Buster Olney and Jayson Stark discuss the issues with tanking in MLB, the top unsigned players and more. Plus, conversations with Duane Kuiper, Dylan Hernandez and Nick Piecoro.
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The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired pitching prospect Jesse Biddle from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Biddle says he pitched with elbow pain
A first-round pick in 2010, Jesse Biddle was designated for assignment by the Phillies last week. The 24-year-old struggled in 2015, which he attributes to his "bullheaded" decision to pitch through ligament damage in his elbow. Philly.com
Is Pedro Alvarez headed to Phillies?
Buster Olney sees Philly as a likely destination for the veteran infielder. While Alvarez struggled in his maiden season at first base for the Pirates last year, he could be an alternative there as the Phillies phase out Ryan Howard. Olney's blog (Insider)
MLB asks USADA to help investigate doping claims
MLB has asked the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to help investigate whether athletes named in an Al Jazeera documentary received banned drugs. Players mentioned in the film include the Phillies' Ryan Howard and the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman, who have since taken legal action against Al Jazeera America. More on the investigation
Several teams figure to make a run at Bryce Harper when he hits free agency, and the list could include the Braves, Cards, Jays, Astros and Dodgers.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN that he did not mean to give the impression during his comments at last week's owners meetings that NL clubs want to adopt the designated hitter.
The Mets will again have top-notch pitching and the Marlins boast two intriguing power hitters, but all eyes will be on the reigning MVP.
Command is key for Aaron Nola
Nola's curveball doesn't have much velocity to it, but its horizontal movement -- and the 22-year-old's excellent control of the pitch -- make it one of the best offerings among starters in the game. Best pitches in MLB (Insider)
One baseball writer had an interesting idea: What if, instead of rebuilding, the Phillies had signed a bunch of big free agents this offseason?
Phillies manager: Howard must hit
Pete Mackanin knows it's going to be a "hairy situation" but plans to tell team legend Ryan Howard during spring training that if he wants to play, he'll have to hit better: "I'm going to tell him, 'If you want to face lefties, you have to hit them better. If you don't hit them better, I'm going to platoon.' That's basically what we're looking at. It's gotten to that point." Story
Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he will sit Ryan Howard if he doesn't hit better this season.
Is Delvin Perez the No. 1 pick in 2016?
The Puerto Rican shortstop might be the best player in this year's draft class and "has the kind of explosive tools you want to see in a first overall pick," Keith Law writes. Puerto Rico showcase notes (Insider)
Phillies, Hellickson avoid arbitration
Philadelphia signed RHP Jeremy Hellickson to a one-year deal worth a reported $7 million. Hellickson posted a 4.62 ERA in 27 starts with the Diamondbacks last season.
Olney: MLB acting on PED accusations
Following the Al Jazeera report that implicated the Philles' Ryan Howard and Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman, sources tell Buster Olney that MLB has moved aggressively to follow leads in the case, as it did in the Biogenesis case. Olney's notables (Insider)
The Phillies have settled two of their three salary arbitration cases, agreeing with shortstop Freddy Galvis at $2 million and right-hander Jeanmar Gomez at $1.4 million.
Mark Appel, the first overall pick in the 2013 draft, has so far failed to live up to expectations, but he's hoping a fresh start with the Phillies will give him a needed shot of adrenaline.
Jayson Stark ESPN Senior Writer
35 days to pitchers and catchers. Seeing this field, I think I'm ready!
Are the Phillies tanking?
One AL exec doesn't think so, saying instead that Philadelphia is in "desperation recovery mode." Asked to state his case, Phillies GM Matt Klentak says the team is trying to "set the right course." Stark: The troubling state of the NL
The Pirates, Phillies and Twins make our list of top bullpens from the 1970s.
MacPhail happy with Phillies' direction
Since it was announced that Andy MacPhail would be joining the front office, a lot has changed in Philadelphia. And MacPhail is encouraged by what he's seen. "I'm very pleased with the results," he said. Philly.com
Three Phillies file for arbitration
SS Freddy Galvis and RHPs Jeremy Hellickson and Jeanmar Gomez were among the 156 MLB players to file for salary arbitration on Tuesday. The three will swap proposed figures with Philadelphia this week, unless they agree to contracts.
Good news, Phillies fans
Spring training is nearly here! Philadelphia pitchers and catchers will begin workouts in Clearwater, Fla. on Feb. 18 and will be joined by the full squad on Feb. 23. Spring workout schedules
Something positive for the Phillies
Philadelphia will likely struggle again this year, but its rotation will be better, David Schoenfield writes. One reason why is the recently acquired Vincent Velasquez, who Schoenfield believes will become Philly's staff ace in 2016. NL bold predictions