It’s a whole lotta New to catch up on in this week’s Philadelphia Phillies ICYMI Monday. On my shiny new laptop, the main reason I needed to take off the last two weeks, this week’s edition will cover the latest comings and goings in relation to the Non-Roster Invitees (NRI to make this post a bit shorter), and some of the new experiences being instituted for the first ST under manager Gabe Kapler.
Comings and Goings:
First in the goings department:
On February 10th, MLB announced that NRI RHP Steve Geltz, has been suspended 100 games following a third positive test for a drug of abuse.
Two days later C Eric Fryer decided to retire.
The NRI additions:
On February 1st the team added utility IF Adam Rosales. At 31, he is the epitome of a 25th man journeyman player appearing on 6 different clubs since 2008. For example in 2013 he was DFA’d 3 times in 11 days. First was by the Okland Athletics on July 31. After being claimed by the Texas Rangers. on 8/2, he was DFA’d three days later. On 8/8, Rosales was reclaimed by the Athletics. After once again being DFA’d on 8/10, He yo-yoed back to the Rangers on 8/12.
Last season between Oakland and the Arizona Diamondbacks, he posted .225 BA, in 289 AB, 25 R, 65 H, 16 2B, 7HR, 36 RBI .260 OBP .353 SLG .683 OPS.
On Tuesday, to replace the retiring C Fryer, noted above, the team added C Nick Rickles. In his 7 season pro career, he has yet to reach the MLB level. He spent time with the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, and the AA Reading Fightin’s since being traded from the Washington Nationals in late May 2017. If anything he looks like a good follow on twitter with excellent advice for his fellow camp attendees:
On Thursday the team added RHP Drew Hutchison. Hutchison, 27, only pitched in 9 games last season at the MLB level for the Toronto Bluejays, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the last two seasons in AAA, he posted a 3.57 ERA in 297 1/3 innings with 7.9 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and 0.9 HR/9.
Hutchison will fight for the last rotation spot, and if somehow he makes the team, the Phillies have contract control over him for up to three years via the arbitration process, due to his limited amount of MLB service time.
The latest move on Saturday saw the Phils add LHP Fernando Abad, 32, who went went 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 43 2/3 innings last season with the Boston Red Sox, to the bullpen mix. Overall in eight seasons with the Houston Astros, Nationals, Minnesota Twins, and Boston, he posted a 3.65 ERA in 363 career appearances.
“Another left-handed arm with a track record of success at the Major League level,” Kapler said on Saturday afternoon at Spectrum Field. “Obviously, very exciting for us to bring Mr. Abad aboard.” He is expected to battle with Adam Morgan and Hoby Milner, for the lefty slots in the pen. The competition needs to move quickly, as if he is not on the 40 man roster by March 22nd, he can choose to be a FA.
For the up to date list of the now 23 NRI’s visit http://m.mlb.com/phi/roster/nri. We will start to take a closer look at each of these players by position next week.
New Experiences at Phillies Spring Training:
One of the new things at S.T. is the use of real MLB umpires during pitching workouts, as you can see by the tweet below courtesy of Meghan Montemurro of TheAthletic.Com.
“Craig Driver, in our catching department, was instrumental in suggesting how powerful that would be, to give feedback to the catchers on their ability to keep balls in the zone, to create more game-like conditions for the pitchers,” Kapler said after Friday’s workout at Carpenter Complex.
The pitchers and catchers were all consulted in a meeting beforehand and each had a chance to opt out. No one did.
“It was definitely different, but I think it’s the best way you can throw a bullpen [session] without a hitter stepping into the box,” Aaron Nola said.
“We’ve gotten universally positive feedback on it,” Kapler said.
Let there be songs to Phil the air:
Another Kapler innovation was the use of music in all areas of the S.T complex, from speakers in a normally quiet hallway outside the manager’s office, to the fields of the Carpenter Complex.
“I believe strongly that mood is enhanced by music,” Kapler said Friday. “One of the ways we decide on the music: We ask all our players, ‘What do you like to listen to? What makes you feel strong during your workouts?’ We ask them after the workouts. ‘Hey, how was the music today? More volume? Less volume? Did you hear something that you liked?’