Phillies trade All-Star Pat Neshek, cash to Rockies for 3 minor leaguers

Phillies trade All-Star Pat Neshek, cash to Rockies for 3 minor leaguers

The Phillies have officially dipped into the trade waters.

The team on Wednesday night traded reliever Pat Neshek and cash to the Colorado Rockies for shortstop Jose Gomez and right-handed pitchers Alejandro Requena and J.D. Hammer.

Neshek was the Phils' lone All-Star this season as he pitched 40 1/3 innings and posted a 1.12 ERA, second best in baseball among relievers with 18 or more innings pitched. At one point, Neshek had an 18-inning scoreless streak over 19 appearances.

The 36-year-old with the unconventional delivery was acquired by the Phillies last November in a trade with the Astros. He thrived over his four months in Philadelphia, posting a 0.82 WHIP while allowing just five earned runs to go with 45 strikeouts to five walks.

Despite the Phillies' majors-worst 35-64 record, Neshek said the trade was "bittersweet" because of how much he enjoyed playing for the organization. General manager Matt Klentak called Neshek a "true professional" and said the right-hander had been the Phillies' "most targeted player" with MLB's July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nearing.

Meanwhile, all three prospects acquired by the Phillies had played with Colorado's Low A affiliate Asheville in 2017.

Gomez, 20, is slashing .324/.374/.437 with four homers, 33 RBIs, 54 runs and 18 stolen bases in 81 games this season. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder from Venezuela was the 21st-ranked prospect in the Rockies' farm system by, and is a shortstop that can play third and second base, as well.

Requena is a 20-year-old righty who is 8-3 this season with a 2.85 ERA in 19 starts. Requena, also from Venezuela, is 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. He's thrown 117 innings in 2017, striking out 97 and walking 25, while holding opponents to a .239 batting average.

Hammer, a 24th-round draft pick in 2016, turned 23 years old this month. The right-hander started the season with Low A Asheville before being promoted to High A Lancaster in late June. Overall in 2017, Hammer is 4-2 with a 2.36 ERA and 13 saves in 36 games, all relief appearances. He has an impressive 65 strikeouts and .182 opponents' batting average in 42 innings.

"We like all three of these guys for a variety of reasons," Klentak said (see story). "I think it's a very balanced trade. We got a young starter, a young reliever and a young shortstop that do a lot of things that we like. ... We do think highly of these guys."

Ben Lively states his case for spot on Phillies' pitching staff

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Ben Lively states his case for spot on Phillies' pitching staff


CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies will be without Mark Leiter Jr.'s versatile arm for about six weeks. An MRI performed Monday on the pitcher's sore right forearm showed a strained flexor muscle.

Leiter had a good chance to make the opening day roster as a long reliever or fifth starter. With him out, the Phillies could be in need of a swingman.

Could Ben Lively be that guy?

"I can pitch anywhere," the competitive 26-year-old right-hander said. "I don't care. Wherever they want, I'll pitch."

Lively did nothing to hurt his chances of making the club as he turned in five shutout innings against the Toronto Blue Jays in a rain-shortened 2-0 win Tuesday afternoon. He allowed just three hits, walked none and struck out four. He was particularly impressive in the fourth inning, striking out Justin Smoak and retiring Russell Martin on a tapper back to the mound with runners on second and third.

"I just tried to bear down and stick to the game plan," Lively said. "There's too much technology around here now. We have all the heat maps and we talked about it before the game and I just stayed with it."

Lively made 15 starts with the big club last year and 10 of them were quality starts in which he went at least six innings and gave up three or fewer earned runs. Lively doesn't have power stuff. He gave up 9.1 hits per nine innings last season and struck out just 5.3 per nine. Management would love to see some improvement in those areas — i.e., more of what he displayed on Tuesday.

"Lively was strong today," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He came out and attacked the zone.

"One of the things that is important is that we see some swing and misses with Lives and we saw a couple of bat-missing moments today that were, to me, a big deal. He induces quick contact, which is important, but we also like to see the ability to miss bats and we saw that on a couple of occasions, (Curtis) Granderson being most notable."

Granderson struck out twice against Lively.

"We look at past tendencies from recent years," Lively said of his pregame study. "The main one we looked at today was Granderson. He has a low slugging percentage on the outer half (of the plate), so we pounded him on the outer half the whole time."

With Jerad Eickhoff headed to the disabled list and Nick Pivetta likely to join Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta and Vince Velasquez in the starting rotation, Lively appears to be vying for the fifth starter's job with Zach Eflin and non-roster invite Drew Hutchison. But he and Hutchison also could be vying for a long man's job in the bullpen.

By mid-April, the Phillies will probably have an eight-man bullpen. But they could break with an extra reliever because they won't need a fifth starter until April 11.

However it shakes out, Lively did not hurt his chances of landing some role with his performance Tuesday.

Roster moves
The Phillies sent catcher Logan Moore, infielder Mitch Walding and outfielder Andrew Pullin to minor-league camp.

What's up with Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez?

Photo: NBCSP

What's up with Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez?

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Sixto Sanchez, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, has been noticeably absent from game action in minor-league camp.

Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development, says there's nothing to be alarmed about.

"He had the flu and he's over it now," Jordan said. "He's fine now. No issues. He's 100 percent."

Jordan said Sanchez got up to 30 pitches in a bullpen session this week.

"He let it go with all his pitches," Jordan said.

Jordan added that Sanchez would pitch in a game in the next few days. He added that Sanchez would open the season on time with the Clearwater club, though his innings will be watched at the outset until he's fully stretched out.

Sanchez, 19, is a power-armed right-hander with remarkable control. He went 5-7 with 3.03 ERA in 18 starts at Lakewood and Clearwater, both Single A affiliates, last season. He pitched 95 innings, struck out 84, walked 18 and had a WHIP of 0.958.