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Phillies end losing streak, split series with Red Sox

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 3, Boston Red Sox 1  ❖  Attendance: 37,816

BOSTON, Ma. — Coming into tonight's game, the Philadelphia Phillies (59-48) were hoping to both end their four game losing streak and split this short two game series against the Boston Red Sox (75-34). The Phils were able to do just that. Starter Jake Arrieta was fantastic against a very potent Red Sox line-up. Over seven innings, the righty allowed one run on six hits and struck out seven. It was the first start in ten outings and only the second outing this season in which Arrieta did not allow any walks. His command played a big role in his success and his turnaround this month after a horrendous month of June. Tommy Hunter threw an eight-pitch eighth inning. It marked the first time this season in which Hunter has thrown a 1-2-3 inning with a one run lead. The Phillies need him to continue to rebound if they want to contend. Seranthony Dominguez appeared to get in his head a bit in the ninth inning, but he was able to get past his struggles to notch his 11th save.

While the Phillies were an abysmal 1-8 with runners in scoring position tonight, the bats did manage to plate enough runs to win the ballgame. Roman Quinn got three hits, including a double. Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco got two hits apiece. Franco actually reached base four times, thanks to two walks in addition to the two aforementioned hits. Rhys Hoskins hit his third double of the series and scored a run. It was a combined effort, which is good to see from this often-struggling offense.

WP: Jake Arrieta (9-6, 3.32 ERA)  ❖  LP: Drew Pomeranz (1-5, 6.56 ERA)  ❖  SV: Seranthony Dominguez (11)

Continue reading "Phillies end losing streak, split series with Red Sox" »


Evaluating the Phillies' moves at the trade deadline

By Theo DeRosa, Sports Talk Philly staff

The Phillies' biggest needs heading into Tuesday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline were generally perceived as being at shortstop, starting pitching, the bullpen and the bench. While those comprise a lot of the team, general manager Matt Klentak and company made steps to fill several of those needs by the deadline. The club acquired infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera from the New York Mets on Friday, picked up catcher Wilson Ramos from Tampa Bay and dealt for lefty reliever Aaron Loup from Toronto on Tuesday. Below, we graded each move the Phils made, as well as their overall grade for the deadline.

Friday, July 27: Phillies acquire INF Asdrúbal Cabrera from the Mets for RHP Franklyn Kilomé

Asdrúbal Cabrera can't play a stellar shortstop like he could early in his career. He's lost a step or two on defense, and at 32, he grades out at -17 defensive runs saved on the season. The Mets played the switch-hitter exclusively at second base this year, as it's likely his correct position on defense. But the Phillies, who played Cabrera at short in his first game with the team, have shown that they hardly seem to care about correct positioning — Scott Kingery at shortstop, Rhys Hoskins in left field. 

Where Cabrera's true value lies for the Phillies is the offensive upgrade he represents, as compared to hitters like Jesmuel Valentín, Trevor Plouffe and Mitch Walding — none of whom are now with the big club. Hitting .277 with a .329 on-base percentage and a .488 slugging percentage, Cabrera's 124 wRC+ — 100 is league average — puts him well above par in terms of middle infielders. 

Cabrera can spell César Hernández, Kingery and possibly Maikel Franco, letting manager Gabe Kapler deploy a solid infield rotation. The return of J.P. Crawford, who should slot in as the regular shortstop, to the lineup will put the Phils' infield back on track offensively.

The acquisition of Cabrera, who is a free agent after 2018, required the greatest cost for the Phillies. Franklyn Kilomé, who was starting for Double-A Reading, was shipped to New York in a one-for-one swap. Kilomé was starting to plateau in a system deep with pitching prospects, falling below guys like Adonis Medina on the Phils' top prospects list. He owns a 4.21 ERA this year between Reading and the Mets' Double-A affiliate, Binghamton. Kilomé, whose fastball sits in the upper 90s, may seem a steep price for two months of Cabrera, but the former's control issues seem to point toward his becoming a reliever.

The Phillies were willing to pay the price of Kilomé to acquire Cabrera, and it figures to help the team during the stretch run. The Phils got a nice piece for their infield rotation without giving up too much.

Grade: B

Tuesday, July 31: Phillies acquire C Wilson Ramos from Tampa Bay for cash considerations or a player to be named later

The best player the Phillies got at this year's trade deadline came for the smallest cost. But it makes sense that All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos wouldn't have a steep price tag attached. Ramos is currently on the disabled list with a hamstring issue and is slated to return in mid-August, although according to The Athletic's Matt Gelb, the Phillies aren't sure if he'll be active in August.

Now, he'll be returning to bolster a Phillies lineup that has underperformed, as a whole, this season.

Ramos, hitting .297/.346/.488 this season, has the seventh-best Wins Above Replacement mark this season for any catcher, per Fangraphs. His offensive value is eighth-highest among all catchers, and his defensive value is in the top 30 (Jorge Alfaro ranks first). 

Ramos figures to receive the bulk of the playing time at catcher once healthy. Alfaro should be his backup, and it's unclear if Andrew Knapp will remain on the major-league roster. Knapp has played first before, and Alfaro's cannon arm could fit at first, third or a corner outfield spot in a pinch.

There's no way of knowing who the player to be named later will be, if the Rays decide on that route instead of cash, so it's hard to grade the return for Ramos. But the player is not among the Phillies' top 30 prospects, as reported, so it seems to be a low-risk deal for the Phillies. The upside is high — the Phils acquired an All-Star upgrade at one of their weaker positions — and with such a low cost, the deal is nothing but good for the Phils.

Grade: A

Tuesday, July 31: Phillies acquire LHP Aaron Loup from Toronto for RHP Jacob Waguespack

The Phils got the lefty reliever that was needed and rumored in Toronto veteran left-hander Aaron Loup, acquired Tuesday for minor-league righty Jacob Waguespack

Loup, 30, has a 4.54 ERA that belies a fairly decent season. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching) mark is 3.61, showing that Loup has had a little bit of bad luck this year. Loup boasts a high strikeout rate, with 42 Ks in 35 2/3 innings this season. The lefty has been with Toronto since he first came up in 2012.

For the Phillies, the acquisition of Loup points to a lack of trust in inconsistent lefty Adam Morgan, who has a 4.76 ERA and a 4.92 FIP. Loup holds lefties to a .690 OPS, but that number balloons to .945 against right-handers. So Loup should mainly be deployed as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.

Waguespack, 24, has appeared in 14 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season after seven games in Reading. He started all seven games in Double-A but just eight of the 14 Triple-A contests. The righty has a combined ERA of 4.68 this season with 79 strikeouts in 82 2/3 innings. Waguespack was near the back end of Phillies top 30 prospect lists, not appearing on some. He profiles as a reliever.

All in all, the Phils landed Loup for a fairly cheap price, as Waguespack wasn't beating down the door to the majors. The lefty should fit into the bullpen well, either alongside or in place of Morgan. Loup is no Felipe Vázquez or Andrew Miller, but he can be a reliable left-hander for the bullpen.

Grade: B+

Overall assessment: The Phillies managed to patch three of the four biggest holes ailing the team. They didn't land a starting pitcher, but they improved the bench and bullpen, and upgraded at catcher for the stretch run. Considering this was done without parting with any major prospects, it's hard to see this trade deadline as anything but a solid job by Klentak, Andy MacPhail and co., and a win for the Phillies.

Overall grade: A


Phillies Acquire Blue Jays Southpaw Reliever Aaron Loup

The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired seven-year veteran Toronto Blue Jays southpaw reliever Aaron Loup in exchange for prospect RHP Jacob Waguespack, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. In a corresponding move, infielder Trevor Plouffe was designated for assignment to make room for Loup on the 40-man roster.

Loup, 30, is 12-20 with a 3.47 ERA, 297-98 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.271 WHIP spanning 318 2/3 innings 369 career appearances. The Raceland, Louisiana, native's acquisition fills the Phillies' need of a "high-strikeout" reliever to "mitigate their poor defense." Loup has punched out 42 of his 166 batters faced in 35 2/3 innings this season with the Blue Jays.

The Phillies were rumored to reunite Tuesday with Texas Rangers left-hander Jake Diekman, who they dealt three seasons ago in the Cole Hamels trade. It appears the club opted to pursue and acquire Loup, while Diekman was instead dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Waguespack, 24, went 3-5 with a 5.06 ERA, 48-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.388 WHIP in 14 games, eight starts and 53 1/3 innings this season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Plouffe, 32, played seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins from 2010-2016. He collected just three hits in 12 plate appearances with the Phillies in 2018, one of which was a walk-off, three-run, 16th-inning home run last Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Phillies Acquire All-Star Rays Catcher Wilson Ramos

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The first-place Philadelphia Phillies have made a move leading up to Tuesday's 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, acquiring catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. The Phillies will send a player to be named later or cash in return, MASN Sports' Mark Zuckerman reports.

In a corresponding move, left-handed reliever Zac Curtis has been designated for assignment to create room for Ramos on the 40-man roster, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki.

Ramos, 30, is slashing .297/.346/.488 with 14 doubles, 14 home runs, 53 RBI, 22 walks and 61 strikeouts spanning 78 games and 315 plate appearances this season.

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, who was the first to report the Phillies' interest, writes:

The Phillies have just a half game lead in the National League East (five days ago it was 2.5), and they’re in desperate need of help both offensively and defensively. One of the team’s biggest weaknesses is at catcher. Their primary catcher is 25-year-old rookie Jorge Alfaro, who has a cannon for an arm but has struggled significantly with defense. He has a .254 batting average, but his on-base percentage is just .305 and he has 104 strikeouts in 275 plate appearances. Andrew Knapp is their back-up catcher, and he has some of the same problems Alfaro does: youth, inexperience, defense, and hitting.

Ramos is in the final year of his two-year, $12.5 million pact; the Rays will send approximately $3 million to the Phillies to help offset his remaining deal, The Athletic's Matt Gelb reports.

Continue reading "Phillies Acquire All-Star Rays Catcher Wilson Ramos" »


Report: Phillies, Rays ‘Deep Into Talks’ About C Wilson Ramos

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies are "deep into talks" with the Tampa Bay Rays to acquire catcher Wilson Ramos, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.

Ramos, 30, earned his second career All-Star nod this season, slashing .297/.346/.488 with 14 home runs and 53 RBI spanning 78 games and 315 plate appearances with the Rays.

The right-handed-hitting, nine-year veteran would be an offensive upgrade at the catching position for the Phillies, given Jorge Alfaro and Andrew Knapp have combined for just 11 home runs and 38 RBI so far this season.

Ramos is set to enter free agency in the offseason, as he is on the final year of his two-year, $12.5 million pact. The Valencia, Venezuela, native is currently on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.


Report: Rivals Suggest Phillies Should Deal for Harper

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

With the trade deadline just over six hours away, the Washington Nationals trading away franchise player Bryce Harper seems unlikely.

If any team were to make the strongest case for the six-time All-Star, however, rivals are suggesting it should be the Philadelphia Phillies, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman. Harper, 25, was reportedly made available for trade late Sunday night, per MLB.com.

UPDATE, Chelsea Janes, Washington Post, 10:33 a.m.: Mike Rizzo just reached out with this message: "Bryce is not going anywhere. I believe in this team."

For the past few seasons, the Phillies have been included in conversation as among the favorites to acquire Harper, especially given their minimal salary commitments in future seasons. On July 15, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported the Phillies and Managing Partner John Middleton are "very aggressive," have "no reservations about spending money," and they "might try to sign" both Harper and Manny Machado as free agents this winter.

The Phillies were in on the Machado sweepstakes until he was dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 18. Perhaps they will be equally as aggressive to acquire Harper on Tuesday as well.

Continue reading "Report: Rivals Suggest Phillies Should Deal for Harper" »


Arrieta, Phillies Look to Snap 4-Game Skid Opposite Red Sox

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

The Philadelphia Phillies (58-48) and right-hander Jake Arrieta will look to salvage the series — and avoid being swept for the third time this season — opposite southpaw Drew Pomeranz and the Boston Red Sox (75-33) Tuesday evening at the historic Fenway Park. Second baseman Ian Kinsler will make his Red Sox debut, batting sixth.

UPDATE, 4 p.m.: Ahead of Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies acquired All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos and southpaw reliever Aaron Loup from the American League East's Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively. LHP Zac Curtis and INF Trevor Plouffe were designated for assignment. OF Dylan Cozens will replace Plouffe on the 25-man roster.

Aaron Nola and David Price squared off in a classic pitcher's duel in Monday's two-game series opener, but the Red Sox ultimately prevailed, 2-1, via catcher Blake Swihart's walk-off ground-rule double in the 13th inning. Both starting pitchers lasted eight innings, which was just the fourth such occurrence in Major League Baseball this season. Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Asdrubal Cabrera and Maikel Franco each collected multiple hits, as the Phillies outhit the Red Sox, 10-7, despite Franco's second-inning RBI single being the club's only produced run. 

Nola would have tossed eight scoreless frames, if it were not for Herrera's misplay on a fifth-inning line drive — which allowed third baseman Eduardo Nunez to triple-home center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from first. Herrera also made a costly baserunning blunder earlier in the game, and is out of Tuesday's series finale lineup in favor of Roman Quinn.

The Phillies have lost six straight games at Fenway Park, and are 8-20 at the venue all-time. Likewise, the Phillies have fallen in 40 of their 64 meetings with the Red Sox since June 1997.


Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (58-48) Boston Red Sox (75-33)
RHP Jake Arrieta LHP Drew Pomeranz
(8-6, 3.45 ERA) (1-4, 6.91 ERA)

Continue reading "Arrieta, Phillies Look to Snap 4-Game Skid Opposite Red Sox" »


A brief history of Phillies deadline trades

By Matt Albertson, Historical Columnist 
 
The non-waiver trade deadline is at 4pm today, July 31. In June, many pundits considered the Phillies to be aggressive at the deadline in an effort to bolster the left side of the infield, right field, and/or the bullpen but on the eve of the deadline, the only trade the club has made was adding Asdrubel Cabrera from the Mets in exchange for Double-A pitching prospect Franklyn Kilome. Will the Phillies make another deal by 4pm? Maybe. But what we do know, or assume, is that the team will look to bolster their bench or bullpen tomorrow, if anything. 
 
Over the past 32 years since 1986, the Phillies have made a few headline trades that I'll review here. In 1986, the non-waiver trade deadline moved from the June 15 to July 31. This brief overview will begin with trading an ace and end with trading for an ace.
 
First up, the disgruntled Curt Schilling. Schilling was basically a lost relief pitcher trying to find his way in the big leagues when the Phillies acquired him in April 1992 for Jason Grimsley. In 1993 he became a staff ace helping the club to the unlikeliest National League pennant in recent memory. In nine years with the Phillies, Schilling won 101 games, the most wins he had with any one club, and made three straight All-Star appearances in 1997, 1998, and 1999. Unfortunately the Phillies couldn't recapture the Macho Row magic from 1993 and by 1997 Schilling began to request a trade to a contender. The soap opera continued into the 2000 during Schilling's age 33 season. The ace told the club he'd waive his no trade clause to go to the Yankees, Mets, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Indians, or Braves. 
 
The situation was challenging for the Phillies, who under GM Ed Wade finally began to fill the farm system with players who they thought - and would - make a difference at the big league level; Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, and Chase Utley. A veteran presence could help these players develop into bonafide big leaguers but Schilling wanted out. The club also had to consider that their ace was in his middle 30s and already had two shoulder operations. How long would Schilling remain a viable ace? To top it off, Schilling was in his second-to-last year of a contract and if the Phillies didn't trade him in 2000, he could make extension negotiations incredibly painful for the club and/or refuse to waive his no trade clause and further limit where the club could deal him. Finally, on July 26, 2000 the Phillies dealt Schilling to the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitchers Omar Daal, Nelson Figueroa, Vicente Padilla and first baseman Travis Lee. Daal was the top piece in the return for Schilling but proved to be exceptionally mediocre while Padilla turned out to be the best acquisition of the trade, eventually earning an All-Star appearance in 2002.  Schilling of course went on two form one of the greatest pitching tandems in baseball history when he joined with Randy Johnson. The two carried the expansion Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Series title. 
 
Schilling was the Phillies best pitcher in the organization but Scott Rolen was the crown jewel. Rolen debuted in 1996 and dazzled fans and the media alike with his acrobatic plays at third base and his combination of power and base running savvy. He was a true five-tool player. In his first full season in 1997, he won the National League Rookie of the Year award in a class that included Livan Hernandez, Andruw Jones, and Vladimir Guerrero - all from NL East clubs. More importantly, Mike Liberthal and Rico Brogna made their full season debuts. In the ensuing seasons, Doug Glanville and Bobby Abreu were acquired via trades and inserted into an improving Phillies lineup.

But in 2000, injuries and and loses piled up and the club began to sell off players as they finished the season with 97 losses in a year that began with visions of a winning record for the first time since 1993. It sent a message to Rolen - right or wrong - that the Phillies weren't willing to spend patience or money to build a winner.

In 2001, Rolen rejected a 10-year, $140 million extension, questioning the club's commitment to winning and demanded a trade. It didn't help that his relationship with Wall of Fame player and then manager Larry Bowa was poor. Rolen was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Doug Nickle and cash in exchange for Placido Polanco, Bud Smith and Mike Timlin. Polanco played well for the Phillies in his first stint with the club over four seasons.

Without a doubt, the Phillies lost the Schilling and Rolen trades. None of the players the Phillies received in return made a difference at the big league level in terms of driving the club to the postseason. Schilling wound up winning two World Series titles with Arizona and Boston, including his infamous performance against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS on a sutured tendon. Rolen continued his acrobatic play in St. Louis and won a World Series with the team in 2006. Both players are, in my opinion, serious considerations for induction into the Hall of Fame. Forget what they said or were assumed to have said to the media or on social media, inside the lines, both players deserve a healthy look by BBWAA voters. 

Now that we've got the irritating and painful trades out of the way, it's time to focus on trades that brought the Phillie faithful serious jubilee. The Phillies were a favorite to repeat as National League champion following their run to the 2008 World Series championship. After Cole Hamels, the Phillies rotation in the summer of 2009 included Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer, Chan Ho Park and Brett Myers. New GM Ruben Amaro had his eyes set on the cream of the crop: Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay. But when talks with Toronto broke down because Philadelphia wouldn't include top prospect Domonic Brown, Amaro focused his efforts on Cliff Lee. Lee was 22-3 with a 2.54 in 2008, good enough for the AL Cy Young Award. 

The trade deadline was all Phillies fans could talk or think about in 2009 leading up to the final days of July. The Phillies struck a deal with Cleveland that sent Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald, Lou Marson and Jason Knapp to the Indians in exchange for Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco. Carrasco, Donald and Marson were highly touted prospects in the Phillies organization, who felt that Donald and Marson would develop and continue the success the club started a few years prior. Consistency is important if an organization wants to be considered among the upper echelon of major league clubs. But the Phillies were in a unique "win now" position. Trading for Lee proved to be an overwhelming success. The fanbase fell in love with the player and vice versa. Lee helped lead the club back to the World Series and although they lost to the Yankees in the fall classic, he provided arguably the most memorable moment of that series with his nonchalant catch in the sixth inning in Game One. 

Todd Zolecki and Jim Salisbury detailed the strange situation in the offseason that still has fans scratching their heads. In their book The Rotation, Zolecki and Salisbury explain that the club was in a precarious position. It was no secret that the Phillies wanted to bolster their rotation with Roy Halladay. But keeping Cliff Lee proved to be problematic. Lee and his agent Darek Braunecker wanted Philadelphia to extend Lee's contract. Under advice from adviser and former GM Pat Gillick, the club did not feel comfortable offering the ace a long-term extension. Their core players were either already in large contracts or would be up for sizable extensions soon. With that in mind, the Phillies braintrust offered Lee a three year deal at $18 million per year. The money was good but Lee and Braunecker wanted more years. The Phillies also had reservations about locking up a pitcher like Lee, who just a few years prior had been sent down to Triple A and had some injury concerns, to a long term contract that would cover not only prime years but also post-prime. 

The Phillies acquired Halladay in December 2009 in exchange for Travis d'Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, and Michael Taylor. Combined with the prospects from the Lee trade at the 2009 deadline, the Phillies farm system was depleted. While club president David Montgomery never told Amaro that he couldn't keep Lee and sign the pitcher to an extension, he made it known that doing so would risk the club's ability to resign core players to lucrative deals and remain competitive in the long term. Amaro felt the smart option was to trade Lee and that's what he did after Halladay was acquired. Lee was sent to Seattle for Phillippe Aumont, J.C. Ramierez, and Tyson Gillies.  The return proved to be a complete loss. But it did set up another quality acquisition on the road to arguably the greatest starting rotation in major league history. 

In 2010, the Phillies were again one of the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series. Halladay proved to be a terrific acquisition and the rotation was one of the best in baseball with Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer. But Moyer hit the DL in July with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament and strained flexor pronator tendon in his left elbow. 

Amaro and the Phillies were very interested in reacquiring Cliff Lee from Seattle, who's season began with pennant dreams but limped to the deadline as another failed campaign. Unfortunately, Seattle required top prospect Domonic Brown to be included in the trade whom Philadelphia considered untouchable. Instead, they turned their attention to Houston, where veteran ace Roy Oswalt requested a trade to either Texas or St. Louis in order to stay close to his home in Weir, Mississippi. As the deadline approached, Astros GM Ed Wade continued to field offers from other teams. Oswalt wanted a shot at World Series redemption and wanted to be traded to a contender, and Philadelphia fit the bill. The Phillies agreed to trade J.A. Happ to Houston to fill the hole left by Oswalt in their rotation and also offered Jonathan Villar and Anthony Gose. After agreeing to deal Gose to Toronto for Brett Wallace, the deal was in place. Philadelphia acquired another front line starter in Roy Oswalt to replace the injured Jamie Moyer on July 29, 2010. 

Although the acquisitions of Lee and Oswalt at the trade deadlines didn't end in World Series victory, it marked a turn in Phillies trade deadline history. It proved to fans that the team was willing to push their chips into the middle of the table to bring multiple championships to the championship starved city. It was the golden era of Phillies baseball. Although trading Lee to Seattle is still a head scratcher for Phillies fans, it was ultimately one of the necessary transactions to bring the greatest pitching rotation to the City of Brotherly Love. The club probably doesn't acquire Oswalt if they signed Lee to an extension in 2009 or if they traded for Lee instead of Oswalt at the 2010 deadline. 

 

Phillies Hot Stove: Club Checks on LHP Jake Diekman

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Trade deadline day has arrived, and the rumors will only continue to swirl until the clock strikes 4 p.m. With the Philadelphia Phillies involved in most discussions, given they are interested in "practically every reliever available," Fancred's Jon Heyman connected the club to another reliever early Tuesday morning — southpaw Jake Diekman.

The Phillies are among the teams to check on Diekman, who could be the "next Ranger to go," per Heyman. The Rangers already dealt right-hander Keone Kela to the Pittsburgh Pirates early Tuesday morning in exchange for southpaw prospect Taylor Hearn.

UPDATE, Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic, 10:38 a.m.: #Phillies expected to add a LH reliever today. #Rangers’ Jake Diekman among their many targets, sources tell me and @MattGelb.

Read: Stark: ‘Still a Chance’ Phillies Acquire Left-Handed Bench Hitter, Reliever

Diekman, 31, is 1-1 with a 3.69 ERA, 48-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 1.385 WHIP spanning 47 appearances and 39 innings this season. The Wymore, Nebraska, native will enter free agency in the offseason, as he is signed to a one-year, $2.71 million deal in 2018.

The Phillies dealt Diekman — who they drafted in the 30th round of the 2007 amateur draft — and 2008 World Series Most Valuable Player Cole Hamels to the Rangers in July 2015.


JVR, Patrick Can Be Successful Duo for Flyers

1-18-2018_FlyersvsLeafs_3rd_credKateFrese

(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When the Flyers signed James van Riemsdyk through free agency earlier this month, it addressed the need of adding a scoring winger. But even though JVR was regarded as one of the top free agents on the market this offseason, it doesn’t mean he should instantly vault to the top of the Flyers lineup.

The addition of van Riemsdyk certainly does give the Flyers something to think about when constructing a lineup. For sure, he fits into the top six as an upgrade. But JVR is no shoe-in for the top line. In fact, he probably shouldn’t even be much of a consideration at all.

A big reason for this is Claude Giroux. Coming off a career year with 102 points and 34 goals, Giroux elevated his game as the Flyers top left winger, playing alongside Sean Couturier. The chemistry between Giroux and Couturier -- as well as Travis Konecny -- should be reason enough to keep that top trio intact.

That would bump JVR to the second line, where he would likely play alongside Nolan Patrick and Jake Voracek. It is the possible duo in JVR and Patrick that carries a lot of intrigue.

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