Clay Buchholz to Phillies: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

December 20, 2016 by Scott Polacek  
Filed under Fan News

Pitcher Clay Buchholz is no longer a member of the only MLB team he has known, following a tumultuous 2016 campaign. 

The Philadelphia Phillies announced they acquired Buchholz and sent minor league second baseman Josh Tobias to the Red Sox on Tuesday. FanRag Sports' Jon Heyman initially reported the deal.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters the Red Sox will listen to potential trade opportunities, but there is "no major drive" to add more players. Dombrowski said trading Buchholz gives the team flexibility during the offseason and puts Boston under the CBT (competitive-balance tax).  

The New York Post's Joel Sherman thought the move played into what the Phillies have done this offseason:

MLB.com's Mike Petriello likes how Philadelphia has assembled its starting rotation:

This comes after Rob Bradford of WEEI.com noted earlier in December teams that talked to the Red Sox about available pitchers sensed Dombrowski was more interested in trading Buchholz over Drew Pomeranz.

Scott Miller of Bleacher Report listed the Miami Marlins as one of the clubs interested in Buchholz, although he reported the $13 million 2016 price tag was too expensive.

Boston acquired Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox this offseason and largely has its rotation set with Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Pomeranz all as candidates, which made Buchholz expendable.

Reports of a potential trade involving the right-hander appeared during the regular season, as Heyman tweeted Buchholz "came up in talks" before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline. Buchholz is a former All-Star, but he was far from a shutdown pitcher in 2016, with a 4.78 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 93 strikeouts in 139.1 innings.

The Red Sox moved him to the bullpen after his struggles; home runs in particular were a problem for Buchholz. He allowed 21 long balls, which was still lower than the 25 he gave up in 2012.

He returned to the starting rotation late in the season and turned in a strong finish with a 3.14 ERA in five September appearances. The impressive finishing kick likely made him a more attractive trade target for the Phillies this offseason.

Despite the 2016 struggles, Buchholz was solid for the Red Sox in 2015 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 107 strikeouts in 113.1 innings. It was a strong bounce-back effort after a lackluster 2014 campaign, when he finished with a 5.34 ERA.

Buchholz has been inconsistent for much of his career even though he made the All-Star Game in 2010 and in 2013:

The hope in Boston in 2016 was that he would look like the All-Star version of himself as the team chased the postseason. However, that was not the case for much of the year, and it reached the point where he said he felt "like something has [to] be going on" when discussing his limited usage in July, per Bradford.

His new team can at least take solace in the fact he has proved himself at the major league level. If he performs like he did in his All-Star campaigns and down the stretch in 2016, he will be an asset in 2017.

What's more, he made playoff appearances for Boston in 2009, 2013 and 2016 and, theoretically, shouldn't be intimidated by any important moments for his new squad. Philadelphia's acquisition could be one of the better under-the-radar swaps of the offseason, especially if the 32-year-old can find consistency.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies

Odubel Herrera, Phillies Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

December 15, 2016 by Adam Wells  
Filed under Fan News

Any thoughts the Philadelphia Phillies had about trading Odubel Herrera have likely gone away after the All-Star center fielder signed a contract extension with the team.

The Phillies announced the five-year extension Thursday.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported the contract will pay Herrera $30.5 million in guarantees and includes option years for 2022 and 2023.

There had been some speculation about the Phillies exploring trade options for Herrera this offseason. T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported during the winter meetings the team "might be willing" to deal the 24-year-old. 

Herrera has been a pleasant surprise in two seasons with the Phillies. He was a Rule 5 draft pick in December 2014 after the Texas Rangers kept him off their 40-man roster because they didn't have a spot available for him. 

With the Phillies embracing a full-scale rebuild, Herrera made the team's Opening Day roster. He put together a solid debut season with a .297/.344/.418 slash line in 147 games. 

Herrera was even better in 2016, posting a .286/.361/.420 slash line with 15 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 4.2 wins above replacement, per Baseball-Reference.com. He was named to the National League All-Star team for his efforts. 

MLB.com's Oliver Macklin noted Herrera's eight wins above replacement in his first two seasons with the Phillies is the second-best mark in team history, trailing only Dick Allen's 8.8 in 1964-65.

The Phillies' commitment to Herrera is the latest sign this franchise is heading in the right direction. It's going to take more time for the farm system, which MLB.com ranked seventh coming into 2016, to release all of its treasures like shortstop J.P. Crawford and outfielder Nick Williams. 

Herrera is a key piece of the foundation in Philadelphia and will be part of the next great wave of Phillies baseball after signing a long-term extension with the franchise.

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Joaquin Benoit to Phillies: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

December 5, 2016 by Rob Goldberg  
Filed under Fan News

The Philadelphia Phillies took a big step toward shoring up their bullpen with the addition of Joaquin Benoit on Monday. 

According to Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball, the 39-year-old reliever signed with the club after Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reported the two sides were close Sunday night.

Benoit had two very different seasons in 2016, struggling to the tune of a 5.18 ERA with the Seattle Mariners before eventually being traded at the deadline. He was lights out with the Toronto Blue Jays, however, allowing just one run in 23.2 innings. 

Unfortunately, the right-handed pitcher tore his calf attempting to run in from the bullpen in a late-season, bench-clearing brawl. He missed the last week of the regular season and the entire postseason, unable to help the Blue Jays in their eventual loss in the American League Championship Series.

"It's a big loss, no doubt about it," manager John Gibbons said at the time of the injury, per ESPN.com. "He's been so good."

According to sports broadcaster Hazel Mae (via Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet), he was off crutches and throwing off flat ground by mid-October, so the issue shouldn't be a concern going forward.

Assuming he is healthy, Philadelphia should get a big contribution from one of the more consistent relievers in the league. Even with his struggles in Seattle, Benoit has finished the season with a sub-3.00 ERA in six of the last seven seasons and had over 50 strikeouts each year.

The pitcher has spent over 15 years in the major leagues with six different organizations, accumulating 57 wins, 51 saves and a 3.79 ERA.

Benoit could be a major boost for a team that finished with the third-highest bullpen ERA in 2016 at 5.05.

While he is getting up there in age, Benoit has shown he can still be an effective reliever and should make an impact right away with his new team.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies