Open Discussion: Week of March 6th

After eleven games, the Phillies have a 5-4-2 Grapefruit League record.  Scott Kingery has impressed with his glove and his bat.  Aaron Nola looked good in his return to the mound. And, Brock Stassi may have forced his name into the conversation for a spot on the 25-man roster.

So far, the Phillies have maintained their early offensive prowess.  Their 62 runs ranks fourth overall, first among NL teams.  Their 24 doubles ranks fifth, first among NL teams. Their 15 home runs ranks second, first among NL teams.  However, the Phillies batting slash ranks middle of the pack .260/.335/.444/.779 (18th/18th/13th/15th).  Still this represents a solid improvement over last season.  The Phillies have also reversed their anemic walk rate.  They rank seventh with 37 walks, but that is an increase of 29 (3.6/G) over the first 3 games (2.6/G).  However, they rank second in strike outs with 90, although their 10K/G through the first 3 games has slowed to 7.5/G last week.  A slightly stunning development might be their fifth ranked 10 steals and fourth ranked stealing percentage.

From the rubber, the Phillies have a bottom third 5.10 ERA, 58 runs, and 55 ER.  They have given up the second most home runs (16).  But have issued only 29 walks and have struck out 81 batters, both top ten numbers.  They are tenth with a .249 batting average against. Their low walk total pulls them up to the seventh best WHIP.

Defensively, they have committed 11 errors and have a .974 Fld%.  Teams have tried to steal on our catchers just five times and have been caught twice.  There have been 6 wild pitches and zero passed balls.

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

The first “cuts” are rumored to be scheduled for this week.  Even with Alfaro’s departure to the WBC, there may not be enough at bats for six catchers.  The 6 catchers not names Rupp have 9 or fewer at bats and rank among the 9 Phillies with the fewest at bats.  Look for one or both of Chace Numata and Logan Moore to be headed to the Complex soon.

I heard that Andrew Pullin has suffered an oblique strain.  He hasn’t been on the field since February 27th.

Dylan Cozens is batting .250 with 9 K, 3 BB, and 3 SB.  He has a .571 BABIP and .250 SLG.

Stassi and Nava have 0 K in 12 AB.  Kingery 1 in 16, Herrera 1 in 14, Crawford 1 in 17, Hernandez 2 in 17, Galvis 3 in 18, Joseph 3 in 20, and Saunders 2 in 13.

Over at the Complex, workouts are warming up.  Defensive drills saw Damek Tomscha and Greg Pickett taking ground balls at first base.  Lakewood’s first baseman, Wilson Garcia, was back behind the plate Sunday.  A lot of the players, especially among the LA players, look bulkier this year.  Not Tocci, though.

Cumulative transactions: 

  • Alex Wojciechowski reported to minor league spring training.
  • The organization rosters are up to date.

 

113 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 6th

  1. Lol a quote for Bob McClure ” I don’t care if you shoot the ball out of your Ass .If you throw quality strikes, I don’t care how you do it “. He was talking about Jake Thompson new delivery.

    1. Thanks Tim threat made my Monday morning as I now laugh at the catcher throwing it back to mound with some disgust

    2. I feel like McClure is OG enough to be liked by old fans, and hip enough to be liked by young ones. It’s so hard to not like the guy, he just seems so cool.

  2. Jim,
    It was nice meeting you yesterday at the complex. Good work on the site as always. Side note- Mr. Klentak was on my Southwest flight home from Tampa last night. He blended in pretty well, but I sought him out and told him I liked the direction he had the org. going in. Also, told him to save some $$$ for Mr. Trout. lol. He said he was going back to see his family for a few days.

    Besides Klentak, my flight had Jim Jackson, Fran Dunphy, Aaron Mckie, and the rest of the Temple men’s basketball team. Talk about a star studded flight!

  3. Thanks again Jim, nice work.
    That surprising steals number will go down as soon as Quinn, Kingery and Cozens get sent down. Unfortunately a guy that needs to get sent down so he can play is Goeddel. The team needs to decide where he stands in relation to the 40 man roster, as the 4th OF at LHV. If the team surprises me, and adds two (from Stassi, Coughlin, Nava, Gomez) to the bench from off the 40, who goes besides Luis Garcia? Valentin is the only guy on the 40 with a shot to stick on the bench – I’m assuming Knapp is a given.

    1. So far, Stassi (LH bat, LF/1B platoon) and Coghlan (position versatility) appears as the top 2 candidates to complete the 25-man roster and Garcia and Goeddel are in the back end of the 40-man. Morgan and Joely are outplaying their LH NRI’s and unless they suddenly implode, both will avoid the cut.

      With strong OF depth Goeddel is becoming expendable. With a poor start in ST, Klentak will find it hard to trade him, but it may slip Goeddel thru waivers (which I doubt). Goeddel will be the next candidate for a trade for cash or PTBNL.

      1. Stassi(L), Coghlan(L), Knapp(S), Blanco(S) and Altherr(R) form a compelling bench. All should contribute offensively as well. Valentin(S) could get the call after the trade deadline especially if Kingery merits a promotion to Lehigh. We have a healthy stock of switch hitters in the fold to give us lots of flexibility.

            1. Letting Goeddel walk would indicate Klentak made a mistake taking him in the Rule 5….Stumpf is already on the list, and Featherston is currently hanging on by a feather.
              I would wonder if he is that apt to DFA Goeddel after last year’s investment in him.

            2. @romus – letting Goeddel walk doesn’t necessarily mean that Klentak made a mistake especially if it didn’t cost him (or the Phils) to acquire Goeddel. Letting go of Goeddel, if that happens, means that Klentak has better option than him — as it currently stands, a roster spot in the 40-man is of value to the Phils.

              Klentak has a hole (although not a big one) to fill — which is OF from the bench. I think Goeddel can fill that role, alright, but I see Klentak trying to recoup some value from (almost free) Goeddel whether Cash, PTBNL, international slots, low level minors and all of these returns are better since they only got Goeddel for Rule 5 fee.

            3. KuKo….well I am of the idea of moving some players now for future prospects or money. And if Goeddel is one of the players that is fine.
              But, lets put it this way, if Goeddel has to be DFAed and picked up by another club, …it will not be something that would appear on MK’s resume.
              Nevertheless, there is a few weeks left before any decisions have to be made, and things may just work themselves out if injuries pop up.

            4. @romus – i don’t think Goeddel is a type of player that can dent (good or bad) in a GMs prospect. If Klentak thinks that it will affect his resume, he can put Goeddel as OF in the bench.

              Klentak’s preference is probably to trade a package some of the RHPs in the 40-man to add talent and create roster space. So Klentak and his team are following the rest of the MLB teams and see if injury(ies) opens up an opportunity to trade the “excess assets”.

            5. Remember they kept him around all last year . . . I highly doubt a bad spring will have a huge factor in what the Phillies do with Goeddel. I see him starting in Reading . . . unless he can get 4 games a week min at LHV but I don’t see that happening with who they have in their OF (Cozens/Quinn/Williams).

  4. I think if Stassi continues on this streak he should open the season with the big club .
    Why not , the Phillies aren’t contending and Stassi by all accounts has been the model of hard work and determination at every level even though he lacks some of the elite physical tool that others possess, he grinds on every year and I would like to see him get his cup of coffee , he could end up with a few years bouncing around different positions or as a pinch hitter role and eventually back as a coach in the org.
    Keep it uo Stassi

    1. I know we all have our favorite prospects that we hope on but I would suggest tempering the Stassi to the 25-man talk for now. After 9 at-bats, it might be a little early to start kicking guys off the 40-man to make room.

      I do not expect him to make the 25-man (or 40-man) roster and the fact they more than 1/2 of those 9 at-bats came in single game supports that position.

      Good for him that he’s a hard worker and all but big league roster spots do not get awarded for effort or for being a good team soldier.

      1. I think Stassi has earned a 25 man spot. He might not by end of ST but right now he has. In my opinion it’s not about making a nice gesture by giving him the nod. He’s a sound 1b and decent lefty bat. We’re not talking about him being your starting 1b.

      2. the Phils is required to complete a 25 man roster and as it stands, the Phils need to fill 1-2 bench spots. Who do you suggest to fill that spot if I may ask? Unless the Phils will put Quinn, Valentin, etc in the bench, the Phils will be forced to create a roster spot or 2 since roster spot is currently tight. And for the rebuilding team like the Phils, any player movement is intend to add future value to them team — either a veteran to be trade bait or a prospect that can fill a role.

        Stassi whether he breaks camp with the Phils or not, will not change his prospect status locally and nationally. Some players signed and/are invited in the camp to compete for any open position (i.e. bench sports or bullpen). Stassi is currently outperforming the rest of the NRIs. Although it is still early, I don’t think it’s favoritism to talk about him as the leading candidate to fill a roster spot especially if he fills the need (LH bat who can platoon with TJ and Howie). Whether I/we project (or don’t want) him to be part of the 25/40 man roster, it will be up to Stassi’s performance to make than happen.

        1. While you guys are nailing down the 25 man roster from the players in camp, I’ll be checking the waiver wire in 2 weeks time for pick-ups. It’s hard for me to picture this team only subtracting.

        2. If it were up to me no way guys like Nava or Coughlin make this team. One thing to have those types of players on your bench in a year when you expect to contend but not for us in our current state. Those guys are a dime a dozen and you can pick them up almost any time of the year on the waiver wire.

          At some point here in the next week or so Luis Garcia should be DFA’d

          I’d be talking with teams about a trade for guys like Valentin, Goeddel, Morgan and Asher as I don’t see anything special about any of these guys and no sense in having them clog up the 40 man.

          Question has anyone see anything on Tirado or Appel? Have either been in any games recently?

          1. Tirado was very shaky in an outing late last week.

            Appel had okay results in a game the other day BUT inefficient with 48 pitches over 2.2 ip.

          2. DMAR:
            On Appel’s last time out.
            .
            March 3, 2017 at 3:09 PM
            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)

        3. If you question is for me, I’ll start from the point that they will carry 13 pitchers which leaves 12 position slots available.

          2 catchers (Rupp, Knapp)
          4 starting IF (Joseph, Hernandez, Galvis, Franco)
          3 starting Of (Saunders, Kendrick, Herrera)
          1 backup IF – Blanco
          4th OF – Altheer
          25 man – The y probably start with Goeddel. Of the non-roster guys, Coughlin is the most likely candidate due to his major league pedigree.

          Personally, I would prefer they go with Quinn and give him 2/3 starts a week spelling all 3 OF positions. If he proves ML ready, then Kendrick/Saunders can be traded/released by mid-season. This is the year to learn which of their AAA level prospects are ready and which ones are not.

          For all the good stuff Stassi is doing early this spring, he is too old to be part of their long-term future. (He turns 28 in August). Hopefully he continues his success and they can move him for a PTBNL or a lottery ticket prospect.

          As a bench player, he is limited to LF and 1b. A backup OF needs to be able to play all 3 positions and least a little.

          1. @3up – in your scenario of 13 pitchers i assume your bullpen will be Morgan, Joely, Gomez, Ramos, Neris, Neshek, Benoit and Luis Garcia and your bench will be Knapp, Blanco, Altherr and Goeddel. I agree that this will not need to DFA any player in the current 40-man. I also brought up the possibility of the 13-pitcher in another thread 2-3 weeks ago due to the flexibility of Knapp, Blanco, Altherr and Kendrick to play multiple positions. However, I think the Phils (similar to most teams) will prefer to have a 5-man bench and specifically LH bat for situational hitting. I think Klentak will be forced to create roster 1-2 roster space whether thru trade or DFA to create a balance in the MLB team.

            1. A 5 man bench would be ideal but I’m not sure they can make do with a 12-man staff because of the make-up of their starting staff. I don’t see a lot of 7/8 inning starts from their current staff which will require the use of 3 or 4 relief pitchers each game. That type of workload will burn out the pen by August.

              My preference would be to have Quinn available as a LH hitter on the bench who can spell Saunders and Kendrick a couple of times per week.. The rest of the bench can also cover multiple positions so I think they can get away will 4 bench players.

            2. I don’t recall a Phillies club ever carrying less than 5 bench players. Early in the season there are usually more off days so the bullpen doesn’t normally get worn down until midseason. Besides, Mackanin won’t want to be hamstrung trying to make late game maneuvers with 4 bench players including a backup catcher. Don’t see it happening.

            3. 8mark…I think you are correct….seems it has always been a bench of a catcher, two infielders and two OFers.

            4. @3up – Neshek and Benoit should be able to handle the load and Morgan (and Gomez) ability to pitch multiple innings should avoid burning out some of the BP arms – Asher, Pivetta, Appel should be able to handle BP roles if needed if some needs to be relieved.

      3. Stassi making the 25 man is completely reliant on his outfield ability. If he can be a 5th OF/PH/backup 1B, then sure.

        1. I suspect he has zero chance of making the 25-man, since he’s a guy they can stash in Allentown as a first call-up if an OF/1B type goes down. I doubt they will be so hot to bring him up opening day to lose someone from 40-man. Every team seems to crave controllable spare parts at AAA.

  5. Romus … David Peterson of Oregon had his first good game of the season this weekend. It was actually better than good. He went 8 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 17 K.

    Tanner Houck also had his best game of the young season. 6 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K.

    And … another possibility for the 1-8 pick is UCLA RHP Griffin Canning. So far this season, he’s at 21 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 8 BB, 32 K, OBA .103 !!!

    1. Hinkie…loads of college arms for sure ……but keep in mind, they are pitching right now vs non-conference less talented hitters. Lets see what happens in conference play especially the SEC, PAC-12 , ACC and Big 12.
      Not sure what the Big Ten strength is this year..

      1. 100% correct. The players too look at now are the guys at smaller schools who it’s the reverse for . . . they are player better teams now then they are when they get to conf. play.

  6. Your right right Romus the comp gets better as the college season goes along. Like spring training as the herd is thined the pitching will get better the bench becomes more clearer. Plus injuries Pullin ab injury stinks but sometimes when a person bulks up they forget to stretch.

  7. Phillies.com lists Nola as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. Isn’t it Velasquez’ day to pitch? If so, has anyone heard if V V is ailing?

    1. Only my guess, but VV probably threw a simulated game today in order to keep the rotation days set for April 4.

  8. Great discussion about roster spots, couple of thoughts – I think we need to keep in mind that the entire roster getting through March without injury is highly unlikely. The interesting thing about the 40 man is usually the 60 day DL is an option but, knock on wood, there aren’t any candidates for that and let’s hope it stays that way. As for Stassi, I’d love to see him make the team but it’s very very early, and there will be other roster casualties that could present opportunities.

  9. Just thinking back 2 short years ago (seems longer) when all the Hamels trade speculation was going endlessly on. One guy from Boston among the rumored return pieces was LHP Henry Owens. He’s now 24 and highly ranked as he was in a strong crop, can’t seem to find his command and is STILL looking in from the outside as a MLB prospect. A guy I really liked was a 3b/LF/high character kid named Garin Cecchini (Charlie Manuel loved his swing). His brother Gavin has since surpassed him with the Mets (I believe?). SOOO glad in retrospect that deal never materialized. You just don’t know.

    We still don’t, really, with this group here. But there’s a lot to like from a pool that’s deep pretty much from end to end.

    1. And BOS is even saying that Owens is already an overpayment. Another guy linked to the Hamels trade was the local guy Sean Coyle – who is supposed to be MLB ready during that time after a strong 2014 season in AA.

  10. The consensus of the opinions on this site was we all hated the offers from the Red Sox. We spent a lot of time discussing them. We don’t know much yet, although Eickhoff has been a very nice surprise, but I remain very hopeful about Alfaro, Williams and Thompson, and Asher is a long reliever/spot starter piece who will spend a number of years in the Majors.

    1. I have to say that, while the Hamels trade will likely work out at least okay, I will be fairly disappointed if we do not yield at least one star player from that trade. When you trade a franchise icon at the peak of his abilities, the point of that trade for a team like the Phillies is to get back cornerstone players for the next rebuild. Good players such as Eickhoff are important and nice to have, but you really should get a star in that mix. As far as I can tell, our only realistic shot a star in that trade is probably Alfaro, so I’m pinning my hopes on him.

      1. was going to joke about him getting intentionally walked in a spring training game, not that it ever happens, but if so, is the signaled, non-pitch intentionally walk in place right now?

  11. So far, doing everything he can to win a job with the big league team. Does anyone know when the big move to send Minor Leaguers down to their respective groups happens? Isn’t there usually a big reassignment about the 15th of March? It will be interesting to see who lasts the longest.

  12. Phillies have many reasons for who they pick that last roster spot. Blanco, Altherr, and Knapp cover the key backup spots of SS, CF, C.
    Because of Kendrick able to play INF, and others with limited OF experience allow a lot of flexibility in the other bench spots.
    For roster saving Valentin could get some MLB time then be sent down when Crawford is called up.
    Goeddel also saves a spot, can cover OF, and may not get much time in AAA.
    Coghlan is most likely and could be the maximal trade asset.
    Sassi would be rewarded for slogging through minors, indicating to other youngsters how it can be done.
    Hanigan would indicate that pitching staff and vet leadership are very important.
    With improved bullpen, I doubt a 13th pitcher will get a spot.
    I would be surprised if anyone else emerges but injury could change that.

    1. I’m not big on awarding roster spots to players as a reward for a hard fight, but I am big on awarding roster spots to players who have earned the promotion on merit and Stassi I think may fit into that category. The thing with Stassi is that, over the last three years he has astoundingly continued to improve into his now late 20s. I want to see him make it because I think he could be really good and because I don’t want to see him hit 30 homers for the Oakland A’s this year. Even in this environment, if he keeps it up, he deserves his shot and I hope he gets enough ABs to show what he can do.

      1. I also believe the Phillies will bring Stassi north because letting him go (inevitably) to another club and quite possibly succeed there would be another sour tasting head scratcher.

        That leaves one 25 man spot left.

        1 – If Coghlan makes it, Goeddel IS DFA’d.

        2- If Valentin is the guy, no further 40man roster moves are necessary (and Kingery likely starts ’17 in Lehigh). At this point I think the current organization depth chart at 2b for the extended future is:

        1 Cesar Hernandez
        2 Scott Kingery
        3 Daniel Brito
        4 Jesmuel Valentin, who just might be a valuable trade chip himself in the not too distant future.

        Of course this all precludes any injuries. I’m not seeing any other likely bench options.

    2. Goeddel doesn’t factor into the big league roster IMO. 1 – he hasn’t played well enough to merit a spot; 2 – he’s another RH bat when already have Altherr filling that role.

  13. For the 40 man roster, I’d keep an eye on Eflin and his knees. He could be a candidate for the 60 day DL if he has any setbacks. They could add him to that anytime, say March 15, and he could start a minor league rehab by April 15, and spend early April in XST. That would open a 40 man spot for at least 6 weeks.

    1. ML…that is a good alternative in saving a spot.
      Eflin can still get his work in thru April and be ready for reactivation to LHV come late April or early May sometime.

  14. If you want some good reading to jump start your day, and your brain, take a look this morning at Matt Gelb’s excellent piece on what the Phillies and most MLB teams have embarked on in analytics.

    Not that I understand half of what he’s referring to but the fact that the organization has made such a drastic shift – at the insistence of John Middleton – from relying solely on conventional baseball “wisdom” to gathering a think tank full of outside-the-box “kids” who are creating ways not only to gain a competitive advantage but also make the material accessible to coaches and players.

    …..and here I am daily trying to weigh which players will be more successful in 5 years.

    Anyway, Gelb seems to be the most insightful among the writers covering the ball club. Great read for gaining a little background on the new regime and the current climate of the Phillies. I’m encouraged.

    1. ….Oh, I read it in philly.com

      Sorry, Romus – I still haven’t figured how to attach the link. (LOL)

      1. 8mark…..I am big on analytics, but have to temper it, like the article indicates, with that proper mesh of metrics with just plain old- fashion scouting. At this point of the analytics/metric/SABR game, anything new is kind of like putting sprinkles over a Ben and Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. For example, getting into the minutia of ‘framing’ may have its merits, but not sure it will ever be a big deal breaker in whether or not to keep or let go of a catcher.
        But, just glad the Phillies are going more heavily down that road.
        Every ounce of a competitive edge may be helpful.

  15. I’m feeling a little bit more optimistic about Shohei Otani. I asked Keith Law (chat) today. He believes Otani is going to be stuck as a part of the J2 class, but a team will find a loophole to make him rich.

    Hinkie: Anything new on “The Adventures of Shohei Otani Coming To America” ? Will there be a CBA exemption allowing him to be a true FA or will he be limited to a J2 signing bonus ? And … If teams believe he is destined for J2, are there numerous clubs holding back on early deals with LA teens in the hopes of a shot at Otani ?
    Klaw: I have heard nothing new and expect to hear nothing new until at least the fall. I’ve been told there will be no exemption, but I said in a recent chat I can come up with several loopholes to get him paid.

    This sounds like it could be the best of both worlds for the Phillies. If he’s right, that would seem to eliminate the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals, Giants, Braves, Astros, A’s, Nationals, Cardinals, Padres, and Reds. They’re all in the international penalty box for 2017. The Cubs and Dodgers would have been real threats if Otani was on the open market. Of the 19 teams left, probably only the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and (maybe) White Sox have the financial means to compete for Otani. The Phillies, have the most financial flexibility of any of these teams. For me, It looks like a battle between the Phillies and Yankees. The Red Sox (123 million dollars committed to 5 players for 2018 and many big contracts on the horizon for their young players), Angels, and White Sox would also be in the mix.

    1. Before I jump on the Otani train, does anyone have a scouting report/profile on him? He’s old enough to decide whether he projects more as a pitcher or OF/DH. What’s the consensus? In today’s specialized MLB world, he’s not both. If he truly can hit major league pitching, I’d prefer his bat. The 100 mph arm is compelling, especially if he has command, but for the huge money a greater risk considering the higher injury rate for pitchers.

        1. KLaw says arm, not bat…not enough power for a first basemen.
          Though from the past Will Clark, Todd Helton, Don Mattingly etc all survived at the plate as first basemen with average power numbers.

      1. Otani is a legitimate ace who happens to hit well —- he’s more of a pitcher than a hitter. This will be to the advantage of thePhils since Pitchers will need to bat in the NL. Otani can be utilize to pinch hit if needed that will add versatility in the bench.

    2. Do not see teams trying to sign either Machado or Harper, also adding Otani to that mix. It would virtually top their ceiling with both Machado and Otani or Harper and Otani. Then again, Otani could sign for two years at approx. $5M per , then when he reaches 25 years old go FA. Still the team that signs Machado or Harper would probably have to pass on the Otani sweepstakes.

      1. @romus – excluding Herrera and his team friendly contract, all of the young core are either under team control or arbitration until 2021. The Phils have a lot of financial cap to absorb big $$ salaries in 2018 and on.

        With Moniak, C, Kilome, Sixto, Ortiz, Medina, Brito, Stobbe coming in 2019 with minimum salary — the Phils can just opt to trade some players before they command big $$ and manage the salary,

        Even if the Phils devote $120M/year each for Otani, Machado and Trout, the rest of the salary will be minimum and arbitration.

      2. Sorry, Romus. Gonna’ have to agree with KK. The Phillies win the MLB World Series of financial flexibility. The salary cap will be $197 million in 2018, and will grow to $210 million by 2021. Even if the Phillies paid Otani and Machado a combined $75 million, the rest of the young roster won’t be through arbitration until at least 2021 http://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-philadelphia-phillies-info/
        In addition, I wouldn’t put it past the richest of teams to just go over the cap and pay the penalty (20%-90% on overages – depending on by how much, and by how long you go over … https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/12/mlb-mlbpa-agree-to-new-collective-bargaining-agreement.html). That’s why I don’t count out the Red Sox and Angels on Otani despite their current payrolls.

        1. KK/Hinkie…..So who pitches as the ace or two at the top of the rotation that brings the championship? And how do they get paid, that is assuming Otani is not a pitcher but a position player.

          1. @romus – my position with Otani (and his $30M+/year salary) is that he is the ace not a 1B — so he will anchor the rotation with VV. Nola and Eickhoff until the young arms are ready.

            If I’m Klentak I will not burn $30M+/year to Otani as a position player, i’ll give that $$ to a top bat like Machado.

            Pitching – Otani, VV, Nola, Eickhoff and whoever beats the other as the #5
            Position – Doobie/Quinn, JPC, Machado. Franco/TJ/Hoskins, Cozens/Williams, Alfaro, Kingery and whoever is assigned in the LF.

            Out of the 5 SPs and 8 starters – only Doobie, Otani and Machado are on contracts. And that doesn’t include Trout.

          2. Otani is an “ace” pitcher. No team will be shelling out big $$$ for him to come over as a 1B/OF.
            Phillies rotation: Otani, VV, Nola, Eickhoff, Elniery Garcia (or another LHP acquired through a trade)

            1. His first two years here if he comes before age 25, according to the new CBA restrictions, no team will be shelling out large monies anyway, if they go by the regulations of the CBA. Just their max for international allocation.
              Now has anyone determined if he will be a MLB pitcher or positon player yet?

      3. Also … I know the MLBPA isn’t wild about it, but the Phillies could/should front-load potential Machado and Otani contracts. That would ease the burden on future payrolls.

      4. Anybody trying to sign Otani is going to make certain they can keep him long term even if it means locking him up for 8-10 yrs early. Offer an opt out at some point but don’t let him go FA at 25 yrs of age. It’s good the Phillies have the most $$$ flexibility because they’ll need it to out bid other clubs by a tidy sum.

        1. 8mark…Otani turns 23 in July….25 years old is the magic number for him. He says he is coming over after this season, So a team gets him for the 2018 and 2019 season at the max international dollars….approx. $5M per. I also assume he will not sign more than a two year contract to establish legitimacy as a free agent in 2020. If he is as good as advertised in the MLB….then beginning in 2020 he will become a $20/25M per year guy, minimum.
          Add in all the Machado or Harper or Trout possibilities for maturation and things can get dicey dollar wise.
          Also at that time, most of the Phillies young studs, if they pan out, will be heading into their arbitration years, and will expect extensions.
          All that flexibility will be reduced considerably.

  16. My FA targets by priority:
    1 Machado – his connection to MacKlentak should be an advantage plus he’s an every day, high impact player.

    2 Otani – this would be an event. National media attention would be unprecedented in Philly. Now, the question of whether his game, impressive as it is in Japan, will translate in MLB. I’d love to find out.

    3 Trout – it’s far off (2020) at this point. He’d trump Machado if both were FAs after 2018.

    4 Harper – can’t say I’m all that interested considering the coin he’ll command. Don’t think his body will hold up well over the next decade. IMO.

    1. It’s been reported and said that the FO will be using their $$ “when the time comes”. With all the financial flexibility that they have, I’m certain that the Phils will be linked to every big name FAs and if they were outbidded by other teams with their primary targets (i.e. Otani, Machado, etc), the Phils will still use that $$ for whoever top FAs available (I see them signing 2-3 top FAs).

      Mike Trout is just a matter of time. If the Phils can build a contender with a solid core/foundation and plenty of young prospects in the farm by 2020 — Mike Trout will have no doubt of going back home and join/lead his childhood make a sustainable run of success.

  17. Middleton is a local guy — and I think he is more “genuine” in his intentions in bringing championship(s) to the city compared to that Lurie guy running the Eagles and Harris of the Sixers.

  18. THE BENCH

    According to Todd Zolecki, Blanco and Altherr are pretty much locks for the 5 bench spots. Valentin, Goeddel and Knapp have an advantage because they’re already on the 40man roster.

    If Knapp doesn’t make the 25 man roster, a NRI like Hanigan would have to replace somebody on the 40man. It would be a shame if Goeddel goes north simply because he’s on the 40man. Valentin? That’s an interesting question.

    I’ve read other comments about waiting to see who hits the waiver wire later this spring. Frankly, that confuses the situation unless it’s an outright bargain due to another club cutting salary.

    I still say Luis Garcia and Goeddel are DFA’d. Don’t think any team will claim the latter. That means room on the 25 man for 2 NRIs.

    1. 8mark…..would you have any objections to MK pulling the trigger on trading Goeddel and Asher or even Morgan?
      They may be the three more expendable 40 guys who also have some value.
      Not sure what you can get in return for any of them, but they seem like they are on a bubble of sorts.
      Teams always want pitching….and Asher and a lefty like Morgan could easily be moved.

      1. Yeah Romus, lefties on a rebuilding team are a luxury. But not much on return in any case for any of them. Maybe some int’l bonus $$?

        1. That intl money would be nice to have to sweeten the pot if the Phillies decide to go after Otani.

    2. If Goeddel is DFAed…..I think he gets claimed.
      There is no reason for a team to be mandated on keeping him on their 25 since he is not a Rule 5 guy, plus he still has at least two, maybe three more years of options left.

        1. Actually I mean no disrespect to him. The shame of it is that Goeddel played well early in ’16 when Mack benched him in favor of (drum roll)…..Cody Asche, who was returning from the dl. I’ve been on board with most of the personnel moves so far. Acquiring a rule 5 guy to rot on the pine for most of the season – that one was a head scratcher.

          Hey, if Goeddel winds up in Reading’s OF next to Tocci, you’ll have to look hard to see them when they turn sideways. Where’s the beef, Romus?

            1. It’s only the 2nd wk of March way too early to be talking about the bench. When the pitching gets better then whoever is hot in the last 2 wks can make the team. Plus Quinn ,Geoddel, Cozens, never were the AAA. Plus let’s say both Sanders and Kendrick are both traded at the trade deadline. Now let’s say both Cozens and Quinn still has some work to do at AAA. Goeddel and Williams are more ready or someone is injured. Just saying

          1. Why is that a head scratcher? I get the strategy: find a raw talented guy, stash him away for a year, send him down to the minors, wait until he develops and get a good ball player almost for free. That part makes sense. I just think you have to pick the right guy and O don’t think it was Goeddel, who is a fringy player at best.

            1. Catch, I get the strategy. I don’t get the implementation part. I’m not a Goeddel guy but he played well coinciding with the team’s winning earlier in the season. Then he vanished. And for who? That I don’t get.

            2. Yeah, we were probably saying the same thing in different ways. He didn’t have enough long-term upside to justify the extra roster spot. I think we are in agreement.

      1. Agreed, he will definitely be picked up by somebody. So will Luis Garcia. The Phils have to be trying to make a trade but it has to be very hard to do at this point, with no teams offering value. They all see the situation the Phils are in and all want to take advantage. No one tries to help.

        1. Most all teams have the same 40 conundrum the Phillies have at this time of the spring. Many also have NRI in camp and are evaluating them also. Perhaps when injuries start occurring and teams need available help, then the Phillies could be in a position to make a few deals. Unless the opposite occurs, and the Phillies are the ones that incur the injuries.

  19. Watching the WBC trying to figure out ways to make it better. They were just talking about how pitches can’t go back to back Bc they aren’t ready for that yet. What if the WBC was for a week during the All Star break . . . Make it so that its when these guys are all in mid season form. Scrap the all star game and have it so that you make Team USA instead of the NL or AL. Your foreign born players who are voted as All Stars can play for their countries. Feel like that might enhance it but what do I know

  20. Morgan and Joeley pitched well yesterday and I think have the team made. I think the pen is set, barring injury. The only possible move would be to trade Morgan for a young arm and to keep Burnett or Ramos instead but how much would Morgan get? Very little. On the bench, I still think Knapp and Valentin will make the squad with Coghlan and Stassi will go back to LHV and DH there with Perkins. Goeddel would be kept and sent to Reading. I think if this team was pushing for a playoff spot these moves would be different. Luis Garcia was talked up yesterday by the manager so it’s hard to say who will go to keep Coghlan. How much do they like Goeddel? There’s quite a few OF ahead of him….

    1. Just read that Luis Garcia may be learning to throw Hector Neris’ favorite pitch the splitter.
      If he can perfect it and have confidence in throwing it….then he could really push to stay on the 40.

  21. I know we have talked a lot about Goeddel, but I do not see him making the team and spending another year on the bench. He doesn’t get 4th OF playing time and simply would be wasted. Let him go to Reading and play. I also don’t think Valentin has earned a spot and he will be at LHV as the 2B. My feeling is that if a young kid is going to play everyday in the Majors, and with a rebuilding team, that is perfectly fine, I am on board. But, to have him languish on the bench when he could be playing every day in the Minors does no one any good. Since they made a decision to get Hendricks and Saunders, that puts Quinn, and to a much lesser extent, Goeddel, back in the minors. Altherr, OTOH, will see a good deal of playing time as the 4th OF.

    1. If Valentin makes the team, they get to keep Goeddel. If he doesn’t, they’ll lose Goeddel. Think of it that way.

  22. I agree with Tim. I think Goeddel can be an outstanding player. When he played consistently for that month, he did a really good job. I was always a Cody Ashe fan but when he came back and Goeddel had to step aside, I was disappointed.

      1. rocco…you may be correct…..his entire minor league resume has him at almost 21% k rate in approx. 2000 PAs. His BB rate is average at 9%. He may take awhile and need a little more AAA pitching exposure…not to dissimilar to Aaron Altherr.
        And he could be one of those short- burst late- bloomer type players.

        1. And if he is going to be a corner OFer…he will need power projection numbers and he doesn’t have those….and he will not be a starting CFer on this team or any others from what I can envision, though defensively he is plus…but there are a lot of guys like that…Tocci for one in the Phillies system.
          He may be a 4th/5th OFer at best at this point.

        2. Goeddel this only his 6th professional season every yr he was advanced. He never really was injured . He showed last yr a great accurate arm and good speed. His obp is around.350 in the minor league. He is a former #1 pick the Phillies have OF depth now but not proven depth.

      1. No missed that.
        Oh boy..I guess when the Phillies play the D-Backs this season, third and fourth weekends of June, and if Alf is up by then and playing, there could be a little bow and arrow fireworks if and when Rodney comes into the game to face Alfaro.

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