Open Discussion: Week of January 14, 2018

Still quiet on the hot stove front.

The Phillies came to terms with all their arbitration eligible players before the deadline.

The Phillies signed a free agent first baseman to a minor league contract.

Several young Phillies prospects attended the annual Prospect Education Program at Citizens Bank Park last week.

Organizational News and Changes

The Phillies came to terms with the four players who were arbitration eligible with agreed upon amount (and projections by MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes) –

  • Cameron Rupp, $2.050M ($2.1M)
  • Luis Garcia, $1.2M ($1.4M)
  • Cesar Hernandez, $5.1M ($4.7M)
  • and super two Maikel Franco, 2.95 ($3.6M)

I wonder if the incident in the winter league cost him any money.

Freddy Galvis, who was projected to receive $7.4M, came to agreement with the Padres for $6.825M.

The Phillies signed free agent infielder Austin O’Brien to a minor league contract and assigned him to Lakewood.

Nine Phillies’ prospects were in town for the annual Prospect Education Program.  All nine were pitchers –

Thomas Eshelman, J.D. Hammer, JoJo Romero, Enyel De Los Santos, Cole Irvin, Ranger Suarez, Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez, and Jose Taveras.  That’s Gabe Kapler between Irvin and Suarez.

Winter Ball

Winter ball stats are available here.  The winter leagues do not include playoff stats.

The Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente has begun.  We have several prospects in the league.

Tromp, Jiandido    –   .200/.263/.371/.635,    35 AB, 2 R,    7 H, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 BB, 10 K
Tomscha, Damek   –   .265/.375/.412/.787,    34 AB, 8 R,    9 H, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K
Hernandez, Jan      –   .314/.368/.400/.768,    35 AB, 7 R, 11 H, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB,    5 K
Valentin, Jesmuel  –   .306/.386/.472/.859,    36 AB, 6 R, 11 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 6 BB,    5 K
Ortiz, Danny              –   .094/.143/.094/.237,    32 AB, 1 R,    3 H, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB,    6 K
Rios, Yacksel – 4.91 ERA, 1-1, 4 G, 3.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 K,  1.91 WHIP, .294 AVG, 0 S, 2 SVO

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.    

2018 Rule 5 Draft

I have updated the Rule 5 eligibility list that is routinely available at the end of the Transactions section.  It’s a little different from last year’s.  It contains most of the information from the file I use as a feeder.  Inclusion of all the columns makes it easier for me to update during the season.

Collusion, et alia

Well, I don’t know why it has taken so long, but the slow off season has finally brought out the accusation of collusion among the owners.  I read an article, that I’m not going to deign with a link here, where the writer delved into the previous occurrences of collusion.

Essentially, after hoping to work the reader up with the supposed collusion from the Uberroth era, the writer claims that today’s slow free agent market is evidence of collusion. Never mind that every analyst has opined that this year’s free agent market is weak and that the real bounty is expected during next year’s free agent market, or that the Phillies were scoffed at for over spending for the three free agents they signed.

If you try to use sound business management while guiding your baseball team, you are apparently guilty of collusion.

Over the weekend, I saw some twitter activity that bothered me.  A couple guys were offering opinions on players I know they have never seen play.  Low level prospects in the remote levels of the organization.  Like Clearwater.  And not just opinions, but strong opinions.  Negative opinions.  Opinions that were too strong and negative about players that they couldn’t have seen.  For these guys to base opinions on scouting reports and random video, is kind of like us speculating based on box scores.  No matter how well thought out some opinions appear, try and find out how the writer arrived at his conclusion  So, just be careful who you let form your opinions.

Key Dates:

  • January 17-21, 2018 – Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, FL
  • February 14, 2018 – Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training
  • February 19, 2018 – Full squad reports to Spring Training
  • February 22, 2018 – Exhibition v. Tampa University
  • February 23, 2018 – Grapefruit League opener at Blue Jays
  • February 24, 2018 – Grapefruit League home opener v. Orioles
  • 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 5, 2018 – Reading’s home opener v. Erie
  • April 5, 2018 – Clearwater’s home opener v. Bunedin
  • April 5, 2018 – Lakewood’s opening game at Kannapolis
  • April 6, 2018 – Lehigh Valley’s opening game at Pawtucket
  • April 12, 2018 -Lehigh Valley’s home opener v. Louisville
  • April 12, 2018 – Lakewood’s home opener v. Delmarva
  • April 17-18, 2018 – Twins v. Indians at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, PR
  • June 4-6, 2018 – 2018 MLB Draft
  • June 15, 2018 – Williamsport’s home opener v. State College
  • 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 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada

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

  • 1/10/2018 – IF Austin O’Brien assigned to Lakewood BlueClaws
  • 1/8/2018 – Phillies signed free agent IF Austin O’Brien to a minor league contract
  • 1/8/2018 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Kyle Glogoski to a minor league contract
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies invited non-roster 3B Mitch Walding to spring training
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies invited non-roster C Logan Moore to spring training
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA 3B Will Middlebrooks to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA RHP Pedro Beato to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA C Eric Fryer to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA C Matt McBride to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA OF Danny Ortiz to MiLB contract/ invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA 3B Heiker Meneses to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA RHP Steve Geltz to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – Phillies signed FA CF Pedro Florimon to MiLB contract/invited to ST
  • 1/3/2018 – 3B Heiker Meneses assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – 3B Will Middlebrooks assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – C Eric Fryer assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – C Matt McBride assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – OF Danny Ortiz assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – RHP Pedro Beato assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – CF Pedro Florimon assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/3/2018 – RHP Steve Geltz assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 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.
  • 12/12-22 – Phillies signed FA catcher Abrahan Gutierrez.
  • 12/12-22 – Phillies signed RHP Ryan Etsell
  • 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 FOR 2018.

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

108 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 14, 2018

  1. Collusion? The Phils have done the most, doubt they are part of it. Some teams are not signing players because they are trying to get under the $197 mil payroll. Others are rebuilding while even other teams have made trades to fill spots eliminating the need.

    1. I also wonder, in addition to payroll caps and waiting on the mega-market of Machado-Harper, et al, if the owners are getting smarter after years of throwing away increasing sums of money. Certainly they are showing more discipline in length of contracts, especially to guys in their 30s.

      There has got to come a time when we reach a spending limit.

      It reminds me of the chief owner of the Cubs being asked why a ballpark beer costs $12 and he replied with his own question: Why does a starting pitcher cost $12 million?

      The days when a typical family could enjoy an affordable day at the ballpark are long past. The good news is that minor league baseball has become a popular alternative. Nobody writes articles, anymore, about the dire future of MiLB.

      1. Frank,
        Very well put.
        Even a team like the Yankees, with their enormous wealth, their own network (YES) and valued over $3B, have concerns to maintain spending under the luxury tax threshold.
        i do not see it as collusion, but expenditures based on intelligent fiscal long-term reasoning.

  2. I’ve seen a million different solutions to the Phillies pitching rotation this winter. Many fans seem to have given up on Pivetta, Lively, Thompson, Eflin, and even Velasquez. As much as I’d love to see the Phillies contend next year, I’m not ready to give up on the guys we have and buy a couple of pitchers. Having said all of that, I’d like to see Klentak trade for Fulmer, Stroman, or Archer. The price has been prohibitive as of now, and I don’t want to see the Phillies make a bad deal just to satisfy the fans. As good as these pitchers may be, they are only on the field once or twice a week, The Phillies can offer two everyday players (Altherr/Williams, Hernandez) and a top ten prospect (Kilome/Medina/De Los Santos). I feel that that’s fair compensation for any of these pitchers. Tell me if I’m wrong or right.

    1. ILO of trading assets for pitchers, why not just sign Cobb or Lynn in one scenario as mid-rotation guys…….the Phillies sacrifice their third and fifth selections in the Rule 4 2018….
      Then possibly make an exorbitant offer for Yu to complement Nola at the top of the rotation. Maybe he will sign.
      The loss of draft picks would be in the 2018 Rule 4:
      2nd round-Santana signing + int;l money
      3rd and 5th rounders-Cobb or Lynn – int;l money

      It is only for the one year. And right now the system is chock full of prospects.
      As long as they do not make a yearly habit of it it,should not hurt in the long term.

  3. I still think we have a shot at Arrieta or Lynn, one or the other. If the Phils sign one of them, they might also sign a one year guy that won’t cost that much like Lackey or Jaime Garcia. The 2nd move could force VV into the bullpen because I think Eickhoff and Pivetta will be in the rotation. I still like Eflin btw although Thompson showed me nothing. Lively battles and could become a serviceable 5th starter

      1. Frank…Lynn would be a nice get.
        Still like to see them get a quality LHP for the rotation at some point.
        Of the Kershaw/Keuchel magnitude. 🙂

        1. Romus,

          Or the let’s dream magnitude.

          But, yes, let’s dream. Maybe we’ll return someday to that point when the Phillies are so attractive that a Cliff Lee signs with us rather than the Yankees.

  4. Coming into offseason I said they needed to do 3 things
    1 add 2 relievers – check
    2 add a 4th OF – check via Santana signing for first base making an 4 man OF of Herrera, Hoskins, Williams, and Altherr.
    3 add a SP who is good enough to be counted on for next 2 years (at least) with option of 3rd year. – still pending

    It has been a good offseason, but it would be a success with that 3rd item checked off.
    Now VV, Pivetta, Eflin, Lively, Eickhoff, Thompson, Lieter, and Eshelman all have some potential to succeed and some may even become someone they can write in for 2019 and beyond. The question for Klentak is it worth it more to lose another 2 draft picks and slot money with it or would you rather trade away 3 or 4 players/prospects? With the great depth in minors I would guess a free agent signing would not be too harmful.

    1. I’ve mentioned this a few times during the off-season. If you view the 40-man, the abundance of upper system starters is quite apparent. Many of which need a lot to happen in terms of development of secondaries if they are to succeed as starters. Many of which have also been slowed by injuries. Consequently, barring a trade or two in the coming months, I think it’s unavoidable that a number of starters be converted to the pen during camp. Many of which will be pitching to maintain their spots on the 40-man.

      As for the notion that starters who do not make the big league rotation can simply join the Lehigh Valley rotation, consider the following pitchers are near locks to occupy the AAA rotation:

      1. Tom Eshelman
      2. Enyel De Los Santos
      3. Drew Anderson
      4. Jose Taveras
      5. (OPEN SLOT)

      The MLB rotation, assuming at least one yet unacquired starter, is likely to look something like this:

      1. Nola
      2. (Yet to be acquired starter)
      3. Eickhoff
      4. Pivetta
      5. Lively

      Regardless of which players will fill the middle and back of the rotation, we still have not accounted for Mark Appel, Jake Thompson, Ricardo Pinto, Brandon Leibrandt, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, Vince Velasquez.

      If the Phillies only acquire one starter between now and April, then I suspect they will acquire a journeyman type to join the Lehigh rotation. In addition to the above names, starters like Cole Irvin and Franklyn Kilome may be pushing for promotions by early June.

      I’m still predicting an active spring as for roster movements

      1. Spot on, the crunch is coming. What a real issue is, giving up on a player to early, or not getting enough of a look at them while they are here. I know it’s not popular decision, but I’d only go after 1 SP due to the log jam you stated. The shift to the bullpen isn’t necessarily there either, they have bullpen pitching prospects too. Time for the FO to earn their keep and navaigate the log jam with minimal errors.

      2. The crunch will sort itself out over the next year. Obviously all of those named will not become successful starters. Some will be come reliever and some will flame out..

        I have no problem moving some of these guys in exchange for a better player but they don’t need to make a deal simply to clear the log jam. It will most likely resolve itself..

  5. I like Klentak to maximize the value of Neris and the rejuvenated Luis Garcia. Both Neris and Luis Garcia are ahead of the Phils timeline and they can be a good piece of the win-now contending team who might be willing to give up prospects.

    Jake Thompson can salvage his value in the pen and concentrate on his FB-SL combo similar to what Morgan did (who surprised a lot with the uptick in FB velo). Jake used to have a 93-95 FB with a wipe out SL. Focusing on just these 2 pitches, Jake can possibly regain his FB-SL back.

    Eflin can still throw that mid-90s FB but his CU need to show up because the breaking ball is average at best. I believe that Eflin can still be a good #4/#5 with mid-90s FB, above ave CU, ave SL and ave command.

    Lively can fill an Kyle Kendrick role to the Phils or any other team.

    1. win-now contending team – I really do think Phils are close enough to be at least a challenge for wild card/playoffs. However that said they may just be ready to break out 2019 as a legitimate serious contender. 2018 will be the year they can evaluate how close they actually are

  6. I’m not giving up on our young pitchers, but it seems a stretch to adequately fill the full rotation with them. Today a season’s rotation requires at least 6 SP in any case. Give one spot to Nola and another to Eickhoff, sign Darvish or Lynn, and that still leaves 3 of the 6 yearly rotation spots for the other guys to compete for. There will likely be a mix-and-match with guys floating between the MLB and AAA rotation and pen until a couple of guys earn claim to a rotation spot. Really, to expect Nola and Eickhoff to stay good and healthy and for two of the young guys to be healthy, competent, MLB starters is expecting a lot. If more stand out, then we trade. We can’t really have 5 of the kids own the rotation spots in 2019 anyway, with young talent coming up. I’d rather not trade that young talent, like Kilome, before it has fully developed and had an honest shot in the rotation. Then we have Sixto in 2020. We need an established pitcher to balance the kids in the 2018 and 2019 rotations, and likely into 2020. We have a lot of young pitchers but, apart from Sixto, they are second-tier prospects, and the majority of those don’t achieve sustained MLB success, beyond the #4/5/6 rotation spots. Nola is a top of the rotation guy. I think our next shot for one is Sixto. Need to get one from outside the org.

        1. Let’s see. We’ve got Nola, Eickhoff, Pivetta, Velasquez, Lively, Thompson (though I think he’s a future long/middle relief candidate), Eflin, with Eshelman and de los Santos waiting at AAA. That’s one solid TOR, a big maybe in VV, and a bunch of 4/5s. For a club with contention in the near future, it’s time to acquire a couple of seasoned arms. True aces worth their contract or the prospects to get them are like MacPhail said, unicorns. But there has to be creativity to get value in the rotation.

  7. I hope it’s not collusion, I hope it’s some sense of reality setting in with these salaries. It’s not my money, but it’s been way out of hand for a long time. 30 mil a year is pretty insane, at some point the business model falls apart. I’m sure the mlb can support more, I just would like to go to a game for under $200 with the family some day 🙂

    1. The players are getting paid because the money is there. It’s not out of hand, it’s good old fashioned economics and business fundamentals. As long as the game generates obscene amounts of revenue, players will be paid obscene amounts of money and with inflation and increased revenues, salaries will increase in kind. Why this surprises or offends people is a mystery to me.

      1. Catch,

        Agree 100 percent.

        Nobody’s going to repeal the laws of economics, which is why I think an era of moderation might be at hand. Ownership and labor will seek the max that the market can bear — and that market has a limit. We might be near it.

        1. Frank the “we are reaching a limit” argument has been trodded out since “too many” players were paid over $100,000, and then $1,000,00 and then $10,000,000, and then $100,000,000 and, pretty soon – I predict within the next 2-3 years – we are going to have our first half BILLION (yes, billion) dollar long-term contract.

          There may be a limit, but, for the longest time, while there have been peaks and valley, the revenue stream has just gone up. Maybe it will flatten, but I still think that’s a ways off.

        2. Im not against good old fashioned economics, but i agree, these salaries are starting to feel like the calm before the storm. The posters on this site are huge baseball fans, but arguments can be made for the popularity of the sport declining over the decades. We could go on about certain market conditions happening like a recession, kapernick type event, etc. The bottom line is that baseball looks to be currently healthy, but it doesnt mean it can’t trend the otherway. Those salaries are guaranteed too. It would be interesting to see how that would play out if the money dried up. Not hoping for it, not hating the system, I’m just looking at the full pig belly.. 40 million per year, 50 imllion per year for any player might make things change, for better or worse. At somepoint, you wonder why they don’t reinvest into the fans, a lot more. End of my whine.

      2. … because the money is there. The average working stiff practically has to take out a loan to take a family of four to a ballgame. Teams should work as hard to lower prices for fans as they are to get under the cap.

        1. Yeah, welcome to capitalism. That said, the Phillies actually do care about the fans – a hell of lot more than most teams. That’s why they have things like SRO tickets and free bleacher seats in the upper deck area above Ashburn Alley. They do try to be sensitive to fans who struggle to go to the game. And they also allow you to bring food into the park to keep down costs. They really are pretty fair to the fans.

          But let’s be clear – this is a business – they are there to make money.

    2. Tac3…TV contracts are keeping the model flowing pretty steady.
      I believe the Phillies get their third payment of 25, this year @ approx $67M.

    3. Tac3 God bless these players. But I told my family, and I love to spend money. Before I ever pay hundred dollars to see a game, I will buy a pair of sneakers or something we need. I Refuse to pay the prices they have now to go to a game. I Love the sixers, but I went to one game, free tickets, the seats I had were 175 dollars time three I took my two sons., I cant justify spending 525 dollars plus parking, and food for a game. but if others want to god bless them.

      1. I’m there with you… and then they lose the game to boot! Or put out some have hearted play. I get both sides, But I would like to see the ownership start pushing back against the salaries and investing the profit back into the fans… like how about heated seats? Waterproof cushions, 1 free hotdog for every fan… maybe beer below 7.50… upgrade the concourse. A lot of things could be done, relieve traffic at the end of games. I’m ranting but at somepoint they could really do things for the people that help them live these pretty amazing lives. I’m not
        Hating, just stating what could be done. The difference betweeen 20 mil and 30 mil a year is ego imo.

          1. With all due respect to your concerns concerning cost, while these changes may improve the fan experience, it will be so they can dare to charge you more, not less. I hate to tell you this, but I expect prices at the ballpark generally to increase, and perhaps substantially when the team gets better. They’ve been holding back on ticket price increases while the team was putrid, but when they get better and they improve the “fan experience” (whatever the hell that means), they are going to have their little hands your back pocket at the park. Count on it! And, look, I get it guys – it’s ridiculous, especially the parking which was like $10 when I started going in 2011 and is now like $18!!! Bull’s is also expensive – a quarter rack of ribs is like $17. And beer – well, if you know the story on that . . . .

          2. SWFL…. lmao … wow that rant was poorly timed! Must be a mole on this site somewhere lol

            I’ll take it, but I’ll be looking for more. As catch says people, the increase in the experience is reason for charging more.

            I get it all, but when 1 player is rumored to be making half a billions dollars on his next contract … they can hook up the fans up

            This offseason needs to pick up

  8. I think the slow market is a couple of things. Teams now have huge analytics departments. Thus, every trade and every free agent contract is picked apart under a microscope and teams are finding more value / $ in younger (albeit less proven) talent. I think they see how guys trend downwards in their 30s and are passing on these huge contracts. Especially looking ahead to next offseason.

    I do think that this will trigger a debate in the next CBA. I think the players will want either 1 less year of team control or higher figures in pre-arb and arb years.

    1. “I think the players will want either 1 less year of team control or higher figures in pre-arb and arb years.”….then again in the negotiation process the owners may want “opt-out clauses” in contracts voided and “trade team destination restrictions” eliminated or anything else they find that ties their hands in player transactions.
      Still will come down to a give and take process in the talks.

    2. Think much of it has to do with the end of the steroid age. Players are once again having a fall off when they get to their 30’s which also happened to be when most were finally reaching Free Agency for the first time.

      Teams are looking at a player who’s 29 or 30 years old and deciding they are not going to give a 6/7 year deal to a player who will be in decline within a couple of years.

  9. The FA players right now aren’t good enough. Let’s see what the dialogue is next winter when multiple record breaking deals are signed.

  10. Guys,

    On a different subject, I’ve seen several references in recent days from non-Philadelphia observers that the Phillies are nearing a turnaround to becoming competitive. If the outside world is noticing, maybe we are.

      1. rocco……’bad clutch hitting.’…I think that is generally refereed to as ‘timely hitting’.
        But I am banking on Santander and Hoskins full-time at the top or middle of the lineup in alleviating that ‘ bad clutch hitting’

      2. rocco,

        Starting pitching is certainly a big need. I think they will get there. Meanwhile, the team that starts 2018 is going to be materially better than the team that started 2017.

    1. Yes, I do think they bottomed out and are back on the upswing. They have several good young players already in the majors or about to be there along with a solid farm system..

      The main reason why I think national observers are starting to talk up the Phillies is because they are a big market team with the ability spend money and almost no committed payroll.

      A little growth from the young players, a little help from the system, and they are a major FA or two from being a playoff contender.

      1. Here is my problem. good draft postion for what 4 yrs now. Not one stud prospect. and I mean a Harper Trout, Keshaw type There is no sure shot kid in this system, some nice prospect, but I want a stud, with all the losing we have been doing. SAM HINKLE WE NEED YOU

        1. Those types of players have to be available to draft. Look at the last 4 years and point out the number of stud’s.

          It’s too early to tell about the last 2 years.

          No one picked in the 1st round in 2015 after the Phillies picked Randolph has made the majors yet

          Aaron Nola from the 2014 draft has been maybe the best player to date picked in the 1st round.

          It’ bad luck that the Phillies had the #1 overall pick twice in years where there was no clear-cut stud. Compare that to the Nats who had 2 straight years with Harper and Strausburg available. Was that brilliance from the Nationals to take those players or simply luck of the draw??

            1. rocco…. maybe not anymore.
              He is not due back until May sometime, and then he will need to see if the surgery will hold up…every swing will be an adventure.
              He tore the posterior capsule in his left shoulder, also dislocating the shoulder swinging at a pitch.
              Shoulder injuries can be career changers.

  11. Let’s see. We’ve got Nola, Eickhoff, Pivetta, Velasquez, Lively, Thompson (though I think he’s a future long/middle relief candidate), Eflin, with Eshelman and de los Santos waiting at AAA. That’s one solid TOR, a big maybe in VV, and a bunch of 4/5s. For a club with contention in the near future, it’s time to acquire a couple of seasoned arms. True aces worth their contract or the prospects to get them are like MacPhail said, unicorns. But there has to be creativity to get value in the rotation.

  12. I have to chuckle at least a little bit when I hear these guys cry collusion. I am sure each one of the FA’s still unsigned has received a handful of really nice offers and they have just chosen not to take it.

    I get that in some cases the players might not get their fair share and I also get that owners take on a lot more risk

    ….but players are never going to look good in front of the fans because the average Joe sees the reports on their salary we don’t ever see the reports on what the owners are banking until one decides to sell a team.

  13. Sixto ranked as the #10 RHP in the minors, including Ohtani as #1. Sixto is only #47 overall so if he’s our #1, that’s not too good. I’m guessing they maybe have Kingery and/or JP higher than Sixto due to proximity.

    1. MLB has not updated their overall Top 100 yet, other than here and there (Ohtani). I think when the new ranking comes out that Sixto will be considerably higher, although still not top 30.

        1. The Phillies’ system calling card is their depth, not the higher end talent, although depth means there’s more of an opportunity for good prospects to turn into great mlb players.

          I expect Crawford, Kingery, Sixto, Alfaro and maybe one other guy (Medina? Ortiz? Haseley?) to be in the top 100, which isn’t that bad considering how many guys graduated last year.

    2. I think it’s about right given his age and body of work thus far. The scouting reports are eye-popping, the stuff is real and he’s certainly had a lot of success, but he hasn’t missed as many bats as some might like in order to give someone a 60+FV. I think that will come around this season, and by the end of the year, he’ll be considered among the top handful of pitching prospects.

  14. Jon Mayo synopsis of the top ten RHP prospects leaves me a little wanting on why he fails to even mention Sanchez one time in any of the multitude of categories.
    And Sanchez with a 70FB-60Control has a combination that no else has with those two components.
    Top tools….
    –Fastball: 80 – Ohtani, Kopech, Greene
    All three get top-of-the-scale grades for their heaters, with the ability to crack triple-digits.
    –Curveball: 65 – Whitley, Buehler
    Both have nasty breaking stuff, with the ability to throw both a curve and a slider. The curve is a true out pitch for both right-handers, power breaking balls with excellent depth and spin.
    –Slider: 65 – Ohtani, Kopech
    These two again. Both offer plus power sliders, though both have also shown some inconsistencies with the pitch.
    —Changeup: 60 – Honeywell
    This is one of Honeywell’s five pitches he chooses from in any given start, and it’s a beauty of an offspeed pitch. It can miss bats as well as generate weak contact.
    –Other: 65 – Ohtani (splitter), Honeywell (screwball)
    The splitter is a popular pitch in Japan and Ohtani’s is nasty, a low-90s pitch that dives out of the strike zone. Honeywell doesn’t throw the screwball, a very uncommon offering, frequently, but when he does, it’s unhittable.
    –Control: 60 – Honeywell, Keller, Sanchez
    Honeywell, Keller and Sanchez all have plus control, and Keller was pinpoint especially in the Arizona Fall League, but it’s hard to look past Honeywell’s career 2.0 BB/9 rate (Keller is at 2.4).
    –Highest Ceiling – Ohtani
    –Highest floor – Keller
    –Rookie of the Year candidate – Ohtani
    –Highest riser – Whitley
    –Humblest beginnings – Honeywell
    –Most to prove – Reyes
    –Keep an eye on – Matt Manning, Tigers
    Manning, the Tigers’ first-round pick in 2016, has just five starts in full-season ball…”

    1. Hold the Mayo, Romus. I find MLB’s guys balanced but not necessarily accurate. I don’t get the sense they crunch their own numbers but rely more on industry hearsay. Baseball America (more “eye” test, strong on amateur and lower level prospects) and Fangraphs (obviously more analytical, strong on higher level prospects and major leaguers) are two more independent resources I prefer.

      1. 8mark….that ‘industry hearsay’ however is more than likely club scouts and analytical personnel that they have more acess to…they have the inside track on a lot of what clubs’ philosophies are and directions they may be headed.
        After all they are almost like a PR dept for MLB with connections to MLB Network.
        Something akin to what the NFL Network is to the NFL
        They have that advantage over BA/BP and Fangraphs in that regard. But agree…..the others also have their evaluators and analyst who have been well groomed and trained thru the years and are well experienced in evaluations..

  15. Jim Salisbury wrote about Nick Williams’ off season workout program in Texas with training partner Jake Arrieta. Should his market continue to lag, I’d offer him 3 years front loaded at $80M with an additional performance based option year.

  16. Not my money obviously but I would offer him a year, $105 million dollar contract. ($35 million AAV). Gives him a life changing amount of money in a bad market, the Phillies can afford it, and he gives them legitimacy. He would also be a free agent again at 35 where if he maintains his performance he could still get a nice contract (look at Lackey and CC).

    I’d even strongly consider offering him $40 million over 3 years.

    1. The Bosox have reportedly offered JDM what amounts to a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer of 5 years at approximately $100M. If that’s the case, this market is REALLY low, and to the Phillies advantage if they want to lay down some serious coin on a short term deal.

      Now there is probably some significant pressure from the players’ union & agents on the top FAs to not yield in this game of chicken, which would only prolong matters.

      Blame Boras? Boras is doing what he’s always done. What’s changed is how MLB clubs are posturing in how they valuate even the biggest names on the market vs their own.

      1. Boras is pissed that the teams he deals with are often now as smart or smarter than he is. By the way, 5 years and $100 million is what JDM is inherently worth. Some team will probably give him more, but it might not be a lot more. He might also take a one year deal to enhance his value. Boras loves his “pillow” contracts.

        1. I’d stuff $30M in a “pillow” for Arrieta, then see what happens at CBP in ’18.

          Agreed on JDM. A one dimensional, albeit productive DH like him will never be worth more than $20M per. Question is – will another club give him a 6th year? I don’t think a good organization will, nor a cheap one. Interesting that a big spending and historically aggressive team like Boston isn’t overextending themselves. I also agree that FOs are finally calling Boras’ bluff.

          1. Better be a “My Pillow”

            Amd on Arrieta…..I really cannot see to fathom why some national guys insist that Arrieta is worth 5/6 years of top dollar. His metrics are on the decline and the end of contract years could be real disaster for any club who signs him for that length.
            And the same can be said for Yu.

            1. Agree. The last thing the Phillies should do in invest big bucks for long term deals in established players on the down side of their career.

        2. Boras and Nats’ Rizzo probably have the best relation of any combination going right now in MLB, when it comes to Boras and GMs.
          One entity of a Prez/GM who probably will not want any dealings with him are Jeter and Mike Hill, especially in light of what he said about the Miami tear down and rebuild

          1. Romus – I think Boras deals with the owners (Lerners) of the Nats and not Rizzo. The contracts are always back end loaded with alot of fine print which rarely points to the fact that more than one team was really interested in paying his ransom. One of the very best pitchers in Scherzer took a lousy back end contract for a whole lot of $$$ which he can collect in the next 10 years. In the Steinbrenner era, Scherzer would have gotten his pot of gold in 3 to 5 years.

            1. RU….yes the owners get involve….but rarely upfront in the opening negotiations….Rizzo and GMs more then likely keep their bosses in the ‘know’ and then get their blessing on figures thru the negotiation process until they reach their final terms.
              But then again….some owners may want to micro-mange and some may not want to get involved until they see the final figure..then yea or nix it.

  17. The following pitchers are still available and one might argue these guys are all better than anything we have after Nola


    You’d pretty much concede the division to the Nats but the Mets even with Degrom and Syndergaard are vulnerable. I hope something is in the works to land one of these guys and my preferred option would be Utah gimme 2

    1. They need to be in on one of those guys. Even if you need to over pay (i.e. 3 year 60 million deal or 4 year $70-75 million) they become legitimate with that young line up and a stronger bullpen, especially if Eickhoff bounces back to a 3.50-4.00 era and one of the Velasquez/Pivetta/etc Group has a solid year.

      1. I think Pivetta and or VV could become one of those Hybrid guys like Peacock was for the Stros last year. Not that I am ready to give up on either one as a starter just yet

        But as bull penning evolves it will be key to have a guy that can come in the 5th or 6th and get 6 dominate outs for you.

    1. ooops, I meant to say Deivi Grullon, Logan Moore is already a NRI.

      Is Austin Davis still hurt? He’s probably the best LH pen arm that is major league ready.

    2. Kurdt,

      I have Cabral at 31 and think he might move up. Already solid defensively and improved significantly as a batter last year. He was one of my pleasant surprises watching him briefly at Clearwater last summer.

      I have Hammer next after Darick Hall. I know as a reliever he’s got less value than starters but I was a blown away with him as a fan last year as the opposition players were as hitters.

      Stuff with a capital S.

        1. Romus,

          No one was more fun than Ryne Duren. I remember when he first appeared with the Phillies. He had the reputation of throwing hard and wild and had really thick glasses. First guy up, Duren sails a fastball right over his head. Batter scrambles out of the way. Duren walks off the mound, takes out a handkerchief and wipes off his glasses. Way too funny.

    1. Romus, maybe the best for the tech Majestic is putting into them, but not so much for design. I’m not a big fan of promo jerseys, like the cheesestake ones. Nor do I like the bacon designs. I don’t know why they have chosen to de-emphasize the steel-working heritage that they used to pick the team’s name, in favor of bacon. Then there’s the road, plain gray pants that look like a pair of baggy old sweatpants. I like the home whites but can’t say they are a standout design. I do see the team quite a bit every year at home and at Scranton as well as on TV.

      1. Hari…..I also have my select favorites, but not a fan of them all. I guess some of the appeal and different promos like this, are aimed at the kids/youngsters and families that can afford to go to minor league games.

        1. It’s all about money Romus. Those promo jerseys are auctioned off for big bucks. The money goes to charities, but that has nothing to do with affordability for families attending minor league games. Have you seen the prices on the regular jerseys? Not very affordable.

          1. Hari S…..have not checked out prices on minor league jerseys…figured they be a lot less than what I see hanging at the Majestic store at CBP. or at Mitchell and Ness.

  18. Any thoughts on signing RA Dickey as a 4th/5th?
    Another poster put it out there on another Phillies blog.
    He eats innings as a BOR guy.
    Might not be a bad idea for a year, and as long as if Dickey is not the sole signing FA starting pitcher….still would like Yu, Lynn or Cobb
    Even at age 43, Dickey still could give you more than a replacement pitcher’s worth at a reasonable salary south of $10M yearly….last season he was at $7.5M for the Braves
    He would stabilize the rotation since he has started 26 or more games in the last 8 years and saves the bullpen guys.
    He has pitched an average of 180 innings per year over the last 8 years.
    As a 4 or 5 he could be an asset.

    1. Romus, I’m all in for a TOR guy like Darvish or maybe Arrieta (at the right price & length of contract, of course), and/or a MOR guy via trade like Duffy or by FA like Cobb or maybe Lynn.

      If there is any consideration for a one year stop gap arm (been there, done that, NO THANKS), I’d rather let the young 4/5s work that out amongst themselves – Pivetta, VV, Thompson, Eflin, Lively, Eshelman.

      1. 8mark…can understand your reluctance on those one-year /possibly trade chip pitchers. Sometimes they work out for your intended purpose in acquiring them, but most times they don’t.
        And they need to find out what they may have in VV, Piv, Lively, Thompson, Elf and even Leiter….and Kilome/Eshelman and Anderson are all next man up in ’18 also.

    2. I wondered about Dickey myself for awhile but then decided he wouldn’t present a trade option mid season under most conditions. I’d rather lean towards a guy who might surprise and catch fire like Vargas or Jaime Garcia. I’m still hoping for someone on a 3 year high per year rate deal. Every team is waiting!

      1. Agree Dickey would probably not be a viable trade chip pitcher. Not sure any contender would trade for him for a stretch run.

            1. rocco…that is not out of the realm of possibility.
              Like what the Brewers and Twins did last year.
              Perhaps Matt K. signs one of those FA quality starting pitchers in the next week or so. That will make the rotation that much stronger.
              And one or two of the young RHP arms comes thru.
              They could still be in ‘it’ come the all-star break.

            2. Roc, we’ll revisit the idea come late July. Fangraphs projects the Phillies to win 78 games. A couple additions to the rotation and we’re talking playoff contention.

  19. I agree 8mark. I think our one year “taking a shot and trading him in July'” days are done. I think they are looking at SP with some longer control contractually. I expect to be buyers in July and a guy like Dickey would not be in my plans.

  20. 8mark, though I live in Las Vegas, I only bet on sure things. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I’m going to put $50 on the over.

    1. I’ll say the Nats struggle to reach 90 wins. Phils in my mind could win 83 with the rotation upgraded. Braves (low 70’s) should finish 3rd while the Mets and Marlins battle for the basement.

  21. I read something that talks about the business side of Baseball. Does it seem like teams are less likely to spend the long term big bucks on a player, when you can hire a young one on the cheap that may or may not help win you just as many games? With all the data they have now days on players, I bet it gets harder and harder to be a team selling late.

  22. From Tim Kelly..Sports Talk Philly:
    Hoskins hitting second in the lineup?

    “Baseball Musings has an interesting tool” that allows you to build the best lineup possible. You simply punch in a player’s OBA and slugging percentage and it builds you the 30 most effective lineup combinations. Based off of Steamer’s 2018 projections, Baseball Musings says that the Phillies five best potential lineup combinations would have Hoskins hitting after the leadoff hitter, who they say should be Carlos Santana.

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