Open Discussion: Week of December 5th

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

Players and owners reached an agreement last week and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place through 2021. 

The Phillies tendered contracts to Freddy Galvis, Cesar Hernandez, and Jeanmar Gomez. The only other possible tender, Cody Asche, was designated for assignment when the Phillies needed his roster spot for waiver claim, LHP David Rollins.  Asche opted to test free agency.

Jim Salisbury has reported that the Phillies are close to signing 39-year old, right-handed reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The Phillies announced their stateside minor league coaching staffs:

  • Lehigh Valley – Manager Dusty Wathan; Coach Sal Rende: and Pitching Coach Dave Lundquist.
  • Reading – Manager Greg Legg; Coach John Mizerock; and Pitching Coach Steve Schrenk.
  • Clearwater – Manager Shawn Williams; Coach Rob Ducey; and Pitching Coach Aaron Fultz.
  • Lakewood – Manager Marty Malloy; Coach Nelson Prada; and Pitching Coach Brian Sweeney.
  • Williamsport – Manager Pat Borders; Coach Tyler Henson; and Pitching Coach Hector Berrios.
  • GCL Phillies – Manager Roly de Armas; Coach Rafael DeLima; Coach Charlie Hayes; and Pitching Coach Hector Mercado.

Reports have surfaced that John Kruk will be joining the Phillies broadcast team.

The MLB Network began their coverage of baseball’s Winter Meetings Sunday night.  The first earth shattering announcements was that former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and current Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Key dates remaining during the off season:

  • 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

The Phillies hired former Twins’ GM Terry Ryan as a special assignment scout. Ryan was part of the Twins organization with Andy MacPhail back in the 80s and early 90s.  Ryan held several positions and was Vice President of Player Personnel when MacPhail was the Twins’ GM.

Cumulative transactions: 

  • 12/2 – Phillies claimed David Rollins off waivers from Texas Rangers.
  • 12/2 – Phillies designated LF Cody Asche for assignment.
  • 12/2 – LF Cody Asche elected free agency.
  • Phillies signed free agent RHP Moises Nolasco to a minor league contract.
  • 11/23 – Phillies released RHP David Buchanan.
  • 11/23 – Phillies traded RHP Jimmy Cordero to Washington for cash or a PTBNL.
  • Signed RHP Victor Santos, OF Wilbert Garcia
  • 11/20 – C Ronald Torrealba assigned to DSL Phillies2
  • 11/20 – LHP Anton Mikhailovich Kuznetsov assigned to DSL Phillies.
    • 09/08 –  Phillies signed free agent LHP Anton Kuznetsov to a minor league contract.
  • 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.


312 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 5th

  1. Benoit and Neshek are already sounding better than Luis Garcia, Michael Mariot and the like. Spend a little money on better options and maybe they become better trade chips in July. Nice pickup.

  2. With Terry Ryan joining the Phils as special assignment scout, I think it’s possible that the Phillies are one of the “4 or 5 teams interested in Brian Dozier” as per Jon Heyman, the Dodgers are the only team identified.

    1. Why would we want to trade significant prospects for a 30 y/o 2B who’s a free agent after 2018 when we have a 27 y/o 2B who’s not a free agent until after 2020?

      1. Because they’re ‘prospects’, plus Hernandez isn’t Dozier no matter how long he’s under team control.

        1. I don’t have a problem trading prospects, but not for a 30 y/o 2B. The same package it’d take to get Dozier could get you a decent SP or a position player at a spot where a prospect fails.

          And you can use Dozier to make a pretty good case to keep Cesar. Both were okay at 25 and pretty good at 26. Both were unheralded prospects. Hernandez actually hit better than Dozier at 26. I’d rather have Hernandez age 27-30 than Dozier 30-31.

  3. Great job – doubt anyone could or should care but there’s a typo in Mickey M’s name in roster coaches

  4. I’d love the Phillies to sign a versitile guy like Desmond. If you can get him for 3-4 years, he’ll be 35 then, I think it’s a solid deal. He hits well in this park as well.

    1. Buster Olney reported that the Rangers envision losing Ian Desmond and have inquired about the Red’s Billy Williams for CF. If they have done that, I would think Jon Daniels will also ask Matt Klentak about Odubel Herrera’s availability, maybe in talks sometime this week…and they know Odubel from his 5 years spent in their farm system. What would he be willing to offer in exchange for Doobie, I guess is the question.

      1. Klentak should at least ask for any of the top 3 (although TEX will immediately say no to Mendez) or try Jenkins + Matuella.

        1. KuKo…they may give up Mendez and a lower tier prospect. I personally would go for 2 of their top three LHP pitching prospects with Mendez first and foremost then one of each Ragans or Martin.
          Phillies are currently top heavy in positional prospects, I would pass on anymore OFers or infielders..

          1. @romus – i doubt that TEX will give up Mendez since they need pitching and Mendez is almost MLB ready – I will do a straight up swap for Mendez if TEX is ok with it.

            Agree that the Phils is top heavy in position players, however, Taveras and Jenkins are 18 yo/19 yo but with good upside. Any combo of Taveras or Jenkins + Ragans or Matuella is a good return for Doobie.

            1. A 25 yo center fielder with 2 seasons of 4-WAR for a minor league pitching prospect without clear #1 potential is a HORRIBLE deal for the Phillies. Odubel is an excellent major league player that is still several years away from his prime years. His timeline matches up perfectly. Would be insane to trade him straight up for a minor league pitcher.

            2. @v1 – yeah, it’s sounds like a HORRIBLE trade if you focused on the “excellent MLB player” for “minor league pitching prospect” generalization like what you did.

              how can u already conclude that Doobie is an excellent MLB player? it is because of his WAR for only 2 seasons? Knock on wood, but ts it possible that the wheels will fall off too?

              technically, Mendez is a minor league prospect but not all minor league prospect are the same. Mendez is major league ready and has a very good upside potentially same if not better upside as Doobie.

              Most trades involving young players are mainly based on projections and upsides and not on short minded generalizations. And for the Phils, with depth in CF and lacking a major-ready upside arm — this seems to be a fair trade. Is it possible that the Phils will be wrong about this? Well yes, any trade is a gamble. And in the event the Phils got this one wrong, the Phils can absorb the loss of Doobie (because of their depth in the CF and Doobie is probably not the best CF in 5 years). But what happens is Mendez turns out to be as projected?

            3. v1……Rick Hahn’s trading of Adam Eaton to the Nationals for three minor league pitchers would appear to fall into that category.
              Giolito comes with great TOR promise and TJ on his resume.
              Lopez is a short guy with a big arm and probably ends up in the pen some day.
              Dunning has been more of a reliever in college than a starter and is adapting to starting now in the pros sitting in the low to mid 90s.
              All pitchers with some high ceilings but also risk.
              But the WSox went ahead and did the trade.

            4. What’s ridiculous to me about the camp that wants to trade Doobie is that they think “sell high” or “the wheels are gonna fall off” yet they don’t apply the same metric to the prospects in the return 🙂

              Eaton makes sense for the Chi Sox to move because of age and he no longer profiles well as a CF while defensively he profiles excellent in the corner the offense doesn’t quite match.

              Still he is a great player for many reasons you won’t find on fangraphs. Both sides I think got equal value but the Nats really needed a closer and that’s the part that is puzzling.

            5. “historical” are good if you want to measure things in the past. If I will be a GM, I will be more focused on using this the historical data to obtain a decent projection in the future. If we are talking of who is better “right now” — then we can use the historical data. but the realistic Phillies goal is to contend 2-3 years from now and eventually win after that so I’m concerned with future projections that historical data. So I have tend to sway towards players with high upsides in all my argument. Don’t show me historical data unless you can translate that into future projections.

            6. @romus – true, the Adam Eaton trade falls into this one and my philosophy leans towards CHISOX since I like to gamble. Although there’s a big difference between WAS and the Phils, WAS is in “WIN” now mode so they lean closer toward historical than future data.

  5. with rumors that Otani will be posted next year, the new CBA will be challenged since it is not clear if the restrictions apply only to LA or international players as a whole (which includes Asians, Euros, etc).

    reading some comments from the news from different sources, I can’t believe that nobody thinks that the Phillies has a chance to sign Otani and mostly believe that it is a choice of LAD, NYY, BOX and CHI Cubs for Otani. My only concern with Otani signing here is Philly is not known internationally as a “diverse city” and the Asian culture is almost non-existent. Asian’s, who did not grow up in the US keep a close family ties and territorial with their culture. I don’t doubt that Middleton and company will open their wallets and play a big boys game with LAD, NYY, BOS and CHI —- but if the Phillies cannot significantly overbids the other big players, I’m concerned that Otani will chose to sign with a team where he can get his $$ and his family can adopt because of the presence of Asian culture.

    I said this because I grew up with Asian relatives and see and hang out with my Asian relatives twice a year.

    1. I think you have to include Seattle as a possible destination also. Getting him to Philly will be really tough, but I’m sure they’ll bid. Everyone will bid for this guy…. I’m guessing he’ll end up in the AL with the promise that he’ll DH when he’s not pitching. Wouldn’t that be something!

    2. Nippon Fighters will probably get $140M in posting fees to start, but of course they can only get to keep the $20M from the team that wins the Otani sweepstakes.

    3. Otani and the Nippon Ham Fighters have announced (this morning) the Japanese megastar will be posted next off-season.
      I think Otani will become a “true” FA, meaning he can sign with the highest bidder, when MLB negotiates new posting rules next year. As I’ve mentioned (about 3 dozen times), the Phillies will have more payroll flexibility than any other major market team when Otani hits the open market.

      1. @hinkie – the burning question here is how far Middleton is willing to go to get Otani?? All of that payroll flexibility is useless if they don’t intend to use it. We all know (and proven in the past) that LAD, NYY, BOS and cubs will spend $$ to acquire international talents on top of the key pieces (in majors and minors) that will keep their team competitive for years — this is also assuming that diversity and Asian culture is non-factor.

        I doubt that Middleton, McPhail and Klentak value international talent that high for them to commit close to $180-200M for a player not in their cup of tea like Otani. Hope they prove me wrong.

    4. KK … agreed. There’s no reason for people to believe the Phillies don’t have a chance to sign Otani. It will probably come down to dollars and cents. The Red Sox and Dodgers will be over or right up against the cap. I think the Yankees, Cubs, and Phillies will be the three main players for him. The Phillies have just 2 million dollars on the books for 2018 and no money committed for 2019 and beyond. If they really want Otani, no other team should be able to outbid the Phillies. John Middleton can tell him come back to me with your best offer, and I’ll beat it. I think it may take 300 million dollars to land Otani … 8 years at 35 million (280 million) + 20 million dollar posting fee. The winning team will probably have to include an opt out clause. That’s a lot of money, but Otani will also be a windfall for his new team because of increases to attendance and TV viewership, as well as marketing opportunities.

      1. Hinkie, you’re probably right — Otani will get the biggest contract of all time which will be a precedent to the 2018-19 free class of FAs with $30M+ AAV as a minimum plus a karaoke bar and sushi restaurant in the ballpark.

        2017 – Otani
        2018 – Machado

        Let the dream come alive!

        1. KK … Happy to hear you’re on board with Otani and Machado. Now … we sit and wait for Romus to join the believe team.

  6. My comments re: Otani, which have been less than optimistic about him wearing red pinstripes, have as much to do with what Kurdt states above- potential cultural issues as well as there isn’t a level playing field with teams procuring talented Asian players. Notwithstanding Mr. Darvish – who has been a virtual one off – there has been a clear precedent for Japanese players to either play on the west coast – namely the Dodgers / Seattle or the Yankees who in the past just bludgeoned the other teams with cash. I am saying the odds of that happening again are very favorable. KK articulates it well, however.

  7. Benoit is a great signing, a veteran who can hopefully help now and possibly be flipped in August. They’ll likely hold the signing until after Thursday. I still think they’d like another lefty in the pen although they may just sign guys on minor league deals for that. Still multiple bench jobs available and still multiple guys needed off of the 40. Rank the next 5 (to allow for Benoit and 4 open bench spots). They could certainly make a Rule 5 selection to try and fill one of the 4 open spots. My 5 would be Klein, Garcia, Rollins, Severino, Mariot. And if they add a lefty reliever, add Morgan to the list. That literally leaves them with no veteran relievers at LHV on the 40 which would project Asher, Appel, Pivetta, and Pinto as the next reliever call ups. I think Lively and Thompson will stay as starters

  8. I agree Murray, and there needs to be a veteran back up C and I still think a LH bat to platoon. Any of those 5 can be DFA’d. In regards to Otani, I still don’t think that the Phils will be anywhere close getting him. I know Middleton ahs promised to spend but they have never been a serious player in the Japanese market, Cultural issues aside, the Phils just don’t spend the $ necessary in the International field. They may, very well, spend $200 Million on Manny Machado, but I don’t see Otani as even a hope.

    1. matt13…I would still post the fee and at least perhaps, drive up the asking price from a competing team. I think he could eventually get signed for about $26/27M AAV for 5 to 7 years….and it looks like ‘opt-out clauses’ have now morphed into the standard options in contracts, so he will get it I assume at his relatively young age..

  9. Correct me if I am wrong Romus, but I thought the process involved secret posting fees. Each team submits a sealed posting offer. The Japanese club picks the highest, then that team gets a window to negotiate with Otani. Rather than every team who agrees to a posting fee of X then gets to negotiate with the player.

    1. matt13….I think you may be correct.
      Then the $20M posting fee is the ‘entry fee’ into that bidding war with the Nippon Fighters.

    2. @matt – i think that’s the old rule. my understanding is that the team where Otani will sign will shoulder the $20M posting fee — however, each team who wants to negotiate will pay the posting fee of $20M and they will get it back if Otani doesn’t sign with them. Nippon will not get anything higher than $20M, that’s why they don’t have any motivation to really post their best player. If Otani will come to the US next year, it will be because he requested it and not Nippon’s making money. I remember that Otani was interested to join the Rule 4 draft when he was just 18 yo but Nippon talked him out.

      1. KUKo is correct. Any team who puts up 25 million dollars will have the opportunity to negotiate with Otani. If he signs with that team, Nippon keeps that 20 million. If Otani doesn’t sign with your team, your team gets back their 20 million dollars.

  10. Tim…..looks like two of your wishes will be going elsewhere….Pierce and Saunders may be playing 2017 in the AL-East with the Jays and Os.

    1. Ty seen that I’m on the Harper bandwagon now. Been busy else where but my phone is blowing up with updates. I like the Benoit move . I think he closes too Detroit is backing off the vet trading for now. I still want a power bat outfielder.

  11. I know all the details of the new CBA haven’t been formally announced, but has there been any word on the future of comp balance draft picks for smaller market teams ??? Will they still exist? Can they still be traded?

  12. Thanks Kurdt, If that is the case, then I would certainly hope that the Phils post the $20M and enter the negotiating sweepstakes. Melancon signing with the Giants, after Jansen and Chapman, the Phils may be able to get a very nice return for Neris. There are more than 2 contenders who need closers.

    1. @matt – i think the Phils will at least inquire and open the discussion table just like the Moncada sweepstake. Middleton will try to gauge the competition but it remains to be seen if the new FO is willing to go out of they way to get a talent like Otani. I gave the Phils a pass on Kevin Maitin since ATL probably locked Maitan years ago, but for Otani it’s everybody’s ballgame.

  13. Phils should look into JP Howell as a lefty arm and DFA Rollins. Although Howell doesn’t lit up the radar gun, he has a good 3-pitch mix and more importantly just looking for a 1-year deal.

  14. Bullpen carousel continues. Phils will sign Benoit for $7.5M/1 year. Didn’t mentioned who will be DFAd – my guess is Klein but Klentak always do the opposite of my guess.

    1. Klein is certainly on the short list, but take your pick between Klein, LGarcia and Mariot – they’ll all be off the 40-man by end of week. Bank on that

    1. Yes, Romus. That’s been my scenerio all along. Machado won’t sign early with the O’s because he doesn’t want to undersell himself. He waits to see what the market will bear for Harper.

  15. It certainly sounds like Boras will take him to the open market, as he does most of the time. He will probably want $300M. Another player the Phils won’t be in on. I hate being negative about their spending, but I just don’t see them outbidding the Yanks or the Dodgers. I would love to believe they would and I think they will be somewhat in the mix for top FAs, but a deal like Harper I don’t see. It is not as though John Middleton just got here. He may be a more vocal owner now and taken over the General Partner mantle, and he was widely applauded for us getting Cliff Lee when he was a FA, but Machado and Otani and Harper? I wish I had that faith in him.

    1. Harper is a very good player. In 2 years (IMO) he won’t be nearly the draw he is now. My sense is that his star will burn out early. Wear and tear, injuries. Won’t be worth the big investment other FAs will be in ’18. Not holding my breath….

    2. matt13….concerning Otani and the process of posting this is what I found:
      “Under the current process, when the NPB team notifies the MLB Commissioner of a posting, it also sets the posting fee, which is now capped at a maximum of $20 million. Once the MLB Commissioner announces the posting and the fee, the player has 30 days to sign with an MLB team. Unlike the past system, in which only the team that won the bidding process had negotiating rights, the current system allows the posted player to negotiate with any MLB team willing to pay the posting fee. As in the previous process, if the player signs with an MLB team during the negotiating window, the signing team will pay the posting fee; otherwise, his rights revert to his NPB team. Also mirroring the past system, an unsuccessfully posted player can request a posting in a later year, with the process repeated”

        1. And the Korean procedure:
          “Under the KBO posting…., when a KBO player is “posted”, MLB holds a four-day-long silent auction during which MLB teams can submit sealed bids in an attempt to win the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player for a period of 30 days. If the KBO team accepts the winning bid, then the player is free to negotiate with the highest-bidding MLB team. If the MLB team and the KBO player agree on contract terms before the 30-day period has expired, the KBO team receives the bid amount as a transfer fee, and the player is free to play in MLB. If the KBO team rejects the winning bid or if the MLB team cannot come to a contract agreement with the posted player, then no fee is paid, and the player’s rights revert to his KBO team.”

    3. It’s not typically a model for success any how. You can try to buy a WS but more often than not its won by a team of home grown guys with some veteran presence sprinkled in.

  16. Thanks Romus, so that will be an excellent test. Clearly, the Phils, and many other teams, can agree to the $20Million posting fee. Otani is talking about coming over after next season. Right in the beginning of the Phils’ planned back to contention scenario. We have JP up and Franco improved and clearly another prospect or 2 looks great. What does Middleton bid for a TOR Pitcher? Franco makes Machado not really necessary. Harper is not that great following 8marks post, Phils can really contend with Otani. I am purposefully painting a “best case” picture for the team to go “all out” for him. That is when we find out what Middleton is made of.

    1. Yes……we will see if Middleton is serious about what he had said in his interviews with Jim Salisbury after this past season.

      1. I believe in Middleton. This team has stayed away from long term deals in anticipation of the 2018 (Otani) and 2019 (Machado) FA classes. If the Phillies sign these two superstars who are about the same age as their next core group, it will also allow them to trade some of their own younger players who will get squeezed out by the upgrades (maybe Thompson, Eflin, Franco, etc) and allow the team to replenish their farm system.

  17. Did anyone hear Andy MacPhail talk about the Phils today? I saw a headline but no more info than that. Headline was “MacPahail talks about Phils slow but steady climb back to contention”

  18. The Otani Saga should be pretty interesting. Like someone about said, one thing that could sway Otani is if a team lets him hit as well (meaning when he’s not pitching) . . . I believe he’s already said that they only way he signs over here is if he can do both . . . this could make his asking price even more . . . it looks to me at least, that he could fetch a huge contract if he was only as hitter as well, add on the fact that he’s a stud pitcher as well . . .

    1. Lol I told unless I hear Mk Or Macphail it’s what America calls fake news. Why In the world if there last in runs trade 1 of there best bats, they need all the power they can possibly get. Quinn is never going to stay healthy for a long time not hit for then 10 hrs or bat over .260 . Now if they go for 1 of Texas big bats Maraza or another mlb bat in .

  19. saw this quote on mlbtraderumors below and made me think of Neris for Boston. What would you like back in return?
    I figured we would wait to see what takes place later on, who’s out there. Our priority is to try to get a guy that can pitch the eighth inning for us,” said Dombrowski, who’s working with a limited amount of spending room because of a desire to stay under the $195MM luxury-tax threshold. “

  20. From Matt Klentak’s comments yesterday, it sounds like any significant trades would involve Phils’ young arms. That’s what other clubs are inquiring about most.

    If Cesar H is traded (moving Howie K to 2b), then we definitely need one major league corner OF. My first target is JD Martinez.

    Klentak said the team doesn’t really need a veteran backup catcher, despite the AJ Ellis rumors. Interesting. He mentions “finding out” what Knapp and Alfaro can do at the big league level in ’17.

    Hernandez, Herrera, Rupp and Neris remain viable trade chips along with the aforementioned young arm or two.

    Blanco still might be a FA utility option but the brass might want to move on in hopes that Andres’ absence could be like the mother eagle nudging her babes (kids on major league roster) out of the nest to fly on their own? (Just a thought.)

    Anyhow, let’s load the bullpen with decent major league arms so guys like Mariot, Garcia and Klein won’t have to be filler. PLEASE!

    1. 8mark…..would they take that offer?
      I may do it , but I would also probably ask for 2 or 3 additional slot money for international allocation, you can go up to 75% extra now under this new CBA as opposed to 50% under the old CBA.

    2. @8mark – if I’m the GM, any trades involving key (very good) valuable (young and controllable) assets with meet the goal of improving the next contending team which is the 2018/2019 Phillies – I consider both Doobie and Neris as key valuable assets and I don’t think Cutch will improve the 2018/2019 Phillies – so my answer is NO.

      But I’m willing to gamble of Neris for high upside prospects by trading him to the Cubs, LAD, BOS and even WAS – and consider moving Doobie to TEX.

    3. That’s a tempting deal you propose 8Mark. I would hate to give up Herrea though. I’d rather keep him and find the left handed version of Cutch as a RF.

      We’re only a player or two away in the corners from having a really nice year 3 of the rebuild with possible troops on the way in Cozens and Hoskins. I believe in Hoskins as a slam dunk everyday big league 1B.

      Cozens may never learn to hit LH pitching well enough to be an everyday player but man he could be a platoon wrecking ball against RH pitching.

      If we look past Quinn’s injuries just for a few seconds I’d like to see him on the opening day roster as a switch hitting extra OF that can play all 3 OF positions there should be plenty of AB’s for him all while limiting his exposure to another injury.

      Maybe Quinn becomes a guy that can really pull you some value in return mid season.

    4. 8mark – No, I wouldn’t. McCutchen certainly has good years left, but is clearly in decline for three years running now including a career worse 21.2% K rate this year. If you are coupling Neris with Herrera, I think you need to think higher than just McCutchen. Pirates would take that offer in a heartbeat

    1. So the key to our significant offensive improvement in ’17 is Ian Kinsler who won’t even wear red pinstripes. Interesting.

  21. Would anyone else be interested in signing Andrew McCutchen? He just turned 30 and I’d imagine he would want a 7 year deal or so (think Jayson Werth). Despite his age I think he is the kind of player who would age well and could be a valuable veteran bat leading the Phillies next playoff team. Don’t see why he couldn’t bounce back from what we would consider a bad year from him at CBP. Could use a .280/.350/.450 25HR bat in that lineup. Maybe a VV, Rupp, Cousins, Sixto trade gets it done.

    1. *Cozens. Sorry just woke up. Read some previous comments and it seems as though some of you don’t think McCutchen would be an effective bat at age 32 onward. Why? Hell, Hunter Pence is 33 and still very much a solid player (and he’s no Cutch)

      1. @ahoy – batters in their 30s who can still hit are almost available in FA for a short but higher AAV contracts. Phils don’t need to give up prospects (which includes some of the their best arm) to get a 30s batter and sign him for another 7 years. For a rebuilding team (which is close to contending) like the Phils any major move should align with whatever goal they have in 2-3 years timeline. Cutch doesn’t fit that category so it doesn’t make sense to commit so much resources to him.

    2. @Ahoy – Cutch is not a FA – the Phils cannot sign him, unless you’re pertain to signing him after his current contract expires which he’ll be 32/33 – so no thanks! The Phils has bigger fish to catch when Cutch contracts expires especially if you consider the 7-year that you’re talking about.

      As for the trade – PIT will gladly accept that and drive Cutch to CBP everyday. Phils will not make that offer unless they have a man crush on Cutch. Phils will only get Cutch for a buy-low price.

      1. Yes, after trading for him he would probably command a 7 year deal or so. And yes his last couple of years aren’t going to be all star quality. On the other hand I don’t think it is crazy to think he has, at minimum, 5 more good years in him. And that is the kind of offer you make to someone who is a (off the top of my head) 6 time all star, mvp, silver slugger, and gold glover. You need to give up good players to get them. VV has the most value here. Alfaro will take place of Rupp. Sixto is a high risk high reward unknown. Cozens too, but we wouldn’t exactly need him with Cutch out there. I don’t think the Pirates accept anything less than that.

        1. I keep looking at Jayson Werths career numbers and contract as a kind of guideline for him. I’d consider Werth time with the Nats as a huge success if he had only stayed healthy. Otherwise he provided them with mostly all star level seasons and kind of tapered off into an average player into age 36, 37. Even now he keeps a good obp though

          1. McCutchen is a much more talented player than Werth. If you can get him and sign him to a 4 or 5 year extension, I would consider doing that. He’s a guy who had a down year mid-career. It gives us a rare opportunity to acquire a top tier talent who is nowhere close to being done in my opinion. I view his down year like the down year that Frank Robinson had that caused the Reds to trade to the Orioles. And he’s a good guy who will fit into the team atmosphere. I’m not saying they should do this trade at all costs, but they should consider it if the price is right.

            1. That’s my thoughts about it to. Now would be the time to jump on Cutch on his “down year”. I will say though, there is no shot at only a 4 year deal.

          2. @Ahoy – i bet on upsides not against father time — and most of my arguments and proposed trades here are based on that. I hear a lot or arguments saying that prospects are unknown commodities – yeah right, most all of the MLB stars are unknown commodities at some point in time.

            The Phils did not sustain their success because they bet on players based on what they did in the past which is basically how are you justifying McCutchen by mentioning what he was in the past. The Phils are projected to be competing in 2018/2019/2020 — if they need to commit resources, it should be for players that will be MVPs, Silver Slugger, Golden Gloves of 2018 and onwards not of the past.

            Moreover, look ahead in 2018/2019 FA class and look at the names available.

            1. I understand your position on this, but I also think a veteran bat is valuable to this young team. And of course you don’t want to trade away all of your prospects! But in my proposed trade, I think our depth allows us to make this trade without crippling us in the future. Sure losing VV would be difficult, but would losing Sixto, Cozens, and Rupp for several years of a bona-fide all star really hurt this team? And if you sign a FA like Machado in a couple years you’re in good shape. You make some excellent points though.

          3. @Ahoy – Catch’s premise is based on “if the price is right”…..i think the majority here is OK with that premise or what I said earlier – a “buy low” price.

            Your proposed trade of VV, Rupp, Sixto and Cozens and extend him to (at least 4 but up to) 7 years —- doesn’t fit to the “if the price is right” or “buy low” concept.

            We are not arguing about acquiring McCutchen per se but on the value (or the resources ) that you want the Phils to commit to acquire him. You are starting to contradict yourself.

            1. I do think my proposed trade is a buy-low. I think that is our biggest difference in opinion. I think you are vastly over valuing VV (possibly a RP), Rupp (backup catcher) Cozens (platoon 1B) and Sixto (too early to tell). I mean sure, pirates wold have a steal if they all hit their ceilings…I think it’s unlikely though.

            2. @Ahoy – i don’t know how you value a player, but I value a player based on “current market value”, “replacement cost” and “projections left or upside” — VV has all of them. It’s up to you if you believe that I’m over or under valuing a player but that’s the basis.

              with his upside and age, teams still value VV as potential TOR with a lockdown bullpen arm as the floor — so with the thin SP market – what do you think the Phils will get if they traded VV? The Phils can fetch a haul that will help them when they compete in 2018/2019 onwards compared to Cutch (who the Phils will be betting against father time).

              On Sixto, the upside and there’s nothing really that can be a concern other than his size. Health and mechanics are the major factors why most of the prospects will not pan out as expected – Sixto doesn’t have both concerns – yes Sixto is far, but I’ll bet on the odds that he will be really good. A prospect like Sixto is normally included to acquire a legitimate stud – either a TOR pitcher or a power bat.

              forget about Rupp and Cozens even if you assume that overvalue them. VV and Sixto should be traded for a legitimate TOR pitcher or a power bat with years of control.

            3. Didn’t they just draft their future CF? What would happen if you’d trade a four pack for clutchand 3 of the 4 would bloom AND the CF er of the future would have no place to play.

              Build to contention from within, then add a few KEY, STRONG FA’s to the mix while continuing to replenish and emphasize talent within.

        2. You don’t overpay in prospects so that you can also overpay in money and years on the contract.

          He’s on the downside of his career. And despite the fact that you think he’ll age well (I don’t. Speed is a huge part of his game and that doesn’t age well.), that’s not a gamble you take. He won’t make us competitive this year anyways (especially not when we lose VV to get him), so why not just sign him on the open market if you’re determined to have him in his decline years?

          1. I don’t agree that speed is a huge part of his game. He hasn’t had more than 18 Sb in the last 3 years. I believe he will retain enough speed to be a good outfielder though. McCutchen’s game is more about above average power coupled with a high on base percentage. Players who have a high obp in their youth tend to carry that into the latter years of their career, see Utley Werth Jeter ect. Also, VV is anything but a sure thing. I have faith in him but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he can’t handle a starting job.

            1. McCutchen had a down year, but he’s a tremendous athlete and has the fastest bat I have ever seen in person. He should age extremely well – probably being productive to at least the age 34 or 35 season and perhaps several years later. He is also, by all accounts, a great guy, which is what we need for a young team.

    3. Ahoy – VV, Rupp, Cousins, Sixto for McCutchen? What? Heavens no. Why in the world wouldn’t the Pirates jump head first at that? I wouldn’t do VV straight up for McCutchen – no joke either.

      I’ll throw one sequence at you. Here’s McCutchen’s K rate the past four years:

      2013: 15%
      2014: 17.7%
      2015: 19.4%
      2016: 21.2%

      That’s not just a decline, that’s a rapid decline.

  22. DMar, I don’t know that Hoskins is a slam dunk. I think we need to see him at LHV to know if he is even a top prospect. I hope he can play, and I know there is a bias against RH 1B, but slam dunk is a little strong. I love what he did last year, but there is also the hitting in Reading factor that, hopefully, did not skew his ability.

    1. You’re correct Matt no such thing as a slam dunk but I do like the OBP and OPS over 1400+ PA’s as a pretty strong indicator he can play at this level. Possibly a Napoli type career.

      1. DMAR….his OBP is a product of that ‘BB to K rate’ ratio which is excellent for a power hitting RHB..

    1. Part of me would be ecstatic with that return for a reliever in a general. But based on the current market for relievers, yes I would expect more for Neris.

      That being said, they’re the same age and Thornton had the better year. So that probably pretty firmly sets the ceiling for Neris. Might be worth holding onto him until the deadline.

      1. Stearns is the brilliant understated non-media GM that all in the industry should watch. Every deal they make is well thought out and they are accumulating a gigantic pile of prospects. This is just another good deal – and somewhat Klentak like in that he trades a reliever for multiple assets. Bosox gave up alot !

  23. My 1 and 1a targets are Cutch and JD. Happy to acquire either one on a relatively low buy. As long as we’re not delving deeply into the youth pool. We still have to think long term in both cases. Cesar H plus a mid level prospect to Detroit moves Howie K to 2b.

  24. 8Mark, That is a deal I would definitely do. But, that is contingent, from what I have read, on an Ian Kinsler trade first or simultaneously. Roman Quinn can compete for RF with Altherr.

      1. I had heard the Yankees could have had him for Torres and Kaprielian +2 lower level guys and couldn’t stomach letting Torres go….

        1. With the acquisition of Sale, NYY might be thinking of upgrading their roster too which will force their hands to sign Chapman and another FA (and knock them out of the Otani sweepstakes).

          Maybe the Phils can revisit the VV to NYY for the same package of Torres, Kap + 2 prospects?

          1. Mmmmmmm I don’t know if the yanks wouldn’t put with Torres for Sale . VV is not in Sale class think Frazier who is almost mlb ready.

        1. I’m gonna jump back on the Ethier soap box. I think the guy can still play and taking on his salary might buy us a decent prospect with very little going back to LA.

          1. DMAR….well he should cost a lot less than a JD Martinez. And also taking his last year salary is a plus for the Phillies. But for one year a 35-year old I guess is fine.
            But it is not a sexy move. More like kissing and thanking your sister for the holiday dinner.

            1. By the time the Ethier deal expires the hope is that you have Williams or Cozens figured out…

              Again you don’t need Ethier to play 162 this year but he gives you a left handed bat. Look at his 2015 numbers (hurt almost all last year) if he gave you 80% of his 2015 production (likely in CBP) that’s some mighty fine run production.

            2. DMAR……if you get a guy on a short deal contract, wouldn’t you want, however, to see if he could be eventually a July Frito-Lay?.
              Isn’t that one reason to get a guy like that…I know mostly those are pitchers that fit that category, but it seems Ethier may not fit that.

            3. Guys, doesn’t Ethier have 2 years left? I don’t know that he is a risk I would take. You are not going to flip him in July, and unless the Dodgers are adding a prospect to dump his salary, I don’t do that deal.

            4. matt13…..5 years/$85M (2013-17), plus 2018 club option Dodgers with that option will not pick it up. He is pretty much a FA after 2017 without the mutual option.

            5. Oh …here is the remaining portion of Ethier’s contract:
              18:$17.5M club option ($2.5M buyout)
              2018 salary guaranteed with 550 plate appearances in 2017 or 1,100 PAs in 2017-18
              That 550 PAs could be done if he plays every day and stays healthy…he would be batting, I assume in the 5 thru 7 hole, so it is doable…but a stretch.

            6. Ethier has a career line of 289/359/822 you wouldn’t pay $35 million for that plus get a prospect in maybe their 9-16 range for nothing more than say some low level catching depth out of our system?

              He is not going to block anyone and Quinn (a switch hitter) can still be a regular in the 2017 line-up. Quinn can play all 3 OF spots.

              Yeah I would have rather had a lot of guys over Kendrick including JD Martinez but that’s water under the bridge. Now you need a lefty that can play RF.

              I’m not giving up Hernandez and or Herrera my 2 best OBP guys and one of which switch hits to give my line-up balance.

              And no Romus I’m not worried about a frito lay. I’m going to take care of that on the front end of taking on the $35 million.

            7. DMAR….sometime I look at a players immediate value and worth by his latest production…sort of like race handicapping.
              Now understand Ethier career line is pretty good…..but he does turn 35 next season, and looking at his track record from when he turned 30 it falls shorter than his career slash. Over the last 2022 PAs, since he turned 30, he is 245/337/ 772…with a bump in 2015.
              So he may be a fairly reasonable short time fix for 2017….I just do not think he will be the 2017 guy, reflective of his career slash,

            8. @Romus I don’t agree at all with your math big guy. Age 30 on and I’m throwing out 2016 as he only had 26 PA’s he’s been 274/350/785.

              I’ll take that in 2017 in my line-up with a chance I can even increase it with the CBP factor and the fact that I will limit his exposure to lefties.

              But again you keep driving past the turn. You should get a really good prospect back and your not giving up any of your young proven cost controlled talent.

            9. Well I can understand the benefits with him involved…the prospect would make it more attractive.
              If that is what the Dodgers would do…I go for it….but have not seen anything written on Ethier and what they want to do with him.

          2. If we can’t land JD or Cutch, I’m not interested in Ethier. Go with what we’ve got. Doobie, Altherr, Quinn and Kendrick with Williams and Cozens getting ready for there shot in Lehigh. Don’t want some warm body just to place hold a corner OF spot. Haven’t seen or heard of any other options worth pursuing.

      2. MLBs ‘ High Heat’ Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo says WSox came up short on the deal.
        Kopech with that velo has the FB to be a TOR guy.

        1. Meh they should have demanded Benintendi instead IMO. We’ll have to see who the other two prospects are perhaps. You have to consider Sale is a FA in 3 years so their is some risk on the Red Sox side as well.

          I know some who believe its only a matter of time before TJ comes haunting Sale. The delivery is violent and a lot of bullets already shot out of that pistol.

          I don’t think they came up short. If Moncada lives up to his potential they have a 2B that can put up 25+ HRs in that park for many years to come.

    1. I agree – dislike Washington and their “natitude.” I was hoping they would trade most of their farm system for Sale – then spend themselves silly on a relief pitcher. Then, as is usually the case, have the best record in the NL but choke in the playoffs,and another year goes down the tube.

      1. I think we generally all agree that we hate Washington the most in the division – I think I hate them more than any other team in baseball. But why? They are such a recent rival and nobody really hated their predecessor, the Expos. Here’s why I think:

        1. No tickets sold to Phillies fans or others outside the DC Metro area. What a bunch of smug JERKS. That’s enough – but there’s more.

        2. Jayson Werth. Strike 2. More doucheyness.

        3. The little brother syndrome. It’s like the Nationals were our little brothers. We beat the hell out of them all the time. Then they got bigger than us and beat the hell out of us. Damned little brothers!

        4. Tempting the baseball Gods. The Nationals are so smug that, the year Strasburg came back, they limited his innings but didn’t do so in a way that would allow him to pitch in the postseason. Why? I’m convinced they were so certain that they would be back to the postseason every year that it wasn’t a big deal to keep him off the roster. In doing so, they tempted the baseball Gods – when you get close, you go for it. Arrogant jerks.

        1. I respect Rizzo and the great job he did, though picking in the top 10 4/5 years in a row helps….but do not care for his style and bravado..

    2. I think we generally all agree that we hate Washington the most in the division – I think I hate them more than any other team in baseball. But why? They are such a recent rival and nobody really hated their predecessor, the Expos. Here’s why I think:

      1. No tickets sold to Phillies fans or others outside the DC Metro area. What a bunch of smug A$$HOLES. That’s enough – but there’s more.

      2. Jayson Werth. Strike 2. More doucheyness.

      3. The little brother syndrome. It’s like the Nationals were our little brothers. We beat the crap out of them all the time. Then they got bigger than us and beat the crap out of us. Damned little brothers!

      4. Tempting the baseball Gods. The Nationals are so smug that, the year Strasburg came back, they limited his innings but didn’t do so in a way that would allow him to pitch in the postseason. Why? I’m convinced they were so certain that they would be back to the postseason every year that it wasn’t a big deal to keep him off the roster. In doing so, they tempted the baseball Gods – when you get close, you go for it. Arrogant bastards.

    3. i dislike every team in the NL East except for the Phils – but I will do business with them to get their comp picks and good prospects.

  25. Mariot is odd man out with the signing of Benoit. Did we reach a consensus on whether we can still drop another player off the 40 so we can participate in the Rule V Draft? We still have Sev, Klein, maybe sneak Rollins through waivers. And, so we believe that Klentak is serious about Knapp as backup C to open season? He seems to be the opposite of what a back up should be. Hits?, but no glove, when glove/handling pitchers is most important.

    1. There is a dilemma with Knapp. His catching skills are not great. But he can’t be starting over Alfaro at Lehigh or Rupp in the majors. He already spent 2016 at Lehigh, how much more time does he really need in the minors? He’s already 25. I think the Phillies roll the dice with Knapp as the backup. And if Rupp gets hurt, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alfaro gets called up.

      1. Knapp really doesn’t fit the profile for a back-up. I think he would have to hit like crazy during ST to make the team. If he makes the team, he’s going to get a lot of at bats since, as a prospect, he probably has a higher ceiling than Rupp (possibly much better hitter, but probably not as good of a fielder). I like Knapp, I think the bat is for real and he’s one determined, tough dude – I wouldn’t ever count him out.

        1. Love the idea of having Knapp on the 25 man. Rupp is going to catch what 105-110 games; Joseph they probably want to get at least that many starts so that leaves about 104 starts for Knapp to show case what he can be.

          Lots of flexibility with a switch hitting catcher I agree he is not destined to be an everyday catcher but V-Mart comes to mind and if he shows something at the MLB level his value goes up.

    2. matt13,,,I think Klentak is just posturing.
      He may try to move him in a package with Cesar for some corner OF hitter.
      Also still think Llively could moved because of their surplus of his type pitcher and his age.

  26. Romus, that is really the type of trade that makes a lot of sense. Of course, we need to get back a good controllable player. Knapp, Lively and Hernandez make a really good package. Frankly, the type of deal I saw for next year, but if we could get someone that would be great. Who would that someone be? That is the big question. Start with who needs a 2B and go from there.

  27. I would trade Cesar H, Knapp and Lively to Detroit for JD and a top prospect, pending a Kinsler trade of course.

  28. I would think what with the top FA (Cespedes) and top trade chip (Sale) off the board, we should see a flurry of activity.

    1. This would be really bad news for the Phillies. If Otani doesn’t become a true FA, the Phillies will not be able to offer him the most money. The Phillies will only be able to offer Otani 8.3 million, while smaller market teams can offer 10 million. Also, if no exception to the IFA rule for Otani is granted, you can count out the Dodgers and Cubs. They can’t offer more than $300,000.
      I still believe something will be done to make sure Otani has a financial incentive to come over.

      1. Hinkie…I’m with you.
        MLB would like to have another showcase talent to market.
        Plus if he should end up in Philly….rocco and I have to get working on that sushi restaurant at CBP!

  29. Pete Mackanin is still campaigning for another bat per his presser today. He seemed to cloak his words about other clubs making deals that open up possibilities that don’t exist at the moment. Sounds like he was referring to Detroit moving Kinsler as was discussed here earlier today.

    Personally I’m also intrigued by partnering with Texas who’ve reportedly been interested (in the past) in VV and El Torito. If so, Mazara would have to be involved, along with other prospects or maybe an established major leaguer. I know much is made about not blocking prospects but remember what Alec Baldwin said in “The Edge”, Romus –

    “A good plan today is better than the perfect plan tomorrow.”

    Sometimes you have to go with what you know NOW rather than wait for what you hope is better LATER. Tough call, very subjective. One thing the Phillies have in their favor is depth, perhaps as much as any major league organization. Deal from it rather than see how much mud sticks to the wall, if you follow.

    1. Pete Mack reminds me of that former Jet’s coach, Herm Edwards when he said…..”YOU PLAY THE GAME TO WIN”.
      Why accept the fact you probably will not get into the playoffs and just play to compete, and accept a better draft selection in 2018…..he may not be here in 2018.

      1. With all due respect to Pete MacKanin, the 2018 draft will (hopefully) be the last time the Phillies have a high draft pick. I’d rather lose a few more games in 2017 in the hopes of landing a Seth Beer, Brady Singer, or Kumar Rocker before the Phillies sign Shohei Otani and Manny Machado and start drafting late in the first round.

  30. I am not a Red Sox fan, but look at what they did. Finished in last place, accumulated prospects, made good draft choices and also spent in the International market. Bradley and Betts panned out, went back into FA, fired their “in love with all the prospects” GM, and brought in Dombrowski to win a WS, and the hell with the cost. We now need to have some prospects prove to be top level Major League players. Then, hopefully, we can go get a Sale in a trade. My big issue is that it took so long to get the rebuild started. And, we still do not have a definite top level position player or a SP that we can be sure of. And, we are entering year 6 since we were the best team in the league.

    1. ” spent in the international market”…that is an understatement.
      Moncada cost them about $60M with the penalty included…Devers was also another $3M or so guy.
      And can feel your frustration…started a year or two too late and only started to spend in 2011 with Tocci….and that wasn’t really a big signee compared to guys like Mazara , Moncada,, and Devers,
      But Ortiz could be a biggie.

  31. I’m hoping Romus., Frustrated, yes, but I am still a big fan, and always hope for the best. It is why I hope Hinkie is correct. I would love to have Otani and Machado and get a Chris Sale for a Franco and pieces. And, I understand that this is not the off season to make big moves, and maybe the 17 season won’t be as bleak, because we really see guys step up. We have a lot of them at AA and higher, including the Major League team who can become terrific players. That would make the season worthwhile. But, we need to see better plate discipline, better situational hitting, defense and better base running. And health SPing.

    1. Matt … “Trust the process.” One more bad year and then you will see Middleton, MacPhail, and Klentak making long term moves. I’m not sure MacPhail will be wild about spending crazy money on Otani, but I believe Middleton will be very motivated to bring him to Philadelphia. Otani is more than just a dominant pitcher, he will be the kind of player to put this franchise back on the map. MacPhail and Klentak will be all-in on Machado. By 2019, the team will have a pretty good idea which prospects will make up the next great Phillies teams, and MacKlentak can start dealing the surplus to fill in needs for the big club and restock the lower levels of the farm.

  32. And here’s something to keep an eye out for:
    The new CBA calls for MLB teams to have a chef in the clubhouse. The Phillies very forward thinking FO will hire Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto (who already owns the most successful sushi restaurant in Philadelphia). Morimoto will also accompany Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel on multiple trips to Japan in 2017 to help woo Otani. The fastest way to a pitcher’s heart is through his stomach.

      1. Hinkie….don’t worry about the food…rocco and I will have our sushi restaurant/bar taking care of business……just try to avoid the Fugu/puffer-blowfish for awhile until we are sure we can perfect it from killing our clientele.:)

  33. Wonder if a 3-way deal would facilitate a trade for JD Martinez. The Angels need a 2b (Kinsler?) which could open the way for Cesar to the Tigers who are trying to cut payroll.

    1. @8mark – good idea, although involving LAA in a trade for a big name is hard because they don’t have enough pieces to swap, in addition, LAA is prefers a LH or SW hitter.

      The Phils can probably offer Cesar + Lively + another prospect like Tocci or Pujols to get JD Martinez. I’m not sure what LAA can offer to get Kinsler. LAD is another good match but LAD might be avoiding additional $$ commitment to lower their debt as per MLB rule for new owners.

  34. Hinkie, I love the way you think. I hope they have you on the welcoming committee when the time comes to convince Otani to come here. Trust the Process!

    1. You guys do understand the most anyone can pay Otani is $5-$6…

      He’s going to have to stay over there until he is 25 to get more!

  35. DMAR, this is all based on the presumption that there will be some amendment to the system that lets a talent like Otani come over without any restriction on what he can be paid.

  36. Yeah Matt were you watching MLB tonight last night? That’s not happening…they are not going to set that precedent.

    1. DMAR … a lot can happen in a year. In the end, MLB may decide they don’t want to cut off their nose to spite their face.

  37. The latest from BA’s Ben Badler on the international penalty front:
    “…………teams that exceeded their bonus pools to incur a penalty will still be unable to sign any player for more than $300,000 during the 2017-18 signing period.
    The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals will be in their second year of the penalty, while the A’s, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres and Reds will be in their first penalty year.”

    ….eleven teams out of the running for the next year…and I believe the Red Sox may still have one more year of their ‘death penalty’ for not just busting the cap, but inappropriate ethical practices.

  38. The Phillies international pool money is $4.75M as a big market team.
    But if Matt Klentak can makes some trades for additional monies, as Ruben did in 2015, then the Phillies can go up to a max of $8.3M.

  39. Then DMAR, you are correct. Otani may get $200Million, $8.3Million is a joke for him. He has to wait until he is 25. Since there is no way that I want to pay Harper whatever the number is that Boras will want, we have to put all our hope in Machado. Won’t it be ironic if when Middleton decides to go all out in FA there will be no one to give the money to?

    1. Yeah I’ll save the $200 million deals for the guys that are proven in the MLB first the Scherzers and Prices of the world and even then you are an ulnar ligament away from disaster.

      Or like we did with Halladay. When the time is right use the currency of prospects to get what you need.

  40. Random thoughts with the upcoming Rule 5 draft tomorrow…

    San Diego – currently has 7 open roster spots. SD kept 4 (2 via draft and 2 via trade) Rule 5 players last year. With 7 open roster spots and rebuilding mode, SD might look at the Rule 5 prospects again for young talents —- I’m worried that SD might take a flyer on Pullin and Tocci tomorrow.

    Pullin – if the Phils intends to DFA Asche and do a musical chairs on a bunch of fungible RP arms, they should just use a roster spot to protect Pullin.

    Draft – with the 40-man roster full, I don’t expect the Phils to participate in tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft. Although I prefer either Pullin (via protection before) or Haley (via draft) over the fungible arms that they have.

    Depth – due to the depth in the farm, there are some notable names (from fans perspective) that are exposed to the Rule 5 – Canelo, Tocci, Pujols, Grullon, Pullin, Seranthony Dominguez, Ranger Suarez, Harold Arauz, Windle, Perkins, Stassi, Zach Green, Walding, Milner, Shane Watson, Jairo Munoz, JDT, Rios…

    AAA/AA draft – I’m not familiar with the rules so i don’t know if the Phils will lose any prospect in this section of the draft.

    1. I’m convinced that Pullin could turn into a very good little player – kind of a like a poor man’s Daniel Murphy, although he won’t have the benefit of a being a middle infielder. As an outfielder, I think teams are going to pass on him unless they think they could put him back at second.

      1. Do not want to lose Pullin. Would rather take a chance on him that Goeddel. I’ve said this before Goeddel showed nothing last year. You could count on both hands the number of hard hit balls of his last year and still have fingers left over.

        1. I agree with this comment. I think Pullin is probably a bigger risk than Goeddel but I think he has more upside. I like a lot about Pullin as a hitter.

    2. I forget where I read this, but I think it makes more sense to expose Pullin in the Rule 5 than to use a 40 man spot on him if there’s a chance he’ll be dropped later.

      If you expose Pullin to the draft there’s a small chance he’s picked, but he’s not considered one of the top 15 prospects in the draft so there’s not much risk there (the risk isn’t 0%, but it’s small). There’s also the chance he gets offered back.

      If you add Pullin to 40 man and then remove him, he has to clear waivers. There’s a much greater chance some team picks him up there because he doesn’t have to spend the whole year in the majors for the team claiming him.

    1. This is why the Rockies never find a good path forward. It’s not a super long contract and the price is not exorbitant, but he’s a very average sort of player and he’ll be getting up there in age as the contract continues. To me, one way teams get a strategic advantage is to ensure they pay a low price for average players – either through younger players or short term contracts. The Cardinals have generally done really well over time avoiding contracts like this one (although they gave a few out last year and struggled) and if the Phillies had signed Desmond for this kind of money, I would have been pretty annoyed.

  41. COL signs Desmond for $70M/5 yrs to play 1B – I doubt it. With the loss of #11 pick in signing Desmond, I can see COL trading one of their OF to recoup the value of the #11 pick. There’s a bunch of 1B available in the FA.

    Will Klentak get into action to get an OF bat like Blackmon? STL in discussion with COL for potential OF help. Phils might need to overbid but I’ll try to offer Knapp + Lively + TJ (so COL can move Desmond to the OF) + for Blackmon.

        1. May have to be Klein in a trade….Mariot has another week or so as a DFA and teams may not want to trade for a guy if he will be on the open market in a week or so.

  42. Kurdt, I don’t see the Phils in on a deal like that. I think they want playing time for Altherr/Quinn and room for Nick Williams to earn a spot. Maybe a part time LH hitter, but a deal like you are proposing, 3 prospects for an everyday player, may not be on their table for at least another year.

  43. Blackmon you really need to sweeten the pot . Rockies always like young pitching but there farm sys is loaded . They don’t need a bat the Phillies do have a good amount of young pitchers. Your not going to get Blackmon for a bucket of throw ins.

    1. @Tim – I’m not that enamored with Blackmon but he is a bat that will balance the current roster. Blackmon’s bat might benefit from CBP, thus, might inflate his trade value when Quinn, Williams, Cozens (or any of them) pan out. If COL asked for more like what you said, then the Phils should turn around. Plus Blackmon is already 30 so that lowers his potential trade value.

      @8mark – I’m not that much concerned. I think CBP will be to the benefit of Blackmon and I hope he can smash those RHP pitchers in the NL East.

      @matt13 – i think the Phils will be open to short term solution as long as it a) will not cost a lot them in return; b) not have significant financial commitment; and c) can have a trade value in case any of the prospects will pan out. That’s why i can see Blackmon still a possibility rather than someone like CarGo

  44. Peculiar move for sure by the Rockies. They have really nice OF depth Starting with Cargo, Blackmon, Dahl and Patterson.

    Where does Desmond play. 1B seems like a waste of his ability.

    1. @DMAR – agree, especially with the loss of the #11 pick that’s why I can see a trading of one their OF will be in the works to recoup the value of the draft pick lost.

      1. Something must be in the works to trade one of those guys for a really good proven starter.

        Since they can’t get free agent starters to want to sign there. The line-up as it was absolutely raked last year.

    2. Always amazes me had middle infielders can jump right into an OF position and play it like they have been out there from Little League.
      For Desmond it was easy and he was a plus defender out there.

    1. Romus – this might be the most exciting prospect news since draft day. I think I had Moniak 5th behind JP, Alfaro, NWilliams and Kilome. If his body is receptive to adding substantial weight in such a short time frame though, it’s likely that he will continue to develop physically. If he continues to develop physically, his ceiling rises.

      By the time we’re ready for the Reader’s poll, I can see Moniak at no. 3 with either NWilliams or Kilome immediately behind him at no. 4

    2. This is one of the biggest developments of the offseason. When I saw pictures of Moniak he looked like he had the type of frame to add quite a bit of muscle. If he develops a true power stroke, he can easily become one of the top prospects in baseball and a potential franchise type player. All of the other skills are there.

    1. If a 28-year old like Adam Eaton could fetch such a return….can you imagine what would a three year younger, more controlled, Doobie bring back!
      Eaton is a 15WAR player over these last three years and Doobie an 8WAR player.

      1. @romus – we may not know what’s happening behind the scenes but knowing McPhail as McSlow — all I want them to do is to “explore” and the teams around in MLb knows that the Phils are not making any aggressive moves so most of the GMs will not even bother to contct them. Some of us overeacts just a mere mention of possible trade of Doobie and others. But McPhail and Klentak will never know how much value they will get if they don’t actively explore every avenue to gauge interest

      2. I thought that to myself last night Romus. As one who is (in general) opposed to trading Doobie until Moniak is ready I did almost change my mind.

        Much of Eaton’s value was in the cost control and the very moderate contract he was under. I’ve loved Eaton since he was in the AZ system and once suggested we should try getting him and Matt Winkleman said something to the effect

        “na he will never be that good”

    2. We should be glad that Washington just made this stupid move. They will be better this year and maybe next year because of the transaction but it weakens them in the long run.

      1. Let it play out…Eaton could be a 5/6 year steady 4WAR guy in CF for them.
        AJ Puk and Logan Shore beat out Dunning in Florida for weekend gigs.
        Giolito would seem to be a TOR guy with the TJ hanging over him.
        But you are correct…it does look like it will hurt the Nats in the long run

        1. I like Eaton a lot – but very, very soon the Nationals are going to be top heavy with big salary demands as their biggest talents all hit FA or later Arb years at the same time. Their succession planning is not very good – which is just fine by me. I hate these guys.

          1. Actually, as I look at this trade, it is a lot about cost control. It’s not just Eaton’s abilities, he has a very team favorable contract for up to 5 years (3 years plus 2 option years) – that contract value was what made the acquisition price so high. Still, it seems like that the Nationals gave up more talent than they acquired.

  45. For all those anti Nationals fans – like me – it looks like the team has taken the Trump approach and “drained the swamp,” at least the minor league swamp ! That was a haul for Eaton ! They had better win it…or it is looking like a dark future. That would be like the Phils trading Alfaro, Crawford, and Sixto for Eaton !!!!!

    1. that really is some kind of haul. as i think derosa said on mlb, the white sox could have thrown in robertson and it still is a good deal for the white sox.

  46. Wow ! The White Sox have overhauled their farm system in 24 hours. They really have a stable full of pitchers who throw gas. Kopech, Giolito, Hansen, and Burdi all hit 100 MPH. Lopez and Fulmer reach the upper 90’s. You have to think Frazier and Robertson will be traded soon.

    1. And wait til you see what that get for Quintana…

      Watch the Yankees… CHISOX like Frazier/Rutherford

      Astros will have to give up Tucker plus…someone like Teoscar Hernandez who they think can step in and play CF now…

      Hahn is definitely earning his check

  47. For those doubting the Phillies version of “Trust The Process”, and John Middleton’s commitment to spending money “when the time is right” … read Ryan Lawrence’s story in Philly Voice.

    From the article … Klentak said, “I don’t have any doubt that this franchise will make significant investments when the time is right.” Klentak made sure to put an emphasis behind the words, any doubt. Anyone who has heard ownership partner John Middleton talk would understand why Klentak would use that emphasis.

    Otani in 2018
    Machado in 2019 …. That is the plan !!!

      1. Trust The Process, Romus !
        It’s a multi step plan:
        * only one-year contracts for now to build a war chest for 2018-19 FA classes
        * game plan for Otani (Hire Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto to head the team’s clubhose food services. Morimoto joins Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick as the Phillies main recruiting team making several trips to Japan this season)
        * let the prospects fight it out for future full-time roles
        * spend obscene amounts of cash on Otani and Machado
        * trade the prospects/young players who get squeezed out for missing pieces and even younger prospects to continue “waves” of players moving through the system
        * Win Multiple WS titles !!!

        1. if this prediction happens — then “Hinkie” is to be known as “the Process”… and Jeff Lurie should get his “Hinkie” too…

        2. They should have made that trade Kyle Kendrick for Kobayashi; Kobayashi could also help a lot in recruiting.

        3. Hinkie….it is not the process that I do not trust, we can all see the big picture….it may be the procedure getting there. The method they will take will interest me.

          1. @romus – i think it’s already known that the Phils can only acquire both Otani and Machado is thru free agency — so the method will be offering the most $$ possible plus some non-monetary concessions; the procedure will be to maintain payroll flexibility and adding key pieces to the team without resorting to long term financial commitments.

            The main issue is, free agency is not a one-way street — Middleton can only solve half of the equation but the “free agents” (Otani, Machado) may have other things in mind that Middleton cannot provide.

            1. KuKo….Machado will be thru the standard MLB FA system…Otani, OTOH, may not be under that same umbrella, wouldn’t his initial introduction to MLB be thru the international system, which is another set of monies?

            2. @romus – that is still the grey area that we will find out in the next 12 months. If Otani is under the new CBA for IFA, then, he may not be posted next year because that’s too much $$ to lose — I don’t see Otani doing a Dario Saric. Nonetheless, Otani can be had via free agency whether in 2017 or 2019 — which gives the Phils a really good chance of making it happen if Middleton is really committed to play with the big boys.

    1. It may be the plan but that doesn’t mean its a good plan. Locking yourself into a plan that involves future FA’s doesn’t seem very smart to me.

      Let’s keep it real the Yankee’s are not going to be outbid by the Phillies for Machado nor are the Dodgers for Otani.

      Then there is the players side he gets to choose where he wants to play where he has the best chance to win Championships. Maybe I’m wrong maybe McPhail knows for a fact Manny would rather be in Philly then any where else so as long as the money is pretty equal he is coming here.

      1. @DMAR – aiming to add elite talent is always a good plan especially if the Phils has the capability to make it happen. it may not be a realistic plan but it is a good plan.

        I think the main drivers to make this happen are as follows:

        a) Middleton – is he true to his word that he will open his wallet and invest if the time is right? My concern here is not the $$ but with Middleton, McPhail and Klentak’s philosophy related to investing in foreign talents. Jhailyn Ortiz so far is the only foreign talent that they put $$.

        2) Otani – will Otani just go to the highest bidder or just like any professional, are there any other considerations on top of the $$? For Otani, will there be any Japanese interpreter/mentor/whoever, Asian culture within the city, being comfortable in a non-Asian-diverse clubhouse, etc.

        3) Machado – I will not be that concerned with NYY here. The main concern is Machado’s “LOYALTY” to the club, coaches, team mates assuming that the $$ is all the same. I can see BAL offering a huge contract to keep Machado which will be at par to any team’s offer.

        4) Other big name FA – the big market teams will be in play in almost all of the big names to hit the 2018/2019 open market. No team can afford them all so the big market resources will be allocated not just to 1 or 2 big players.

        $$ spending wise, I’m not concerned with any other big market teams as long as Middleton is committed to open his wallet if the time is right. The FO should be cognizant of what the players (Otani, Machado) value the most on top of the $$ that the Phils can offer.

        1. I have zero concern about Middleton opening his wallet when the time is right. They have shown the willingness to do it before and have expressly said they will do it again when the time is right. And I don’t blame them for not doing it right now. They want to use FA money on holes after they have had a chance to give the talent to develop – in other words, they are trying to be smart and targeted with their money. It makes sense to me.

  48. Hinkie, unfortunately, Otani will not be over until after the 2019 season, so we have to temper our enthusiasm for him. I, even though very frustrated, will give them this season as the last one to do nothing. After next year I expect them to acquire real talent and plan to compete for the WC. We will know what Alfaro and Williams are, JP will be the starting SS, and Franco will or won’t show significant strides forward in his approach to the plate. Hoskins and/or Cozens will or won’t be real prospects, not just Reading hitters, and we will see what the health status of Nola and VV are. Then we will see what MacKlentak can do. I am waiting for them to make their mark on the franchise like Theo and Dombrowski have done.

    1. I still believe there will be some sort of circumstances that will allow Otani to reach MLB as a true FA next year. It would be stooopid for Manfred to make him wait a couple more years.

      1. To Hinkie – article on mlbtraderumors for you about Otani. I posted it for you in wrong place. Looks like you found it though.

      2. If you’re a baseball player you play in the MLB…”its what you do” to steal a catch phrase from Geico

        He still gets to choose whatever team he wants so market and endorsement deals come into play and then after a few seasons if he makes his bones in the league he can get his Scherzer type deal.

  49. Frankly I don ‘t see Machado hitting the open market. The Orioles would be foolish not to put at least the Stanton deal in front of him this season. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

    Think about all the money Jose Fernandez’s family missed out on because Boras said “hey lets wait”

    Hey Scott that was clown advice bra

  50. Rule 5 first round is done (is there a second round? I thought so) and Phillies only lose Hoby Milner – no big deal. The Yankees lost 4 players in the draft. Phillies passed.

    1. There was a second round – by no other Phillies were drafted.

      I’m glad they can retain Pullin. I think if they had exposed Tirado or Drew Anderson – with the focus on pitching these days, both easily could have been drafted.

  51. This is the unfortunate cost of the previous regime dragging its collective feet to rebuild. I don’t “blame” MacPhail and Klentak or even Middleton yet for this approach. Our boredom in waiting for something to happen clouds some of the perspective expressed here. I’d love to see them acquire JD Martinez with the possibility if not likelihood of extending him beyond ’17. However, there isn’t much they’re going to do if what they say publicly is their actual creed.

    If half of our top 10 prospects turn out as projected, we shouldn’t be too worried. My hope is that June gets here fast.

  52. Looking at that possible 2918 free agent class, the guy that looks like a great fit in Philly is AJ Pollock. Once healthy again, this guy will put up star numbers and maybe cost a little less than the top guys. I continue to think the Phils will need to find a #3 hitter and a #1 starter to try to be a championship caliber team. They hopefully have the rest in house.
    Good bye Milner, glad to keep Pullin and Nunez

  53. LOL Daniel Stumpf is the gift that keeps on getting regifted. The Royals still haven’t added him to their 40-man roster. He got picked again this year. This time the Tigers chose him in the first round. Best of luck, Danny !

    1. All I know is that he cannot hit. Is probably a slick fielding ss – not sure what they see in him. I mean, he REALLY cannot hit.

      1. They lack any shortstop depth in AA/AAA. Even if you think Canelo is ready for AA they don’t have a real backup. Flores can really field, he can either start or be utility player

        1. Hey Matty good to see you! You left us in really good hands with Jimmy P. He is doing an excellent job.

          How about James how is he doing and have you spoken to him lately…

      2. I think they want to develop our minor league pitchers. Given our stadium, they would like to develop ground ball pitchers. Pitchers are more confident trying to throw ground balls if those balls are caught and if all possible double plays are turned. With Crawford, the Phillies don’t think they will need another SS for a decade. There are a lot of potential SS/2B candidates among the young LA IF in the low minors, so we likely are also set for backup IFs going forward. We just need minor league depth. You aren’t at all likely to get a future major leaguer out of the AAA draft.

    1. and SD will get the 1st 3 Picks – Preller loves them Rule V picks!!

      Phils also lost Jairo Munoz. I thought Munoz will be the next Edubray Ramos but injuries got into him. The minor league portion of the Rule 5 is less stringent so Jairo Munoz is almost lost for good.

  54. This might be a dumb question but whatever . . . With the new CBA, teams can only spend up to about 10m a year on international free agents. Therefore, does anyone know if there are rules in place to prevent the following: the Phillies sign a IFA for whatever amount under the 10m and then sign him to an extension after that (basically buying out his arbitration years)? There has to be a rule against that, right? And how long after you’ve signed an International FA do they have to wait to do anything contract wise?

    1. That’s a really good question – how you distinguish between a signing bonus and long-term contract; possibility of collusion issues between player and team.

    2. EricD…didn’t the Red Sox try something, not identical, but almost like that….and MLB found them guilty of circumventting the rules for signing LA teenage prospects by inflating their signing bonuses behind the scenes. And they were punished severely…the Phillies were able to get Simon Muzzatti as part of the penalty..
      I think the Sox engaged in the plan by overpaying marginal prospects as part of a “package deal” to land more prominent players.
      And doing what you suggested may be trying to circumvent the system…..hey there is a new sheriff in town…and his name is Rob Manfred

    3. @Eric D – if an IFA is signed, the team holds his rights until he becomes eligible to be a free agent (not sure if it i the 6th or 7th year with the team). so assuming the Phils will sign an IFA like Otani for $10M, the Phils (or any team in case the Phils released him before he become eligible to a FA) cannot offer any extension until the 6th (or 7th year) – or the year when the player is eligible for arbitration.

      So if Otani is part of the new CBA, he will not be posted next year and wait for 2 more years to cash in as free agent.

      1. Ok so in order to buy out arbitration years the player has to be going into arbitration, correct? Meaning arbitration eligible.

        I would assume he would be just about MLB ready when he signs, let’s say he breaks camp w a team, after 2 years he COULD end up being eligible correct?

      2. Kuko, BAs Ben Badler says Otani has stated that he wants to play MLB in 2018. That alone should be enough pressure on MLB to either make an exemption or flat out change the 25-5 rule. The kid’s a global goldmine. They’d be shooting themselves in the marketing foot if they don’t. This story is far from over. The media alone won’t let it go away. The NFL (God bless those capitalist $#&$%$’s) wouldn’t blink an eye. Bottom line – who’s to benefit from leaving the IFA rules as is?

        1. @8mark – hopefully that happens but it’s hard to bet against “hope”. CBA supercedes any other agreement including the US-Jap agreement and whatever Ben Badler think and say. The media can make all the noise they want, but MLB need to do something to clear the grey area in the CBA. Otani’s decision may change until the issue is clarified,

        2. 8mark … agree with you. At a time when MLB is doing whatever it can (pitch clocks, 30 second trips to the mound, etc) to draw more spectators/viewers, why would they turn away an attraction like Shohei Otani ? 12 months is a long time for Manfred to figure something out.

  55. ’17 bullpen as if today looks like this:
    Neris (closer)
    Benoit (8th)
    Ramos (7th)
    Joely R.
    Morgan (or another lhp they acquire later)

    Not shabby for a transitional year.

    1. At least another guy or two will likely emerge during the season, including, perhaps, Arano and Singer – both have some upside and ability. And, of course, a failed starter or two could show up somewhere.

      1. @catch – Arano (will be added to 40-man next year) and possibly Rivero, deNato, Davis, Hockenberry, Singler and Windle will be the next wave of bullpen arms but i don’t think they will be in consideration (assuming no trades and numerous injuries) to be added in the bullpen mix for 2017 (some might join for Sept call up the earliest).

        We might see the Phils try Morgan, Asher and SevGon (as long man), Appel, Pivetta, Pinto and even Jake in the pen if Klentak cannot consolidate the extra arms they have in the 40-man.

        1. I used to think that, but then someone on this site explained (correctly) that there is no such thing as a long progression for a light-out minor league bullpen arm. Once a guy master’s a plus (typically hard) pitch and has at least a decent second “show me” pitch, he rockets to the major leagues. So if Arano turns the corner this year (very possible) he could end up in the majors by mid-year.

          1. Good point, Catch. I forgot about Arano. He’ll get the 1st call up if he stays his course. He could replace somebody who gets moved at the trade deadline or injured.

          2. @catch – that still make sense. but we also see how teams manipulate service time and given the challenge to create roster spot and Arano’s age, Phils might delay that until late next year. But if Benoit and Neshak can hold their value and traded in July, then we can probably see Arano as you said.

            But i do believe that Arano is potentially the best bullpen arm in the farm that is closest to the majors. Alexis Rivero in another bullpen I like, I hope Rivero can bounce back this coming season in AA/AAA.

            1. Teams do manipulate service time – but you see that with starting pitchers and position players. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen reliever call-ups manipulated for a relief pitcher (maybe it happened with a guy like Chapman, but if it did, that would be a rare exception). Typically, teams want those guys up as soon as they are ready because, whatever you might lose in service time, you make up for in a commodity that can be traded.

              By the way, it’s interesting how the market for relief pitchers has swung back in the direction I predicted a couple of years ago. My point (then) was that, if a top starter was worth in the neighborhood of $25-27 million and relief pitchers get about 40 percent of the innings (value of two starters), then it probably made sense to give your elite relievers some decent coin – perhaps not $50-60 million in total, but a decent amount of money.

              That said, I think, like any trend in baseball, the pendulum has probably now swung too far in the other direction; the spending on bullpens may now be overblown and teams may be allocating a little too much of their resources to that part of the team.

              So the question becomes – what category of player is currently undervalued (basically, a good deal)? I’ve long believed that, for some reason, second basemen are undervalued. Top second basemen only get paid $12-15 million a year (Cano is the exception), which means that if you get a 6 WAR guy, he’s producing a ton of excess value. I also think, solid middle relievers are probably undervalued a bit (although that may be changing), and, finally, in a development that I did not expect, teams are now overvaluing controllable young players at the expense of top prospects. “A” prospects are worth their weight in gold – we had a pretty disturbing trend of getting a team’s B and B+ prospects – there is a MASSIVE difference between B/B+ level prospects and A level prospects. Some of this may be due to changes in the marketplace and some of this is, I think, due to decisions the management team at the time. The Phillies seemingly did okay in the Hamels trade, but they really should have insisted one of the Rangers’ top 2 prospects and, instead, received few players in return. It’s always impossible to evaluate these things in hindsight (who knows what the Rangers were prepared to do?), but I think they should have done a bit better there.

              But it does make me feel really good about what Klentak did last year, because the Phillies got at least one A level talent (Velasquez) and other prospects with upside in return for Giles. An interesting issue now, is whether, given the market for relievers, the team could get a haul for Neris. I’m sure they are kicking the tires on that one.

            2. I probably would not try to compare the value of the prospects in what Sale brought back from the Nats and what Hamels brought back from the Rangers.
              The obvious difference was their age at the time of the trades and the finances with each. But then again, Alfaro was considered an A prospect prior to his ankle injury.

  56. Also, I am of the belief that Appel becomes a top reliever once he gets over last year’s injury. I still think there is a Major league talent there waiting to come out.

      1. Well, based on what I saw from Appel, there are a number of challenges. The first challenge is a physical one – his fastball, even when he is throwing hard, is very straight. The second problem is, as you note, a psychological/confidence issue. I was at spring training last year and this guy, who is a very large person and was the first pick in the draft, was walking around the complex in such a sheepish manner. And I don’t mean laid back and quiet – he was really awkward and I think you see the same things when he is on the mound. I don’t necessarily view this as a permanent problem but he has to develop a different attitude out there to succeed.

        1. It’s gotta be tough to be picked first with all the hype and not live up to expectations . . . How long that should affect you or if it even should is beyong me. I dunno why but I see him as the Tim Tebow of baseball (when he speaks). However I think he turns out to be either a solid mid rotation arm (like Eickhoff) or a stud RP who can throw more than an inning. A poor mans Andrew Miller but RH.

  57. Help me out here with the starting rotation. I count 6 SPs who could likely be on the opening day roster:
    Hellickson, Velasquez, Eickhoff, Nola, Thompson and Eflin. (Asher has also been mentioned with this group but barring injury I don’t see where he fits between the rotation and the bullpe)

    What gives? A trade? Are they counting on injury to one of them? It’s nice to have depth but would they start Jake and/or Zach at Lehigh after they’ve both been initiated with mixed big league results in ’16?

    Yes, I know Hellickson will likely be gone Aug 1 but that’s considerable talent to be kept in limbo. Any scenarios to resolve the dilemma?

    1. Odds are, at least one of them will be injured or still rehabbing and someone will implode in ST and need more time in AAA – take your pick. The team should have at least 7 guys lined up to start – they will need all of them over the year and the guys who kick ass will rise to the top.

    2. with Nola’s elbow, Eflin’s knees, VV’s injury history, and wanting to trade Hellickson at some point, you might not have enough. every team should probably prepare as if at least 2 starters will go down with injuries and miss significant time.

    3. I think this is over-valuing the health/resilience and talent of the starting pitching we have. It’s not unusual for a team to use 8 SP over the course of a season and Hellickson is slated to be traded at the deadline. I think if you look around the league, you’ll find that most teams have this much quantity and more proven quality of SP. It’s not like we had a great rotation last season. How many of the guys you list do you think will pitch 180+ innings for us?

    4. 8m – I think you have 4 rotation certainties in Hellickson, Velasquez, Eickhoff, and Nola. Thompson, Eflin, Lively, Asher, and Morgan will then compete for no. 5. If we’re thinking a few months in duration, I would see nothing wrong with all of those names starting the year at LV where they can battle to be the first guy called up. Each of them have various areas where they can improve upon, so I think it will be a true open competition for the 5th spot.

      Let’s presume for sake of argument that Thompson makes the OD roster. At LV, that leaves the following candidates:

      1. Lively
      2. Efflin
      3. Asher
      4. Morgan
      5. Klein
      6. Pivetta
      7. Pinto
      8. Appel
      9. Mark Leiter – who quietly had an excellent season last year for Reading, including a .201 BA against and .99 WHIP in 56 innings at First Energy Stadium

  58. One of Thompson, Lively and Eflin makes the rotation. I think, if completely healthy, that is Eflin. The other 2 start at LHV. I think Asher and Morgan join the bullpen, having 13 Pitchers on the opening day roster. If only 12, Asher or Morgan get sent down. Then they do a re-do of last year. If Hellickson pitches well, then he is a trade candidate. He can’t get another QO. Then, next off season they should know who needs to get packaged in a trade and whether they need to go get a TOR guy.

  59. 2017 opening day

    Starting rotation (5)

    Bullpen (7)
    HECTOR NERIS (closer unless FA is acquired)

    Catchers (3)
    *ANDREW KNAPP (3rd C/1b/dh/ph)

    Infield (5)

    Outfield (5)
    HOWIE KENDRICK (and 2b)
    ROMAN QUINN (can play SS in a pinch)
    ????? (future FA acquisition, LH bat)

    1. Daniel Nava now a possibility but I bet there will be others. I don’t see three catchers, I think they’ll have a lefty hitting 1b (Stassi, Logan Morrison, etc). Morgan could be replaced by another lefty not in the team yet.

      1. Same thought about three catchers. If you have a 3rd C, you can use Knapp at 1B and as a platoon option with Joseph, as well as a pinch hit option. But I’ve settled on this not being a very efficient or practical use of a roster space. Rupp is not 150 G type of catcher, so Knapp can conceivably get 1-2 starts a week. That’s plenty.

        I like the idea of Valentin making the OD roster, but I could also see him losing that spot when Crawford is promoted. Lots could happen between now and then of course.

        I agree we need another OF option, preferably one who hits from the left side. I for one feel Colby Rasmus is an absolutely perfect fit.

        I still feel Quinn must play his way on to the team with an outstanding spring, and in all likelihood, he’ll open the year at LV. But he’s one of only five outfielders on the 40-man (OHerrera, Altherr, Kendrick, QUINN, Goeddel). Even if they sign a FA outfielder, and even if we presume Quinn to make the OD roster, we still need another OF’er on the 40-man. I mean, there’s a serious and stunningly obvious lack of depth here. You have five outfielders and one of them is Goeddel, and another Kendrick who will see plenty of ABs in the infield. So I’ll predict two more outfield additions to the 40-man between now and end of ST.

        In the bullpen, I suspect one of the two lefties will make the roster, but I don’t think either of them are certainties. Joely is arguably no more effective against LHB than he is RHB. Adam Morgan on the other hand is much more effective against LHB. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a waiver wire claim as teams trim their rosters in the spring,

        I see most beat writers predicting little roster activity from here on out but I’d say we have at least another 3-4 40-man changes remaining. And this is presuming the likes of Rupp, CHernandez and Neris aren’t traded, in which case there is likely to be much more than 3-4 moves.

        1. Starting the week of Monday, the 12th I can see Matt Klentak making a trade.
          Last year he waited until after the dust had settled from the winter meetings and traded Ken Giles following the meetings.

  60. Knapp being backup catcher and some first base time makes sense to me, but it looks like he’s literally played 1 inning there in his minor league career. seems like Cozens would have alot more value for his career if he could also play some first to give a lefthanded option there, like a Brandon Moss. He’s never played an inning there.
    I realize they have been on the same team with Hoskins, but seems like they could make both guys more valuable to them, and others, by increasing their flexibility positionally.
    Seems like the Cubs relish in guys being flexible with positions coming up the ranks, but the Phils really dont seem to do this at all. Am i wrong?

    1. Good point, RAEF. I’m bothered by how fearful the organization is with player interchangeability. For example, is Herrera gonna crumble if he’s moved to LF if Kendrick played 2b if/when Cesar H got traded?

      Steve, you mentioned 5 OFs on 40man. Williams and Cozens are also on it although maybe you were only counting OD likelies.

      On another note, BA will be coming out with their top 10 prospects for each club. Looking forward to that phase of the off season with the otherwise holiday lull.

    2. RAEF…Phillies did try with Asche and Ruf. And then Mayberry to first about 5/6 years ago. The Phillies tried with role players it would seem vs the Cubs.
      Cubs did it with their star players in Bryant, Schwarber, and Baez. Ben Zobrist came along to them with that versatility already.

        1. You guys better have the sushi place ready for it’s grand opening for the start of the 2018 season. He’ll be pitching opening day at CBP. Count on it !

          1. Fresh caught Delaware bottom-feeder catfish seems to be as good as any fish to sit atop the sushi menu. We will call it …the ‘Shohei Special’

    3. I think the Phillies may be somewhat adverse to position flexibility, but I also think it has more to do with the ability of the player rather the philosophy of an organization. EIther way, you need a certain open-mindedness on the part of both the player and the team for multi-position opportunities to materialize on the field

  61. And in the case of the Cubs, they had guys with the hit tool. Schwarber was a C, and he is learning LF to get his bat in the game, especially after his injury. They have a better Defensive C, so he will stay there. Baez, who was thought to be a bit of a disappointment initially, turned into a terrific player, and adds excellent D to his hitting. The Phils are still waiting to see if Cozens can hit outside of Reading, and care more about him being a Major League hitter than learning a new position. If any of the Phils prospects show that they can actually hit and are blocked at a position, I am certain they will find a way to get their bat in the lineup. We don’t have that problem yet.

  62. In yesterday’s KLaw chat, three topics came up that get a lot of discussion here:
    1. a possible Odubel Herrera trade (Tim may not want to read this)
    2. Manny Machado resigning in Baltimore (the plan is intact)
    3. Shohei Otani coming to MLB (the plan is intact)

    Jim: What do you think of the rumors that the phillies might be open to moving herrera? Could he get a lot back?
    Klaw: I think it’s a good time to sell. He’s been great considering how they got him (rule 5, so basically free), but I think he showed some flaws in his game in 2016 that may limit his potential to be better going forward, and I know work ethic has been a concern for the team. Explore his value now while he’s cheap for one more year and has four years of control left – and while the OF market is really pretty thin anyway.

    Phil: Do you see either Machado or Harper signing an extension with their current teams?
    Klaw: I would say there’s less than a 5% chance of either guy signing an extension in the next twelve months. I’m tempted to say zero, but it’s not technically impossible, just wildly unlikely.

    Andrew: What do you make of Otani still wanting to come over next year despite the severely limited earning potential? MLB/owners thrilled or wondering what they haven’t figured out?
    Klaw: I have a sneaking suspicion that Otani’s still going to end up with his money one way or another.

    1. Hinkie….Otani gets paid,,,new CBA or not….there has to be a loop-hole somewhere. The Japanese-US Agreement does not take precedent over the CBA but…….
      The one aspect of the CBA that does not address anything, or it has not been brought yet, in the international provision is the monetary exchange between the US domestic teams and the international NPL teams for Japanese players.
      I can see the money flowing from the US MLB team thru the NPL team the Ham Fighters, into Otani’s Japanese bank account. Now I do believe Otani has to have American agents representing him in negotiations with the MLB team however, so that could pose a hurdle to be cleared.

    2. According to Otani’s manager, the kid’s planning on coming to the US because of “game” (per a tweet by a guy named Jim Allen posted by mlb trade rumors). He would have to sign a minor league deal with a club and then accrue 6 yrs of service before becoming a free agent, under the current CBA.

      1. “….he (manager Hideki Katsuyama) expects him to go in 2018 on a minor league deal because it’s about game.”

  63. Great stuff Hinkie, although I think that the cost to move Herrera would be very high, and it should be. I don’t see him being moved. And, there is really not a hurry. When Altherr/Quinn, maybe Williams shows he can play and are a better CF option, and we have a better option to play LF, rather than moving Herrera there, I keep Herrera without a Godfather offer.

  64. 2017 Prospect Rankings – DRAFT

    1. JP Crawford
    2. Jorge Alfaro
    3. Mickey Moniak
    4. Franklyn Kilome
    5. Nick Williams
    6. Roman Quinn
    7. Dylan Cozens
    8. Cornelius Randolph
    9. Rhys Hoskins
    10.Kevin Gowdy

    11.Sixto Sanchez
    12.Scott Kingery
    13.Ricardo Pinto
    14.Ben Lively
    15.Adonis Medina

    16.Nick Pivetta
    17.Mark Appel
    18.Andrew Knapp
    19.Drew Anderson
    20.Jhailyn Ortiz

    1. I like that but for two minor re-placements…Ortiz at 20 swaps with Medina at 15 and Pivetta at 16 swaps with Pinto at 13.

      1. I could certainly buy that Romus. I’m anxious to see Pinto at LV this year where he is likely to reintroduce his plus change. I think he’s a genuine middle of the rotation type whereas with Pivetta, I’m not sure he remains a starter.

        I was struggling a bit with justifying Medina ahead of both Pivetta and Anderson. While my top 10 is nearly fixed (unless Moniak puts on another 10 lbs next week), I suspect my 11-20 will remain somewhat fluid.

        Thanks for the feedback. For what its worth, this is where I am 20-36 with another 20 guys on my list who are worthy of mentioning.

        21.Jose Pujols
        22.Cole Stobbe
        23.Jo Jo Romero
        24.Alberto Tirado
        25.Andrew Pullin

        26.Jesmuel Valentin
        27.Daniel Brito
        28.Francisco Morales
        29.Elniery Garcia
        30.Carlos Tocci

        31.Edgar Garcia
        32.Harold Arauz
        33.Bailey Falter
        34.Delvi Grullon
        35.Ranger Suarez

        36.Nick Fanti

        1. Steve…four of your bottom five I look for break out seasons…Grullon and Arauz in Clearwater and Falter in Lakewood and maybe Fanti there also, though in the end,. I think he plays in Williamsport.

    2. Of all the prospects the one I need to show me a good year is Randolph.
      need him to live up to hype of high draft pick. Stay healthy

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