Jesse Biddle was a first round pick for the Phillies in the 2010 draft but injuries have slowed his track to the majors. (AP Photo/Republican-Herald, Jacqueline Dormer)
Germantown Friends School graduate and former Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle won’t be making his big league debut with his hometown team thanks to a trade that took place on Wednesday.
Biddle was traded to the Pirates in exchange for right-hander Yoervis Medina. This move comes after Biddle was designated for assignment on Friday to make room for left-handed relief pitcher Bobby LaFromboise, whom the Phils claimed off waivers from the Angels. After being designated for assignment, the Phillies had 10 days to trade, release or waive Biddle.
The Phillies drafted the 24-year-old Biddle in the first round of the 2010 draft (27th overall pick) and was expected to be a big contributor to the team, with a high 90s fastball and a devastating curveball, his consistency is what has been the issue. Now after having Tommy John surgery in October and a plethora of other injuries including the whooping cough, a concussion and a quadriceps injury over the past few seasons, any long term sight the Phillies had for Biddle ended, especially since he will miss the entirety of the 2016 season.
“If we’re able to slip him through waivers, we’ll be happy to keep him,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said earlier this week. “If not, we’ll be happy to put him in an opportunity that is good for him.”
Biddle went 40-45 with a 3.82 ERA in 133 appearances, 132 of which where starts, in six Minor League seasons for the Phillies farm system. In 2014 he posted an ERA of 4.60 and in 2015 his ERA stood at 4.95. He reached triple-A Lehigh Valley last season and stumbled to a 6.25 ERA in nine starts.
Pittsburg may be a good fit for the young pitcher, since the team has become almost like a reviving ground for pitchers over the past few seasons helping former Phillies pitchers like Vance Worley and J.A. Happ.
“We feel there is the upside of a quality starting pitcher with Biddle,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “We were willing to tackle the challenge of helping him get healthy and reach the ceiling that many in the industry believed he had when he was identified as one of the best pitching prospects in the industry.”
Biddle has two minor-league options remaining, so the Pirates can stash him on their 40-man roster while he recovers from the surgery.
The 27-year-old Medina is 10-9 with a 3.08 ERA in 146 appearances in his career with the Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs. Medina has struck out 147 batters in 146 major-league innings. He has a high walk total of 79 but he has allowed only 10 homeruns, which converts to 0.6 per nine innings. The Phillies said Medina will be in Phillies Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.