According to The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Scott Lauber, the Phillies are “pursuing a trade” for Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher Mike Minor. There’s no word on how far talks have progressed, or who the Phillies would possibly be giving up.
Minor, who turns 31 on December 26th, started his career in the National League East back in 2010 with the Atlanta Braves. In four years, Minor started 110 games and had a 4.10 ERA. After not appearing in the majors in both 2015 and 2016, Minor made a reemergence with the Kansas City Royals in 2017, where he pitched to a 2.55 ERA in 65 games, all relief appearances. He had six saves that year, in addition to a 2.62 FIP and a 10.2 SO/9, as well as a SO/BB of 4.00, the highest of his career.
That performance earned him a three-year, $28 million contract with the Texas Rangers, where he was reverted back to a starter. While it would appear Minor had a slight regression in 2018, pitching to a 4.12 ERA with 132 strikeouts in 157.0 innings (28 games started), he actually registered a bWAR of 3.7, which was 0.8 higher than his bWAR in 2017. He also managed to win 12 games.
Minor still has around $19 million and two years left on his contract. As MLB Trade Rumors‘ Jeff Todd explains, Minor has a no-trade clause that can block a trade to 10 teams. It’s not clear if the Phillies are on that list, and if they are, whether Minor would waive it. The Rangers are coming off a year in which they went 67-95, so if they’re not heading towards a full rebuild, they’re certainly in need of retooling – something that might not be of interest to Minor.
It’s not clear what role Minor would take should Philadelphia acquire him. He has shown he can be a valuable asset in the rotation and the bullpen, both areas of need for the Phillies. There is certainly the option to get creative when utilizing Minor.
This pursuit comes days after the Phillies missed out on free-agent pitcher J.A. Happ because they refused to add a third year to any potential contract. Happ went on to sign with Yankees. The same situation occurred in early December when Philadelphia declined to give top free-agent starter Patrick Corbin a sixth year to a contract.
Pitcher Charlie Morton signed with the Tampa Bays Rays, leaving left-hander Dallas Keuchel as the most accomplished pitcher on the market. The Phillies had shown interest in Keuchel, according to a report by USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale. Of course, the price might not be ideal. A recent report by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman regarding the Washington Nationals and Keuchel suggested that the starting pitcher is looking for a deal about five or six years in length.
In addition, the Phillies have also been in discussion with relievers Andrew Miller and Zach Britton. As Yahoo Sport‘s Jeff Passan confirmed, the Phillies are still in pursuit of Miller while they discuss a trade for Minor. It could be speculated that Minor would be given a starter role if Miller was to be signed, but having the back end of the pen containing Minor, Miller and Seranthony Dominguez would certainly have some attraction.