At a 2:30 P.M. ET press conference Monday at Citizens Bank Park, the Philadelphia Phillies announced the hiring of Andy MacPhail to become the team's president of baseball operations in 2016.
MacPhail will serve as an assistant to current president Pat Gillick for the rest of the season before taking over the role. He plans to evaluate the front office and make any necessary changes, including the future of GM Ruben Amaro Jr.
The hiring of MacPhail appears on paper to be a step in the right direction for a Phillies team that has plummeted to the worst in the Major Leagues. MacPhail has experience leading three clubs, including two World Series championships with the Twins and two more postseason births with the Cubs.
Spending time in the Orioles organization through 2011, MacPhail is credited with making a plethora of moves to bring the team to where it is today, including acquiring Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, and J.J. Hardy.
Since last being involved in baseball with Baltimore, MacPhail has been a world traveler and has not paid close attention to the game. He admitted that he will need to get caught back up with the current ways of running a team, including sabermetrics.
To the delight of many Phillies fans, MacPhail mentioned that he wanted to get more involved using sabermetrics as he takes over the helm. Philadelphia has often been called "old school" and has not been able to embrace the same statistics that many of their counterparts have used successfully.
Here is what Phillies principal owner John Middleton said about MacPhail at the press conference today.
Andy brings an uncommon blend of old school experience and new age thinking. … In 1986, Andy was the youngest GM in the history of Major League Baseball when he served in that role for the Twins. The following year, he became the youngest GM to win a World Series title. When the Orioles hired him eight years ago, Andy became the first president of baseball operations in Major League Baseball. During his tenure in Baltimore, he greatly expanded the use of statistical analysis in player evaluations. That’s the new age thinking.”
MacPhail will have his hands full with the worst team in baseball, as he will likely decide the fates of Amaro Jr. and the next manager in Philadelphia this offseason.
The Miami Marlins have received inquiries on Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Tom Koehler, and Brad Hand in a possible trade, according to FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.
The Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Angels, and Orioles are teams that have been connected to pitching in the past weeks.
Latos and Haren are two of the more notable names on the list and are both free agents at the end of the season. Latos has pitched to a 2-5 record with a 5.49 ERA (3.61 FIP) in 62 1/3 innings this season, striking out 56 as compared to 22 walks.
Haren is 6-5 with a 3.38 ERA (4.25 FIP) in 93 1/3 innings this season, striking out 70 and walking just 18. Both Haren and Latos could be acquired at relatively cheap prices and could make a difference for any team that needs pitching down the stretch.
As for Tom Koehler and Brad Hand, they come with more years of team control, with Koehler being a free agent following the 2018 season and Hand being a free agent following the 2019 season. Koehler (3.66 ERA; 4.55 FIP) and Hand (5.95 ERA; 2.56 FIP) have both started and relieved, but Koehler is utilized more as a starter, while Hand is used more as a reliever.
A team that would make sense for Hand in particular is the Texas Rangers. The Rangers only have two left-handers out of their bullpen, in Sam Freeman and Ross Detwiler, both of whom are underperforming this season. Hand, especially due to his low FIP, could be a nice buy-low option for the team if they want to buy.
With Jose Fernandez coming back from the disabled list this week, the Marlins have some starting pitching that becomes expendable. The team could become a seller at the deadline due to Giancarlo Stanton's broken hand, making the Marlins a team to watch in the next few weeks on the rumor mill.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton has bit the injury bug and has a fracture in his left hand, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported on Saturday.
Stanton has a fracture in the hamate bone and will have surgery, reports Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. ESPN's Tim Kurkjian reported that Stanton will be out 4-6 weeks with the injury, which occurred while swinging a bat in the ninth inning yesterday.
The Marlins announced on Twitter that Stanton will go on the 15-day disabled list. The team will bring up outfielder Cole Gillespie from Triple-A New Orleans, they also announced.
Stanton's injury will be tough on both Marlins fans and baseball fans alike. He has been one of the best players in baseball this season, slashing .265/.346/.606 with baseball-leading marks of 27 homers and 67 runs batted in over 318 plate appearances.
Rosenthal noted that Stanton's injury could push the Marlins to sell at the Trade Deadline. They do have some interesting and movable pieces come July 31.
The Kansas City Royals have made trade inquires on a trio of players, including Oakland Athletics' infielder Ben Zobrist and Cincinnati Reds' pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
Due to the All-Star Game in Cincinnati, the Reds have been reluctant to make a move on dealing some of their top trade targets and likely will not move Cueto, Leake, and others until after the festivities in early July.
The Royals have obvious needs in the rotation, with Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, and Danny Duffy all on the 15-day disabled list, and with Jeremy Guthrie pitching to a 5.55 ERA. The Royals are resorted to using Joe Blanton on the mound as a starter. Leake, or even Cueto, would make the Royals that much better.
Zobrist, on the other hand, seems available to any team that is willing to pay the price. Many teams have shown interest in the utility man, as he can play all around the diamond, fitting needs for many different organizations. For Kansas City, he would be an upgrade at second base, where Omar Infante is currently situated and hitting a dismal .230/.237/.311.
On the season, Zobrist is hitting .243/.325/.434/.758 in 154 plate appearances. Cueto is pitching to a 4-4 record with a 2.98 ERA in 90.2 innings, but is dealing with an elbow injury and has health issues overall. And Leake is pitching to a 4-4 record with a 4.01 ERA in 89.2 innings this season.
The Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies are discussing a trade about left-hander Cole Hamels, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. However, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com cites a team source on the Hamels talks who said that a trade for the lefty is "not on the board" at this time.
Hamels cannot block a trade to the Rangers.
The Phillies are obviously obligated to moving Hamels, as they should be, following a league-worst 25-47 record through their first 72 games. Hamels has already been a hot topic of trade talks and with the July 31 trade deadline approaching, the talk is expected to continue to rise.
The Rangers have received good results from their starting pitching staff, but they view Hamels as an "elite upgrade," per Morosi. Even with the good results, other factors such as FIP and xFIP show that Texas' staff is not as good as advertised. In fact, their staff has the second-worst xFIP in the big leagues.
Hamels has been fantastic this season, going 5-5 with a 2.96 ERA (3.55 FIP) in 94.1 innings pitched. He missed his last start due to a mild hamstring injury, but after a bullpen this weekend, he will be ready to go in his next start tomorrow against the Yankees.