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Happenings: Rollins on Waivers; Phillies Sign 3B Luis Encarnacion

Between a waiver deal that likely means nothing and an international signing that could mean quite a great deal, the Phillies have been busy post-your-bedtime tonight.

"Sleep? God no, why would I sleep?"
"Sleep? God no, why would I sleep?"

The Phillies have been busy this evening and early morning, putting one franchise cornerstone on revocable waivers and picking up what they hope to be another cornerstone on the international market.

First, Jimmy Rollins.  Rollins has been placed on and has passed through revocable waivers unclaimed.  As you will probably remember from Liz's post on Young's being put through waivers, there was never any risk that Rollins would be swept away from the team: even if claimed, the Phillies could have pulled him back, worked out a deal, or let him go.  Options abound.  Now, however, they have even more flexibility, as they can trade their longtime shortstop and soothsayer to any team.  That said, two things to keep in mind: first, Rollins has full 10 and 5 rights and can veto any trade.  This is his right as a long-tenured player, both in terms of the league (10+ years), and with the Phillies (5+ years), and thus far, Rollins has expressed an inclination to exercise those rights and block any trade that would take him from Philadelphia.

Before you get on Rollins for selfishly holding back the Phillies' rebuild -- I can only imagine what talk radio has done/will do with his earlier comments that he was staying around to rise on team leaderboards -- it's important to remember the second thing: the Phillies probably weren't going to trade him anyway.  Yes, Rollins seems to be in steep decline, and yes, the Phillies have Freddy Galvis in the wings ostensibly ready to take over, but it is not at all clear that they are confident or willing to give Galvis a full time job. And that's not unreasonable, as even in decline, Rollins has been worth ~1.3 WAR/162 games this year (1.0 fWAR so far), and that's not a skillset you trade away for peanuts.  Yes, he's getting paid a bit in upcoming years, but don't be surprised if a trade rumor doesn't even surface. Everyone's put on waivers this time of the year (remember Cliff Lee last year?) and it would be surprising if anyone offered the Phillies enough to justify parting with a team icon and a decent shortstop in Rollins. Sturm und drang, friends -- it's considered news, but in a similar way as Spam is considered food.

In much more potentially impactful news, the Phillies have made a late-night move to sign Dominican 3B prospect Luis Encarnacion to a one million dollar bonus (h/t Ben Badler via twitter).  The Phillies made this move late -- you may remember that the international free agent market opened over a month ago -- because Encarnacion just turned 16.  In fact, the Phillies and every other MLB team had to wait til midnight tonight to sign Encarnacion, so, given context, this happened very quickly.The Phillies have oft been connected to Encarnacion through the offseason, and it's likely they had a deal in place well before the deadline tonight.

As the linked Baseball America article suggests, while we're calling Encarnacion a "third baseman," that's likely nothing more than a pipe dream -- he's limited defensively and is likely destined for first base or left field.  Still, that's okay, as the offensive potential in Encarnacion is such that his bat could ostensibly project at either position.  Badler cites a "track record of hitting" and "plus raw power" as positives in his game, and it sounds as if the system just signed a heck of a fun prospect to follow.  Young power is a ton of fun when it eventually comes together: see Sano, Miguel.

Temper excitement a bit, however, as it'll be some time before any of us see Encarnacion -- it may in fact go without saying, but a 16 year old has a lot of growing up, physically and mentally, yet to do.  This is a long-term investment.  Encouragingly enough, though, this on the heels of the (possibly falling apart) Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez signing indicates a commitment to spending in Latin America, which the Phillies could certainly benefit from.  Neat news.