Tommy Joseph
Phillies' Tommy Joseph: Everyday role in 2017?
Tommy Joseph, 1B, PHI
8:55 AM
News: GM Matt Klentak said as of right now the Phillies plan to enter next season with Joseph (wrist) as their regular first baseman, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Joseph, who suffered a minor wrist injury in winter ball, split time at first base with Ryan Howard last season, but Howard is now a free agent and the Phillies don't have any other first baseman on their roster. Signing a veteran first baseman to a one-year deal isn't out of the question, and if that happens Joseph could end up in a platoon. It seems more likely that the Phillies will give him a chance to prove himself as they figure out which pieces fit into their long term plans this season. Joseph also has to worry about Rhys Hoskins, who is coming off a 38 homer season at Double-A, and will be waiting in the wings at Triple-A next year.

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Stephen Cardullo
Stephen Cardullo: Non-tendered by Rockies
Stephen Cardullo, 1B, COL
12/2/2016
News: Cardullo was non-tendered by the Rockies on Friday, making him a free agent.

Cardullo's intriguing trajectory from four seasons in the independent leagues to the Rockies in 2016 took another turn as he hit free agency. He was solid enough in Triple-A during 2016, posting a PCL-inflated .308/.367/.522 for Triple-A Albuquerque, that he should at least be able to find another team needing minor league depth.

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Chris Carter
Chris Carter: Hits free agency after Brewers can't find trade
Chris Carter, 1B, MIL
12/2/2016
News: Carter is officially a free agent after the Brewers non-tendered him.

The Brewers had been reported by Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball to still be looking for trade partners for Carter, but those efforts apparently failed. That's not too large of a surprise, considering Milwaukee was negotiating with little leverage since they had already designated him for assignment, but that's also not a good sign for Carter's market as a free agent. Carter should still be able to find a team that values his right-handed power and can stomach the whiffs and poor defensive value.

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Darin Ruf
Dodgers' Darin Ruf: Traded to Dodgers
Darin Ruf, 1B, LAD
11/11/2016
News: Ruf was traded to the Dodgers on Friday along with Darnell Sweeney in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

The 30-year-old fell out of favor in the Phillies' organization, as he failed to capitalize on his opportunities against left-handed pitching in 2016 (.695 OPS) and was passed by Tommy Joseph on the organizational depth chart at first base. He will get a fresh start with the Dodgers although there's not a clear path to at-bats and he's far from a lock to even make the Opening Day roster. Adrian Gonzalez struggled against lefties but a healthy Scott Van Slyke (if he's tendered a contract) may be a better platoon option.

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Jose Osuna
Pirates' Jose Osuna: Added to 40-man roster
Jose Osuna, 1B, PIT
11/9/2016
News: Osuna was added to the Pirates' 40-man roster.

He reached the Triple-A level in his age-23 season, finishing with a .291/.333/.482 line in 63 games with Triple-A Indianapolis. Osuna totaled 13 homers between Double-A and Triple-A, but he's limited defensively to first base and the outfield corners and it's uncertain if he'll ever hit enough to be a viable option for the major league club.

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Ryan Howard
Ryan Howard: Option declined, becomes free agent
Ryan Howard, 1B, PHI
11/3/2016
News: The Phillies announced Thursday that they have declined the 2017 team option on Howard's contract, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki reports, and he is now a free agent.

Howard hit 25 home runs in 2016 for the seventh time in his career, but he also hit just .196 and would have been due $23 million had the Phillies picked up his option, so there was not much of a decision for them to make. Howard has not announced any intention to hang up the cleats, so he will likely look for a job elsewhere. At this stage of his career, however, he is likely looking at a reserve job wherever he lands.

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Nick Ramirez
Brewers' Nick Ramirez: Transitioning to the mound
Nick Ramirez, 1B, MIL
10/12/2016
News: Ramirez is beginning to transition from first base to pitcher during the Brewers Instructional League, Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

After spending three years at the Double-A level with declining offensive production, it appears the Brewers would like to try Ramirez out as a reliever in order to keep him in the organization. The 27-year-old did act as the closer while he was at Cal State-Fullerton, converting 16 saves in his final collegiate season to go with a stellar 1.13 ERA and 11.6 K/9. Those stats did come from 2011, however, so he may need a bit of time to get accustomed to pitching to professional hitters. That being said, left-handed relievers with that kind of strikeout ability are hard to come by, so if the 27-year-old can get back into the same groove he was in during his final season in college, he could finally manage to move past Double-A.

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