Congratulations to the Houston Astros. Now, let’s get the off season rolling.
This is a special mid-week edition of the weekly open discussion. This week’s discussion auto-published before I could edit and manually post. I had some things going on and which were compounded when the internet was unavailable Sunday night. So, a couple things I wanted to include were left out. So, here they are.
Juiced and Slick
This season there were more home runs than in any season in baseball history. This led to speculation that the balls were” juiced”. Comparisons were made and many believed that the stitching was different. Now, we have a story by Tom Verducci where he reports that many pitchers believe that the balls used in the world series are made with a different material (or a differently treated material) than regular season balls. With the new, slick covers, pitchers who throw sliders are experiencing difficulty gripping and controlling the pitch they have thrown all season. Among those who are apparently most egregiously affected are Ken Giles, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, and Kenley Jansen.
The Ender Inciarte Myth
The Phillies did control Ender Inciarte for a little over 100 days after the 2012 Rule 5 Draft. But, it’s a little simplistic to think that they sent him back just to make room for Ezequiel Carrera and ultimately Delmon Young. It’s also a little misguided to blame the manager or accuse the front office for not evaluating properly. Here’s the accurate timeline with comments.
- On December 6, 2012, the Phillies drafted Ender Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks with the tenth pick in the Rule 5 draft.
- The same day, the Phillies announced the trade of Vance Worley and Trevor May to the Minnesota Twins for Ben Revere. (IMO, at his point, Inciarte was a long shot to make the opening day roster.)
- Inciarte played well during spring training, albeit against the minor league players on the other teams. I saw him play several times that spring and was duly impressed. However, he rarely faced major league pitching.
- Regardless, on March 30th, the Phillies announced an opening day roster that included five outfielders – starters LF, Domonic Brown, CF Ben Revere, RF John Mayberry, with Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte on the bench.
- On April 2, 2013, the Cleveland Indians tried to pass Ezequiel Carrera through waivers and the Phillies claimed him.
- The Phillies then tried to pass Inciarte through waivers and when 28 other teams passed on him, he was offered back to Arizona on April 4, 2013 for $25K.
- If the Diamondbacks had turned down the offer, the Phillies would then have been able to assign Inciarte to one of their affiliates.
The Phillies were coming off an 81-81 season. They still had a veteran team with Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Jonathan Papelbon. They went out and acquired Michael Young, Ben Revere, Delmon Young, Mike Adams, and John Lannan.
This was a team that the organization thought could still compete before Halladay didn’t return to form and only pitched in 13 games, Howard went down at mid-season, Ruiz started the season on suspension and spent two stints on the 15-day DL, and Adams pitched just 25.0 innings before being put on the 60-day DL after 2 trips to the 15-day DL.
The outfield didn’t produce that well – Revere hit .305 and it was Brown’s All Star season (.272). But Young only hit .261, Mayberry only .227, and Nix just .180. The Phillies tried a bunch of suspects named Michael Martinez, Roger Bernadina, Casper Wells, and Steve Susdorf. Darin Ruf chipped in at .247 with 14 HR and Cesar Hernandez hit .289 and started 22 games in center field.
Whether Inciarte could have done better is open to dispute. However, he likely wasn’t ready to face major league pitching and the Phillies weren’t prepared to have him spend the season on the bench.
In 2012, Inciarte had split his season between Full A and Advanced A in the Diamondbacks’ system. Inciarte spent the entire 2013 season in AA in the Arizona system. He started the 2014 season in AAA and was called up April 30, 2014.
That the Phillies liked him is apparent by their attempt to pass him through waivers. That he was not major league ready is apparent by the fact that no other team claimed him off waivers. Not even those clever Atlanta Braves who could have had him for the same $50K if they had claimed him in 2013 instead of having to trade for him during the 2015 off season.
Hindsight is always 20-20. Inciarte is putting up peak Revere numbers with a little more pop and a better arm. Revere was better on the bases, but is already on the down side of his career. But, when both these acquisitions were announced on that December day, I don’t think Inciarte had a chance of playing on any major league roster in 2013.
Organizational News and Changes
Looks like a wrinkle in the Otani posting has arisen. Jeff Todd of MLBTR discusses the points laid out in a Joel Sherman article.
Todd Zolecki opines that Dusty Wathan could still end up on the major leage coaching staff. Personally, I think it would be awkward to have the guy you beat out for the job on your staff. If it was me, and it wasn’t a condition of employment, I would resist any overtures from the front office to add the coach to my staff.
J.D. Hammer and Cornelius Randolph were selected to take part in the AFL Fall Stars game. This game is not so much about rewarding good seasons as it is about getting maximum exposure for featured players.
Teams are beginning to release their tentative spring training schedules. So far, the Phillies haven’t. But the Tigers, Athletics, Astros, Nationals, Orioles, Rays, Pirates, and Giants have.
Incomplete list of Phillies tentative dates (no changes):
- Friday, February 23rd at Toronto in Dunedin
- Saturday, February 24th v. Baltimore at Spectrum Field
- Sunday, February 25th v. New York at Spectrum Field
- Friday, March 2nd at Tampa in Port Charlotte
- Saturday, March 3rd v. Baltimore at Spectrum Field (split squad)
- Saturday, March 3rd at Pittsburgh in Bradenton (split squad)
- Sunday, March 4th v. Toronto at Spectrum Field
- Thursday, March 8th at New York in Tampa
- Friday, March 9th v. Pittsburgh at Spectrum Field
- Sunday, March 11th at Baltimore (night)
- Monday, March 12th at Atlanta in Orlando (night)
- Wednesday, March 14th at Atlanta in Orlando
- Friday March 16th at Detroit in Lakeland (split squad)
- Friday March 16th v. Toronto at Spectrum Field (split squad)
- Sunday, March 18th at Minnesota in Fort Myers
- Friday, March 23rd at Pittsburgh in Bradenton
- Saturday, March 24th at Detroit in Lakeland
- Sunday, March 25th v.Baltimore at Spectrum Field
- Monday, March 26th at Pittsburgh in Bradenton
Key Dates (dates dependent on the completion of the series have been amended):
- November 2, 2017, 9:00 AM – “Following the completion of the term of his Uniform Player’s Contract, any Player with 6 or more years of Major League service who has not executed a contract for the next succeeding season shall become a free agent.” Organizations began an exclusive five-day negotiation window (referred to as “the quiet period” in the CBA) with their own free agents. During “the quiet period” any Club representative and any free agent or his representative may talk with each other and discuss the merits of the free agent contracting, when eligible; provided that the Club and the free agent shall not negotiate terms or contract with each other. The following subjects are among those which may properly be discussed between any Club and such Player:
- (i) the Player’s interest in playing for the Club, and the Club’s interest in having the Player play for it;
- (ii) the Club’s plans about how it intends to utilize the Player’s services (as a starting pitcher or reliever, as a designated hitter or not, platooning, etc.);
- (iii) the advantages and disadvantages of playing for the Club including the nature of the organization, the climate of the city, availability of suitable housing, etc.;
- (iv) length of contract;
- (v) guarantee provisions; and
- (vi) no-trade or limited no-trade provisions.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing, the free agent and his former Club may engage in negotiations and enter into a contract during “the quiet period”.
- November 6, 2017, 5:00 PM – Deadline for organizations to submit qualifying offers to their free agents. Last year’s QO was $17.2M.
- This is also the deadline for organizations to exercise any club/mutual options.
- November 6, 2017, 5:00 PM Eastern Time, whichever is later (MLR 55(a)) – a player whose Minor League Uniform Player Contract expires becomes a Minor League free agent unless the player’s Major or Minor League Club has remaining options to renew the contract. As a Minor League free agent, the player may negotiate and enter into a contract with any Major or Minor League Club beginning on the first day that year that a Major League free agent is eligible to sign with a different Major League Club upon expiration of the player’s Major League contract (usually, the fifth day after the conclusion of the World Series. I guess the inclusion of an October 15th date is for a year when a World Series might not be held – strike, natural disaster, terrorism?).
- November 6, 2017 – Free agents become eligible to sign with any team.
Nov. 6, 2017 – BBWAA Awards Finalists announced (MLB Network)
Nov .7, 2017 – Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET)
Nov. 9, 2017 – Louisville Silver Sluggers (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Nov. 10, 2017 – Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
- November 16, 2017, 5:00 PM – Deadline for players to accept/reject qualifying offers. Those who decline will become free agents.
- November 13-16 – GM meetings in Orlando.
Nov. 13, 2017 – Rookies of the Year announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Nov. 14, 2017 – Managers of the Year announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Nov. 15, 2017 – Cy Young Awards announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Nov. 16, 2017 – Most Valuable Players announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
Nov. 17, 2017 – Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)
- November 20th – Deadline for roster expansion to 40 players prior to the Rule 5 draft.
- December 2, 8:00 PM EST – Deadline for teams to tender contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters, including arbitration-eligible players. Non-tendered players become free agents. Tendered players who are arbitration eligible who do not accept the tender proceed to the arbitration process in February.
- December 10-14 – Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
- December 14th – Rule 5 draft.
- January 9, 2018 – Salary arbitration filing deadline
- January 12, 2018 – Salary arbitration figures exchanged
- January 29 – February 16, 2018 – Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix, Arizona
- February 13, 2018 – earliest date for pitchers/catchers to report to Spring Training
- February 18, 2018 – earliest date for all other players to report for full squad workouts
- February 22, 2018 – Tentative date for the start of Grapefruit League games
- March 29, 2018 – Opening Day for the 2018 season
April 15, 2018 – Jackie Robinson Day
April 17-18, 2018 – Twins v. Indians at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, PR
May 13, 2018 – Mother’s Day events, all host ballparks
- June 4-6, 2018 – 2018 MLB Draft
June 17, 2018 – Father’s Day events, all host ballparks
July 13-17, 2018 – All-Star Week
- July 17, 2018 – 89th All Star Game, at Nationals Park
- August 19, 2018 – Phillies v. Mets in the Little League Classic in Williamsport.
- December 10-13, 2018 – Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada
Last Week’s Transactions:
- 9/30-10/13 – Ranfi Casimiro re-signed with the Phillies
- 10/13 – Pedro Beato elected free agency
- 10/5 – Kevin Segrist elected free agency
- 10/5 – Ty Kelly elected free agency
- 9/16-29 – Mitch Walding re-signed with the Phillies
- The organization’s rosters are up to date.
- The organization’s injury list is as up to date as I can make it.
- The organization’s Rule 5 eligibility list is as accurate as I can make.
Here’s the open discussion thread for Phillies’ talk and other topics.