior. They may be starting to sign the higher numbers at lower per person rates.
      But that was a trend they were doing from 2002 thru 2011…and in 2011 Tocci seemed to start for them a higher bonus allotment, with Jhailyn Ortiz at $4.4M coming in the top 5 among all LA signings to date in the majors.
      The left over money normally is parcel out among many lower rated prospects.
      Buit who nows…..there are still a few highly rated kids not signed….some rumored to be going to the yankees however……OFer Raimfer Salinas is one that may be still available and he ranks 5 or 6 depending on what publication yuo read.
      The int’l signing periods run from July 2nd of one year, thru the following year’s, June 15th date..

  4. Andreas

    September 07, 2017 05:54 AM

    For my money there seems to be a pleasing balance of those two transactions.
    Out: Some change for a week of service
    In: Two solid outings plus a prospect.
    Can’t see anything bad there.

  5. Andrew R.

    September 07, 2017 06:13 AM

    It’s so important to win little trades like this one. We didn’t just flip him for a lottery ticket either. Just keep building depth…

    Imagine if Henderson Alvarez can give some quality innings in 2018 as well.

    It’s important to make some big moves, but small, smart moves keeps the ball rolling in the right direction. Nice job Klentak!

  6. John

    September 07, 2017 10:11 AM

    I would have made every effort to sign a solid reliever. Banjo hitting middle infielders are a dime a dozen.

    • Jerry Spradlin

      September 08, 2017 08:49 AM

      My guess is the Phils spoke to Gia’s agents and were told he wants to test free agency, or their contract demands were too high. Hence, the trade.

      • Jerry Spradlin

        September 08, 2017 08:50 AM

        His, not Gia’s- spell check, duh…

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