Phillies trade Jack Zoellner to Orioles; is acquiring Jose Bautista next?

Phillies trade Jack Zoellner to Orioles; is acquiring Jose Bautista next?

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak made a trade Monday afternoon, but not the one that’s on everyone’s mind.

Klentak peddled minor-league first baseman Jack Zoellner to the Baltimore Orioles for an undisclosed amount of international signing bonus money. Zoellner, 23, was a ninth-round draft pick out of the University of New Mexico in 2017. He was hitting .236 with seven homers, 26 RBIs and a .786 OPS in 47 games in the Gulf Coast League this summer.

OK, on to the trade — make that the potential trade — that has folks buzzing.

The Phillies, according to a report by Ken Rosenthal, put in a claim on veteran slugger Jose Bautista, who has been placed on waivers by the New York Mets. A source confirmed that report. The Mets can pull Bautista back or work out a trade with the Phillies. According to a baseball source, the two sides were attempting to swing a deal, but the Phillies were balking at the high price tag that the Mets had placed on Bautista. If the Mets come down on their price, a deal could happen Tuesday.

The Phillies view Bautista, 37, as a right-handed power bat off the bench. It’s a similar role to the one the team assigned to Justin Bour, who was acquired in a waiver deal earlier this month. Bour is on the disabled list with an oblique strain, but the Phillies don’t believe he will be out long.

Bautista has swatted 342 homers in a 15-year career. He is no longer the player he was in his prime with Toronto. He entered Monday hitting just .199 in 277 at-bats with the Atlanta Braves and Mets. But he still has pop. Eleven of his 55 hits were homers.

If the Phillies are successful in landing Bautista, they would have to trim from their 40-man roster, which is full. Acquiring Bautista before Saturday — Sept. 1 — would ensure that he would be eligible for the postseason, if the Phillies get there.

Major League Baseball rules prevented Klentak from talking specifically about Bautista or any player on waivers. Klentak did offer that he has claimed a number of players on waivers this month. In some cases, a deal was simply not struck. In other cases, the player was claimed by a team with a higher waiver priority. For instance, the Phillies put a claim in on Bryce Harper, according to a baseball source. Harper was claimed by a team, reportedly the Dodgers, with a higher waiver priority and the Washington Nationals eventually pulled him off waivers.

“We have been fairly aggressive this month in claiming players on waivers,” Klentak said. “One of those claims led to a trade for Justin Bour a couple of weeks ago. Most of our claims have not led to any trades happening.”

Klentak said it was “possible” he could make a deal before the end of the week.

“I think you have to keep in mind we have added five players in the past few weeks that we feel have shored up our most pressing needs," Klentak said. "We are very cognizant of the fact that August 31 is close and that’s the roster deadline and if there is anything else we need to do, we need to do it by Friday. At this stage, it’s tough to handicap whether that’s likely or not.”

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No jitters for Bryce Harper, just an RBI, a stolen base and a little 'glam'

No jitters for Bryce Harper, just an RBI, a stolen base and a little 'glam'

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Everybody's stomach is a little different.

So while Jake Arrieta had a few butterflies before his first start of the spring Tuesday, Bryce Harper's pulse barely quickened.

"Kind of the opposite," Harper said, comparing the feel of his spring debut to Arrieta's. "Spring training is kind of spring training. I don't want to get too high or anything like that. I just want to get out there, stay healthy and compete. When I get to opening day, there's your jitters."

Harper played five innings in right field. He came to the plate three times. He drove home a run with a sacrifice fly in his first at-bat and later walked and struck out. He also stole a base.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, Harper was still a free agent, mulling offers from the Phillies, Giants and Dodgers. He chose the Phillies on the final day of February and camp exploded with excitement. Back in Philadelphia, the team sold 180,000 tickets within 48 hours of Harper's agreement with the team.

This year, things are a lot different for Harper. He has become a dad. And his hair is a lot longer.

"I'm going to keep it going," he said. "Yeah, keep it flowing. Why not? We'll see what happens."

Harper, of course, isn't the only one in camp with a new look. His pal, the Phanatic, unveiled his on Sunday.

"Hey, man, everybody needs a glam-up sometimes, you know?" Harper said. "Why not? I've got long hair right now. I'm always changing."

The general atmosphere around camp is also different than it was a year ago. Though there's a real sense of faith that the Phillies will improve under new manager Joe Girardi, there's none of the euphoric buzz that accompanied Harper's signing. The attendance for Tuesday's game against Toronto in Clearwater was just 4,004. It was a split-squad game for both teams.

Harper is OK with a calmer spring.

"It's definitely different coming into camp," he said. "It's good knowing I'll be here the next 12 years, a lot more calm, not as crazy, not as many cameras. I'll enjoy that and just get ready for the season."

Harper's spring goal:

"Just be healthy," he said. "Take good routes in the outfield, throw the ball well out there, have good at-bats."

Haseley in protocol

Centerfielder Adam Haseley left the game in Clearwater after hitting his face hard on the ground while attempting a diving catch. Haseley suffered a cut on his forehead, caused by his sunglasses. He was seen walking and talking in the clubhouse after the game but was unavailable for comment to reporters because he had been placed in concussion protocol. His condition will be updated on Wednesday.

The games

Arrieta gave up a single, a walk and a three-run homer in the first inning, but he enjoyed a quick second inning. He admitted to some nerves in the first inning but settled in after that. At this point of camp, all that matters with a starting pitcher is health and Arrieta feels good after having his elbow surgically cleaned out late last season.

The Phillies won the Clearwater game, 13-6, with the help of minor-leaguer Jhailyn Ortiz' grand slam. The Phillies signed Ortiz for $4 million as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. He hit just .200 at Single A Clearwater last season but had 19 homers and 65 RBIs in 430 at-bats.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto gunned down a runner trying to steal second base from his knees.

In Bradenton, the Phils beat the Pirates, 6-2. Lefties Ranger Suarez and Damon Jones both pitched two scoreless innings. 

The victories left the Phillies at 4-0-1 in exhibition play.

Zach Eflin starts Wednesday against the Twins in Fort Myers.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Can Roman Quinn change complexion of Phillies' lineup?


Phillies Talk podcast: Can Roman Quinn change complexion of Phillies' lineup?

Joe Girardi is already impressed by Roman Quinn, who could significantly alter the Phillies' lineup if he can win the CF job. Ricky Bottalico and Corey Seidman discussed on Tuesday's Phillies Talk podcast.

• How Roman Quinn could change the complexion of the lineup.

• Can Andrew McCutchen be an effective leadoff man if the knee forces him to go station to station?

• How much a fast runner can mess with a pitcher's head.

• Phillies pitchers making clear (without saying it) what they thought of Chris Young and Gabe Kapler.

• Whose side are you on with the Phanatic lawsuit?

• Expectations for Scott Kingery in Year 3.

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