UPDATE: The deal is now official, with Tocci signing for $759,000.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Phillies are on the verge of signing 16-year-old Venezuelan center fielder Carlos Tocci for around $750,000, with the only holdup being that they have to wait until he turns 16 and is actually eligible to sign.
He’ll help restock a farm system that has seen numerous top prospects traded away in recent years, with Ben Badler of Baseball America writing that the 6-foot-2, 150-pound Tocci “is one of the more intriguing prospects in Venezuela” and “is a plus-plus runner who shows feel for hitting with a line-drive swing.”
Colorado was also reportedly in the mix for Tocci.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.