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Is this the winter Phillies finally add lefty Mike Minor to pitching staff?

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The Phillies spent over $700 million on free agents the last three offseasons. Spending all over baseball could be impacted this winter by revenues lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's not going to stop us from taking a daily look these next few weeks at some free agents who would fill needs and help the Phillies get better.

Today: Left-handed pitcher Mike Minor

Career to date

Minor was a first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2009. He made it to the majors in 2010 and was taking a regular turn in the rotation by the second half of the 2011 season. He suffered a shoulder injury in 2015, required surgery and moved on to Kansas City, where he had a breakout season in the Royals’ bullpen in 2017 and earned a three-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Minor worked exclusively as a starter in Texas and made the All-Star team in 2019, pitching 208 1/3 innings and recording a 3.59 ERA in 32 starts. He finished eighth in the American League Cy Young voting that season. He struggled in 2020 and was traded to Oakland during the season.

2020 season

Minor pitched to a 5.56 ERA in 56 2/3 innings in 2020. He gave up 11 homers and struck out 9.8 batters per nine innings. He made seven starts with the Rangers and was 0-5 with a 5.60 ERA.

According to Statcast, Minor’s average fastball velocity was down 2 mph to 90.6 in 2020 and his slider was hit hard. These may simply have been results of the unusual build-up to the season or they could be red flags.

 

How he’d impact the Phillies

Minor’s name came up as a potential Phillies’ trade target often the last couple of seasons. He’s left-handed and the Phillies are short on lefty starters. His versatility in being able to start or relieve is also attractive.

Heading into 2021, the Phillies look solid with Aaron Nola, Zach Wheeler and Zach Eflin in the top three spots of the rotation, but after that there are question marks and major depth issues. Minor could certainly hold down a backend rotation spot.

Contract outlook

Minor turns 33 in December and he’s not exactly hitting the free-agent market on a high note. With teams cutting costs because of the pandemic and an industry-wide drop in revenues, it’s difficult to forecast the market, but Minor could be looking at a one-year deal under $10 million. 

Nonetheless, Minor will have plenty of action this winter. His resume, his left-handedness and his versatility will make him a decent candidate for a bounceback season, and he could be attractive to teams looking for accomplished rotation depth – like the Phillies.

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