Galvis to Triple A; Amaro won't rush trade calls

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Galvis to Triple A; Amaro won't rush trade calls

LOS ANGELES – You might be wondering why the Phillies acquired a 38-year-old infielder who is hitting .053 (2 for 38) on Thursday.

Freddy Galvis is the reason the Phils picked up John McDonald from the Cleveland Indians in a trade for a player to be named later.

Galvis’ playing time has shrunk recently -- entering Thursday night’s game against the Dodgers he’d had just three at-bats in the previous nine games -- and the Phillies’ brass doesn’t want the 23-year-old infielder’s development to stagnate.

So, Galvis was sent to Triple A Lehigh Valley after Thursday night’s game. McDonald will join the club Friday.

Neither manager Charlie Manuel nor GM Ruben Amaro Jr. would confirm that Galvis would be the player sent out prior to Thursday's game, but the writing on the wall was pretty clear.

“I think Freddy has to have some at-bats,” Manuel said. “It’s hard to play every now and then. We have tremendous expectations for Freddy. If he’s going to play once a week -- that’s not enough. But we’ll see.”

Galvis has appeared in 54 games and is hitting .207 in 164 at-bats.

With Chase Utley having come off the disabled list last week, Manuel seems keen on riding his veteran infielders -- Utley at second, Jimmy Rollins at shortstop and Michael Young at third -- to see if the Phillies can make a surge in the standings. If the Phils don’t make a run, management could trade any one of the three aforementioned players and Galvis would be right back to take over the vacated spot.

The Phils entered play Thursday night at 38-41, seven games back in the NL East. The remaining 17 games before the All-Star break could determine whether the Phils hang on to their core players or look to trade talent that could also include Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon and Carlos Ruiz. The Phils are not looking to give anyone away, but would listen to any team that presents an attractive package. For Lee, it would have to be super-attractive.

The coming 10-game homestand includes seven games against first-place Atlanta and second-place Washington, so it could be a major difference-maker -- positive or negative -- for the Phils.

Amaro said Thursday that he expects to ride his team’s core “down to the wire.” The trade deadline is July 31.

“The reason I say that is because [the races] are still really dicey,” he said. “No one has really stepped out and gone crazy. The Dodgers are playing their butts off now all of a sudden. Now they’re six games back and they’re in it. We’re only seven back.

“We had one streak where we’ve really played well. And we’ve only had a brief period where we’ve had our whole team on the field. We’ll find out. I honestly think it’s going to end up going to July 20 or July 30 or somewhere around then and we’ll decide which direction we’re going to go.

“If we have to do things to improve the team, it doesn’t necessarily mean we are selling or giving up. It may mean we change some areas and improve others.”

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

Sources: Phillies close to signing reliever Joaquin Benoit

WASHINGTON – It looks as if the Phillies will have some action at the winter meetings.

The team is close to signing veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit, sources tell CSNPhilly.com. The winter meetings officially begin on Monday. The signing is expected to be announced before the meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, is a veteran of 15 seasons in the majors. He is coming off a strong 2016 season in which he pitched in 51 games for Seattle and Toronto and recorded a 2.81 ERA.

Benoit began the 2016 season with the Mariners and had a 5.18 ERA in 26 games. He was traded to Toronto in July and gave up just one run in 23 2/3 innings over 25 games, but did not pitch in the postseason after suffering a torn calf muscle in late September.

The right-hander has pitched for six teams in his career and has a lifetime 3.79 ERA in 712 games.

Entering the offseason, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said he wanted to improve the bullpen. He opened the offseason by trading for veteran right-hander Pat Neshek and last week claimed lefty David Rollins off waivers from Texas. Now, Klentak is poised to add Benoit.

Benoit has mostly pitched in a setup role in his career, but he does have closer experience. It is unclear what role he’d pitch in for the Phillies. The Phils have Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris returning to the back of their bullpen in 2017. Benoit could complement that pair or the Phillies could choose to trade Gomez or Neris.

Neris pitched in 79 games in 2016 and had a 2.58 ERA, so the Phillies would only deal him if they were to get a strong package of talent in return.

Phillies tender contracts to 3 players as Cody Asche becomes free agent

Phillies tender contracts to 3 players as Cody Asche becomes free agent

The Phillies tendered contracts to three arbitration-eligible players on Friday night and set another free.
 
Reliever Jeanmar Gomez and infielders Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis were tendered contracts for the 2017 season while outfielder Cody Asche was let go after four seasons with the club. 
 
The Phillies signaled their intention to let Asche go when they designated him for assignment, a move that removed him from the 40-man roster, on Friday afternoon. The club had the option of trading Asche — and likely had discussions with other clubs — but ultimately decided to non-tender him before the 8 p.m. deadline. The move made Asche a free agent.
 
The Phils had removed Asche from the 40-man roster to clear a spot for David Rollins, a left-handed reliever who was claimed off waivers from Texas on Friday (see story)
 
Galvis and Hernandez, the team’s regular shortstop and second baseman, respectively, were certain to receive contracts for 2017. Gomez was less certain. He saved 37 games for the Phils in 2016, but struggled badly late in the season.
 
Phillies officials will try to negotiate 2017 salaries with all three players. If an agreement cannot be reached with a player, an arbitration hearing will be held later in the winter to determine that player’s salary for the coming season.
 
Gomez made $1.4 million in 2016, Galvis $2 million and Hernandez $525,000. According to mlbtraderumors.com, Gomez projects to make $4.6 million in arbitration, Galvis $4.4 million and Hernandez $2.5 million. 

The Phillies' roster is full at 40.