Antonio Bastardo reportedly was drawing plenty of interest leading up to the July 31 trade deadline and seemed like a prime candidate to be moved, but instead the Phillies hung onto the 28-year-old reliever … and now he wants out of Philadelphia anyway.
Last night Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News asked Bastardo if he’d have been better off with a trade to another team and the left-hander actually gave an honest reply:
I don’t know, that’s a good question. I think it could be good for me to stay here, but I think it could be better going somewhere else. We have two young lefties here, and they can do a really good job. A third lefty in the bullpen … I think for my career–for my career–I should be somewhere else.
For my career, it could be way better to be somewhere else. If there was a team interested in me, I could be a part of a team and … help more. Be more in the game, stuff like that. Help them, and it could help me in my career. I’m moving forward not to be a mop-up guy in the game. I just like to be in the [biggest] spot that I can get.
In other words: Bastardo thinks the Phillies have some decent left-handed bullpen options for the future and he’d like to pitch for a contending team in a higher-leverage late-inning role. All of which seems fair, although surely Phillies fans won’t take too kindly to his asking out of Philadelphia.
Bastardo, who has a 3.31 ERA and 259 strikeouts in 201 innings since 2011, is under team control for 2015 and then can become a free agent.
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Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.