LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Phillies have long liked Carlos Tocci, an outfielder they signed from Venezuela for $750,000 before investing six seasons in his development. But they had left him unprotected from the Rule 5 draft in the previous two offseasons and did it again this offseason knowing that someone could finally pluck him from their organization.
The Texas Rangers did just that Thursday morning.
Tocci, 22, will have a chance to make the Rangers in spring training. He must spend the entire season on Texas’ 25-man roster or be offered back to the Phillies. A scout from an American League team said Tocci had a chance to stick as a fifth outfielder in the majors because of his deft centerfield defense. But there have always been concerns about his strength and ability to hit big-league pitching.
“Sometimes you lose them. Selfishly, we hope we get him back,” Phillies assistant general manager Bryan Minniti said. “It’s always a good experience for players, especially those who have never been in big-league camp, to get that opportunity to be around a big-league team. It’s a calculated risk every time. Last year, we protected 11 guys. You can’t protect 11 guys every year.”
The Chicago White Sox drafted Tocci with the fourth pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft and then traded him to Texas. He had a .727 OPS in 130 games last season at both double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley.
The Phillies had the third pick in the draft, selected righthander Nick Burdi from Minnesota, and then flipped him to Pittsburgh for additional international bonus money. The pick cost the Phillies $100,000. They acquired, according to a source, $500,000 in slot money from the Pirates.
That money is applied to the current signing period, which expires June 15, 2018. The Phillies have added money at various points in the last few months. They used some of it to sign a Venezuelan catcher named Abrahan Gutierrez, who was declared a free agent last month as a part of Major League Baseball’s punishment of the Atlanta Braves. Gutierrez signed for $550,000, but only $350,000 counted against the Phillies’ pool.
With the money added Thursday, the Phillies have approximately $1.05 million to spend. They could target another one of the unsigned Braves players, spread it on a bunch of smaller international signings, or even use it in another trade.
“Our international department, with Sal [Agostinelli] and his guys, they’re a weapon for us,” Minniti said. “So for us to have the ability to give them more money to spend — the rate of return is not always that high when you’re signing players — but we give ourselves a chance.”
The Phillies are expected to soon name a first-base coach, the final hire for new manager Gabe Kapler’s staff. The hire will come from outside the organization.
Published at Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:26:36 +0000