Phillies trade lefty Biddle to Pirates

Former top prospect was designated for assignment last week

Jesse Biddle played six seasons in the Phillies' Minor League system before Wednesday's trade. (Ken Inness/

By Sam Dykstra / | February 3, 2016 12:27 PM ET

Jesse Biddle may still get to play in the Major Leagues for a team in his home state. But now, it's more likely that it'll be at the other end of the Keystone State. 

The 24-year-old left-hander on Wednesday was traded from the Phillies to the Pirates, almost a week after being designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for southpaw Bobby LaFramboise. He is not expected to pitch during the 2016 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last October.

Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer first broke the news of the trade for Minor League right-hander Yoervis Medina, which was confirmed by the Pirates. Right-hander A.J. Schugel was designated for assignment to make room for Biddle.

Biddle, who was Philadelphia's No. 21 prospect at the time of the trade, was taken 24th overall out of Germantown Friends High School in Philadelphia in the 2010 Draft and showed plenty of potential in his first couple seasons in the Phillies farm system. In 2013, he posted a 3.64 ERA and struck out 154 batters over 138 1/3 innings as a 21-year-old at Double-A Reading, all while battling whooping cough in April and plantar fasciitis in the season's last month. He entered the 2014 campaign as's No. 53 overall prospect.

The shine came off the following season when the 6-foot-5 southpaw suffered a concussion during a hailstorm and was put on the temporary inactive list for what the Phillies called a "mental break." When he was on the field with Reading that season, he struggled to a 5.03 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 82 1/3 innings but was still protected from that year's Rule 5 Draft when he was added to the 40-man roster in November 2014.

Biddle returned to the Eastern League for a third straight campaign in 2015, going 7-2 with a 4.24 ERA over 80 2/3 frames, before being promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley for the first time on July 8. He posted a 6.25 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in nine starts (44 2/3 innings) with the IronPigs. Injury concerns returned in October when it was discovered that he had a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. The injury required surgery that likely will keep him off a Minor League mound for the 2016 season.

The Phillies had 10 days to trade or release Biddle once he'd been designated for assignment. He joins a Pirates organization that has plenty of experience with prospects dealing with Tommy John surgery. Jameson Taillon and Nick Kingham both underwent the procedure over the last two seasons.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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