Matt Klentak’s been the Phillies’ GM for three weeks now. When discussing how to continue the rebuilding process, he’s mentioned several ways, summer draft, Rule 5 draft, trades, free agents, waiver wire and international market.
His first three moves:
**Claimed reliever Dan Otero on waivers.
**Signed free agent left-handed reliever, James Russell, to a minor league contract.
**Acquired veteran right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson from Arizona for a 20-year right-hander who’s had two rookie ball seasons as a pro.
All three new arms have had success in the majors but are coming off down seasons this year.
Russell is typical of relievers, off and on seasons. In 2013, he dominated left-handed hitters, holding them to a .183 average. In 2014, it flipped as right-handers hit only .165. In 2015, .338 (RHH) and .273 (LHH). He did strike out 11 of the 66 left-handed bats he faced. Basically, a reliever brought in to face limited hitters, Russell’s career high strikeouts for an outing is four. He did it twice. Once against your Phillies.
He and Otero, a right-hander, will be in the mix for bullpen spots next season. Right now, there are only two left-handed relievers on the roster, Elvis Araujo and Mario Hollands, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Hellickson, 28, brings experience to a young staff. He’s in his free agent season after going 9-12 for 27 starts this year. He suffered six losses when allowing three or fewer runs, tied for fifth most in the league. He lost his last four starts, giving up nine runs while the D-Backs scored a total of six. He was sidelined by a strained left hamstring, August 20-September 11.
The right-hander had a big game against the Phillies in which he collected two RBI hits in the same inning. He’s also the one who broke Maikel Franco’s wrist with a pitch in that game.
One welcome note on Hellickson, he led the Arizona starters with a 62.9 first-pitch strike percentage. First-pitch strikes were too infrequent last season among Phillies arms.
Schedule of games in the Arizona Fall League ends on Thursday.
Where is Paul Byrd? What is he doing?
Check out Paul Hagen’s piece on Byrd at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
ICYMI….The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits is the title of my new book which will be available starting April 1, 2016, in book stores and on-line. Larry Andersen wrote a hilarious foreword. Publisher again is Triumph Books (triumphbooks.com).
Call it what you want–hodge-podge, assortment, collection, mixture–one chapter deals with faces of all sorts. From Phillies major award winners to brothers, broadcasters, those with a cup of coffee and my 50th anniversary team. The latter covers the time between 1883 and 1933, perhaps some unknown faces who have a place in the team’s history.