Phillies ICYMI Monday:12/19/16

With only 57 days until Pitchers and Catchers report to Clearwater, and 105 until Opening Day let’s get right to this week’s Phillies ICYMI Monday report.

Normally I do this chronologically but the biggest news of the week deserves the lead-off spot.

Phillies Corral The Little Bull:Bat Flip Phans Rejoice

That of course would be the signing on Thursday of #OBPMachine #ElTorito Odubel Herrera to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension. The contract, which most agree is very club friendly, has an average annual value of $6.1 million, while at the same time buying out the four years before Herrera could have become a FA, as well as his 2021 season. There is also a $11.5 million club option (or a $2.5 million buyout) for ’22 and a $12.5 million club option (or a $1 million buyout) for ’23. The way the deal is structured also makes him an easier trade commodity in the future, as that club friendliness works for other teams as well, though that is just a byproduct of the contract. He is the Phillies only player signed beyond 2017, so this deal will not hinder future big signings by the club.

The former Rule 5 Draft pick for $50,000 two winters ago, has hit .291 with a .781 OPS, 41 SB and 51 2B since joining the Phillies. He ranked second among National League CF in H (167), R (87), and assists (11.) Over the last two seasons, Herrera leads all Phillies in BA (.291), OPS (.773), H (314), R (151), 2B (51), SB (41), and TB (452).

About the only negative is that there is a chance Herrera could be a bit more complacent, much like he seemed to show after being the Phillies lone All Star last season. Phillies GM Matt Klentak did not seemed to be bothered by that

“This boiled down to two things: what type of player is Odubel and what type of person is Odubel,” Klentak said Friday morning at a news conference at Citizens Bank Park. “As many of you know, this guy can do just about everything on the field. He can hit, he can run, he can play defense, he’s growing into some power.

“And as important as maybe all those factors are, he plays with energy. And for a young team like ours, the culture we’re trying to build, the style of play that this young man produces on the field, that’s something that’s very important to this franchise.”

“You never know when this opportunity is going to come again,” Herrera said through a translator. “It was a good chance to sign a deal, and this opportunity only comes once.”

If all options play out he will be in is early 30’s before becoming a FA so he may be in line for one more nice payday before his career is done, but that is a long time in baseball terms and many things can happen.

Other Comings and Goings:Monday

There was a flurry of other small announced moves during the week. On Monday they announced the signing of LHP Sean Burnett, OFDaniel Nava andIF’s Pedro Florimon and Hector Gomez to Minor League contracts, and will be non-roster invitees to Spring Training.

As a lefty Burnett, 34, will be in full competition in a very thin BP from that side. Burnett was 15-23 with a 3.52 ERA in 380 outings over nine seasons. Set back by two Tommy John surgeries, he has pitched just 16 Big League innings since 2012.

Nava, 33, an OF bench candidate, hit .262 with 25 HR, 185 RBIs and a .727 OPS in 1,763 plate appearances over six seasons, all in the AL, from both sides of the plate.

Florimon, 30, a utility player, playing six different positions last season with Triple-A Indianapolis, has a .558 OPS in 742 career MLB plate appearances.

Gomez, 28, who came to MLB out of the Korean Baseball Organization, appeared in 83 MLB games with the Rockies (2011) and Brewers (2014-15). He has a .526 OPS in 162 plate appearances.

Also on Monday the Phillies finalized the Nov. 22 trade which sent right-hander Jimmy Cordero to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later. That PTBNL turned out to be RHP Mario Sanchez.

Sanchez, 22, is 20-11 with a 3.89 ERA in 105 appearances (13 starts) in five MiLB seasons. He went 5-0 with a 3.46 ERA in 32 appearances last season with Class A Advanced Potomac. He was placed on the Reading Fightin Phils roster.

Other Comings and Goings:Wednesday

On Wednesday the Phillies brought back Andres Blanco, who will sign a one-year, $3 million contract. Blanco, 32, hit .274 with 12 HR, 49 RBIs and a .795 OPS in 523 plate appearances over the past three seasons with the Phillies. He seemed to be involved in a lot of big plays during that time in limited AB’s. Manager Pete Mackanin has said Blanco is the best utility man he has had in the Majors.

LHP David Rollins was DFA’d to make room on the 40 man roster.

The same day they claimed 3B Richie Shaffer off waivers from the Mariners and released RHP Phil Klein, allowing him to play in Asia. Shafer will likely start in AAA Lehigh Valley next season.He hit .250 with one HR and four RBIs in 48 AB’s last season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

MLB Takes Another Step Into 21st Century:

In announcing this week that the new CBA had been ratified by both sides, an interesting clause was released by MLB. A League that has often been ahead of the curve on some issues – they may be the only league w/ an executive dedicated to Gender issues when they hired Billy Bean as the league’s Ambassador for Inclusion in 2014 – took another IMHO long needed step. The new area is a policy against hazing and bullying. The policy, according to the AP, bars “requiring, coercing or encouraging” players to dress “as women or [wear] costumes that may be offensive to individuals based on their race, sex, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identify or other characteristic.”

Personally those displays were always a bit disturbing, and hazing in general is a behavior that should be long gone from the sports world from grade school on.

Also another good baby step announced is a ban on smokeless tobacco for new MLB players going forward. Many cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, and D.C already have bans in place in their ballparks, which MLB previously vowed to uphold.

I say baby step as there is still doubt about the effects so far on the banning of dipping. Smokeless tobacco has been banned at the MILB and college level since the early 1990s. And yet a 2013 study of 21,000 college athletes across sports found that 47.2 percent of baseball players still used smokeless tobacco. Another reason is that the new ban is only for any player who has yet to make their MLB debut. Thus it could take upwards of 10-15 years for this to work it’s way through the systems, and how it will be enforced – i.e. will the players and or managers have to turn them in, while checking their MLB profiles? – is yet to be addressed. Anything that makes a kid think twice about starting or quitting as they begin their playing careers is a good thing.

Happy Holidays:

I want to wish all my on-line readers, FB Friends and Likers, Twitter Followers, and my extended PattisonAve.Com family, a Happy and Healthy Holidays of their choice.

Unless something big happens, this blog will take a week off for the Holidays as well as preparing for my other PatAve assignment, being credentialed to cover the Military Bowl featuring the Temple Owls and Wake Forrest Demon Deacons on Tuesday Dec 27th, 3:30 PM in Annapolis Md.  There was no room for me at the Press Box Inn, but I will be afforded a seat in the manger – er stands, possibly in an auxiliary media area, as well as Pre and Post game on-field access and interviews.  Catch my preview of the game Friday on these same on-line outlets.

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