The rumors of Josh Hamilton going to the Phillies seem kind of light. There was reportedly an offer — a three-year deal, reported by 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano — but there’s not a sense that it’s a game-changer or anything. At the moment the Rangers and the Mariners seem like the two teams most interested in Hamilton’s services.
Nevertheless, CSNPhilly.com’s Jake Kaplan spoke with Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock, and he sings a love song about Hamilton:
“I can still remember the first spring training that he was in major league camp,” Proefrock said. “I think he was 18 years old at the time and (then Devil Rays manager) Larry Rothschild was dying to keep him on the club. He’s the most talented player I’ve ever seen in my 25 years in the game. Any team would be better for having him on the club. Whether it’s a fit for us remains to be seen.”
Proefrock goes on to say that Hamilton could fit, but so too could a number of players.
In the room the assistant GMs go, talking of Ryan Theriot?
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.