Former major leaguer Morgan Ensberg has been serving as a minor leaguer special assignment coach for the Astros over the last couple of years. As a result, he works with the club’s young players at various levels. Understandably, he might be a little touchy at the thought of seeing a handful of them get sent away in a trade.
The Astros have been rumored to have interest in Phillies ace Cole Hamels, which would require giving up a significant haul of prospects. Asked on Twitter if he would give up Brett Phillips, Preston Tucker, and Domingo Santana in a trade for Hamels, Ensberg said, “I’d quit. I wouldn’t trade any of those guys straight up for him.”
John Stolnis, one of the writers for SB Nation’s Phillies blog The Good Phight, challenged Ensberg’s view. They had a back-and-forth for a bit, but Ensberg increasingly resorted to condescension to Stolnis and others who disagreed with him. “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Ensberg wrote in response to @AntsInWA. He sarcastically suggested to Stolnis, “You should be a GM.”
Snark aside, Ensberg is unrealistic about Hamels’ price tag. Hamels is one of only six pitchers (min. 500 IP) with an ERA below 3.00 since the start of the 2010 season. He’s in the same list as Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, and teammate Cliff Lee. Furthermore, Hamels is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He’s making $22.5 million per year between 2015-18 and has a $20 million option for 2019 he would likely demand guaranteed. After the 2015 season, he would earn $87.5 million over four years, which is about $100 million and two fewer years than he would get if he were to hit the open market. Ensberg wouldn’t trade any one of Phillips, Tucker, or Santana (a former Phillies prospect) for Hamels, but the reality is that the combination of the three might be too light a return for the lefty.
Two weeks ago the Reds demoted right-hander Jason Marquis from the rotation to the bullpen and now they’ve designated him for assignment.
Marquis allowed 37 runs, including 10 homers, in 47 innings this season and missed all of last year recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery.
He hasn’t posted an ERA better than the league average since way back in 2009, yet has thrown 483 innings for five different teams while being paid $25 million during that time. At age 36 he’ll almost surely have to settle for a minor-league deal and a stint at Triple-A if he wants to keep playing.
Devin Mesoraco hasn’t been able to catch since April 12 due to a left hip impingement and will eventually require surgery, but he hasn’t given up on a return this season.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer was told by Reds manager Bryan Price today that Mesoraco is now exploring the possibility of returning as a left fielder. He still needs surgery, but the team is confident he can it after the season and still be ready for the start of 2016. They don’t want to carry him strictly as a pinch-hitter, which is what they did for seven weeks prior to placing him on the disabled list late last month:
“He’s on board. He’s a huge part of it and I do believe that he’s seen a guy in New York as well that did a followup on his MRI results and test results,” Price said of Mesoraco. “So we’re trying to make sure all the bases are covered that if we’re going to do something like this, that we’re doing it with enough time to make sure he’s ready to go on Opening Day 2016 behind the plate.”
Mesoraco still has to get back to hitting before getting some work in the outfield. He’ll then need to get some minor league rehab games under his belt, so a return isn’t necessarily imminent. Still, it’s worth a shot to get his bat in the lineup, especially since Marlon Byrd is now sidelined with a fractured wrist.