Open Discussion: Week of November 21st

Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.

The Phillies had a busy week culminating in the submission of their 40-man roster before this past Friday’s 8:00 PM deadline.  First, early in the week and to the surprise and possible annoyance of a lot of fans, Jeremy Hellickson accepted the Phillies’ qualifying offer. Then the Phillies outrighted Elvis Araujo, David Buchanan, and Jimmy Cordero. Only then did the Phillies add 11 prospects to the 40-man roster.

On Monday, Jeremy Hellickson accepted the Phillies’ one-year, $17.2 million qualifying offer.  Hellickson’s free agency was undoubtedly affected by the draft pick compensation attached to him as a result of the QO if he declined.  His agent, Scott Boras, had talked to several teams interested in Hellickson in a weak starting pitching free agent market and came to that conclusion.  Hellickson’s acceptance cost the Phillies a compensation draft pick and fills a roster spot that they had probably hoped to use protecting a prospect.

On Tuesday, the Phillies decided to cut ties with Matt Harrison.  The LHP was a part of the trade that sent Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, and cash to Texas for Harrison, OF Nick Williams, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Jake Thompson, C Jorge Alfaro and RHP Alec Asher. Harrison never threw a pitch for the Phillies.  His inclusion in the trade was mainly trade relief for the Rangers with Hamels’ contract.  In releasing Harrison, the Phillies will eat whatever portion of his 2017 $13M salary and 2018 $2M buyout that insurance doesn’t cover.  In return they recoup his roster spot.

On Friday, the Phillies reduced their roster to 29 playerss when they outrighted Elvis Araujo, David Buchanan, and Jimmy Cordero.  Araujo was immediately claimed off waivers by Miami.  Buchanan and Cordero are currently designated for assignment.

Only then, did the Phillies select the 11 contracts of the prospects they would add to the 40-man roster and protect from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.  The lucky eleven were RHPs Mark Appel, Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta, C Andrew Knapp, 2B Jesmuel Valentin, and OF Nick Williams from Lehigh Valley, LHP Elniery Garcia, RHP Ricardo Pinto, and OF Dylan Cozens from Reading, RHP Drew Anderson from Clearwater, and RHP Alberto Tirado from Lakewood.

John Middleton’s role within the organization was better defined when MLB team owners announced their approval of Middleton as the Phillies’ “control person”, the person who is accountable to MLB for the operation of the team and for its compliance with the rules of baseball.  Middleton owns 48 percent of the franchise.

Key dates during the off season are as follows (dates in Bold have not yet occurred):

  • 11/3, 9:00 AM – Organizations began an exclusive five-day negotiation window (referred to as “the quiet period” in the CBA) with their own free agents.
  • 11/7, 5:00 PM – Deadline for organizations to submit qualifying offers to their free agents. This year’s QO is $17.2M.  This was also the deadline for organizations to exercise any club/mutual options.
  • 11/8-10 – GM meetings held in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • 11/8 – Free agents became eligible to sign with any team.
  • 11/14, 5:00 PM – Deadline for players to accept/reject qualifying offers.  Those who decline became free agents.
  • 11/18, 8:00 PM – Deadline for roster expansion to 40 players prior to the Rule 5 draft.
  • 12/1 – The current collective bargaining agreement expires.
  • 12/2 – Deadline for teams to tender contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters, including arbitration-eligible players.  Non-tendered players become free agents.  Tendered players who are arbitration eligible who do not accept the tender proceed to the arbitration process in February.
  • 12/5-8 – Winter Meetings in National Harbor, MD.
  • 12/8 – Rule 5 draft.
  • February – Salary arbitration hearings.
  • 2/14 – First workout for pitchers and catchers.
  • 2/17 – First full-squad workout.
  • 2/23 – Phillies’ spring training game v. University of Tampa.
  • 2/24 – Grapefruit League games begin.  Tentative schedule here.
  • 3/6-22 – World Baseball Classic.
  • 4/2-3 – Opening Night/Opening Day.

Extra Innings

As currently constructed, the Phillies roster averages 25 years old.  Remember when the opening day roster was like 50?

Matt Klentak remains open to any acquisitions that will improve the team.  However, any free agent signings will require corresponding roster moves.  Still, Klentak has said that this will not prevent the Phillies from pulling the trigger on a free agent signing or trade.

The Phillies protected nine of the 13 MLB Top 30 prospects who were eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.  Those nine were Nick Williams (#3), Dylan Cozens (#6), Mark Appel (#10), Andrew Knapp (#11), Ricardo Pinto (#15), Nick Pivetta (#17), Elniery Garcia (#19), Ben Lively (#23) and Alberto Tirado (#28).

The four top 30 prospects the Phillies left unprotected were SS Malquin Canelo (21), CF Carlos Tocci (#22), OF Jose Pujols (#26), and C Deivi Grullon (#29).  Outrighted RHP Jimmy Cordero (#25) is also in MLB’s Top 30.

Other notable players left unprotected include Andrew Pullin and Cameron Perkins.

The five players remaining from the Cole Hamels trade are all on the 40-man roster.

The Houston Astros placed 1B Jon Singleton on outright waivers.  If he clears waivers he will be off the Astros’ 40-man roster.  Once the centerpiece of the Hunter Pence trade that included Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, and one of the most controversial PTBNL Domingo Santana, Singleton has struggled to make contact, even in the hitter friendly PCL.

The Astros also traded for C Brian McCann.  So much for his return to Atlanta.

The new CBA is still being negotiated.  Although the current agreement expires on December 1st, it is unlikely that either side will look forward to a work stoppage.  Key topics being discussed include –

  • Length of season.  It’s likely to remain 162 games with a possibility that 4 additional off days are included, extending the length of the season from 183 to 187 days.
  • Roster size.   It’s possible that rosters could be expanded from 25 to 26 players.  It’s also possible that September’s roster expansion is severely limited to 28-29 players.
  • Luxury Tax Threshold.  It’s very likely that the $189M luxury tax threshold is increased.
  • International Draft.  The owners want one.  This one issue gives the MLBPA a big bargaining chip.  International players are  no more a concern of the MLBPA than high school and college players.  The MLBPA can screw international players over as they have domestic players to gain concessions from the owners for their members, as they should, I guess.  (Note: most of that was my skeptical opinion and not fact.)

Things That Make Me Go Hmm.

  1. The current roster construction screams that more actions have to occur.  Right now, the Phillies have FIVE infielders.
  2. Cesar Hernandez seems to be the team’s current lightning rod for discussion.  I didn’t watch many Phillies’ games last season, but I’ve read the comments here.  It seems that there are two main camps.  One that just doesn’t like him and wants him gone – traded, released, demoted, kidnapped.  And another that thinks he has room for improvement (maybe) but if he has peaked, trade him while he has high value (or any value).  In either case, what makes anyone think the Phillies can get any substantial value in return.  At best, he could be classified as a second division regular.  Other organizations know this.  Who can the Phillies trick?
  3. Their are 8 outfielders on the roster.  How did Cody Asche survive? Among Herrera, Quinn, Kendrick, Altherr, Cozens, Williams, Goeddel, Asche, he’s got to be bottom two, right? Kendrick is currently penciled in LF.  Herrera in CF.  Altherr in RF. Prospects Williams, Quinn, and Cozens ahead of him. Goeddel has youth and projection on his side.  All the guys Asche has to compete against play multiple OF positions.  Asche plays average (?) LF and, in an emergency, less than satisfactory 3B. His LH bat is made redundant by Herrera, Williams, and Cozens.  The Phillies are a team that values pitching.  When the time comes to make room for a reliever, infielder, or corner OF bat (assuming the Phillies are still in the market, I’m not 100% sure), Asche may be headed back to AAA.  Note: He was optioned in August and not recalled until mid-September last season.
 Cumulative transactions: (Transactions will continue to be listed here, minor league specific transactions will also be posted in the weekly minor league discussion.)
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Mark Appel from Lehigh Valley.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Ben Lively from Lehigh Valley.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Andrew Knapp from Lehigh Valley.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Nick Pivetta from Lehigh Valley.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Jesmuel Valentin from Lehigh Valley.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Nick Williams from Lehigh Valley.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Elniery Garcia from Reading.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Dylan Cozens from Reading.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Ricardo Pinto from Reading.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Drew Anderson from Clearwater.
  • 11/18 – Phillies selected the contract of Alberto Tirado from Lakewood.
  • 11/18 – Marlins claimed Elvis Araujo off waivers from Phillies.
  • 11/18 – Phillies designated RHP David Buchanan for assignment.
  • 11/18 – Phillies designated RHP Jimmy Cordero for assignment.
  • 11/15 – Phillies released LHP Matt Harrison.
  • 11/11 – Dodgers traded LF Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for 1B Darin Ruf and 2B Darnell Sweeney.
  • 11/10 – RHP Luis Pacheco assigned to DSL Phillies
  • 11/10 – RHP Jose Perez assigned to DSL Phillies2.
  • 11/10 – RHP Jonas De La Cruz assigned to DSL Phillies.
  • 11/07 – 3B Carlos Alonso elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – LHP Anthony Vasquez elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – RHP Gregory Infante elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – DH Jake Fox elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – C Gabriel Lino elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – RF Christian Marrero elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – SS KC Serna elected free agency.
  • 11/07 – IF Raymond Mora assigned to DSL Phillies2.
  • 11/4 – Traded a PTBNL or cash to the Houston Astros for RHP Pat Neshek.
  • 11/3 – Philadelphia activated LHP Matt Harrison from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/3 – Philadelphia activated RHP Zach Eflin from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/3 – Philadelphia activated RHP Charlie Morton from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/3 – Philadelphia activated RHP Aaron Nola from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/3 – C A.J. Ellis elected free agency.
  • 11/3 – 2B Andres Blanco elected free agency.
  • 11/3 – RHP David Hernandez elected free agency.
  • 11/3 – 1B Ryan Howard elected free agency.
  • 11/3 – RHP Charlie Morton elected free agency.
  • 11/3 – RF Peter Bourjos elected free agency.
  • 10/26 – IF Juan Herrera assigned to DSL Phillies2.
  • 10/25 – Signed free agent RHP Alexis Araujo to a minor league contract.
  • 10/25 – OF Maximo De La Rosa assigned to DSL Phillies.
  • 10/25 – RHP Scot Hoffman assigned to Williamsport Crosscutters.
  • 10/25 – LHP Casey Brown assigned to Williamsport Crosscutters.
  • 10/15 – 2B Emmanuel Burriss elected free agency.
  • 10/13 – Signed free agent OF Luis Matos to a minor league contract.
  • 10/13 – RHP Frank Herrmann elected free agency.
  • 10/10 – RF Jimmy Paredes elected free agency.
  • 10/10 – LHP Patrick Schuster elected free agency.
  • 10/8 – DSL Phillies activated RHP Gregorix Mateo.
  • 10/7 – Outrighted Frank Herrmann, Dalier Hinojosa, Emmanuel Burriss, Patrick Schuster, Jimmy Paredes, and Colton Murray to Lehigh Valley.
  • 10/6 – Phillies signed free agent LHP Casey Brown to a minor league contract.
  • 10/5 – DSL Phillies activated 3B Leonardo Colagrossi from the 60-day disabled list.
  • Re-signed FA RHP Miguel Nunez
  • 10/6 – RHP Derwuin Marchan assigned to DSL Phillies2 (Signed July 2, 2016).
  • 10/4 – Signed NDFA RHP Scot Hoffman
  • 10/3 – RF Cedric Hunter elected free agency.
  • 10/3 – LHP James Russell elected free agency.
  • 10/3 – Signed free agent RHP Jose Perez to a minor league contract.
  • 10/3 – Signed free agent C Ronald Torrealba to a minor league contract.
  • 10/3 – Signed free agent RHP Luis Pacheco to a minor league contract.
  • Re-signed Chace Numata
  • The organization rosters are up to date.

 

217 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of November 21st

  1. As you look down the 40 man roster, it there anyone that you can’t or won’t trade? Hellickson is the only one you can’t trade right now. That’s in some rule somewhere. Franco is a name I don’t hear at all when discussing trades. Nola is another name I don’t hear often in trade discussions. That’s probably because he’s coming off an injury but his long term potential is pretty high. So why sell low? After that, anyone is fair game… for the right price. Right? Or this is the hand that’s been dealt, so play it.

    1. Bellman, there is no one that I categorically won’t trade but I’d have to be bowled over by the return for players with the highest ceilings:
      Alfaro is currently the only one on the 40man roster. Velasquez has the highest ceiling among pitchers but the uncertainty of his durability coupled with his ceiling make him a potentially attractive trade piece. All the outfielders have floors low enough not to be considered “untouchable”, but that’s where I hope we find that diamond in the rough.

      The Phuture Phillies prospect ranking will make this discussion all the more interesting.

      1. J.P. Crawford is still a potential star and perhaps even a borderline superstar. He isn’t untouchable, but he’s damned close to that. Mikael Franco is also in that category in my view as is Moniak.

        On the pitching end, guys I’d truly hate to depart with are VV, Nola (sooner or later, he will be healthy or will have surgery and become healthy – he has a special skill set), Kilome and Sanchez. Also, after kind of beating up on Jake Thompson (he’s just not as dominant as I expected him to be, but I think I was too hard on him), I actually think he has a pretty solid upside and is going to continue to improve; but he’s not untouchable.

        Alfaro has a lot of upside, but he also has plate discipline and hit tool issues. If he hits all on cylinders, he could easily be a star (he has incredible raw tools), but he could also just end up being a little above average.

        1. …but like you, I also love Crawford as one of those special players in waiting, especially after seeing the replay of that backhand, deep in the hole play someone posted a few days ago. And another he made in Reading last year to nail a would be base stealer.

    2. @bellman – you got it right. at the current stage of the Phils, they don’t to sell low on their young assets especially the ones with very good upside – Franco, Nola as you mentioned.

  2. Catch, I’m not as high on Franco as you and their could be replacement options down the road. (Machado for one, and let’s see how Cole Stobbe develops.)

    In any case, I think Bellman was referring to the current 40-man roster.

    1. 8mark…..just a thought, but you probably need to get the thought of positional players like Machado, or any of the ‘face-of-the-franchise players’ out of your thinking as future Phillies..
      The odds are strong…..they will not hit the open market, well not at least until they are in the 30ish age seasons..
      It is nice to dream and wish for. ’tis the season, but the reality of it is, that teams may be open to trading these players in multi prospects/ players return then letting them go the FA route.

      1. Romus, you’re probably right. However, Machado will be a FA after the 2018 season regardless of who the O’s trade him to (IF they do). And Baltimore isn’t known to go BIG and LONG with their signings. I hope Franco becomes that guy. Although he is gold glove material, my biggest concern is actually his body type. I see him slowing down as he nears 30. Not quite Panda but you get my drift. Hope I’m wrong.

      2. Romus … don’t rain on our parade. Shohei Otani next off-season, Manny Machado the year after !!!
        It’s going to take lots of money, but that is the plan. The chances of Otani being posted next year are pretty good. Big market clubs are already making financial plans to position themselves for his posting. From what I’ve read, the Cubs don’t plan to overspend on a closer (Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman) this off-season because that could preclude them from making a run at the Japanese superstar next off-season. The Yankees prefer a one year deal with Carlos Beltran for their DH than a multi year contract with Edwin Encarnacion. The Dodgers almost signed Otani out of HS and will be major players when he’s posted. Fortunately, nobody will have more financial flexibility than the Phillies next year. Not only will Otani very likely be the most dominant starting pitcher in MLB when he comes to the US, but each game he plays in will be an “event”.
        As far as Manny Machado … the hope is Bryce Harper is hell-bent on hitting free agency. The other hope is Machado wants to see what the market bears for Harper before signing his own deal. The Phillies front office (MacPhail/Klentak) have the relationship and Middleton has the deep pockets to give MM more than what Harper gets. I understand there is a lot of hoping and praying involved here, but the dream of Otani and Machado added to the young core (Nola, Velasquez, Crawford, Quinn, Alfaro, etc.) would have the Phillies competing for championships for at least six or seven years.
        Hey … a guy can dream.

        1. 8mark/Hinkie…I like to wish both of you the first Merry Christmas of the year! 🙂
          ‘Tis a shame both of you are not the GMs wearing red-pin stripe suits.
          I. along with every one else who bleeds Phillies red. would like the Japanese man-child and Manny Machado.
          Convincing John Middleton may be the biggest hurdle in that endeavor, since you may be looking at a $1/4B expenditure on the two of them combined over the life of their contracts..

          1. John Middleton if he comes out swinging this yr . Say a big trade for star Outfielder or young stud . He could also make a play for a Cuban or Asian player too. Then you can judge if a Machado or Otani is in play.

          2. Romus … I did say it was going to take lots of money. Your quarter of a billion dollar estimate for Otani/Machado is probably wishful thinking. I believe each guy will get a 300 million contract for a grand total of 600+million dollars.
            For Otani: 20 million posting fee + 8 yrs @ 35 million (280 million) = 300 million
            For Machado: 10 yrs @ 37 million = 370 million
            Both of these players will be very young when they hit the open market (Otani 23 YO/Machado 25 YO) so you’ll be paying big money for their prime years. Middleton has said he (and the rest of the ownership group) will be big spenders when the time is right. I believe he has zeroed in on the 2017 and 2018 FA classes.

    2. It’s possible Franco never develops, but it’s probably more likely that he does and becomes something between a well above average third baseman to a solid star. Let’s see how he does with a year of Matt Stairs giving him pointers. He has a ton of talent and a slick glove and arm at third and even in his developmental stage he’s hitting around 25 homers, which is fairly impressive.

    3. I said this once before. I will say it again. if Franco doesn’t become a 30 hr, 275 hitter with 100 rbi a season. I PROMISE TO QUIT POSTING. PLEASE write it down,

      1. rocco……lets hope this time you are correct.
        Remember that Dom Brown ‘promise’, though ultimately it turned out to be prophetic.

        1. To give Roccom credit, he was one of the few people who said Dom Brown was awful, even when he was hitting a lot of home runs for a short period of time.

      2. Franco did what this year? 240ish 23 Hr and 88 RBI if I recall correctly if he can up his average a decent amount his HR and RBI total would be much improved. Also add a couple of better hitters and better table setters (sounds like we should recruit table setters from Hooters or something) around him his hitting should improve. No worries here about Franco as he should be a good player – we all just want him to be a great player

    4. Stobbe is quite a few years away. Franco will finish his seasons of team control by the time Stobbe is ready.

  3. I saw someone say they would not have done the deal for Reddick that Houston did. Guess what..that is the going rate for that category of FA…$13 mil a year for a proven bat is pretty cheap.

    We can argue until the cows come home about what a 29 y/o FA with a career obp of 316 and 747 OPS is worth or can we?

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2016/11/19/13684272/josh-reddick-astros-platoon-nice-signing-good-work-jeff

    To me it means Saunders is likely going to command some where near that figure and by no means does that kind of money block any prospects in the system.

    Klentak could/should consider Ethier as well. If Klentak fails to add a proven left handed bat to the 2017 line-up I’m calling it malpractice and will likely turn on him. One must always consider when it comes to FA’s that they just don’t want to come here (all things being equal)

    That is defense-able but means you have to find a trade scenario that works.

    1. DMAR…agree to some extent.
      Reddick is basically a platoon player. But like a lot of lefty big bats….they have a rough time vs LHPs.
      I would pass on Ethier….his splits vs LHP is horrific.
      Saunders I would take a chance on….his splits are actually pretty evenly divided and he is 3/4 years younger.

  4. On top of OF bat (via FA or trade), I still want the Phils to go after Matt Wieters as C/1B and let it play it out during ST who will start at C – Wieters and Rupp.

    1. Sorry there’s a zero percent chance of that. They’re not blocking Alfaro with Weiters, who is overrated and will require a big fat contract. One year deals are all this team is looking at, other than for a pen piece like Dunn. There will be some trades coming though (2:1, 3:1) and could include young guys coming back.

      1. @murray – i might agree with the contract but i don’t agree with Wieters blocking Alfaro. TJ is not (yet) the answer to 1B – Wieters can play 1B if TJ suddenly fall off the cliff in 2017 (knock on wood). Wieters is still young enough that he can still generate trade interests from contending team. a $48M/3-yr offer is not a fat contract to move if they can sign Wieters.

        1. Alfaro was the main piece in the Hamels trade. He will get every opportunity to be the guy in Philly. He’s just not ready yet. Actually, he’s not close to ready. I don’t expect him in Philly before Sept. Weiters on the other hand is a very good catcher. He was supposed to be awesome but isn’t but he is pretty good. Yes he would like great as our catcher but he would not have as much value at 1B. Alfaro will be the catcher in 2018 most likely so signing Weiters would require them to trade him in a year. Plus the obvious, Weiters sees Alfaro as close, he won’t sign here because of it. I do agree with you that TJ is far from a certainty. I’m rooting for Hoskins to have another big year, at LHV, and then we’ll see.

      2. @Murray I love your insights but do not agree that we have to limit ourselves to only players that will take 1 year contracts.

        You can can easily play in the 3/4 year market at $50-$60 million and not block a prospect.

        That said I probably wouldn’t address catcher before I address RF. If you got some amazing offer for Rupp then by all means sign Wieters. I just don’t see him as that much of an upgrade over Rupp and with Rupp being just 28 and under control through 2020 why bother…

        1. Whether they go 1yr or longer, I don’t believe they’re looking for long term answers at any position. A stop gap veteran catcher (AJ Ellis?) makes sense whether you trade Rupp or not. Rupp will be a tradable commodity by July 31 if not sooner. This year is ALL about JPC, Williams, Quinn and Alfaro. Their development in early ’17 will determine the next big piece to acquire.

        2. I wasn’t saying what I would do, I was referring to what Phils will do. Me, I’d look to trade for a veteran leader who can bat 3rd line McCutch but the Phils won’t be doing that at this time. The patience needed to be a Philadelphia sports fan today is off the charts….

  5. Don’t mean to rain on any parades – but the Asian players almost always sign with the west coast teams due to proximity to “home” and/or cooperating media rights with their respective homelands. I think the odds of any Japanese player signing with any east coast team seems remote at best. Never mind the Dodgers would pay the GDP of the EU to sign a good Japanese pitcher. See Maeda, did he even look at any other travel brochures ?

    1. It doesn’t help us but the Yankees have had several Far East players. TV and winning plays a big part. Phillies have had neither recently and will struggle to get Otani to listen to our pitch.

    2. Masahiro Tanaka signed with the Yankees. Yu Darvish signed with the Rangers. Asian players are no different than American and Latin players. They’re going to (almost always) sign with the team offering the best contract.

    1. If Otani signs with the Phillies, they’ll build a sushi bar right next to Bull’s BBQ !!!
      Seriously, think of all the marketing that would go along with a Shohei Otani signing. Like I said above … every game he pitches would be an “event”. It would be like a Bruce Springsteen concert 15 times a year CBP (in addition to acquiring a TOR starter and an extra bat off the bench).

  6. Being part Asian, Asian guys are very big into their culture and community. Philly is still not a “diverse” city unlike LA, NY, CHI, etc. Unless the Phils will blow away every team with their offer, Otani might choose LA or NY.

    1. KuKo…….those three cities are all larger than Philadelphia anyway.
      Now Seattle and San Francisco would probably be better examples.

      1. romus – it’s not really on the size of the city but more on the size of the Asian community in a particular city. SanFran (and Dalls) is(are) a good example(s) but with $$ commitment they have, I don’t think they can outbid LA and NY.

        Tanaka mentioned this (Japanese community) before he signed to a MLB team.

  7. Did not read all the posts above but my take is the Phils may add a player or 2 to the 40 man before spring training but that is it. They have 1 or 2 bench spots, maybe a corner outfielder, especially if they trade Hernandez (doubtful). They also have at least a couple reliever spots in question. However, my guess is they will try to use who they have on the 40 man now along with AAAA players they have or sign to LHV. Questions…..

    Backup Catcher – ?

    INF bench – main concern is SS

    5th OF / Corner OF should Hernandez be traded and Kendrick plays 2nd

    Bullpen

    Jim you asked why is Asche still around. My guess is because other than SS he can potentially play OF and INF positions. Plus should Franco go down…… I get he is not ideal with the bat but they have kept guys who were worse with bat (most could play SS).

    Let me be clear, I wish they had someone else like Blanco, but………

    1. In my world I’m not worried about a back-up SS because I am either breaking camp with Crawford as my everyday SS or bringing him up in May/June. I’m going to follow the Lindor plan with him and show him the faith he deserves.

      Lindor came up in June 2015 he batted by month

      June 211
      July 295
      Aug 370
      Sep/Oct 325

      99 Games total and the following season 2016 he is in the playoffs and WS!

      Freddy at that point moves to the back-up role…

      1. Lindor is roughly comparable to Crawford, but Crawford needs to dedicate himself to getting stronger this off season. But, sure, he absolutely has that kind of potential with not quite as much power or quite as good of a hit tool, but better plate discipline. Look, Crawford has unique plate discipline combined with excellent strike zone control (ability to foul off close pitches) – it’s like a 75 or an 80 – and, if he refines his hit tool and adds a little power, he’s going to be a superb player.

    2. Agree that at least 2 MLB ready players will be added to the 40-man, that’s why, “out of option” guys like klein, mariot and garcia will be the 1st cut. asche will survive the 1st cut since he can play 3B/LF/1B and a LH bat from the bench so the OF will compose of Doobie-Kendrick-Altherr-Asche-FA (is no trade is made) and Quinn and Goedel will start in the minors. Asche’s Phillies stint will be short if NIck started hot in LHV.

      For bullpen, Morgan and Asher can be moved to the pen so they can’t block the development of the LHV guys like Lively, Appel, Pivetta, Jake or Eflin and possibly Pinto.

      My gut tells me that Klentak protected Valentin for the purpose of having a UTIL guy so I can see Valentin will fill that spot (now it will be neat if Quinn can still play SS).

      A 2nd catcher will be a toss up but i think another fungible guy can be DFAd is a spot is needed. The Phils has 2 options: a) sign a FA backup (although I prefer Wieters here); and b) roll the dice on Knapp to play C/1B/LF. Having Knapp play multiple positions can open a spot for another 2B/SS in the Bench.

      Bench will look like – Asche, Altherr (of FA), Valentin, Knapp and FA – 2B/SS.

      1. Knapp has never played a game in LF so that’s a bit out there. Quinn hasn’t played the IF in so long you can say that ship has sailed. Knapp though is a pretty strong candidate to get the back-up role for C and 1B.

        My assumption is they will want Alfaro and Hoskins in AAA playing everyday thus not many PA’s available for Knapp down there. But they do have the DH in the IL don’t they…

        I don’t think Asche has any shot at breaking camp on the 25 man. I think he is still here because there has been some possible interest around the league in him. At best if he is here he goes to AAA

        Quinn is the front runner for a 4th OF spot he can play all 3 spots and he switch hits so he can spell both Odubel and Kendrick. The AAA OF is going to Goeddel, Williams and Cozens. Altherr possibly gets the 5th OF spot on the big club or the 4th spot in AAA.

        Your rotation is Hellboy, Eickhoff, VV, Nola and Thompson. Your AAA rotation is Morgan, Eflin, Asher, Lively, Appel.

        I look for them to sign a SS to a minor league contract with an invite to ST. This guy makes the 25 out of ST to keep a seat warm for Freddy when JP gets called up in May/June.

        Valentin is not making this team to sit on the bench he will be in AAA playing everyday unless they move Cesar and even if that does happen I see Freddy moving to 2B in favor of a Crawford call up.

        I still think they sign a LH corner OF and a Pedro Alvarez type. They absolutely need more LH pop on the 25 man.

        My predictions anyway.

        1. DMAR …Knapp played LF and some other positions like RF, 1B and some catching his first two years at Cal. He settled into catching for good in his junior year.

        2. @DMAR – your predictions makes sense until you do the math and put together the 25-man and 40-man roster. I’m not sure how many FAs you are predicting but i assume it is at least 4. With so 11 recently added to the 40-man and others like you mentioned Eflin, Morgan, Asher, Valentin + Alfaro, Goeddel starting in the minors, you will think that some will eventually added to the 25-man if not traded.

      2. …if Quinn can still play SS… I watched Roman for most of his home games in Williamsport and a few the next year in Lakewood. He was a H.S. outfielder the Phils tried to make into a SS and it showed. He was average to below-average at short.

  8. I don’t believe that they go without a veteran C to back up Ruff. If Knapp makes the team out of ST it is because he hit so well they had to keep him. His glove is not good enough to be the sole back up at C. They have to get a left handed bat to platoon at 1B and the OF. Someone earlier said if Klentak does not, then that is GM malpractice. I agree. And, I see another BP piece, so that is 3 spots. I don’t think making room will be difficult at all, the question is who fills those spots.

    1. @matt – if you want to a C and another BP arm, i think the roster spot needed is 4 not 3 (C, OF, INF, RP). likewise, at this stage of the Phillies team, veterans added to the team will serve as either mentor or trade chip. It’s nice to have a back up veteran C with good gloves, but I’m not sure if that makes a big difference.

      i also don’t see Knapp making it with the Phils right away (probability that he will be traded is higher). however, if Klentak (which I still doubt his creativity) cannot make any roster spot(s) open —- having Knapp join the Phils as the C/1B/LF from the bench is not a bad idea – 1) Alfaro will get all the opportunity in LHV; 2) Knapp, if he can play multiple positions will provide roster flexibility; and 3) Knapp, if he plays well in MLB (and the only way to find out is if the Phils will play him), creates another building block or a tradeable asset.

      Knapp is already advance in age, so i think he can handle challenges and Rupp, who is also advance in age, is what i consider a “young veteran”.

  9. An MLB insider is connecting the Phils to Joey Votto (and his $172M until 2023) contract. I think this is 2 years too early for the Phils to do.

    1. KuKo…but isn’t this the type of opponent ‘contract purge’ you wanted them to do to obtain more prospects?
      Clearly the Reds want to rid themselves of Votto’s LTC and so there could be some value attached to the Phillies taking it off their hands..

      1. @romus – assuming the trade only involves Votto, I don’t think the Phils will receive prospects in return. but instead, the Phils will send B-level prospects to get 2-3 yrs of Votto production and eat the contract.

        1. DMAR…that makes sense.
          Hoskins should be competing for the starting job in 2018 according to timetables. And with TJ there now, a Votto acquisitions is really not logical.

        2. I have an answer to that – because, depending on how well he ages as a hitter, Joey Votto is a nearly unique talent in terms of his combination of hit tool, plate discipline and power. I like Rhys Hoskins too, but the odds are that, even if Rhys fulfills his potential, he won’t be close to Joey Votto as a hitter. And, by the way, if the NL gets the DH, which I think will happen soon, there might be room for both players in any event.

          Joey Votto is not another Ryan Howard. Last year, at age 32, he has the highest OPS+ in the National League. Votto has a lifetime 157 OPS+ and lifetime .425 OBP and .961 OPS. He is a HOF quality hitter – an elite offensive talent. If you think he will age well (3-4 more excellent years and then another average year or two with the last year or two a salary dump), you can get Cincinnati to eat some back-end salary and the price is not too high in terms of prospects, then it’s something the team needs to consider.

          My view is that, if the team is trying to produce a playoff team in 2018 (which is quite possible), they should think about acquiring Votto.

          Think about the aggregate on base percentages of a line-up that has Hernandez, Crawford, Herrera, and Votto in the first four slots. That team is going to score a lot more runs than the version of the Phillies we saw last year. Add another bat somewhere and a stud starting pitcher and all of a sudden, the team starts to look pretty attractive.

          Look, there’s a lot of risk with a Votto trade and I’m not categorically saying they should or should not do it. What I am saying is that, depending on the structure of the trade, players traded and how much salary the Reds may be willing to eat (if any), this is something they should explore and consider. Hitters like Joey Votto are basically almost never available and he could help solidify the line-up in a hurry.

          1. Votto has a bad back, please avoid acquiring players with bad backs. Take a look at his split for last season by month. He was horrible early in the season and awesome in the 2nd half. That just screams health issues in the first half. Regardless, he won’t be here. Hoskins will certainly be given a chance as will TJ to earn that job. Martin is another guy to keep an eye on because he could also hit 35 next year at Reading and put himself in the picture.

            1. The bad back point is a great one – I did not know that, and, obviously, if his future is threatened by a bad back, perhaps it’s a no go.

              But let’s temper the enthusiasm on guys like Martin. Martin’s an org guy. TJ has promise but has holes in his game and Hoskins is unproven.

            2. I would actually say that shows that his back wasn’t much of an issue. Usually the wear and tear is going to be shown as the season wear on and you are saying he got better each month. I’m on the fence here . . . I can see a trade like that being VERY beneficial to the Phillies . . . all depends on the prospects leaving.

    2. ….and what other premier 1b will be available in the foreseeable future? Is it too early to explore this type of deal? I don’t know why it would. I’ve only read quotes that Votto wants to be a life long Red. But what speaks louder….?

  10. I don’t see Votto as the type that gets dumped with the Reds adding prospects to unload his $. If he was 3 years younger, I would consider him as the cornerstone for the Phils moving into contention. But, they are a couple of years away, at least, and he is 33, and the prospects would be going away from the Phils not to them. So, I would pass.

  11. As Branch Rickey said to Ralph Kiner (Joey Votto), ” we will finish last with you on the team and last without you…..” That would appear to be Cincy’s plight, and as it relates to the Phillies, finish wherever in the East division with him or without him. Way too early to utilize a player of that type.

  12. As to Cody Asche, no sweat. He’s right on schedule for a breakout season. Club patience will be rewarded a la Carlos Carrasco’s five year maturation in Cleveland. 😉

    1. Calif…..Cody Asche will resurrect himself for a break-out season!!!
      Oh man, that California life-style has changed your thought process. I liked Vermont better.
      Nevertheless, I hope the marijuana farm venture is working out for you…..just don’t smoke the profits!
      Asche break-out may have to be with another team….seems Kendrick will be taking more than his share of PAs from Cody.

      1. Well, there was a wink there and I am straight. But stranger things have happened. Don’t worry though, he won’t even get the chance.

    1. Romus, glancing at the BA list, the only player in whom the Phillies should have even remote interest is LHP Tyler Webb (NYY) as a lefty specialist. Otherwise I would pass altogether.

      1. 8mark……Phillies are not drafting as of right now. What they do in trades or releases in the next 15 days before the draft remains to be seen.

  13. Though I believe that Rupp is necessary to man the starting catcher position until Knapp/Alfaro are ready, taking a look at what offers seem to be out there, a FAT return on a his trade would make that a good thing IF they could sign a vet catcher who could fill the position until K or A could come up. IMO, the return on Rupp should be great…Worth considering. OTOH, who would then play backup to such a vet catcher…?

  14. Hey, the Iron Pigs will be the first in all of baseball to wear reflective lettering on their uniforms in ’17. Let’s hope they light up the scoreboard, especially early in the season.

    1. ….and with this lineup, they should.

      Quinn cf
      Crawford ss
      Williams lf
      Hoskins 1b
      Cozens rf
      Alfaro/Knapp c
      Walding 3b
      Kingery 2b

      1. Walding will be at Reading and Quinn might start in Philly but I agree it will be an exciting lineup for our future. Knapp will bounce between 1b, C, and DH. Goeddel will be here or at Reading, probably depending on Quinn.

    2. it will be fun time to watch LHV especially before these guys got called up. maybe Jim P. can give Philly a visit and we all hang out for a game up in Allentown (and Reading too).

  15. I just saw an article the said the Yankees will try and sign Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez, so I read it to see what that actually meant (assuming that it meant trade) and at the end it said maybe the Yankees can sign Velasqeuz and convince the Phillies to release him. Guess Yankees fans really are stupid and delusional.

      1. This is what I got from the article:
        “The latest MLB trade rumors also suggest that though the Phillies seems to be not inclined to trade Velasquez at this moment, the Yankees are set to make Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres and Jorge Mateo ready as trade package whomever the Phillies would like to pick and might entice them to make a deal with the Yankees”
        ……..Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier would be all I would need to do the deal…maybe throw in Kaprllian also.

          1. 8mark…RHBs Frazier and Judge would probably be both corners with the Philies then, though Frazier has played a lot of CF in the past….but there in lies the dilemma….LHBs Williams and Cozens also are corner guys.
            Ilo of Cesar to the Yankees….Cozens or Williams.
            But I still would want pitching product Kaprielian somehow.

        1. Yea I received the same thing on my phone I double checked it. So I checked the Sight yanksgoyard.com which seems to suggest one of the 1 of the 4 will be a center piece Frazier, judge, Mateo, or Torres. Il, take Frazier he seems to be lb ready.

    1. the dude who wrote the article is a disciple of skip bayless’s of the world – the one who write articles not because of the content but just to stir a conversation. the lack of substance is obvious in most of his articles.

    2. Thanks for the link, Jeff.
      For one thing, the article is POORLY written. (The editor ought to be released by the publisher.) However, the gist of the report (I think) is that the Yankees are trying to get the Phils to ‘release’ VV via trade for top prospect(s) after attempting to acquire him from Houston who opted to deal him here in the Giles trade. It’s amateur journalism for sure but I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around Velasquez being moved for a haul. Yankees would definitely be a prime candidate with Judge, Torres and co.

  16. ESPN Insider article on rebuilding (tanking). Mentions Phillies, Braves, Reds, Brewers, and Padres as teams in different stages of reconstructions. The success of the Cubs may encourage other teams to follow this strategy. The four teams listed as franchises that could be best served by rebuilding are the White Sox, Tigers, Diamondbacks, and Orioles.

    About Baltimore … “The Orioles are in their own tricky spot. On the surface, you wouldn’t think so. The past five years, they’ve won more games than anyone else in the American League. But they might be approaching a cliff, and there presently isn’t a lot of help coming from their farm system. The division they play in is perennially challenging, and so it’s not hard to see how a rough start to 2017 could persuade management to take a long-term view.
    Teams that want to get in on ace reliever Zach Britton will have to get ready to pay a steep price, but will the Orioles be ready to deal?

    The most obvious trade asset would be closer Zach Britton. He’s a free agent after 2018, and there’s historic demand right now for elite high-leverage relievers. A Britton trade could be somewhere in between the Chapman trade return and the Miller trade return. And then, if the Orioles got really daring, they could trade Manny Machado, who’s also a free agent in two years. Machado is young enough that the Orioles should be trying to sign him to an extension, but if they can’t do it, they could be positioned to trade one of the best players in baseball. Machado would get something similar to what Sale might get.

    Trading Britton would be one thing; trading Machado would be another. Maybe that would be going too far. But there wouldn’t be much else for the Orioles to do. Chris Tillman has only modest trade value. J.J. Hardy’s value might not even be modest. And Adam Jones’ best days might be behind him — he’s also a free agent after 2018, and he’s due about $34 million. Jones would not be the trade asset he used to be.

    Machado would really get the rebuild going, but that would also be the toughest part to stomach. Without that trade happening, the Orioles would limit their prospect intake, and they’d be hoping for the very best from Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. The Orioles might think about rebuilding, but it would be tougher to pull off in practice than it sounds in theory.”

    The return for Sale they suggested was two to four top 100 prospects.
    I’d rather wait (and hope) for MM to hit free agency after 2018, but what would you give up for him right now? Would you give the O’s Maikel Franco, Vince Velasquez, Mickey Moniak, and Dylan Cousins? Would the O’s accept that?
    http://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/18110301/which-mlb-teams-ready-rebuild

    1. @Hinkie – i think the Orioles will ask for Alfaro and a high risk potential TOR like Kilome or Sixto. I’m with you. If the Phils can wait and sign Machado in 2018, and by that time, the team have all the necessary pieces and make it easy for Machado to sign.

    2. The Phillies need to avoid an “empty the cupboard to acquire a star” trade almost at all costs. One of the key parts of the Cubs’ turnaround strategy was not to trade for anything that they could buy and to treat excellent prospects and young players as their most valuable commodities. And if you don’t think acting too soon and trading away lots of young players in an effort to win now is an awful strategy go talk to some Padres fans. Their GM set the franchise back nearly a decade by emptying the cupboard too soon.

      1. That’s the best response I’ve seen from anyone in awhile.

        If VV is going to bloom, why not with the phils rather than not. Though they have lots of other talent, its not as though they have several already established aces like the cubs, that they can let a potential #1 or #2 escape.

    3. Just look to the Donaldson deal Oakland did with Toronto. The O’s would expect at least that type of return…

      But to your point no I wouldn’t do that deal I think it gives up too much. VV is a premium chip you don’t need to include him and Franco and Moniak.

      I saw my White Sox homey over the weekend. He thinks a Sale deal definitely goes down. The Dodgers and Braves are front runners Hahn prefers not to trade him in the AL but the Yankees want to make it interesting they are a sleeper as are the BoSox.

      1. DMAR…….makes sense…a Sale sale will rejuvenate that team with the 3/4 top prospects coming their way.
        Also look for Carlos Rodon to be shopped for a lesser return than Sale’s return.
        I wouldn’t mind the Phillies trying to get him into their rotation as their lone LHP.

  17. I completely agree catch. You have to wait and see which of our prospects develop into a top player and then use FA to fill in what is missing. To trade your cream for a Machado leaves you with him and very little. That is the exact wrong way to rebuild. The best player in the league is Mike Trout. He may never win with the way the Angels have put together the rest of the team.

  18. I wouldn’t touch Aaron Judge with a 40 foot pole . . . he going to be a Chris Carter with less in game power . . . and I think Cozens is the same thing (sorry). In no way shape for form do I want him as a center piece for a VV trade (Don’t even want him involved to be honest). Just my opinion

    1. I agree with your assessment of Aaron Judge. I’m not confident will be anything and I don’t think he is any better than What Cozens will eventually become.

    1. Love Eickoff…gutsy, tough, no run support and no perception that there would be any – and he still pitched his heart out. He is the real keeper unless/until he blows up ! Not likely to happen, I say, he is the real hidden gem in the Hamels trade.

      Trust me – I can’t believe I am writing this ! But he is a gamer !

      1. He is absolutely a gamer; a winner who has tremendous mound presence and confidence.

        Guys like Eickhoff are why you really need to watch a player in order to fully evaluate him. Even though he’ll probably never be a top of the rotation guy (it’s possible, but not likely), he’s someone I would hand the ball to in a playoff game without hesitation. Not only that, if the goal is to produce a winning culture, Eickhoff contributes to that atmosphere in a big way.

    2. fulfill…disagree. IMO, Thompson’s age is a point in his favor vs Lively/Asher, where he has time to develop…they have reached their potential IMO…..as for Eickhoff, after 41 starts of 5.3 bWAR , to me he may have a little of a future Kyle Hendricks in him.

      1. Eickhoff has been huge considering he was at the back end of the Hamels trade . . . I agree with everyone above that the kid is a bulldog who doesn’t seem to get flustered and seems to be a good teammate as well. Really likeable kid. I don’t know where this would slot him but I can def see him entering FA in 2022 with a sub 3.50 career ERA with season after season of 180plus innings (Maybe a John Lackey type career. I know its so early to say that). I think he can work deeper in games (or at least should try and improve upon that) however between Nola/VV/Hellickson(For some reason “Hellboy” annoys the heck outta me lol)/Eflin/Thompson he leads the pack in innings per start. I feel like he really stabilizes the middle of that rotation or any rotation for that matter and he’ll give you stretches where he pitches like a 1 or very good 2.

      2. I like guys who walk around 2 per 9 innings or less. Ascher, Lively, Eshelman and Nola project in that category. At the present time Thompson doesn’t, but Eickhoff seems to have an awareness of limiting walks.

  19. Hinkie, you expert, honorable erudite bean counter. (positive thing)…Machado, I do believe, will test the market because of the class he is in – “the Harper class ” (who I dislike intensely and who mlb insists on using as a bogus “front man.”) To me, he is about the 15th best player in mlb right now !!!! That said, I don’t think the tv contract (Romus on this blog would have said it better) will be in place for Baltimore such that they would have to trade the entire crab cake empire for Manny. to stay there and since he is in ” the Harper class” he will “command” less ???? $$$$ than a vocal Boras client – is it likely that the Yankees, Bosox, and, I feel strongly, the Middleton Phillies, will be among a very elite crew to go after Machado……think about it, the Yankees will try to sign Harper to 400 million for 10 years, and the Phillies may be able to sign Manny for ???? for 8 years. Both of these players, I think, will stay on the East coast…… Bosox, at that point with their young super stars, will have potential commitments above 200 million a year ?, if they are lucky,and/or that could be Betts contract for 7 years ? What will Benitenii cost going forward ???? Point is, they may have spent their resources ???

  20. What is wrong with Brock Stassi? He is a late bloomer? Looking at his numbers, he seems really good. If I was another team in need of a first baseman, I’d select him in the rule 5 draft.

    1. Stassi’s main issue is about probability and projection. Probability that a prospect of his profile (skill set/tools, production, age) can be a successful MLB player — the answer is low probability; Projection – does he has any projection left — given his advance age, Stassi is already close to a finished product.

      The low probability that Stassi is one of the few late bloomers and low projection left is what’s wrong with Stassi.

      1. If he were younger or played a more important defensive position, he might be selected. He’s intriguing, but the odds are still against him.

  21. Ken Rosenthal reported last night that the owners have set a deadline for a new CBA. Biggest issue is the International Draft and in exchange for that they will give up QO draft pick compensation.

    Of course the union will posture and say they don’t want the International draft. The comment I heard was that US amateurs have college as leverage and the LA markets do not. That is agent speak nonsense if ever I’ve heard it.

    If you gave US Amateurs the same free enterprise as international players you wouldn’t have college baseball.

    Tony Clark has to pretend to have the LA players back but ultimately when it comes to a player vote they are going to choose the removal of attached compensation every day of the week and 2x on Sunday.

    1. I agree that the union will eventually agree to some type of international draft but I expect they will be able to get more from the owners than just the QO. Maybe an expansion of the rosters to 26 players and a few other items related to service time. Players hate the idea of waiting until May to bring players up to get the extra year of control.

      1. I agree 3UP I think Ken was hinting they can both agree on most other issues and possibly a few rule changes…

        1. DMAR…take the QO option comp off the table….and the Hellickson non-trade of this past July looms as a minus on Klentak’s ledger.
          He will be forced to trade him this July for whatever he can get…..sign him for 3/4 years or let him walk.
          Seems he out smarted himself

          1. I’m starting to feel a little critical of Klentak but not at all for the Hellboy QO. You roll the dice and see what happens Romus. If you lose no big deal it didn’t cost you anything but money in this case.

            Let’s keep it real. Back in July Hellboy wasn’t landing you a young Noah Syndergaard or Gleybar Torres. He was getting you a B type prospect of which this system has a bounty of.

            1. DMAR…we do not know what talent-level a prospect Hellboy’s return would have brought.
              Logically……the lower the minor-league level the higher the ceiling and of course the added more risk.
              I would have to assume with the abundance of MLB ready prospects already accumulated at AA/AAA level by the Phillies…..Klentak was shooting for a low A premier prospect, that is also Rule 5 exempt for a few years.
              But that is my assumption and how I would have approached it at the time.
              The Phillie fans, outside of those on this website, would have been in an uproar probably since the pay off may not have been for 3/4 years down the road if at all…..the ‘ anti-trust the process’ sentiment that they have, would have surfaced.
              I understand Hellboy’s return was not going to be great, but there is a chance there may not be any at all now, if the QO comp provision in Article XiX/XX is voided for 2017.
              .

          2. Most likely the removal of the QO pick just means the SIGNING team won’t lose their pick. I imagine the team that loses the free agent will still get a Comp Balance pick.

            If it were me, I’d propose a two-tier qualifying offer. When a player is a free agent you can extend one of two offers: both for one year, but one that is significantly more money. If they decline and sign somewhere else, the higher money offer would give a Comp Balance A draft pick (after the first round). The lower money offer would give a Comp B pick (after the second round).

            So say this year the options were 1 year, 17.4M for Comp A and 1 year, 10M for Comp B. That ensures you won’t offer the contract for marginal players because it’s still a decent chunk of money (and a marginal player would likely accept the pay day). But it also means the good, but not elite, free agents won’t miss out on a market due to the draft pick compensation (the signing team still keeps their pick).

          3. I think the new CBA will still give draft pick compensation (at the end of the first round) to teams losing FA’s with a QO. The difference is the new CBA won’t penalize teams signing FA’s with a QO by taking away their first round (or second round for bottom ten teams) draft picks. So, if Hellboy has another good year, Klentak can hold on to him all year (if he doesn’t get an offer he likes again), extend another QO (and not have to worry about that getting in the way of Hellickson receiving a multi year deal on the open market), and still get a draft pick. The only difference will be the 2018 pick will probably be about ten spots lower than the 2017 pick would have been.

  22. Baseball wise, I am thankful that we’re looking up toward an encouraging 2017 instead of down toward a saddening 2012. Remember those days? It won’the be too long, fellas. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY FELLOW BASEBALL JUNKIES!!

      1. If Jimmy Cordero can ever stay healthy the Phillies will regret this move. Also, hope someone gets moved off the 40 man roster to make room for Andrew Pullin. I just don’t understand why he was left off as he takes pitches, has plate discipline with some power which the new regime seems to like.

  23. Keith Law’s Top 30 for the 2018 Draft has been published on ESPN.com … http://www.espn.com/blog/mlb-draft/insider/post?id=2977.

    For those w/o an insider account, these are his overall thoughts on the draft class: “The 2017 draft class is different than those we’ve seen the past few years. It lacks the depth of some recent classes, but features an above-average group of first-rounders, with an especially strong crop of college pitchers and some high-upside high school outfielders.
    Southern California is as good as it has been in years, and it’s a banner year in Kentucky, of all places. We’ve even got a few smaller colleges represented in addition to the usual passel of SEC prospects. It’s a good year to pick at the very top, and the back half of the first round is better than normal, but the difference between picking third and seventh — which was determined on the season’s final day — is significant.”

    Some highlights from his list …
    1. Jeren Kendall
    2. Hunter Greene
    3. Kyle Wright
    4. Alex Faedo
    5. Tanner Houck

    Also, for Romus … #7 Brendan McKay – “McKay doesn’t have the top-of-the-rotation stuff that the pitchers above — and some below — have, but what he does have is excellent feel for pitching and the ability to command an above-average fastball and curve.”

    10. DL Hall
    15. Brendon Little, LHP, Manatee JC … is a guy I had never heard of before. He’s actually a local kid. “Little was a fourth- to fifth-round talent out of Malvern, Pennsylvania, in 2015. He went to North Carolina, but was barely used at all by the Heels because reasons. He went to the Cape this summer and touched 98, reaching 96 regularly with a plus curveball, and transferred to Manatee to get away from UNC and become eligible for the 2017 draft, where he’s now among the top southpaws in the class.”
    19. Trevor Rogers … is a HS LHP I was hoping the Phillies could get with the extra first round pick I was banking on when Hellickson refused his QO. Oh, well. Maybe they consider him at 1-8, or maybe he has a disappointing senior season and he slips to the second round.

    Finally, Law doesn’t include either Mark Vientos or Alex Toral in his Top 30. Maybe the Phillies have a shot at one of them with their second round pick.

    1. Hinkie…keep an eye on McKay as the season unfolds.Hopefully he stays healthy.
      What really caught my eye was his freshman year metrics …they were plus-plus when you compare them vs other pitchers freshman year metrics in the past who were top ten draft picks.

    2. Romus … yeah, I know you’ve been high on McKay for a while now. I believe he is a safe pick. There’s a very good chance he’ll be pitching in (the back end of) someone’s rotation in less than three years. For me, though, the Phillies farm system is in a position (very deep) where they should take a chance on a player with a higher ceiling. Wright, Houck, or Greene if they somehow make it to 1-8. DL Hall, Trevor Rogers, or JB Bukaskaus if the first group doesn’t make it to them. Jordan Adell or Mark Vientos are HS position players with high ceilings, albeit with bigger risks.

        1. Here’s the entire list
          1. Jeren Kendall, OF, Vanderbilt
          2. Hunter Greene, RHP/SS, Notre Dame HS
          3. Kyle Wright, RHP, Vanderbilt
          4. Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida
          5. Tanner Houck, RHP, Missouri
          6. Jo Adell, OF, Ballard (Louisville, Ky.) HS
          7. Brendan McKay, LHP, Louisville
          8. Corbin Martin, RHP, Texas A&M
          9. JB Bukauskas, RHP, UNC
          10. DL Hall, LHP, Valdosta (Warner Robins, Ga.) HS
          11. Hagen Danner, RHP, Huntington Beach (Calif.) HS
          12. JJ Schwarz, C, Florida
          13. Tristan Beck, RHP, Stanford
          14. Garrett Mitchell, OF, Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS
          15. Brendon Little, LHP, Manatee JC
          16. Royce Lewis, OF/IF, JSerra (Aliso Viejo HS, Calif.) HS
          17. Hans Crouse, RHP, Dana Hills (Dana Point, Calif.) HS
          18. Peter Solomon, RHP, Notre Dame
          19. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Carlsbad (N.M.) HS
          20. Alex Scherff, RHP, Grapevine (Colleyville, Texas) HS
          21. Kyle Hurt, RHP, Torrey Pines (Calif.) HS
          22. Alex Lange, RHP, LSU
          23. Keston Hiura, OF, UC Irvine
          24. Cole Turney, OF, William B. Travis (Richmond, Texas) HS
          25. Sam Carlson, RHP, Burnsville (Savage, Mn.) HS
          26. Dalton Guthrie, SS, Florida
          27. Conner Uselton, OF, Southmoore (Oklahoma City) HS
          28. Michael Gigliotti, OF, Lipscomb
          29. Joe Boyle, RHP, North Oldham (Ky.) HS
          30. Quentin Holmes, OF, Monsignor McClancy Memorial (Elmhurst, N.Y.)

    1. ThAT kind of surprises me. Know he waqs no prospect but he was an inning eater and someone always gets hurt

    2. As an Atlanta native, might get picked up by the Gwinnett Braves. He performed better than most of their SPs.

  24. I guess the Phillies Value health over veto . Cordero had 2 shoulder issues last yr. He’s value went form furture closer to ptbnl. 2 spots open for the rule 5 or add on a couple more prospects. They still have a luis Garcia too maybe there lining up for a possible trade ?

    1. Tim….once the shoulder issues start popping up for hi-velo guys, then the future looks bleak. Plus he is 25 now, so age is going against him in trying to make his mark in the major leagues.

  25. I think the Phillies should consider a 6 man rotation giving space to Lively.

    Don’t know what another year in the minors will do for him at 24. Also, if we know what Morgan is from a SP perspective, why not put him in the BP?

    Am I also understanding right, that the Phillies would rather keep Asche on the 40 man roster than the potential of Cordero? It would have been good to work with him another year given his age and potential.

    1. You don’t understand, they will only replace Asche on the 40 with someone who can fill his spot on the 25, playing multiple positions. Certainly not a pitcher.

      1. They have plenty of options to play backup 1B and 3B, still not a remote reason to hold a below average player above the potential of Cordero.

        Galvis could easily fill in at 3B. Altherr is big enough to fill in at 1B if Knapp isn’t on the roster.

        Not to mention the depth in the minors to call up in a pinch.

    2. Lively will be fighting for a spot but he’s only the 8th starter right now behind Eflin, Thompson, and Asher who are fighting for the 5th spot. The first 4 spots are set if Nola is healthy. It wouldn’t surprise me to see one of these guys moved to the pen. I definitely think Morgan will get moved to the pen. 6 starter rotation is unlikely in my opinion although going to a 26 man roster makes it a bit more possible.

      1. Schwarber can be a very limited positional player in the NL.
        Looks like catching is out with the knee injury and their current youngster alrerady in there. So its down to two positions…. LF or 1st.
        The teams would probably throw in more complementary pieces to that trade.

        1. I rarely say this, but with Schwarber his lack of a position almost doesn’t matter. He’s going to be the best hitter in baseball not named Mike Trout. He’s another Jim Thome – yeah, he’s that good.

    1. I would say yes VV has a long injury history . Schwarber has 1 major injury but he can hit …… with power I still he could play LF he’ll if the bull could do it . You stick Schwarber in this lineup and buy a pitcher or 2 . VV could be a great but he has a way to go Schwarber an advanced hitter now he’s only going to get better.

  26. Crawford will be put on the 40 man roster this year, when he’s called up. He better be putting a lot of extra time in the weight room and doing a lot of extra aerobics this offseason. He has had some trouble in past years late in the season. He’s running out of gas before the season’s over. If he’s brought up, he’ll be playing an extra 20 games more than in the minors. He needs to be in peak condition for that likelihood.

    1. And Trevor Rogers up to #9. Also a couple of kids from near me on the list … #43 Brad Dobzanski (Delsea Regional HS) and #94 Buddy Kennedy (Millville HS). Dobzanski’s brother, Bryan, was drafted and signed with the Cardinals this year As a matter of fact, I think the video BA includes is actually of Bryan Dobzanski, not Brad. Kennedy trains with Mike Trout during the off-seson.

  27. I still don’t understand how Hernandez is only considered a 2nd division reg . . . He’s improved year after year . . . This year putting up a season where statically he was in the top 5-8 in all categories among all ML 2B and that’s in one of (if not the worst) offenses in baseball. Yes he leaves much to be desired in terms of his baseball IQ (or IGI) and his use of his legs. However both can be improved upon easier than most baseball development skills. Galvis vs Hernandez at 2B . . . Depends on what you value more, a great glove w new found power (is another 20HR season crazy to expect?) or a high OBP guy who does everything else at a slightly above average level. Deciding factor may be that Galvis can play several positions where Hernandez is locked in at 2B but I lack of respect he gets is beyond me.

    1. Eric…fyi….a brief comp from another poster from another site:
      From an offensive side.
      2016:
      Freddy .241/.274/.399, 79 OPS+, 1.3 WAR
      Cesar: .294/.371/.393, 107 OPS+, 3.3 WAR
      Last 2 years averaged:
      Freddy .252/.288/.372, , 79 OPS+, 0.8 WAR
      Cesar: .285/.358/.374, 101 OPS+, 2.1 WAR

  28. Cordero traded to Washington for a PTBNL. Let’s hope this doesn’t bite us on the you know where. I think the Phils looked at his recent injuries and thought this would restrict Cordero well into the future. It will be interesting to see what he brings back in return… and when.

    1. Yeah, the Phillies trading Cordero was definitely injury related. He missed the first 3 months of the 2016 season with a shoulder injury and then was placed on the DL in Sep 2016 with a strained shoulder. In between the injuries, Cordero didn’t pitch great – 27 IP, 5.00 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, .262 batting average against.

      Cordero is better than those numbers, but the recurring shoulder problems had to be a real concern, especially for a pitcher who relies on velocity.

      1. Velo decreased from triple digits to 94-97…which is still very good..but he wasn’t missing bats and control became worrisome for him.. And I am willing to bet he is pitching on borrowed time with the shoulder uncertainty.
        For that reason…the PTBNL

    1. Pullin will be selected. I don’t know if he’all stick but I bet he gets selected. Nunez could be taken as well

      1. Murray – I’ll take that bet and even given you 10:1 odds. If he still played 2B, then definitely at risk. But as an OF I think the chance of him being selected dropped significantly after he was unable to participate in the AFL

        1. I hope you’re right. FYI – the Phillies are convinced that Pullin can hit in the majors. He’s just behind too many guys right now and limited positionally (is that a word?). The word on Pullin is that he can hit any fastball. That’s a good thing.

          1. Murray – agree about the hit tool. And I’d hate to lose him. Just not sure he is at significant risk. As an OF’er, he’d need a stand out tool to be attractive for Rule 5 selection. Most importantly, he would need to be ranked in the top 3 unprotected OF’ers to be at any significant risk.

            I personally don’t think Pullin is in the Top 3. Kyle Wren from the Brewers is my pick to be the first OF’er taken. I also think Mel Rojas and John Andreoli will be selected ahead of Pullin.

            You never know if a Pullin caught a scout’s eye during the season though. I think the risk is low, but not zero

            http://www.rotowire.com/baseball/player.htm?id=13640

            1. I’ve seen Pullin play a decent amount and he beats up on bad pitching and fastballs. He looks lost against anything that is off speed. He is not a ML hitter and I can see him getting exposed in AAA fairly easily. Just my opinion (however my opinion is low on Crawford and Kingery and high on guys like Pivetta and Alberto T. so what do I know?)

    2. Romus – as you may know by now, my money is on that they don’t lose anyone in the Rule 5. All in all I think Klentak handed the roster maneuvering well

      1. Steve…I’m wich you.
        Klentak protected the prospects he thought would get selected.
        Tocci, Grullon, Pujols and Pullin IMO will be passed on this year.
        Next season who knows, they may all have to be protected..
        Pullin, when compared to Goeddel from last year, has a few more flaws and is limited defensively. MLB teams cannot carry a guy all year who is strictly a LFer, unless he starts most of the games.

          1. rocco…You bet. We Are.
            But even with an OSU win today, and a PSU win today and next Saturday…still may not get into the CFP. They have not taken two from one conference yet…..the Alabama/LSU BCS from 5/6 years ago is what this CFPs is trying to avoid. They want the top 4 out of 5 big conference reps there.

            1. Romus, I am happy with a real good Bowl game. The turn around, after getting smacked by Michigan, has been tremendous. Just to be in this position is great, after rumors that Franklin may not last the season earlier.

          2. We are said after the Michigan game the Offense Cor starting running the QB . It opened up the ground game for Barkley . They also received 2 lb that were hurt after the 2nd game . The O cord for st is a stud he runs zone offense rich does great in college. Just like Matt Stairs runs the hit the Ball a way Offense .

  29. Temple basketball just beat 2 teams in the top 25 . Looks like there might be too local college basketball teams 8 the tournament this yr .

    1. One of the only basketball players I’ve ever worked with (strength and conditioning wise) is a Soph on Temples squad this year. However my Memphis Tigers (where I attended) are in their conf soooooo . . . Temple always has a solid team.

  30. Don’t forget that Dec 2 is when they tender players contracts. For most they will be kept, but Asche is one who could be non-tendered. As for pitchers Luis Garcia is most likely but don’t count out Gomez being non-tendered although I doubt it. Also Mariot and Klein could fall into this category if they need roster spots. The Phils will also keep an eye out for outfielders and relief pitchers who may end up as non-tender players.

  31. Bob – I think Garcia is Pre-Arb, so you’re talking DFA risk there I presume. Agree on Asche – he’ll be battling to keep his roster spot from now until OD. Both Klein and Mariot could certainly be DFA’d. The 40-man should remain quite fluid the next few months

    1. Remember that you’ll need a 7 man bullpen plus a few arms at AAA that you can call up also. You can’t release these guys and still have what you need.

      1. Murray – I suspect Klein doesn’t make it out of December. I’d put Mariot at greater than 50% risk as well. Talking merely 40-man here of course as many of these players can be outrighted to the minors if cleared.

        With Klein and Mariot the most vulnerable, I’d slot Luis Garcia not far behind. I think all three are likely DFAs in the coming weeks. To your point, they cannot remove three pitchers from the 40-man and replace them with three outfielders though. Below is our 40-man reliever depth for 2017. I’d be absolutely shocked if there aren’t at least 2 new names on this list heading into ST.

        Jeanmar Gomez
        Hector Neris
        Pat Neshek
        Edubray Ramos

        Severino Gonzalez
        Luis Garcia
        Adam Morgan
        Joely Rodriguez
        Michael Mariot
        Phil Klein
        Mark Appel
        Nick Pivetta

        1. Not very inspiring list is it? Apparently Pinto is becoming a reliever too I hear. I agree that there will be at least one new name on the list and that Klein could be the next man to go. I actually think Mariot looked good and will be back. Also, with Neshek you need to have two lefties, he can’t face them in key spots.

  32. From the 40-man roster, 2017 will be a watershed year for each of these prospects (in terms of projecting the 2018 roster):

    Mark Appel – Is he a starter or does he become a bullpen project???

    Andrew Knapp – will he be a major league catcher even in a backup role OR a super utility guy who can play 1b and LF as well as C? And will his bat keep him there?

    Nick Williams – how patient will the brass be in his development? and ultimately can he make progress in managing his strike zone?

    Roman Quinn – can he stay on the field? And can he hit a breaking ball?

    Dylan Cozens – can he sustain close to what he did in Reading at the AAA level?

    1. 8-mark – I like.

      Regarding Knapp – does he play OF? I’m beginning to believe Knapp is a near lock to make the big club out of ST. Various implications if he doesn’t, and while he didn’t exactly shine at LV in 2016, it’s not as if he struggled either. In addition to C duties, my mind keeps drifting to Knapp as a LH platoon option to Joseph at 1B, but it’s difficult to see him manning 1st base if he’s one of only two catchers on the roster. If I had to guess today, I’d say that Knapp makes the team as the dedicated backup to Rupp. FWIW, Knapp’s slash was better against lefties in both 2016 and 2015.

      1. Steve…when he played the OF…it was at Cal for the first two seasons…freshmen and soph….his junior he went behind the plate exclusively. So it is not completely foreign to him.

  33. Brief Winter League discussion here: 3 guys over .300 plus one just under. Jan Hernandez @ .364 but it’s in 11 ABs… move on. Carlos Tocci @ .323/.392/.383/.818. He’s been consistent and effective but not sure he’s hitting the ball out of the infield. Interesting stat: he’s hit into 7 DPs. Maybe he’s stinging the ball a little more but an occasional dbl or trpl ain’t going to feed the bulldog. Tim Kennelly… wait…. he hasn’t played for the Phils in a lot of years.. right? Stassi is at .297/.448/.541/.988. He’s been solid all winter and has 31/23 BB/Ks. He’s not a true prospect anymore, not that he ever was, but he’s looking like a very solid AAAA guy. An injury or two and he’s ready.

    Dylan Cozens has 32 Ks in 97 PAs. He’s got to be tired.

    1. Alfaro is coming along well now….in his 60 ABs he has 10 HBHs and has a slash of .283/338/888.

      A little nugget from almost seven years ago.
      Rangers sign Jorge Alfaro
      January 18, 2010…International Signings…giventofly41
      This was the young catcher out of Columbia that the Phillies were linked to for the last few months. Apparently the Rangers have signed him for $1.3M. At that price, it makes sense for the Phillies to pass. Just thought we’d put this one to bed, since he was mentioned in passing in a bunch of posts over the last few months.
      .

      1. Romus – Alfaro is biggest jump inside the Top 10. Was no. 10 for me last year, likely to jump to no. 2 this year. I’m very excited about Alfaro – excited about his progress as a receiver (though still room for improvement). If he hits .240 as a C, he’ll still be an above average regular.

        1. JP Crawford
        2. Jorge Alfaro
        3. Nick Williams
        4. Franklyn Kilome
        5. Mickey Moniak

          1. I would think so Romus, along with JP and Mickey. I figure Francisco Mejia will be the number 1 ranked C and a Top 20 OA prospect. I would have Alfaro a distance second at C behind Meija, but I think legitimate Top 50 OA.

            1. And Knapp at 7 for the catchers. That might a first for the Phillies having two catchers in the top ten.
              Marson and D’Arnaud may have been there, not sure, but if so, at different times I would think.

  34. Someone on Twitter reported that the Phillies have interst in the Twins 2B Dozier (and you guys were laughing at me 😜) .

    Another thing, there hasn’t been much talk about Fransisco Morales . . . I’m super excited to see what he can bring to the org this coming season.

      1. He going to be 18 he never pitched in minor league . Clearwater rotation is stacked Morales will most likely start in rookie ball .

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