Open Discussion: Week of February 27th

The first weekend of Grapefruit and Cactus League games is over.  Several young Phillies’ prospects have looked promising.  As major league games continue, early reports for minor league camp will continue to work out at the Complex.  Their first full work out is scheduled for Friday, March 3rd.

The Phillies have won 2 of 3 games so far (3 of 4 counting the game against the University of Tampa).  Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens, Scott Kingery, Jorge Alfaro, Cameron Perkins, Nick Pivetta, Miguel Franco, Rhys Hoskins, Brock Stassi, Adam Morgan, Perkins again, Nick Williams, Ben Lively, and Alberto Tirado all had individual good games.  Luis Garcia may have solidified his standing as the first man off the 40.

As a team, the Phillies are leading the league with 6 home runs and are 4th with 20 runs. A nice turnaround from last season’s anemic offense.  However, they are middle of the pack with their .243/.308/.430/.738 slash.  Not a big deal after just 3 games, but a disturbing trend of 8 walks and a league leading 30 strike outs needs to be checked.

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

Key dates remaining during the off season:

  • Grapefruit League games thru 3/31.  Schedule here.
  • 3/6-22 – World Baseball Classic.
  • 4/2-3 – Opening Night/Opening Day.

Extra Innings

This guy threw BP Friday afternoon.  That’s Dickie Noles.  He didn’t brush back anyone, but he did challenge batters with a hard diving fastball toward the end of their session.  Must not have had much movement, Cole Stobbe really turned on a few.

Cumulative transactions: 

  • 2/22 – RHP David Whitehead assigned to Reading Fightin Phils.
  • 2/8 – Phillies signed free agent RHP David Whitehead to a minor league contract.
  • Otherwise, the organization rosters are up to date.

 

178 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 27th

  1. It’s early and anything going on right now must be taken with a grain of salt but Perkins is getting playing time. If he continues to hit well, he gets to live another day. If he gets comfortable and continues to impress, he’ll get a longer look. I’m not saying he’ll be on the 25 man when they break camp but he’s playing his heart out.

    A nice write-up, from Matt Gelb, on the two sluggers: Hoskins and Cozens. He quotes MacKanin saying how much he likes these two guys. A lot of it is to boost their confidence but he’s pointing out what he likes. “I was told he has a real good idea at the plate,” Mackanin said of Hoskins. “And he sure looks like that. He has a nice, soft approach. He looks like he’s really under control. That’s good to see. ” With Cozens it’s more than prolific HRs. “He’s got potential to steal some bases,” Mackanin said. “The key is when they know you can run they bear down on you. But still, you’ve got to like his tools.” Article here: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20170227_Phillies__Mackanin_likes_what_he_sees_of_two_young_sluggers.html

    1. One of the things I’ve noticed about Perkins is the amount of movement at the plate during batting practices. He has the most “waggle” of any player invited to camp. It is much more elaborate than when I watched him when he played for the Threshers. I’m surprised that Stairs hasn’t taken steps to eliminate it. I haven’t watched him in games, but noticed it again during an at bat in the Toronto game.

  2. ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden ranks the 2017 FA class … http://insider.espn.com/blog/the-gms-office/insider/post?id=13933 I’ve added parts of each player’s write-up:

    1. Yu Darvish – has the potential to land a contract worth $30 million per year.
    2. Jake Arietta – He’d like to stay with the Cubs, but with agent Scott Boras representing him it’s more likely he’ll go to free agency before signing an extension with the Cubs. If Arrieta has another strong season in 2017, he’ll be looking at a record contract.
    3. Eric Hosmer – There are big-market teams that have a long-term need at first base — the Red Sox, Phillies, Nationals, Rangers and Mets. Hosmer is such a great clubhouse presence and complete player that he’s starting to separate himself as next offseason’s best free-agent position player.
    4. Jonathan Lucroy – His market is expected to be strong.
    5. JD Martinez – This year will be important for him, to determine whether he gets paid in free agency as a 20-homer hitter or a 35-homer, 100-RBI producer. If the Tigers fall out of the race by July, teams like the Dodgers, Giants and Blue Jays will speed-dial Detroit to try to acquire him for the stretch run.
    6. Carlos Gonzalez – the Rockies have yet to make a significant contract offer. That could change in March, but if there is no extension by Opening Day, it’s safe to assume he’ll get to free agency. His slash line of .330/.390/.618 at home and .260/.315/.448 on the road in his eight seasons with the Rockies will certainly be factored into his contract offers in free agency.
    7. Wade Davis – If he’s healthy and can replicate his 2014 and 2015 seasons, he’ll be looking at a free-agent contract somewhere between the $62 million Mark Melancon got from the Giants and the $80 million Kenly Jansen received from the Dodgers.
    8. Lorenzo Cain – He also has a long track record of injuries and stints on the disabled list. His dearth of consistency will work against him in free agency, but if he can repeat his 2015 performance he might be able to follow in the footsteps of Michael Bourn, Melvin Upton and most recently Dexter Fowler and end up with a solid contract.
    9. Mike Moustakas – Moustakas had season-ending ACL right knee surgery last June after he collided with teammate Alex Gordon in a May 22 game. He will need to prove that he’s healthy and that 2015 wasn’t a fluke.
    10. Seung-Hwan Ho – Oh became one of the better closers in the NL last year after taking over from Trevor Rosenthal. Oh finished with 19 saves, a 1.92 ERA and a stunning 103 strikeouts in 79⅔ innings. His 2.13 FIP is as impressive as his 0.96 WHIP. His average fastball was 93 mph, and his slider was as nasty as his wipeout split-fingered fastball.
    11. Marco Estrada
    12. Matt Wieters
    13. Carlos Santana
    14. Todd Frazier
    15. Lance Lynn
    16. Chris Tillman
    17. Michael Pineda
    18. Jay Bruce
    19. Alcides Escobar
    20. Eduardo Nunez

    1. When it comes to the Phillies, the only one I could see pique their interest would be number one or two..Darvish or Arrieta.
      And at a contract that is not over the top, but with one agent as in Boras, that may not be possible..
      Eric Hosmer would appear to be a logical , especially to Jim Bowden, but if Joseph rakes this year, and Hoskins also the same at LHV, then signing the 29-year old Hosmer throws a monkey wrench into the rebuild from the first base perspective. Players will need to be moved to facilitate him into the lineup.

      1. I’m not a fan of Hosmer, he’s a nice player but he’s not the star that he was projected to be. The guy on this list that might interest me, based on years plus how Joseph and Hoskins do, is Frazier. He could play 1b for us, play close to his Jersey upbringing home, and be a legit 35 homer guy in our park. How old is Frazier?

          1. What’s the point? He’ll be expensive, probably won’t be much of an upgrade over what he have (since he might hit 40 homers, but also hit .230) and he would stunt the development of the current young players at first base (nobody is supplanting Franco at third right now so Frazier would have to play at first). Now, if Joey Votto goes onto the trade market, that’s a different conversation.

            1. To give you a source of comparison. Although he hit 40 homers, Frazier only had a .767 OPS. In his entire major league career he only once had an OPS higher than the .813 OPS that Tommy Joseph recorded last year. Joseph is 25, Frazier is 31. If the Phillies didn’t have a third-baseman and you were looking for Frazier to play a couple of years at third, that might be intriguing. But as a first baseman, Frazier does nothing for the Phillies but block younger players such as Joseph and Hoskins and add unnecessary payroll.

      2. Romus … Arrieta is the interesting guy because of his ties to MacKlentak from their days in Baltimore. Bowden thinks he’ll eventually end up back with the Cubs. I think the whole 2017 FA pitching landscape will hinge on what MLB does with Shohei Otani. I’ve read Theo Epstein has been gearing up for a run at the Japanese superstar. The only way the Cubs can get involved with Otani is if an exemption is granted to allow Otani to come over as a true FA and not as part of the 2017 J2 class. The Cubs will still be in the penalty box this year and will be out of the Otani sweepstakes. They would then be more likely to resign Arrieta.
        The whole Otani situation really intrigues me. I believe it will be the be the biggest storyline of the 2017 season. The new CBA has really thrown a monkey wrench into an Otani landing spot.
        As I’ve mentioned, I don’t have a subscription to BA, but I was able to see Ben Badler mention six or seven top LA prospects, and none were linked to the Phillies. It made me wonder if the Phillies have decided to pull out of any early agreements with LA teens, and instead put all their eggs in the Otani basket (assuming no exemption is granted and he becomes part of the J2 class). I guess we can wait and see if Klentak makes any deals for extra J2 money. Like I’ve said numerous times, I would deal Hellickson and Buchholtz for a comp balance draft pick and J2 pool $$$.

    2. I would only want either Darvish or Arietta. Whichever one relies less on fastball velocity because they would be 31 when signed (and probably signed for at least 5 years)

  3. Tim … Don’t think 1, 2, or 4 will be settling for a three year deal. More like five year deals with opt outs after three years.

  4. Hunter Greene (one of the top three prospects for this year’s draft) had a good day Saturday … 5IP, 2 R, 3H, 7K he also hit a grand slam. http://m.mlb.com/cutfour/2017/02/26/217148306/video-hunter-greene-struck-out-seven-and-hit-a-grand-slam

    The other top two way player in the draft is Brendan McKay of Louisville. This week vs Omaha 5 IP, 1 ER, 2H, 4 BB, 5 K. At the plate, this season, he’s slashing .619/.677/1.095

    Other top prospects this weekend:

    Kyle Wright (Vandy) vs U Illinois Chicago 6 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K
    Jeren Kendall (Vandy) has been average so far this season .242/.324/.485 4 BB, 12 K, only 1 SB
    Tanner Houck (Missouri) has been brutal. 2 starts, 10 IP, 14 H, 5 BB, 14 K, 7.20 ERA
    Alex Faedo (Florida) was excellent vs Miami 8.2 IP (118 PC), 0 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 8 K … I saw some of the game. Faedo’s slider was unhittable. BTW … Florida’s #2 and #3 starters might end up being even better than Faedo. Sophomore’s Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar could be the first two picks in the 2018 draft.
    JB Bukauskas (UNC) has been the most dominant performer this year. Friday vs Radford 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 11 K. In two starts, Bukaukas has 13 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 21 K.
    UNC has a freshman SP from North Jersey who I had heard about last year. As a matter of fact, I asked another poster about Luca Dalatri last summer. Dalatri looks the part. He’s 6’6″, 238 lbs. On Sunday (his second career start) vs Radford 8 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 15 K. He’s going to be real good.

    1. Hinkie…a real coup, IMO, would be if the Phillies were able to draft McKay and sign Ohtani.
      I think the odds are pretty slim, however, for that to ever happen.

      1. Forgot to mention a couple of LHP second round options (both off to auspicious starts) :

        Zac Lowther (Xavier) … 2 G, 8.2 IP, 6 H, 7, BB, 14 K, 5.19 ERA
        David Peterson (Oregon) … 2 G, 10 IP, 13 H, 2 BB, 8 K, 8.10 ERA

    2. Nice stats but from past experience watching two way players is they are good at both but not great at either making them a 5 starter or occasional pinch hitter doesn’t really excite me very much , unless we are talking about a late round pick up I’d pass on the first few rounds unless he has a really loud tool , like 70 fastball or 60-70 hit tool
      Just my non scout opinion

  5. I think the Phillies play the 2017 Free Agent market like they had this year…then positional themselves to rock the 2018 class, which has the potential to be epic.

    By the end of the 2018 season, we’ll also know who’s a legit piece going forward; and who won’t be.

    1. Agreed. The 2017 class is underwhelming and the Phillies have already said that they are developing talent to “grow” the pitchers and “buy” the bats. I’m sure there might be exceptions, but this is their stated road map and I don’t see them departing from it this early in the rebuild. As for bats, there’s nothing there of consequence from a free agent standpoint. I do expect, however, that they may trade for one or more of the bats they desire, but who knows who that will be and when it will happen.

      1. the “bats” on Phillies wish list and will going to buy are:

        Machado in 2018 via McKlentak connection; and
        Trout in 2020 via local connection

        1. Yeah, we will see. I’m sure they are on the “wish” list – but a lot of pieces have to fall in place for either transaction to happen. It also gives the Phillies’ internal talent more time to develop before those decisions are made.

          Also, Machado is outstanding, but Mike Trout has a very good chance to be in the HOF inner circle – one of the ten to fifteen greatest players of all time – perhaps even the top 5, which seems insane, but it’s clearly possible.

          1. If the Phillies get Mike Trout it could be through a sign and trade the year before he hits free agency. There are very few players who I think yearn to be with their childhood team, but I actually think Trout may be among that small group. Memo to Carson Wentz – start your recruiting efforts immediately.

            1. I see Trout getting something like a 10-year $450 million contract. Oddly enough, he could easily be worth that, although once a player gets beyond the age of about 32 or 33, how he will age is anyone’s guess. People can tell you that they “know” one player will age well and another will not – but, to a large degree, that’s nonsense. There was no way to know how much Albert Pujols would decline and that David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre would essentially not decline at all into their late 30s. That age curve is a complete crapshoot, but with Trout, regardless of how he ages as a hitter, you can expect that with his heavy frame (he’s a big dude), he will probably move down the defensive spectrum, going to right field or left and, at some point, ending up a first base I would assume by around age 34 or 35.

            2. @catch – i know that “sign and trade” normally happens in NBA involving big time players. but i’m not sure that will happen in MLB considering there’s no salary cap involved. By 2018/2019 the Phils will have a better sense if Trout will resign or will declare free agency. $400M contract definitely there for sure so I don’t think the Phils will gut their farm and do a “sign and trade” unless the Phils wants to accelerate their timeline. I think big part of the decision process will come from Mike Trout himself. If the Phils can build a strong core and keep the farm flowing (for possible reinforcement and trade piece for complimentary places), Mike Trout can decide that he will not resign with LAA especially if the Phils is willing to pay his price.

            3. It does happen in major league baseball when the acquiring team does not want to give up a boatload of talent unless it’s sure the player being acquired is locked up for the long term. That’s what happened with the Roy Halladay trade and I expect it would have to happen with any trade for Mike Trout. They aren’t going to give up half the farm to rent him for a year and a half.

            4. @catch – i don’t think that’s correct. in sign and trade, the original team signs the player then trade the player (normally to the team of his preference). in Doc’s situation, the Phils signed him to the extension which he expressly allowed as a condition of the trade. it doesn’t really make sense to the acquiring team to enter a sign and trade if the player is only a FA that’s why teams normally trade the pending FA’s in July to get at least something in value. i think even the QO’s cannot be traded until certain point in time (i think until the June 15th of the following year).

              In NBA sign and trade works because of the salary cap rules which MLB doesn’t have. Sign and trade normally enables the player to obtain higher salary and/or greater number of years on their contract than NBA salary cap rules ordinarily allow the destination team.

            5. My apologies for the error in terminology. You’re right, that it would not be a technical sign and trade – so that’s the wrong phrase. But my overall point, I believe, is correct. That a team will not give up oodles of talent to trade for Trout unless the terms of an extension are already agreed upon as they were in the deal for Roy Halladay. That’s what I meant.

            6. @catch – now that i agree. all it will take the Phils is to commit $$ to Trout and assure that they will pay him what he and the market commands. now the pressure will be on the other teams to try and trade for Trout if they want him and face a risk to outbid the Phils and Trout choosing them to resign.

              If the Phils continue to build a competent team (majors and minors) it will make it easier for them to have Trout decide to join the team and make a sustainable run.

              Of course it will help to have Wentz and probably Embiid making efforts to recruit Trout.

        2. I believe Middleton, MacPhail, and Klentak have been game-planning for Manny Machado and Shohei Otani for for at least a year now. The Phillies lead the league in payroll flexibility, and MacKlentak have a relationship with Machado. I think the new CBA has made it more difficult landing Otani, but I feel they will still be players for him.

          1. That would make sense if you move Franco – Machado’s obviously, the better player right now and probably into the future. But if Franco develops into the player I think he can become (elite power hitter and near elite fielder), I’m not sure this is the move they should make unless they are able to trade Franco for a seriously huge haul.

            1. @catch – Franco should not block Machado if reality comes there. Franco, is he develops to the player the Phils hope he can be, can move to 1B. The Phils can decide between Franco, TJ, Hoskins, Cozens, etc as their 1B — so signing Machado will not necessary force the Phils to move Franco.

            2. There is no reason to move Franco to first. His highest and best use (i.e., best value) is as a third baseman. Either he will go to first base and be the first baseman or he should be moved. You don’t keep a player of Franco’s value floating around.

            3. @catch – getting a haul obviously a caveat to any argument. 3B is the higher profile position which holds a higher value which matters if you want to trade or sign a player. if the Phils is indeed going to be a serious contender, they will keep their best assets as long as they can fit together as a team without being counterproductive. moving Franco to 1B (to keep his production) is not downgrading his position especially is the his replacement in 3B is equally if not better defensively in Machado. i don’t see why is this a bad thing unless you only want to assess a player’s value for trade or signing purposes.

              right now, the Phils is in rebuilding phase. they may want to play their players in optimum position to keep their value high and use them as trade assets. once the Phils start to contend, I can see them start to consolidate their assets – keep the core, trade the players that command high returns.

          2. Ōtani wa 2017-nen ni firīzu to keiyaku o musubu!

            I’ve been beating the same drum with Hinkie on Otani (2017) and Machado (2018). Carson Wentz will bring Trout home in 2020!

  6. I agree with you both. They are not ready to go get a Darvish or Arrieta. Those deals will be long and expensive, and the Phils just are not there yet. Relievers are always nice, but they are not in a position to go that route in FA either, and the everyday [players do nothing for me. The ’18 off season is when I expect the big money to be spent by John Middleton.

    1. I doubt the upcoming FA focus will be on arms unless most of the young guns we’re watching now get hurt or fall short. Bats!!!

      1. Bats!!!…I assume when you post bats, you mean only the big one…Machado.
        What is your Plan B, if the O’s and Angelos family decide to try to extend him?

        1. or should we say what’s the O’s (and Angelos family) Plan B if they can’t resign Machado to an extension? By November 2018, the Phils should have a good core of players that forms a good foundation. The 2018 FAs will anchor and/or fill in the gaps so the Phils will be a key player to any top FA available.

          i agree with Hinkie’s observation that the Phils “silent” plan is geared towards getting big time players in the next 2 years (i.e. Otani, Machado or possible others) and 2019 will be the start of the next playoffs/WS runs.

  7. Romus, I’m reading / hearing there’s virtually no chance Manny doesn’t test the waters. Baltimore hasn’t exactly demonstrated a willingness to play with the big spendors.

      1. if the Angelos believe they will not be able to sign Machado by the end of the year, then what would a good GM suggest to his boss/owner?
        Correct.
        Trade him for multiple prospects..
        Letting him walk for one supplemental draft choice will not be an option.

        1. @romus – I see this (trading Machado before free agency) as a possibly than resigning him. with a poor farm, the Orioles might want to re-stock their via Machado. the challenge will be is for the acquiring team is how committed Machado is in resigning an extension with them. It may not be a problem with big $$ teams (like NYY, LAD, CHC, BOS who have $$ and prospects) unless a team will take that one shot to the WS and willing to pay stiff price for a rental in Machado.

          1. KuKo…..the Os did double his salary for this year under arbitration to $11.5M.
            Now whatever they do come the fall remains to be seen. But Manny’s statement last week does not give any indications one way or another whether or not he will test FA waters. Just the typical line they all give.
            ““It’s something that, I’m not worried about it,” Machado said. “I’m trying to play baseball. I’m not going to sit here and answer these questions because there have been no talks. And when there is, you guys will probably be the first to know. To be honest, you might find out before me. I’m not worried about it. I came here to play baseball. Let’s just enjoy ourselves. This year, they’ve put a really good group of guys in this clubhouse. It will be really fun to play with them and see what we can do.”

    1. I saw much of the game on TV and I, too, am beginning to understand the excitement about Kingery. As for him not driving the ball, although I have not seen him prior to this spring, based on reports, I sense that he made himself a lot stronger in the offseason and he is built like a fireplug. Physically (and facially too), he looks like a smaller, less bulky version of David Wright (they could easily pass for brothers). The speed is noticeable as is the competence on the double play balls (exchange and release is flawless). The stroke is compact and carries enough power. He could explode on the prospect scene this year, especially if he starts at Reading. Welcome the new generation of Phillies ballplayers (the Johnny Almarez picks) – athletic enough, but all about demonstrable baseball skills and top notch hit tools.

      1. Today’s article in the Inquirer confirms that Kingery added 7-10 pounds of muscle and it is all good weight – he is solid, his forearms are pretty big now (a huge thing for a hitter) and his legs appear to be very strong. We could have ourselves a real winner with Kingery – our version of Pedroia or Kinsler.

        1. Going to the Tampa Bay game today, disappointed Kingery isn’t in the line up. Oh well, maybe he’ll play late.

        1. 8mark…CBP has the Girard Point summer trade winds….intersection of the Delaware and Schuylkill River. After the sun goes down, once the dog days come in, there she blows!

  8. Not sure what they think of Valentin right now but Kingery’s gotta be considered closer to the majors. Not just because he had a really good day but they’ve been featuring him a lot so far this spring. TJ calls him Scotty Jetpax. Like it.

  9. Was at the game today. If it’s possible, Kingery was even more impressive than his box score. Givens was throwing 96 mph sidearm from the stretch and kingery just leveled one of the offerings. In the field, he had a great over the head, diving catch while running into right field. I know it’s one game, but you can see why scouts like him despite the non-elite numbers thus far in minors. Joseph also hit a majestic HR over the bar in left field. On the other hand,Buchholtz may have not had a single pitch go over 89 that I saw, and had too many hard hit outs. Just one game and it’s early, but those are some observations.

  10. My hope is just that these three guys get moved quickly if they play well:

    Roman Quinn – He was a pretty realistic version of himself during September. Has more pop than he showed. Needs to be an everyday outfielder if he’s right.

    Rhys Hoskins – No weaknesses last year in Reading as a hitter. Walks, makes contact, definitely has some power. Keep pushing until he shows he can’t he that level’s pitching.

    Dylan Cozens – Lost in the negative attention to his LH splits is just how much he mashes righties. Free Cozens!

    1. Actually, come September, assuming we’re not in contention, I would like to see the lineup in the U of Tampa game on CBPs field (with exception of Franco at 3b). It’s a reasonable possibility.

  11. No word on Stassi “again” being the hero? This guy is winning a spot on the 25 which would be awesome. Expect to see him playing the OF soon to show off that skill. He knocks in big runs again and again. Expect Coughlin to play some IF too

    1. If these two make the squad, two 40 moves will be required. Luis Garcia seems to be the first but who is the second?

      1. Barring the unforeseen injury, the only mystery this spring really, is who replaces Luis Garcia on the 40man, Coghlan or Stassi.

    2. Murray, I think it’ll come down to either Stassi (my preference) OR Coghlan who I also like as a role player. However I don’t see how both make the 25 man being lefty bats off the bench.

  12. After Luis Garcia, I don’t see who else the Phillies would be willing to replace on the 40man roster. Valentin is already on it. I realize the consensus is that he’ll start in Lehigh while Kingery starts at Reading. If a 3rd catcher (say Hanigan) is placed on the big league club, ????. So it will be a sequence of interesting decisions to come. It was refreshing to hear Kingery say himself that he needs more AA seasoning but I wouldn’t object to a bench of Valentin, Blanco, Knapp, Altherr and Stassi. That way the 40man dilemma no longer exists. Otherwise, ?????

    1. @8mark – agree that Luis Garcia is good as gone, probably traded for cash or PTBNL to add a LH bat which I’m hoping is Stassi and join Altherr, Blanco and Knapp in the bench. Blanco’s ability to catch (and be the emergency Catcher) should help Knapp’s cause since it may not force the FO to add another C in the roster.

      I like Cameron Perkins to make the last roster spot (with Blanco backing up SS, 3B and Kendrick as back up 2B). But as you said, it requires another player to be booted out in the 40-man. Morgan seems to be safe if he transitions to the pen as long man and LH arm. So the next in line is probably Goeddel whose 8th in the OF depth chart. Without making any trades and no 60-DL, the Phils might be forced to have either Valentin or Goeddel head north with the Phils.

      I can see a trade in the horizon – either Goeddel or Asher for international pool $$ or low level minors or a MLB ready player for multiple prospects in the 40-man.

      1. So far in his career, Perkins has been “meh” – he would have to improve a lot in order to have any longer term role for the team. So far, he hasn’t done anything well enough to stand out in any way and he’s getting pretty old for a prospect. Goeddel and Asher are on the lower end of the talent spectrum (Asher could end up being a “5” so there is some value there, but not a lot) – if they can move them and get anything back for value, I’d be fine with that.

        1. @catch – i’m not high on Perkins either, but does the Phils have better options that will not be counterproductive the progress of the better prospects? We are talking about a bench position that will not block any of the top OF prospects.

          Unless some of the NRI’s can hold value to be a future trade piece, I rather give the opportunity internally and maybe these players show something and enhance their value.

          1. I’d much rather have Stassi than Perkins. Stassi has taken his game to the next level and can play both outfield and first base and pinch hit. Unless Perkins has magically improved during the off season, there’s nothing that Perkins does that someone else cannot do as well or better – case in point being Aaron Altherr. He has athleticism and upside that Perkins can only dream about and even if all you want is a replacement fielder or base runner – Altherr does that better too.

            1. @catch – i prefer Stassi over Perkins too and I have him as the 4th bench player behind Blanco, Altherr and Knapp. I’m talking about the the last bench spot when I mentioned Perkins — so it’s either a NRI (Coghlan), Valentin, Goeddel or somebody else like Perkins.

              That last roster spot will probably cut Goeddel out of the 40-man unless it’s him or Valentin or if there’s a trade. My Perkins reference is assuming that there’s another space and it is a choice between Perkins and one of the NRIs,

            2. I checked just to make sure Perkins can play all 3 outfield positions. I like Stassi too I think in About 2 wks it will all work itself out. The better pitching and injuries usually help.

          2. KuKo……you may not be high on Perkins, and he may be pigeon in a slot that is currently reserved for Aaron Altherr, but he does one thing better than most, he makes contact..
            His entire minor league K rate is well -below 20%…..14% in close to 2100 PAs.
            And if Matt Stairs philosophy on strike-outs has not changed, Perkins may be the one he rather would favor to work with.
            Saying that, I doubt, however, he even sniffs the 25man come April.

        2. For what it’s worth, a cost-controlled 5th starter is actually extremely valuable. It saves 8-10m+ a year these days, compared to what FAs command.

          1. Yeah, in the abstract – that’s why they should trade him if they can. But Asher himself has very little intrinsic value to the team in terms of their winning games. They are awash with mid to back rotation arms and he is closer to the bottom of that list than the top (although he was a little bit better last year than I expected). Let me put it another way. If you made a Phillies starting pitcher depth chart he would probably be between 8th to 10th on that list (Velasquez, Nola, Eickhoff, Hellickson, Buchholz, Thompson, Efflin, and probably also Pivetta and Lively, would be ahead of him). They really have little use for him, especially since he has little projection moving forward.

          2. @Dan – catch is correct when referring to the depth of back end SPs. The Phils will be negotiating in a position of strength (so they don’t need to make a trade unless it makes sense to them) and since a cost controlled SP is something of value like what you mentioned, the Phils should be able to get something of use to them.

            Asher is in the bottom of the depth chart, so it’s makes sense for the Phils to consider trading him while team’s value him as a cost controlled back end rotation, otherwise, the Phils will move Asher to the pen (which will lower his trade value considering he’s not a shutdown BP arm) so that better SP prospects like Anderson, El Garcia, etc can continue their progression.

            This logic also applies to Goeddel who is also in the bottom of the depth chart and with better prospects needing the opportunity to continue to develop.

            1. Oh, I wasn’t saying the Phillies should pencil him into the rotation or anything. His value may, in fact, be highest as a trade asset. I just didn’t want to sell the kid short. I think he could be better than KK was, and we all know how much mileage we got out of him.

              Ideally he’d never see a single start in Philly (because we would have 5+ SPs all performing much better than he could ever hope to). But he appears to be a major league contributor for someone.

              But in terms of his value, as long as he’s cost-controlled he’s the difference between signing Josh Reddick and Mike Trout (in terms of money saved, based on their average annual salaries). Obviously money is not the only factor in play and wouldn’t actually net us Mike Trout; but it is still very important. Especially in the current CBA where going over the cap too often means losing draft picks.

            2. as we speak, looks like Asher doesn’t want to be traded as he giving up hits, HR and free passes and surrendered the lead back to TAM.

            3. I agree. My view is that the teams with truly elite farm systems rarely overpay for average talent. A good system should be churning out average players all over the place so that the holes can always be filled without overpaying. The Cardinals are great at this.

      2. Kuko, I’m with you except for Perkins. Don’t see him in the picture at all. Goeddel and Asher are expendable in my opinion but I think the FO values them for depth.

        1. @8mark – Perkins is just on the assumption that trades will happen and opens up a space. If no trades, then either Goeddel or Valentin will probably make the team. Coghlan is the only NRI that I think can be a good option, the rest seems “ish” to me. If a space can be opened up, then Coghlan (assuming a decent ST) is in for me and keep Perkins in LHV.

          1. Coughlin is an okay player. The only problem with Coughlin is that he really doesn’t serve this team’s long or short term goals. He’s obviously not a guy they want there long term and he’s not a guy who they want to play to improve his trade value (like Saunders). To me, if Coughlin’s playing on more than a very short term basis, some more important goal of the team is not being furthered.

            1. The one advantage Coghlan gives you is that he can play 2b & 3b as well as corner OFs. With Stassi you cover 1b well defensively and lf (maybe rf); Blanco -every IF position as well as emergency C; Altherr – all OFs; Knapp – C/1b(maybe lf); and Valentin switch hits and gives you another IF. Trade Goeddel for a PTBNL or $$$ to open another 40man spot if need be. However it shakes out I like how the bench should look.

            2. I would probably take Coghlan over Perkins if they need to fill another roster spot because I think he’s a better and more versatile player and because I think Perkins has no serious big league future.

    1. It’s always possible – his tools are incredible. With him, it’s all about the hit tool – if he hits, good things will happen. He has everything else, including power by the way.

      1. Altherr’s my sleeper this year on the 25 man roster. Not saying he’s a sure thing but man does he have the athletic profile.

  13. Went to see the Astros-Marlins in West Palm today. The Marlins looked very good, especially Christian Yelich. He’s a really good player who reminds me a lot of Von Hayes for whoever remembers him from way back when. Yelich is better.

    The new park is really nice but quite sterile. The ballpark in Jupiter is really cozy! The atmosphere there is much better. The crowd today was under two thousand. I hate to say/write, but I think WPB might have a white elephant on their hands.

    1. Check out Von Hayes’ numbers before you say that, although I like Yelich quite a bit. He had some nice years. He once told me that the Phils asked him to hit homers after Schmidt retired and it messed up his swing. He was a line drive hitter, not a power hitter, just like Yelich is. The Marlins shouldn’t ask him for too many homers.
      I think the WPB complex is pretty awesome with 12 fields. Lots to see

  14. Forgot to mention: Brock Stassi’s brother started at catcher for the Astros. I think he’s on their 40 man roster. And Aaron Nola’s brother started at catcher for the Marlins.

    1. 8mark,

      Quinn led off with a walk. Altherr, who had a double and base-clearing triple earlier, hit a deep fly for the second out. Valentin, getting his first play, I believe, doubled, but it looked like it might be caught, so Quinn had to hold up and only made it to third. Perkins was down 0-2 in the count, but kept his plate appearance alive, then lines a single to drive in a run. Hector Gomez, also battling to keep his AB alive, doubled in the tying run . Hoskins then came up and smashed a line drive, unfortunately, at the second baseman.

      Hoskins also had a chance to help win the game defensively in the 9th but fell short. With a guys on first he had a ball hit at him. He tried to quick get the ball to second for the start of what would have been a game-winning double play, but hurried and dropped the ball. Both runners safe. The running on second went to third on a sacrifice fly, then scored on a play I didn’t record.

      VV looked good. Sitting 93-94, touching 95. His best was pitching to the first batter of the game. Three straight 91 MPH fastballs. Then a 94. He had two strikes on the batter and crossed him up with a 79 change-up and a swing and miss.

      A couple of other times he used heat to effectively throw off-speed pitches.

      Adam Morgan settled in after a tough inning.

      First time I have seen Pinto live. He is definitely unimpressive physically, but he threw as hard as VV. Of course, he only had to go one inning, a hint, I suppose, of what’s to come for him — the bullpen.

      Home plate umpire had problems with the Phillies. He called TJ out at home on a play where he was clearly safe, by a mile. The Phillies fans booed so loudly they drowned out the cheering Rays fans. Then he had bad strike calls on Hernandez, including a called third strike for a third out. Hernandez was so upset he just stood staring at the umpire until all the players from both teams had left the field. The umpire then himself turned and walked away. Later. Alfaro got the bad calls. He looked at the umpire on strike two. Then swung and missed at strike three and looked at the umpire as he walked away.

      Nick Williams looked bad at one swinging third strike and flipped his bat in disgust, catching it, not flipping it away.

      Positives: Alterr, Quinn (who stole a base) VV, Pinto, Perkins

      Positive but no results to show: Hoskins

      So-so: Adam Morgan and Asher.

      A little negative: Neris

      Negative: Williams

      1. I haven’t seen most of the box scores so far but it seems Williams isn’t getting the playing time relative to other kids as Mackanin stated he’d play them more early on this spring and play the older guys more later.

        Anybody have thoughts?

        1. I think Williams and Cozens are in a box where they have been assigned to AAA no matter what therefore some guys that are actually on the bubble or need to show something to make the 25 man or stay in the 40 are getting more opportunity.

          Stassi is a pretty good example at age 27 I think they really want to decide what to do with him given Hoskins will also be at AAA.

          I remember a ST game where Jason Donald (I believe) hit 4 HR’s. I thought wow this guy is going to move to 3B and a be a beast for us.

          I remember Ben Francisco’s amazing ST. Point is I love seeing guys have good springs but I’m always leery of the ST sample size.

          1. I Saw Stassi at reading and the other day. That swing on the Homerun was really a different swing. From what i saw at reading

          2. DMAR……Jason Donald had a great ST that year…2009. Tore up AFL in the fall of ’08, maybe one of the best players in the league. And good ole Ben Francisco.
            But you are spot on…..small sampling combined with inexperienced pitchers can lead to misleading expectations.

      1. 8mark….Phillies have had their share of ST wonders. I guess if look hard enough, every MLB teams have had them also. I sure hope Maikel does not venture down that highway.

  15. And Romus and roccom, remember the infamous Roger Freed? He was great in ST for many years, hit HRs all ST long and was a mediocre Major League player. Then we had Joe Lis, but he did not have as many good STs as Freed.

      1. DMAR….you buds there in Chicago are front runners for the latest Cuban phenom…OFer Luis Robert…’best player on the planet’ according to one hyperbolic scout..

        1. Romus, I’m beginning to see the Phillies’ apprehension with int’l prospects, especially Cuban. Not so much talent wise, but the whole change of culture, assimilation thing. Then there is the question of how good are these guys really. Hinojosa’s was a compelling story getting to the states but that’s about where it ended. MAG was a flat fiasco, albeit a Ruben fiasco. I like the current regime’s plan – if limited – but focusing on a geographic area like Venezuela and mining it for all it’s worth. Let’s hope Francisco Morales, Brayan Gonzales and Daniel Brito will be proof positive.

        2. For whatever reason they don’t mind taking their chances on the Cubans but I remember a really good Dayan Viciedo story that really speaks to assimilation.

          Bottom line was he had no real interest in competing after he received his money. Is probably broke now because his entourage and family rivaled that of Iversons.

          1. DMAR/8mark…have to agree. Seems a good number of Cubans have a more ‘independent’ attitude when it comes to their abilities and their value.
            The Ven kids seem more grounded, and that started going all the way back to the first Ven on the MLB scene ss Luis Aparicio. Panama, PR and Mexican kids are also very grounded….DR guys sometimes get influenced by the buscones.
            The majority of all the birther falsifications and PED usage was out of the DR.
            It is a good worthwhile idea that MLB had to start to build state-of-the-art academies in the DR.

            1. Guys – careful with the stereotypes – c’mon.

              Also, one thing to keep in mind with some of the Cuban players, especially the older ones, is that many of them are grown men, prevented from earning the type of living they would otherwise have received if they were just born someplace else and didn’t have to escape from that regime. That would put a chip on anyone’s shoulder.

            2. Catch, I appreciate your sensitivity to the matter but in this case I don’t believe my comments were based in stereotypes. I also find by in large others’ comments are usually balanced, weighed and made thoughtfully with but a few exceptions, glad to say. Especially when it comes to any questions of ethnicity or political persuasion.

            3. I don’t think its a stereo type nor do I think it is derogatory in anyway. Frankly I don’t fault them at all and if I’m in their shoes I’m doing the same thing. I’m totally empathetic to their situation.

    1. I think for the team, it is going to cause a “one out and nobody on” mindset. Don’t get me wrong, I like Freddy a little bit (outstanding fielder), but he’s not been a good offensive player, to say the least.

      1. Good one, Catch. Yeah I’m settled on having Freddy as the utility IF once JP arrives. He’s had his run in front of the brass’ eyes. They know what he is. Trade wise, he’s probably more valuable to us keeping him at least until he starts to over-earn his keep.

    2. At this point batting him at the top of the order may simply be a way to make sure he get the maximum # of at-bats before being removed. Don’t put much stock into who’s playing and batting orders this early in ST…

      1. Yeah, nobody does and it doesn’t really matter. I agree they are trying to get him to think about taking pitches and get on base.

        One thing that drives me crazy about baseball (and all sports really) is when you see a team or a player that tries a new experiment, watches it work, then changes back to the old way of doing things because it is more comfortable.

        Two years ago they made Freddy use a heavy bat and just hit the ball solid or on the ground. And guess what? It worked!!! He was getting hits like crazy. Then suddenly, for no reason (except that Freddy didn’t want to it anymore), Freddy went back to the lighter bat and making tons of outs like he always did. Why didn’t anybody say something? Read him the riot act? It was so stupid for him not to keep hitting in a way that made him successful.

        1. You are right. I am in the business of process reengineering and find that most people are very resistant to change. Superstitious ball players are certainly no different.

          I remember the Phillies having Mickey Morandini switch to using a fat handled, heavy bat trying to get him to become more of a contact guy but I don’t remember how long it lasted..

  16. Nola 2 solid IPs, Stassi 3 for 5 with rbi.
    Lively served up a 3 run tater to Joey Bats to tie game in 9th. 8-8 final.

      1. 7 Walks yesterday was pretty good. They started the season with a bagel of BB’s in the opener with the Yankees then 1 and then finally 8.

        The next series of games was 3-4-4 until yesterdays 7. Stairs has his work cut out with this bunch. They are swinging and swinging early…not that I’m concerned today. We’ll see what they do end of March.

        1. DMAr…listening to the YES announcers on the Yankees/O’s game last night….they mentioned at this early point of ST, prospects are very aggressive and will swing early and often to impress.
          I guess, what they were meaning was, it is a natural thing for youngsters to show their stuff amongst major leaguers before the minor league groups start to form and they leave the big league camp.

          1. Old saying was that you can’t walk you way off the island as a reference to why many LA players are aggressive hitters. Apparently that also applies to the minor leaguers trying to make big league rosters

  17. I know it is early and SSS and all that, but Stassi has looked very good. He is also, from the quotes I have read from Phillies coaches and Pete Mackanin, a terrific defensive 1B. I know they have a few other veteran bench types, but with Hoskins at 1B at LHV, Stassi could actually make the team.

    1. matt13…from the group of Stassi, Coghlan or even a extreme long shot like Perkins, only one can make it.
      The 40 issue will prevent more than one making it.
      Valentin, already on the 40, has been taking balls at shortstop, so he is another in the running for the infield grouping..

    2. I haven’t really been able to watch a game yet. Has any one seen or got a report on how Stassi looks in the outfield? I think that will be the key to him making the team as long as he keeps hitting. He will need to be decent in LF, as we saw last year its difficult to strictly keep someone who is a bench bat and backup 1B only.

    1. Hinkie…did you see his phillies camp fodder:
      “Nick Williams has been very impressive in Phillies camp. Lot of potential there … Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins are showing the same power they demonstrated in the minors. “The power is real,” one scout observed … Scott Kingery, who Tommy Joseph called “Scotty Jetpax,” has wowed them in camp early with his speed at second base … Joseph showed his big-time power by launching a home run to the Tiki Hut on the left-field pavilion.”

      1. Yeah, Romus. My wife and I are headed down to Clearwater next Sunday. I’m hoping those guys are still in the big league camp.

    2. He has Phils at 5-1 odds following NYY at 9-5 slightly over Nats 2-1 (who by the way are in agent Scott Boras’ back pocket. Good for them.

      I’m luke warm on Harper. I think he’s already beginning to break down physically. Good player, don’t get me wrong. Won’t be worth the contract he’ll command however. Machado makes much much more sense to the Phillies.

    3. Harper is an Of nobody really knows yet how good Franco going to be. If the Phillies put Harper in RF nobody the Phillies have comes close. this his Franco’s 2nd full yr be maybe an above average fielder and hitter.

  18. Some Friday morning tidbits that probably don’t mean anything but since we all seem pretty keen on Matt Stairs and what he might be able to add for the offense let’s take a look at some O Ranks through the first week of ST:

    Current Spring Our batters have the 4th most K’s and 4th most HRs
    2016 we were 7th and 24

    Current Spring 6th most runs scored
    2016 dead last

    Current Spring 16th most walks
    2016 29th

    Current Spring 13th in OPS
    2016 rank dead last

    21st in OBP
    2016 rank 29th

    What a gig Matt…you can only go up from here!

    1. DMAR…as for the 7th ranking in Ks. It is a little early and a little skewed with big guys like Cozens, Perkins and Alf with 25% of the total team Ks of a little over 60.

        1. My comparisons are 2017 ST results to date against our the 2016 Reg season!

          Definitely have to ask forgiveness for this bit of silliness week 1 in ST of a WBC year 🙂

  19. Maikel Franco has 2 full seasons to show what he is. Beltre?, Ramirez? If so, there is no need to pay $300-400Million for Machado. Maybe they need a C or a 1B, I am randomly picking those spots, because not all of our prospects are going to pan out. They just don’t. I don’t see the Phils anywhere in on the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, so the money they are going to spend may turn out to be on Pitching

    1. Matt13, I strongly believe 2017 will be a foretelling season for Franco. The kid’s got talent but does he have the aptitude to be a top level, CONSISTENT impact player? If he turns out to be, let’s say, a 6-hole hitter with a decent glove, he’s a candidate to either be traded or moved to 1b. He can carry the team for a few days or a week but then disappear. His body type and slow footedness also concern me, especially down the road. I hope he jumps on the fitness train that the club is pushing now.

    2. I expect them to spend on hitting and I think even they do not know yet specifically who they will target. These next two years are about determining who the keepers are and where the holes are that need to be filled by free agents. So, everyone keeps talking about Manny Machado – but the dominoes need to fall a certain way for that to happen and is in no way a sure thing or even likely. But they will be looking for someone in the future – there is no doubt about that.

      On the pitching, they have gone on the record again and again stating that they intend to grow pitchers and buy hitters and stating their distaste for expensive contracts for pitchers in their 30s (the opposite of Ruben Amaro) due to the risk of injury and performance problems. Given those statements, I expect them to avoid big free agent pitcher contracts with perhaps some minor exceptions. That said, it wouldn’t surprise me if they aggregated their assets to trade for younger arms before they hit free agency.

      1. @catch – despite of Cub’s recent success in developing bats to win the WS, I agree with you that the Phils will buy the best bat that can be had and grow arms internally (although high end arms came from low signings of LA target). The Phils did not draft any impact arm probably since Cole Hamels (Gowdy is probably the closest). But with a lot of position players in the upper minors ready for graduation, I can see Johnny A. drafting a potential TOR in this coming Rule IV draft possibly in the 1st 2 rds. Sal A. might follow suit in the international front (Hello Otani!) and the Phils will use its farm to consolidate assets and trade for MLB player(s) who will join the young and start making another run of success.

        1. By the way, I didn’t necessarily endorse the “grow the arms, buy the bats” mantra of this current administration – I am just observing what they have said and done. There’s a lot to be said for growing as many bats as possible and growing some arms and buying others. Most of the great dynasties were teams dominated by hitters.

  20. Romus … Keith Law answered a couple of questions in this week’s chat regarding a couple of your favorite prospects:

    Robert Luis: What can you tell me about the abilities and projections of 19 year old Cuban Luis Robert? Any favorites to sign him when he becomes eligible?
    Klaw: He’s already getting hyped well beyond his abilities. Who can sign him depends on whether he becomes eligible before or after the signing period ends.

    JD: How do you see the college pitchers in this draft? Any real standouts for you?
    Klaw: None has come out very good, other than perhaps McKay – whom, I learned this week, at least one team up top prefers as a hitter. (I think that’s crazy. A 1b without power, who’s also a LHP up to 95 with a good CB? Easy choice.)

    1. Hinkie….thanks
      He is not sold entirely on Robert it appears. The kid is 19 and played vs older men in the Serie Nacional. But I guess he does have some swing and miss.
      And McKay…..he may be selected in the top 5.

    2. The other college pitcher Law forgot about was JB Bukaukas. In two starts, he’s 13 IP, 0 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 21 K. Though, I believe Law isn’t sold on Bukaukas remaining a starting pitcher because of his size and the effort in his delivery.

      1. He isn’t a 6’4″/6’5″ pitcher but listed at 6’1″ ..not entirely smallish, but that delivery may be the kicker.

  21. Usage/velo chart on Appel’s 48 pitch count today:
    FB-27 (2-91….7-92… 13-93…. 5-94)
    SL/CB – 17 (1-82….2-83…7-84….6-85….1-86)
    CU – 4 (1-81….1-83…1-84….1-85)

  22. By the way, the Scott Kingery show continues. If the power is even close to being real, look out, because he seems to do everything else very well. Now I get it. This could be the beginning of a breakout year for him. Thank you Johnny Almaraz for giving us some real baseball players! It’s so refreshing.

    1. Right on, Catch! These are one of those days you don’t care about Ws and Ls. Scotty Jetpax, baby!!!

      (…and how about Cesar 2 for 2 with a SB)

    2. The defensive play he made was first rate too, gold glove caliber. He’ll start at Reading but he’ll move to LHV mid season and be in the mix for a job in Philly next year if he keeps playing like this. Dustin Pedroia ish. Meanwhile Valentin is playing well also. He’s making the big club.

      1. Valentin has all of 123 PAs at the AAA level.
        Why would the Phillies jeopardize a young players future by rushing him straight to the majors, and no less to ride the bench?

        1. Romus, we’ve got Hernandez, Valentin and Kingery all playing well at the highest levels within the same organization.

          Something has to give and soon. Kingery is on track for the opening day roster in ’18. Barring injuries, there’s no way someone doesn’t get moved.

          1. Yes it would seem that way…same as the OF situation with Quinn, Cozens, OH and Williams. Same as the catching to some degree.
            So will be interesting to see what the Phlllies do.

            1. But more immediately our 2Bs are all playing well NOW. That’s what makes that position more intriguing.

        2. Valentin is on the 40 as is Knapp. Everyone agrees that Luis Garcia is the next guy to go from the 40 but who is after that? If the Phils add two guys to the 25, like Coughlin and Stassi or Gomez, who gets released? There is no easy next guy to release. And don’t say Morgan because he or Asher will be the long man with the other pitching in relief at LHV and available as the first call up for a pen injury. I think it will be Coughlin or Stassi for the Luis Garcia 40 spot and then Valentin and Knapp make it because they’re on the 40. I just can’t see them keeping Goeddel on the 25 again and ruining his career but I also can’t see them releasing him. The Phils aren’t winning any titles this year, retaining players is bigger than keeping someone on the 25 who is slightly better.

  23. I really have a lot of faith in the 2B position. I have not projected ahead thinking we will need to go the FA route. I don’t have the same faith in the OF. I want them all to succeed, but the reality is that they all will not. This is a very big year for all of the OFs, including Doobie. At C, I can be happy with Alfaro in LHV all year as long as he shows progress.

  24. Kudos to Jesse Biddle, and on his comeback from Tommy John surgery.
    Though wish he were in an AL team’s uni. and not the Bravos or any NL East team.

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