Antonio Bastardo a Hot Commodity
There is probably no more attractive trade candidate right now in the Phillies cadre of available talent than relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo.
The lefty will pitch all of next season at 29 years of age. He is healthy, talented, experienced, affordable, and he has just entered the prime of his career.
Heading to arbitration, Bastardo is expected to earn between $2.5-3 million next season. He has 6 years of MLB experience, the last 4 of those as virtually full seasons.
In 2014, Bastardo pitched in 64 innings over 67 games. He yielded just 43 hits in those innings, with an 81/34 strikeout to walk ratio. In 259 career innings he has allowed just 189 hits while striking out 324 batters.
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The bottom line is that this is exactly what the majority of baseball contenders are dying for: an available, inexpensive, left-handed pitcher who can strike people out in the late innings.
Bastardo has been linked recently to the Boston Red Sox, and now the Pittsburgh Pirates and a couple of other teams are reported to have checked-in on his price. That price is probably just a single prospect. A good one, but not one of your top 2-3 guys.
The Red Sox talks apparently involved infielder Sean Coyle coming back to the Phils. Coyle has been plagued by injuries, but has looked like a good prospect when healthy.
In the AA Eastern League this past season, Coyle hit .295 with a .371 on-base percentage. He hit 16 homers, knocked in 61 runs, scored 60, and had 13 steals in 336 at-bats while playing 2nd and 3rd bases. The Phillies would see him as a potential heir apparent to Chase Utley.
Much as with Cole Hamels, this is a true asset, and there is no pressure on the Phillies to move him right away. Assuming health, if he continues on his career path Antonio Bastardo will only get more valuable as the 2015 season advances.