Ruben Amaro Jr.

The Phillies “will do whatever it takes” at the trade deadline

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The Phillies payroll is at $175 million, and it’s bumping right up against the luxury tax threshold. In light of that, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had said back in June that “you will not see a major move this year.”

That position would appear to be no longer operative.  Sure, Ruben Amaro is still mum because he’s a ninja, he’s a hoodie ninja,* but team president Dave Montgomery tells the Philly Inquirer that there aren’t any constraints:

“We do whatever it takes,” team president David Montgomery told The Inquirer. “If there’s an opportunity, we’ll make adjustments.”

That suggests to me — as it suggested to the article’s authors, Matt Gelb and Bob Brookover — that the Phillies aren’t terribly concerned about the luxury tax. At the very least, “we do whatever it takes” is much different than “you will not see a major move this year.”

*Downside of going to the movies this weekend: saw that Honda Civic SI commercial twice and can’t get that friggin’ song out of my head.

(thanks to Jonny5 for the link)

Dodgers trade A.J. Ellis to the Phillies for Carlos Ruiz

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers
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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.

Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:

Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.

Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.

Jose Bautista returns from the disabled list

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.

Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.

Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.