Happ to stay in Phillies' rotation, but will Moyer?

Leave a comment

After watching J.A. Happ’s brilliant 10-strikeout, complete-game shutout of the Rockies last night, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it very clear this morning that the 26-year-old rookie will remain in the Phillies’ rotation despite Pedro Martinez’s impending arrival.
“Happ’s not going anywhere,” Amaro said. “He’s not going out of the rotation. He deserves to stay in the rotation. He has pitched very well. He’s one of our most effective starters.”
Happ is “not going anywhere” and Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, and Joe Blanton are obviously safe, so that would seemingly mean that a) Jamie Moyer will lose his spot to Martinez after posting a 5.55 ERA through 21 starts, b) Martinez won’t be joining the rotation after all, or c) the Phillies will go with some sort of six-man rotation. He’s what Amaro said about those three possibilities:
Why can’t we go with a six-man rotation? We still haven’t made a decision, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that six guys could pitch in our rotation. We haven’t discussed it yet. There are a lot of possibilities. You never what’s going to happen the next week to 10 days. A man could go down right now. There are a lot of things that could happen the next week or so that would change our thinking.
It depends how you utilize [a six-man rotation]. You can be creative and set up the rotation so certain guys go every five days and other guys get pushed back. The fact of the matter is, we’re not there yet. But we are in a situation where we have six starters, and we’ll see how creative we can be.

In other words, the Phillies are in no rush to add Martinez to the mix after three good but not great minor-league rehab starts. Interestingly, all of this would probably be a moot point if not for the 46-year-old Moyer being owed $6.5 million for next season. That makes it tougher for the Phillies to simply ditch him for Martinez, especially if they don’t think that Moyer would take well to even a short-term bullpen role.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.