Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Two More Minor League Signings

Missed in the hoopla of the breaking Chris Nelson news, were two more minor league contract signings.  Cord Phelps and Rene Garcia now join the Phillies organization in hopes of starting a new dynasty.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Drip, drip, drip...sarcasm.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Phelps is a former highly regarded prospect with the Indians, but hasn't done much of anything at the MLB level in parts of 4 seasons, batting only .155/.457 in 56 games.  Cord, who is set to turn 28 years old in January, has played every position in the minors, save catcher and center field.  Over the past 5 years in Triple-A he's been decent, hitting .281/.820 in 462 games.  Once again, nothing but added depth here.

Garcia is a 24 year old catcher snatched out of the Astros franchise.  A lifetime .258/.635 hitter in 7 minor league seasons with a 35% caught stealing rate.  Too young to call a likely minor league lifer, especially given that a no-talent ass-clown like Michael Martinez got multiple opportunities in the Majors.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Phillies Land Well Traveled Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson is an everywhere man, in that he plays all over the infield and all over the map.  By signing a minor league contract with the Phillies, Nelson has joined his sixth organization since the beginning of 2013. 

Nelson began his career in Colorado in 2010 and has since played for the Yankees, Angels, and Padres totaling 282 games while batting .265/.699 with a -2.3 WAR.  His lone good season came with the Rockies in 2012 (.301/.810 in 111 games).  The 29 year old is versatile, but doesn't play any position well, and hasn't shown the power/speed combo he displayed early in his minor league days (19 HR/27 SB in 2007 in Single-A).  Nonetheless, he provides another bench option for the Phillies in 2015 and depth in the minors.  Is it me, or are the Phillies becoming an organization filled with these type of Quad-A players?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hill Re-Signed, Clemens Added

That headline reminds me of the 90's when Ken Hill and Roger Clemens were racking up the wins.  Fast forward to 2014 and we're referring to Koyie Hill and Paul Clemens...not quite the same.

Koyie Hill was with the Phillies organization last season, and even saw action in 10 games.  The 11 year MLB journeyman catcher is a career .207/.553 hitter over 341 games.  However, he's always been reliable on defense, and the 35 year old serves as depth and a mentor to the Triple-A squad.

Paul Clemens, no relation to roid rager Roger, has spent the past two seasons with the Houston Astros, appearing in 48 games, racking up 98 innings with a less than pleasant 5.51 ERA/1.52 WHIP combo.  The right-hander is set to turn 27 years old in March, and if you're looking for a silver lining he's turned in an even worse 5.91 ERA/1.56 WHIP in 46 Triple-A contests, so he's actually improved at the MLB level.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Generating Ryan Howard Trade Scenarios

Ryan Howard is set to make $60M over the next 2 years.  The Phillies desperately want to move him.  That's no small feat.  Howard had a historically horrible year as a cleanup hitter, albeit with 23 homeruns and 95 RBI.  Trading him to a team that could use him at DH would be ideal and for the other team's unwanted contract(s) in return.  I've generated some scenarios below that fit that criteria.  Not sure if any are realistic, given no-trade clauses and whatnot, but it's some food for thought.

Baltimore Orioles - Ubaldo Jimenez (3 YR/$38.75M) and Ryan Webb (1 YR/$2.75M).  Webb would go directly into the bullpen and Jimenez into the rotation.  The O's would get a fulltime DH and likely some cash from the Phils to make the trade a bit more even.

Chicago White Sox - John Danks (2 YR/$28.5M).  The Phillies would have to throw money in to help offset the cost, but I could see Howard performing well splitting 1B/DH duties with Jose Abreu and Danks could hold down a rotation spot for the next 2 years in Philly. 

Cleveland Indians - Nick Swisher (2 YR/$30M) and Michael Bourn (2 YR/$27.5M).  They could even throw Ryan Raburn in on the deal if they felt like it (1 YR/$2.6M).  This would be an even swap of bad contracts that could potentially help each team.  Bourn would slot into CF and Swisher could play 1B/OF.  Howard would split 1B/DH duties with Carlos Santana.

Minnesota Twins - Ricky Nolasco (3 YR/$37M) and Mike Pelfrey (1 YR/$5.5M).  Pelfrey is sunken cost and Nolasco never should have been signed to that contract, but he could still fill a spot in the rotation, while Howard could DH in the Twin Cities. 

New York Yankees - one of Mark Teixeira (2 YR/$45M), Alex Rodriguez (3 YR/$61M), or CC Sabathia (2 YR/$48M).  All three are well past their primes and A-Rod would bring a media circus with him reminiscent of Bonds in San Fran. 

I ruled out the Braves (BJ Upton) because of no DH and Freddie Freeman, the Cubs (Edwin Jackson) because of no DH and Anthony Rizzo, and the Dodgers (Andre Ethier) because of no DH and Adrian Gonzalaez.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

PJ Walters- Depth Signing

Another day, another minor league signing, this time in the form of pitcher PJ Walters.  The right-hander is set to turn 30 years old in March and last saw MLB action in 2013.  In parts of 5 seasons with the Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Twins he's amassed a 6-10 record over 40 games, 24 starts, and 152 innings with a 6.28 ERA and 1.58 WHIP.  In layman's terms- crap pitcher. 

PJ has fared better in the minors, posting a 4.18 ERA and 1.37 WHIP over 209 appearances, 172 starts, and 1005.2 innings.  Can't fault Amaro for this signing, as these types of journeyman Quad-A players are needed to fill out rosters like that of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Don't expect to see PJ pitching for the Phillies in 2015, aside from Spring Training.

As it stands the Iron Pigs look to have PJ and BJ (Rosenberg) on their pitching staff next year.  So, that's fun.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Elvis, Frenchy, and 3 Others Walk Into a Bar

Amaro is up to his usual business (aka- signing players that likely have no barring on success for the 2015 season, unless you're referring to the Iron Pigs' season).  Nevertheless, WSBGMs will do our due diligence and give you the rundown of each player signed.

First up, the only one of the 5 that got a MLB deal, Elvis Araujo.  Never heard of him?  Yeah, me either, and for good reason.  He's never pitched above Double-A, and that's only been 21 innings.  I wish I could say "Elvis has left the building", because his stats are not that promising- 5 seasons, 102 G, 57 GS, 321.1 IP, 269 K, 3.87 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 3.9 walks BB/9.  He is only 23 years old and a tall lefty (6'6"), so maybe the numbers aren't telling the whole story.

Next up, Frenchy.  Yep, Jeff Francoeur.  Astonishingly enough, he'll only be 31 years old next season.  He's already had a decent career, having hit .262/.722 with 250 DBL, 140 HR, and 619 RBI over 10 years.  His last truly useful season was 2011 with the Royals, but he certainly adds outfield depth to the Phillies organization.  Added bonus- he made 8 relief appearances for the Padres Triple-A affiliate last year, so should a game go deep into extra innings maybe he'll be able to pull a Wilson Valdez.

Another outfielder was added to the mix in the form of Xavier Paul, he of a .250/.679 batting line in 349 MLB games with the Dodgers, Reds, Pirates, and Diamondbacks.  He has a little pop and a little speed, so he's a nice stash away guy.  He's had success in AAA in 351 games, batting .307/.855 with 44 HR and 42 SB.

Then there's Chase d'Araud.  Former Pirate, so possible Phucco, and he's named Chase, so Phillies fans are already accustomed to rooting for that name. The middle infielder has seen time in parts of 3 MLB seasons, batting a paltry .208/.507 with 13 SB.  His minor league numbers are better- .260/.726 over 652 games.  He'll be 28 years old next year and is also able to play some outfield and 3rd base.

Finally, the familiar face of Andres Blanco is back.  He's been in the organization the past 2 seasons and actually saw time with the Phillies last year.  In 7 MLB seasons, the 30 year old has hit .257/.643, and he might be an alright utility infielder.  So, when Freddy Galvis falls flat on his face (again) due to his inability to hit, Andy White will be waiting.

In summation, I like 4 out of the 5 signings (80%, way to pass the test Rube!).  The only one I dislike and don't understand is the Elvis deal, because it's a MLB contract with a spot on the 40 man roster.  The rest add much needed depth, due to the fact the Phils upper minors are pretty void of MLB ready players.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MLB Veterans Day- 2014

As America recognizes the men and women that have served or who are currently serving in this wonderful country's Armed Forces, WSBGMs wants to stick with the theme and give a shout-out to each MLB teams' longest tenured player.

* = free agent

AL East:
Baltimore Orioles - Adam Jones/2008, *Nick Markakis/2006

Boston Red Sox - David Ortiz/2003

New York Yankees - Alex Rodriguez/2004

Tampa Bay Rays - Ben Zobrist/2006

Toronto Blue Jays - Jose Bautista/2008, *Dustin McGowan/2005

AL Central:
Chicago White Sox - John Danks/2007 

Cleveland Indians - Carlos Carrasco & Michael Brantley/2009

Detroit Tigers - Justin Verlander/2005

Kansas City Royals - Alex Gordon/2007

Minnesota Twins - Joe Mauer/2004

AL West:
Houston Astros - Jason Castro/2010

Los Angeles Angels - Jered Weaver & Erick Aybar/2006

Oakland Athletics - Coco Crisp, Josh Donaldson & Eric Sogard/2010

Seattle Mariners - Felix Hernandez/2005

Texas Rangers - Matt Harrison/2008 

NL East:
Atlanta Braves - Kris Medlen/2009 

Miami Marlins - Giancarlo Stanton & Steve Cishek/2010

New York Mets - David Wright/2004

Philadelphia Phillies - Jimmy Rollins/2000

Washington Nationals - Ryan Zimmerman/2005

NL Central:
Chicago Cubs - Starlin Castro & Welington Castillo/2010

Cincinnati Reds - Brandon Phillips/2006 

Milwaukee Brewers - Yovani Gallardo & Ryan Braun/2007, *Rickie Weeks/2003

Pittsburgh Pirates - Neil Walker & Andrew McCutchen/2009 

St. Louis Cardinals - Yadier Molina/2004 

NL West:
Arizona Diamondbacks - Miguel Montero/2006

Colorado Rockies - Troy Tulowitzki/2006

Los Angeles Dodgers - Matt Kemp & Andre Ethier/2006

San Diego Padres - Will Venable/2008

San Francisco Giants - Matt Cain/2005

Monday, November 10, 2014

Canzler Re-Signed & Giles 4th in R.O.Y. Voting

Russ Canzler has been re-signed to a minor league contract. He last saw MLB action in 2012 with the Indians and previously in 2011 with the Rays.  He's hit .271/.700 in 29 games.  Canzler is now 28 years old and has been impressive in the minors.  He has the ability to play corner infield and outfield and  hit for a decent average with some pop.  In 11 minor league seasons, he's hit .275/.807 with 256 doubles, 131 homeruns, and 604 RBI.  Based on those numbers, his age, and alright production in a small sample size in the Majors, I'd like to see him given an opportunity for a bench spot with the Phillies in 2015.  Far lesser players have been give far greater chances (I'm looking at you Michael Martinez!).

Rookie sensation and future closer, Ken Giles, finished 4th in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting.  He was 3-1 in 44 games, spanning 45.2 innings with 64 strikeouts a 1.18 ERA and 0.79 WHIP.  Had the 24 year old power pitcher been up the entire season, he'd have likely placed higher in the voting.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Bye-Bye Burnett

Thank goodness the Phillies won't be paying $12.75M to the MLB leader in losses (18), walks (96), and earned runs allowed (109) in 2015. Yep, AJ Burnett declined his player option and walked away from guaranteed money to pursue free agency.

Amaro lured AJ out of possible retirement last offseason in hopes of bolstering a playoff rotation.  Nothing went as planned.  Burnett pitched nearly the entire year with a sports hernia and his results were far from what the Phils had hoped for.  It's a good thing they're parting ways.

AJ Burnett 2014: 8-18, 34 GS, 213.2 IP, 190 K, 4.59 ERA, and 1.41 WHIP for a $15M pricetag.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Minor League Depth Signings

WSBGMs is a fan of offseason minor league contracts.  Why?  Because they are aplenty and make for something to mull over in between countless rumors of big name free agents and trades.  Amaro has already inked a few, and the calendar just flipped to November.

Minor League Depth Signings:
Brian Bogusevic/OF - last saw MLB action in 2013 and has played parts of 4 seasons with the Astros and Cubs.  He's hit .236/.682 with 84 R, 33 DBL, 17 HR, 62 RBI, and 22 SB in 299 games with a 2.1 WAR.  The converted pitcher bats left-handed and is set to turn 31 in February.  Lifetime .284/.796 batter in the minors.

Darin Mastroianni/OF - the 29 year old bats right-handed and has seen time in MLB over past 4 seasons with the Blue Jays and Twins.  Career .212/.564 hitter over 129 games.  Better minor league stats, .278/.738 in 691 games 242 stolen bases.

John Hester/C - a big backstop (6'4" 240 lb.) that has also spent parts of 4 seasons in the Majors, he with the Angels and Diamondbacks.  Hit .216/.645 in 93 games.  With both Wil Nieves and Koyie Hill likely gone, the Phillies needed some insurance here because incumbent backup catcher, Cameron Rupp, does not seem ready to handle the job. The 31 year old has a decent stick in the minors, batting .274/.790 in 629 games.