Open Discussion: Week of January 28, 2018

It’s just two-and-a-half weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater.  Some players are as anxious as we fans.

The hot  stove ratcheted up above a simmer as the Brewers engineered a blockbuster deal with the Marlins and then signed the biggest free agent deal so far this winter.  The Phillies, on the other hand, made a small splash with their own minor league free agent signing.

The Phillies announced some more international free agent acquisitions, and I found a dozen or so more that were posted to their transactions log recently from as far back as July 2017.

About 20 players are already in Clearwater, and another half dozen or more are expected to arrive this week.

The Phillies conducted a massive baseball operations meeting this week.

Organizational News and Changes

The Brewers signed Royals’ center fielder Lorenzo Cain to a 5-year, $80M contract and pried Christian Yelich from the Marlins for 4 players including 2 top 100 prospects (OF Lewis Brinson and INF Isan Diaz).  The Phillies’ signing of Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league deal pales in comparison.

The 36-year old K-Rod was reported by John Heyman to have inked a minor league contract that will pay him $2.5M if he makes the big club.  If he really has returned to his 2016 self, his addition to a bullpen that includes free agents Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter and closer Hector Neris gives the Phillies a potentially imposing back end of their bullpen.  Their experience could provide confidence to our young starters and help the Phillies hold onto late-inning leads.  It’s possible that the addition of an established pitcher to the rotation, whether by trade or free agency, could allow the Phillies to go with a seven-man bullpen and add another bench player.  I had an inkling that an acquisition was on the immediate horizon, but expected a starter (and still do).

The Phillies released minor leaguers Derek Campbell (Reading) and Carlos Duran (Clearwater) last week.  Earlier they signed six international free agents – LHP Jordi Martinez, minor league contract RHP Hernando Mejia, RHP Rafi Gonell, OF Johan Rojas, RHP Engel Estevez, and OF Rafael Franco.

The Phillies also signed a bunch of international free agents last summer whose transactions didn’t post until recently – CF Junior Ortega, RHP Luis Candelo, CF Jefferson Encarnacion, and RHP Daniel Vilchez, and RHP Efrain Morales, back in September 2017; LHPJhonny Palma in August 2017; and LHP Adrian Marin, RHP Cristian Lima, RHP Andy Reyes, RHP Luis Gomez, RHP Cristian Hernandez, OF Pedro Ramirez, RHP Joan Hernandez, RHP Roger Parraga, OF Cesar Mata, RHP Cristofer Cruz, RHP Diego Tamariz, C Oscar Gonzalez, and C Cesar Rodriguez in July 2017.

Notable among these signings is that a couple are from Mexico, a virtually untapped market for the Phillies.  The last signing from Mexico that I can recall was was Manuel Jesus Chavez who after two years in the VSL was on loan to a Mexican League team until he was released in 2016.  Victor Arano is the only other Mexican born player in the organization and he came via trade.

All these players have been added to the Google sheets I keep – organization’s rosters and the Rule 5 eligibility list.  They bring the total of known players in the organization to 308.

The number of players in Clearwater grows daily.  There is a small group who are working for the city of Clearwater in a program that provides part time jobs.  They get to work out at the Complex in their free time.  Players on rehab are scheduled into Clearwater once a month for check ups.  And, several players are here on their own dime.  This includes fourteen pitchers whom I saw throw on Friday – Jake Thompson, Drew Anderson, Ben Lively, J.D. Hammer, Nick Pivetta, Zach Eflin, Ben Brown, Kyle Young, McKenzie Mills, Garrett Cleavinger, Seth McGarry, Jeff Singer, Ryan Etsell, and Zach Warren; three player who took fly balls – Pedro Florimon, Dylan Cozens, and Carlos De La Cruz; and several others – Logan Moore, Sutter McLoughlin, Mario Sanchez, Grant Dyer, and Kevin Gowdy.

Players rumored to be arriving this week include Carlos Santana, Maikel Franco, Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams, Rhys Hoskins, Darick Hall, and a few others.  We’ll see which rumors are true.  I heard that Franco is coming with Santana.  Wouldn’t it be great if Santana took Franco under his wing?  Remember, pitchers and catchers have been asked to report on February 14th and position players on the 19th.  They are under no obligation to report before the start of spring training games.

The Phillies had their entire baseball operations staff in Clearwater for meetings.  They started Wednesday morning and lasted until around noon Friday.  Everyone was here, including managers, coaches, and trainers for all affiliates, even the DSL teams.  Meetings started before 9:00 AM and some lasted until 11:00 PM.

There were a lot of new faces.  I recognized and spoke briefly with a newly hired person in R&D, Corrine Landrey, formerly the editor at Crashburn Alley before moving on to other things and ending up with our Phillies.

I saw Charley Manuel, Joe Jordan, Johnny Almarez, Dave Hollins, Ray Burris, Dickie Noles, Pat Gillick, Matt Klentak, Carlos Arroyo, Feliberto Sanchez, Gabe Kapler, Dusty Wathan, Frank Cacciatore, Chris Truby, Charlie Hayes, Tyler Henson, Greg Brodzinski, Christian Marrero, Hector Berrios, Roly de Armas, Rafael Delima, Alex Concepion, Matt Hockenberry, Jon May, Shaun Williams, and countless other who I just didn’t recognize.

Rick Kranitz took advantage of the opportunity to watch most of the pitchers Friday before rushing off to catch his flight.  He was engaging with the pitchers during and after their sessions.  He’s a brave man, standing between the catchers as three pitchers threw.

And, John Middleton stopped to talk with us.  I was their with Steve Potter, and Mr. Middleton made the mistake of acknowledging us from about 20 feet away.  I greeted him as I do all front office types with a “Mister”.  He stopped (bigger mistake) and said to call him John, Mister Middleton was his grandfather.  During that lapse, I covered the distance between us, stuck out my hand, and introduced myself.  I even remembered to state that I report for Phuture Phillies.  This caught his attention and we had him for about 5 minutes. Steve asked if he had received “our” book.  Steve is gracious enough that he says “our”, giving me more credit than I deserve for my one chapter.

I must admit that I was a little star struck and remember very little from our brief encounter.  What I do recall is that he thought the baseball ops meeting was a very good idea and he stressed that he is ready for the team to move on to the next step in the process.  So, those of you hoping for a more accelerated next step in the rebuild are correct in those assumptions.  He indicated that things would be happening, but a lot more vague than that simple statement.  I hope he meant more than the signing of K-Rod which was announced later that night.

Anyway, he was a very cordial man.  He checked his watch when we started talking and must have decided that he had time to talk.  We disengaged much sooner than we would have liked out of respect toward the man.  I didn’t think anything could ever be cooler than Phantasy Week.  These five minutes came close.

And, finally, the pitchers threw from the three mounds between Ashburn and Schmidt Fields. They threw there on both Tuesday and Friday.

I detected a change in Kyle Young’s delivery.  A very subtle extension on his step toward the catcher.  I asked him about it and was a little cagey, saying that a longer stride would be a good thing.  I checked against video I have from last XST.  Not only does he appear to be taking a longer stride with a very slight hesitation, but his foot is landing more consistently in one spot as he strides toward the plate.

Drew Anderson looked good.   He had good velocity, excellent control, and kept his pitches down.  Jake Thompson threw what seemed like 50+ pitches.  Most threw 20-25 pitches. Ben Brown looks to be in awe of his surroundings.  He is the youngest player in town.  He threw well.  I don’t think he realizes how well he is doing.  I don’t think he realizes the Phillies wouldn’t have brought him down if they didn’t see something in  him.

J.D. Hammer threw under more control.  He didn’t let as many high velocity fastballs go as he did earlier in the week.  When he did, the glove popped.  McKenzie Mills throws hard. His FB looks like a 4-seamer and rides up in the zone.

This was a real treat.  Most of the time the pitchers are on the Seven Mounds out of sight. With the weekend off, maybe they’ll be on the bump again tomorrow.

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        – .151/.233/.283/.616, 53 AB,   4 R,    8 H, 2 HR, 9 RBI,  3 BB, 11 K
Tomscha, Damek       – .321/.415/.482/.898, 56 AB, 12 R, 18 H, 2 HR, 5 RBI,  7 BB, 13 K
Hernandez, Jan          – .298/.375/.368/.743, 57 AB,   9 R, 17 H, 0 HR, 7 RBI,   6 BB, 11 K
Valentin, Jesmuel      – .250/.347/.367/.714, 60 AB,   9 R, 15 H, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 10 BB, 10 K
Ortiz, Danny                  – .130/.163/.152/.315, 46 AB,   1 R,    6 H, 0 HR, 4 RBI,   1 BB,    9 K
Marrero, Emmanuel – .250/.455/.250/.705,    8 AB,   0 R,    2 H, 0 HR, 4 RBI,   3 BB,    1 K
Rios, Yacksel – 2.35 ERA, 1-1, 8 G, 7.2 IP, 2 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 7 K,  1.17 WHIP, .233 AVG, 2 S, 4 SVO
With the conclusion of the Puerto Rican League season today, the Caribbean Series will begin on February 1st and conclude on the seventh.  This also marks the end of the Winter Ball section of the weekly discussions.

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 and Organization Rosters

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.

I have made a change to the organization’s rosters whose link is here and at the bottom of the transactions section.  I have linked each player with his player page in Baseball Reference, MLB, or MiLB.  If a player is underlined, then he has a link.  

Key Dates:

  • February 14, 2018 – Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training
  • February 15, 2018 – Pitchers and catchers first workout
  • February 19, 2018 – Position players report to Spring Training
  • February 20, 2018 – First full squad workout
  • 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. Dunedin
  • 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)

  • 1/28/18 – RHP Francisco Rodriguez assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs
  • 1/28/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Francisco Rodriguez to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training
  • 1/23/18 – Reading Fightin Phils released 2B Derek Campbell
  • 1/23/18 – Clearwater Threshers released RF Carlos Duran
  • 1/22/18 – Phillies signed free agent LHP Jordi Martinez to a minor league contract
  • 1/20/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Hernando Mejia to a minor league contract
  • 1/19/19 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Rafi Gonell to a minor league contract
  • 1/19/18 – Phillies signed free agent OF Johan Rojas to a minor league contract
  • 1/18/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Engel Estevez to a minor league contract
  • 1/18/18 – Phillies signed free agent OF Rafael Franco to a minor league contract
  • 9/13/17 – Phillies signed free agent CF Junior Ortega to a minor league contract
  • 9/12/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Luis Candelo to a minor league contract
  • 9/12/17 – Phillies signed free agent CF Jefferson Encarnacion to a minor league contract
  • 9/11/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Daniel Vilchez to a minor league contract
  • 9/5/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Efrain Morales to a minor league contract
  • 8/2/17 – Phillies signed free agent LHPJhonny Palma to a minor league contract
  • 7/19/17 – Phillies signed free agent LHP Adrian Marin to a minor league contract
  • 7/17/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Cristian Lima to a minor league contract
  • 7/14/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Andy Reyes to a minor league contract
  • 7/14/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Luis Gomez to a minor league contract
  • 7/9/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Cristian Hernandez to a minor league contract
  • 7/7/17 – Phillies signed free agent OF Pedro Ramirez to a minor league contract
  • 7/7/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Joan Hernandez to a minor league contract
  • 7/6/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Roger Parraga to a minor league contract
  • 7/6/17 – Phillies signed free agent OF Cesar Mata to a minor league contract
  • 7/3/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Cristofer Cruz to a minor league contract
  • 7/2/17 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Diego Tamariz to a minor league contract
  • 7/2/17 – Phillies signed free agent C Oscar Gonzalez to a minor league contract
  • 7/2/17 – Phillies signed free agent C Cesar Rodriguez to a minor league contract
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Tom Eshelman to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP J.D. Hammer to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Cole Irvin to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Brandon Leibrandt to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster C Edgar Cabral to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster 2B Scott Kingery to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster LF Andrew Pullin to spring training
  • 1/17/18 – Phillies invited non-roster Enyel De Los Santos to spring training
  • 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.

167 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 28, 2018

    1. What are your questions? I can only think of one. Why aren’t they listed? Because the transactions haven’t been posted by MiLB or the Phillies. Rickles is still a free agent according to his player page, and the Phillies haven’t posted a transaction. The other two don’t have player pages, and won’t until the Phillies post the transaction. And that will only be a superficial MLB page. They won’t show up in MiLB or Baseball Reference until they are assigned to a team and accumulate stats. BA just reports agreements. They aren’t official until until the league office grants approval. These delays are why I have to go back and check the transactions list. If approved, they will eventually show up with the original date that BA listed.

    2. @Calvin, this has bothered me all week. A less tired me has researched this further and I will have an update in next week’s Open Discussion.

  1. Jim, your report of the past week has me fired up. As does your sense that something (adding someONE?) bigger to accelerate the process is imminent. I’m anticipating the coming headline “YU AND US”.

    I like the no risk-high reward KRod signing. Maybe an environment of youthful hope will spur him on as a role player in the bullpen.

  2. In regards to Middleton, I dont know if anyone on here ventures onto Crossing Broad but you need to check out the video of Middleton celebrating Torrey Smith’s TD last weekend. It will make you realize that the guy is all about winning.

  3. I’m loving Jon Middleton … seems to be the owner the phan base has been waiting for. In 30+ years of following this team, I feel like he wants to do what’s needed to win. The tide changed with the opening of CBP, but Middleton feels supercharged.

    Looking forward to the season starting

  4. I know there are those of you who think that John Middleton should have been more assertive when he was a minority owner, and are not as optimistic as I am about his ownership. Rather than rehash the Limited partnership legalities, I am just going to say that, until he proves me otherwise, I think he will spend whatever it takes to make the team a Winner, and I am excited about his controlling the team. I said the other day that based on the SP market next off season, I spend this year on Darvish, and to a lesser extent Arrieta, with the assumption that even if we don’t contend this year, we will next and we need SP. So if Darvish requires 5 years and $140 plus Million, I am all in.

    1. I agree, but I know there are those who disagree. I’m not sure Yu is the one I’d open the vault for. His post season performance was a little lack luster, I’ve heard he was tipping pitches, but I wonder if it is more of the decline.

      Would you rather have YU or trade
      Back for Hamels? More of a dumb fun question

      1. I’d rather have Darvish, but signs say he’ll sign with the Cubs. Looks like Arrietta to the Phils.

      2. id take Yu. His first 11 starts with the Dodgers, including 2 postseason, were pretty darn good. but i think i read he was looking to redeem himself for the world series performance, so a landing spot with the Cubs seems to make more sense.

  5. Feeling/Thinking the brewers might try to get some action on either one, SP could be scarce next year, looks like they will have enough O to hold them over next year, will need the pitching … it’s there for Th taking Could be a dark horse as well.

  6. Tac3, I get Darvish, and then next year get Cole back from the Rangers. I think Texas sees themselves as making another WC run, and will keep Cole this year. I think there is a shot that the Phils can be in the WC hunt with another top level SP. Then, they can be active at the deadline, depending on how things break at the Major and Minor League levels. To me, the Cards, Brewers, Rockies Dbacks and Giants are the WC contenders, and I think Milwaukee really helped itself but the Rockies and Dbacks did not. The Giants are a big question mark.

  7. Guys,

    This is way off topic, but I can’t resist. I’ve been wearing an Eagles cap down here in Southwest Florida for the past two weeks and it’s drawing lots of comments from passersby and store clerks, mostly of the beat-the-Patriots variety.

    I’m in Las Vegas and Reno this week on a business trip. Not as many comments so far, but all positive from a Philadelphia perspective.

    Okay, back to the Phillies. I agree that John Middleton’s got the right attitude. We’ll see if his front office executives make the right decisions. I admit to thinking that Klentak could be bolder. I’d like to see Darvish or Lynn in red pinstripes this year.

  8. If they are going to spend on a pitcher I would take Alex Cobb over Darvish and Arietta. Arietta lost some velocity last year and I will never get those Darvish WS starts out of my head.

  9. Glad to hear that Anderson looked good. I’m always been high on Anderson and Edgar Garcia and think that both are better than the current results.

    IMO, Anderson staying healthy for the whole year is the biggest success. Prior to 2017, Anderson pitched <60 IP on the average and jumped from 70 IP in 2016 to 116 IP in 2017 to the additional workload possibly is the culprit for the poor control towards the end of 2017 and his brief stint in the majors.

    Anderson has good control of his pitches and his FB-CB is above average although the CU doesn't look good yet. Anderson has shown a natural ability to pitch and is only 23/24 yo so there's still some projection left.

  10. Here is Keith Law’s complete rundown of the Phillies farm system:

    There’s just so much depth in this Phillies system right now. While the criticism you hear in the industry that they lack high-upside guys — potential superstar position players or No. 1 starters — is fair, whoa boy do they seem to have a lot of future big leaguers here.

    1. J.P. Crawford, SS (ranked No. 10)
    2. Sixto Sanchez, RHP (ranked No. 23)
    3. Scott Kingery, 2B (ranked No. 33)
    4. JoJo Romero, LHP (ranked No. 59)
    5. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF (ranked No. 83)
    6. Jorge Alfaro, C (ranked No. 98)
    7. Adam Haseley, OF
    8. Ranger Suarez, RHP
    9. Adonis Medina, RHP
    10. Mickey Moniak, OF

    Non-top 100 prospects

    Adam Haseley was the team’s first-round pick in 2017, a smart, instinctive player who had a strong career at the University of Virginia. The hope is that he stays in center field and makes enough hard contact to profile as an above-average regular, although I think the on-base skills here probably make him at least an everyday guy unless he just has no power at all (which I doubt). Ranger Suarez took a big step forward physically last year, jumping a few better-known pitching prospects in the system; he has a starter’s build and delivery, is very athletic, and has a good repertoire, with a fastball up to 95 and feel for three offspeed pitches already. Adonis Medina might have the best pure stuff of all of their starter prospects, 91-96 with a curveball that’s above average to plus and good action on his changeup; his velocity is easy, but his command lags and he can fly open in his delivery. There’s still huge upside there.

    Mickey Moniak was the first overall pick in 2016 but struggled way beyond expectations in low-A last year, although he was just 19. He played high school ball in Southern California and was thought to be an advanced hitter but didn’t pick up spin at all last year, and lefties destroyed him (.179/.236/.248). You can’t just write him off, not at his age or given his athleticism. Center fielder Roman Quinn (11) did what he does every year: get hurt. He’s a tremendous athlete, an 80 runner with a 70 arm, but played just 45 games before he was shut down because of a UCL sprain in his non-throwing elbow. He played 88 games for Clearwater in 2014 and hasn’t played in more than 77 games in any season since. He has, or had, the potential to be a Billy Hamilton type of player in center, maybe with more bat and a little less range, but I can’t project health on a kid who hasn’t been healthy and has just missed so much development time over the past four seasons. He’s supposed to be ready for spring training.

    Right-hander Seranthony Dominguez (12) came in hot to start the year, running it up to 96-98 in a few outings before he was shut down because of a flexor injury that didn’t require surgery. He has had injury issues before and is now 23 with only 62 innings above low-A, with some thought he’ll head to the bullpen to try to reduce his workload. Right-hander Franklyn Kilome (13) has easy velocity on his four-seamer, 92-96 when I saw him, with a late-breaking power curveball that is wildly inconsistent and a hard change with some splitter action. He doesn’t miss as many bats as he should with that stuff, probably the result of below-average command and the fact that his fastball rides but doesn’t really break or tail. He still has starter potential and if he gets better coordination of his 6-foot-6 frame he could be an above-average rotation member.

    Right-hander Edgar Garcia (14) pitched in both roles last year but projects better as a fastball/slider reliever; he started last year in part to get him to work more on pitching with his fastball. Second baseman Daniel Brito (15) was in Lakewood at 18 last year and looked physically overmatched, although he has a good swing and seemed as if he could recognize some pitches. He’s an average to above-average runner and should be a good defender at second, but he has to get quite a bit stronger to impact the baseball. Cornelius Randolph (16), the team’s first-round pick in 2015, was supposed to be a pure bat without a position, yet he hasn’t hit like that in pro ball, .250/.338/.402 as a 20-year-old in high-A (so a little young for the level), while also playing below-average defense in left. His swing works, but he doesn’t work the count like a “pure bat” sort of player would, and he’s not hitting line drives like a young Howie Kendrick type where the counts don’t matter.

    Dylan Cozens (17) has huge raw power but fell off at the plate once he was out of the hitter’s park in Reading, hitting .210/.301/.418 in Triple-A, striking out 39 percent of the time against southpaws. Lefty Elniery Garcia (18) missed the first half of the season with a PED suspension and then had a minor injury while he was in the penalty box; his velocity was above average before the suspension, just average afterward, and 2017 was pretty much a lost year for him, with 19 walks and 13 strikeouts in his 30 innings.

    The Phillies’ GCL club was solid as well, with three prospects of particular note. Right-hander Francisco Morales (19) is 6-4 with broad shoulders, up to 94-95 with some angle on the pitch, a slider that flashes above average but that he throws too often, and a changeup that’s still a work in progress. The Venezuelan just turned 18 in October and has mid-rotation upside. Shortstop Jonathan Guzman (20) can really play defense, future plus or better, and he can barrel up the baseball but not do much with it because he’s still so slight, listed at 6-foot, 156 pounds. Outfielder Simon Muizziotti (21) is an above-average defender in center with a little speed, lacking size and strength right now to give him everyday upside. Scouts love how he plays and his instincts, although his hand-eye is so good that he tends to put the first fastball he sees in play, rarely striking out or walking. Right-hander Spencer Howard (22), the team’s second-round pick in 2017, has some back-end starter potential with two average pitches but needs to throw more and better strikes.

    Right-hander Thomas Eshelman (23) has a very low upside, working with a 45 and sometimes a 40 fastball, but he does throw a ton of strikes and probably will pitch in the majors this year. Lefty Jhordany Mezquita (24) was the fun story from this year’s Phillies’ draft class. They signed him as a Dominican amateur, but the deal was voided when MLB found out he’d attended high school in the U.S., so they had to wait until June and draft him. All’s well that ends with a 0.89 ERA in the GCL, though. He has been 92-94 with feel for a breaking ball, lacking much of a change, although he faced 90 percent right-handed batters in the Gulf Coast League and had no problem with them. Six-foot-11 lefty Kyle Young (25), from Syosset on Long Island, has three pitches and enough coordination in his delivery to execute it repeatedly, throwing everything for strikes but just lacking enough stuff right now to put him in this org’s top 20.

    Some more odds and ends: Eliezer Alvarez came over from St. Louis after the Phillies signed Juan Nicasio and traded him away a few days later; Alvarez missed two months because of an ankle injury and didn’t hit at all in Double-A last year, but it was a two-level jump for the 22-year-old second baseman, who projects as a utility infielder. … Lefty Cole Irvin had a strong first full year back from Tommy John surgery, throwing 151 innings in high-A and Double-A. He’s a finesse/command guy who got victimized by Reading’s homer-friendly home park, giving up eight homers in 44 innings there, which might be a harbinger of trouble when he gets to the majors. … Enyel de los Santos, acquired from the Padres in the Freddy Galvis trade, worked in the mid-90s with above-average control but a below-average breaking ball and short stride that point to a relief role. … Jose Taveras doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, working 87-92 with an assortment of averages, but locates what he does have and racked up 140 strikeouts in 154 innings across three levels, including Triple-A, last year. … The Phils also signed catcher Abrahan — yes, with an ‘n’ — Gutierrez, one of the Atlanta prospects made a free agent in September; he’s a good catch-and-throw prospect whose bat remains a question mark. … Kevin Gowdy, one of their over-slot guys from the 2016 draft class, had Tommy John surgery and won’t be back until 2019. … Grant Dyer, taken in the same year, had the surgery after 2016 and should be back for this upcoming season.

    2018 impact: J.P. Crawford should be the Phillies’ opening day shortstop. Kingery is ready for a major-league job and might just be waiting for a trade of Cesar Hernandez to open up a spot. Eshelman, Cozens, or Taveras could get cups of coffee.

    Sleeper: Ranger Suarez is the most likely non-top 100 guy here to end up on next winter’s top 100, although Medina and Kilome have good cases as well. All three are probable starters with above-average upside.

    The fallen: The Phillies’ third-round pick in 2013, Cord Sandberg brought athleticism and power to the baseball diamond after a two-sport career in high school, but he just hasn’t hit in pro ball, with a .268/.309/.431 line at three levels last year, including 30 K’s and three walks in Double-A.

    1. I want to see Eshelman get his shot in the rotation before it becomes over run by Veteran starters. Not that they are mirror images of one another at all, but Randy Wolf wasn’t a hard thrower who could control the strikezone, does anyone else see this in Eshelman. I could see a 14-15 win season in his future on a good team, that doesn’t go into an offensive funk when he pitches.

      Have Kilome, Sixto, Medina and others making a push, so let him get his shot before its too late.

    2. Thanks. BTW, Mezquita was 20 last season, not 24, and turns 21 on the 30th. He was born on January 30, 1998. He also had a 0.72 ERA, not 0.89. Kinda makes me wonder what kind of research he and his people do, and how many other mistakes he/they make.

      1. Jim … the number in parentheses is that player’s organizational ranking (according to Law). He has Mezquita as the 24th best prospect in the Phillies farm system.
        The thing Law is a bit behind on is #25 Kyle Young’s height. He still has him listed at only 6’11”.

      2. 24 was his rank. Dunno how to account for the ERA mix up, though (is 0.89 just his GCL ERA and 0.72 is his overall?).

    3. Wow, LHP Ranger Suarez up to 95mph on the fastball? Very impressive, thought he was a bit of a soft tossing/command type guy.

      1. he was signed as soft tossing LHP and despite of the success he was not considered as a prospect until his velocity jumped by 2-3 mph. I love the fact that Ranger has one of the best (if not the best) CU in the farm. A LHP that can throw up to mid 90-s with a solid breaking ball and own potential plus CU — Ranger can be a solid #2/#3. And also, Ranger has a career BB/9 of sub 2 and a decent K/9 = 8.2.

  11. IMO, a rather large Abrahan Gutierrez as far as his fellow age teenagers are concerned has a chance to be the stud catcher the Phillie will have going forward. Bat and strength early on has the potential to be in the Gary Sanchez company when he was an 18-year old. He might not be just there yet however.
    A plus defender with an exceptional arm, not an Alfaro arm, but close enough.
    Just one drawback….he may be the slowest runner in the minors of all position players.
    He will never be a 3.8 or 3.9 guy from home-to-first, in fact he may not crack 4.8 very often but if he can barrel the ball with some force thru an infield he may not have to be fleet afoot.
    Though infield hits will be scarce, and will have his share of GDPs down the road.
    Assuming he follows a traditional trajectory, I cannot wait to see how he does at either short-season Wiliiamsport or Lakewood.

  12. What was sort of interesting about Law’s comments was that of all the articles on each team I think the Phillies discussion was the longest by quite a bit because he had the most to review……

  13. The system is very strong and has a lot of depth. Maybe it doesn’t have that top 10 league wide prospect but a lot of future ML players. But, without that top guy, I don’t see a trade for a controllable SP. Not that I would trade that guy anyway. I sign Darvish, Arrieta or Cobb and not have to decide which prospects to move until next year. It keeps our players, Cesar is not bringing back Chris Archer, our prospects, and does not hinder spending next year. It is February and all the SPs are still out there. I have to believe a reasonable deal is there to be had.

    1. matt13….within the system Sixto has a chance to be that TOR pitcher. The third pick in the Rule 4 in June also has that chance. Thats two distinct possibilities that could be there in 2019 or by 2020.

    2. i’m optimistic that Nola will be a reliable anchor ala Cole Hamels and couple of the higher end pitching prospects (Sanchez, Medina, JoJo, Ranger, Howard) will be coming up as expected and some of high floors but reliable players/prospects (Eickhoff, Eshelman, Irvin, Taveras) will round up the back of the rotation. This exclude the the possibility that one of the high risk high reward players/prospects (Pivetta, Anderson, Kilome, delos Santos) and riskier arms that are far far away (Morales, Gowdy, Young, Fanti, Mezquita) might pan out too.

      My main reason for optimism is based on the fact that these SPs (Nola, Sixto, Medina, JoJo, Ranger, Eick, Esh, Irvin, Taveras) not only rely on pure stuff but they have the ability to command their pitches and utilize the their whole arsenal.

      My preference is still to sign a FA to a front loaded contract of 3 years with 2 option years (4th yr is mutual and 5th is team option). By the time that the younger arms are ready, the FA contract is not an albatross. Darvish is my #1 target, but Cobb can be a good fall back option.

      1. KuKo, interesting you don’t mention Vinny Velo. Intentional? Or did you simply overlook him. IMO, he’s a trade piece waiting to happen in order to get a top arm in return (perhaps packaged with CeHe?)

        1. The pitchers I’m high to stick in the rotations are those who have a natural ability to control the strike zone, thus, less the risk of flaming out. The emergence of better pitching prospects (with good stuff and control) will push Vinny to the pen and will force the FO to trade him rather than putting the pen to extract value.

          Bullpen will be an unexpected strength with RHP Seranthony (plus FB and SL, average CU) anchoring the backend and joined by LHP Morgan (will develop an above ave FB-SL), RHPs Arano (above ave FB-SL), Pivetta (above ave FB-CB) Edgar Garcia (plus FB-SL), Anderson (plus CB, above ave FB, ave CU).

          1. i’m not saying to trade Vinny now but he will be at some point in the future (to maximize years of control) as pitching prospects that control the strike zone will push him out of the rotation.

            1. I think the Phillies are not putting their eggs in the ViVe basket.
              Have to assume spring training and his April starts will provide a better idea of what to expect.
              Hard to believe but April will be two full years from that great game he pitched striking out 16 Pads with his highest Game Score ever at 97.
              I guess that was a tease of sorts.

  14. No question Romus, I agree with you. I still get a SP now. Let’s say it is Darvish, and in 2019/20 we have Nola, Sixto, Darvish, and 2 spots for whomever out of the next 7 or 8 of the group earns their jobs, to fill out the rotation. They all have an opportunity to prove their value, and all Darvish has done is help us win more games in 2018 and 2019.

  15. I also agree with you on that point. I would go after him and make the Dodgers or Cubs spend a lot of money. I wouldn’t be bluffing, I would gladly take him, and if it is 6/$150/160M, I may get him. I don’t think that has a big impact on the team’s ability to spend going forward. My interest in Arrieta is much less, and in Cobb, lesser still. I don’t think the Dodgers or Cubs really want to spend that much money this year, and although Darvish may be waiting for them, he will have to take less or go to the Twins unless we get involved. Either way, I would be making a real effort to sign him. Where are we getting a SP of his caliber next year?

    1. i’m actually more excited to project the starting rotation by 2019/2020. Whoever SP the Phils sign this offseason might end up as a fill by the time the Phils starts their to contention.

      2019 – Phils open their wallet to sign at least a big time bat (Machado and/or Harper) and a top RP in the offseason and the rotation will be:

      #1 – Nola (plus CB, above ave FB and CU)
      #2 – 2018 FA signee
      #3 – Eickhoff (plus CB, ave FB and SL)
      #4 – Eshelman (above ave CU, ave FB/SL/SL, elite command)
      #5 – Ranger (plus CU, above ave FB and CL)

      Sixto and Medina will be called up at some point in 2019. Bullpen includes Seranthony, Anderson, Pivetta, Arano and a top FA signee.

      2020 – Phils will be win the NL East and make a run to the World Series. Rotation will be:

      #1 – Nola (plus CB and 2S FB, above ave CU)
      #2 – Sixto (plus FB and SL, above ave CU)
      #3 – Medina (plus FB, above ave CL, ave CU)
      #4 – Ranger (plus CU, above ave FB and CL)
      #5 – Eshelman (above ave CU, ave FB/SL/SL, elite command)

      JoJo or Ranger will be traded and the Phils will sign Trout in the 2020 offseason and will be perennial WS contenders for the next 6-7 years.

    2. Matt, I think it’s imperative the Phillies offer Darvish 5 years, front loaded and with whatever incentives/signing bonus to get him. Offer him opt outs after 2 or 3 years, and a 6th year option at a lesser AAV.

      He won’t sign with the Twins unless they go 6 years. He’s reportedly waiting for the Dodgers to manage their bad salary to make room. The Cubs are said to be the favorite. Fine, make them (and him) raise the ante. Arrieta would be the fallback.

      I’ll settle for a Cobb or Lynn so long as they trade for another arm like Duffy (who might be available if KC re-signs Hosmer).

      End of the day, I like our chances of signing one of the top 4 FA arms.

      1. Cobb – 60%
        Arrieta – 50%
        Darvish – 30%
        Lynn – 30% (Klentak will be concerned about his health)

        Cobb will sign for $80M/5 years – 3 base years of $18M (beating the competition by $2/yr), 4th yr – $14M mutual and 5th yr – $12M. Phils might offer a higher signing bonus too (like $8M) and offer additional bonus of $2M if traded to impose the 2 option years.

      2. “He’s reportedly waiting for the Dodgers to manage their bad salary to make room.”………….translation, moving Kemp and/or Grandal.

        1. I’ve been on record as saying I’d eat a good portion of Kemp’s contract for Mitchell White. IMO, White is the best, least talked about prospect in MiLB.
          The Phillies aren’t winning anything this year. I would hold off on spending major money on a FA pitcher and use that money (one last year of this) to buy a good prospect or two. Next winter, Middleton and MacKlentak go nuts and buy MM and acquire an arm or two (maybe Garrett Richards and Zach Britton).

          1. I am disinclined to help the Dodgers get below the cap this year before going into next year’s free agency.

            1. Absolutely, It’s not in the Phillies interest to help other big market teams get under the luxury tax threshold for 2018 so they can get a reset prior to the big FA market in 2019. They will be competing with these same teams for players over the next couple of years.

              The Phillies are at a point where they should no longer be taking on bad money in exchange for prospects but should be looking to take on major league ready talent, even if that involves moving some prospects to do so…

            2. among the big market teams, the Phillies beat anybody when it comes to payroll flexibility which can afford them to offer more than the other big market teams – so i’m not concerned of helping the big market teams this year to go below luxury tax level as long as a i will receive good talent in return.

          2. Hinkie, you and I usually think a lot alike. But I’m more than ready – and so are the Phillies, I believe – to accelerate the process. Getting a couple more prospects is great, but we’ve got to turn the corner here. And unless we’re trading an OF or two for a SP, I certainly don’t want another, especially a salary dump like Kemp. A year ago, your idea would be compelling. I say go get a TOR to
            a) transition to the young guns like Sixto and Adonis, and
            b) win as much as we can in ’18 to attract the bigger fish next year.

            1. Bringing on Kemp and his total salary….along with a top pitching prospect… would not be as bad as you may think.
              He currently is in the best shape he has been in for a few years.
              His contract is for the next two years thru 2019 at AAV:$21.5M/year
              But where does he play?
              Well he cannot start unless there are injuries in the OF…..and/or maybe first base. So he has to be the back-up guy.
              It is risky to some degree since e could clog up opportunities in the OF….then again he could be DFAed after in July then you are on the hook for $29M to the end of his contract which is manageable but depens on the price of the next big FA signing of a pitcher and/or Manny M.

          3. @hinkie – i like that idea too but MItchell White developed some helium last year and LAD may not easily give him (and Keibert Ruiz) up.

            LAD exercised their $9M option to Forsythe. But that should not stop Klentak. Offer Cesar ($5.1M) and Leiter ($500k) for Kemp ($43M) and Forsythe ($9M) and some prospects. LAD will create $45M+ in savings and they get 2 cost controlled players that can help them, This should make them easier to let go of their higher regarded prospects except Buehler and Verdugo.

            If that’s too complicated for Klentak, I’ll offer Leiter (just to offset roster space) for 2 or 3 of Heredia, May, Abdullah or Melvin Jimenez and absorb Kemp’s contract.

            1. Kuko…that really puzzles me.
              Why offer anything for Kemp….just take the salary and the prospect..
              Dodgers may want Yu….and without Kemps $22M per year or two yeas they get under the $197M mark to sign Yu.
              They know they will have to sacrifice a prospect in a salary dump of Kemp’s contract.
              And trading Cesar now , ilo, of July may not bring back enough return value.
              Further…..just too many moving parts this late in the off-season, before the team reports in a few weeks.
              There is something to be said about going into a season with some roster stability.

            2. Are you talking about Leiter? The Phils need to DFA somebody (and it might be Leiter) to accommodate Kemp in the roster.

              Or are you talking about Cesar? Offering Cesar will raise the prospect level and absorbing Forsythe will a) fill the temporary in 2B; b) act as an insurance for Franco in 3B; and c) trade chip at the deadline.

            3. KuKo……IMO, Klentak will not make any of those exiting personnel moves from his roster at this point of the off-season.
              He just does not seem like his former boss…a Jerry Dipoto type GM
              Agree the personnel coming like Logan F. will be added value…..then there will be Kingery needed to get his opp by June or July, so more 25 decisions have to be made.

            4. A couple of points on my idea of eating a good portion of Matt Kemp’s money:

              * I would only do it for Mitchell White. IMO, White (if he stays healthy) will be a TOR type of SP. He’s been a fast moving, dominant pitcher since being drafted in 2016. He could be pitching in MLB by the end of this season.
              * I don’t think the Dodgers are going to be chasing MM next winter. They’ll be one of the favorites to sign Bryce Harper. I think the Phillies will be battling the NYY for MM. In any event, the Dodgers have already (incredibly) gotten below the threshold for the 2018 season. I think they want to dump Kemp’s salary (as Romus already posted) to be able to add another SP (probably Darvish) for this season and stay below the threshold.

      3. Did anyone watch the World Series? Why would we want Darvish at that length and money? Japanese pitchers come to the U.S. with a shelf life because they get overused in Japan. He is the last guy I would want the Phils to go after.

  16. Something that hasn’t been mentioned this winter is the fact that several pitchers were injured and failed to tell McClure or Pete about it. Maybe they were afraid, stupid, or didn’t want to let the team down. In any event, they did. Kapler has to get through to them that there’s no shame in being hurt, and that it’s better to rest for one start than to miss a month.

    1. That’s too bad – he’s a very good mentor and leader. He’s a guy I think they will miss.

  17. I just saw that Matt Gelb and Ben Harris would both be covering the Phils this season for The Athletic. Since their site is behind a pay wall I dunno how much of their reporting will be available to the general population so I’ll try to relay any interesting information they share here (paraphrased, obviously. Not gonna to copy entire articles).

        1. A couple years ago it was $10 per month, or $60 annually. I think last year it was reduced somewhat to $5/month or $40 a year….not sure what it is now.

  18. I’m not sure if anyone asked this but Clay Buchholz is still a free agent any chance they sign him to a minor league deal. I know he was hurt last year but hey liked him enough to trade a prospect for him. Wouldn’t he be a low risk/ high reward option? Wasn’t sure on his injury and if he was able to pitch this season.

          1. Piece of cake, Roc –
            Yul Brynner
            Steve McQueen
            Charles Bronson
            James Coburn (my fave)
            Robert Vaughn
            Brad Dexter (who?)
            Horst Buccholz
            Bonus point: The great Eli Wallach was the villain.

            1. Okay, believe it or, I’ve never seen the movie. I have to see it – maybe even this weekend in preparation for the Super Bowl. Is it possible to put more tough, cool guys in a single move? I don’t think so! Steve McQueen rules!

    1. He was awful. Not exercising Morton’s option and instead trading for Buchholz are two of the transactions that leave me questioning the team’s talent evaluators (and lets not forget Saunders – yuck!!!). Buchholz was so bad that I was relieved when got injured – had he stayed, he would have been released by early June. He was horrific. About as bad as it gets.

      1. I must have forgot how bad he was. Just keep seeing his name scroll across MLBs Shows as a Phil’s free agent probably why I thought of him

        1. Yes, but I’m convinced he would have agreed to this, especially if the team had “courted” him as they should have. If you recall, his comments throughout the year were how excited he was about the team’s future and how good the young arms were. Also, as I recall, the compensation for his option year (I think it was around $ 9 million) would have exceeded the AAV he received under the contract he ultimately signed with the Astros ($7 million AAV). They didn’t need to try to hard to make this happen. As it turns out, the Astros paid about as much for Morton for two years as the Phillies paid Buccholz for one. The two transactions together were about as bad it gets for linked, relatively mid-level, transactions.

          1. Morton also signed on November 16, over a month before the Phillies made the Buchholz trade. Morton also got a buyout on the option so he really got $8M last year vs the option for $9M, only he got $7M more in guarantees.

            1. Yes, but the deals were linked in that they needed Buchholz only because they passed on Morton. I get your points on the options and buy-outs but, truth be told, revenue-wise, they are fairly neutral or slightly less favorable to Morton than getting paid $9 million and hitting free agency the next year and getting at least $6 million (which clearly would have happened had he been healthy). I have zero doubt that, with a little interest and effort, the Morton mutual option would have been a done deal.

    1. Oscara Gamble did have some great hair !
      However, don’t sleep on Nino Espinosa’s “fro” ! I was in HS in the late 70’s. One summer night, my buddies and I went to the Burger King on Lindgergh Blvd and Island Ave in SW Philly. We got our food and sat at a table. Sitting two tables over (by himself) was Nino. We spoke to him. He was a nice guy with one hell of a head of hair !!! Sad to find out he died at a very young age (34 YO) from a heart attack.

  19. Just my opinion, but I am done with helping a team like the Dodgers get Cap flexibility. I see them as a rival, maybe not this year, but soon enough, and certainly next off season. I do not help them re-set under the Luxury tax, add Darvish, and let them have more financial flexibilty for the FA sweepstakes next year. That is counter to our interests going forward. I don’t think we exercised that opportunity enough the past few seasons, but the time has gone. We need to start acting like a team that is ready to win. The Santana signing is the first step.

    1. matt13……Dodgers will need to also sign Kershaw at some astro price next season… the two of them combined would probably be in the $55M AAV area.
      And Yu has not yet matched his 2012 and 2013 production…..since his TJ, he may be experiencing a slight decline and at age 32 next summer.
      He still is quality but the wear and tear may be showing and IMO I just do not see him being much of a deciding factor after the 2019 or 2020 season.
      If the Phillies were able to pick up a Dodger top ten prospect, like a pitcher, in the long run it may be to their benefit.

    2. I’m on board with this …. we are to close imo from competing with the Dodgers to throw them a bone. I’d want two top arms and another prospect. I’d really have to hold their feet to the fire to make it worth while. They are basically the NL’s version of the Yankees… in there hay day. They made their bed, let them sleep in it. The only way I think about helping them is if I can really “rape” their system. They are trying to go all in with their core, i get it, but I’m not helping them … I’d rather find another way. Unless someone thinks Yu’s contract will be more detrimental to their success with the loss of prospects than saving them from kemp. I just don’t see it going down that way, so I’d pass… and laugh while hanging up
      The phone

  20. From Fangraph’s Eric L. chat this week:

    otis: What are your thoughts on Jhailyn Ortiz after what he’s done over the past year?
    Eric A Longenhagen: Just more confident that the bat to profile at 1B is there than I was a year ago.

    Thoughts on Scott Kingery, and his ceiling?
    Eric A Longenhagen: I love Scotty Jetpacks. Chance to hit .300, play golg glove defense at 2B, steal a bunch of bases, and I buy that he could hit 16-20 homers annually.
    Eric A Longenhagen: Golg Gloves(tm)

    Jorge Alfaro: I’m out of options and will play in the majors this year. How bad will I be?
    Eric A Longenhagen: He’s so tough to nail down because he’s so exceptionally talented but frustrating. Something about his bat path seems flimsy to me but I can’t put my finger on it. There’s also a chance a tweak unlocks everything and he’s a force of nature.

    Monte Hall: Let’s make a deal! Dan Straily for Nick Williams?
    Eric A Longenhagen: Show me the other door

    Salt: Which MiLB Park is your favorite?
    Eric A Longenhagen: Coca-Cola Park in Allentown

    1. Thanks Romus. Good post, but just a note for Eric L. …. Jhailyn Ortiz plays RF. He has not played a single professional inning at 1B. And he plays RF very well. Fast for his size, I watched him run last year from his spot deep, and shaded toward center field, to right field foul territory, just beyond the 1B bag, to catch a popup. He also has a strong, rightfielder’s arm that would be a shame to waste at 1B. Yes, he could end up at first, but having seen him play RF, I wouldn’t want to move him.

      1. Yeah.
        EAL is a pretty good evaluator and I am thinking on Ortiz he has fallen into the group think of the national guys…..’he is big, probably will get bigger and then slow up, thus he must go to first base’.
        I guess it could happen eventually, but we all know Ortiz’ capabilities on this site, and first base is not on the horizon any time soon….maybe 10 years from now.

    1. Hinkie….here is an oddity….Phillies had two of the very select few baseball players in MLB history in their system, drafted twice in the first round…..and both from Stanford….John Mayberry Jr and Mark Appel.

      1. Romus, not for nothing, but I would love to see how many Stanford players really turned out to be above average MLB players. After the two mentioned, didn’t the Phils have a prospect who was other worldly traded for Doc who never really made it either – can’t think of his name. I recall for many years Stanford was known to toy with batter’s swings and either ML coaches could correct it – or the player would not be an effective hitter in the big time. Just sayin’ for a big time program, they seem to have had their share of players who weren’t as successful as originally deemed ?

    2. Thanks Hinkie for the interesting article about Mark Appel. I hope he finds true happiness in his life and his pursuits. I wish him good luck for the future.

    3. I have probably written about this here before but this story reminds me of why it’s so informative to go to Spring Training. You learn more about these players from how they conduct themselves during the spring than you might imagine and sometimes you learn when guys just don’t have the skills to cut it – it’s that obvious (like Larry Greene – I watched 10 minutes of BP and concluded that he was toast).

      So, in years I have been to ST, I have observed some interesting stuff. A few years ago we went and hung around the Carpenter complex for 3 days and watched warm ups and games and practice. That year (right after Appel had been acquired), a few players really stood out for better or for worse. Andy Knapp was a man on a mission. He wasn’t rude, but he barely cracked a smile the whole time – he had a job to do and he was going to do it by God. Ben Lively had a similar demeanor.

      Roman Quinn and Jorge Alfaro showed great magnetism and engaging personalities. Zach Eflin showed himself to be just a regular, super-nice dude – which, by all accounts, he is.

      And Mark Appel was just a wreck in my opinion. He’s a big guy – like 6 foot 5 – and it just looked like he wanted to make himself as small as possible, crawl into a hole and disappear. He was not just shy and reticent, he seemed almost timid and skittish and nobody was bothering him or tracking him down. He wasn’t negative or nasty – he just had the most defeatist demeanor and body language I’ve ever seen in an athlete. When I left ST, I had pretty much written him off in my head as a guy who was never going to have the comfort and intestinal fortitude to make it. He is just not that guy.

      So go to ST if you can – if you spend time in the complex you’ll be amazed at what you pick up.

      1. That’s a really insightful view. It’s kind of sad to see a former no.1 overall pick crumple under the pressure. But, hey, that’s why they say baseball is largely a mental game. Not just on the field smarts/instincts, but off-the-field durability and grit.

  21. Mark Appel is “stepping away” from baseball. Meanwhile, the Phillies will hold on to his rights.

  22. Well, financially he should be ok, but it has and will probably be tough mentally knowing he is only the 3rd overall #1 never to make the majors. Houston once again got us in the deal(Domingo Santana).

    1. The Phillies didn’t lose the Pence trade with Houston. They got a player that has compiled 20.1 fWAR since the beginning of the 2011 season, when the trade happened.

      The trade the Phillies lost is the Pence deal with the Giants. They bought high and sold low.

      1. Exactly…..the Pence/Giant trade, …Tommy Joseph, a great guy, but pure bad luck with the concussions and then the wrist..
        Incidentally, he decided not to go down to Clearwater i understand but will workout in Atlanta and hit there at a gym/cage facility, I assume until required to report in 3/4 weeks with the remaining position players
        Purely conjecture on my part, but I wonder if the Phillie told him they were trying to move him and he decided he did not want to be at the facility if the word came down that he was moved.

        1. TJ seems like a class guy. Hope he lands with a contending AL club where he makes a difference. I think he’s a candidate for coach/mgr when his playing days end.

          1. I think TJ knows he will have limited playing time with Santana and then Hoskins in front of him, and I am willing to guess Matt K. probably indicated to him he will try to find a good opportunity for him to further advance his career…that is get as many PAs as possible on a MLB team.
            I mean, that is the least he should do for TJ….he has been a good soldier for the Philies. sitting on the pine will not get him more money in arbitration leading to his first big contract.
            Maybe I am wrong but that is how I see it.

            1. I would be surprised if TJ even makes the major league roster for the Phillies in 2018. He’s position limited to 1b and Hoskins can back-up that position for Santana. I would think with a limited bench that they would prefer a player who can play multiple positions and has some speed..

              TJ’s only ML role will be with another team..

  23. Considered himself the “worst Pitcher in Baseball” in 2014. It is easy to forget how hard it is to make it to the Majors, and succeed. The physical tools are fairly easy to see, but the mental tools, and the extra something that they need, is not. I wish him well, and it is a shame that he could not re-discover what he had at Stanford. I can’t wait until the Phils are making trades again where we get back the best player in the deal, and the other team has to worry about prospects panning out.

  24. Well everyone, it is February already, and in less than 2 weeks Ps and Cs report. There are a lot of unsigned FAs. I know all of these SPs will have jobs at some point, and I want 1 to land here. We have talked about our preferences a lot this off season, and I have to believe we land someone.

  25. I still believe that the Phils NEED to sign a reliable SP this year. And whoever they sign, Nola will still emerge as the best arm in the rotation. I don’t see Darvish signing with the Phils unless it will be around $180M-$200M contract. Arrieta knows that this will be his only chance to get big $$, thus, asking for a TOR type contract. I don’t see Arrieta pitching better than Nola so a $150M contract might be better utilized as a $80M contract to Cobb (who will slot behind Nola) and use the extra $$ to absorb contracts for prospects and add to spending budget for next years FA class.

    Klentak should try to see if he can sign LHPs Hector Santiago and/or Derek Holland to minor league contracts with invite to ST. If not, I’m rolling with Cobb and the current rotation arms of #1 Nola, #2 Cobb, #3 Eickhoff, #4 Velazquez and #5 Lively.

    Start Pivetta and Eflin in AAA and see if they can regain their earlier success, if not, start the transition to the pen. Jake Thompson will be the mystery man. With a full rotation in LHV (Pivetta, Eflin, Eshelman, Irvin, Taveras, Leibrandt), maybe Jake can start throwing as a relief and see if he can regain the bite on his SL and add velocity on his FB like what Morgan did.

    1. Boras represents Arrieta……highly unlikely the Phillies give in to his demands.
      In fact Boras is one of the reasons for this slow signing period…Hosmer, Moose, Hollandm JD Mart and Arrieta all his clients.

      1. Boras has a de facto problem. His players will start to look at him as the problem. My father always said 20% of something is greater than 100% of nothing.

        1. Boras has pointed the finger to teams tanking and of course Derek Jeter and Neil Huntingdon of the Pirates for the slow down…..Kanley Jansen alludes to conspiracy to collude by the owners, and maybe a stirrer is in order down the road.
          What a mess.

    2. From Jim’s report overnight, sounds like Jake has already begun the transition to the pen.

      As for Darvish, the word seems to be that 5 year offers are in. He’s basically waiting to see who’ll go 6. I say nay to 6 BUT again, hopefully Johnny M unleashes the hound$, tells MacKlentak to outbid the other parties on the AAV, say $30M per first 3 yrs, $25M in the 4th and 5th, that’s $140M, and if necessary offer a healthy signing bonus of $5-$10M. By 2023, he’s out of the picture while Sixto & Co. are the mainstays.

    1. Yesterday I balked at the idea. Today I’m not as sure. If LAD wants to sign Darvish AND re-sign Kershaw next year, that should knock them out of the big FA sweepstakes. One less competitor? But I can see both perspectives.

      1. 8mark … teams want to get under the luxury tax threshold for 2018 so they can reset their clock and blow past it again in 2019. The Dodgers (and Yankees) are going to look to spend wildly next winter. In other words, if the Dodgers shed Kemp’s salary and replace it with Darvish’s money now, they’ll still re-sign Kershaw (though his AAV won’t be too much more than it is now, just for about 4 or 5 more years) and still try to ink Bryce Harper.

        1. Hinkie & KuKo, that’s food for thought from both of you. I’m not sure how much Cobb gets us closer to contention. The FA pitching market is thin at best. I think I would rather trade from depth to get somebody worth while, that is if we can’t sign Darvish or Arrieta on a smart contract.

        2. Hnkie….Kershaw should be at $35M AAV….Darvish at approx $23/24M AAV…together almost $60M for them.
          Dodgers need to move Kemp and mbye Logan F and Grandal to get Darvish this year….next season not sure how it will transpire for them.

    2. Great article, Mike. I’ve been posting for a while that I would eat a good portion of Kemp’s contract. However, I would never do it for Wilmer Font. I’d do it for Mitchell White. White is the least talked about great prospect in MiLB. The Phillies have guys like Font growing on trees at CBP, LHV, and Reading. Mitchell White. OTOH, would slot right behind Sixto Sanchez in the Phillies stable of young arms.

      1. Hinkie are you saying Mitchell White is worth $38.5 million? Again the FO didn’t play this market correctly IMO. They painted themselves into a corner with the Santana signing.

        In a vacuum I love Santana but he has no real position flexibility thus you force one of your best young offensive prospects in Hoskins to a spot in the OF.

        That in turn effects Nick Williams and Altherr 2 players that if on your squad need to play everyday. The sequencing of their moves is totally out of order if you ask me.

        and we haven’t even gotten to their inability to move Cesar who is blocking their next best prospect ready to come up.

        1. The only FA pitcher I’d think about signing to a multi year contract is Yu Darvish. I hate Lance Lynn. Cobb is no better than Jerad Eickhoff (going forward), and Arrietta is going backwards.
          The question shouldn’t be “Is Mitch White worth 38 million dollars?”. It should be “Is Mitch White worth more than anything else you can buy with 38 million dollars you have laying around and may/or not spend?” For me, if Mitchell White was a FA pitcher this winter, I’d buy him before Cobb, Arrietta, or Lynn.

          1. @Hinkie – i like Mitchell White too and will be the price (at the very least) i wanted to to absorb Kemp’s contract. But you are exposing your bias because your analogy of White vs FA pitchers is way off base.

            White should be compared to IFA and not a regular FA. Assume White is non-American (i.e. Cuban, Japs, etc), how much do you think the teams will spend to sign him? Even you apply the old CBA rules, does any team sign him more $$ than Moncada, Alvarez, etc? At 23 yo, White’s value lies in his age and potential. How much do you think Ohtani cost using the old CBA rule? $20M, $30M?

            Another sign of your bias is when you said that White is worth more than anything else you buy at $38M (again see previous paragraph). Signing a FA player (who is not even a Top 100) with no MLB track record at $38M can get a GM fired.

      2. Hinkie……I also like Mitchell White …but as you can see below from last years report on him , he does have a wart or two to iron out.
        He was only able to pitch 73 innings last year.
        He is probably 2 years away from the show….has not even pitched significant time in AA ball yet but 28 innings….so he will need a few more innings there and then some at the AAA level….but I like his promise coming back from the TJ.

    3. $43M is like having Cobb (i predict as a $18M AAV SP) for 2 1/2 years. If the Phils is not getting Alvarez or White or a combo of Oaks, Heredia, Ruiz, Jimenez — Klentak should just use the $43M and just add another $35-37M and have Cobb for 5 years.

      Obviously, LAD is hesitant to let get of really good prospects, that’s why I like Klentak to sweeten the deal by absorbing Forsythe $9M and replace him with Cesar Hernandez. A $47M net savings plus a productive cost controlled 2B – will make it easier to LAD to give up very good prospects. Klentak might end up walking away with Alvarez, White, Oaks and some more with that deal while having Forsythe keep the 2B warm for Kingery, serve as insurance to Franco or be a trade asset come July.

      1. The Padres are still paying Kemp it’s only $2.5 million on each of the next two years which is $5 million but still if you make that move just to get prospects you have to play Kemp

        and if you have to play Kemp even some which of your young OF guns suffers a loss of playing time for him?

        1. Kemp is most like a DFA candidate. He will only make the 25-man roster is he played really well in ST. Kemp can be bench OF/1B so at the very least, he need to out play ToJo to keep the bench spot. whoever play better between Quinn or Nick might take the 4th OF spot and one will start in AAA and join Cozens and Pullin to get regular at bats.

          1. Kuko….yuo can still DFA kemp…..but his contract rights and ‘cap’ hit still belong to the Phillies going forward thru 2019.

            1. @romus – DMAR questions is not related to the cap hit but more on who will get booted in the 25-man and/or will get less AB if Klentak acquire Kemp.

              The DFA option should answer DMAR’s concern. The cap hit is irrelevant. Phillies already know that it is a sunk cost that’s why they will ask for a good prospect in return.

            2. Cap hit is not irrelevant whn ot comes to signing manny machado or Bryce Harper…..extending theeligible arb guys….and signing another FA SP….Kemp’s $22M in 2019 does play a part in the total salary structure.

            3. @romus – do you already do the math to come to your conclusion?

              Starting 2019 (cap is $209M), the Phillies only have <$40M contract commitment which includes Santana. Even if the Phils sign Harper and Machado at $40M/year each and add the $23M from Kemp – that's $140M before 3 ARB 1 (Nola, Altherr, Eickhoff).

              $70M left before luxury tax for 3 ARB 1 and bunch of team control, what's your concern here?

            4. @romus – yes, I consider all of them and go 3 steps ahead. I also consider that a) some of ARB eligible will not be in team in 2019 (Cesar, Rupp, ToJo, Garcia, Neris); and b) will not get the max ARB1 or win arbitration.

              I’ve mentioned Nola, Eickhoff (who are candidates for LT contract) because there are must keep and include Altherr because i just like him. Bullpen arms will be a strength going forward so older arms like Neris, Garcia might be traded to a contender at some point in 2018. Phils will just sign a FA closer (or develop internally) once they are ready to contend and will have Morgan, Ramos, Arano, Dominguez, Kilome and some ex-SPs like Anderson, Pivetta and even Vinny (who has a big chance to be traded since he’s with Boras).

              Rupp and ToJo are junk. The can be traded for cash, PTBNL or just release them.

              Franco – who needs him if you have Machado. He will be traded if Machado signing is imminent.

              So Morgan is the only one left. Even he wins the ARB, that will not make the Phils go over the luxury tax threshold.

        2. Sorry, with Santana’s signing there’s absolutely no room for Kemp. There’s barely room for Altherr, Williams and Quinn (let alone someone like Cozens or Pullin down the road). Kemp is exactly the type of player they should NOT acquire. What they need is a solid mid to upper rotation starter.

          1. The theory with obtaining Kemp is as a 60-90day temp employee….he will be DFA in June or July, just as Saunders was last year.
            For that 2/3 months he should not be blocking anyone from the minors coming, since Kingery would appear to bea June call-up right now.
            My only concenr was his $22M ‘cap’hit in 2019 when it came to signing the big FA.

            Kuko……made a good case that the Phillies should be under the lux tax ceiling even with the Kemp commitment and also signing a Machado or a Harper (approx $35/40M AAV), plus a quality FA pitcher.

            1. I don’t understand your comment. If Kemp plays, then it means that Altherr, Williams or Hoskins do not. Of course he blocks someone. Now, if the theory is they are absorbing a salary just to get a prospect, the calculus changes, but otherwise they should avoid Kemp at all costs. He prevents other players from getting development time at the very least. They do NOT need an outfielder or first baseman unless it’s an elite player (Mike Trout).

            2. Yes……Kemp only comes with a quality prospect.
              Thats has been the understanding all along from Huinkie, KuKo and most all the national sporting press.
              That has been the given…..LAD knows that they will have to sacrifice to rid themselves of Kemp’s contract in order to sign Darvish..
              And……April and May and probably part of June is not much to ask for Kapler to juggle and play chess with the lineup.

            3. If Kemp stays, it means that he had good ST. Kemp can be a back up 1B/LF with either Quinn starting at CF in LHV and AA and Nick will do the OF roulette.

              ToJo will be the ultimate casualty of Kemp and not the other OFs. I don’t see a sustained success with Kemp so he will be DFAd one way or the other.

            4. Kemp
              That’s quite an awkward game of musical chairs in the OF. If Kemp comes, somebody else HAS to go, preferably for that TOR. Don’t see it happening though the concept of acquiring a top prospect that way is intriguing.

    1. Why trade Rupp? He’s serviceable against LHP’s and has an option remaining. He’s good depth to have.

      1. Because: (a) he’s likely hit his ceiling; (b) his ceiling isn’t very high; (c) he is blocking other players with a higher ceiling at a position where the team now has too many players; and (d) he probably has some residual trade value. That, my friend, is a player who should be traded.

        1. He has an option remaining. Send him to AAA, who cares? If he plays better than Knapp in the spring send Knapp to AAA to get every day at bats.

          Odds are one of the three guys is going to get hurt at some point.

          1. I care because both are major league quality players that have value. It’s a waste of resources to take a major leaguer and put him in the minors with no end in sight. You trade the guy you don’t need – not stuff him AAA with nowhere to go.

            1. I personally think having an MLB catcher in AAA is a good thing for depth purposes. If someone’s willing to give up an asset for Rupp, absolutely I’d move him. But I wouldn’t move him just to move him, especially when he has roster flexibility. Given the beating these guys can take between concussions and overall wear and tear I want a legit MLB option backing them up. Depth is important to have.

              Why did the dodgers win 100+ games? They were talented sure but they were arguably the deepest team in MLB.

    1. I’m not saying carry three catchers on the MLB roster, I’m saying send one (preferably Rupp) to AAA. Then if you have an injury you’re bringing up a guy better than any minor league signing up who’s already worked with the pitchers. Makes no sense to get rid of him in my mind.

  26. Speaking of our Catching, does Knapp have any options left? Alfaro does not, so he will be on the roster. There is still no proof that he can be an everyday C. His defensive skills, outside of arm strength, are suspect, and he still has to show he can hit. So, Rupp stays as Insurance. I like Knapp, but where does he fit on the roster? And, if he has an option left, why not play him almost every day at LHV?

    1. I believe Knapp has the ability to be a much better player than Rupp and perhaps an even better player than Alfaro and his switch hitting ability and ability to play first make him all the more valuable. One day folks are going to wake up and find out that Andy Knapp is a damned good player – and it might be after he’s moved on from the Phillies, but hopefully not.

    2. matt13….yes he has options….first year on 40 was 2017, this is his second year (2018) on the 40.

  27. I don’t know what you all think, but I have been reading the Agents’ comments about the slow market. I find them very self- serving, with an attitude of “just pay the players, you all have money”. I am almost always on the side of players’ getting paid, but some of these demands are way off base. Two points, first, most of these real long contracts don’t work out very well. Who was better than Albert Pujols? How many years has his contract been a waste? More than half. Eric Hosmer wanting 8 years, but having to settle for 7 is not a real hardship. There is an awful lot of money being offered to Yu Darvish, but he is waiting for certain teams to bid, or for someone to go to 6 years. Again, wherever he goes it will be for a lot of money. It doesn’t seem that the $ is off, simply the length of the contract. Second, it helps the Agents if teams that are going nowhere bid on their players. But, that is not always the way to build a winning team. Paying a lot of money for someone moving your team’s wins a couple of games is a waste of resources. Overpaying for a Moustakas or a Lance Lynn just to say you did something is not very smart. Maybe the front offices are simply getting smarter, and there is no collusion going on, and threatening work stoppages or ST boycotts is not going to work in the players favor.

    1. matt13……perhaps the MLB owners should indicate at the next CBA, perhaps begin discussions on going the way of the NFL structured contracts…after all it is the richest sport in the US and thrives, though of late social issues have brought them down a notch or two..
      That would silence Boras and his peers….that is one system, without guarantee contracts….they are most fearful of.

    2. The agents have made promises to their players but now they can’t get them the money or years promised. The reality is that it’s not a great year for top end free agent talent. Darvish and Arrieta both have major flaws, Lynn and Cobb are above average mid rotation arms, Hosmer is a good but not great player, Moustakas has had one great year, etc. Yes it feels like collusion but it also just feels like the price tags need to be real.

      1. And Boras represents 5 of the top 9 free agents.
        He always drives a strong bargain when it comes to his top free agent clients.
        Guys like Hellickson he has some flexibility with in negotiations , but someone like Arrieta or now JD Mart. he will go the distance.

    3. I agree. Literally, the last person I want to hear from about the bona fides of the free agent market is Scott Boras. It’s taken a long time, but the front offices are getting smarter and do not want to pay for years of declining or non-performance. Where this ends up is interesting. I always wonder if the players will fight for free agency after 4 or 5 years and not 6. That’s the next battle line, but short of a claim of collusion (which is a legitimate gripe if it were to occur and would give rise to legal claims – and, contrary to your assertion, we don’t know if it’s going on or not, but I would like to think that front offices don’t want to re-live that old nightmare, so I imagine it’s probably not happening), I don’t want to hear the agents whining about why their clients are not getting quite as much money or stupid contracts as they once did.

  28. Matt – I agree with you. I think that the Agents are doing the players a disservice. If $100 million isn’t enough for you to live the good life, the problem is you. I want to see the players union do more for the guys at the bottom of the roster, like doubling the minimum wage.

    1. It’s the price of mediocrity that’s hamstrung most clubs. They’ve themselves to blame and now their trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. I agree that the players’ perspective is not based on reality but on the off the rails contracts which set the recent trend of the past two decades. I can’t pick a side here. Like they say, both sides of an issue can’t both be right but they can both be wrong. The argument seems to be over who can better justify their position. It’ll all surface in the next CBA, unfortunately for the fans.

  29. Drawing from the current Roman Quinn thread on the ST post (figured it belongs here as much as anywhere), I can see a rough breakdown of OF playing time in games started (without factoring in injuries) as follows:

    Leftfield – Hoskins 100, Altherr 30, Williams 20, Quinn 10

    Centerfield – Herrera 120, Quinn 25, Altherr 15

    Right field – Williams 100, Altherr 40, Quinn 20

    First base – Santana 120, Hoskins 40

    DH (10 games) – Hoskins 5, Santana 5

    ….which should get each of them (except Quinn) near or over 400 PAs. That seems to be the new grid for the new Kapler-Klentak grid.

  30. Looks like Mike Trout and family are en route to Super Bowl LII.

    Also … Joel Embiid is attending today’s super bowl. Eagles are undefeated in games JoJo has attended !

    Eagles 26
    Patriots 20

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