Not to kick Phillies fans while they are down or anything, but shortly after last night’s season-ending loss to the Giants, Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted that teammates don’t expect Jayson Werth to return next season.
Of course, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Werth is poised to make big money in free agency, especially after hiring Scott Boras as his agent earlier this year. By the way, Boras has already likened his new client to Matt Holliday, another one of his clients. And as you may remember, Holliday signed a seven-year, $120 million contract with the Cardinals last winter. The Phillies already have over $143 million tied up in 18 players next season, so Werth will probably be too rich for their blood.
Fortunately, the Phillies have Domonic Brown at the ready as an in-house replacement. The 23-year-old outfielder had a .210 batting average with two home runs and 13 RBI in limited action with the Fightins this season, but batted .327/.391/.589 with 20 homers and 68 RBI in 389 at-bats between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He is a highly-regarded prospect, but as with any rookie, growing pains are to be expected.
As Buster Olney of ESPN.com pointed out earlier this afternoon, another concern is that Brown bats from the left side of the plate. The Phillies are already lefty-heavy in their middle of the their lineup, so replacing the right-handed bat of Werth with Brown may make the Phillies’ lineup easier to navigate late in games.
We’ll have plenty of time to talk about where Werth may end up in the days and weeks to come, but Ross Gload has already named an early favorite for the outfielder’s services. According to John R. Finger of CSNPhilly.com, Gload said the following to Werth as he walked through the clubhouse exit last night:
“Don’t let those Yankees boss you around.”
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.