Results tagged ‘ Kevin Frandsen ’
The Phillies signed Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract in January, and my Twitter feed quickly filled with stunned-and-confused comments about it. I guess it’s one of those things that happens these days. The Phillies sign a guy for organizational depth at relatively low cost and minimal risk and people freak out because he has a career .290 on-base percentage.
I mean, we’re talking about the 25th man on the big-league roster or Lehigh Valley’s possible everyday shortstop, but whatever …
But an interesting thing is happening in Clearwater: Betancourt is playing well and he could get one of the team’s two utility infield jobs.
What is especially interesting about the battle among Betancourt, Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis is Betancourt has an earlier than usual opt-out clause for March 24. The Phillies must tell Betancourt by that date if he has made the 25-man roster. If he has not made the team, he can ask to be released. March 24 is a full week before the Phillies play their final exhibition game, so the Phillies will have to decide on that before they theoretically come to conclusions about the final three bullpen jobs or outfield situation. Like I wrote yesterday, I would not be surprised to see Betancourt and Frandsen start the season with the team. Galvis can be optioned to Triple-A, where he could get more seasoning with the IronPigs. Meanwhile, Betancourt and Frandsen can show what they’ve got with the Phillies. If either struggles, the Phillies could recall Galvis at that point.
Interestingly, Ruben Amaro Jr. said Betancourt’s ability to play defense is key. That’s interesting because Galvis unquestionably is the best defensive player of the three, but the fact he has options and the others don’t could tilt the jobs in their favor.
“You could probably say right now, even though he’s a young player, he’d probably be the most reliable guy [defensively],” Amaro said of Galvis. “But again, Yuniesky has got a lot of experience. It depends on how [Betancourt] performs. We’re not making any decisions today. We don’t have to make any decision for several weeks, so we’re OK.”
Will your head explode if Betancourt makes the team? If you said yes, take a deep breath and relax. Like I said, we’re talking about the last bench player here. The Phillies won the World Series with So Taguchi‘s .580 OPS on the bench in 2008. They won a National League pennant with Eric Bruntlett‘s .462 OPS on the bench in 2009. And they won a franchise-record 102 games with Michael Martinez‘s .540 OPS on the bench in 2011.
I’m not really sure which way the Phillies will go, but Betancourt is playing well enough early to make the front office think long and hard about it.
I think the reality is most jobs are guaranteed, or very close to locks. He said there could be a competition for a fifth starter, but let’s call John Lannan the heavy, heavy favorite for that spot. I just don’t see him not making the rotation, unless there is an injury. I think it’s more realistic to say there are three openings in the bullpen, an opening or two in the outfield (depending on Delmon Young‘s health) and maybe an opening for a utility infield job, although Freddy Galvis and Kevin Frandsen are the early favorites for those two spots (Yuniesky Betancourt could make things interesting, however.)
Galvis is coming off an interesting season. He made his mark as a defensive whiz at second base, but also fractured his back and served a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a metabolite of Clostebol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Galvis said in a statement at the time: “A trace amount of a banned substance – 80 parts in a trillion – was detected in my urine sample. I am extremely disappointed in what has transpired. I cannot understand how even this tiny particle of a banned substance got into my body. I have not and never would knowingly use anything illegal to enhance my performance. I have always tried to follow the team’s strength and conditioning methods, listen to the trainers, work out hard and eat right. Unfortunately, the rules are the rules and I will be suspended.”
Galvis reflected on the suspension yesterday.
“It was tough, man,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t do stuff and you pay for it. Like I said before, that’s life and you have to move on. Sometimes when you don’t do nothing and the blame you, that’s bad stuff, but they have rules and you have to follow the rules. But that’s in the past right now. Right now I’m focused on 2013.”
Galvis hit .226 with 15 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and a .617 OPS in 200 plate appearances last season. He said he can succeed without PEDs, and is not concerned about proving anything to anybody.
“I don’t really care what people think about me,” he said. “I just care what I have to do here for the team and to win games. I’m not a guy who hits homers. I just try to put the ball in play, move the runner, bunt, sometimes hit in the game. That’s my game. I don’t try to hit homers. I try to play every day and prove to the team I can play baseball.”
Galvis is doing daily maintenance on his back, which he said he will have to do the remainder of his career. If he stays healthy, he seems like a strong bet to make the team because of his defensive abilities. This spring he should see time at shortstop (his natural position), second base and third base. He hasn’t played much third base before, but he thinks he can handle it.
“I think if you gave me a glove I think I could do it,” he said.
The Phillies announced today they have signed infielder Yuniesky Betancourt to a Minor League contract.
The deal includes an invitation to big-league camp in Clearwater, Fla.
“Just to give us some depth,” Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “I think that some competition for one of the utility spots. We have Freddy (Galvis) and (Kevin) Frandsen who have a chance to be on the club and so does Yuni. He’s got some experience and background. We’ll see how it goes. It gives us some depth.”
Betancourt, 30, hit .228 with 14 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 57 games last season with the Kansas City Royals. He played 46 games at second base, eight at third base and one at shortstop. He hit .308 with eight doubles, seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 26 games in Winter Ball in Mexico.
Betancourt provides the organization additional infield depth. If healthy, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young will be the Phillies’ everyday infielders. Frandsen, who hit .338 with an .834 OPS in 55 games last season, and Galvis, who is a defensive whiz, are the favorites to come off the bench.
“I am sort of anxious to see him work out and play and stuff,” Charlie Manuel said of Betancourt. “You know, I have always liked his tools. I think that with the talent that he has, going into spring training, it gives us more competition.”
Also in camp as Non-Roster Invitees are infielders Josh Fields, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Andres Blanco and Cody Asche.
In 1,019 games in the big leagues with Seattle, Kansas City and Milwaukee, Betancourt has hit .266 with a .290 on-base percentage, .392 slugging percentage and .682 OPS.
The Phillies signed Kevin Frandsen with little to no fanfare as a Minor League free agent in Nov. 2011.
It could end up being a big signing for them come 2013.
After a strong final couple months of the 2012 season with the Phillies, Frandsen agreed today to a one-year, $850,000 contract to avoid salary arbitration. The deal includes incentives and performance bonuses. Left-hander Antonio Bastardo and outfielder Nate Schierholtz are the team’s only other remaining players eligible for salary arbitration.
Frandsen’s signing is noteworthy because he could see significant playing time next season along with Freddy Galvis at third base. Placido Polanco will not be back next season, and the crop of free-agent third basemen is remarkably thin, so the Phillies might try to upgrade in the outfield and hope Frandsen and Galvis can handle the load.
Frandsen hit remarkably well with the Phillies. He hit .338 with 10 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 14 RBIs and an .834 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 55 games. In 228 career games before last season, Frandsen hit just .243 with a .636 OPS.
The Blue Jays claimed right-hander David Herndon off waivers today.
The Phillies removed Herndon from the 40-man roster, which was not a surprise. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery and had been eligible for salary arbitration. Plus, several relief pitchers had moved ahead of him on the depth chart. Interestingly, to make room for Herndon on their 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated Tyson Brummett for assignment. They claimed Brummett from the Phillies last week.
The Phillies have three players eligible for salary arbitration: left-hander Antonio Bastardo, outfielder Nate Schierholtz and infielder Kevin Frandsen.
In other words, Polanco, who has been an everyday player the majority of his 15-year career, is a bench guy.
Polanco said today that Manuel called him into his office to tell him about his decision.
“If I can’t play, I can’t play,” said Polanco, who has battled a back problem and other injuries this season. “He’s the manager. Right now, my hands are tied. I can’t really say much. I played the other day (Aug. 22) and I hurt it again. What am I going to say? Put me in? I told him, if I was healthy then this would be another conversation. But I’m not healthy.”
The Phillies have a $5.5 million option or a $1 million buyout on Polanco’s contract next season. The Phillies will take the buyout, which is one reason why Chase Utley is thinking about giving third base a try. That leaves Polanco’s future in baseball uncertain. He said he does not know what is going to happen, but he would like to play if he is healthy.
That is a big if.
“I have a lot of energy, I love the game and this is what I’ve been doing my entire life,” said Polanco, who estimates he has received about 10 cortisone injections over the course of his career. “But I have to be healthy. If I’m not healthy they can offer me $100 million and I’m not going to go out there.”
They are far from ready to draw conclusions.
Domonic Brown has hit .267 (20-for-75) with five doubles and 10 RBIs in 21 games. Kevin Frandsen has hit .350 (28-for-50) with two doubles, one triple, one home run and seven RBIs in 21 games. Erik Kratz has hit .292 (19-for-65) with seven doubles, seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 26 games. Left-hander Jeremy Horst is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in 16 appearances.
They are solid performances, but it makes little sense for the Phillies to anoint anybody anything – from backup catcher to left-hander in the 2013 bullpen – based on less than a month’s worth of games.
“They haven’t pitched a ton and they haven’t played a ton,” Amaro said today. “They’ve only played a couple weeks. They’ve done a nice job. I don’t want to take away from the job they’ve done, but you have to understand that two weeks does not make or break you. I had a nice two weeks in my career and then I stunk. I think these guys are probably better players than I am, but everybody likes to jump on the bandwagon, plus or minus. I think we have to show some patience there.”
The Phillies entered tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park with 39 games to play. They will get the opportunity to take a closer look at everybody in those games, but the evaluation process will continue in the offseason and very likely through the closing days of Spring Training 2013.
“Domonic has had about as good as a consistent approach as anybody on our club,” Amaro said. “He and Frandsen have been putting together the best overall at-bats as far as controlling the strike zone and swinging at strikes.”
And the lack of power from Brown so far?
“He’s got a lot of natural power and raw power,” Amaro continued. “I’m not worried about that. It always comes late with young players. Very, very rarely does consistent power come in the Major Leagues when they’re young. He’s been fine in the outfield, too. He’s not a finished product yet. He’s still learning. But I have a lot of confidence he can be an everyday rightfielder or leftfielder.”
Amaro likes what he has seen from Frandsen and Kratz, commending them for making the most of their opportunity. He stopped short of saying either would be on the bench next season, again, because they need to see more.
“It’s a possibility,” Amaro said of Kratz’s chances as a backup. “We’ll continue to watch him play.”
There has been an interesting fascination with fans regarding former infielder Wilson Valdez in Philadelphia. The Phillies traded him to the Reds in the offseason for Horst. Earlier this season even Amaro said he wished he had kept Valdez, but in retrospect it looks like a good trade.
“Guys like Horst and (Raul) Valdes have performed well and much more consistently than some of the other guys in the bullpen, but some other guys have pretty good arms,” he said. “They haven’t really pitched enough to make a decision one way or the other.”
After that, it’s anybody’s guess.
He planned to drive to Clearwater, Fla., following today’s series finale against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. He will begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with Class A Clearwater, playing six innings in the field. He will DH on Friday, play nine innings in the field Saturday and fly to Philadelphia on Sunday.
He expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday. Polanco has been on the DL since July 23 because of lower back inflammation. He said he feels 100 percent, although he has some lingering tightness.
“I don’t feel anything that I had, the pinching, the strain,” he said.
Polanco said he believes he can play every day upon his return.
“I expect to be the everyday third baseman, but what I expect and what is going to happen could be two different things,” he said.
Charlie Manuel said earlier this week it is unlikely Polanco can play every day because of his back. Kevin Frandsen also has played well at third base. He entered today’s series finale hitting .315 with one home run and two RBIs. But Polanco is a superior defensive third baseman, and certainly Phillies pitchers would like to see him on the field.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Polanco said. “I just want to be healthy for whatever. If he plays me he plays me. If not …”