Phillies Notes: Free Agency Possibilities and More
By Ethan Witte
Philadelphia Phillies tidbits: a few items of interest from around MLB, and what they might mean to the Phillies and their fans.
Lincecum will hold a workout in January
It was reported Tuesday that former Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum would be holding a workout in January to showcase his talents for interested teams. Coming off hip surgery, Lincecum will hope to prove that he is still worthy of a major league contract (i.e. guaranteed money) as opposed to a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Why should this interest the Phillies?
The possibility of a contending team giving Lincecum a guaranteed contract would seem to be remote. Such a team would need that roster spot for a fully healthy pitcher capable of providing quality innings. The chances of his getting more than a one year deal would appear even slimmer.
The Phillies, as a team without much chance of contention, are more able to provide a setting where Lincecum would get that guaranteed spot, as well as the chance to earn more money with incentives built into the contract.
It is well known that the Phils are looking for arms. If Lincecum shows that he is healthy and effective, the team could have a nice little investment on their hands to either flip for more young talent, or bridge the gap until the next period of contention.
If he were to show ultimately that he is neither healthy nor able to retire major league hitters any longer, the team is fully capable of swallowing money and releasing him, knowing it won’t be hurting their chances at contention. While the chances of mutual interest being present between Lincecum and the team may be slim, look for the Phillies to have a presence at his workout nonetheless.
Japanese pitcher Maeda asks to be posted
If you followed the Phillies during the latter stages of Ruben Amaro‘s tenure, you undoubtedly have already heard about the former GM’s interest in Japanese right hander Kenta Maeda. Amaro held the pitcher in high regard, even heading to Japan himself on a personal scouting trip, and was likely poised to be among the bidders once Maeda was finally posted.
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Now that Amaro is gone, it will be interesting to see if the team is still interested in parting with the posting fee needed to negotiate for Maeda’s rights. The young pitcher has asked his Japanese club to post those rights. What would the Phillies get? Probably the best pitcher since Yu Darvish to come to America from the NPB.
As his stats suggest, Maeda not only has a low career ERA (2.39) for those into that stat, but he also has great peripherals as well – 1.9 BB/9%, 7.4 K/9%, and a 0.6 HR/9% during his career.
The posting fee would only require the team to give up $20 million, if chosen. The Phils could be in for a huge bargain were they to be granted the rights to negotiate with him (remember, posting and signing rules changed not long ago). Hopefully, the new management in charge of these decisions finds that little folder Amaro left lying around, and is ready to cut that check in order to negotiate.
Chicago White Sox sign Aumont
This week the Chicago White Sox signed righthander Phillippe Aumont, the former Phillies prospect, for the 2016 season. Many fans will cringe at the thought of Aumont’s tenure in Philadelphia, but it is worth noting that he was the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee trade to Seattle.
Hindsight being 20/20, he probably should not have been that highly considered, but the former first round pick had shown flashes of an upper-90’s fastball to go along with an (when on) exceptional breaking ball.
While in the minor leagues, Aumont was a very good pitcher, posting a career 9.9 K/9 number that would be valued by any team. However, he posted a career 5.8 BB/9 rate as a minor leaguer, which, coupled with his poor performances with the Phillies, ultimately made him expendable from the 40-man roster.
Signing with the South Siders is probably a very good move for Aumont, as it will enable him to work with pitching coach Don Cooper. Cooper is extremely well-regarded around the game, and does have an impressive track record of resurrecting lost careers. If he needed a new challenge come this spring, then general manager Rick Hahn has surely provided him someone who will help him reach that goal.