The Phillies have had a busy Monday morning so far.
Phillies have signed a top Panamanian SS prospect, 16 year old Jonathan Arauz, for $600g.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) August 4, 2014
Per Matt Winkelman's Phillies Minor Thoughts blog, that makes three Latin shortstops signed by the Phils for more than $600,000 each, including Arquimedes Gamboa and Daniel Brito, who signed for a combined $1.5 million.
Baseball America's Ben Badler recently reported some scouts considered Arauz to be the best young player in Panama (subscription required to read the link). As MLBTraderumors.com relays from Badler, Arauz is a switch-hitter who is "better from the left side with gap power." They also say he has a "strong arm and smooth hands," good enough to stick at shortstop.
Now, for those of you wondering why the Phils would take so many international shortstops when they already have JP Crawford as their shortstop of the future, remember that we're talking about 16 and 17-year-old kids here. These are lottery tickets, most of which won't pay off.
However, the Phillies are doing a tremendous job using all of their international pool money to try and grab as many lottery tickets they can find.
The Phillies have confirmed signings totaling $2,450,000 of $3,221,800 bonus pool, that is probably it on big money signings— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) August 4, 2014
And hey, if they happen to land two or three legitimate shortstop prospects out of the deal, they can spin them for pitching or help at other positions in future deals.
In other words, you don't draft for need when you're grabbing teenagers.
In other news, the Phillies have placed their first batch of players on waivers.
Source: #Phillies put their first set of players on revocable trade waivers Saturday - Burnett, Bastardo, Howard, Kendrick, R. Hernandez.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 4, 2014
The list is not a terribly interesting one. In fact, the only name that would surprise anyone to see on waivers this month is Chase Utley. There's no harm in placing everyone on waivers, as the team can easily pull them back if they are claimed.
Of those listed above, Bastardo is the most likely to get claimed, with Roberto "Bob" Hernandez and A.J. Burnett both possibilities as well. Kyle Kendrick and and Ryan Howard are least likely.
Hernandez' ERA is a surprising 3.89, which is 31st out of 47 qualified National League starters. However, his FIP is 4.62, which is 44th out of 47 starters, and his strikeout-to-walk rate is worst in the NL, at 3.8%, striking out 14.2% of batters and walking 10.4%. So for any team claiming Bob Hernandez, good luck with that.
Kendrick's numbers aren't much better, with the 4th-worst ERA among qualified NL starters at 4.92. His 4.50 FIP is 41st and his K-BB rate of 8.0% is 44th.
I'm not sure how much either pitcher helps out a contender, unless it's in the bullpen.
Burnett and Bastardo are both interesting cases. Burnett will probably clear waivers, as his no-trade clause and vesting option for 2015 could make him a risky add for a contender. However, if he is claimed, Ruben Amaro might decide to try and swing a deal with the claiming team, provided it is not on his no-trade list. Of course, the Phils weren't able to swing a deal for Burnett before July 31, so the chances of a deal in August are a question mark.
As for Bastardo, he has been up and down, with two decent outings following two outings in which he gave up five runs in 1.1 innings. All told, his ERA is 4.05, with a FIP of 3.63 and a K/9 of 10.61. He's owed a prorated portion of his $2 million salary this year and is team-controlled next year in his final year of arbitration.
As for Howard, if a team claims him, he's theirs.