Results tagged ‘ Antonio Bastardo ’

Phillies Still Trying to Make A Deal

The Phillies front office has been frustrated lately with its lack of success on the trade market, but it is still trying to complete at least one deal before Thursday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Ruben Amaro Jr. traveled with the team to New York, where it opened a three-game series tonight against the Mets at Citi Field. But Amaro was nowhere to be found before the game as he continues to call teams to find a trade partner for a group of players that includes right fielder Marlon Byrd and left-hander Antonio Bastardo.

“Am I expecting any (trades)?” Ryne Sandberg said. “I don’t know one way or another. Just from what I hear, if there is (a trade) it’ll be very late in the process.”

Byrd and Bastardo remain the most likely Phillies to be moved, which is nothing new. Byrd is hitting .266 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs. His 20 homers are tied for eighth among right-handed hitters in baseball, which makes him valuable. Byrd can block trades to four teams, including the Mariners and Royals. He makes $8 million next season and he has an $8 million club option for 2016 that automatically vests with 600 plate appearances in 2015 or 1,100 plate appearances in 2014-15, including 550 plate appearances in 2015, which is a sticking point to some teams.

Left-hander Cole Hamels remains available, but the asking price remains extraordinarily high. This also is nothing new. The Phillies want to keep Hamels because he is the rare Phillies player signed to a mega contract still in his prime, but they will consider trading him if they are absolutely blown away by an offer.

Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon are unlikely to be moved by Thursday, but they could be traded in August if they clear waivers. Lee is owed at least $37.5 million following this season, while Papelbon is owed at least $13 million. A.J. Burnett remains a possibility, but he seems to be a second choice for teams still hoping for a pitcher like David Price, Jon Lester or Hamels. Burnett’s player option could be worth more than $10 million next season. The money owed to Lee, Papelbon and Burnett has made trading them difficult.

Phillies Take A Peek at Tigers Prospect

jake thompsonPhillies scouts are pretty much everywhere these days, watching Minor League prospects from every team that might be a trade partner before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Double-A Reading played Erie this afternoon in Erie, and the Phillies had a scout there to watch Tigers right-hander Jake Thompson, who pitched last week in the All-Star Futures Game. He allowed five hits, one run, two walks and struck out five in five innings in a 6-1 victory over Reading.

The Tigers drafted Thompson, 20, in the second round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He went 6-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 16 starts this season with Class A Lakeland before recently being promoted to Erie, where he is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts.

The Tigers are looking for bullpen help and it is well known Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon and left-hander Antonio Bastardo are available.

Serious Interest in Bastardo

bastardo photo dayFifteen scouts had seats for Cliff Lee’s start Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, but not everybody came to see him.

Some came to see other Phillies players available before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, including left-hander Antonio Bastardo. If a team needs relief help it almost certainly has contacted the Phillies about him.

In fact, Bastardo seems to be one of the likeliest Phillies to be traded before the deadline. He is 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 43 appearances this season. Left-handers have hit just .148 against him, while right-handers have hit .168, which makes him much more than a situational lefty. He makes just $2 million this season, so his contract is not an issue. He also does not become a free agent until after the 2015 season, so he is not a two-month rental.

“I’m just staying focused on what I can do and how I can pitch,” Bastardo said of the trade speculation. “I’m just trying to get people out. If I can distract myself from that stuff, I won’t let it get into my mind. I don’t want to lose my focus.”

Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit a line drive off Bastardo’s left forearm Monday. Bastardo finished the scoreless inning and had the forearm wrapped Tuesday afternoon, but he said it felt much better. He said he wouldn’t know if he could pitch until after he tried throwing later in the day.

Relax A Little Bit About Lee’s Monday Night

Cliff LeeCliff Lee didn’t help his cause last night, but Phillies fans shouldn’t panic about it.

He struggled in his return from the DL against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park, allowing 12 hits, six runs and failing to command his pitches in 5 2/3 innings. You’d think the guy forgot to pitch, but one scout afterward correctly pointed out that Lee maintained his velocity throughout the night, which indicates he is healthy. The struggles? Most likely the result of a two-month layoff.

If Lee is healthy there is no reason to think he will not return to form as one of the top starting pitchers in baseball.

If the Phillies can’t trade him before the July 31 trade deadline, perhaps he clears waivers next month. If he does the Phillies have until Aug. 31 to trade him. If he doesn’t clear waivers, there is nothing to prevent the Phillies from trading him in the offseason. A couple more months isn’t going to hurt anybody, if Lee is healthy and pitching well. In fact, it would get more teams involved in the offseason because right now the only teams interested in Lee are contending teams.

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ESPN.com reported Lee can be traded to nine teams without his consent: the Braves, Indians, Astros, Marlins, Twins, Mets, Padres, Rays and Nationals. ESPN.com also reported that A.J. Burnett, who shares the same agent as Lee, can be traded to nine teams without his permission: the Orioles, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Cardinals and Nationals.

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I still think the three Phillies most likely to be traded before the deadline are Jonathan Papelbon, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The Phillies are listening, but not actively shopping Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I would be incredibly surprised if any of those three are traded.

Phillies Busy as Trade Deadline Approaches

Cole HamelsLet the rumors, speculation and stories filled with unnamed scouts and insiders begin!

The Phillies return to action tonight in Atlanta, and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is 13 days away. The Phillies are busy trying to find trade partners for several veteran players, but just because they have players to trade it doesn’t mean they’ll trade them. They’re not pressured to make something happen before July 31. The front office hasn’t been told by ownership to shed payroll no matter what. Remember, the Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason.

Let’s repeat that: The Phillies can still trade these players before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline or in the offseason. Especially if they’re not getting much of a return in their current discussions. Would you trade Byrd or Lee or Papelbon for Tyson Gillies 2.0 just so you can turn to Phillies fans and say, “Look, guys, we made some trades!” It’s doubtful.

A report Sunday had the Mariners hot and heavy for Marlon Byrd, but reports since said their interest has cooled or talks have stalled. Keep this in mind as you read countless reports between today and July 31: 95 percent of this stuff is teams kicking the tires and reporters taking a kernel of information and writing it. For example, when you read a team with a need for starting pitching has inquired about Cole Hamels, don’t say to yourself, “Oh my God! The (insert team here) are going to get Cole Hamels!” Say to yourself, “Well, no kidding! Of course they’re interested in Cole.”

A team expressing interest in a Phillies player and a team actually making a legitimate offer are two totally different things. Maybe the Mariners called the Phillies last weekend and said, “We’d really like Marlon Byrd, but we’ll only give you a marginal prospect for him.” In that scenario, Ruben Amaro Jr. most likely said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and hung up the phone.

A few reminders as the July 31 deadline approaches:

  • The Phillies are absolutely open to trading Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd and Antonio Bastardo. The contracts and limited no-trade clauses for Papelbon, Lee, Burnett and Byrd could be stumbling blocks, but I just don’t see the Phillies making deals if they’re only getting a light-hitting outfielder or a middling reliever in return.
  • They would need to receive a huge package of prospects to trade Cole Hamels.
  • Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have 10-and-5 rights and have repeatedly expressed their desire to remain in Philadelphia. The Phillies will listen to offers for Hamels, Utley and Rollins, but they are not going to give them away.

So, yes, the Phillies are not “looking” to trade Hamels. And they absolutely prefer to trade Lee over him. They would welcome a Papelbon trade, and they are willing to part with Bastardo because they have two younger, less expensive left-handers in Jake Diekman and Mario Hollands.

It is going to be an interesting couple of weeks for the Phillies. Like I said, they are active. But like I also mentioned, there are no indications they’re going to just get rid of players, either.

Enjoy the weekend.

Bullpen A Strength In Phillies’ Run

Ken GilesOne of the reasons for the Phillies’ recent success is their bullpen.

During their 7-2 run, the bullpen is 2-0 with a 1.08 ERA, allowing 15 hits, three runs, three walks and striking out 32 batters in 25 innings.

But its success goes back further than nine games. It is 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 15 games since June 2, allowing 20 hits, five runs, six walks and striking out 46 in 37 1/3 innings. Its ERA, strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.67), strikeouts per nine innings average (11.09) and WHIP (0.70) are best in baseball in that stretch. It also is 4-2 with a 1.94 ERA in 26 games since May 22, allowing 45 hits, 18 runs, 31 walks and striking out 88 78 2/3 innings. It is first in WHIP (0.97), second in ERA and third in strikeouts per nine innings (10.07) in that stretch.

Here is a look at the individual numbers:

  • Jonathan Papelbon: He blew his second save of the season Monday in Atlanta, but is 2-0 with a 0.67 ERA and 16 saves in 17 opportunities since he blew his first save April 2 in Texas. He has allowed 16 hits, two runs, seven walks and has struck out 23 in 27 innings since.
  • Antonio Bastardo: He has not walked a batter in nine innings this month. In fact, he has allowed just one hit and struck out 10 in those six appearances. He also has a 0.50 ERA in 15 appearances since May 11. He has allowed four hits, one run, nine walks and has struck out 22 in 18 innings in that stretch.
  • Jake Diekman: He has a 2.95 ERA in 20 appearances since the end of April.
  • Justin De Fratus: He has not allowed a run in 11 appearances since being recalled from Triple-A late last month. He has allowed seven hits, two walks and has struck out 13 in 12 innings.
  • Mario Hollands: He has a 2.55 ERA this season, but he has not allowed a run in 14 appearances since May 7. He has allowed seven hits, six walks and has struck out 12 in 12 2/3 innings in that stretch.
  • Ken Giles: Since allowing a home run to the first batter he faced in the big leagues, he has allowed one hit, one walk and has struck out six in 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
  • Ethan Martin: Has only pitched twice since joining the team, and not once since June 7.

 

Reports: Bastardo Suspended 50 Games

Antonio BastardoThe Phillies got another dose of bad news today when Major League Baseball suspended left-hander Antonio Bastardo 50 games for violations in relation to its Biogenesis investigation.

Bastardo will begin serving the suspension without pay immediately.

He had been one of the only reliable arms in one of the worst bullpens in baseball. He is 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 48 appearances. He has allowed 32 hits, 11 earned runs, 21 walks and has struck out 47 in 42 2/3 innings.

He had been serving as the team’s setup man with Mike Adams on the disabled list recovering from right shoulder surgery.

Phillies president David Montgomery issued a statement that read: “Obviously, the Phillies are very disappointed to learn of Antonio Bastardo’s violation of Major League Baseball’s Drug Program. We strongly believe in the Program and look forward to a time when performance enhancing drugs are completely out of baseball. Hopefully the sanctions announced today will bring us closer to that day. We respect the fact that Antonio has acknowledged his serious mistake and accepted his 50-game suspension.”

The Phillies said general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was unavailable for comment.

Bastardo is making $1.4 million this season, which means he will forfeit about $460,000 in salary. He is eligible to return for the team’s final game of the season Sept. 29 in Atlanta, although that is unlikely.

Former big-league pitcher Dan Meyer expressed his anger toward Bastardo on Twitter. He pitched with the Phillies in Spring Training in 2011, going 2-0 with a 6.75 ERA in five appearances. He was assigned to Minor League camp before the Phillies released him.

“Hey Antonio Bastardo, remember when we competed for a job in 2011. Thx alot.” He added later, “Never said I was good enough but what about the players that never got their chance? Their lives could have been completely different.”

Bullpen Problems

The Phillies bullpen had two encouraging months at the end of last season, which had nearly everybody in the organization optimistic about 2013.

It has not worked out that way.

The bullpen entered tonight’s series opener against the Padres at PETCO Park with a 4.67 ERA, which is the worst mark in baseball and the worst in Charlie Manuel’s nine-year tenure as manager. The Phillies will keep their fingers crossed regarding setup man Mike Adams, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract in December. He could require surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. He will see Dodgers physician Neal ElAttrache tomorrow in Los Angeles after a recent MRI exam revealed changes in the labrum from a previous MRI.

“Our doctors are not recommending surgery right now, but we’ll see what ElAttrache says,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Rich Dubee said with Adams sidelined and little experience in the bullpen other than Jonathan Papelbon (494 career appearances) and Antonio Bastardo (192 career appearances), there will be no defined roles, although it appears Bastardo will be the team’s unofficial setup man. Justin De Fratus also could pitch in the eighth inning if there is a matchup of tough right-handed hitters.

Phillippe Aumont (34), De Fratus (37), Jake Diekman (37), J.C. Ramirez (one) and Joe Savery (28) have a combined 137 career appearances among them.

“We know who we have at the end,” said Dubee, referring to Papelbon. “We’ll pitch the rest to get to the end. We’ll see. We’ll mix and match probably as much as possible. If some guy gets on a hot roll, he may be closer to the end of the game. It’s an opportunity for all of these kids. A golden opportunity.”

Asked about the bullpen’s struggles, Dubee said, “It’s probably the youngest we’ve had. Even at the start it was young. Michael (Adams) was a question mark coming in after the (thoracic outlet syndrome) surgery. We felt good about the three guys at the back end. Chad (Durbin) was here to pick up some innings in the middle. That was an acquisition. (Jeremy) Horst got off to a bad start. (Raul) Valdes got off to a bad start. Those were two guys we got big years out of last year. That’s a crapshoot in baseball; trying to find the right bullpen pieces. After wear and tear, sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get.”

Diekman Could Put Heat on Lefties in Pen

diekmanCan Jake Diekman get out left-handed hitters?

Can he throw strikes?

If he can, he should put serious heat on the left-handers currently in the Phillies bullpen: Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst and Joe Savery. The Phillies optioned right-hander Tyler Cloyd to Triple-A Lehigh Valley today as left-hander John Lannan will take his place in the rotation Monday against the Nationals. The Phillies recalled Diekman to take Cloyd’s place, although he will not join the team until tomorrow in Colorado.

Diekman’s overall numbers in Triple-A are not good – 24 walks in 30 innings and a 5.70 ERA in 30 appearances – but he has been fantastic against left-handed hitters. They are hitting just .161 with a .461 OPS against him with just five hits and two walks in 34 plate appearances.

It is no secret the Phillies bullpen has been a major problem this season, and the team’s left-handers have played a significant role in those struggles. Bastardo, who is the bullpen’s top lefty, has struggled in tight spots. He allowed the game-winning run to score Tuesday and put the game-tying and game-winning runs on base Wednesday. He allowed big hits against left-handed hitters each time. Lefties are hitting .263 with an .823 OPS against him.

Lefties are hitting .282 with an .832 OPS against Horst, who is second on the team in appearances despite a 5.55 ERA. Savery has pitched just three times with the Phillies, although lefties are 3-for-4 against him.

If Diekman shows something this weekend at Coors Field he could remain as a lefty specialist and the Phillies could option Horst or Savery to Triple-A on Monday, when they need to activate Lannan for his start at Citizens Bank Park. If you’re wondering about Bastardo, he’s not going anywhere.

The Phillies Got Bullpen Problems

Mike AdamsThe Phillies tied last night’s game against the Twins in the top of the eighth inning at Target Field only to have Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo allow the game-winning run to score in the bottom half of the inning.

We’ve seen plenty of performances like this from the bullpen this year.

Back in February, when the Phillies opened spring training in Clearwater, they thought the bullpen could be a position of strength. The bullpen had a 2.84 ERA the final two months last season, so they figured with the additions of Adams and Chad Durbin to a group that included Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo and a host of talented young pitchers, they would continue to take a step forward. But the bullpen has taken a big step back. Its 4.48 ERA is the third-worst in baseball. It has allowed 42.9 percent of its inherited runners to score, which is the worst in baseball. Its 1.46 WHIP is second-worst.

Let’s take a look at the stable of relievers, and how they have fared:

  • Jonathan Papelbon. He is being paid a fortune to close, but he is doing the job. He is 11-for-11 in save opportunities with a 1.59 ERA, but you’ve got to think the Phillies will try to move him if they decide to sell before the July 31 trade deadline. It doesn’t make much sense to have a high-priced closer on a rebuilding team.
  • Mike Adams. The Phillies signed him to a two-year, $12 million contract in December, acknowledging it carried risk following TOC surgery in October. Adams’ stuff hasn’t been the same and he has had problems staying healthy. He is 1-4 with a 4.22 ERA with a 7.11 ERA since coming off the DL May 26.
  • Antonio Bastardo. He has a 2.42 ERA in 27 appearances, but a 1.478 WHIP and is averaging 5.6 walks per nine innings. He also is striking out fewer batters than he has in the past. Bastardo always seems to be in trouble. Maybe that explains why he has entered a game with runners on base just three times. He has allowed two of four inherited runners to score, including one last night.
  • Chad Durbin. Released. He had a 9.00 ERA in 16 appearances.
  • Phillippe Aumont. Manuel specifically mentioned Aumont last night when asked about the bullpen’s struggles. He said everybody expected him to take a step forward this year. But he had an alarming 2.077 WHIP, averaging 6.9 walks per nine innings before he got sent to Triple-A last month. In eight appearances with the IronPigs, he has an 8.59 ERA and has walked 12 batters in 7 1/3 innings.
  • Jeremy Horst. He is second on the team with 26 appearances, but has a 5.55 ERA. That kind of sums up the bullpen’s struggles right there.
  • Raul Valdes. The Phillies sent him to Triple-A after posting a 7.65 ERA in 10 appearances.
  • Mike Stutes. He has had good results since coming up from Triple-A, carrying a 1.80 ERA in eight appearances. He has walked just one batter in 10 innings.
  • Justin De Fratus. The Phillies wanted him to open the season with the team, but they didn’t think his arm was where it needed to be. De Fratus has a 1.80 ERA and a fantastic 0.800 WHIP in 13 appearances. You wonder if he could move into Adams’ role if Adams continues to struggle. He has the coaching staff’s trust.
  • B.J. Rosenberg. Ruben Amaro Jr. called up Rosenberg on May 17 to replace Valdes, saying he was throwing the best and he had a big arm that could strike out people. But Rosenberg posted a 12.00 ERA in three appearances, following a 6.12 ERA in 22 appearances last season. Rosenberg throws hard, but he hasn’t proven he can get hitters out on a consistent basis.
  • Joe Savery. He has been with the team three times this season after throwing the ball well in Triple-A. But he has only pitched twice with the Phillies.
  • Jake Diekman. He has not pitched with the Phillies this season, but I include him here because they raved about his arm and upside, and with the struggles of Horst and Valdes he could have been called up at some point, except he can’t throw strikes. He has a 5.70 ERA and has walked 24 batters in 30 innings in 30 appearances with Lehigh Valley.
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