Phillies

Report: 'Tainted' Padres deal almost led Phillies to trade Jeremy Hellickson to Marlins

Report: 'Tainted' Padres deal almost led Phillies to trade Jeremy Hellickson to Marlins

Unable to find the right return for Jeremy Hellickson last July, the Phillies hung on to the veteran right-hander, extended him the qualifying offer in the offseason and watched him accept it.

Hellickson, 29 years old and coming off his best season since 2012, will make $17.2 million from the Phillies in 2017.

But, as Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Thursday, the Phillies and Marlins actually had a Hellickson trade agreement in place at the 2016 trade deadline and it was affected by a separate "tainted" deal made by San Diego GM A.J. Preller.

On July 29, the Padres traded veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner and back-end starter Colin Rea to the Marlins for reliever Carter Capps, former Phillies prospect Jarred Cosart and prospects Josh Naylor and Luis Castillo.

Three days later, the Padres and Marlins agreed to a reworked trade when it was revealed that Rea was injured.

The Marlins, who were in on Hellickson before acquiring Cashner, could have rescinded the entire trade with the Padres. Instead, they sent Rea back to San Diego for Castillo and kept the rest of the trade intact. 

If the Marlins instead chose to rescind the entire Padres deal, they had an agreement in place to trade Naylor to the Phillies for Hellickson, according to Rosenthal. But by the time the Rea-for-Castillo swap had been agreed upon — Aug. 1, trade deadline day — it was too late for the Marlins to do anything with the Phillies.

The result of all this is that the Phillies kept Hellickson rather than trade him for Naylor, a first base prospect and the 12th overall pick in 2015.

How much does this hurt? That remains to be seen because Naylor is still 19 and hasn't yet reached Double A. But he's not viewed as a top prospect at his position despite the high draft status. 

Naylor (6-0/225) has played only first base in his minor-league career. There are questions about his athleticism and tools aside from his raw power. Last season, in his first full year as a pro, he hit .264/.302/.407 with 29 doubles, 12 homers, 75 RBIs, 25 walks and 84 strikeouts in 514 plate appearances.

ESPN's Keith Law did not rank Naylor among his top 10 Padres prospects in his end-of-January list, writing:

"Naylor has huge power and won't turn 20 until June, but needs to commit himself to becoming a better hitter first so the power can play, and first base is probably always going to be a challenge for him."

With Tommy Joseph and Rhys Hoskins, the Phillies already have a pair of promising, powerful right-handed young first basemen. Perhaps Naylor, in an alternate universe, could have been a platoon complement to them down the road.

Instead, the Phillies still have Hellickson, which isn't the worst thing in the world. But if they don't trade Hellickson this summer, they won't get any draft pick compensation because the new CBA prevents a player from receiving a qualifying offer more than once. (The only way to recoup a draft pick for a departing player is to extend him the qualifying offer and have him reject it and opt for free agency.)

So, theoretically, the Phillies will have less leverage in a Hellickson trade this summer than they did last, when keeping him and extending the offer was a possibility and when Hellickson was one of the top available starting pitchers.

As for Preller, this wasn't a one-time thing. He was suspended by Major League Baseball last September for failing to disclose required medical information in a different trade with the Red Sox that occurred two weeks earlier than the Padres-Marlins-Phillies ordeal.

In that one, San Diego sent left-hander Drew Pomeranz to Boston for top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, and one of the reported charges was that the Padres did not reveal the oral medications Pomeranz and other players were receiving.

Phillies add 4 pitching prospects to 40-man roster

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AP Images

Phillies add 4 pitching prospects to 40-man roster

The Phillies added four promising pitching prospects to their 40-man roster on Monday. In a corresponding move, they subtracted a notable name.

Right-handers Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Taveras and lefty Ranger Suarez were all added to the roster, protecting them from being selected by another club in next month's Rule 5 draft.

The Phillies also added an infielder, Engelb Vielma, to the roster. He was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

To make room for these additions, the team needed to clear three spots on its roster, which had been at 38. Left-handed pitcher Elniery Garcia cleared waivers and was sent outright to the minor leagues while right-handers Alberto Tirado and Mark Appel were designated for assignment. The Phillies will try to trade Tirado and Appel before placing them on waivers. If they clear waivers, they could stay in the system.

The Phillies cut Appel loose after he'd struggled with injury and ineffectiveness during two seasons in the organization. The 26-year-old right-hander from Stanford University had twice been a first-round draft pick, by Pittsburgh in 2012 and by Houston — No. 1 overall — in 2013. The Phillies acquired him from the Astros as part of the package for Ken Giles in December 2015, but he never lived up to his huge potential.

"A lot of the tools that Mark showed as an amateur that led to him being the No. 1 overall pick are still there," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "He has simply struggled with performance. It's certainly not for lack of effort on his part. We think the world of the kid and wish him well. It was a tough decision."

Tirado, 22, was acquired from Toronto in July 2015 as part of the return for Ben Revere. He arrived with a fastball that could reach triple digits on the radar gun and that promise earned him a spot on the 40-man a year ago. Tirado suffered a shoulder injury early last season and struggled in the minors.

All four of the pitchers that the Phillies protected are products of the team's international scouting department. Taveras, 24, was a standout at three levels in the minors last season and could be in the picture in Philadelphia in 2018. He led the system in strikeouts in 2016 and 2017.

"He knows how to get guys out and often times that comes via the strikeout," Klentak said. "No matter where he pitches, he rises to the occasion and puts up a strong performance."

Kilome, 22, and Dominguez, 22, are both power arms who project to see significant time at Double A in 2018. Suarez, 22, should also get to Double A at some point in 2018. He had a 2.27 ERA in 22 starts at two levels of Single A ball in 2017.

"He may have been the breakout pitcher of the year for the Phillies," Klentak said. "We'd always heard a lot about him and this year he took his performance to another level.

"We're really excited for all four of these guys. All have worked extremely hard and they are all deserving of being added to our roster. Our international scouting operation, Sal Agostinelli and his group, continues to crank out players. They've done a great job. These four pitchers have earned this through their work ethic and performance. By no means is this the ultimate goal for them, but it's one step closer. We believe really strongly in the futures of these four pitchers."

Vielma, 23, is a top defensive shortstop who can also play second and third base. He was waived by Minnesota in September and claimed by the Giants, who let him go in a roster crunch.

"He's an intriguing claim," Klentak said. "He adds depth to our infield."

The Phillies’ roster is at 40. The team will have to clear space if it wants to add a player in next month's Rule 5 draft. Last November, the Phils added 11 players to the 40-man roster and still lost lefty reliever Hoby Milner to Cleveland. Milner failed to make the Indians' opening-day roster, returned to the organization in March and ended up making 37 appearances for the big club after coming up in late June. He was one of 12 rookies to make their big-league debut with the Phillies in 2017.

Notable players who were not protected include outfielders Carlos Tocci and Andrew Pullin and pitcher Brandon Leibrandt.

"One of the byproducts of a strong system is every year there are some tough omissions," Klentak said. "There are always tough calls. But we look at that as a good problem to have."

New details emerge in investigation into Roy Halladay's death

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USA Today Images

New details emerge in investigation into Roy Halladay's death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Retired star pitcher Roy Halladay sped his small sports plane low over the Gulf of Mexico minutes before his fatal crash two weeks ago, climbing sharply in the final seconds before diving into the water, federal investigators said in a preliminary report released Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Noreen Price placed no blame for the Nov. 7 accident near Tampa, simply laying out the facts as gleaned from the plane's data recorder and eyewitnesses. A final report with conclusions could take one to two years.

Price says Halladay, 40, had taken off from a lake near his Tampa-area home about 17 minutes before the crash, taking his ICON A5 to 1,900 feet (580 meters) before dropping to 600 feet (180 meters) as he neared the coastline. He then dropped to 36 feet (11 meters) when he reached the water. While flying at about 105 mph (170 kph), Halladay skimmed the water at 11 feet (3.3 meters), flying in a circle before climbing to 100 feet (30 meters), the plane's data showed.

A witness told investigators the plane climbed to between 300 and 500 feet (95 to 150 meters) when it turned and went into a 45-degree dive. It slammed into the water and flipped.

Halladay's body was found with the plane, which was severely damaged. The plane itself was equipped with a parachute, but it was not deployed.

The former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies star had received the plane from ICON on Oct. 10, and was one of the first to receive the model. In one of many enthusiastic tweets about the plane, Halladay said it felt "like flying a fighter jet." He had about 700 hours of flight time after getting his license in 2013, the report says. He had 51 hours in ICON A5s, including 14 in the plane that crashed.

Rolled out in 2014, the A5 is an amphibious aircraft meant to be treated like an ATV, a piece of weekend recreational gear with folding wings that can easily be towed on a trailer to a lake where it can take off from the water.

The man who led the plane's design, 55-year-old John Murray Karkow, died while flying an A5 over California's Lake Berryessa on May 8, a crash the NTSB attributed to pilot error.

Another A5 crashed in April, making a hard landing in the water off Key Largo, Florida, injuring the pilot and his passenger. The pilot told investigators the plane descended faster than he expected.

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter in 2010. He played for the Blue Jays from 1998 to 2009 and for the Phillies from 2009-13, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.