Open Discussion: Week of November 5th

The hot stove season is starting to heat up.  Organizations and players are making decisions regarding qualifying offers, options, and free agency.  Four Phillies have already opted for free agency – RHP Clay Buchholz, 3B Andres Blanco, LF Daniel Nava, and OF Hyun Soo Kim.  Pedro Florimon, who just came off the 60-day DL is the only other potential free agent on the 40-man roster.

Organizational News and Changes

Todd Zolecki reported that the Phillies announced two new front office positions.  They hired Sam Fuld as their Major League Player Information Coordinator and Ben Werthan as their Minor League Player Information Coordinator.  Here’s the MLBTR announcement by Jeff Todd on the Fuld hiring.

I have been informed by a creditable source that Matt Hockenberry has been signed as a pitching coach, most likely for the Phillies GCL2 team.  Another source hinted that the new GCL team may be managed by Tyler Henson.

Since the Phillies announced the hiring of Gabe Kapler as their new manager, a lot of sports reporters have written articles about the guy.  Here are some –

  • An LA Times article dated May 10, 2017, one of the earliest regarding the discrimination suit filed by former employee, Nick Francona.
  •  A recent Fanrag article by John Heyman that leans toward negative.
  • And an even more recent NBCSports article that is more positive as it takes the Heyman article and the Philadelphia media to task.

I offer these as three very different articles about Kapler.  I haven’t formed an opinion yet, although I was impressed by the press conference last week.  I will wait to see how he handles himself in his new position rather than let journalists form my opinion for me. Although he would certainly earn points with me if he would haul off an pop Eskin in the nose.  He’s still the biggest tool among the Philadelphia sports media.

Winter Ball

Winter ball stats are available here, but include only the Arizona Fall League, and the Dominican, Mexican, and Venezuelan winter leagues.  The Puerto Rican Winter League has been cancelled.  Foreign players reported to the Colombian Winter League on October 27th and they begin League play on November 3rd.  Rosters not available.  The Nicaraguan Winter League began on Tuesday, October 24th.  I see no Phillies’ farm hands on their published rosters.  The web site for the Panamian Winter League is a cluster____.

Edgar Cabral is hitting .344 in the AFL.  Cornelius Randoph and J.D. Hammer made the AFL West’s All Star roster.  Randolph flied out sharply to center in his one at bat, the final out was recorded with him in the on deck circle.  Hammer did not pitch but was likely going to be the ninth inning pitcher if the West had been able to retain their late lead.  Hammer still has not allowed a run in 7 appearances and has 2 saves.

In the DWL, Cameron Perkins has dropped to .258.  Angelo Mora dropped to .265.  Eliezer Alvarez is seeing limited action, 13 AB in 6 games.  Zac Curtis had one bad inning in 4 appearances and his ERA rose to 3.60 with a 3-2 record in 12 appearances.  Franklyn Kilome’s ERA rose to 3.27 and Tom Windle’s jumped to 6.75.

Mitch Walding (.276) has 3 HR in the MWL, Brock Stassi (.258) has two.   In the VWL, Daniel Brito is hitting .273.

Spring Training

The Yankees, Twins, Cardinals, and Marlins have released their spring schedules.  They join the Tigers, Athletics, Astros, Nationals, Orioles, Rays, Pirates, and Giants as teams that have released them.  The Phillies still have not released their spring schedule.

But from looking at all released schedules, here is an incomplete list of the Phillies’ tentative dates:

  • Friday, February 23rd at Toronto in Dunedin
  • Saturday, February 24th v. Baltimore at Spectrum Field
  • Sunday, February 25th v. New York at Spectrum Field
  • Monday, February 26th at New York in Tampa (night)
  • Thursday, March 1st 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 world series have been amended):

  • November 2, 2017, 9:00 AM –  Any player with 6 or more years of Major League service whose contract has expired becomes a free agent.
  • November 2, 2017, 9:00 AM – Organizations begin an exclusive five-day negotiation window (the “quiet period”) with their own free agents.
  • November 2, 2017, 9:00 AM – 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. This year’s QO was $17.4M.
  • November 6, 2017, 5:00 PM – This is also the deadline for organizations to exercise any club/mutual options.
  • November 6, 2017, 5:00 PM – 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.
  • November 6, 2017 – Free agents become eligible to sign with any team.
  • November 6, 2017 – BBWAA Awards Finalists announced (MLB Network)
  • November 7, 2017 – Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET)
  • November 9, 2017 – Louisville Silver Sluggers (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
  • November 10, 2017 – Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
  • November 13-16 – GM meetings in Orlando.
  • November 13, 2017 – Rookies of the Year announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
  • November 14, 2017 – Managers of the Year announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
  • November 15, 2017 – Cy Young Awards announced (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 16, 2017 – Most Valuable Players announced (MLB Network, 6 p.m. ET)
  • November 17, 2017 – Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)
  • November 20th – Deadline for roster expansion to 40 players prior to the Rule 5 draft.
  • December 1, 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 14, 9:00 AM EST – 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
  • March 29, 2018 – Phillies opening game in Atlanta
  • April 5, 2018 – Phillies home opener v. Miami
  • 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: (the 40-man roster stands at 37 with 3 players due to come off the 60-day DL – (Zach Eflin, Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez.  Jesen Therrien is expected to miss all of the 2018 season and will likely be added back to the 60-day DL at the start of the 2018 season.)

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


306 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of November 5th

  1. Jim … Absolutely agree on Howard Eskin being a tool.
    Another key date(s) is July 3rd and 4th. On those days, the Phillies will host the Orioles. Phillies fans will have the opportunity to show Manny Machado love and let him know how much we want him to sign with the Phils at season’s end.
    Finally, I am all in on Gabe Kapler. However, if I’m being honest, my track record on managers/coaches is abysmal. I was against the Charlie Manuel hire, was all for Ryne Sandberg’s promotion, absolutely loved the Chip Kelly hire, and was disgusted when Jeff Lurie picked Doug Pederson. So … if you go by my history … Gabe Kapler should be a real dud.

    1. I understand both contrasting views of Kapler. While his Professor Howard Hill-Tony Robbins persona doesn’t sell me on the baseball part of the job, I’m hoping the long overdue break from the traditional old boy network ushers us into relevance. Let’s just hope we never hear Dan Baker over CBP’s public address system calling out – “Pay no attention to the jacked up man grinning behind the snake oil tan!”

    2. Hinkie…I guess you heard Curt Schilling’s interview…him and Gabe are close friends, one of the better ones he had in baseball. There is another endorsement! :).

      1. Regarding the new coaching staff, I did see an article on Fansided (for what that’s worth) which cited Jayson Stark’s mention of Rick Kranitz as leading internal candidate for pitching coach. He’s been the assistant to McClure these last two years. If he was all that, why wasn’t he already given the post since only Nola had enjoyed any real success or progress on the big league squad. I hope they find a guy with a pedigree who hasn’t merely been in MacKlentak’s circles as his primary resume.

        1. I would see Rick Kranitz in the bullpen….older been around awhile.
          He worked, I assume, with the relievers regularly.
          But I am with you…hope they decide to go in a different direction with the hire.

          1. We should be hearing news of staff hirings over the next few days since the GM meetings are next week. It’ll be important that they hire not only a “diverse” group, but a few strong character guys able to stand with AND up to the Hammer.

            Wouldn’t it be ironic if Kapler eventually replaced Klentak?

          2. Some good coaching for the pitchers and catchers (will in turn help the pitchers) is key for 2018

            1. Not a big McClure fan and a new voice is definitely is a MUST. Coaching established arms vs developing arms are like night and day. Since the pitching staff are still young and developing, I prefer a pitching coach who focus on details, sharp, preach sound fundamentals and has the ability to understand different pitching styles.

      2. Romus … I was happy to hear Kapler (during Missanelli interview) distance himself from Schillings views. As a matter of fact, Kapler said they had opposite views.

  2. I was the guy on this site pushing for the second GCL team. Should the Phillies pay me a finder fee? All kidding aside, it is a great move and should have been done 3-4 years ago. Better late than never. Never made sense to me having all these kids sitting around not getting in enough AB’s and innings and then have higher minor leaguers on rehab assignments taking away even opportunities.

  3. Some sudden thoughts. If I never see Gabe Kapler with his shirt off again, it’ll be too soon. Does Eskin think that REAL Phillies fans care about what Gabe does with coconut oil? This is the winter when Klentak must lay the foundation for the future. They can’t finish last again, and expect big-time free agents to sign with them next year. Stroman and Archer are ranked as the 52nd, and 53rd best players in baseball (Nola is 63rd). The Phillies must target one of them and do whatever it takes to get the deal done. I’d also like to see them sign free agent Tyler Chatwood. He’s relatively young and is a ground ball machine.

    1. “Stroman and Archer are ranked as the 52nd, and 53rd best players in baseball (Nola is 63rd). The Phillies must target one of them and do whatever it takes to get the deal done.” — I like both Stroman and Archer (especially Stroman) – but to say “do whatever it takes” to get deal done is where you have to think faster than you talk. The “do whatever it takes” approach should be followed by a WS win or at least a strong playoff run. Neither Stroman nor Archer can do that. “Whatever it takes” impliedly mean that the Phils should be ready to lose their core players and prospects (i.e. Nola, Hoskins, Doobie, Kingery, Sixto, etc).

      I’m also not getting that Chatwood love. Morton (who Klentak dropped the ball) has better stuff and fit better than the Chatwood type. The Phils need to get a
      “top arm” who can anchor the team not back end type who they have in abundance. I don’t even give value to Chatwood’s age because young arms with better stuff are coming up soon.

      I really like the Phils to get a veteran SP, but if they can’t trade (without decimating the farm) or sign a legitimate #1/#2/#3 arm, don’t sign #4/#5 starters on multi-year contracts.

      1. I’m sure that we’d have to overpay for Archer or Stroman. I’m thinking more like Williams, Hernandez, Kilome, and Cozens. If it takes a couple more prospects like Moniak or Gamboa, do the deal.

        1. What concerns me with Stroman is his height.
          RHPs smaller than 6″ do have some disadvantages
          When I see a RHP like Sonny Gray struggle against a quality team in the playoffs, then I could only think that could happen to Stroman in the playoffs.
          And Stroman is listed at 5’8″.

      2. KuKo … where did you get the list (Best Players in Baseball) you reference in the first paragraph in your above post ? Could you link it ?

        1. I saw it last week in the bleacher report. I think it was by baseball America. Other Phillies on the list are Galvis 282, Hoskins 242, Altherr 235, Hernandez 186, Herrera 112, Nola 63.

        2. Hinkie – Kuko was actually quoting Wawa Mike’s post right above his.

          BTW, Otani has hired an agency (CAA) so we should begin to get some inklings of what it’ll take to get him. I’m with you on the more realistic idea that no MLB FO worth their salt will risk injury to a TOR arm simply because he’d like to get regular ABs. He’s a left-handed hitter whose righty throwing arm will be exposed at the plate. (I can only imagine the Barry Bonds protective armor now.) I hope the local media asks if, how, and what the Phillies did to explore the possibility of signing him. And if not, why? This is the high profile case that usually gets swept under the rug because we’re historically not players in that market. That has to change.

  4. Jim- You are correct about Matt Hockenberry, there was an article on twitter about it a week ago or so. I’ll see if I can find it to post . . .

  5. Better chance, signing a decent free agent pitcher or trading Hernandez for one? Any thoughts on who?

    1. it depends on what you mean by “decent” – does it pertain to ability/stuff (i.e. TOR, MOR or back end) or price (trade returns or $$ contract). Easier way to get a TOR and MOR is thru FA — since there are FAs in the market and Phils has the $$ and payroll flexibility to sign this offseason. This issue with this approach is the FO’s preference considering McPhail already mentioned that they don’t want to pay for past performance.

      The market will dictate Cesar’s value this offseason. Straight up, Cesar can get a back end starter so the Phils may need to add some prospects for better returns.

      A young cost controlled SP with #1/#2/#3 profile is a valuable commodity – this will cost the Phils a lot in terms of prospects or will cost them 1 or 2 of their young MLB core. I don’t see Klentak going this way.

  6. There will be no excuse NOT to acquire one #2 SP via trade and one #1, #2, or #3 SP via free agency. The money is there. So is the organization’s depth. Klentak can’t explain away the failure to get it done. We’ll also see how creative and outside the box he is…or isn’t.

    1. I really think you’re being silly. Teams don’t just trade away good pitching. Why should they? A Stroman/Archer deal would cost two top 5 prospects. It would cost Sanchez and Kingery. Are you ready to make that deal? I’m sure not. The Phils will trade Cesar and one or two prospects not in the top 5 and get the best pitcher they can get. They will also try to sign Chatwood but it seems half the teams in baseball are after him and I don’t see any deal longer than 3 years for any pitcher. Cobb is a 160 inning pitcher. What’s that worth? Expectations need to come down a bit I think. Klentak has to make his make docmaybe he’ll swing a big deal that no one is expecting. I’d trade Herrera (as I’ve said many times on here) for a pitcher and try to sign a FA outfielder. Maybe trade for Prado (he won’t cost much in the way of prospects) and put him in LF to start the year. I’m still hoping Quinn can get healthy and win a spot on the 25.

      1. @Murray – we agree in a lot of things and your post is no different. I also advocate trading Doobie not because I don’t like him but Doobie is the best trade chip that can bring back a top arm. We also agree that Cole, Stroman and the Archer type will cost at least Sixto and Kingery – that’s why i prefer to go the FA route. I’m luke warm with Chatwood – I don’t care if he’s only 27/28 yo – his stuff is #3 at best. If the teams want to go in a bidding war for him, let them be. McPhail should open their wallet for Darvish and alike or just ride out the 2018 and continue to develop Vinny, Pivetta and others and join Nola and Eickhoff in the rotation.

        The one trade i want Klentak to explore is Archie Bradley. Unlike Cole, Stroman and Archer who anchors the pitching staff of PIT. TOR and TB – Bradley is pitching from the pen behind ARI’s projected rotation of Greinke, Corbin, Walker, Ray and Miller. ARI needs help in the pen and OF which PHI has resources to offer.

        1. Bradley’s velo as a reliever was 95-97….but as a starter he sat at 93-94 in 2016.
          Don’t we already have that in Eflin and Pivetta……and when healthy ViVe?

          1. @romus – i believe that Archie Bradley is a better pitcher than Vinny, Pivetta and Eflin and I can see him with better upside and higher floor. Both Vinny and Pivetta can match the potential plus FB-CB combo (although I still take Bradley’s FB over the 2 because it has more sink than being straight) but Bradley’s CU and command is ahead of both.

            Good coaching can transform Archie Bradley into a TOR in the 2-3 years.

            1. KuKo…..relievers and starters…comparing them is akin to apples and oranges.
              Look at Bradley’s 2016 record and then determine how he projects as a starter.
              He was mediocre at best…WHIP of 1.56 in 142 innings pitched.

            2. @romus – I will even attempt to compare Bradley as SP vs RP (so your apples vs orange analogy doesn’t apply). IMO Bradley was pushed to the pen so ARI can make use of his arm since ARI is contending even early in 2017 season (LAD needs that magical run to keep ARI at bay in NL West). Bradley has stuff to be a frontlne starter and at age 25 and < 200 IP as SP (not total IP), it's too early to conclude that he is bound to be a RP.

              Bradley is behind Grienke, Corbin, Walker, Ray and Miller and ARI still have Delgado, Godley (Shipley will benefit by staying in AAA). In a micro level up, ARI will not trade Bradley because ARI he knows that Bradley can be a frontline starter. But ARI has time against them – Grienke at 34 yo is in the downward slope. Goldy at 30 yo, Pollock at 29 yo, Peralta at 30 yo – probably already hit their plateau and will start their own downward slope. Goldy is UFA in 2020, Pollock in 2019, Corbin in 2019. ARI window to contend might be closing soon.

              Like BAL, I can see ARI going all in again in 2018 while LAD is still vulnerable and SF is breaking down. Unlike BAL, ARI has one main piece (in Bradley) which they can flip for major pieces that can help the MLB right away. ARI needs at least 3 reliable bullpen arm and a solid OF if they can't resign JD Martinez.

              It will be a shame if teams like NYM. ATL. etc can see ARI's intent to win now and get either Bradley or Shipley for immediate MLB help.

            3. ** i will “NOT” even attempt…there should be a “NOT” otherwise my post is confusing…sorry…

            4. KuKo…i guess we will agree to disagree….IMO he is a reliever …sometimes guys like him and Luke Hochevar find their calling coming out of the pen with only worry about contending at once thru an opponents lineup and two quality pitches.

      2. With Grienke, Goldy, Pollock, etc getting up in age, ARI is in WIN now mode which make the demand for AA and below level prospects less likely.

      3. I don’t think it’s silly to see what Herrera, Cesar, and a good pitching prospect or two can fetch, Murray. A #2 is reasonable unless there simply are none on the market. Then Klentak’s job is to make one.

      4. I’m pretty sure that Archer will be traded. Tampa is in a terrible position with a lot of mid-career players and they are well behind Boston and New York in their division and behind a lot of other teams for future WC berths. They need help and they need to trade with a deep organization to re-seed the talent.

        If the Phillies wanted Archer, I think it would cost them something like a young major league regular, a couple very good advanced pitching prospects and a very high upside younger pitching prospect. Think something like Cesar/Altherr, Eshelman, Eflin, and Dominguez or Medina. That, I think, is what they would want. Would I do it? It’s a close call – they may have to leave out the high upside younger pitching prospect (or replace him with a lower value prospect). Objectively, the Rays would still get more value as measured by WAR, but I love Archer’s strikeout rates and it wouldn’t surprise me if he took his game to another level. That said, he really wasn’t all that great the last two years, so I’d have to watch an awful lot of video and feel satisfied before I pulled the trigger on a deal like that. Cesar and Altherr are valuable assets (Cesar more than Altherr), so I’d be careful before I traded either of them away and, frankly, trading Altherr just leaves the team with another hole, so I’d be reluctant to include him in a trade for a mid-level starter (which is, charitably, what Archer is right now).

    2. Well, you can want them to sign a top FA and trade for a #2 SP, but they’ve pretty much already told us that this is not going to happen this year absent an offer they just can’t refuse.

      One thing I’ve been thinking about is how important it is for them to keep Andres Blanco on the team and for Kapler to make Andres his best buddy. There was some nonsense on this team by guys like Odubel and, to a lesser extent, Maikel, that Pete put up with that Kapler is, in my view, will not tolerate (such as Oduble ignoring base coaches, etc . . . ), nor should he. I think it would be helpful to have Andres there to bridge the communication gap since I understand that the other LA players really look up to him and follow his lead. I would say that Freddy could serve this role (and he could), but I expect him to be traded.

  7. @Wawa – if you are thinking of Williams, Hernandez, Kilome, and Cozens (plus Moniak or Gamboa) for Stroman or Archer – that might be a bargain price and not the “do whatever it takes” price that you mentioned earlier.

    Teams trading a young top arm to the Phils with start with either Nola or Sixto or at least a couple of Top 100 prospects that are trending up and not down. Also the 4 names you mentioned needs to be in the 40-man, the more the trading teams will push for prospects like Sixto, Medina or JoJo to even start a conversation.

    If Klentak can pull a trade for a young TOR arm without giving up Nola, Hoskins, Doobie and anybody from BA’s Top 7 Phillies prospect – Klentak will be like Howie Hero getting away with Carson Wentz.

    1. If the Tigers were up to it….I would do Doobie and one of either Kilome or Eshelman for Fulmer. Then try to sign another guy like Chatwood….Cashner will also be out there since he will probably not get a QO..

        1. Yes…he has struggled the last few years.
          It would be a risk for sure, but then again he wouldn’t cost that much.
          Wondering if the Phillies would look at Jay Bruce for a corner and start to move some of their young OF prospects in trade..

          1. I don’t see this happening. The Phillies are trying to audition guys for the future, they have too many guys for OF spots as it is and I don’t see any future in Bruce. Furthermore, the current management values OF defense and Bruce is below average there. I just can’t see this happening and don’t see the point of this move.

      1. @romus – i’ll try to offer Doobie, Cesar and Ben Lively for Fulmer and Kinsler and his contract.

        1. Yes…that could do it also.
          Though the market for 2nd basemen seem to be getting thinner and thinner.

          1. that’s why i like the idea of taking Kinsler out of DET (who appears to be in rebuilding mode and like to shed payroll) and offering Cesar. Kinsler has one year left ($11M) in his contract – he will not block Kingery. If Kinsler, he can be a rental that playoff teams might want by the deadline.

            Cesar, Lively and Mills for Kinsler, Burrows and Funky is another option I’ll go.

          2. some of the Phils tradable players could be moved for prospects/players who can be traded for what the team really wants: pitching.

            1. I’m not really sure either of your proposals get it down. He is coming off TJ which lowers the price but still.

              I like including Kinsler’s contract. He can play multiple positions in a utility role like Howie Kendrick did a little bit.

              Doobie, Cesar, Lively and then a higher upside guy probably like Dominguez, Kilome, or someone in there.

              Or pursue Daniel Norris instead. Had a bad year this past year but high upside guy.

            2. @forrest – cost controlled and your regular starters are already a high price to give considering that the Phils will also absorb some $$. Teams will obviously will ask for more, but no need to push further. Doobie should be able to bring a good return by himself.

          3. From what I read, Fulmer did not have TJ…he had ‘ ulnar nerve transposition’…put the nerve back in its proper slot …not the same as TJ. They say he will be ready for ST.

        2. @romus – I like Fulmer too. He’s #99 on the list of top 300 players in baseball. Detroit is fully committed to the rebuild. Herrera is locked into a very team friendly contract, and Hernandez and Lively are under team control for several more years. The other upside of this trade is that right now the Phillies 40 man roster is at 38 players. This deal would subtract 3 and add only 1.

  8. Phillies lose another bird-dog…former Phil OFer Eric Valent getting big promo to Marlins staff as n’tl x-checker.

  9. Eric Valent, our compensation for losing J.D. Drew. Another shining example of Front office mismanagement that I hope John Middleton has banned from the premises.

  10. FWIW….Fangraphs Chris Mitchell’s KATOH predictions:
    KATOH numbers represent projected WAR over first six major-league seasons.

    Adam Haseley, CF, Philadelphia (Profile)
    KATOH: 1.5 WAR
    KATOH+: 3.3 WAR

    ….. Haseley hit a solid .284/.357/.405 in his pro debut across three levels. I was lucky enough to catch him on his way through the NYPL, where he showed a solid approach at the plate and good bat speed. Haseley’s a good hitter who runs well and plays center field, which makes for an encouraging overall package. He predictably cruised through the lower levels this year, so next season will be the real test.

    Cole Stobbe, 3B, Philadelphia (Profile)
    KATOH: 0.1 WAR
    KATOH+: 0.1 WAR

    Stobbe looked overmatched, taking long swings and reaching out of the zone often when I saw him. He seemingly didn’t fare much better when I didn’t see him, as evidenced by his .203/.280/.376 batting line and 31% strikeout rate. Stobbe posted the highest fly-ball rate in the NYPL (by a lot) and also the highest pull rate. Pair that with the fifth-highest swinging-strike rate, and it’s clear pretty clear what Stobbe is: a pull-happy hitter who swings for the fences but too often misses the ball entirely.

    Greg Pickett, 1B, Philadelphia (Profile)
    KATOH: 0.1 WAR
    KATOH+: 0.1 WAR

    Pickett’s swing generates tons of power, but it’s also long and features a deep load. As a result, he struck out an unreasonable 28% of the time this year and has yet to hit for much power as a pro. Now 21, youth is no longer on Pickett’s side. It also doesn’t help that he’s limited to first base.

    Nick Maton, SS, Philadelphia (Profile)
    KATOH: 1.3 WAR
    KATOH+: 1.2 WAR

    Philadelphia’s 2017 seventh-round pick, Maton hit an unremarkable .252/.350/.333 in his pro debut. Despite that forgettable performance, his projectable frame (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) and patient approach are encouraging. Speedy shortstops don’t need to hit much, so Maton’s approach paired with a touch of power might be enough for him to carve out a role in the big leagues.

    Of note…no Jhailyn Ortiz.

    1. Watch out for Maton he’s adds some muscle in his first full of season. He already plays a major league SS Defense.

  11. STL offered QO to Lynn. Cross him off the target list. Lynn is not worthy to lose a 2nd rd pick.

  12. Ok, correct me if I am wrong, but the KATOH that Romus just shared with us from Fangraphs shows a 1.5 WAR over 6 seasons for Haesely. Isn’t that pretty poor? He should be a plus WAR player for every one of his first 6 seasons by some degree, so a cumulative WAR of 1.5 makes him a pretty poor player. I would be extremely disappointed with that outcome.

    1. matt13…here is his rationale:
      “For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, but due to their objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. KATOH+ incorporates Baseball America’s midseason top-100 list and Eric Longenhagen’s preseason FV grades for players excluded from BA’s list. Stats-only KATOH does not consider prospect rankings.
      These projections account only for minor-league stats. While I’ve done work with college players, I have not yet attempted to merge college and minor-league data. These projections also do not account for any major-league performance.”
      …….for Haseley he has projected it ass 3.3WAR over his career.

      As comparison…here is what he projected for these ten players:
      1 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Blue Jays…..19.6
      2 Gleyber Torres Yankees ….16.3
      3 Yoan Moncada White Sox…..15.4
      4 Rafael Devers Red Sox … 15.3
      5 Kyle Tucker Astros…. 14.9
      6 Ozzie Albies Braves….. 13.8
      7 Ronald Acuna Braves….. 13.7
      8 Willy Adames Rays…… 12.6
      9 Alex Verdugo Dodgers…. 12.5
      10 Amed Rosario Mets……… 12.1

      1. matt13…the other Phillies prospects he computed earlier
        Mickey Moniak 5.7
        Dylan Cozens 4.5
        J.P. Crawford 11.0
        Scott Kingery 8.1
        Sixto Sanchez 4.5

        1. I think the KAOAH rankings are more interesting than the projections.

          The numbers are what you get when you look at a minor league player’s ceiling and discount that number by the probability he will get to the majors and remain healthy and play. It makes sense, but it gives you WAR numbers that are just silly and watered down.

          1. Agree…….even Vlad Jr…as great as expected,and probably number one prospect by mid-season….will garner more than a 20WAR career I would think. The one aspect of WAR…the longer a career the more likely a higher WAR is attained….logical in one sense.
            I venture to say that every one of the projections by Chris Mitchell are deflated beyond any reasonableness.
            I’d like to see what his projections were in 2012 for the top prospects then.

  13. Thanks Romus, but don’t you agree that if that is all Haesley achieves, he is a disappointing 1st Rd pick? And, how can Cozens and MM be ahead of him on that scale?

  14. On another subject, is the consensus that this will be an active GM meeting or trades will not start to take place until after that first wave of FA signings? I think that with this year’s FA crop not being all that plentiful that trades will start right away.

    1. I don’t know if there’s a consensus on what the Phillies are going to do aside from acquire a few more short term players. That said, I expect them to be moderately aggressive – mostly in the form of trades, but not that active in the FA market and virtually non-existent in the high end FA market.

  15. Otani has finally hired an agency to represent him to begin his transition to the US and MLB.

  16. With rosters fixed, the Yankees predictably have some interesting talent now vulnerable to Rule 5 selection: P’s Domingo Acevedo and Albert Abreu, IF Thairo Estrada and OF Billy McKinney.

    A wise GM would offer a package of prospects not in need of roster protection for for the 4. McKinney upgrades Perkins, Estrada over Alvarez and Valentin, Acevedo and Abreu over Tirado and Pinto.

    An unwise GM will be picking over names on December 14 (Rule 5 day).

    1. A quibble with myself. I realize that rosters are not set in stone until Nov. 20. But the point is that the Yankees should be open for business. Maybe the Phils offer a roster guy like Luis Garcia and a prospect or 2. Anything they lose from Garcia they can regain on the free agent market where they have as much money as anybody.

      1. Domingo Acevedo will be pick #1 if he is exposed to Rule 5. Agree that Estrada is > Alvarez. The Phils only have 6 OFs which includes an injury prone Quinn and need to stay in AAA Cozens. McKinney will be a good get if the Phils can nab him via minor trade or Rule 5.

        1. Acevedo alone is seen as a better prospect than Garcia ever was; throws harder though Garcia is no soft tosser.

          Kapler strikes me as a PR savvy guy who will love his players in the off-season and offer conditional love once the games count.. I’ll hold Kapler accountable for knowing that Garcia has control issues and is not closer material. Acevedo to me is more than what the Phils hoped 4 years ago Garcia could be.

          And the Phils do a solid for a first time manager by not saddling him with a Rule 5 pick to carry at the far end of the bench or bullpen throughout the season. Shopping for Rule 5 quality players in November — rather than December — is the head’s up move.

          1. “Shopping for Rule 5 quality players in November — rather than December — is the head’s up move”
            That is spot on….on the flip side however, from starting today, 8 Nov., Klentak. will have only 12 days to restructure his own 40 if he starts acquiring players that obviously need to be protected. That means more players will need to be DFAed/released, that he may not have wanted to in the past.

            1. OK, but react to this:

              Acevedo > Tirado
              Abreu > Pinto
              Estrada > Alvarez or Valentin
              McKinney > Perkins

              So anybody you lose through Rule 5 you’ve already upgraded for. Your point puzzles me.

    1. that brings down the roster number to 38 and possibly protect Kilome and Seranthony increasing the # of pitchers to 23. Tirado or Curtis might follow next to give way to Ranger Suarez.

      1. KuKo…not a sexy get, but ToZo suggested Jhouyls Chacin may be a FA pitcher the Phillies may be interested in.

        1. I agree on Chacin but the phils are a season late and many dollars short! He was available for peanuts after last season and now will cost much more! Swing and miss in that one

          (Editor: WordPress is holding your posts for me to approve. I think that changing your name back to Legacy will correct this.)

        2. i saw that too. my preference is not to sign any back end starter type since the Phils has a lot of them. i like the Phils to stay away from sign and flip since i really want the Phils to start creating a nice core and play them together. i’m not sure what value that Chacin can provide other than eat some innings. The current 40-man has 10 SPs that needs some MLB experience and seasoning – and that will increase if Kilome, Seranthony and Ranger will be added and Eshelman. Taveras potentially at some point in 2018.

    2. I am stunned me and the gm had the same idea. I posted it last week. no reason to keep either of these guys. This team is in trouble if they take my ideas

      1. rocco…..great analytical minds think alike… and the good Dr Sheldon Klentak.
        Whats the next move….all meals prepared with coconut oil?

        1. I Think the next move is Rupp for a minor league relief arm. Then its Ceasar and a prospect for a starter and low a player

          1. @roccom – you sure you want Cesar gone? You and Catch surprised me a lot with your sudden change of heart.

            1. kURDT I love cesar. but my idol romus told me we have to move him. We have the next chase Utley in our system waiting.

            2. I love Cesar, but it’s hard to see how he fits in long term if Kingery is your guy at second and, furthermore, Cesar’s trade value has peaked. My views on the player absolutely remain the same – he’s a well above average player and may still not have peaked.

              But I’m also NOT advocating that they dump him – if they don’t get the proper value they should hold onto him. People on here have been discussing trading him for a #4 starter. That’s a great trade – if you’re the team with the #4 starter. For the Phillies it’s about the worst move imaginable because: (a) between his age, his contract situation and his performance, he’s worth much, much more than a #4 starter; and (b) why on earth would we even WANT a #4 starter – this team is awash in #4 starters.

  17. Jim, am I on the banned poster list or something? Lately, none of my posts make it to the site. Was it something I said?

    1. catch … if you’re trying to post multiple links that sometimes causes the site to flag your post to “wait for moderation”.

  18. SI, in their FA Top 50 has the Phil’s best fits, Jake Arrieta and Melky Cabrera. I like Darvish more than Arrieta, but he may be more obtainable. I don’t see Melky unless there is a major deal involving Nick Williams or Aaron Altherr for another SP. But, even then, Cabrera is more of a player that would fit a team trying to go far next year. He will get paid, not exactly the definition of a stop gap player waiting tor Haesley to arrive in 2019.

    1. Arietta’s star has fallen which is good news for the Phillies. I would definitely consider paying him on a 3 or 4 year deal at around $18-20 m per year. He’s a good pitcher, they can afford it, and it would give them a lot of options.

      1. But 5 years or more – no thanks. I’d even be hesitant giving him a 4th year or require it to be a vesting option.

        1. Arrieta is rep by Boras and QO by the Cubs….probably changes a lot of teams objectives when it comes to signing him.

    2. Three weeks ago I replied to a comment that

      “I cringe at the thought of signing Arrieta. He is already on the down side of his career since reaching his high point in 2015. His ERA rose each of the past 2 years. Most of his measurable peripherals are moving in the wrong direction. I dread his 23 HR (2017) in CBP next year, his league leading WP the past two years with our young catching corps, and his inability to hold runners on base (exemplified by his 17% caught stealing, well below the league average of 27%). 2018 will be Arrieta’s age 32 season. He seems to represent what MacPhail wants to avoid – “signing a player for past performance”. Arrieta made $15.6M in 2017. I would have reservations committing to even a 3-year, $50M contract.”

      Plus any contract in excess of $50M will penalize the Phillies their second-highest draft pick and $500K of international bonus pool money.

  19. Bleacher Report’s predictions for “blockbuster” trades has Ceasar to the Angels for Brennon Lund and Samil De Los Santos. I do not know either of those prospects, but I am so looking forward to things happening that I read every rumor that I can! I know we would love a mid Rotation SP, but I don’t see that happening unless the deal is expanded and 1 of our “close to the top” prospects is included.

    1. Both look like very good, but not elite, prospects. Lund, a CF, climbed to AA in his first full year in the minors, which is impressive.

    2. That’s a really light return. Lund looks like a Kelly Dugan type, and de Los Santos is a 23 y/o reliever in High A who took five years to get out of rookie ball.

    3. If you look around the internet, the CeHe to the Angels potential trade pops up a lot. The Lund/De Los Santos proposal is a solid “NO” for me. Lund is interesting, but you could certainly find OFer’s in the Angels system (Adell, Marsh, Jones) with higher ceilings. De Los Santos is a soon-to-be 24 YO reliever who has never pitched above A+. He would have to be immediately have to be added to the 40 man or risk losing him in December. If you’re going to take a relief pitcher back for Hernandez, you might as well get a MLB reliever. Keynan Middleton is about the same age as De Los Santos and is already proving himself at the big league level. I’m not saying I would trade Cesar Hernandez for a reliever. I’m just saying getting Lund and De Los Santos back in a deal for CeHe isn’t nearly enough. The Rays got Jose De Leon from the Dodgers last off-season. De Leon was one of the Dodgers top prospects and was a top 50 overall.

      1. Second basemen do not have great return value…..The LAD/Rays transaction may be one of the better returns…..Rays getting De Leon an he turning 26 is now a question mark.
        IMO, Klentak should include Cesar as part of a package for added value

      2. Klentak should either package a prospect or two with Cesar to bring back an actual younger MLB LHP. Or demand prospects with higher ceilings. Maybe Jordan Adell from the Angels or Kodi Medeiros and Caden Lemons from the Brewers (all young, unproven high draft picks).

        1. Skaggs would be the one I would target if the Angels were interested in Cesar.
          And the Phillies could add one of their RHP prospects and one other like someone who started in Philly in 2017…e.g. Lively or Thompson.

          1. Skaggs or Heaney if Klentak can make it work.

            i’m actually ok with Cesar + Tromp (LAA needs OF depth) for Marsh and Chris Rodriguez.

          2. Romus … Right on ! I’ve been pulling for a CeHe for Skaggs deal for a while now. I would add Lively or Thompson or Taveras or Cole Irvin plus a reliever like Curtis or Rios to get that deal done.
            Also … MLB TradeRumors chat going on as we post. Steve Adams is hosting the chat and says Cesar may stand out among a good sized group of 2Bmen available this winter:
            “Lots of questions on potential 2B trades. I’ve said in the past that it’s a terrible market to be selling a second baseman because there are about a half-dozen options out there (Ian Kinsler, Dee Gordon, etc.) to say nothing of free-agent possibilities like Walker. I wouldn’t *expect* a great market to materialize if you’re hoping your team can move a second baseman.
            Hernandez might be an exception because is quietly very good and has three years of cheap control remaining. Castro, not so much.”

            1. I cannot see why the Angels would refuse a package like that.
              Skaggs ‘ peripherals are not what you would call outstanding, but he would serve the required need for a LHP in the rotation and can give yuo quality starts when he is healthy. And in half a season he pitched 85 innings (16 starts) so he may be able to eat innings to the tune of 175 to 185.

            2. Totally agree that Cesar MUST be packaged with another major leaguer or a couple of prospects – and FOR a SP, not traded alone. Anything less, and Klentak didn’t do his job.

            3. Cole Irvin and Taveras are better then Skaggs. A poster on the Angels board he has 1 good pitch his CB he’s FB is very hittable and hitters sit on it.

    4. LAA has a crappy farm. If the Phils can’t get any of the Top 10 from one the weakest farm in MLB, chances are these players are marginal. For someone who is always been accused of running Cesar out of town, this is a light return. Lund is on 4 OF at best – closely resemble a low ceiling prospect like Mark Laird or Zach Coppola.

      de los Santos at 23 has not pitched above AA yet. He will just get buried behind younger and better prospects in A+/AA ball like Sixto, Jojo, Seranthony, Ranger, Medina, etc.

  20. Perhaps Klentak and the Phillies can get something from the Sox if they are interested in a power first basemen like ToJo…..first baseman Mitch Moreland is unlikely to return to Boston as he hits free agency creating a void at the position. The Red Sox have been tied to free agents Eric Hosmer and J.D. Martinez… ToJo may not bring back much but maybe a low tier prospect or two….or maybe even some int’l money, and if the Sox, if still in the penalty would be willing to cough up some

    1. BOS 2018 payroll is not that bad so I can see them going hard on proven players like Hosmer and JD Martinez (although not sure where they play him) to stay ahead of their heated rival in NYY.

      KC will be my target for both Galvis, ToJo and other cost controlled players. Without signing Mous, Cain and Hosmer, KC’s payroll after ARB will like surpass $120M in 2018 (and will go up in 2019) which might be too high for their liking especially KC most like vying for the WC at best.

      KC might think twice resigning the 31-yo Escobar (who had a bad 2017) and may not resign Hosmer (if BOS goes hard after him). Both Galvis and ToJo slides nicely in SS and 1B both good stop gaps for Mondesi and Duenez.

      KC is also thin in SP – they have no depth behind Kennedy, Duffy, Hammel, Karns and Skoglund and other than soon to be added to the 40-man Forrest Griffin.

      I like Klentak to explore trading Lively, Thompson, Rupp, Galvis, Tojo for #10 Melendez (or #4 Matias), #22 Evan Steele, #UR Ashe Russell and contracts of couple of 40-man scrubs like Butera and Paulo Orlando (the Phils will just DFA both).

      1. Galvis is one yr player then FA hard to sell that.Tojo to Boston where he puts up 40 homeruns for the next 10 yrs.

        1. Actually, this might work for small markets like KC. If Galvis performs well offensively (which will increase his value when he becomes FA), he’s the perfect rental that KC can flip by the deadline. If Galvis did not, KC has no remaining obligation or they can resign Galvis for cheap.

    2. I like Hinkie’s proposal to offer ToJo to Baltimore for Trumbo’s salary dump and int’l money and/or a comp. balance pick. I don’t see a more profitable trade involving him.

      1. If Cesar is traded, I can see Freddy staying on at 2b until Jetpax is called up in May. Then he’d become a decent trade chip at the deadline to a contender (possibly Toronto? – Tulo’s a DL stint waiting to happen).

      2. @8mark – there’s not a lot of market for ToJo. So to maximize returns from ToJo, Klentak should trade ToJo to the team that needs him (abilities, age, salary) the most. KC fits that role than BAL. I also think that BAL will aim to contend in 2018 so they might stay put with Trumbo than rely on someone like ToJo. By the time BAL blow it up at some point next year, the Comp Bal pick no longer apply.

        1. KuKo … Baltimore is aiming to compete in 2018, and that is exactly why the deal works for them. The Orioles really lose no production by replacing Mark Trumbo with Tommy Joseph:
          Trumbo in 2017 – .234/.289/.397
          ToJo in 2017 – .240/ .289/.432
          This trade allows the Orioles to save 12.5 million dollars next season (and 26 million over the next two seasons). With the money saved, Baltimore can buy an arm. They are desperate for upgrades to their rotation. The Phillies get a prospect (give me Zac Lowther or Gray Fenter) and the O’s comp A pick (should land in the 35-40 range and come with about 1.8 million slot dollars). This deal would have to be broken up into two parts and would have to include a bit piece because comp picks can’t be traded until the start of next season. So, the teams swap Trumbo and Lowther or Fenter for ToJo this winter. Then, in April, Klentak would send a non-prospect (someone like Tyler Viza) for the comp pick.

          1. @hinkie – production is the priority if teams want to compete . ToJo is not a significant upgrade to Trumbo so I still don’t think BAL will pull the trigger with a transaction with no upside other than some $20M relief. BAL will not hesitate to pull 1-year signings to fill holes.

            Maybe if the Phils give them Eickhoff then Klentak might get the return that you mentioned. When production doesn’t come by the deadline (which is passed the Rule 4 draft), that’s when they start to dump contracts and players.

          2. also, Tyler Viza amounts to nothing. He will be exposed to Rule V this offseason and teams will not even look at him. For a team with shallow farm like BAL, they will prefer prospects with upside.

            I do like your idea for Trumbo (and contract) + Lowther or Fenter + Comp Pick — unfortunately, Klentak will not get that return for throwaways like ToJo and Viza. Maybe if Klentak offer Lively and Thompson and ToJo as a mere add on, Klentak have a better chance.

            1. KuKo … the crux of the trade would be:
              Orioles replace Trumbo (2 yrs @ 26 million dollars) with ToJo (minimum wage for next two yrs, and team control for 5 yrs). At this point in his career, Trumbo isn’t any more productive than Joseph. The Orioles would use the money saved to upgrade their rotation.
              In return for eating 25 million dollars, the Phillies receive a MiLB pitcher (either Lowther or Fenter) and the O’s comp A draft pick. Forget about Tyler Viza (he’s a prop). He’s only needed to legally make the deal happen this winter. Baltimore can only trade the comp pick in season. The O’s can’t just donate the pick to the Phillies in April (even though it’s actually part of the original deal). Viza (or any other non-prospect) must be used to allow Baltimore to complete the original deal and send the Phillies their comp A draft pick.
              In summary … This is one trade. However, in order to comply with MLB rules, the teams would have to split it up into two separate transactions.

  21. Anybody hear anything on doc Haliday’s plane going down in the GoM one person on board have not heard anyone identified at this point

  22. Thoughts go out to his family. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through. He seemed like a very decent man.

    He was a teammate of Cory Lidle in ’03. Very bizarre/sad that they both ended up dying in small plane crashes.

  23. A master of his craft, a student of the game, and a bulldog on the mound. So so much he still had to offer this generation and beyond. Great loss, RIP to the third Phillies legend to pass this year, heavy on our hearts. I’m sure we will (and should) see him honored on the Wall of Fame next summer, as well as in the Baseball Hall of Fame immediately. Hats off, Doc!

        1. Yes sir.
          Blue Jays are in town May 25 thru 27…and the Phillies are in Toronto Aug 24 thru 26th……..hoping the teams do a very touching and memorable remembrance for Doc.

  24. @catch22hman,
    No, you are not on any kind of banned list. For some reason, some of your posts go to SPAM. I can’t get into the parameters used by the spam application, so I don’t know why. However, I don’t think it has to do with the length of your posts. For example, Kurdt posts some that are much longer than yours and his aren’t flagged as spam. I will e-mail you with an observation that may or may not be related, but don’t want to post that information here.

    I apologize for the inconvenience.

  25. I was lucky enough to be in the stands when Doc threw his no-hitter against the Reds in the 2010 NLDS. It is the greatest sports moment I’ve ever witnessed in person. I was hoarse for three days.

    Doc is one of my all-time favorite Phils. It’s horrible that he’s gone at such a young age. RIP

  26. So sad. Even before I was a Philly fan I admired him. Mickey said he spent a lot of time with him during instructional League and said he was a great man. I can tell it really has affected him… he is really bummned. Rest in peace. And God bless his family.

    1. Thank you for posting, Matt. I hadn’t even thought of the impact on the young players who came to know him at the Complex. Several are on hand for this fall’s weight program. I’m sure it has hit them hard as well.

      1. You’re welcome Jim. Such a tragedy especially with the kids obviously. RIP..Keep up the good work ..will be seeing you in spring training before you know it. Mickey has been working hard since he got home tweaking a couple things lin instructional league. Hands closer in, quicker to the ball.. I think he’ll come out next year swinging it well. Being humbled is always good. Take care

        1. Matt M … Thanks for keeping us posted on Mickey. We’re all rooting for a great bounce-back season from him. Has he heard anything on where he may start next season ? Lakewood or Clearwater ?

          1. Joe Jordan and his staff won’t make (and publicize) those decisions until later in the off season, much later, like December or even January. But for an idea how they are thinking, it seems likely from comments I’ve read that Randolph will start in Reading. So, if true, as disappointed as some readers were in Randolph’s 2017 season, it may be that the Phillies’ saw enough progress to warrant a promotion.

            Randolph would certainly be young for Reading, IMO. He turns 21 on June 2nd. The league average was 24.2 for position players and 24.3 for pitchers in 2017

  27. BA listed the 16 Phillies minor league FAs:
    Philadelphia Phillies (16)
    RHP: Michael Mariot (AAA) | Colton Murray (AA) | Miguel Nunez (AA) | Jesen Therrien (AAA)
    LHP: Cesar Ramos (AAA)
    RHP/LHP: Pat Venditte (AAA)
    C: Wilson Garcia (Hi A) | Chace Numata (AA) | Nick Rickles (AAA)
    1B: Jake Fox (AA) | Brock Stassi (AAA)
    2B: Angelo Mora (AAA)
    3B: Harold Martinez (AA)
    SS: Hector Gomez (AAA)
    OF: Christian Marrero (AAA) | Herlis Rodriguez (AAA)

    ……Herlis Rod, Miguel Nunuz, Brock Stassi and Angelo Mora may look for greener pastures if they see themselves stalemated in the Phillies org.

    1. Romus, Thanks for the BA link, here’s some stuff from around the Complex.

      I think I saw Miguel Nunez at the Complex this week. And Mario Sanchez. I know I saw Carlos Tocci, Kyle Young, and Sixto Sanchez. I’m pretty sure I saw Nick Fanti and Grant Dyer. And heard today that Sutter McLoughlin is here (I expected this from conversations before he left in September). Some are hear for monthly check ups during rehab and others are hear for strength and conditioning, as well as Spanish and English classes. I counted 16-20 players on a back field Tuesday.

      Jake Fox was a coach on the GCL team in 2017. I heard that Christian Marrero has a good chance to be picked up as a hitting coach for the second GCL team with Tyler Henson as manager and Matt Hockenberry as pitching coach.

      Chace Numata is one of 9 org players in Columbia.

  28. You’re welcome Jim. Such a tragedy especially with the kids obviously. RIP..Keep up the good work ..will be seeing you in spring training before you know it. Mickey has been working hard since he got home tweaking a couple things lin instructional league. Hands closer in, quicker to the ball.. I think he’ll come out next year swinging it well. Being humbled is always good. Take care

    1. Looking forward to spring. Maybe we can try meeting at Legends again. Haha. After not seeing Mickey while he was in Lakewood, he looked a little bigger to me at the Complex, especially across the shoulders.

  29. Otani update…the following teams has the most available $$ left to sign any IFA:

    TEX – $3.535M
    MIN – $3.245M
    NYY – $3.25M
    PIT – $2.267M
    MIA – $1.74M
    SEA – $1.57M
    PHI – $900k

    1. If I had to put odds on Otani’s landing spot:
      Mariners … 4 to 1
      Padres ….. 7 to 1
      Yankees … 7 to 1
      Angels ….. 8 to 1
      Dodgers … 8 to 1
      Cubs ……. 10 to 1

      These odds will change when Darvish signs a FA contract.

      1. Hinkie…Mariners have a good record with Japanese players, with Ichiro heading that list, so they should be a favorite. I also see the Yankees being a big player.

      2. That leaves 1 in 4 (25%) on the fortune wheel for somebody and I’m guessing you’re not giving those odds to the Phils.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see Darvish and Otani land somewhere as a tandem and I’m thinking it’s the Yankees, Rangers, Mariners or Dodgers.

    2. KuKo……Yankees look to be the favor , especially with Tanaka staying on board.
      Also may be a factor where Darvish ends up.
      In any event……perhaps time to move on with Otani ever being n Philadelphia for the next two years.

      1. i’m still grieving from Doc and I’m not yet ready to grieve from the opportunity to see Otani gone. Otani will earn big $$ for sure after the initial IFA signing – so the difference between $900k vs $3.535M (highest possible) is not that significant in the bigger picture. I’m still banking on the fact that the Phils can assemble a really good recruiting team and present a better long term opportunity to Otani. Back in December 2010, one Cliff Lee turned down bigger $$ from TEX and NYY to sign with the Phils. Hopefully, lightning strikes twice for the Phils!!

    3. Looking at that list of teams with money left screams Yankees as the hands down favorite for Otani.

    4. KuKo, are these figures really relevant in terms of the bigger picture?

      Beyond his initial drop in the bucket IFA signing, there is SOOO much more to who he signs with (and WHY) than a couple million dollars up front. The Phillies may not even be so inclined, for all we know, but their standing in the int’l bonus pool means squat as far as I’m concerned. Somebody help me out here…what am I missing?

      1. Agree with you, 8mark. That’s why I have the Padres, Dodgers, and Cubs listed among the most likely landing spots even though none of those three clubs can pay him more than 300-thousand dollars.
        BTW … it’s not too late for the Phillies to adopt my “Otani Plan”. Iron Chef Morimoto, Hideki Kuriyama, and Yu Darvish are all still available. Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick are ready to go ! I would even urge John Middleton to sell a small share of the team to Masayoshi Son (the Bill Gates of Japan). You may best remember him from his adventure to Trump Tower earlier this year.

        1. Hinkie…question?
          If Otani signs anywhere but with the Phillies…will you need to go into some sort of counseling program?

          1. Never say “die”, Romus !
            Winners never quit … and … Quitters never win.
            Hey, Masayoshi Son is looking to invest 50 billion dollars in this country. Why shouldn’t Phillies fans get in on this ? If he doesn’t move the needle for Otani, then it’s back to the drawing board !!!!!!

            1. i agree with you Hinkie except for one thing – the legal structure of the Phillies. The Phillies is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). You have to be a partner in you want to get a share of revenue not unless you want to be a paid employee or contractor. There might be some legal or taxation hurdles to overcome if Masayoshi Son wants to invest in a LLP.

      2. @8mark – that’s my point in my response to Romus when I said:

        “between $900k vs $3.535M (highest possible) is not that significant in the bigger picture. I’m still banking on the fact that the Phils can assemble a really good recruiting team and present a better long term opportunity to Otani. “

        1. KuKo……wouldn’t Otani be more comfortable on a team with his bud Darvish on that same team?
          Or perhaps even a fellow Japanese player, for example, Tanaka of the Yankees.
          Makes sense for his first American baseball experience.

          1. Once again … right on, Romus !
            So … following the Hinkie plan: the Phillies blow Darvish away with a 3 yr/129 mil contract, hire Iron Chef Morimoto as Director of Clubhouse Food Services, bring in Hideki Kuriyama (Nippon Ham Fighters former manager) as a senior advisor, and sell a small share of the team to Masayoshi Son (love that guy!). Hell, I might even consider replacing the Phanatic with Super Mario as the team’s new mascot !!! After all these moves, Otani may feel so comfortable with the Phillies, Middleton might get away with offering him a couple of cheese steaks and a few cigars to sign !!!
            Time is ticking. Let’s get this plan in motion !!!!!!

            1. The other hiccup in the whole scenario….with the new changes taking effect now on the international agreement, the Nippon Ham Fighters will now only get a small percentage of Otani’s initial minor league contract ilo of the previous $20M posting fee. This may have a bearing on the situation unless the parties can work something out..

          2. @romus – i already mentioned this before being half of the relatives are Asians – that comfort zone is a key factor to non-US people. I’m one of those who pushes the Phils to sign Darvish even before the 2017 ends.

            I think it is just me, Hinkie and a couple more who keeps to be optimistic to dream on Otani despite of the odds.

    1. That’s basically what he said. The obvious. If not this year (unlikely) then next (more than likely). Who doesn’t know that already? I like Joe G and think he has good insights but sometimes he sounds like he’s trying to will things to happen in his writing and radio hosting. The only splash I see possibly happening this off season is a Marlins deal with or without Stanton, and even that is a situation where Miami would approach the Phillies. Otherwise, it should be shrewd dealing by the FO. Next year should be no-brainer deals with loads of FA cash over flowing.

      OTOH – reading the latest on Otani on MLBTR a few minutes ago tells me they’re trying to open up his market to the benefit of all concerned (unless I read it incorrectly) with the exception of clubs ordinarily with no shot financially. This is where Middleton (and Kapler) have to sit MacKlentak down and say YO! Call Hinkie and get us a rundown on his recruiting plan!

    2. Agree, Romus. I live in NJ, but don’t use Joe Giglio and as my source for Phillies information. However, in this case, it looks like Giglio is just passing along what Nick Cafardo is reporting.
      BTW … I absolutely disagree with Cafardo. I’ve been saying, for a long time now, MacKlentak aren’t going to be handing out any big money, multi year contracts to FA’s this winter. They’ll use their financial flexibility, deep farm system, and big league players being bypassed by prospects to acquire a pitcher(s) and hopefully a comp pick (or two). Get ready for next winter !! That’s when the Phillies will go wild in FA !!!

      1. Marlins … Jeter needs to shed salary. Klentak can eat lots of bad money.
      2. Angels … They’re looking for a 2Bman. Cesar is available. Klentak has ties there.
      3. Orioles … 88 YO Peter Angelos wants to make one more run at a title before losing a good part of his team to free agency. The O’s can’t spend a lot of money, but they need starting pitching. My ToJo for Trumbo trade proposal (read earlier in this thread) could help Baltimore free up money to buy an arm. Or, Klentak could deal them an excess arm (Thompson, Appel, Taveras) currently (or soon to be) taking up a 40 man spot. MacKlentak has ties to Baltimore.
      4. Dodgers … Phillies have a history of doing deals with the Dodgers. Gabe Kapler has a strong knowledge of their farm system.
      5 Brewers … Milwaukee has a good farm system and could be another landing spot for Hernandez.

      1. Manny Machado
      2. Josh Donaldson (in the unlikely event they don’t land MM)
      3. Garrett Richards (if he proves he can stay healthy in 2018)
      4. Zach Britton (if he proves he can stay healthy in 2018)
      5. Marwin Gonzalez

      1. Right with you point for point as usual, Hinkie. I also noticed that Harper’s name isn’t included. He’d be a fan favorite but I personally don’t think his body will hold up to age 30. Whoever signs him better be ready for five years of productivity mixed with intermittent stints on the DL, followed by an utter drop off the table. I wouldn’t invest my $400+M on him.

        …And I agree about Cafardo – let me know when he puts something out there with traction.

      2. Hinkie…you have the right moves.
        Trouble Matt Klentak seems to be rather passive in moving and pretty dull in his creativity.
        You just cannot hold on to, or more likel,y horde assets these days.
        Ben Cherington did that in Boston….Dombrowski came in and started wheeling and dealing…..maybe not all that smart, but he knew the longer you hold…the lower the value gets on prospects..

      3. Bravo, Hinkie -but then you don’t need accolades ! I love your pt. 5 with Brewers as trade partner for Hernandez – that would be the first place I would go. Brewers have a very bright GM who knows how valuable Hernandez might be to them. Frankly I had thought the same spot for Cesar.

      4. Good job, pal. I like the way you are thinking.

        I love Machado, but I think Donaldson will be a lot cheaper and can be signed to a much shorter term deal and, I know he’s not super young anymore, but I like his chances to produce well into his 30s – he’s such a phenomenal player and it’s just electric to think about what he would look like in the middle of this line-up and in that infield. And I like the maturity he would bring to the team – balance tends to be a good thing. Donaldson-Crawford-Kingery-Hoskins . . . wow!!!!!!

        1. Of course it could very well be a mute point, the Phillies perspective, with Machado and Donaldson , if Franco comes out next season and pops 32/35 HRs with a slash something like 280/340/550.
          And if he continues next season what he did in September then MK will have to make a serious decision after 2018.

          1. Didn’t read it in depth but Fangraphs basically said that historically speaking, the Phillies should move on from Franco. You and I know he’ll likely stick around for another year and hopefully raise his market value BUT as of now he’s little more than a placeholder for either MM or JD come next winter.

            1. Do not see it that way.
              Franco is at the age and experience wise in 2018, that could turn his whole career around…one way or the other within the Phillies sphere.
              Next season may be his, so to speak, probation year with the Phillies.
              If he flourishes then Klentak may just keep him, with a pretty reasonable contract in hand, and spend the money on a pitcher like Clayton Kershaw vs a Manny Machado.
              If he flounders…then anchors aweigh for him and then Machado or Donaldson become their target

          2. Ooooh… just committed one of my pet peeves Romus. It could be a moot point….unless, of course you mean the parties involved are physically incapable of speech (mute). -Sorry, I just had to do it.- Seriously, though, do you think Franco is likely to do that? Capable, yes, but I don’t think likely. Even if he does, I’d still go after Machado and if successful, use Franco as a trade piece.

            1. Oops sorry….mute vs moot gets me most times.
              Yes, of course if he does well he does become a valuable trade asset……even south down I95 to Baltimore, if Machado exits for another team, like the Phillies.

      5. I will also add DET and KC to the potential trade partner. DET looks like is committed to retooling/rebuilding so they can shed some payroll that the Phils can absorb and KC is small market team who intends to contend so they will prefer some cost controlled complimentary pieces that the Phils has in abundance.

  30. Romus if I read it right, the plane had a parachute and landed on water. I cant figure out what happen, unless he had a medical problem.

    1. rocco…yes I know.
      Another layer to this terrible tragedy.
      The plane appeared to flip and lay upside down in the 6 feet of water.
      The FAA will have to do their investigation and it may have been a manufacturer defect ilo of any pilot error. We will know more in about a month or so after the FAA does its work. The Icon A5 did get good reviews on safety and reliability from Flying Mag…but mechanical failures do occur.

  31. You know, it’s crazy how the game has changed in a single generation. Not even twenty years ago, every big market team in baseball would be salivating over Giancarlo Stanton. Now, when he was placed on waivers earlier in August – crickets.

    Now more than ever before, a player’s contract status determines the value of the player. His skill set is relatively unimportant. His durability (or lack thereof) has become his primary skill, especially for a pitcher. Analytics is no friend to the baseball purist. Bean counters have taken over the game I love. But I still love it.

    Have a good evening.

  32. The drumbeat for a Cesar Hernandez trade to the Angels is getting louder. Seems like a universal opinion that CeHe makes the most sense for the Halos to go out and get. The return for the Phillies is the debate. I believe I’ve read probably a half dozen trade proposals. Some, ridiculously pro-Angels slanted. Here’s the latest one from Halo Hangout It suggests the Phillies receive 19 YO LHP Jose Saurez and 23 YO (former Ohio State) OF’er Troy Montgomery. For me, this is still way too light. If Klentak can’t expand the trade to land Tyler Skaggs, I would deal CeHe straight up for Jordan Adell. Adell is high risk-high reward. He was drafted at 1-10 this summer, is LA’s #1 prospect, but is not even a top 100 overall prospect. If Adell is off limits, then I would insist on 19 YO OF Brandon Marsh and 19 YO RHP Jose Soriano. I would also ask the Brewers for Kodi Medeiros and Caden Lemons.

    1. @Hinkie – LAA is a similar situation with BAL – they will try to contend in 2018 so they will keep as much MLB ready players they until probably until the July trade deadline. But unlike BAL, LAA has shown that they can open their wallet if needed. LAA’s 2018 payroll is around $110M before ARB.

      As I mentioned earlier, Skaggs or Heaney should be a trade for Cesar but my option B will be Cesar + Tromp (LAA needs OF depth) for Marsh and Chris Rodriguez.

      1. KuKo…Tromp?
        That doesn’t even excite me….how about Cozens or Quinn?
        Then you may be able to get another quality A ball pitcher from them.

        1. well, Klentak can do that since he has relationship with LAA. But for me, I just get the most that I can get from Cesar Hernandez without pushing it too much since the return I expect from Cesasr is not that much.

        2. Klentak has his work cut out for him on this INF jam. We all know Kingery is coming early next year. So who goes? Galvis or Hernandez? What about moving one of Galvis or Caesar to 3rd? For this Id trade ceaser now for his value. However the logjam is sorted out, I hope it is right. I think ceaser is the better everday player, but Galvis is the better utility/bench player. For long term, Galvis fits the team better in the super utility role, and could really carve out a unique role on the team that is compensated Well. I can see him playing 5-6 days a week as a super utility player, relieving SS,2B,3B,1B, and OF. Will see what moves Klentak makes, I’ll be interested. Swapping cearar for MOR pitcher With a prospect swap… I’ll take it. The market is not what I want it to be for ceasar but he is expendable with Kingery on the way up

          1. I think Cesar goes because he has much more trade valuable and less positional flexibility. Freddy stays and acts as a super sub and plays second until Kingery arrives. He may also get traded mid-season.

            1. That’s the plan, catch. Also, Cesar has to be dealt now because next winter’s 2B market will be flooded with FA’s (Dozier, LeMahieu, Forsythe, Murphy, Kinsler, Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Marwin Gonzalez). That will render CeHe almost untradable.

            2. Agreed. Though it is tough to let ceasar’s obp go vs Galvis defense. The correct choice is to trade CeHe. If he had power it would be a different story. Hinkie makes a great point below about the flood of 2B coming on the market as well next year. Time to cash in on CeHe.

  33. There are an awful lot of teams that are looking to add SP, and I think that some of these Tier B or C guys are going to get big pay days. Despite his WS performance, I still go after Darvish and 4 years with a 5th year option is probably what he gets. I spend $120M or so on him before I spend $60M on a Chatwood. I want a top guy, I am not calling Darvish an Ace, but he would head our rotation, and need good SP to show a big improvement this year, so that when we are looking at top FAs after 2018, we have an up and coming contender to offer. I think that will require a SP boost that is a bit better than the Hellickson/Bucholz signings.

  34. I agree, Phils need to get the momentum building for turn super FA class. When they go to make their “pitch” to MM and others, a bigger play this year will have add some credibility to what they are saying … and not line of bullshi… part of me hopes they go get Arrieta over Darvish, but would be nice to have one of them in the fold, and make a trade for another SP. then use the surplus of young pitchers to upgrade prospect list or other positions. This team is position to make the leap, if the FO can navigate. They can’t whine they are small market, limited funds ,etc … if they don’t get it right, those FO chairs will be on fire.

  35. Off the wall trade but how about a few prospects/AAAA players like Eflin, Lively, Thompson, etc to Boston for Price. High risk/high reward as he has he has to get out of Boston The team has plenty of cash to spend and if it doesn’t work out who cares –but if it does it is does you have a TOR SP until Sanchez and company are ready.

    1. That would be great if it happened. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine why Boston would be inclined to give away Price for spare parts.

      1. From what I am reading in different blogs I don’t think it would take much. Apparently by taking on that salary and getting rid of him and the Eckersly distraction a team would be doing Boston a favor. Agree it may take more but if no major prospects why not? Maybe include Tojo too may help as I think they need a 1b

    2. I would not want a 33-year old pitcher in 2018 with the following below ailments in 2017 alone, and also with an AAV of $30M thru 2022?:
      07/17 Left Elbow Inflammation 10-Day DL
      04/17 Left Elbow Strain 10-Day DLt
      03/17 Sore Left Forearm Day-To-Day
      Something might be going on with his elbow.
      And his last harrah could have been in 2016 with a 3WAR outcome were he pitched for him a career best 233 innings..

      1. I want no part of David Price – even if it’s just a salary dump. Put it this way – if you woke up tomorrow as Matt Klentak, would you sign 32 YO David Price to a 5 year, $157 million contract? I think, given his injury history, the answer would have to be no, but that’s the contract you would take on if you traded for him, and, therefore it makes no sense to also send prospect to Boston for this player.

      2. I really don’t understand the continued push to take on bad contracts from other teams simply because the Phillies have tons of available payroll. Their greatest advantage over the next 2-3 years is that payroll space and they need to be using it to build a championship team, not making trades for washed up players with bad contracts.

        Use that cash to bring in some productive veteran players at a high AAV and shorter terms to bridge the gaps in the lineup/rotation until help arrives from the system.

        1. Thats correct.
          Though, I believe the rationale on taking bad contracts, and getting a subsequent CBA pick or added int’l money or low A prospects, is the thought to further get younger better talented players at the far end of the pipeline to load up the farm and perhaps prevent another 2012-2017 era of Phillies baseball.

          1. I understand the thought process but most of the proposed deals advocate taking on tens of millions of dollars worth of dead contract for some international pool money or a CBA pick. Is the 33rd/34th pick in the draft really worth $20/$30/$50 million?

            Taking on a high-dollar bad contract should only be done if it comes with a quality young player or a top prospect in return.

            The dead era of Phillies baseball over the last 5+ years was a perfect storm where:
            a) they were giving up picks and trading young players to sign FAs/veterans to keep the window open
            b) they maxed out the payroll with some bad contracts which prevented them from remaining competitive during the transition
            c) The players they did draft went nowhere so they had nothing coming through the system.

            They have slowly and painfully addressed these issues and it makes no sense to begin loading up the payroll with bad contracts again or signing FAs with QO’s attached that cost them draft picks.

            They have another window of opportunity just now beginning to open with a core of young, cheap talent and need to be smart in how they take advantage of it.

            1. I see your point….however’ Is the 33rd/34th pick in the draft really worth $20/$30/$50 million?’…I think it may be worth it.
              1. The team is in no way up against the luxury tax right now. So the added money is not detrimental to them right now
              2. Plus…the alternative way and less-risk method they chose, the one-year flipper…signing the Mortons, Buccholz, Hellicksons, Saunders and Kendrick…so far has yielded just LHP prospect MacKenzie Mills and RHP Cleavinger .
              Neshek may have got them more value as a bullpen arm with Hammer.

              There are pro and cons….but trading for one of either the OsTrumbo or LHP WinChin of the Marlins in exchange for a 30 something pick could prove to be a bonanza in 4/5 years.

            2. Finally……these types of proposals, I do not envision happening anyway.
              For the most part ….though they sound good, probably pipe dreams with most organizations ever trying to do it for a myriad of reasons.
              Playing fantasy baseball they may work…but in the real world, not so much.
              And really do not see this regime even contemplate doing it.

            3. Romus is right. Even during their rebuild, the Phillies have consistently spent tens of millions of dollars each year on older, flip candidates. For the most part, these flip signings have yielded little to nothing at the trade deadline.
              The answer to your question “is a CBA pick at 33 or 34 worth 30-50 million dollars?” is sometimes yes. If your organization is adept at evaluating talent, you can draft a prospect worth that kind of money (and certainly worth way more than the guys Klentak is getting back for flip FA’s).
              Here are some of the players drafted in the 30’s/low 40’s with comp picks/comp bal picks over the past few years: Tyler Skaggs (09), James Paxton (09 didn’t sign), Aaron Sanchez (10), Noah Syndergaard (10), Jackie Bradley Jr (11), Michael Fulmer (11), Trevor Story (11), Joe Musgrove (11), Kevin Plawecki (12), Stephen Piscotty (12), Joey Gallo (12), Lance McCullers (12), Sean Manaea (13), Corey Knebel (14), and Derek Fisher (15). The 2018 draft is supposed to be the best draft since 2010. I’d rather eat bad money, and draft my own prospect(s) next summer. The only question is how much bad money ? Flipping ToJo for Trumbo (2yrs/26 million) and a prospect (Lowther or Fenter), and the Orioles comp A pick is a no brainer for me. I might even do it w/o Lowther or Fenter. Eating Edinson Volquez (13 million) contract for Miami’s comp B pick is also something I would sign up for. I would certainly take on other Marlins bad contracts (Chen and/or Prado and/or Ziegler) to flip Nick Williams and Ben Lively for Christian Yelich.

  36. I don’t really think Otani is coming here, unfortunately. I never did see a plan emerge from the FO to woo him. In fact, I don’t think there has been a plan at all. So I have no real preference for Arrieta vs. Darvish unless Darvish brought Otani with him. I don’t see a trade bringing a young SP with the ability of either of those guys. I don’t think the FO trades Haseley, Sixto, Crawford types that it would take to get a guy like that. Our next level guys and Cesar does not get that guy either. So, that is why I spend on 1 of the 2 top guys.

    1. Matt according to what I have read, Oteri will come here on his way to new York. the plane makes a stop in philly then goes to jfk airport

  37. As I’ve mentioned (about 100 times) in previous posts, the Phillies will almost certainly sit out this year’s FA market (meaning they won’t be handing out any big money, multi year deals), and will instead attack next winter’s class with guns blazing (more money to spend than any other team). Dave Shoenfield has his Top 20 FA’s listed on
    He has Harper at #1 and Machado at #2. He’s also predicting the Phillies to major players:
    “An intriguing team in the Harper/Machado sweepstakes will be the Phillies. Their only player signed beyond 2018 is outfielder Odubel Herrera, and that isn’t for big money. The Phillies need talent and will have a ton of cash to spend on a franchise player.”

    1. I can see the Phillies making a play for J.Chacin this off-season.
      The last two season he has been a reliable arm to get you 30 plus starts, and maybe he will get you 150 plus innings.

  38. The Phillies are part of the biggest week in Jewish Baseball history !
    “Let’s see,” says Scott Barancik, the editor of The Jewish Baseball News website. “The Phillies named Gabe Kapler their new manager. Joc Pederson homers three times in the World Series. Sandy Koufax throws out the first ball in Game 7. And Alex Bregman gets a World Series ring.”
    You can read more from

  39. Last, but certainly not least from … Keith Law has posted this winter’s FA Guide
    He describes this year’s class better than last year’s class (the worst he’d ever seen). He says, “This class is still overpopulated with the first-base/DH/oh-God-I-hope-we-don’t-have-to-play-him-in-left-field types, many of whom have long-standing platoon splits. But that seems to be a regular feature of free agency at this point, especially as teams turn away from long-term deals for average corner bats and try to develop younger, cheaper ones internally”.
    Here are some highlights from his top 50 FA list:
    1. Yu Darvish … Darvish has averaged 4.5 WAR per 31 starts over his career, which was interrupted by Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2015 and much of 2016, but he has altered his pitching style since his return and, until his trade to the Dodgers, had settled at a lower level of performance than his previous ace-like self. Darvish’s awful showing in two World Series games — possibly the result of tipping his pitches — won’t help his free-agent case any, but I’d be surprised if it did more than shave a tiny bit off the top.
    2. Lorenzo Cain … The team signing him should expect an average defensive center fielder who hits for average with modest power and OBP, probably a solid-average every-day player who might deliver 12 WAR over a four-year deal.
    3. Zack Cozart … he’s probably worth $24 million a year on a three- or even four-year deal.
    4. Jake Arrieta … He peaked in his Cy Young-winning 2015 season, both in performance and workload, but has seen his velocity slip since and then missed a few starts this year with a hamstring injury. He could return to his peak form, but I wouldn’t bet on it, not given his age, loss of velocity and diminishing control. You sign Arrieta hoping for a mid-rotation starter who can take the ball 31 times, which itself is worth $20 million a year, but if anyone pays him as if he’s still an ace, they’re taking on an unacceptable risk.
    5. Carlos Santana
    6. JD Martinez … He’s more than just a home run hitter, although I’m sure that’s how he’ll be sold this offseason. He’s entering his age-30 season and has negative defensive value, to the point where I’d look at him as a primary DH who can play left field on an occasional basis, and hope for some 5-WAR seasons at the start of any long-term deal. He is the type of player who, over MLB history, has declined faster than players who play defense well or are better athletes, so while the market will probably give him five years, the end of the deal will probably see a big drop-off in production.
    7. Eric Hosmer … I could see giving Hosmer four years and $60 million to $70 million given his youth and the possibility that he’s really a four-win player going forward, but paying even that much to a player who was replacement level as recently as 2016 should make any GM nervous.
    8. Alex Cobb … Cobb came back from Tommy John surgery a different pitcher, as his changeup hasn’t had the same action post-injury, leading him to rely more on his curveball than his change. That didn’t lead to a visible platoon split in 2017, but there are warning signs in his splits, including a lower K rate and higher walk rate against lefties, that could indicate trouble going forward.
    He also has never reached 180 innings in any pro season, as this year’s 179⅓ was a career high, as were the 29 starts he made in 2017. Previously a potential No. 3 with his command and the out-pitch potential of the changeup, he’s more of a back-end starter now with some durability questions, but you could still dream a little of some greater upside if a new environment or coach can help him regain some of what he lost on the third pitch.
    9. Todd Frazier
    10. Carlos Gomez … he’s probably a $15 million per year player, even after his fall from All-Star heights.
    11. Logan Morrison
    12. Jay Bruce
    13. Mike Moustakas
    14. Jhoulys Chacin … His sinker/slider approach isn’t always pretty — he walks more guys than you’d like and generally tries to pitch away from contact — but it works, as he tends to keep the ball down and generates enough weak contact to be effective. There’s some downside risk here, as he doesn’t have a real plus pitch to generate swings-and-misses, but he has enough of a track record to treat him and pay him like a No. 3 starter.
    16. Lance Lynn … The hope for any team signing Lynn is that another year removed from the surgery returns him to his 2012-15 form, when he was both consistent and valuable, worth about 3 wins above replacement per year. That’s a $20 million-a-year starter in the open market if you believe he’s durable enough now post-TJ to make 30-plus starts a season.
    21. Jaime Garcia … There’s some volatility here both in performance and expected workload, with some mid-rotation upside if you get a full, healthy season. But he’s more likely a fourth or good fifth starter at this point, likely to give you about 2 wins above replacement — maybe a two-year, $20-24 million guy.
    23. CC Sabathia … I’d give him a one-year, $8-10 million deal in the hopes that he can give me 25 starts.
    24. Neil Walker … I think Walker can play first base, but there’s not much demand at that spot and a fair amount of competition this winter. He’s a switch-hitter but hasn’t produced enough against lefties in his career to call him a regular at this point. He can hit right-handed pitching, getting on base and showing some pop, and can fill in as a backup at second or third (but not more). Otherwise he’s a platoon first baseman during a winter where there are suitable regulars available in free agency, too.
    26. Pat Neshek … Given his age, Neshek should be looking at one-year deals, but something slightly above the $6.5 million he made each of the past two seasons would make sense.
    28. David Hernandez
    29. Juan Nicasio
    31. Wade Davis … I could see someone giving him two years, hoping he’ll return to form in 2018, but I don’t have a concrete reason to argue that he’ll do so.
    32. Greg Holland … I might gamble a little that a second year removed from surgery could see him regain a half-grade of command, but the most likely outcome is that this is what he is, a good late-game option who’s not ideal for the closer (or highest leverage) spot.
    33. Eduardo Nunez … Nunez hits like an infielder but can’t play even average defense at second or third
    34. Andrew Cashner … I’d be very wary of giving him anything more than a one-year deal — and would look to moderate his workload to try to keep him healthy for a second straight season.
    35. Jason Vargas … He’s a fifth starter, most likely, worth a one-year deal for whatever you think a win above replacement should earn.
    41. Tyler Chatwood … I’ll save you the trouble: Chatwood had much better results on the road (3.69 ERA), but it was all results on balls in play, as his walk, strikeout and home run rates were close to even, and he doesn’t get left-handed hitters out anywhere.
    Chatwood had a tremendous curveball as a prospect, and I wouldn’t mind seeing some team at sea level sign him and see if the hammer is still in the toolbox … or the utility drawer in the kitchen with the paper clips and the stapler and the batteries and the stamps.
    42. John Lackey … Lackey is a durable fifth starter if you have a good defensive unit — and probably not someone you want to sign if you don’t. His slider was softer in 2017 and much less effective, and he has giving up more hard contact the past two years than he had before, including an NL-high 36 homers this past year.
    45. Brandon Phillips
    48. Howie Kendrick … He did have a very solid season in part-time play in 2017 for the Phillies and Nats, at least at the plate, although he’s now merely a competent left fielder who still hits like a traditional second baseman. He’s a second-division regular, too good to just be a platoon player but not productive enough to start in left for a contender.
    50. Jeremy Hellickson … Hellickson was a 3-win pitcher in 2016, but totally lost his changeup — his best pitch in most years — in 2017 and became barely above replacement level for the Phillies and then the Orioles before he was shut down with a sore back in September. He’s a flyball pitcher with fringy velocity for a right-hander, so you can expect a high home run rate. But when he’s throwing strikes and missing enough bats like he did two seasons ago, there’s value here. I would value him as a fifth starter, above replacement-level, who gives my team some chance (say 10-20 percent) that he’ll be much closer to league average if he rediscovers his changeup.

    1. Assuming the Phillies ignore my Otani plan, and don’t overpay for Darvish, the guy (IMO) who makes the most sense on this list is CC Sabathia. He’s LH. He’s a winner and could mentor a young pitching staff. He actually pitched pretty well this year (seems like most guys do well in their walk year). Sounds like he may have to settle for a one year deal. I don’t care how much they pay him for one year. And … obviously, he costs no prospects or draft compensation.

      1. Well you now know Cobb/Lynn and Arrieta are off the table with their QOs.
        Phillies would be foolish to forfeit the 39th or so pick.

      2. I don’t see CC leaving the Bronx, I know money money money rules the day, but I see him giving a home town discount to stay. He will retire a yankee

      3. The FO and their minions on their website have preached patience regarding the FA market, but they have said if a situation presents itself …. to me means … the market doesn’t materialize for Darvish or arrietta, I could see them making a play, meaning their price comes down, or few teams remain in the race
        For their services. The FO needs to get this right. So far, the jury is out on the draft picks and holding pat may not be what is needed to make the splash next FA period.

        Come on Klentak pull us out of the abyss!!!

        1. I know it’s been too long, but they still need to be patient. They need to make the right moves, not the splashiest moves. If they make a stupid free agent signing we won’t care that much this year, but we could care about it a lot in 2020.

        2. I can see Darvish…but not Arrieta….too risky as he trends downward and why lose the 39th pick in the draft!

          1. Thanks Romus, I agree with you. I had not taken into consideration the QO for Arrieta. No way do I forfeit a pick. Darvish for me.

          2. I’m also all for signing Darvish. I think he would bring the Phils a few more wins in 2018 versus 2017, and still will be productive for three or more seasons after that. I see him as the best FA option on this year’s market.

          3. I’m warming back toward Darvish since Arrieta comes with a QO penalty, and Yu’s market may not be as plush as first thought. Jeff Todd of MLBTR said he doesn’t think, however, that acquiring Darvish precedes getting Otani. Ichiro, OTOH, may be quite the liaison for the Phillies as a veteran presence/5th OF. He’s very available at a most reasonable rate, I’m sure. And we can say ‘sayanara’ at any time since he’d most likely be on a one year deal.

      4. What a crappy class of free agent. Would be interested in Neshek again and also in Wade Davis. Most of the other guys don’t make sense for one reason or another. There’s almost no other logical fits for the Phillies in their current predicament.

  40. From MLBTR chat this afternoon:

    In 2014, the Sports Illustrated writer predicted the Astros as 2017 champs and was correct. You’re given the opportunity now to predict for 2020. Who’s on your cover as 2020 champs?

    Jeffrey Todd
    I would recommend the Dodgers or Yankees, b/c they have very good young talent and insane amounts of money. But if I was going to go out on a limb with a rebuilding team, I’d take the Phillies, b/c they have good young talent and nearly-as-insane amounts of money but people seem to overlook that.

    1. Just read that myself. I have a good feeling about this off season. While teams are gearing up for next year’s FA class, there are some bargains to be had if contract and trade offers come down for the higher echelon players on the market. And while the Phillies will likely not dabble deeply in the market, let’s remember MacPhail said “unless opportunities present themselves” (I might be paraphrasing but in so many words). I firmly believe there is no other team in MLB in a better position to improve their major league roster this year AND next. We simply have too much depth and financial resources not to. We are a sleeping giant!

  41. Another country heard from (this time Ukraine) in the never ending CeHe to the Angels chatter (It’s all the rage now, but I’ve been calling for it for months). Also from that MLBTR chat:

    Hey what’s up Jeff, Abraham from Ukraine. What kind of package do the angles need for Gordon or Ceaser Hernandez?

    Jeffrey Todd
    Ukraine! Nice, definitely a new country to receive a question from (at least so far as I have been made aware).
    I still see Dee as a near-even-value asset, so I don’t think it should require all that much. But perhaps the market feels differently.
    Hernandez is cheaper and more flexible, so I’d expect it to hurt a little bit to get him. Phillies also will realize that he could be a very useful utility guy for them even if they end up with a different starting MI duo. Not sure on specifics, but I think he’ll cost a bit.

  42. My three FA targets next off season are Machado, LHPs Drew Pomeranz (BOS), and Andrew Miller.

  43. … So … I almost fell off of my kitchen stool when I read this little diddy from a Shohei Otani story From Buster Olney on :
    “There have been rumors that he would prefer to be part of a rebuilding effort rather than joining an established power.”
    The gist of the story is that Otani is a total mystery and nobody knows what he is actually looking for in a new team. The dream may still be alive, KuKo !

    1. Hinkie, we’ve been a “mystery team” ourselves in the past. This story will make an already interesting hot stove season even more fun. I bet Kapler learned a considerable amount of Japanese the year he was over there. Let’s roll! (As in sushi!)

      1. I want to say that the Phillies are the original Mystery Team. I want to say it was the Cliff Lee FA signing.

    2. Yeah, if Otani is willing to think out of the box and really listen, I think management could present a very compelling case as to why Philadelphia presents the optimal situation. Which could work unless he absolutely has his heart set on being in one of the more internationally famous cities in the country.

    1. Imagine – it’s December 12th. You wake up, oh let’s say it’s 7:15am. No cup o’ joe just yet. You tune your radio to KYW 1060…

      “…and the top story at this hour is also our top sports story – and it’s not about the Eagles, Sixers or Flyers. The Philadelphia Phillies have won the Shohei Otani sweepstakes by signing the 23 year old Japanese sensation!”

      You totally forget to even put the coffee on. This would be more than just icing on this rejuvenated sports town’s cake! And it would make for a very merry Christmas!

  44. Let’s get a coaching staff announced already. Free agency starts for real next week with the GM meetings. Chacon and Chatwood are reasonable guys to chase in short term deals. Neither is great but either would add veteran innings, something needed. I think Cesar and a minor league pitcher will get us another starting pitcher. I’d look to sign a reliever too, like Neshak or Cishek.

    1. I’ve heard they are close to announcing some. Recent event may have put announcements on hold. But, I’ve heard Kranitz as pitching coach, Wathan as third base coach, and John Mallee (Marlins, Astros, Cubs) as hitting coach with Samuel in the running as bench coach.

      1. I guess I’m ok with Mallee, who knows. He’s taking the blame for the Cubs not scoring enough in the playoffs which is odd but happens. Samuel is very close with the Latin players and might actually be a good bench coach candidate.

  45. Maybe I am wrong, but if we are going to pursue SP in FA they may want to know the Pitching Coach. I would!

      1. Of the four, out of five teams (Yankees excluded right now) that needed managers, three , Sox, Mets and Nats all gave their new managers three year contracts with an option in the fourth….the Phillies were the only team not to extend the option to Kapler. I will be interested in seeing what the new Yankee manager’s contract entails.
        As for the Phillies, not sure what that signifies if anything by not extending the option year..

  46. From what I just read, Kranitz was not announced as the PC. Could he have another role, and A PC still TBA?

      1. It sounds to me like he’s Plan B. If they get the guy they really want, Kranitz will be APC but if they don’t, this guy will be PC, a position he has held in the past.

        1. I wonder if they’ll offer AAA manager to Morandini. He wants to be a major league manager and I think managing AAA will help him get closer to that goal.

        2. That makes sense. They could be bargaining with a blue chip candidate before handing the job to Kranitz. Sammy as bench coach seems reasonable. Perhaps he’s also weighing an opportunity with another club; otherwise, I’m sure they would have announced him as well.

          And finally, somebody call Choooooooch!!

    The headline screams Miami is in talks with the Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants, and Phillies on a possible Giancarlo Stanton trade. Translated, that probably means The Giants and Cardinals have very serious interest in dealing for Stanton. The Giants don’t have nearly enough prospects to get a deal done, and if the Cardinals know it’s just them and SF, St. Louis is going to low ball the Marlins. So … Jeter leaks the Red Sox and Phillies (who have probably made due diligence phone calls to find out what’s going on). There is no way the Phillies are trading for Giancarlo Stanton.

    1. FWIW, reports that Stanton will veto a trade to Philadelphia may no longer be accurate. I have it on good authority that he would consider such a trade. My confidant corresponds with a Miami sportswriter. He was told by the writer that he (the writer) prints that Stanton doesn’t want to go to Philly to appease the fan base. But, in reality, he is not opposed to Philadelphia as a landing place. Take that with a shaker of salt if a grain won’t do.

    2. Let’s bat this around, Hinkie.
      If Stanton waives his no-trade to Philly but keeps his 2020 opt out, here’s a discussion starter. I don’t think any club among Boston, SF, or St Louis can satisfy Miami’s chief goal – shedding $50MM in payroll all in one fell swoop. I don’t see how the Giants even belong in the conversation other than they’re a California team (and not even southern Cal.) The Cardinals have top talent but can’t absorb the behemoth bucks Miami wants badly to unload. The Sox have considerable resources but I have plenty of OF talent and can spend money on JDM and/or Hosmer instead.

      So here’s my proposal –
      1) either Herrera OR Williams
      2) Altherr
      3) ToJo (here’s an opportunity to include him in a package)
      4) either Quinn or Cozens
      5) either Vinny Velo or Eickhoff
      6) either Kilome or Eshelman
      7) either Moniak or Haseley

      For –
      1) Stanton and all his $$$$
      2) Yelich
      3) Prado and his salary
      4) Volquez (TJS) and his $$ dump
      5) Chen and his $$ dump
      6) 1st round LHP Trevor Rogers
      7) ’18 comp balance pick (which can’t be consummated until after the regular season begins, say as a PTBNL)

      But in any case, I agree with Jim P that Stant

        1. And I would keep in mind that not only would a trade like this jump start the rebuild, but make us a more attractive destination for prospective FAs, including 23 year old Asian types.

      1. if the Phillies actually took on that much salary they wou;ld not have to give up the players you mentioned

    1. Interesting concept by Mallee:
      Mallee said the numbers vividly show balls must be hit in the air and not on the ground.
      “When you look at batting averages and slugging percentages of balls that are hit on the ground compared to line drives or fly balls in Major League baseball, the numbers are revealing. “When you hit ground balls, the batting average is .245 while the slugging percentage is .266.
      “The batting average for line drives is .640 while the slugging percentage is 1.030.
      “The batting average for fly balls is .143 while the slugging percentage is .567.
      “The numbers show that you should stay away from ground balls and ideally hit line drives. Fly balls are much better to hit than ground balls when you look at the slugging percentage. “Pitchers are all trying to keep the ball low and sink the ball on the strike zone. So with all this data and common sense, a question begs to be answered.
      “Should you swing up, swing down or swing level? The answer is to stay level with the plane of the pitch. It gives you a much better opportunity to hit a hard line drive or fly ball. I’m not talking about a pop up here. I’m talking about getting the ball in the air as opposed to hitting on the ground.”

      …if he can revitalize Franco’s production then i will be happy.

      1. Ted Williams book on hitting was clear, swing on the same plane as the pitch to maximize the time in the hitting zone. The concept still holds true. This fly ball method is what is propelling the Dodgers’ resurgence bats.

  48. I still don’t see any clarification of the Pitching Coach job. Kranitz has a job in the organization, but if he got the job of PC, I would think that would be specified. Maybe there is a job offer to Farrell, and he is waiting to hear if he gets the Yankees job?

    1. That actually could be the scenario. Or it could be that someone has multiple offers and hasn’t decided which to take yet. Mallee had a similar situation and took the Phils job.

  49. Phillies one of four in with Stanton move.
    Jon Morosi ✔@jonmorosi
    Sources: In Giancarlo Stanton trade talks, #Marlins have had preliminary communication with #RedSox, #STLCards, #SFGiants, #Phillies. Talks expected to intensify at GM Meetings next week. @MLB @MLBNetwork
    9:49 PM – Nov 10, 2017
    229 229 Replies 1,703 1,703 Retweets 2,881 2,881 likes

    Cardinals and Red Sox , along with the Phillies have a lot to offer in quality prospects….though I think Jeter would prefer to deal Stanton out of the NL-East.
    Nothing like having him come back against you 18 times a year.

  50. From what I have read and heard, Jeter is looking to save a big chunk of $. The Giants do not have a lot of room and not a lot of great prospects. The Cards have the prospects, for sure, but are going to try to not absorb a lot of $, defeating the whole purpose of trading him. The Phils have the best combination and can take on all of Stanton’s $ and one of the “unmovable” contracts as well. I saw the proposal earlier and I think that is an lot to give up, but it may be what it takes on an expanded deal. I go a little simpler and offer to take on all of Stanton’s $ and one of Volquez or Chen for Altherr or Williams, ToJo and 1 of the SPs thata re not Nola or Sixto.

    1. Stanton has zero value beyond that contract. No one will pay that entire contract and give up a prospect package also. That’s way too much to give up. Personally, I don’t think the Phils will offer to take on the full contract under any condition. That’s because it would mean they couldn’t bid for Machado. No team can afford two $25M players, other than the Yankees.

      1. How quickly people forget. As recently as 2012 we had FIVE players making 15M or more per season (Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Howard, Utley). The Phillies could easily swing it if they wanted to. Hell, we could throw Kershaw in there as well.

        Should they? Absolutely not. It would drive out some of our core as they get more expensive, and I’m not one of the people who thinks Stanton will even be worth his contract. But could they? Easily.

        1. I would agree that a Stanton deal is unlikely. Miami will play this out among interested teams until they feel they have maximized the profit of return. However, I think another substantial deal with Miami is likely.

          I also agree that whether they acquired Stanton or not, Machado and Trout are on their docket in the not too distant future, along with a TOR arm mixed in there as well.

          I go back to the old adage, “The good plan today (this year) is better than the perfect plan tomorrow (or next year). I hope MacKlentak don’t outsmart themselves by presuming upon next off season’s bumper crop. They still need to make this ’18 squad as attractive to prospective FAs as they reasonably can.

          1. The biggest question any team interested in Stanton should get answered is “What if he chooses to opt out after 2020?” There’s virtually no chance he agrees to rescind that clause unless perhaps the Dodgers get involved. And IMO that must be Miami’s biggest dilemma in trade negotiations.

  51. Romus, I read it here. I was referring to 8mark’s proposal that brings in Stanton and Yelich and other assets for a number of our players. I thought that may be a bit too much.

        1. Agree…….they lacked a big power guys to replace Ortiz this past season and Stanton would fill that hole for them.
          A package starting with, Bradley and Devers, and then add in pitchers Groome or Houck would probably work for them….and they can still take on Stanton’s salary.

      1. …However, Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are not front runners for Stanton because they’re supposedly more interested in FAs like JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer.

        Here we go with the media merry-go-round…

          1. Yes I saw that earlier. And two other reports that Boston is interested but not necessarily the front runner. This may take several weeks of Miami playing teams against the others.

    1. Yes, Romus. Very much so.
      Notice he mentions his manager Hideki Kuriyama as someone who has encouraged him. Kuriyama has been part of my Otani plan. His contract has expired with Nippon Ham Fighters. The Phillies should immediately hire him as a senior advisor. Kuriyama, Iron Chef Morimoto, Yu Darvish, Masayoshi Son, Charlie Manuel, Pat Gillick, and Gabe Kapler would all be on my Otani recruiting team !!!

      1. Rival execs have told Marc Feinsand of that they expect the Phillies to go after someone big in free agency despite what they’ve said publicly. Lynn and Cobb were 2 names as possible targets.

        Perhaps (my speculation) they go for a bigger name – is it Otani or Ohtani. Maybe the team that spells it correctly will win his favor?

        1. IMO, I think Lynn and Cobb may be off the table now for the Phillies….not sure when that Marc Feinsand article was written or when he received his inside information….but it may have been before the QOs were offered to both pitchers.
          The Phillies may not want to give uop their 2nd round pick (39th or so) for wither of Lynn or Cobb….at least that is my opinion.

          1. Romus, Feinsand got his perspective from a survey of many execs and agents within the industry. I’m not personally keen on them pursuing either Lynn or Cobb but the idea that they are giving that vibe out, I assume, through conversations with these baseball insiders is rather encouraging.

            1. 8mark..understand….but that survey could have been two weeks ago, before the QOs were offered to anyone.
              I was in on Cobb or Lynn prior to a week ago.

      2. Hinkie & Romus,
        It’s good to hear Otani himself quoted as saying that even he’s not sure if being a 2-way player will work in MLB. Seems he’s only been encouraged by his camp to try and excel in both hitting and pitching. By the time he’s gone through this process, my guess is he’ll come to a realization on his own. That should relieve interested clubs (especially NL teams) that it isn’t necessarily an obstacle to sign him.

        Now let’s get it on, already!

        1. What I take from his comments…..he would be receptive to either a NL plan of attack or an AL plan.
          That is……pitching comes first, and whatever the team decides to do with him from a hitters standpoint, he will abide.
          Which I find is commendable on his part.

  52. Scott Boras will be in Orlando this week for the GM meetings i assume.
    He reps some of the major players as FAs…….. former teammates Mike Moustakas,
    Eric Hosmer, and Greg Holland, then there is J.D. Martinez and Jake Arrieta

  53. I don’t consider either Lynn or Cobb as “big name FAs” they may get a lot of $ but are quite a bit short of Darvish and Otani. And, I don’t want to lise the second rd pick. I love Hinkie’s proposal but my problem is that the FO has not put together any plan to get Otani. Therehave been zero reports of anyone with Phils and Japanese ties being over there setting up a big push for the guy. And if there was one it would not be a big secret. The Phils should have had a team in place for a year getting to know anyone with ties to Otani

    1. matt13…..that has been the case from the beginning.The Phillies have shown no interest in him. Unless that was their intention at the on-set, not to ‘show their hand’ so to speak.
      Also, the deal for next season, can only be for two years and then he becomes a FA.
      Now the team he signs with next season, has the advantage in signing him to a new mega-longer deal for the 2020 season and beyond, but they will be under some intense scrutiny by MLB.

      1. The Phillies have historically been close to the vest when it comes to their true intentions, at least until there’s any ‘action’ to report. They are a mystery team.

  54. 8mark I understand that in general. But this situation is like recruiting basketball players by big schools. You lay a groundwork. Even when you can’t directly talk to the kids, you learn their likes, you get to know those vlose to them. This is a unique situation that did not develop overnight. I would want to be the team that signs him to give me an upper hand to show him how great it is to pitch inPhilly. I would have recruited him for a while now. Anyone with ties to Japan would have been over there multiple times. Phils have done nothing. Those kinds of things are not secret so I am convinced they have had no plan.

  55. I think they are the front runners and are the exact teams I was referencing. I would not be suprised if the Dodgers, with their multi billion dollar investment bank ownership group have also set up contact. But those are the 3 teams I expect to land Otani. I want the Phils to be one of those teams that is in on every top player as a matter of ownership mandate, not just 2007 to 2011. So, I am waiting for that to happen again

  56. Also, I am not saying it won’t happen or that Middleton is not going to be that kind of owner, just that there was not a plan for Otani

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