Philadelphia Phillies ICYMI Monday 11/21/16

Welcome to week 2 of our off-season Philadelphia Phillies ICYMI Monday series.

He Likes Us. He Sort of Really Likes Us:

The cliff-hanger from last week resolved itself on Monday when Jeremy Hellickson accepted the Phillies 17.2 M qualifying offer for 2017. Besides being a nice payday for Hellickson, this also makes him ripe for a trade because of the short contract. At the same time  he is a good candidate for renegotiation for a longer more term friendly deal down the road, depending on how much Jeremy really does like it here.

He Speaks for Us:

On Thursday Phillies Co-Owner John Middleton, 61, who holds a 48 percent stake in the franchise, was formally approved by team owners as the Phillies’ “control person,” who is accountable to MLB for the operation of the team and for its compliance with the rules of baseball.

“I’m thrilled with the opportunity,” Middleton told at the owners’ meetings. “It’s a privilege and an honor to be asked to be a control person and to have the confidence of my partners, the Bucks, and Major League Baseball and the other owners. I’m looking forward to it. Our fans want us to bring back a championship. We’re committed to that. We begin working even harder today than we did yesterday. It’s our goal to win a championship.”

The rest of the ownership group,  Pete, Jim and Sandy Buck, David Montgomery and Pat Gillick own the remaining 52 percent. Middleton has been a limited partner since 1994, and he has served as chairman of the Phillies’ advisory board since ’98.

They Work For Us:

On Thursday MLB and Commissioner Rob Manfred named the Phillies as the 2016 recipient of the Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence, formerly known as the Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence, which was created in 2010 to recognize the charitable and philanthropic efforts of MLB clubs..

The Phillies are being recognized for their organization-wide commitment to supporting the fight against ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) through the Phillies Phestival, an annual autograph and auction party which this year raised more than $700,000 to provide much-needed patient care and services for ALS patients in the Philadelphia area and more than $17 million since 1984, when the ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter became the team’s primary charity. As part of their recognition, the Phillies will receive a $10,000 grant from MLB Charities to continue their philanthropic efforts.

“To receive this prestigious award is indeed an honor, and one that we dedicate to the patients and families who live with or have succumbed to this awful disease,” said Phillies chairman David Montgomery. “The Phillies family is committed to putting an end to ALS. I would like to thank our players, Phillies wives, coaching and front-office staff, day-of-game employees, ownership, sponsors — and especially our fans — who have joined us, and continue to join us, in the fight to end Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

“The ALS Association, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, is proud and honored that the Philadelphia Phillies are the recipient of the 2016 Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence,” said Ellyn Phillips, president of the ALS Association Greater Philadelphia Chapter. “The Chapter has greatly benefited from the Phillies dedication, compassion, generosity and year-round efforts in the fight against ALS.”

Phillies 40 Man Roster:

The rest of the week’s news all had to do with the Phillies desire to protect as many players as possible from the rule 5 draft, opening up room on the 40 man roster to do so. They needed to finalize this by Friday at 8 PM. MLB requires teams to add players who signed at age 18 or younger to 40-man rosters within five professional seasons, or those who signed at 19 or older within four seasons, or they will become eligible for other organizations to draft. Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, slated for Dec. 8. If that player doesn’t stay on the 25-man roster for the full season, he must be offered back to his former team for $25,000.

To start the ball rolling on Tuesday the Phillies announced that  they released pitcher Matt Harrison. It was unclear at the outset whether they will be on the hook for all of  the remaining $15.2 million of his contract ($13.2 million in 2017 with a $2 million buyout to be paid in 2018) or as heard later in the week that they had reached an undisclosed settlement with the insurance company that held the policy on Harrison’s contract, which means the Phillies will have some salary relief.

Harrison, who was acquired from Texas as part of the Cole Hamels trade in 2015, never threw a pitch for the Phillies. He had a 4.21 ERA in 135 career major-league games. He was an All-Star in 2012.

They then added Dominican LHP Elniery Garcia.  Garcia, 21, was 12-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 91 strikeouts through 117 2/3 innings last season with the High-A Clearwater Threshers. His win total and ERA ranked a respective second (three-way tie) and fourth-best in the Florida State League, spanning 20 games and 19 starts.

On Thursday it was announced that LHP Elvis Araujo was claimed off outright waivers by the Miami Marlins.

The maneuvering came to a head on Friday when they DFA’d  RHP’s David Buchanan and Jimmy Cordero, and then added 11 more prospects.

This group included RHP’s Drew Anderson, Mark Appel, Ben Lively, Ricardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta and Alberto Tirado; LHP Garcia; C Andrew Knapp; IF Jesmuel Valentin; and OFs Dylan Cozens and Nick Williams. Nine of those players rank among the organization’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB Williams (No. 3), Cozens (No. 6), Appel (No. 10), Knapp (No. 11), Pinto (No. 15), Pivetta (No. 17), Garcia (No. 19), Lively (No. 23) and Tirado (No. 28).

 “I think with adding this many young players, and with the average age of the roster being as young as it is [25 years old], I think there’s a reasonable expectation that many of these young players are going to spend time in the big leagues this year,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said in a conference call with reporters. “It might be on Opening Day. It might be in the first week of May, it could be midseason, it could be a September callup. Players are going to be on the roster at various points of the year and we’re going to need to call them.”

“We still have the ability and go out and make acquisitions to improve our 2017 club,” Klentak said. “Obviously the complication now is with our roster at 40, each addition is going to require a corresponding reduction on the roster. It makes some of the future moves a little trickier. But we still feel like we have some areas on the Major League club that we can improve for next year, and we’re committed to exploring those options.”

“Yeah, I do,” said Klentak, asked if he expects to lose a player or two in the Rule 5 Draft. “I think that’s an unfortunate byproduct of having a talented system. We know we can’t protect everybody and we did our best to protect as many as we could. Eleven is a lot. But we’re prepared for the possibility that we might. There’s two ways to look at that. One, it’s disappointing we might lose players and on the flip side, organizationally, it’s an encouraging sign and it shows that our system is continuing to produce good players.”

You can peruse this 40 Man Roster and stoke the Hot Stove with your guesses as to who will go and who will stay. We will have more about these players in the weeks to come.



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