Wilton No-pez? Right Hander’s Move to Philadelphia Delayed

Posted: November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

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We reported yesterday that the Phillies had orchestrated a trade that would send Houston Astros RP Wilton Lopez to Philadelphia in exchange for minor leaguers. The deal appeared close to conclusion, with Lopez in town for a physical. However, it now appears as though the trade will not happen at all. Multiple sources are suggesting that the problem may have come during Lopez’s physical examination.

The 29 year old right hander spent time on the DL this past season with a sprained elbow. In fact, a scout from an unnamed third team was quoted as saying, “Philadelphia had better get a physical.” Lopez also missed time in 2011 with ulnar neuritis in his elbow. If the injuries are deemed too risky for the Phillies to acquire, the trade will be cancelled and Lopez will remain an Astro.

Even more interesting than the possibility of no trade, are the consequences of a deal getting done. Lopez would fill the need of a talented right hander who throws strikes in front of Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen. However, reports have emerged suggesting that SP Tyler Cloyd and C Sebastian Valle were involved in the deal. This seems like an awful lot to give up for an oft-injured right handed reliever.

Valle, 22, hit .261 with 13 HR and 45 RBI in 83 games with Reading in 2012. He was ranked the Phillies’ seventh best prospect by MLB.com going into 2012. However, the acquisition of Tommy Joseph from San Francisco in the Hunter Pence trade renders Valle’s potential growth in the Philadelphia system moot. Joseph is the better prospect, so do not be surprised to see Valle’s name thrown around a lot this season.

Cloyd, 25, exploded onto the scene in 2012 after not even being listed on the Phillies’ top 20 prospects last spring. The 18th round pick in 2008, Cloyd enjoyed a breakout campaign in AAA Lehigh Valley, going 12-1 with a 2.35 ERA. His K:BB ratio, however, suggests that he is more of a 4 or 5 starter than an ace in waiting. After being recalled to the majors in the second half of the season, the Nebraska native went 2-2 with a 4.91 ERA with 30 K to only 7 BB. He had a great season, but Cloyd reminds most scouts more of Tyler Green or Kyle Kendrick than Cole Hamels or Gavid Floyd. 

If the Phillies cannot work out a deal with the Astros, they’ll have to head back to the drawing board. Having already lost out on BJ Upton this offseason, Ruben Amaro will certainly be burning the midnight oil at next week’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

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