Official announcement today of Phillies’ MiLB contracts with MLB Spring Training invitations. Some of these have leaked out in previous days, but today we got the official word on all eight–including some surprises:
SS Andres Blanco:
I feel like those dudes from Animal House when they walk into that bar and see Otis Day and the Nights: “He loves us!” OK, I don’t know whether he does or not, but I know he’s heard the cheers: “LET’S–GO–BLAN–CO!” (clapclap–clapclapclap) Good to have him back. Always good to have a solid shortstop on the roster.
OF Brian Bogusevic:
He spent last season playing 82 games with Miami’s AAA team, and had 47 games with the Cubs in 2013. .263/.352/.420 with seven HRs in the PCL last year.
1B/DH Russ Canzler:
We had a feeling Russ would be back. He really added a spark when he came over from Moosic–and by all accounts enjoyed his time with the ‘Pigs and enjoyed staying close to home in Pennsylvania!
SS/3B Chase d’Arnaud:
I’ve seen him play with both Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. He hit .250/.313/.356 with two home runs last season in the International League, having played 118 games. A quick and dirty extrapolation has him as our 3B, with Franco and Asche both in Philly and Howard in Seattle. ;-)
RF Jeff Francoeur:
“Frenchy” comes aboard having played 115 games with the Padres’ AAA team last season. He hit .289/.320/.450 with 15 HR. The former Brave has kicked around the past few years with the Mets, Royals, Rangers, Giants and Padres.
C John Hester:
The Angels–>IronPigs pipeline remains open as the veteran catcher comes over having played 71 games for the Angel’s AAA team last season. He has MLB experience with both the Angels and Diamondbacks. He comes eastward having hit .261/.338/.411 with six home runs last season in the PCL.
OF Darin Mastroianni:
He made it to the Show with both Toronto and Minnesota last season, but hit .277/.354/.379 in the International League last season with Buffalo and Rochester. He had 20 stolen bases.
OF Xavier Paul
We’ve met him before, too, with Norfolk, Syracuse and Louisville. He has MLB experience with Arizona, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and the Dodgers. He split last season between the IL and the PCL hitting .251/.311/.425 with 12 home runs from the left side over 82 AAA games.
A Couple Thoughts:
I’m kidding around with the Asche/Franco stuff above, but it’s probably true: Both will probably start in Philly. Franco has been playing really well in the Dominican this winter and certainly didn’t embarrass himself last season in his first action with the big team. It really sounds like they’re gonna move Howard and eat his contract as long as they can get something/anything in return. I believe Duran re-signed as well, but he is probably headed back to Reading to start, backing up phenom JP Crawford there.
I am a little surprised with the number of OF signed, given prospects Cam Perkins, Aaron Altherr, and Kelly Dugan on the way. Altherr has been ripping it up in Venezuela this fall, but I suppose Dugan could start back in Reading given the time he missed due to injury last season. And, there’s always injuries, opt-outs and PCL-nonperformance cuts. So, yeah, depth is necessary.
I still don’t have a definitive answer on Leandro Castro. Most places I look still have him as a Free Agent–and I do remember hearing that his MiLB deal last season was for one year. One source told me that he has re-signed with the Phillies organization, but you’d think they’d give him the MLB camp invite if that were the case.
Stay tuned, looking for some pitching…