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.