Phillies

Phillies Notes: Adams, Manuel, Halladay & more

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Phillies Notes: Adams, Manuel, Halladay & more

The Phillies have their fingers crossed that they will get something back on their $12 million investment in reliever Mike Adams in 2014.

Adams came to the Phils as one of the premier setup men in baseball last season, but pitched in just 28 games and none after June 19 because of a shoulder injury that required surgery in late July.

According to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Adams is progressing well in his recovery.

“He’s throwing four times a week and will start throwing bullpens toward the end of the month,” Amaro said. “He’s doing great. He’s had no setbacks. He feels good, no issues.”

Adams will be behind the rest of the group at the start of spring training and likely will not be ready for the start of the season, but Amaro is hopeful that he will contribute sooner rather than later.

“We’ll know more when he gets to camp and starts throwing bullpens,” Amaro said.

With Jake Diekman beginning to blossom late last season and Antonio Bastardo returning from a PED suspension, Amaro believes the Phillies “have a chance to have some quality” toward the back of the bullpen.

“If Adams is healthy or can be eventually -- you can’t count on it, but that would be nice,” Amaro said.

Will they return?
Former manager Charlie Manuel has had a longstanding job offer from the club, but has yet to accept or reject.

“We’re hopeful of having a resolution in the next week or so,” Amaro said.

Manuel was fired as manager in August. The Phillies would like him to remain in the organization and work with minor-league hitters and serve as a consultant.

The Phillies would also like to see recently retired Roy Halladay stay in the organization. It’s possible that Halladay could work as an instructor in spring training.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen yet,” Amaro said. “I think he may have some interest. We have interest.”

Getting to know you
New pitching coach Bob McClure has been spending time at the Phillies’ spring training facility in Clearwater getting acquainted with Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. Gonzalez has been working out at the facility for a week. The Cuban defector remains a bit of a mystery, but the Phillies hope he will fill a spot in their rotation. Gonzalez's progress will be one of the biggest storylines in camp.

Arbitration time
Teams will exchange 2014 salary proposals with players eligible for salary arbitration on Friday. The Phils have four arbitration-eligible players -- pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Bastardo and outfielders Ben Revere and John Mayberry Jr.

Phillies officials have been negotiating with all four players and Amaro is hopeful that agreements can be reached before the arbitration process heats up.

Phillies well positioned to make a run at freed Braves' prospects

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Phillies well positioned to make a run at freed Braves' prospects

Teams all over baseball, including the Phillies, are ready to pounce on a bevy of young international talent that became available Tuesday.

Major League Baseball punished the Atlanta Braves for a host of international signing violations by stripping the club of 13 minor-league prospects (see story). MLB also banished former Braves general manager John Coppolella from working in the game for life.

In the summer of 2016, MLB found the Boston Red Sox in violation of international signing rules and stripped that club of five international prospects. Included in that group was Simon Muzziotti, an outfielder from Venezuela. The Red Sox had initially signed Muzziotti for $300,000 in 2015. He was declared a free agent a year later and the Phillies swooped in and signed him for $750,000. Now 18, Muzziotti played for the Phillies' Gulf Coast League team in 2017.

The list of players set free on Tuesday includes 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, who received a $4.25 million signing bonus in 2016. Six other players that received signing bonuses of $1 million or more were also set free. The group includes Venezuelan catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, who received a $3.53 million bonus and Dominican infielder Yunior Severino, who received a $1.9 million bonus.

The Phillies are well positioned to make a run at some of these new international free agents and past practice says they will. The club added to its current international signing pool in a couple of trades last summer and has about $900,000 remaining. More money can be acquired in trades and applied to the current pool. A team can also use money from next year's pool — that market opens in July — to sign a player, though those funds cannot be used to augment the current pool.

Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani is the prize of this winter's international market. While the deep-pocketed Phillies have interest in Otani, he is subject to international signing bonus rules and pool limits. Translation: Signing him is not simply a matter of being the highest bidder. The team that gets Otani will likely be a contender in win-now mode with a history of signing Japanese talent. An American League club that could offer Otani at-bats (he wants to hit, as well as pitch) would be the best fit.

So, the Phillies' international splash this winter could come from the fallout of the Braves' signing controversy.

The former Braves' prospects are eligible to begin signing with new clubs on Dec. 5. They are:

Kevin Maitan, SS
Juan Contreras, RHP
Yefri del Rosario, RHP
Abrahan Gutierrez, C
Juan Carlos Negret, OF
Yenci Pena, SS
Yunior Severino, 2B
Livan Soto, SS
Guillermo Zuniga, RHP
Brandol Mezquita, OF
Angel Rojas, SS
Antonio Sucre, OF
Ji-Hwan Bae, SS

MLB Notes: Braves lose 13 international players in sanctions

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MLB Notes: Braves lose 13 international players in sanctions

ATLANTA -- Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred hit the Atlanta Braves with heavy sanctions, including the loss of 13 players, on Tuesday for rules violations committed by the team in the international player market.

Manfred also placed former Braves general manager John Coppolella on the permanently ineligible list. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, who was the team's international scouting chief, is suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Manfred said an investigation conducted by Major League Baseball determined the Braves circumvented international signing rules from 2015 through 2017 by moving bonus pool money from one player to boost another player's contract.

Most notable among the players the Braves will lose is Kevin Maitan, an infielder from Venezuela who signed for $4.25 million in 2016 (see full story).

Yankees: Judge has left shoulder surgery
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees say slugger Aaron Judge had arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder and is expected to be ready for spring training.

The operation was performed Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The Yankees say the procedure involved a loose-body removal and cartilage cleanup.

The 25-year-old Judge hit .284 with 52 homers and 114 RBIs in 155 games this season, helping New York make it to the AL Championship Series, where they lost to the eventual World Series champion Astros. He was a unanimous selection for AL Rookie of the Year and finished second to Houston infielder Jose Altuve in the AL MVP race.

MLB: Morgan urges voters to keep steroid users out of HOF
Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep "known steroid users" out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball's steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall's board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

"Steroid users don't belong here," Morgan wrote. "What they did shouldn't be accepted. Times shouldn't change for the worse."

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions (see full story).

Cubs: Venable leaves front office to be base coach
CHICAGO -- Will Venable is leaving the Chicago Cubs front office to be their first base coach.

The former major league outfielder was hired last summer as a special assistant to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer.

The 35-year-old Venable replaces Brandon Hyde, who has been promoted to bench coach for manager Joe Maddon.

The Cubs also announced Tuesday that they had hired Jim Benedict as a special assistant to baseball operations. Benedict spent the previous two seasons as the vice president for pitching development for the Miami Marlins.