Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s okay, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
* * *
The Phillies are going to get better next season, and they're going to do it by collecting all of the pitchers MLB has to offer. On Saturday, the club acquired right-hander Charlie Morton from the Pirates and five pitching prospects from the Astros, including No. 1 draft pick Mark Appel. The biggest pieces of the Phillies' trades were Morton and 23-year-old right-hander Vincent Velasquez, who could round out the rotation heading into 2016.
Morton is due $8 million next season, which prompted Pirates general manager Neal Huntington to offload the hurler's contract. The 32-year-old hasn't exactly been the picture of health over the last few years. He underwent hip surgery in the fall of 2014 and was forced to begin the 2015 season on the disabled list, limiting him to 129 innings and a 4.81 ERA. Despite the risks, Morton comes at relatively little cost and is capable of bolstering the rotation while the Phillies develop a cadre of pitching prospects.
Velasquez turned out a 4.37 ERA for the Astros in his first major league performance last year, and depending on how he adjusts in 2016, may be used to fill out the rotation or pad the bullpen. However, the Phillies got more than a well-rounded pitching staff in this week's trades. Minor leaguers Thomas Eshelman, Brett Oberholtzer, Harold Arauz and Appel could provide a nice stack of trading chips by the 2016 trade deadline, especially if Appel turns things around in Triple A. It would be foolish to assume that the Phillies have closed the door on further upgrades this season, but at this rate, they might not be stuck at the bottom of the NL East for much longer.
- With Jason Heyward gone, where should the Cardinals turn now?
- It might be time for the Braves to consider trading Freddie Freeman.
- The Mets have plenty of room on their payroll pending Michael Cuddyer’s retirement. The only question is how to utilize it.
- The Mariners acquired reliever Steve Cishek, which may or may not be a good thing.
- Which prospects should the Yankees protect in next year’s Rule 5 Draft?
- Here are five takeaways from the Tigers at the 2015 Winter Meetings, the most important of which is that there still isn’t a plan for 2016.
- Speaking of the Winter Meetings, this is how the rest of the AL Central shook out.
- The Tigers are in the market for a left-handed hitter, and former Tiger Ryan Raburn appears to fit the bill… as long as he can stay consistent.
- Despite all appearances, the A’s got a fairly decent return for Brett Lawrie.
- How did you celebrate Aaron Rowand Day?
* * *
SB Nation presents: All that's happened with the Dodgers during Vin Scully's tenure