Open Discussion: Week of December 31st

Happy New Year!  The hot stove was very quiet this past week.

Baseball America posted a story about expansion and realignment.  That’ll get our minds off a pitch clock, won’t it?

The Phuture Phillies’ Reader Top 30 is in full swing.

Organizational News and Changes

There have been a few reported minor league signings, but nothing official on the major or minor league transaction pages.

  • signed Eric Fryer, a 32-year old catcher with major league experience
  • re-signed RHP Pedro Beato who closed for Lehigh last season
  • re-signed C Nick Rickles who finished the season with Lehigh
  • signed RHP Ryan Etsell who pitched in the Frontier League after being released by the Angels (per BA, 12/12-22/17)
  • signed C Abraham Gutierrez (per BA, 12/12-22/17)

Tracy Ringolsby of baseball America posted an interesting article positing that the next expansion could trigger another realignment.  The two new teams would be from the states, not international in the article.  The realignment would be logical geographically and shorten the season to 156 games.  He proposes a schedule that guarantees an off day each week, and more playoff games at the end of the season.  The Phillies would be in one of four eight-team divisions – Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington.  I’ll let you read the articles for all the benefits and playoff format.

Has anyone else noticed that a player’s MiLB page no longer has his individual transactions?  #wtf

In keeping with the holiday season, has anyone else wondered if Christmas Story’s Ralphie grew up to be the Saints’ head coach Sean Payton?  If you’ve seen him on the sideline wearing glasses, you know what I mean.

Winter Ball

Winter ball stats are available here.

The Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente will play a shortened, 21-game schedule with 4 teams beginning on January 6, 2018.  Damek Tomscha and Jan Hernandez are reported to be on one of the teams, Cangrejeros de Santurce.  I heard that Jesse Valentin is playing as well, probably on the team managed by his father, Jose.

The Columbian League regular season ended.  All our guys are on teams that qualified for the playoffs.  Kyle Martin and Derek Campbell were members of the regular season champions.

The Dominican League enters the round-robin phase for teams that qualified.  The teams load up with major leaguers for this portion leading up to the Caribbean World Series. Maikel Franco signed with the Gigantes del Cibao.

The Mexican League ended on December 29th.  None of our guys are appear to be active.

The Venezuelan League also enters their round-robin phase.  Cesar Hernandez was signed by the Cardenales de Lara.

Spring Training

The Phillies’ spring training schedule has been released. Their first spring game is at home on Thursday, February 22 v. University of Tampa. Their last game is on Tuesday, March 27th v. Pittsburgh, also at home.  There are two open dates, March 6th and 15th.    

Key Dates:

  • January 9, 2018 – Salary arbitration filing deadline
  • January 12, 2018 – Salary arbitration figures exchanged
  • January 17-21, 2018 – Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, FL
  • 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

Off Season Transactions (recently reported transactions in bold): (40-man stands at 40)

  • 12/20 – DSL Phillies Red released 1B Enny Rondon
  • 12/20 – DSL Phillies Red released RHP Ludovico Coveri
  • 12/20 – DSL Phillies White released 3B Leandro Medina
  • 12/20 – DSL Phillies White released LHP Alfredo Benitez
  • 12/20 – DSL Phillies White released RF Rusbel Vasquez
  • 12/20 – DSL Phillies White released RHP Carlos Salazar
  • 12/20 – SS Yeremy Nunez retired
  • 12/19 – DSL Phillies Red released RHP Moises Nolasco
  • 12/20 – Phillies signed free agent 1B Carlos Santana (lose 2nd round pick and $500K international bonus money)
  • 12/15 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Tommy Hunter
  • 12/15 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Pat Neshek
  • 12/15 – Phillies traded SS Freddy Galvis to San Diego for RHP Enyel De Los Santos
  • 12/14 – Phillies traded RHP Nick Burdi to Pittsburgh Pirates for Future Considerations ($500K international bonus money)
  • 12/14 – Phillies claimed RHP Nick Burdi off waivers from Chattanooga Lookouts
  • 12/11 – Mariners claimed CF Cameron Perkins off waivers from Philadelphia
  • 12/11 – Pirates claimed SS Engelb Vielma off waivers from Philadelphia
  • Phillies placed Cameron Perkins and Engelb Vielma on outright waivers.
  • Phillies signed FA catcher Abrahan Gutierrez.
  • 11/27 – Phillies sent Alberto Tirado outright to Lehigh Valley
  • 11/27 – Phillies sent Mark Appel outright to Lehigh Valley
  • 11/20 – Phillies claimed SS Engelb Vielma off waivers from San Francisco Giants
  • 11/20 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Franklyn Kilome from Lehigh Valley
  • 11/20 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Seranthony Dominguez from Clearwater
  • 11/20 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP Ranger Suarez from Clearwater
  • 11/20 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Jose Taveras from Reading
  • 11/20 – Phillies designated RHP Mark Appel for assignment
  • 11/20 – Phillies designated RHP Alberto Tirado for assignment
  • 11/20 – Phillies sent LHP Elniery Garcia outright to Lehigh Valley
  • 11/14 – Williamsport Crosscutters released CF Juan Luis
  • 11/6 – RHP Jesen Therrien elected free agency
  • 11/6 – CF Herlis Rodriguez elected free agency
  • 11/6 – 1B Brock Stassi elected free agency
  • 11/6 – C Nick Rickles elected free agency
  • 11/6 – LHP Cesar Ramos elected free agency
  • 11/6 – SHP Pat Venditte elected free agency
  • 11/6 – RHP Michael Mariot elected free agency
  • 11/6 – 3B Hector Gomez elected free agency
  • 11/6 – SS Angelo Mora elected free agency
  • 11/6 – LF Christian Marrero elected free agency
  • 11/6 – RHP Colton Murray elected free agency
  • 11/6 – RHP Miguel Nunez elected free agency
  • 11/6 – 1B Harold Martinez elected free agency
  • 11/6 – C Chace Numata elected free agency
  • 11/6 – 1B Wilson Garcia elected free agency
  • 11/6 – RHP Jesen Therrien elected free agency
  • 11/6 – CF Pedro Florimon elected free agency
  • 11/6 – Phillies activated RHP Vince Velasquez from the 60-day disabled list
  • 11/6 – Phillies activated RHP Jerad Eickhoff from the 60-day disabled list
  • 11/6 – Phillies activated RHP Zach Eflin from the 60-day disabled list
  • 11/6 – Phillies sent RHP Jesen Therrien outright to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 11/6 – Phillies sent CF Pedro Florimon outright to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 11/2 – RF Hyun Soo Kim elected free agency
  • 11/2 – LF Daniel Nava elected free agency
  • 11/2 – 3B Andres Blanco elected free agency
  • 11/2 – RHP Clay Buchholz elected free agency
  • 11/2 – Phillies activated RHP Jesen Therrien from the 60-day disabled list
  • 11/2 – Phillies activated CF Pedro Florimon from the 60-day disabled list
  • 10/30-11/6 – Logan Moore re-signed with the Phillies
  • 9/30-10/13 – Ranfi Casimiro re-signed with the Phillies
  • 10/13 – Pedro Beato elected free agency
  • 10/5 – Kevin Segrist elected free agency
  • 10/5 – Ty Kelly elected free agency
  • 10/4 – Philadelphia Phillies sent LHP Kevin Siegrist outright to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 10/4 – Philadelphia Phillies sent 2B Ty Kelly outright to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 9/16-29 – Mitch Walding re-signed with the Phillies
  • The organization’s rosters are up to date.
  • The organization’s injury list retains the injuries at the end of the 2017 season.  All are expected to be okay by the start of spring training.
  • The organization’s Rule 5 eligibility list is as accurate as I can make it.

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

145 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 31st

  1. Right now, the highest paid player for the 2018 Phillies is Carlos Santana. He just signed and got a nice package. In 2018, he gets a bonus plus 1st year salary of $18.33M. The 2nd highest paid player on the team is Tommy Hunter @ $9M in 2018. Pat Neshek is 3rd with $7.75M. After that, everyone on the team right now is in Arb1 – Arb3 or Pre-Arb. The estimated Payroll for 2018, according to Baseball-Reference, as it sits right now, is $66.1M. Not even the the Marlins can get anywhere near that low. There is some money available for a FA pitcher or two or trade for a higher priced player. Just remember, you don’t want to eat up huge amounts of payroll this year, when next year some very high profile players could be available.

    Will next year’s FAs want to come to Philly? Will Philly have to far overpay to get guys to come to Philly? Is the core, that exists right now, capable of attracting high profile talent? Will the Phillies, in 2018, show potential FAs that this is the place to come, if you want to win? Speculate all you want, just make sure you don’t drown while filling the bathtub.

    1. Oops forgot about Odubel Herrera. He’s under contract in 2018 for $3.35M. So 4 guys are under contract and everyone else is ARB eligible of pre-Arb.

      1. As of a few weeks ago it was only Odubel who was signed to a contract for 2018. Hard to believe that could be the case for any organization considering it was mid-December at the time. The back of the bullpen signings, while pleasant, were not so much additions as they were replacements – Neshek replaces his 2017 self, and Hunter a higher ceiling version of Benoit. Santana is really the only ‘new’ money spent this off-season.

        That this market continues to lag could only work in the Phillies’ favor. I take Middleton’s words as etched in stone – if the price tag for bigger name FA’s decreases, I fully expect the Phillies to be serious bidders for one or more of the upper tier FA’s remaining

        1. I’m glad that your focus is centered on this year. I also expect the Phillies to make an exception to their rule about “buying” pitchers. We will find out in the next couple of weeks if the Phillies want to contend this year, or not. If they sign a top FA pitcher and trade for another, I’ll be thrilled.
          For those fans who want to wait for 2019, I say, “Why wait”? Do you seriously think that Kershaw will opt out of his contract, or that the Nationals will not get a deal done with Harper? Who wouldn’t want Manny Machado? The Phillies have said that they want to give Franco one more chance, and I have no reason to doubt that, do you? The price (prospects) is too high right now, but will be lower at the trade deadline. Let’s see how things go.
          Happy New Year to all.

          1. agreed. and its not like signing another FA this year would keep them from being able to sign Machado, etc next year, since the payroll is still low.

            MLB network was talking about Darvish, and Verducci mentioned the Phillies, comparing it to when Cubs signed Lester.

            On a side note, i always thought Sean Peyton was a grown up version of Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle.

            Happy New Year Everyone.

    2. I wouldn’t worry about their salary restrictions. At most, they might add one more significant contract for this year, but even with that and even without moving salaries next off season (which they could also do), they have plenty of room for big ticket FAs next year. Plenty.

  2. Pitching, we need a starting pitcher. I’d like to see a Danny Duffy and absorb a bad contract deal happen. Or else, a FA signing that only costs money. We’ll see….

  3. Happy New Year! Here are 5 developments I’d like to see in 2018:

    1 the Phillies as buyers at the trade deadline

    2 Mickey Moniak recovering his top prospect status

    3 the big club buying into Kapler’s approach

    4 Jhailyn Ortiz emerge onto the national radar

    5 Yu Darvish solidifies a young rotation (I think our chances of signing him increase as the FA market lags on.)

  4. I am for spending money on the right free agents. I am not in favor of trading young arms (Romero, Suarez, Medina) for average major league players (either now or at the trade deadline) in some long shot hope of sneaking into the last wildcard berth. In other words, another year of short-term pain for long-term gain.

    I have mixed feelings about signing Santana. Hoskins is a really superior prospect because of his bat. I want him to not worry about playing another position and have to spend hours and hours in spring training learning to play left field just so he can be competent at the major league level. In other words, no mind games with him. He had a great thing going when he was brought up so I don’t see the need to bring the unknown into the mix. Playing left field part-time when he was brought up and the games didn’t mean much is not the same as being the everyday left fielder from day one.

    1. I do not have “mixed feelings” about the Santana signing. I think it was an outright mistake and could be highly prejudicial in the near future. Hoskins is not yet an established major league player, but rather someone with extraordinary potential who could hold down the first base position for the next 12 to 15 years. He is an asset that must be given every opportunity to fulfill his potential without giving him additional challenges that could easily become serious distractions. His potential should be nurtured, surrounded with every possible care in order to facilitate his growth and solidify his incredible grasp of the strike zone, monumental power and enormous baseball IQ with which he has been gifted. Having to learn a new position at the start of his ML career is to place an unwarranted and unnecessary burden on a player who could have become the face of the franchise at first base.

      1. He looked fine there last year with very little advanced planning. I don’t see it being the problem you’ve raised at all. And he’ll end up at first by the time he’s 28 or 29 anyway. I don’t think his playing the outfield should screw up his hitting at all – he’s not going to lose his great approach at the plate because he has to chase down some balls in the outfield.

  5. I believe there is going to be one more big acquisition surprise before spring training. It could be a trade or a FA signing and I think it’s going to involve a starting pitcher and I think it’s going to be significant. This will not be a Hellickson level acquisition.

    1. Not sure how much of a surprise, Catch. Darvish and/or Duffy have gotten plenty of speculation around here. I could see Lynn as a fallback FA signing. But an arm or two are definitely on the board.

      1. Signing Lynn (or an Alex Cobb) will mean forfeiting a high draft pick…number three I think. Will the Phillies be receptive to that?

        1. No way I give up the No. 3 pick. Neither is worth seven years of control over a blue-chip prospect.

          1. The odds of our getting a blue-chip prospect with our third-round pick is really very, very low. Still, I think the all-money Darvish route is the way to go. After that, Cobb or Lynn are my next choice. Yes, the international allocation hurts, but we’ve traded for and spent a lot less international allocation than we could this season, so I’m not at all convinced that losing the international allocation causes us to spend less in 2018 than we did in 2017. It would still be wholly a matter of choice for both seasons.

        2. it would be 3rd round pick not 3rd overall pick but I agree that it’s not worth losing another high round pick for an expensive pitcher that’s not an ace. If they want a FA pitcher, Darvish is the obvious target..

      2. Well, maybe it won’t be a surprise on here, but it will be a surprise to most fans who are expecting the organization to spend little if any additional money on FAs this year. I also think the magnitude of the acquisition (Darvish level talent) could surprise some folks. I think it’s a real possibility.

  6. Here is what I would like to see happen before the start of the year:
    1. Trade Pivetta, Ceasar, Kilome and Moniak for Stroman and a reliever.
    2. Sign Arrieta for 4 years $120 million.

    1. 1. That price seems a bit steep for Stroman.

      2. Arrieta is on the wrong end of his career. Not the right guy for a substantial investment. No thanks.

    2. NO on that trade. You name 4 prospects, all of whom are worth more than the third round pick we would lose in simply signing a FA for $ only.

    3. 1. I don’t think that’s enough for Toronto. I mean, decent 2B, SP with flashes, and two prospects aren’t in top 7? If I’m Toronto, it’s not enough. From a Phillies perspective, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Each player listed is a position of the depth. Stroman > Pivetta. I’d prefer kingery over Cesar. Sanchez, Medina over Kilome, and you have depth in CF with Herrera, Halsey, Quin. Not to mention the 3rd overall pick.

      2. Too much for Arrieta. I’m not opposed to signing someone bc at this point it’s just a 3rd rounder but it’s gotta be the right guy. 4/100 for Arrieta and I get closer, but I’d go 4 /90 and front load it as much as possible. 30/30/18/12.

      1. Yeah that would be a great deal for the Phillies, but I don’t see Toronto making that deal. I don’t see them giving up Stroman for anything less than Sixto or Kingery headlining a deal unless maybe Hoskins or JP headlined the deal.

  7. In 2018 , will be inetersted in seeing how JPC handles the everyday shortstop role as a 23-year old rookie.
    Last season at LHV from June 20 until the end of the minor-league season, approx 70 games, he hit 13 home runs, had a .280/.381/.522 slash line, 0.78 walk-to-strikeout ratio, and 52 wRC+. with only 20 hitless games in that period of time.

    1. JPC seems to be really good at everything except getting the sweet spot of the bat on the ball. It sounds like such a basic thing for a pro ball player, but some guys are better at it than others and his other abilities seem to mask his relative deficiency in that area. I think that’s at the root cause of his lowish BA.

      1. huh. .280 isn’t a lowish batting average. As for his performance in Philly, 70 at-bats isn’t enough to evaluate..

        The major league average is typically around .255.

        1. It’s not, but when did he hit .280? He’s a career .270 hitter in the minors and hit .243 in AAA last year. He hit .265 over parts of two seasons in AA.

          I would be very pleasantly surprised if he’s a career .280+ hitter in the majors. Anyway, it’s not the BA itself that is the issue. He’s just not a guy that seems to hit the ball hard consistently.

          1. It’s the old ‘pick the best 70 games of his career and call it an established trend’ trick.

            1. “It’s the old ‘pick the best 70 games of his career and call it an established trend’ trick.”….
              Actually if i wanted to do that trick…i would take his last 63 games of 2014 and first 21 games at CLW in 2015….and project him for the HoF.
              But since you seem not to want to grasp trending, I will just let it go with his last 70 games as a minor leaguer.

          2. I was referencing the remarks from Romus above but he hit .308 in 2013, .285 in 2014, and .288 in 2015 so he hit over .280 for his first 3 seasons.

            I don’t really care if he hits ML average of .255 with the Phillies as long as he maintains his high .OBP. Doesn’t matter how he gets on base as long as he does.

            As for hitting the ball hard consistently, he 22 playing in the majors so I expect his power will grow as he ages like it did over the last half of his AAA season last year.

            1. I don’t care much about the BA either, except that if he’s a low average hitter it’s going to cut into that OBP. I think it could keep his OBP more in the .360 range than the .380+ range. We know he has the eye/approach to have consistently good at-bats and take walks.

              His power could grow, but it’s not wise to count on a huge progression there. Doubtful that he’s eventually an 20+ hr guy.

            2. I never expect he will be a 20+ homerun guy but I think he will develop enough power to be a respectable doubles man…

            3. I’m hopeful for that too. I probably should have used ISO rather than home runs but to summarize my thoughts, I don’t think he’s likely to be much more than a league average hitter. But neither was Jimmy Rollins, so he can still be a valuable player.

  8. I was just listening to a MLB radio show regarding the Astros World Series championship and the building process. It was really interesting to hear about all of the players that Ed Wade was responsible for bringing in. He signed Jose Altuve for $15,000 when nobody else was interested. He drafted George Springer, Dallas keuchel and JD Martinez. I’m sure there are others but those are the highlights. This is the second World Series Championship that Ed Wade was at least partially responsible for and did not get to share in the festivities.

    I know Ed Wade was given a hard time toward the end of his time in Philadelphia, but he must have some GM skills to have laid the foundation for both the Phillies and the Astros World Series wins. In fact, there were a lot of Phillies fans who were busting on Ed Wade and calling the Astros the Phillies’ farm system when we picked up Brad lidge and Roy Oswalt. The Astros rebuild might have been “the process’ before the Sixers even got going on their teardown. Anyway, this is just a little shout out to Ed Wade and a suggestion that people might want to listen to his suggestions in the Phillies front office.

    1. Interestedly enough…after he was let go by the Astros in favor of Cardinal’s Jeff Luhnow in Nov 2011….he was hired by Ruben in three weeks and the Phillies as more or less a scout/consultant/adviser etc…..maybe he advised Ruben in ’15, since you have not been extended and will not be back, might as well start the house cleaning. Could have his finger prints on another successful club if the Phillies get there again with some of these young players.

    2. Ed Wade was a mediocre caretaker type of GM, but at least he didn’t tear down a franchise like RA (do folks realize how staggering bad the condition of the franchise was as a result of Ruben and crew [as a favor to the Ruben faithful – I’ll be happy to have him share the blame with Dave Montgomery and crew]? We are looking at a full 6-7 year rebuild. It doesn’t get more dysfunctional than that).

      At least once in a while Ed had an eye for talent and he was understandably reluctant to trade young talented players like Hamels and Utley. He was also the person responsible for the Stocker for Abreu trade so I’ve got to give him credit for that.

      But he was constantly outmatched by more sophisticated GMs and was also the GM responsible for the Schilling and Polanco trades.

        1. Yeah he had his flaws in trading….but in drafting he did well(Rollins, Burrell, Myers, Hamels, Utley and Howard)…also the Victorino drafting as a Rule 5 was not shabby.
          And he also hired Charlie.

          1. You could get 5 different opinions on whether Charlie was a good hire.

            As for the other moves, shouldn’t Arbuckle get as much or more credit? Was it his magic giving them those players or Arbuckle’s? At the very least, the credit must be amply shared. Also, can’t give him credit for the Arbuckle hiring because he was hired before Wade.

            It was a mixed record, but his saving grace, if there was one, was that he didn’t trade his most valuable farm pieces to get into contention and forfeit the future in the early 2000s. His greatest legacy was that he didn’t screw things up for the late 2000s run, which is not nothing as we have seen from other GMs.

            1. Bottom line….whoever is the GM and in charge is responsible and accountable for the org’s performance. Like coaches …they all are hired to be eventually fired or ,in some few instances they can go out on their own

            2. Yeah, that’s true. But I still stick with my statement. Mediocre caretaker GM, but he was far from the team’s worst GM, that’s for sure.

      1. Just can’t give up the Ruben bashing can you? Look at our current core and look who acquired them and it was not Matt Klentak.

    3. Ed Wade took a lot of the blame for what was really the sins of ownership. He was a dud at deadline deals, but then Gillick was a dud at many of his pre-season FA signings and trades. The Garcia trade was a debacle. Eaton? Jenkins? Giving away Abreu and Lidle? I guess that last one is largely on the owners and their demand to cut salary to make the budget.

      1. Garcia trade was on Pat Gillick. There’s plenty of legitimate stuff to complain about, no need to blame him for someone else’s move :).

  9. I may come to regret this, but I decided to delete the 72 entries in the Comment Blacklist. New Year and all that. Some of them have been there since I became an administrator in 2015. A couple have been added recently. In the spirit of a new beginning, I’ll start compiling a new list with the hope that I won’t necessarily have to.

    As a reminder, the short Comment Moderation list contains most of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television” (or their derivatives), as well as asshole, enema, and gay.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Jim,

      This is a little off topic, but pertinent to your post.

      It is amazing how, when you enter a scene, the people there seem like they’ve always be there. Thus with PhuturePhillies. I happened upon this site in 2015, or maybe 2014, and it seemed like Jim Peyton had always been here. Now, I discover that you were new, at least as ‘The Guy.”

      It makes what you have accomplished with this site all the more remarkable given the relative recentness of it all. Darn, you’re good!

      It also explains the praise and thanks of veteran posters who knew the history, thus know what you’ve accomplished.

      As always, thanks for giving us the best prospect site in baseball.

  10. I think the longer the free agent pitchers go unsigned, the better it is for the Phils. I’m convinced the Phils will pay a very high per year rate but not more than 3 years. As time goes on, the Phils gave a better chance of someone agreeing to a 3 year deal

    1. Agreed. The longer it goes, the more the market will come to the Phillies as opposed to the Phillies chasing and setting the market.

  11. My only hesitation with the Santana signing in the lost of the 2nd rd pick, considering Santana will not make the Phillies a playoff contender. I prefer that Klentak obtain additional picks, not lose them – thus, Darvish is the only top FA that I’ve been advocating.

    In the prospect ranking thread, I brought up a trade package of Alfaro, Kilome and Cesar as the main pieces. With that enough to land a good SP?

    I don’t expect too much offensively from a C position. I just sign Lucroy and have Knapp learn as a back up for now.

    1. Kurt- A second round pick for Santana is a bargain. Santana alone will not make the Phillies a playoff team, but he does improve them. I want to see the Phillies sign one of the top four FA pitchers too, and don’t care if it costs us another pick or not. Baseball draft picks, are not like Football draft picks (e.g. Mark Appel).

  12. I know we love to bash RAJ, and he made his share of mistakes. Some of them go above his pay grade, however. To me, the most glaring errors were the Lee trade, when he was only due $9M, leaving no good baseball or business reason to do such a deal. The whole idea to trade Lee was malfeasance, so there is no need to debate the return, which was equally bad.The 2d one was under the direct orders of Bill Giles and Dave Montgomery. That was the refusal to go over slot to acquire young talent, while ignoring the overseas markets. I am only rehashing this old news because John Middleton has promised to use the teams’, and his, financial advantages in any way they can to get the team back to where it was. No artificial constraints and winning being the only objective. I expect him to be true to his word.

    1. Matt, John Middleton was part of ownership since the 1980’s and is as responsible for the lack of International talent signings. For Middleton to say he had no say is not true as he is as responsible for the condition of the Phillies as were the old owners. I really can’t believe anything he says anymore.

      1. philabalt…..in fairness to John Middleton….he was the silent partner from the beginning until just a few years ago….silent in that regards, figuratively and literally.
        Along with the Buck brothers and Claire Betz….they did not push the baseball operation buttons when it came to the field. I remember Monty once saying about John Middleton many years when asked ……he is just a silent partner.

        1. Romus,

          He also wasn’t managing partner, so had reason not to be public, and maybe not to push too hard privately.

    2. The Lee trade also appears to be under the direct orders of Montgomery, who was unwilling to add $9 million for one season to RAJ’s budget or to allow Lee to linger on the team, lest fans get addicted to the idea of 3 aces. That was likely our best chance at a 2nd championship frittered away by an ownership not willing to spend an extra $9 million to win. What a stingy bunch they were.

  13. With the New Year, comes predictions. My crazy prediction for 2018 is that Aaron Nola wins 20 games.

    1. I’ll also take the under, but if he stays healthy and gets reasonable run support, I can certainly see a 17 win season for Nola.

  14. philabalt, I may be wrong, but from what I know about the Limited Partnership, the General Partner makes the calls. The others are in an advising role, and like Romus said, that group, Mrs. Betz, the Buck Bros and Middleton, stayed in the background. As the years went on, Middleton acquired more shares, and became the General Partner. That is an entirely different role with a Limited Partnership. I am not defending any of them. I am simply suggesting that there were legal and business obstacles to John Middleton’s ability to call the shots. He may disappoint me and all of us, but I am willing to believe for now.

    1. I’m a licensed professional that worked for one of the Big 4 accounting firms for >10 years (i think all Big 4 are LLPs – Limited Liability Partnership). The partnership agreement is usually structured to set the control elements of the relationship between the partners by granting voting and financial restrictions. Here’s a summary of the roles and powers within a LLP

      a) Limited Partner(s) – basically invest money (capital) for financial return.

      Voting – None
      Financial – Beneficial
      Powers – None

      b) General Partner(s) – most partners in the partnership are general partners and each one of them have financial obligation to the partnership. General partners elects the managing team referred to as managing partners.

      Voting – Full
      Financial – Restricted
      Powers – Limited

      c) Managing Partner(s) – come from the pool of general partners and involve in running (includes decision making) the business as a whole. Voting rights come from right to vote as a general partner.

      Voting – None
      Financial – Limited to Service
      Powers – Full

      Although the general partner has full voting rights, they take on the full responsibility related to the financial well-being of the partnership. In their case, they are liable for any financial deficiencies in the partnership when they exist.

    2. the Phillies is a Limited Partnership (LP). In the case of Middleton, being a limited partner in the LP he has minimal control over the business decisions and operations and normally cannot bind the LP to business deals. In return for giving up that power, Middleton get the benefit of protection from personal liability. The general partners in a LP has the same role in the LLP as a i explained above.

      I’m just assuming this, maybe Middleton start to buy out some other partners to increase his financial stake. And having a big financial risks, gives Middleton some clout within the partnerships since Middleton will take the biggest hit financial when the results of operations is unfavorable (which is probably the case of the Phillies in the past years due to low ticket sales, low concession sales, low everything).

    3. The managing partner was responsible for running the team throughout the year, but my understanding is that all the partners participated in setting the annual budget, which would also determine how much of a draw they could take from the team’s profits. Monty would have felt bound by that agreement, although the partners certainly could have been polled to approve a budget deviation. Along with Giles, Monty was the ‘relatively unrich’ member of the group, dependent upon his share of profits as well as salary to live the life of the civic giant team owner. There is a disadvantage to having unrich owners.

  15. KuKo, Correct me if I am wrong, but during those years where Bill Giles was in charge, he was the General Partner, the guy assigned by the other owner’s to make decisions. And, unless his decisions caused the value of the Franchise to drop, the other owners were limited in their ability to change things. If Bill Giles said we we not exceeding the artificial slot system of Bud Selig because he supported the Commissioner, who among the other owners could say, “no, we are getting the best talent we can and the Commissioner can take a leap!” I am not trying to just blame Bill Giles, who by all accounts is a good person, but I want to be able to believe in Middleton.

    1. Bill Giles is Satan. His not wanting, because of his father to get the commissioner mad, cost us a lot of good players’ hate him and Montgomery. while boston Yankees and others were saying screw you to the commissioner. we played good guy and got screwed.

    2. @matt13 – i will only speculate since I don’t have the legal structure of the Phillies Limited Partnership (LP). Being an LP, there should be at least one General Partner and at least one Limited Partner. In the case of the Phillies LP, I don’t know how many General Partners and Limited Partners.

      We can assume that Giles (and possibly others) are one of the General Partners and Middleton (and possibly others) are Limited Partners. Being the General Partners, Bill Giles and Company are responsible for controlling the company’s day-to-day operations and being personally liable for business debts. So the success and failure of the business decision making lies with Bill Giles and Company and not with Middleton and the other Limited Partners.

      1. Phillies ownership now consists of four groups. The Middleton family, led by John Middleton, and the Buck family, led by cousins Jim and Pete, own the two largest pieces of the team. David Montgomery and Pat Gillick own small pieces. Montgomery succeeded Giles as club president from 1997 until 2014 when Gillick stepped in. Gillick retired after the 2015 season. And then Andy MacPhail succeeded Gillick .
        And Giles’ title with the organization was changed from chairman to chairman emeritus way back when Montgomery became chairman.

  16. I believe as time went on, Middleton accrued more and more shares. The Partnership rules prohibit the sale of shares outside the partnership unless there is some large % of consent. As Taft Broadcasting left, and Mrs. Betz sold out, those shares were bought by Middleton. He now has the largest % of shares you can have under the Partnership agreement, which I believe is 48%, and is the guy in charge. I trust you to tell me his title, but he is the guy in charge. The next biggest block, I believe something in the 20% range, is owned by what are now the Buck cousins.

  17. roccom, I think you go a little too far. From all accounts, he is a good man. But, he was beholden to Selig, through his father, for getting the group together to buy the team without a cent of his own money. He was the guy in charge of the Scoreboard at the Astrodome before he got the job with the Phils, and did little more than PR work with the team. Carpenter got disgusted and wanted out quickly, and Giles got the group together. He owed a lot to Selig. He made the famous “small market team” comment that Middleton expressly contradicted in his address at the end of the season.

    1. At one point, Giles owned 20 percent of the club and called all the shots. He was pushed out by ownership partners in 1997 and in 1998 began selling off pieces of the team, Giles then in 2015 confirmed longstanding rumblings that he no longer owned a piece of the team….which he sold his last piece of ownership sometime in 2012…to I assume John Middleton.

        1. Thinking more insurance policy/second option in the event Franco continues to struggle. Trading Franco now doesn’t make sense. He trade value is low…

          1. I doubt he will be a detriment. If he really stinks they will release him. If he can be coached up an improves, then he’s a back-up and maybe more. People shouldn’t get worked up about secondary guys in the minors.

            1. He would just be typical 4A depth at AAA. I would like the move. I thought the kid had potential once upon a time.

  18. Juan Contreras is still not (re)signed. He has until January 15 to get a second signing bonus.

    The Phillies purposely traded for more international $, so clearly they have intention for it. While it could just be for some abouit-to-turn-16 year old(s), I’d prefer to see some/most go to this 18-year old with potential plus FB & SL. Gotta work through significant command issues but that’s most young hurlers.

    I believe Phils have $1.05M (plus $200k if towards one of the ex-Braves prospects).

    1. “I believe Phils have $1.05M (plus $200k if towards one of the ex-Braves prospects)”…signing Carlos Santana beside costing them their 2nd rd pick in the 2018 Rule 3, but also $500K of int’l slot money if I remember correctly.

          1. Hey Romus. I was determined to find the answer since I was not sure. I finally found the actual Collective Bargaining Agreement which says it’s next year’s money, so 2018. So, it should mean they have $1.05M (plus $200k toward signing an ex-Brave prospect) and Juan Contreras could still be on radar! 🙂 Maybe? Hopefully!

            http://www.mlbplayers.com/pdf9/5450407.pdf

            (C) Any Signing Club not covered by subsections (A) or
            (B) above shall forfeit its second-highest available selection in
            the next Rule 4 Draft and shall have its international Signing
            Bonus Pool for the next international signing period reduced
            by $500,000.

            1. Great John K…thanks for doing the legwork for a lazy guy like myself
              Funny..I have both the CBA and MLBrules on file….but , too much effort to comb thru it.

              And Contreras……not sure what the hold up is with him. He didn’t come out of the gates in the GCL very well…could not throw strikes. But he has a live arm…perhaps there are some underlying medical issues going on since he was rather wild in those SSS amount of innings in the GCL.

  19. Kapler picked up one of his former LAD prospects, righty reliever Steve Geltz (!) signed to a minor league deal. Which begs the question “where is Jet these days?”.

  20. Had mentioned before about Contreras here. Hopefully we could work out a deal for him, as he would be a nice arm to add to our inventory in the lower levels.

    1. Romus,

      Get Realmuto and Duffy and this season could be very interesting.

      The Phillies have enough backlogged players and prospects just below the top tier to get it done, i should think.

      1. Frank…..trying to get the both of them would be really costly…but could prove worthwhile in the win column.
        I assume Alf would be part of the pitcher laden package for Realmuto
        And Doobie part of the package for Duffy since KC is losing Lorenzo Cain

        1. Romus,

          Those seems like the logical directions. Realmuto would answer the catching question for the Phillies for some time to come.

            1. The Braves, Phillies, Cards and DBacks have all been talking to Miami about Yelich. I highly doubt both he and Realmuto will be packaged together. Marlins will maximize each player’s value by dealing them separately if at all.

            2. Romus,

              I’d settle for Realmuto. Catching is a big question mark for us. Outfielders abound, though only Odubel is proven.

  21. I’m starting to get the feeling that Klentak is working on two deals, or a three way deal involving Miami and Kansas City.

  22. Signings announced:
    Pedro Florimón, Heiker Meneses, Will Middlebrooks, Mitch Walding,Pedro Beato, Steve Geltz
    Eric Fyer, Logan Moore,Matt McBride,Danny Ortiz

    1. All 10 players signed were extended an invite to Spring Training. While some think Middlebrooks can challenge Franco as the starting 3B – what if Walding and his sweet swing produced somewhere along.270/.340/.425 with some HRs at Spring Training??? Hmmmmm…..

      I’m not high, and high on Walding, but i rather seem perform better in ST than the other AAAA journeymen.

      1. I do not see Franco losing his job out of ST to either Middlebrooks or Walding no matter how well they play.
        The Phillies will give him him a good shot to rebound.
        IMO, he will…..his off-season workouts, I understand, are going well.

        1. Romus, that’s good to hear. However, if he comes to ST with a brand new body but is still drilling himself into the dirt at home plate with that swing….????

          1. 8mark,

            You posed the big question. And it might be the same question for Alfaro and Cozens. If these guys can recognize pitches and practice patience, all three could be all-stars. If not, platoons, back ups and busts.

        2. Romus I don’t see Franco losing his job to any of the 4 journeyman third basemen (there’s also Heiker Meneses and Florimon also plays 3rd). I do see the four competing though to replace Franco after he’s traded. None are long-term solutions, just stop-gaps until somebody better is signed for 3B.

  23. I think a trade for Duffy and Yelich as well as signing Cobb and Lynn get the Phils into the playoffs.
    I think Altherr, Cozens, Eschelman, and Vasquez get you Duffy
    I think Williams, Quinn, Drew Anderson, and Elniery Garcia get you Yelich

  24. The Royals need to replace their CF, 3b and 1b, or at least 2 of 3. Hmm, who might we have to offer? And besides Duffy, who might KC have in return? Good match. It’s a great day for a blockbuster!

  25. I wonder if TJ comes back and plays next year at LHV. I believe he is not out of options, and would he be blocking anyone down there? I don’t see him bringing anything back in a trade. Rupp may bring a lottery ticket.

    1. matt13…I am a little surprised one team, in particular, the Red Sox do not take a flyer on TJ.
      They need a power bat in that line-up…though TJ is not that top of the line guy, he could be on the cusp of giving a team 30/35 HRs as a DH/!b guy.
      They are dickering with JD Mart. right now so it remains to be seen if Dave Dombrowski would be interested…..but in the past he always preferred MLB guys and would give up prospects.
      And in TJ’s case…….all he would need to give up is probably one lottery low A ticket prospect or maybe some int’l money.

    2. Guys, neither Rupp nor Joseph has any trade value. None. There are guys like them who are free agents who only cost money. I think either or both could start at LHV or possibly be included in a larger deal as a sweetener

  26. I think Odubel Herrera has a career best 2018. Last season he was hitting what, .230?, halfway through the season and ended up over .280. Also if I’m Kapler I wedge him third in the order between Santana and Hoskins…what a spot to be in!

    Final projection over 162 games for him…
    .300/.350/.440
    15 homeruns. 15 SB. .790 OPS
    I did projections for everyone on the team just for fun. Let’s just say the lineup is looking good!

    1. If the positional flexibility approach is employed, it’s quite possible only Hoskins gets 500+ PAs. Herrera, Altherr, Williams and Quinn would divvy up. Of course that’s assuming nobody gets moved. A trade for a SP would most likely involve one of them.

    2. Hitting .230 in first half of the season and winding up at over .280 harkens back to the Bobby Abreu days. We need consistency from our best players, not a guy who contributes little early on and then catches fire once the season is lost. You can’t win the division in April but you can lose it in April.

      1. 8mark…I just hope Doobie does not have to be prodded along , two or three times a season , to be just a little more professional about himself wearing a MLB uniform.
        Freddy and Whitey are not around anymore to help guide him thru those instances.

  27. In today’s live MLBTR chat, Jeff Todd was asked which rebuilding team was most likely to be a playoff contender. His answer: the Phillies. He said they have the talent and money to press the pedal whenever they’d like. I have to agree.

  28. 8mark, I agree with you and Jeff Todd. Add a SP now, and be in a position for a big deal come trading deadline time, combined with the natural progression of some players, and the WC is not a fantasy. Of course, there are a few “ifs” in there.

    1. IMO, sign Yu for big bucks and trade for Duffy and the staff is ready to challenge.
      And you do not lose much at all in those two transactions, on one , money and on a trade a position player maybe and maybe two pitching prospects…..even take on Ian Kennedy’s contract off their hands ( for their CBA pick) and you have the 5th in the rotation.
      Seems to simple..

      1. I’d rather re-acquire Cole Hamels if the price is less for him than Duffy. Hamels is actually perfect for what they need and because he’s only tied up for 2 years and because he’s a bit older and his salary is high, it should bring down his trade price in terms of prospects/players required in return.

        1. And I think there’s a lot of danger in a rebuilding team acquiring a 2/3 but paying the price of a 1/2. Duffy is good to be sure, but he’s not an ace and I don’t think he’s quite a 2, either. The Phillies’ best currency right now, is currency itself, so, a we can see from their off season moves, they are far better off paying dollar assets than player assets. Their strategy is extremely well-conceived.

  29. Romus – It sounds to me as though you’ve totally given up on Velasquez, Lively, Thompson, Eflin, Leiter, Eickhoff, and Pivetta. I need to see more. I’d like for the Phillies to sign a beast, or go with the kids to start the year, and make a deal at the deadline.

    1. Does look that way……I do still like Eflin and Pivetta, and VV somewhat…the remaining can be used as trade chips.

  30. catch, I think the Rangers are still thinking of themselves as a Playoff team. Cole may be a July get, if Texas is out of it. I do not think Kershaw leaves LA, even if he opts out. That does not seem to leave a lot of SP possibilities after him, which is why I want them to go after Darvish. I still think one of the prospects, at least, steps up, and I want to give them all chances, but I want another guy near the TOR, even if he slots behind Nola.

  31. Cris ‘Mad Dawg’ Russo predicts this afternoon, Phillies will sign Bryce Harper, and probably not Manny Machado next winter.
    They have the money, TV contract, the prospects to evolve, and says Harper is still in the area he likes to be in.

    1. Romus, I’m wondering if (considering the word out that NYY are re-engaging Baltimore in MM talks) that Josh Donaldson might be a better value per their respective projected contracts. Yes, he’s older (and another year older by next winter) but he’d command less years/dollars as a truly professional hitter through the more relevant near future campaigns of ’19-’22. Front load Donaldson’s offer at 4yrs@$110M ($35M-$30M-$25M+$20 4th yr. option) rather than go 10-12 yrs @ $400+ for Manny, who’ll likely receive an opt out after 4-5 yrs anyway.

      Then Harper as the lefty power bat makes sense on a BIGGER contract. Not crazy about his body’s chances of lasting much beyond his age 30 season, but think bout the prospect of this 2019 lineup (you can set the batting order):

      c Alfaro/Knapp
      1b Santana/Hoskins
      2b Kingery
      ss Crawford
      3b Donaldson
      OF Hoskins/Harper/Altherr/Williams/Quinn (at least one of the latter 3 may likely be gone along with Doobie)

      Anyone?

      1. 8mark.. much .talk of Machado and Donaldson are based on the premise Franco will fail for the most part in 2018, and be let go.
        I think Russo specifically mentioned Harper, thinking that Franco will rebound and remain the Phillies third basemen for a longer period of time.
        I can see his logic.
        Now if the Phillies do move on from Franco….Donaldson may be more attractive based on what you said.
        But not sure the Phillies will invest in both Donaldson and Harper….while also investing in a TOR.
        That would be three contracts totaling an AAV of probably estimating $80M…add a fourth in Santana at $20M…now you are up to $100M, half the the threshold……then you have many of the others on the team in arbitration phases. and Nola will be extended probably at a reasonably high AAV to show good faith.

        1. Good points, Romus. Yes, the Franco watch will be the biggest on-the-field story at the season’s outset, beginning in ST.

          I think he has the talent. The question is – is he teachable? His pattern has been to bear down when he’s been in a prolonged slump and then regain an improved approach at the plate for a few days or a week, but he then soon regresses into the same bad habits – poor pitch selection and over swinging. I don’t see him as a middle of the lineup guy on a good team. Hopefully he doesn’t have his heart set on being that either. If he does, that might affect his psyche and ultimately his long term productivity as a big leaguer.

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