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.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.
Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.
Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.
Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.