The Phillies, in a bit of a roster conundrum with the latest rash of injuries, have outrighted infielder Kevin Frandsen to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. Frandsen has 72 hours to accept or reject the assignment. Zolecki adds that GM Ruben Amaro told Frandsen he still has a chance to make the Opening Day roster.
“We’re in a situation now with many of the injuries that have happened and the things that have occurred this spring to try and create some roster space for us,” Amaro said. “That’s what we’ve done. We still think he can be a valuable part of our club. But he’s competing. Just like he was before, he continues to compete for a job on the bench.”
Infielder Freddy Galvis recently came down with MRSA and will be out indefinitely, while Darin Ruf suffered a strained left oblique and could miss all of April. The Phillies would be considering adding some combination of Cesar Hernandez and non-roster invitees Ronny Cedeno and Reid Brignac.
The decision is particularly interesting because Amaro gave guaranteed contracts to Frandsen ($900,000) and John Mayberry, Jr. ($1,587,500) after avoiding arbitration. Contracts signed to avoid arbitration are usually non-guaranteed, so Amaro going out of his way to offer guaranteed contracts seemed to indicate Frandsen and Mayberry’s spots on the roster were assured. Mayberry has reportedly been made available via trade.
In 2012, Frandsen was one of the best pinch-hitters in the game, hitting .338 in 210 plate appearances. He regressed in 2013, finishing with a .234 average in 278 PA.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.