Ken Rosenthal has set the Phillies’ little corner of the Twitterverse a-tweeting by suggesting — based on word from “major league sources” — that the Phillies could shop Jayson Werth mid-season. This is one of those things, though, in which the caveat basically swallows up the rumor. The caveat: “if the Phillies somehow fall out of contention.”
While I’m sure one’s definition of “fall out of contention” varies, I don’t see how that could realistically apply to the Phillies before the trade deadline. They’re four games back as we speak. Only two games out of the Wild Card. They’re playing a Braves team that is banged up and is doing things like trotting out an outfield consisting of Melky Cabrera, Omar Infante and Gregor Blanco, and they’re doing it at home. At the end of the week the two teams they’re behind will play each other. It’s just as likely that they’ll gain ground before the break as lose ground.
After the break they have just over two full weeks before the deadline with over half of those games coming against losing teams. Yes, it’s possible that they’ll lose 14 of 17 or something while the Mets and Braves surge, but that’s not likely either. My guess is that, at worst, they’ll be around the same place they are now. Maybe four or five games back. At worst. That’s certainly not “out of contention” territory.
Someone better versed in waiver-trade-fu than me can correct me if I’m wrong, but given that Werth is (a) good; and (b) about to become a free agent, the odds of him making it through waivers seem pretty small (i.e. there’s not some big contract to scare teams away). That means the Phillies aren’t like to match up with any optimum trade partners if they want to make an August deal.
All of this leads to me thinking that the odds of the Phillies actually trading Jayson Werth are infinitesimal. It’s enough to get Rosenthal a little chatter, but ultimately nothing is going to happen.
Last summer we posted about Rafael Palmeiro coming out of retirement to play for the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters. The reason: to play a game with his boy Patrick. In that game the elder Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk, and a run scored. His son, who is now 26, went 2-for-4 with a grand slam.
Did that serve as an audition for Patrick? Possibly, as Jon Meloi of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles just signed him to a minor league deal.
As Meloi notes, it’s certainly just an organizational depth move, as Patrick is no prospect. And it’s actually likely something of a coincidence that it’s the Orioles who signed him, as Palmeiro doesn’t have any real contacts with the Orioles baseball operations people, all of whom are different folks now than back in his day.
This may not be the last of the Palmeiros, by the way. Peter Gammons tweeted this morning that Patrick’s younger brother, Preston, is a first baseman at North Carolina State who could be drafted this june. Gammons says he has a swing “remarkably similar to dad.”
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.