Klen­tak adds 11 to 40man ros­ter

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent rpar­ent @21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Reluc­tan­tSE on Twit­ter

The Philadel­phia Phillies con­firmed Fri­day that they are pro­tect­ing 11 prospects by plac­ing them on their 40-man ma­jor league ros­ter, which now av­er­ages out to a cool 25 years of age.

Hav­ing cleaned out all club­house rem­nants of the World Se­ries era, and de­spite re-sign­ing vet­eran pitcher Jeremy Hel­lick­son this week, the Phillies have as­sured them­selves of be­ing one of base­ball’s youngest teams next year.

They con­firmed that Fri­day, pro­tect­ing 11 prospects by plac­ing them on their 40-man ma­jor league ros­ter, which now av­er­ages out to a cool 25 years of age.

The prospects in­clude fa­mil­iar names that could or should be on the verge of big league pro­mo­tion (out­fielder Nick Wil­liams, catcher An­drew Knapp, pitch­ers Mark Ap­pel and Ben Lively), along with play­ers like in­fielder Je­suel Valentin and Dy­lan Cozens who will get long spring train­ing looks. The other play­ers in­cluded right-handed pitch­ers Ri­cardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta, Al­berto Ti­rado and Drew An­der­son, and lefty El­niery Gar­ica.

“There’s no se­cret that in the last cou­ple of years this or­ga­ni­za­tion is start­ing to head in a new di­rec­tion and these ros­ter moves to­day re­ally demon­strate our con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to not only build­ing a win­ner in Philadel­phia, but build­ing it the right way,” gen­eral man­ager Matt Klen­tak said in a con­fer­ence call Fri­day. “The fact that our av­er­age age to­day is 25 is a re­flec­tion of that.”

Klen­tak had to make room on the 40-man to squeeze the 11 prospects in, so he des­ig­nated pitch­ers David Buchanan and Jimmy Cordero for as­sign­ment. Re­liever Elvis Araujo was al­ready gone, claimed off waivers by the Mar­lins.

While Buchanan, who has had a cou­ple of ex­tended looks with the Phillies, was com­ing off an en­cour­ag­ing sea­son at Class AAA Le­high Val­ley, it was the hard-throw­ing Cordero’s re­lease that was prob­a­bly the big­gest sur­prise. He was con­sid­ered a high-end prospect af­ter com­ing over in 2015 in the Ben Re­vere trade with Toronto.

“Aa year ago at this time, we were pretty high on Jimmy,” Klen­tak said. “His year was not as pro­duc­tive as we had hoped and as he had hoped. It be­comes a num­bers game. That may sound cliche, but truly that’s the re­al­ity of it. We like him a lot and we would love to keep him in the or­ga­ni­za­tion, if pos­si­ble.”

Cordero had some in­jury woes last sea­son, ap­pear­ing in only 22 games, half of them for Double A Read­ing. In 11 out­ings there he posted a 3.46 ERA. Buchanan, 8-17 with a 5.01 ERA in 35 Phillies games in 2014-15, was an IronPigs ro­ta­tion main­stay last sea­son, go­ing 10-9 with a 3.98 ERA in 27 games, all but one of them starts. He should garner in­ter­est else­where.

Klen­tak said he also an­tic­i­pates the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing a player or two in the Rule 5 draft in De­cem­ber.

“We know we can’t pro­tect ev­ery­body, but we pro­tected as many as we could,” Klen­tak said. “Eleven is a lot. We’re pre­pared for the pos­si­bil­ity that we might (lose play­ers) . ... On the one side it’s dis­ap­point­ing that we may lose play­ers. On the flip side, just or­ga­ni­za­tion­ally, I think that’s an en­cour­ag­ing sign. I think it shows that our sys­tem is con­tin­u­ing to pro­duce play­ers.”

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