Phillies Ink Utility Man Bixler

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, February 07, 2014 11:34 AM Comments: 6

According to Chris Cotillo, the Phillies have signed utility man Brian Bixler to a minor league deal. Bixler, 31, has hit .189/.249/.269 across 356 MLB PA, played every position but pitcher, catcher, and first base last year at Triple-A Las Vegas, and has played every position but pitcher and catcher in the Major Leagues. Bixler has hit .276/.351/.397 in 2516 Triple-A PA.


Phillies Add Enright, Richardson

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, February 02, 2014 11:53 PM Comments: 18



The Phillies announced a pair of minor league signings this weekend. The Phillies inked 27-year old, 6’3″ starter Barry Enright to a minor league deal. Enright 12.96 ERA in four appearances for the Los Angeles Angels last season and a 7.12 ERA in 22 starts in Triple-A Salt Lake. Enright went 6-7 in 17 starts with a 3.91 ERA in 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks but has struggled to see consistent Major League time since.

The Phillies also signed Hilton Richardson, a 6’3″ lefty outfielder who has not played professional baseball since 2011. Richardson, 25, last played for the Single-A Rome Braves in 2011, hitting .218/.295/.303 with 2 HR and 2 SB. Richardson was a seventh round draft choice in 2007 of the Kansas City Royals. Richardson has previously shown flashes of super speed, stealing 22 bags in 2009 and 33 bags in 2010.


Report: Phillies Bring Back Abreu on Minor League Deal

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, January 21, 2014 03:54 PM Comments: 28

One of the Phillies’ greatest players is coming back. This time, he’s (nearly) 40.

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Phillies have reached an agreement with outfielder Bobby Abreu that will bring back the lefty on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. The deal is believed to be worth $800,000.

Abreu, turning 40 on March 11, has not played Major League Baseball since 2012 but has been scorching hot in the Venezuelan Winter League for Leones de Caracas. Abreu was an All-Star in 2004 and 2005 with the Phillies, ranks 11th in team history in HR, ninth in runs scored, third in BB%, seventh in steals, fifth in OBP, and ninth in slugging.

As a Phillie, Abreu put up a rather incredible .303/.416/.513 line in 5885 PA from 1998 through 2006. Abreu was acquired on November 18, 1997 for shortstop Kevin Stocker and would be traded to the Yankees on July 30, 2006 with Corey Lidle for C.J. Henry, Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios, and Matt Smith. According to Crasnick, Abreu is 13 homers and one steal short of joining Barry and Bobby Bonds as the only players in MLB history with 300 HR and 400 SB.


Phillies Sign Gaudin to Minor League Deal

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, January 21, 2014 11:51 AM Comments: 0

http://static.foxsports.com/fe/images/MLB/Headshots/140x170/7199.jpgJim Salisbury of CSN Philly reported today that the Phillies have signed right-handed pitcher Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Gaudin, who turns 31 on March 24, pitched well in the swing man role for the Giants last season, posting a career-low 3.06 ERA and 1.247 WHIP. Gaudin will likely compete for a spot in the starting rotation and/or the bullpen.

Thoughts: Gaudin has had two of the best statistical seasons of his career in 2012 and 2013 but is seen by some as someone with a lot of baggage. In January 2013, Gaudin groped a woman in an emergency room while the woman was on a gurney, awaiting treatment about three miles from the Las Vegas strip. Gaudin, a resident of nearby Henderson, told police he did not know how he ended up in the emergency room.

With Gaudin comes talent but a very recent run-in with the law. Ordinarily, I would say this is a pretty decent signing by the Phillies. But then again, I have never before asked to review a signing of someone with a recent charge of “lewd conduct” on their record.


Phillies Sign 2B Jim Negrych

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, January 18, 2014 10:57 AM Comments: 0

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Phillies have signed Jim Negrych to a minor league deal. Negrych, 28, was a sixth round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006 and spent five seasons in the Pirates organization before being traded in 2011 to the Marlins organization. In 2012, he signed with the Nationals organization and in 2013, the Blue Jays organization. Negrych doesn’t have a whole lot of power (SLG of just over .400 in eight minor league seasons) but he has been able to get on base at a reliable clip (.374) through his minor league career. In parts of three seasons at Triple-A, Negrych has hit .280/.362/.393 in 954 PA, spending most of his time at second base, but also seeing action at third and in left field.

Analysis: I don’t know a whole lot about Negrych but this, on the surface, looks like a really strong minor league depth signing. Negrych was the starting second baseman in the International League All-Star Game last year and was a minor league All-Star in 2008 and 2010. At 28, Negrych has yet to reach the Majors and has been slightly older for the levels he has been playing at, but this move gives the Phillies a strong infield option should Chase Utley or others suffer a long term injury in 2014.


Phillies Avoid Arbitration with Mayberry

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, January 17, 2014 11:10 AM Comments: 0

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Phillies have avoided arbitration with outfielder/first baseman John Mayberry Jr. This is Mayberry’s first year of arbitration eligibility. Mayberry will compete for a job as the right-handed bench bat with the club in Spring Training. Mayberry has the second-most games played and fifth most plate appearances with the Phillies since 2011.

Analysis: As questionable as this move is, everyone saw it a mile away. Mayberry had by far the worst year of his career (.227/.286/.391 with 11 HR and 5 steals), a dramatic drop off from a 2011 where Mayberry showed such promise, even if it was just against left-handed pitching. Mayberry went from hitting lefties at a .306 clip in 2011 to .271 in 2012 to .240 in 2013.

This move won’t prevent the Phillies from acquiring a different player financially but the move is curious because of the lack of improvement Mayberry has made in what were supposed to be the peak years of his career. Mayberry is now 30 years old and is unlikely to improve at this stage of his career.


A Few Notes on Bootcheck, Smith

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, December 31, 2013 07:00 AM Comments: 0

On December 18, the Phillies announced through their transactions page that they signed Tony Gwynn, Dave Sappelt, Lou Marson, and Sean O’Sullivan to minor league deals. On that day, they also quietly signed RHP Chris Bootcheck and re-signed LHP Greg Smith to little fanfare. The news was first reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America over an otherwise quiet holiday. Let’s take a quick look at what to expect from Bootcheck and Smith.

Bootcheck, 35, returned to the Majors in 2013 with the Yankees after missing the entire 2010 season and most of 2011 with injuries. After spending time in Triple-A Toledo in 2012, Bootcheck was converted back to a starter after signing with the Yankees and started 20 or more games for the first time since 2005. Bootcheck posted a 3.69 ERA with a 1.288 WHIP with a 10-7 record for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Bootcheck gave up one earned run on June 14 in his only appearance with the Yankees.


Smith, 30, was an outside candidate for an improbable call-up with the Phillies last year as a starting pitcher. Smith was signed on May 6 for depth at Reading as the Phillies scrambled to back-fill for Tom Cochran and Hector Neris, who both saw time at Reading and Lehigh Valley. Smith was quickly promoted and pitched well, going 8-4 with a 3.31 ERA with a 1.286 WHIP in Lehigh Valley. Smith nearly cracked the roster toward the end of the season when injuries took their toll on the Phillies rotation.

In terms of depth signings, there are very few ways to do it wrong. I really like the Phillies bringing Smith back into the fold – he pitched well in Reading and Lehigh Valley and is great depth to have with the Phillies thin rotation. Bootcheck is a little older and really struggles with walks (4.00 BB/9 IP in 148.1 MLB IP) – he will be fine minor league depth but I would not expect him to crack the Major League roster. Neither deal has a Major League camp invite, which is sort of surprising for Smith, so both players will spend most of camp on the minor league side.


Phillies Sign Four to Minor League Deals with Invites

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, December 18, 2013 01:18 PM Comments: 19


Marson returns to the Phillies on a minor league deal.

The Phillies have announced via their transaction page that catcher Lou Marson, outfielders Tony Gwynn and Dave Sappelt, and right-handed pitcher Sean O’Sullivan have been signed to minor league deals with invitations to Spring Training.

Marson, 27, was once a top Phillies prospect and was ranked as the #66th overall prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. A fourth round pick out of high school in 2004 by the Phillies, Marson returns to the organization that drafted him after hitting .217/.308/.295 from 2009 through 2013 with Cleveland. Marson served primarily as Cleveland’s back-up catcher from 2010 to 2012 and missed most of 2013 with a right shoulder injury.

Gwynn, 31, last played in the Majors in 2012 with the Dodgers and is a career .244/.312/.318 hitter in 1671 PA that has susccessfully stolen 77 bases in 103 attempts (74.76%) in 605 games.

Sappelt, 26, spent 2011 with the Reds and 2012 and 2013 with the Cubs. Sappelt is a career .279/.332/.402 in Triple-A that used to take a lot of chances on the basepaths but ultimately came up empty (62.73% in the minors). Sappelt is a .251/.301/.343 Major League hitter in 274 PA.

O’Sullivan, 26, has spent time from 2009 through 2013 with the Angels, Royals, and Padres, posting a 5.89 ERA, mostly as a starter.

Analysis: The return of Marson is a positive. Marson is an upgrade over former emergency catcher Steven Lerud and still has some potential to become a better hitter. Gwynn probably isn’t much more than filler that will help round out the IronPigs. Sappelt and O’Sullivan, like Marson, are solid flier pick-ups to add depth to Triple-A or to the big league club in the event of an emergency.

[It's never too early to start thinking about Phillies tickets.]


Phillies Sign Catcher Nieves

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, December 05, 2013 04:48 PM Comments: 27

http://l3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/osFYIq7aNOWzUCZBCNyB0Q--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/wil-nieves-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgUpdate, December 5, 4:48 PM: Nieves will receive $1.25 million in guaranteed money with a possible $500k in performance incentives on a one-year Major League contract according to Jon Heyman.

December 3, 2013, 8:17 PM

The Phillies have answered the Marlins signing of Jarrod Saltalamacchia by signing… back-up catcher Will Nieves. There is no news yet as to whether or not Nieves deal is a Major League deal. Nieves will turn 37 in September 2014 and has a career triple slash line of .242/.283/.314. Nieves has been an average defender and hit .297/.320/.369 last season.

Analysis: Assuredly with a pulse on the needs of the Phillies, Ruben Amaro managed to sign a back-up to the only position where they already have a cheap, reliable back-up in place. Kratz’s career .220/.281/.407 line is comparable in on-base ability and is significantly better in power. This move makes no sense if it is a Major League deal and only slightly more if it is a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.


The Phillies Tender Contracts to Four

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, December 02, 2013 06:53 PM Comments: 80

http://l3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/xdcIJ_N7nwF2vWPBplfi3w--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/kyle-kendrick-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgThe Phillies have tendered contracts to Antonio Bastardo, Kyle Kendrick, John Mayberry, and Ben Revere for 2014. Bastardo, 28, posted a 2.32 ERA in 48 games in 2013 with a career-low 9.91 K/9 IP before being suspended as part of the Biogenesis scandal. After a promising first half, Kendrick, 29, posted a 6.91 ERA after the All-Star break but had positive drops in BB/9 IP and HR/9 IP. Mayberry, 30 for Opening Day, posted career-lows across his entire triple-slash in 2013, hitting .227/.286/.391. Revere, 25, had career-highs in all triple-slash categories, hitting .303/.338/.352, with a scorching hot line of .347/.380/.404 from May 1 to June 13 before he broke his foot in the first half of a double-header against the White Sox.

Analysis: Two of these tenders make sense, one is defend-able, and the fourth, well… Obviously, Bastardo and Revere were locks to return to the Phils in 2014 and the case could be made that Kendrick is worth the estimated $6-7 million he will get for 2014. But Mayberry? Mayberry continues to regress and he is not getting any younger, posting career lows in all three slash categories. They will likely have to pay Mayberry an estimated $1.1-1.6 million for around a .227/.286/.391 line next year. Not worth it.

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