sixto sanchez

Health update on prospect Sixto Sanchez; Future rotation excites Gabe Kapler

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Health update on prospect Sixto Sanchez; Future rotation excites Gabe Kapler

Three weeks after going on the minor-league disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, prized pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez continues to go through a rehabilitation program at the Phillies’ complex in Clearwater.

According to director of player development Joe Jordan, Sanchez recently traveled to Philadelphia for a follow-up exam.

“The news was good,” Jordan said. “He’s much improved.”

Sanchez, who turns 20 on July 29, will remain on a rehab program for the foreseeable future as the Phillies continue to exercise caution with him.

“Hopefully we’ll get him back out there sometime this summer,” Jordan said.

Sanchez had been pitching for Single A Clearwater at the time of his injury. In four starts leading up to the injury, he had allowed just two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 29 and walking four. In his last start on June 3, he delivered seven shutout innings, walked two and struck out five in a win over the Florida Fire Frogs. He reported to the ballpark the next day complaining of elbow tenderness.

Sanchez’s mix of control and power stuff has made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects and an untouchable in trade discussions. The Phillies envision him as being a mainstay in their rotation in the coming years.

Right-hander Enyel De Los Santos and lefty Cole Irvin are also projected to be members of the big-league rotation in the not-too-distant future. Both pitchers have been named to the International League roster for the Triple A All-Star Game on July 11.

De Los Santos, 22, acquired in December from San Diego for Freddy Galvis, will start the game. Through 14 starts, he was 7-3 with a league-best 1.74 ERA for Lehigh Valley.

Irvin, 24, was 8-3 with a 2.54 ERA in his first 15 starts for Lehigh Valley.

Both pitchers are considered worthy of a big-league look should the Phillies have a need in their rotation.

Manager Gabe Kapler mentioned both pitchers on Thursday as he talked about Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez and some of the young starting pitchers that the Phillies have assembled.

“I think it's exciting how De Los Santos and Irvin are performing at the minor-league level, as well, and given what this rotation might look like given everybody's health and experience level, six months, nine months, a year from now,” Kapler said. “It's all kind of fascinating.”

More on the Phillies

Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez to DL with elbow inflammation

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez to DL with elbow inflammation

Sixto Sanchez made a trip to eastern Pennsylvania this week, but it wasn’t to the place the Phillies had hoped to send him this summer.

Sanchez, the team’s much-heralded top pitching prospect, had been nearing a promotion from Single A Clearwater to Double A Reading.  That move is now on hold as the 19-year-old phenom deals with right elbow inflammation. Sanchez was examined by team doctors in Philadelphia this week and though nothing serious was discovered the team has placed him on the minor-league disabled list as a precaution.

“There was nothing that was shown that told us he needs surgery,” director of player development Joe Jordan said on Saturday. “Obviously, everyone knows who he is. So we’re just going to take a couple weeks and let it calm down and then re-evaulate it.”

Sanchez, who turns 20 on July 29, had been on quite a roll at Clearwater. Over his last four starts, he had allowed just two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings while striking out 29 and walking four. In his last start on June 3, he delivered seven shutout innings, walked two and struck out five in a win over the Florida Fire Frogs. He reported to the ballpark the next day complaining of elbow tenderness.

“He’s been on an awesome run,” Jordan said. “He just came in a little inflamed so we’re going to be cautious.”

For the season, Sanchez is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in eight starts at Clearwater. He has registered 45 strikeouts and walked 11 in 46 2/3 innings.

Sanchez is a converted shortstop. The Phillies discovered him while he pitched batting practice to another prospect in his native Dominican Republic in the fall of 2014. He quickly showed mound presence and pitching savvy and his mix of control and power stuff has made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects and an untouchable in all trade discussions. The Phillies envision him being a mainstay in their rotation in the coming years. They will hold their breath a little until he is back on the mound pitching without issue.

How much is too much for Phillies in a Manny Machado trade?

How much is too much for Phillies in a Manny Machado trade?

There has been even more Manny Machado talk than usual in Philly of late. The combination of the recent Phillies-Orioles series and the Phils' winning ways has increased the chatter about whether they should trade for Machado this season rather than wait him out in free agency.

Obvious arguments can be made for both sides. 

Why not make the trade? Because waiting him out until free agency allows you to hold on to all of your young players. 

Why make the trade? Because, as some have argued, it makes you significantly better in 2018 and could create a (pretty unlikely) situation where Machado wouldn't want to leave. I say unlikely because there is literally no recent example of a rental superstar signing with the acquiring team before free agency. Even when guys like Yoenis Cespedes and Matt Holliday re-upped with the Mets and Cardinals, it was only after first testing the market.

Want the most recent example of it actually happening? It was 2002 when Scott Rolen re-signed with the Cardinals shortly after being traded by the Phillies. So we're talking 16 years.

Let's break down all the key points here.

Minuscule chance he signs before free agency
No matter what team might acquire Machado this summer, it makes little sense for him to sign a contract extension before first seeing what other teams will offer this winter. Even if a team like the Phillies, Dodgers or Cubs trades for Machado in July and offers him a $275 million extension, why would he sign it? Theoretically, that same offer would still be there a few months later, and the price would only surge if a bidding war between big-market teams ensues. Which it will.

Machado is such an amazing player that his market will be vast. The fact he can play both shortstop and third base is a huge factor as well. If he could play only one position, the list of fits would be reduced. But even the teams set at both shortstop and third base could move guys around to make room for a superstar.

How much is too much to give up in a trade?
With Machado being a two-month rental this season, the Orioles' asking price just cannot be as high as it would have been last winter or last summer.

Look, for example, at the J.D. Martinez trade from last July. The Tigers dealt him to the Diamondbacks in exchange for a three-player package that almost every analyst deemed light. None of the players the Tigers received were listed among the top 10 D-backs prospects on the major sites.

That was despite the fact that Martinez had gotten off to a great start in Detroit, hitting .305/.388/.630 with 16 homers in 200 at-bats.

Occasionally, there still are overpays for rentals, but it takes the right team and the right fit. In 2016, the Cubs could smell a World Series and traded exciting shortstop Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for two months of Aroldis Chapman. It worked for both teams, with the Cubs winning it all and Torres now playing every day for the Yankees.

The difference with the Phillies in this situation is that they are not merely one piece away like the 2016 Cubs. 

So, what's a legit trade package?
If the Phillies were to offer the Orioles J.P. Crawford, Dylan Cozens and a pitching prospect or two, that might at least get a conversation started.

Some will read that paragraph and immediately react with, "How could you give away 5½ inexpensive years of Crawford for a rental?"

Well ... how valuable is 5½ inexpensive years of Crawford if he's not the player we thought he might be? Crawford is extremely early into his major-league career, but so far he has been below average offensively and inconsistent defensively. He's the kind of player who makes sense in a trade like this because another organization might view him as young enough to reach his ceiling.

With Cozens, he's somewhat blocked in this organization but continues to put up big power numbers at Triple A. For some teams, he'd at least have been given a cup of coffee in the majors already. But the Phillies, at this point, have a surplus of outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams, Rhys Hoskins and Roman Quinn (if he can ever stay healthy). The Phils also used their last three first-round picks on outfielders, though all three have underwhelmed to this point.

As for the third piece of this concocted offer, the pitching prospect, we are not talking Sixto Sanchez here. You simply don't get an organization's best pitching prospect for a two-month rental.

But the Phils have more than one intriguing young arm in their minor-league system. Cole Irvin and Enyel De Los Santos have been great this season at Triple A. The Double A guys — Franklyn Kilome, JoJo Romero, Ranger Suarez and Elniery Garcia — have struggled so far but all have potential.

The Orioles need help everywhere, so there's no specific player or position they'd be looking for in return. They just need quality and quantity because they have aging veterans, a truly awful starting rotation and one of the sport's most barren farm systems.