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.
One day after trading Welington Castillo the Diamondbacks in the Mark Trumbo deal, the Mariners have called up catcher Jesus Sucre from Triple-A Tacoma while designating outfielder Justin Ruggiano for assignment.
Acquired from the Cubs over the winter, Ruggiano is batting just .214/.321/.357 with two home runs and three RBI over 81 plate appearances this season. However, he has produced an .823 against left-handed pitchers, which is basically what he was brought in for. Rickie Weeks has been worse in part-time duty, but the Mariners decided to keep him around instead.
The 33-year-old Ruggiano is making a $2.505 million salary this season, but he could draw some interest on the trade front.
Mariners closer Fernando Rodney blew his third save of the season Tuesday and his ERA now stands at 6.85, but manager Lloyd McClendon made it very clear that he’s sticking with him in the ninth inning.
Rodney has struggled a little bit, but so has everybody else. But the fact is, he’s our closer. We need him. We are going to need him to be successful. I think people talk very lightly about changing closers. And that’s fine, but you have to have somebody to do it. You just don’t throw anybody in the ninth inning and say, “Let him do it.” Because what happens when that guy doesn’t do it? And that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
McClendon has a history of sticking with closers well past their expiration dates, including Mike Williams and Jose Mesa. He clearly believes the ninth inning is vastly different than every other inning, but the “so has everybody else” quote about all the Mariners’ relievers struggling leaves out the fact that rookie setup man Carson Smith has a 1.17 ERA and 28/5 K/BB ratio in 23 innings after dominating in the minors.
When asked specifically about Smith by Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times, the manager replied that “he’s a young kid and we have to be careful with him.”
McClendon and the Mariners are going to live or die with 38-year-old Fernando Rodney.
Quite a splash here for the early-June market …
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Mariners — who were just swept at home by the Yankees — have acquired slugger Mark Trumbo and left-hander Vidal Nuno from the Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher Welington Castillo, right-hander Dominic Leone, middle infielder Jack Reinheimer, and outfielder Gabby Guerrero.
The six-player swap has been confirmed by the Diamondbacks, who needed to clear a spot in their outfield for Yasmany Tomas with third baseman Jake Lamb due back next week from a foot injury.
Trumbo adds some more power to a Mariners lineup that has greatly underperformed in 2015. The 29-year-old had registered a .506 slugging percentage with nine home runs and 23 RBI in 46 games this season for Arizona, though that has come alongside a weak .259 batting average and .299 on-base percentage.
Trumbo is a somewhat overrated player — the dingers can blind you — but it’s not like the Mariners gave up much to get him. Castillo was an expendable catcher and Leone has struggled mightily this year at the major league level. The two prospects in the deal — Reinheimer and Guerrero — are not of the top-100 variety. Of note, perhaps: Guerrero’s uncle is Vladimir Guerrero. Gabby has had a rough year at Double-A.
Trumbo is making $6.9 million this season and he’s arbitration-eligible for the final time in 2016.