General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday that he has no plans to pick up a big bat before the July 31 trade deadline, telling Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia: “You will not see a major move this year.”
Philadelphia has MLB’s best record at 37-25, putting the Phillies on pace for 97 wins, but the lineup ranks just eighth among NL teams in runs and Ryan Howard (.803) and Shane Victorino (.812) are the only regulars to top a .750 OPS.
Charlie Manuel has hinted that he’d like to see the Phillies bring in some offensive help, saying: “I think there has to be a cutoff somewhere.” However, so far at least Amaro is showing a lot more patience:
Would I love to see this team perform at a higher level? Yes. And I still believe they will. Because they can hit. They can do things. You will not see a major move this year. I don’t think we need it. Right now, I’m happy with the guys we’ve got and I’m hoping they get us to the dance. This is a good team that is not playing as good as it is.
Of course, as Salisbury notes Amaro’s confidence in veteran hitters turning things around isn’t the only factor at play, as the Phillies’ current $175 million payroll is the second-highest in baseball and just short of the luxury tax threshold. Or as Amaro put it: “For $170 million-plus, we should be good enough to be a World Series contender.”
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).