Bastardo's future in Philly following suspension unclear
PHILADELPHIA -- It will be interesting to see what happens with Phillies left-hander Antonio Bastardo.
Major League Baseball suspended him 50 games for violations relating to its Biogenesis investigation. Bastardo went 3-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 48 appearances this season. In the past three seasons, the only left-handed reliever in Major League Baseball to have more strikeouts than Bastardo (198) is Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (266). The only left-handed relievers with a lower opponents' average than Bastardo (.187) are Chapman (.153) and Atlanta's Luis Avilan (.183).
"We are disappointed, obviously," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday. "It's not the first guy and maybe not the last guy -- hopefully it's one of the last guys. We can't do anything about it other than hope that these guys maybe learn their lesson. I think what's happening is we're seeing the program working, and hopefully it will continue to deter players from doing what they're not supposed to be doing."
Amaro said Bastardo informed him Sunday night he might be suspended Monday. He has not spoken to him since.
Left-hander Cesar Jimenez had his contract selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Bastardo's spot on the 25-man roster.
But the real question at the moment is how much the Phillies can rely upon Bastardo in the future. Who knows how much PEDs boosted his performance? And who knows how much this will affect him in salary arbitration? Bastardo enters his second year of arbitration eligibility after making $1.4 million this season.
"Fortunately for us, we have him under control, so we can make those decisions," Amaro said. "If he stays in the arbitration process, the arbitrator will decide what salary he gets if we can't find something to come to a conclusion on. We have to take everything into account -- whether he can still be an effective pitcher and try to make the right decisions on him."
Said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "We'll see how good he'll be when we put him on the mound in Spring Training and let him pitch some and see where he's at velocity-wise and command-wise. He might get more innings in Spring Training than he usually gets."