The Los Angeles Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz from the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday, they announced, as first reported by Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In exchange for Ruiz, the Phillies received catcher A.J. Ellis, right-handed pitching prospect Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named later.
The Dodgers wanted an upgrade against left-handed pitching, and Ruiz certainly fits the bill. This season, Ruiz has an .830 OPS in 57 plate appearances against southpaws, with his career mark being 92 points higher than against righties.
Overall, the 37-year-old Ruiz is hitting .261/.368/.352 this season with three home runs and 12 runs batted in over 193 plate appearances. He split time at catcher this season with Cameron Rupp.
According to FanGraphs, Ruiz has been a good defensive catcher, making him pretty valuable overall. He has been worth 1.3 wins above replacement this season, per their calculations.
Ruiz will become a free agent this offseason as he finishes out a three-year, $26 million deal. It is not known whether he plans to continue his Major League career in 2017 and beyond.
For the Phillies, they will be receiving Ellis, who will be a good clubhouse presence for the team going forward. It's interesting that Los Angeles decided to trade him, as he was Clayton Kershaw's "personal" catcher. It is possible that Ruiz will fill this role going forward.
Like Ruiz, Ellis is also a free agent this offseason but has not been nearly as productive.
The 35-year-old is hitting just .194/.285/.252 this season with one home run and 13 runs batted in over 161 plate appearances. He's provided decent defense but has been worth -0.3 wins above replacement overall.
The Phillies also received the right-hander Bergjans, who was the Dodgers' 8th round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft out of Haverford College near Philadelphia.
This season, he is 3-13 with a 4.98 ERA and a 133-29 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 130 innings at Class-A Advanced. Bergjans was not listed among the Dodgers' Top-30 prospects, via MLB.com.
The Houston Astros have acquired right-hander Ken Giles from the Philadelphia Phillies, Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston reported Wednesday evening.
In return, the Phillies acquired four prospects, according to multiple media reports. Right-hander Vincent Velasquez, left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, outfielder Derek Fisher, and one yet to be reported player head to Philadelphia for Giles.
The Astros have wanted to get a hard-throwing relief pitcher for quite some time now, considering the back-end of their bullpen was fairly weak in 2015. Names that had been mentioned as targets for Houston included Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, and others.
Giles appears to be their man, though. He throws 100+ MPH and has had two stellar seasons in Philadelphia. After coming up midway through the 2014 season, Giles was promoted to Jonathan Papelbon's setup man, a position he held until Papelbon was traded to the Nationals this past July.
From July 24 on, Giles had 17 save situations and saved 15 of them. He was groomed to be a closer and succeeded well in his brief time there. In Houston, he will trump Luke Gregerson in the full-time closing spot.
Overall, Giles went 6-3 with a 1.80 ERA (2.13 FIP) in 69 appearances. Over his 70 innings pitched, he struck out 87 guys and walked just 25. Giles' command with both his fastball and slider has allowed him to be effective in a back-end relief role with Philadelphia.
Giles also comes with plenty of team control. Being so good, so young, Giles is still signed through the 2020 season through the pre-arbitration and arbitration processes. This increased his value for Houston, as Giles will not only be the closer now, but he will be for a long time.
Houston had to give up a lot of talent in order to acquire Giles. Velasquez was rated as the 86th-best prospect in baseball (via MLB Pipeline) prior to the 2015 season and Fisher was their 1st round pick in 2014. In order to get Giles, they truly had to pay the price.
The Philadelphia Phillies have acquired right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Robert Murray of Baseball Essential first reported Saturday.
In return for Hellickson, the Diamondbacks received Rookie-level right-hander Sam McWilliams, as John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 reported.
The Phillies are taking a calculated risk by acquiring Hellickson.
A former Rookie of the Year, Hellickson at the least will be able to fill innings in Philadelphia, where their rotation is void of back-end starting pitching.
However, Hellickson serves a double-purpose. If he can re-find some of his old magic, Philadelphia may be able to trade him at either the 2016 or 2017 trade deadline and get more prospects in return than they gave up to get him.
For Arizona, Hellickson was likely to get a raise in arbitration this offseason and the team was thought not to want to tender him a contract. It appears that they attempted to get whatever they could for him, as by dealing him they are at least able to get some prospect return, as opposed to non-tendering, or releasing, him.
The 28-year-old Hellickson had an average season in 2015.
He went 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA (4.44 FIP; 4.16 xFIP) in 27 starts and 146 innings this season, missing some time due to hamstring issues. He posted a 2.81 strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 121 and walking 43, the best mark of his career (min. 50 IP).
Hellickson's best season was his rookie year when he was with the Rays. He went 13-10 with a 2.95 ERA in 29 starts, en route to the Rookie of the Year award.
The Diamondbacks received a low-level prospect in return.
McWilliams, 20, has not advanced past Rookie-level ball since being drafted in 2014. He was rated as the Phillies No. 27 prospect in their Top 30, according to MLB Pipeline.
trThe Philadelphia Phillies will name Angels assistant GM Matt Klentak to their vacant general manager position, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports.
Klentak was mentioned as one of three finalists for the position yesterday by Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. Chaim Bloom of the Rays and Dan Kantrovitz of the A's were the other two.
The 35-year-old Klentak represents quite a change for the Phillies in the GM position. He will be replacing recently-fired Ruben Amaro Jr. at the helm, who is known as a non-believer in analytics.
Klentak, however, is a graduate of Dartmouth College, getting a degree in economics, and is known as an analytically-friendly front office member. He should help to bring the team out of their current state of not using the statistics over scouting.
The Phillies are operating under completely new leadership in the front office, with well-respected baseball executive Andy MacPhail taking over the President of Baseball Operations position at the end of the season.
Klentak and MacPhail have already had their share of history together.
Klentak and MacPhail both worked on the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement together with MLB's Labor Relations. Then, in 2008, MacPhail hired Klentak to be the Baltimore Orioles director of baseball operations.
After the 2011 season, Klentak was hired by the Angels to become their assistant general manager, a position he has held since. He interviewed for the Angels' vacant GM position a few weeks ago, but was passed up by ownership.
Klentak will have plenty of work to do, as the Phillies finished 63-99, their first time finishing with 90+ losses since 2000.
The Philadelphia Phillies named interim manager Pete Mackanin manager for the 2016 season, they announced in a press release on Tuesday. The extension includes a team option for 2017.
Mackanin, 64, became the Phillies' manager after Ryne Sandberg abruptly resigned following a 26-48 (.351) start.
Players, for the most part, seem to like Mackanin's intensity and have gone 31-46 (.403) in his presence. Mackanain seemed to have resonated with the players and while he was not given a lot of talent to work with to say the least, one could argue that he made the most of it.
"The Phillies are pleased that Pete has accepted the position of manager for the 2016 season," said Andy MacPhail, the team's incoming president, in a statement. "We believe that Pete is the best fit for the role. Since assuming the interim manager position in June, Pete has developed an excellent rapport with our players and has also connected well with the media and our fans. Equally as important is his eagerness to take on the challenge of rebuilding the team and further developing our players. We look forward to his contributions."
Mackanain has an 84-99 career record as a manager. He has never been the permanent manager, serving as the interim skipper for three teams, the 2005 Pirates, the 2007 Reds, and now the 2015 Phillies. His chance to prove himself as a full-time manager will come next season.