Open Discussion: Week of March 11, 2018

The Phillies signed free agent pitcher Jake Arrieta.

Minor League camp prepares for the start of the Grapefruit League games this Tuesday.

#Phly Phillies Phly!

Organizational News and Changes

The Phillies have signed 31 pre-arbitration players to 2018 contracts. Rhys Hoskins was renewed.

The Phillies signed 17-year old, Mexican, RHP Manuel Urias to a free agent contract.

Phillies have reassigned INF Heiker Meneses and C/1B Nick Rickles to minor league camp. 49 players remain in major league camp – 33 are on the 40-man roster and 16 NRIs.

The Phillies signed Jake Arrieta to a 3-year/$75M contract.  The money is front-loaded – $30M in year one, $25M, in year two, and $20M in year three.  Arrieta can opt out after the second year, but the Phillies can void the opt-out and pick up an extension for years four and five at a base salary of $20M per year plus with incentives that could net Arrieta up to an additional $5M per year (on games started in years one and two) and an additional $5M each year (based on his finishes in Cy Young voting).

Early reaction on the trade is mixed.

So, the Phillies have finally made the free agent signing that a lot of you were calling for.  It is a move that another large group of you demanded or you would have declared the MacPhail/Klentak regime a failure.  Well, you should be happy for a while.  Now, let’s try and reign in all the negativity until we’re a couple weeks into the season.

Spring Training

The Phillies spring training schedule is available here.

The Phillies’ minor league spring training schedule this Tuesday and  is available here.

I have a copy of the XST game schedule.  It starts on Monady, April 9th.  I’ll post a copy when I transcribe it from the color coded master I have.

Free Agent Talk

The signings of Arrieta and Lynn leave Cobb on the board.  We’ll see if the speculation that the Phillies were interested in two of the three free agent pitchers was warranted.

Key Dates:

  • 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, unsubstantiated signings in italics)

  • 3/7/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Manuel Urias to a minor league contract
  • Tim Berry
  • Patrick Frazier
  • 2/19/18–Phillies signed free agent LHP Maikel Garrido to a minor league contract
  • 2/19/18–Phillies signed free agent C Edward Barboza to a minor league contract
  • 2/16/18–Phillies signed free agent Gabriel Lino to a minor league contract; assigned to Lehigh Valley
  • 1/30/18–Phillies signed free agent Wilson Garcia to a minor league contract; assigned to Clearwater
  • 1/9/18–Phillies signed free agent Juan Escorcia to a minor league contract; assigned to GCL Phillies West
  • The organization’s rosters 
  • 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.

340 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 11, 2018

  1. Does anyone know if Manuel Urias is related to Julio Urias ?

    I hope the Jake Arrieta signing works out, but I have serious doubts. Arrieta has been in decline since winning the CYA in 2015. The Phillies’ window of contention isn’t opening until 2019. I don’t believe he’ll be a difference making SP in 2019 and beyond. I understand 3 yrs @ 75 million is doable, but between Arrieta’s projection for the Phillies’ contending years, the cost of another draft pick (and the slot dollars that comes with), and another half million J2 dollars, I would not have signed him.

    1. I haven’t followed Arrieta in great detail but Cub fans on other boards seem genuinely annoyed that he is leaving and that he turned down a better and longer term offer from Theo Epstein earlier in the off-season. He finished the 2017 season in strong fashion.

      I don’t know whether he will come to camp with determination to show the doubters wrong or resentful that Boras didn’t get him a max contract to play for a contender.

      To my mind, the symbolism is now positive for next off-season’s free agents looking at Philly.

    2. A third round pick and half a million international money loss is the reason to not sign him? Come on. The draft is such a lottery. Moniak, Randolph, Greene haven’t looked strong as first rounders. But Kingery and Hoskins look like studs as a second and fifth rounder. You just don’t know.

      1. zach green, cord sandberg, aaron brown, luke williams, cole stobbe, and connor seabold have been the last 6 third round picks.

          1. IMO, jury is still out on Stobbe and Seabold, a bit too early to right them off as irrelevant….perhaps the others are skating on thin ice now.

            1. fair point on Seabold. true, stobbe has a some time, but really he needs to do something this year. he didn’t even make our top 30. that’s not a good sign

      2. I agree I think that was the most ridiculous reason trotted out there not to sign him. If anything the system is flush with plenty of 3rd round types.

        If ever there was a year we could take off after the 1st round it’s this one.

        1. The fact that the Phillies have sucked at picking players in the 3rd round doesn’t mean the pick is worthless. The draft is about getting talent in every round and hoping a couple of them turn into major league players.

          The more players you can take and the earlier you take them, the better those odds. Also lost with the pick is the slot money associated. That is certainly not a reason to not sign an FA if it’s the right FA. We will see..

    3. Look at his stats after the All star game last yr. The window for wining is not up too anyone but the players. I mean it’s a yr off .

  2. Signing 2 RP (Neshek & Hunter), a bat (Santana), and now a SP (Arrieta) makes this offseason a success. I know there are concerns about Arrieta but this is what the team needed to do. The only way to get a better SP was with a trade which would have cost the team some prospects. So by losing 3rd round draft pick and $500K International money getting Arrieta was cheaper than trading for one.

  3. I understand the concern naysayers have about signing Arrieta. I simply think it makes the bigger picture brighter because of the ripple effects it should have.

    First, it makes us WC viable, whether Klentak is done with the starting rotation (Cobb?) or not. In the current MLB competitive climate, it’s presumption to say they won’t “contend” until 2019.

    Another sub .500 season will make the Phillies less relevant and less desirable to Machado or Harper (or most high end FAs to be). And the starting pitching crop next winter is less impressive than this. Besides, nobody around here wants to trade Kingery or Sixto for an available TOR. (But a decent LHP like Hamels or Duffy might be had at this coming deadline for less IF we’re buyers.)

    Draft implications? Klentak can go trade for supplemental picks once the regular season begins. In any case, let’s get perspective on the urgency of selecting more HS and/or college kids when we’ve yet to sort through the depth of what we already have.

    Anyway, worst case – a less effective Jake sticks around for his 3rd year at $20M as say a 4 or 5. We’ve been through worse.

    Kudos to MacKlentak, all in all.

    1. ….and if Cobb can be signed for anything near the range Lynn was (say, $15M per one year or two years @ $25M?), let’s do that too. Velasquez or Pivetta could fetch you something worthwhile.

      1. For what they could fetch, I’d rather have VV and Pivetta in the pen (Although I still want at least Pivetta to get another crack at starting). I don’t think they have much value on the market right now.

        1. Again last night….Nick Pivetta cannot get thru the lineup after the second venture around……his secondary stuff really needs to come around this season…still mid-ST so he has a time to adjust.

          1. pv is a two pitch pitcher, which works from the pen but not as a starter. with the number of starters the phils have to choose from( i realize they’re mostly 4-5) why not send him to aaa to learn the cu, as they did with kendricks. pv can’t succeed the second or third time through the lineup with what he’s throwing now, no matter how good his fast ball is. i really like him but he needs another pitch.

  4. I’m very pleased with the addition. Arrieta is the guy I wanted them to sign if they could get him in a three year deal. The loss of a 3rd pick and $500K of international money is a small price to pay. If Arrieta does well, it will really only be a 2 year deal that can convert into a 5 year deal. It’s really a low risk move with huge dollars but they’ve got lots of money right now. Cobb would definitely be a nice fit on a 2 year deal also but we’ll see.
    I’m actually concerned by the lack of hitting in spring training. We aren’t doing much hitting in the games so far and guys aren’t doing much. There’s still two week to go so let’s amp things up. Jim – see you on Friday, after Lenny’s.

    1. And if he doesn’t do well it will be a 3-year deal. I am not a fan of signing Arrietta but at least they are only on the hook for 3 years and not longer. I certainly hope he pitches well for those 3 years..

      1. Agreed. The 3rd year could be $20M of dead money but money is the asset that they have plenty of right now.

    2. Murray,

      Some well struck balls last night: Hoskins a scorcher but to the 3B then a deep high fly to just right of centerfield that almost left the ballpark; Quinn a scorcher in his one AB, unfortunately, a double play; Florimon a beautiful bunt single and a solidly hit double; Kingery well struck single.

      But, yeah, not much hitting.

      Of course, the Phillies didn’t play to win last night. Otherwise, Pivetta would not have been hitting against home American League team, so he wouldn’t have been batting with one out and a man on second, as in the third inning.

      Seranthony looked good. FB in the low 90s, sharp breaking stuff.

      Florimon has got to be a keeper this season. Again, witness last night: bunt single, double, stolen base. He plays lots of positions.

  5. Arrieta may help the younger pitchers by example in his daily approach and be somewhat of a leader.
    And if he opts out after two years……then maybe the three Latin arms will be ready to make their push….Sixto, Adonis and Franklyn…along with the 1.3 in June, if it is a pitcher.

  6. Every pitcher no matter trade for high end prospects, free agency for high dollars and years or the draft ( do to imjury and failure rate) comes with risk.

    the length of this contract( not hampering our ability short and longterm to sign talent) and the need to fill the rotation until 2020 or so when sixto, Adonis etc hopefully arrive makes this a really good risk.

    it still leaves plenty of opportunity for young starters to get opportunities in the 3-5 slots in rotation.

    Ive been a critic of MK for being paralyzed with fear from over analysis. Have to give him credit here. a good mix of aggressiveness but with a contract that is designed to prevent disaster

    1. Still makes me wonder….how much was this more of a Middleton push for something to happen this season vs waiting another year.

  7. The Phillies needed solid rotation help and they got help at a great price, for a limited number of years and without having to trade their prospects. If you said in November that the Phillies signed Arrieta for 3 years and $75 million, nobody would believe you. And it was a game well played. They let the market come to them.

    It might not work out great, but it was an excellent calculated risk as far as I’m concerned.

  8. They’ll need a 40 man spot for Arrieta. My hunch is that Knapp is winning the back up catcher job and they don’t want to send Rupp to AAA. I think they’re going to trade Rupp for some minor leaguer.

    1. trade rupp is recoup a little of the international money lost in free agency. I’d be happy to trade him for 250,000 in international money

    2. Or perhaps Luis Garcia or Zac Curtis are DFAed to see if they can catch on with another team before the season begins..

      1. I hope it’s Curtis. Pinto was optioned and not currently in the 40-man so I’m crossing my fingers it’s not Pinto.

  9. Question: Does losing the second and third-round picks affect the allotment the team is given to sign players in the draft?

    1. if teams lose a pick, they lose the allotted $$ too so it lowers the overall $$ slot value to work around and sign their draft picks.

  10. Time to think about minor league rotations as games start tomorrow. It looks look Thompson will be a reliever going forward. With Arrieta and Thompson moves, that leaves Lively, Eflin, Eshelman, Anderson, and DeLos Santos for AAA. Liebrandt might go to the bullpen also. If not, he’ll be in that rotation also. Reading will have Kilome, Romero, Irvin, Taveras, Waguespack, and Garcia. Cwater will have Sanchez, Medina, Suarez, Fanti, Falter, and Mills. Requena?? Lakewood will have Young, Howard, Seabold and several guys fighting for the other 3 spots – Armas, Carrasco, Garcia, Rosso, Brown and possibly other young guys who look ready for the jump.

  11. Arrieta has been linked to the Phillies since the beginning so the signing did not surprised me at all. Darvish is my preference, and although I don’t see Arrieta to pitch sub 3 and 200 IP (I can see him at 3.5ish ERA and 180 IP), there are some intangibles that he can bring to the table – 1) his (and Santana) signing showed the rest of the league (and soon to be FAs) that the Phillies is open for business and willing to spend; 2) if Arrieta pitched better than anybody expected, he has the resume (WS, CY young) to attract other FAs; and 3) he can serve as a mentor to a lot of the young SPs in the team.

    Hinkie’s reason on not sign Arrieta is not ridiculous if you consider long term implications. I for one, always think that way too. a year ago, we are discussing Joey Bats in this site and some are pushing for his signing. Arrieta will make the Phils a contender for the WC, but the ultimate success will depend on the development of Hoskins, JPC, Alfaro and Williams and improvement from Eickhoff, Pivetta, Vinny and Eflin.

  12. Does Pivetta throw a 3rd pitch? I’m starting to think that Pivetta will move to the pen ahead of Vinny if he is not traded. At least Vinny can throw a FB-CB-CU and can get ahead of the count. Vinny just need to develop a reliable pitch to get a strike and not to be over reliant on his 4S that can go anywhere.

    1. Pivetta is supposedly working on a change-up but right now, he has little command over any of his off-speed stuff right now. I’m still an advocate of keeping him as a starter for the time being..

      1. Sometimes you just get a feel about a guy and my “feel” with Pivetta is that he’s not far from a breakthrough and if he does it, he could be quite good.

        Vinny seems to be working through things, but he absolutely needs an above-average breaking pitch he can consistently get over for strikes to be anything more than a 4. He does look better than last year, however.

        1. My take on Vinny is from a health standpoint.
          Last years nerve numbness affecting his middle finger could just be the forewarning of more issues to come.

        2. Catch – I agree, sometimes the baseball gods throw you a crystal ball. The odds are that the prospects will .. stay prospects and flame out. In the Phillies case… they have so many lottery tickets, one of efflin, Pivetta, VV,
          Elscheman, Thompson, etc is going to figure it out… to me there should be a #3 in that group. I can see it being Pivetta, Eickhoff, VV etc. I think that is a fair bet.

          I was against signing a FA starter because I wanted to give the young guys a thorough look before trades, releases, or spots close up. I’m good with arrietta for the deal that it is, team friendly, and at 20mil in the last year, you can probably move him with eating a decent amount. I how Klentaks next move is to hold off until the deadline, see how the team is, then go in for a SP upgrade if needed, and it probably will. Then, the phils should have some real momentum going into the biggest FA to possibly ever come along. Hello Machado

    2. Does it matter? Pivetta can look good for a few pitches and just throw a fastball right down the middle. Or hang a breaking ball. He’s just way too inconsistent. Worse thing is that once he gives up a HR, he starts nibbling. Which leads to walks. Or more HRs.

      1. I still think he has the best stuff. I wont give up on Pivetta yet. he could be our best starter or a dud. has good stuff. needs to learn how to pitch

  13. At the very least, Arrieta is the # 2 SP behind Nola. Even at 2017’s #s. His second half was much better last year, with an ERA a little over 2. Klentak played this very well. In year 3 it is a $20M hit, hardly an impediment to doing anything else they want to do. The young guys, Sixto, Kilome, etc. won’t be here in 2019 either, so we get Arrieta for next year when we all believe they should contend. So Lively starts in LHV, and Eflin needs to because he is just getting to feel wha tit is like to pitch with 2 good knees. I don’t see a downside. The loss of the 3Rd RD pick? Let MK get another pick or 2 with some of the excess players we have, like Rupp and TJ. I have to give MK credit. He did a good job with this signing.

  14. To all those trotting out the Phillies failure to sign any worthwhile players in the third round as a reason losing that pick is no big deal … there are plenty of examples of very good players taken in the third (and even fourth and fifth rounds). Over the past few years, Cody Bellinger 4th round, Mookie Betts 5th round, JT Realmuto 3rd round, James Paxton 4th round, Rhys Hoskins 5th round were all selected. Just as importantly, the Phillies are now short 2.35 million dollars of slot money because of the two lost picks. That could mean the team being outbid for a player they really like at 1-3, and will also mean they won’t be selecting/signing and high ceiling players on day three. Last year, under the new slotting system, picks 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, and 1-5 were all paid over slot (because teams behind were promising those players more money). So, let’s say the Phillies like Nolan Gorman at 1-3 … that (1-3) slot will be worth about 7 million dollars. If a team picking behind the Phillies promises Gorman 7.5 million, Gorman tells the Phillies they need to go 500 thousand over slot to sign him. That 500 thousand is (roughly) the slot money for the fourth round pick.
    In addition, the Phillies have used their 5% overage to draft/sign high upside prep players on day three of the draft. The team has now lost almost 170 thousand dollars of that 5% overage. I’m almost certain that’s what it took (100 thousand slot + about 160 thousand overage dollars) to sign Kyle Young a couple years ago.
    Then there’s the 1 million dollars of J2 money the Phillies are without. Instead of 4.75 million J2 dollars, they have 3.75 million. I know the Phillies can trade for more, but they are now limited to trading for 75% of 3.75 million instead of 4.75 million. That’s a grand total of a possible negative 1.75 million J2 dollars.
    Finally, if you think that “It’s ok. The system is deep. This is a one year thing,” Then you’re giving up on next year’s historic FA class. That 2019 class is worth giving up draft picks and international money for.
    Like I mentioned above … I hope it works out, but I have my doubts that Arrieta will have much left in the tank for 2019 and beyond, the years the Phillies will need him to compete for titles.

    1. My mistake. The Phillies have now lost about 120 thousand dollars of the allowed 5% overage. Not 170 thousand dollars. But, the point remains the same.

      1. Hinkie….you make a good point on ext year’s FA class…the Phillies will lose another second round pick and $500K of int’l money, most likely, if they sign any of those FAs….now if Machado is moved to another team by the Os at the trade deadline, then the Phillies will not be penalized, same with Donaldson.
        I do not see them going after any pitchers maybe pomeranz….I see Kershaw back with the Dodgers.

          1. Yeah him too.
            But looks like they will have to sacrifice high pick (s) again if they play the FA game next season.

        1. Why assume it will be a second round pick? If the moves this year make them a .500 or better team and end up picking above 15th, they would lose a 1st round pick, correct?

    2. Lol damn hinkie …. way to throw a wet blanket on us. I think it will workout. I see a major tradedeadline piece coming. The rebuild has shifted, from planning far into the future to let’s take a shot.

      Let’s see what other moves Klentak has before the full ramifications of the signings are made. If we are big players next year as expected, it’s back to back drafts

      1. Thanks for the info, Jim. Although, I think the slot for day three picks was 100 thousand dollars in 2016, and was raised to 125 thousand dollars for last year’s (2017) draft. If that is correct, the Phillies used 125 thousand of their 5% allowed overage to sign Young. That amount (125 thousand) is pretty much what the Phillies have surrendered in overage money for the Santana and Arrieta signings.

  15. … And this excerpt from Keith Law on the Arrieta signing http://www.espn.com/blog/keith-law/insider/post?id=8138:

    “As dangerous as long-term contracts can be for pitchers, teams just kept handing them out for the past two decades, so three years is shockingly short for a pitcher who, while not Cy Young caliber any more, is still a well above-average starter. The fit here, however, is a strange one, with the Phillies still in the early stages of a rebuild, coming off a 66-96 season, and probably not contending until 2019 or 2020 at the earliest.

    Arrieta went from an eight-win pitcher in 2015 to producing just over five WAR over the past two seasons, as the ridiculous command he showed in his Cy Young season didn’t (and perhaps couldn’t) last, while his slider has gone from the most effective in baseball to a below-average offering. He doesn’t throw it for strikes as often as he did two years ago, and when it’s in the zone, hitters hit it more often than they did.

    His average fastball velocity is down 2.5 mph (per Fangraphs) in the same span. He also had huge trouble with left-handed hitters last year, giving up much more hard contact to lefties, mostly because they could sit on his fastball. He hasn’t been hurt — he has made 30 or more starts in three straight years — but perhaps he’s wearing down from heavy workloads and the cross-body delivery that has also made him so effective against right-handed batters.”

    Law also says … “The drawbacks here are that Arrieta might be on a steeper decline than we realize, and that he’s going to produce most of his value on this deal before the Phillies are actually good.”

    This has been my problem. The Phillies may be giving up prospects/assets who will be more helpful to the their next contending team than an aging/declining Arrieta. Time will tell.

    1. Just wondering how he gaged the Lester signing by the Cubs in Dec 2014, after they had five straight years of below .500 ball.
      Of course the Cubs had position player yuongsters on their way…but so do the Phillies.

    2. Early stages of the rebuild? What’s Law talking about? The rebuild may be over. If not darn close.

    3. How does 1 go from a early stages of a rebuild 2018 to contending in 1 to 2 yrs. When the Phillies signed Santana ,Hunter and Nestak it put them in a winning now mode. Taking the second have of last yr as a spring board.

      1. Tim…agree
        And in this division this year the Marlins, Mets and Braves all have issues.
        I can see the Phillies winning at least 32/34 games of the 57 against the three teams.

  16. Hinkie, I usually agree with you. But, I disagree with Klaw, and I think that highlights how I feel. The Phils are not in the early stage of their rebuild, they are at the point where winning needs to matter. Yes, we need progress from some young players, no question. But the acquisition of Santana showed the team feels like I do. There is value in showing the young guys the team believes they are ready to win ballgames. That cannot be over stated. We all believed that ’19 was when we expect them to be WC contenders. So, why not a year early? “2019 or 2020 at the earliest” is wrong, IMO. And, that is part of why I like the deal. Not only to show the young players, but to show FAs next off season. We were 30 games under .500 last year. A really big jump was necessary. Santana was a start. Adding Neshek and Hunter helps also. Arrieta lets us think that .500 is a possibility. If certain things break right, maybe a WC push this year. I’m in.

    1. matt13…..look at the Cubs after ’14, (73 to 97 wins)the Twins and Brewers last year, the Royals after 2012 to 2013( 14 game upswing).
      So it has happened quite often lately.

    2. I respect the differing opinions, but I do disagree with KLaw/Hinkie as well. I like Analytics and all, but they are not guarantees. They can’t measure everything. Basically, a lot of people are writing Arrietta off as if he can’t replicate last years success, or improve on it. Well… as some one who is supposed
      To be very competitive, I’d bet on arrietta figuring it out again, 2017 #s not CY level. He will have flashes. So let’s see, and not shoot this old dog behind the barn just yet, I don’t care what the analytics say. Let him play.

      For the rebuild, the phils are 75% the way through or more. They are in the 2006 version of the old dynasty. Hoskins is a stud, Kingery is about to prove it, Crawford is ready, throw in Herrera and Santana… Alfaro etc.
      I see them competing for the WC this year if it is within reasonable reach 85 wins-88. At the deadline Klentak will unload the prospects for a proven player, and then cap it with top FA signings next off season… rebuild complete … with the cupboard down in the minoRs either giving you more bullets or replacement talent

  17. rocco…….with the Eagles parade starting at the sports complex and ending up at the Art Museum…….do you think the Phillies parade on Nov 1st will follow the same route?
    In ’08 it started at 15th and Market and headed south on Broad to the stadiums.
    I think the Mayor liked the Eagles parade plans
    Just wondering….maybe I should book a room at the Doubltree now and just walk down to the street to watch. 🙂

    1. Romus I will pay for your room, if they win. I am worried about you m8. You cant think they will win more than 74 games?

      1. BobD….yes learned my lesson in ’08….Werth was flinging it all around.
        rocco…..look at the turnaround from the other teams……sometimes it just happens without ‘advanced notice’.

        1. I see the system as being flush right now with enough talent at every level that missing some picks after you are pick at 1:3 is inconsequential.

          I also think the only FA next year we have a punchers chance at is Machado and I see almost 0% percent chance that he doesn’t get moved this season. Again that would be GM malpractice to let him walk for nothing more than 2nd compensation.

          I also see a guy like Enyel De Los Santos being ready next year so not much need for Garrett Richards and not far behind him you have Sixto/Medina and possibly one of the lefties Irvin/Romero/Young.

          We’re good! And that’s even before moving some assets in the trade market that should be obvious.

          I mean shouldn’t Cesar net you something the equivalent of a 2nd to 3rd round pick this year at least?

          Is Neris really necessary if VV works his way into a closer role?

          1. Agree that Machado will probably be moved come July when the Os are seated in the third or fourth spot of the AL-east….if they are challenging for the wild card, then who knows.
            At that point keeping Machado means they may have to break the bank to re-sign him after the season or take the 30th something pick, then Dan D. gets moved out also i assume…but he really looks like a future Yankee
            And I actually thought he would be moved at the winter meetings three months ago but I am sure Dan Duquette was over-ruled by Papa Angelos.

    2. I like the way you think.I have $40 on the Phillies to win it all (much like I had $40 on the Eagles to win it all). Let’s go Phillies!

  18. I am happy with getting to play games that matter in September. To me, we just lived through 6 awful seasons. Much longer than most rebuilds. I know, that was not under MacPhail and Klentak, and the rebuild started much too late. But, for me as a fan, I am ready to play games that count now. Despite all of the numbers showing that Arrieta is not nearly the CyYoung Award Pitcher he was, the current version is still our second best SP. His experience has to help the younger guys, and the cost is not a deterrent to me.

    1. 6 awful seasons is a drop in the bucket for this franchise, for fans … if we don’t have to wait 10+years for postseason births … we are way ahead of our time
      Frame .. in uncharted waters! I’ll
      Take it. Let it rain wins! Lol to me the rebuild is teetering between 2006&2007. Leaning the rebuild process is starting to produce some fruits, wins will
      Start to be more frequent that losses, possibly some winning streaks, the core really starting to step up. Will see, but either way, a lot of the pain is over, time to start enjoying the ascent. I just hope Klentak and the FO can get it down without to many mistakes along the way.

      1. By 2006 you had a team that basically had a .530 winning percentage for the previous half of a decade not a team coming off of a .400 winning percentage.

  19. Well those interested in trading Rupp…..the Brewers Stephen Vogt may be out a long while from shoulder issues…..the Brewers may need an experienced catcher if Vogt has to have some medical incision procedure done on his labrum or rotator.

  20. The Yanks, Boston , Dodgers etc all sign high rated FA lose draft picks and survive. The Phillies still have some holes , they either will be filled with FA or prospects.
    Maybe this yr was a bad spot because The Phillies had a high spot in the draft. Maybe next yr the Phillies may have a much lower spot.

      1. For Alex Cobb I wouldn’t either. I mean he never had a 200 ing season or 30 starts in a season. If you look at the Yanks rotation why would they . Alex Cobb injury history is pretty long.

  21. Arrieta’s expected performance is nowhere to go but down. I’m not totally against the signing since I view the Santana and Arrieta as “laying the ground work”. I don’t expect both Santana and Arrieta to be the answer to winning. But these additions can stabilize the maturity and in game development of the young core and will serve as the building block to attract better FAs,

    It’s a bummer to lose the 2nd and 3rd rd picks and some international $$. But Johnny’s “sweet spot” are the post Rd 3 picks. For the last 3 drafts, Johhny A. go against the national rankings and relied mostly on his internal scouting teams.

    And for IFAs, as long as Sal A. can still sign RHP Starlyn Castillo, the lost IFA $$ is manageable. Sal A. has been finding gems below $300k.

  22. the one trap that I want Klentak to avoid is trading one of Sixto, Kingery and Medina for a chance to fight for one of the wild card slots. consecutive losing seasons can make some people impulsive in the sight of a playoff birth — Klentak just need to stay calm and be rational. HOU got Gerrit Cole without giving up Whitley and Tucker. This should be the same patience and savvy that Klentak should have if situations force him to be a buyer come trade deadline.

  23. With the way Pivetta has pitched this spring, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lively win that 5th spot for now. Hutchinson even has a chance. I expect Arrieta to not be ready for a few weeks but the Phils dint really need a 5th starter until April 17th. I could see the Phils carrying Joseph on the bench until then.

  24. I think the Phils know that to be competitive for Harper or Machado next year, they need to be respectable this year, and be seen as moving in the right direction. To me, this Arietta signing is about that, more than anything. I feel that Santana is the same way. These are two guys that will help win games in 2018 and help provide leadership and someone for young players to follow in the habits of professionalism and preparation.

    As for the rotation, to me it’s looking like Nola, Arietta, Velasquez, Lively, and Leiter Jr, with Pivetta, Eickhoff, Thompson, and Eflin going to AAA.

    1. I can’t get over the lack of respect for Jerald Eickhoff around here. We’ve now reached a new low. Lively and Leiter above Eickhoff ?

      1. I’m going to make a prediction right here … Jerad Eickhoff gives the Phillies as much WAR as Jake Arrieta over the next three years (the potential length of Arrieta’s contract).

        1. People don’t understand how close Eickhoff is to the edge and I like him (his demeanor and body language is about as good as you’ll see in a young pitcher – he’s confident, mature and aggressive). In terms of velocity, he lost a tick or two toward the middle end of last year and I haven’t seen him regain that pitch speed. If he sits at 91-92, touching 93 and 94, his curve will be enough to make him close to a 3, which he effectively was in 2016 (he pitched to around a 3 WAR – that’s basically a # 3 starter). If he’s sitting around 89 or 90 as he was later in the year, he’s in big, big trouble because he can never pitch off that fastball – it’s too easy to time and hit regardless of where it’s thrown in the zone.

          1. I get Eickhoff has only two full seasons in the majors and is considered young in that regards with limited experience….but he turns 28 in July.
            His window is not open as far as one would hope it would be and sometimes with age comes the lost of velo.

        2. Man Hinkie you are really salty they went and got themselves a really good pitcher. It was that kind of behavior that got the real Hinkie fired you know.

          But I get saltiness and I’m all for it. Lord knows I have my own issues that really tweak my melons so hey have at it.

          Like Murray I’ll take the bet as well…

    2. Eickhoff and Pivetta are the two pitchers I have been hearing from reporters that the Phillies are pushing to capture the back end jobs of the rotation.
      IMO, Lively, Leiter and Thompson have looked good so far this spring and should be in that mix.
      I assume if healthy ViVe is the three.

      1. good ST will push Leiter in the 25-man. The Phils are thin in LHP so they will want Morgan not to pitch more than 1 inning as much as possible. Leiter can relieve Morgan of the long arm job. Jake can do that too, much he needs more work than Leiter.

      2. If it were me I’d start the rotation with Nola,Jake,VV, Eick and Pivetta. I’d keep Leiter in the BP and line up Lively as my # 1 in Lehigh followed by Thompson and Eflin

        I think Lively/Thompson and Eflin all still have a futures as possible starters if only backend starters so I would want them staying on an every 5th day routine. I don’t believe Leiter has any chance at starting in the MLB so it makes sense to give him a pen roll on the big club.

        That said I’d make a deal on any of them but Pivetta

    3. Eickhoff will start. He has nothing left to prove in AAA. It’s sink or swim in the majors as a starter or move to the pen if not traded.

      Leiter will be the long man in the pen to make Morgan to be the exclusive LOOGY.

      Lively might have a chance to bump Pivetta out of the 25-man roster.

      1. Saw Eick pitch twice this spring. I certainly hope he was working on something, because otherwise he was not very impressive.

  25. TJ DFA’d. Good guy, we knew no trade value. He can be re-signed to Minor League deal if not claime, correct?

  26. Arrieta deal isn’t clear to me.

    Could be worth $135M for 5 years & he has an opt out after 2019.

    But what if he doesn’t opt out? Does the contract continue to run for the full 5 years at lower values?

    Boras strikes again. Why even offer the potential of 5 years?

    1. 3 year deal, not 5. Player can opt out after 2 and Phillies can extend to 5 after 2 or he can just play year 3.

      1. When you think about the time commitment, it’s darn near ideal.

        My view of this is that Arrieta gives the team a chance to compete for a possible WC spot this year and helps in future years. The significance of acquiring this type of pitcher for essentially money alone (yeah, I get it with the third round pick and the international money – but, come on already) cannot be overstated. The money here does not interfere with any of the team’s long-term objectives and, if they are competitive in July, they can always trade for a final rotation piece if they need it (Cole Hamels anyone?). And, look, if it doesn’t work out, it’s really just wasted money but virtually no future assets. It’s a very, very sound transaction.

        1. Phillies cannot afford to go the direction they did ten years ago with FA….losing first round picks in ’05 and ’09….then with a good record always drafting 20 or beyond.
          between /08 and ’12 they drafted 24 all the way out to 40 in ’12 with Shane Watson.
          Probability of impact prospects and future MLB players are very low at that point.

          1. I’m not worried about – not because losing picks isn’t an issue (of course it is), but because this management team seems to be well aware of the importance of draft picks and the cost of improving through free agency.

            One point that Keith Law made in that podcast – and one I’ve been making for many months – is that the Phillies must draft better. It’s the one area where their decision-making has been highly questionable. Again, I think Almaraz is on a short leash. The recent picks have been mixed and the return on the first round picks – thus far – has been abysmal – what a lost opportunity! Not mediocre – abysmal (although guys could still develop). If they don’t start drafting well or guys don’t develop, I think Almaraz could be gone by the fall. And it’s sad that they are not reaping the benefit of being bad – that’s what you really need to do during a rebuild.

            1. Yes agree…..his last and only three first rounders. will need this season to show if they are for real.
              He also was an Amaro hire replacing Marti Wolever, Matt Klentak has no allegiance there, so this could be his last harrah this season..

            2. Exactly – Johnny was not their guy and it will be all too easy to throw him under the bus. They don’t need to justify his continued presence and employment.

            3. You have to give Johnny A draft a little time 5 yrs . He did draft Kingery,Jo,Jo Romero, Young,Co!e Irvin, Falter plus last yrs draft. You really only have to hit on 5 players to have a successful draft.

            4. Tim…fair points.
              But at some point he will need to hit on a first round pick….especially when it is in the top ten of the draft.

  27. Keith Law on Jake Arrieta, the Phillies rebuild, and more:

    Cliff notes:
    * questions the fit between Arrieta and the Philies
    * is very complimentary towards the Phillies rebuid
    * says Phillies may have the best international (Latin American) program in MLB
    * points out the team needs to draft better
    * believes Klentak may find a deal for CeHe this summer

  28. Jim, two minor signings you listed, Patrick Frazier and Joey Meneses – are you sure of the names? Or should they be Parker Frazier and Heiker Meneses? I haven’t found a Patrick Frazier anywhere and Joey M is still listed as a free agent by MiLB

    1. I just found a site today that has very detailed transaction info. They said Phillies signed free agent 1B Joey Meneses to minor league contract on 2/1. Did not find any info on Frazier. Site also said MLB does a bad job on sending info to other people that update other sites.

  29. I think with the depth the Phillies have at AAA with SP. VV, PV, Eickoff in the majors they could easily cover 3,4,5 starters for the yr. Sometimes comp is the best medicine see which pitchers will raise too the top.
    Kuko said above Sal A is a genius with the lower price LA pitchers. Castillo along with the higher priced LA Pitchers from last yr could make up for the picks the Phillies will lose this yr.

  30. Buster Olney just told Gargano he’d bet his family farm that Harper stays with Washington and Machado comes here.

    1. 8mark … I’ve been telling you for two years that the MM would be a Phillie in 2019. He (and probably a pitcher or two [Garrett Richars ?] will be the final touches to the rebuild. 2019 has always been the target date to begin competing. I’ll be fine when we lose draft picks and J2 dollars next year. I’m just not on board with losing these assets a year early/two years in a row.

      1. Just got the chance to listen to Buster Olney (http://975thefanatic.com/2018/03/13/buster-olney-bets-family-farm-machado-phillies/). Not only does he say he’d bet his family’s farm that the Phillies end up with one of MM, Harper. He also says Mike Trout wants to win. Angels are doing everything they can to prove they can win. If the Angels don’t win, “Look out” !
        Anthony Gargano also asked him about this tweet.

  31. As you know, I’m an old school fan. I grew up relying on the “eye test” to judge players, but I welcome the new analytics. Too many people rely solely on the numbers and projections of the different publications. Pivetta is a good example of where the two come together. The numbers say that he is a marginal pitcher at best, or a bullpen arm at the least, but the coaching staff sees something special. Of course, they could be blowing smoke, but I also see intangibles that can’t be measured by analytics.

    1. Yes, I think I agree with this but the deeper analytics also suggest that there is something potentially special there as well. The velocity is really good (best among Phillies’ starters, with possible exception of Eflin), spin rate is good, 4 seam FB movement is good, K rate is quite good, and BABIP suggests he was unlucky. But, yes, a big part of why we like him is the eye test and the fact that, on certain days, we have seen him dominate the opposition in style.

      For Eflin, he has a lot of good fundamentals and he’s a super kid. You really can’t teach someone to throw a 96 or 97 MPH FB and he has that. He also has decent command and can work down in the zone. Zach is very young – just 23 – and probably needs to work on generating movement in his pitches and changing eye level. Sometimes a guy with a good straight but hard FB can make use of a splitter (Mike Scott is the most famous example of this). I don’t think that’s the first pitch you want to go with (I still think it puts too much strain on the shoulder, especially for a starter), but if it makes you a world beater, it’s worth the risk.

        1. Schilling threw it too on occasion. Eflin needs a quality secondary pitch with late movement – and he doesn’t have that now, which is why, notwithstanding plus velocity and decent location, he doesn’t strike out many batters. V1Again noted his concerns with Eflin several years ago – and the concerns are definitely valid, although they can still be overcome.

          1. With his 6’6″ frame, and throwing more with a downward plane, he can throw his 2Smr, which he preferred in the minors and was able to get a lot of GBs and off the barrel contact…..but that does not seem to be working well so far against MLB hitters. Though last night he was very good….but Ks were still low.
            But you are correct…he needs that quality secondary pitch.

          2. I like Eflin – he showed dominance (though in shirt stretch only) in the games he pitched. and I agree that the development of a breaking ball (his SL) is key and better utilization of the 2S is another factor.

            Eflin has a good 4S FB and CU – although the 4S tends to look straight at times. If Eflin can throw a SL with confidence, it can set his CU for a K, increasing his K/9. Eflin’s age and physical frame is still very appealing.

  32. Eflin pitched well last night. I like him a lot, and I think he is the #1 SP at LHV. He needs time to work on another pitch, and remember, this is the first season he has 2 good knees, and feels great. So, I am high on him.

    1. matt13:
      I also like the potential of Eflin.
      I had him pegged one-time as physical and metric comp to the Mets Mike Pelfrey.

      Zach Eflin’s MiLB metrics:
      IP 509.0… WHIP 1.198 …H/9-8.8 ..HR/9-0.6 …BB/9-2.0 …K/9-6.3 …SO/BB-3.12

      Mike Pelfrey MiLB metrics after three years of college:
      IP 204.2 ….WHIP 1.275 …H/9-8.5 HR/9…0.6 BB/9…3.0 K/9…8.0 …SO/BB-2.69

      But hope he can be a more complete pitcher at some point than MPelfrey turned out to be.

      1. romus, i’m not sure if the knee really affects Eflin’s performance. Eflin can have a 4-pitch mix (4S, 2S, SL and CU) that he showed he can control. unlike Pivetta who needs to develop another pitch and control his pitches – Eflin’s to do list is basically consistency and confidence. I expect Eflin to keep his 4S at mid-90s and the CU to be at least slightly above average. If Eflin can throw at least a ave SL and effectively his 2S, his stuff can be a solid #3. With age on his side, i’m confident that he still has some upside. as a floor, he can be a solid pen arm with high 90s FB-CU combo.

  33. On the Machado issue. Terrific player, I agree, and we have been talking about him coming here and eyeing 2019 for some time. If he only wants to play SS, what should we do? Let’s say Franco is not what we hoped. Obviously, if he has a breakout year, he is the 3B. But, if MM only plays SS, do we trade JP? Move him to 3B? Does he not lose a lot of value as a 3B? Move Kingery to 3B? Same issue, and then where does JP play? I think as good as Machado is, I want him a lot less as a SS than a 3B.

    1. If Manny is dead set to be a SS I’d rather go after Donaldson or make a real run at Arenado as a FA for the 2020 season. I’d prefer Machado at 3rd.

    2. I’m not trading Crawford. I believe within 2-3 years he will become an elite ss. If necessary, he could move to 3b without a problem. I doubt Machado’s desire to play ss would be a deal breaker for either side. (There’s at least 40 million rea$ons why)

      As for Eflin, love the kid. Yes he needs to develop his repertoire but I believe his upside is higher than either Pivetta or Velasquez mainly because he’s already more of a pitcher than a thrower. Healthy legs will be key.

      1. My prediction is that either Alfaro’s game will jump a notch or two this year or (and more likely I believe), throughout the year Knapp will get more and more at bats, until he becomes nearly the de facto starting catcher. This guy is sneaky good and works like a s.o.b. to make himself better. If the Phillies come out of nowhere is compete for something is year, Knapp could be one of the reasons why.

    3. I’m pretty sure the whole “Machado wants to play 3B” thing is just a way for him create a bigger market/larger contract for him. The O’s have agreed to it because it also creates a bigger market/greater return for him if they trade him this summer. If the Phillies offer him the most money and want him to play primarily 3B, IMO he’s going to be fine with it.
      BTW … I posted the Olney appearance with Gargano (little bit above this) that 8mark mentioned.

      1. Hinkie, to hear that they’ll get either Harper or Machado is exciting. I agree with you on the ss/3b posturing. He may play BOTH with Kapler’s positional flexibility approach. I’m on board with either acquisition. And Garrett Richards may help lure Trout (not that he needs much luring beyond the Angels remaining in mediocrity).

        Let’s go Phillies!!

      2. Hinkie – i agree with you. Machado’s insistence to play SS is just to increase his value. Machado understands how the game is played and he knows that the Phillies need his bat than his defense so he will be willing to move to less demanding 3B and keep a GG potential and younger player (in JPC) play the SS.

        1. Though talk is Machado prefers ss long term and read that he may be leaning Yankees…as their shortstop.

          1. I can understand why he would prefer NYY and I have been saying he will go there for a while. And as a shortstop makes sense since Miguel Adujar is their future third baseman.

            1. Who do you think is a more sure thing for the NYY ? Miguel Andujar at 3B or DiDi Gregorious at SS ??

            2. People always assume that the Yanks will get them all. They said the same thing about Ohtani.

  34. Romus … according to Olney, Cashman and Andrew Friedman are risk adverse execs. He believes the Yankees and Dodgers aren’t likely to offer MM and Harper the biggest contracts. Be a Believer !

    1. Yeah, in his 20 years as the Yankees GM Cashman has never shown the willingness to give out the biggest contract. Lol.

    2. Hinkie….I would .like to be optimistic.
      But MM wanting to leave the team that has nurtured him for the last 8 years makes me wonder about his loyalties anyway…..since I am sure the Os are willing to pay him some big dollars.
      Then I read his wanting to follow an idol of his…ARod, well makes have my doubts

      1. Romus, the O’s are among the cheapest teams in MLB. And they’re really not that small of a market. Not sure his or anybody else’s loyalties are the issue in 2018, bro. Teams like the Angels and Nationals will also have their go at keeping their premier players and while loyalty is nice, a player must also determine the quality of the organization in deciding if he should stay or move on to greener dollars….I mean, pastures.

        1. 8mark….they were not too cheap with Cris Davis and he has less of a skill level than Manny Machado and signed that $161M contract at age 29.
          So they will pay their best players.
          Its all the others they may go on the cheap.

          1. The Chris Davis signing shows they’re also not one of the best organizations right now. The key to all that is the owner Angelos who doesn’t seem to be in touch with the current MLB climate, and he’s in effect hamstrung his GM.

          2. The thing about the Orioles and Manny Machado. I think Machado made a commitment to himself a couple of years ago to test the FA market. Angelos knows there really isn’t any amount of money that will keep MM from hitting the open market. In fact, whatever Baltimore would offer him would simply serve as the opening bid for other team to blow out of the water. There’s nothing Angelos can do to stop Middleton (or Steinbrenner) from outbidding him.

            1. Think about it…..say Hoskins develops into a legit superstar….and then decides I do not want to be a Phillie but go out and test the market….and he announces it two years prior while rejectin all arb year buy-outs……IMO, not sure it is a good character trait to do that.
              I do not hear Harper announcing it….in fact he gauges his comments to also say he will listen to Rizzo’s offers. Same with Kershaw in LA or Donaldson in Toronto.

            2. The game plan for Baltimore should have been to trade MM last summer. That would not only have restocked the Orioles’ farm system, but would have then allowed the O’s to also deal Jones, Britton, and Brach. Angelos’ decision to hold on to MM (and, in turn Jones, Britton, and Brach) will probably cost Baltimore at least an additional three years in their return to being a competitive team again.

            3. Romus … I’m not saying MM publicly announced that. Just saying he privately decided he was testing free agency.

            4. @tim – then what? then wake up man. you might be dreaming if you see that happening.

              they started to ask Franco to make his stance closer. for a very impatient hitter like Franco, the adjustment might take longer.

  35. I’ve had Machado pencil’d in at 3B for a long time for the phils… it would really hurt if he signs elsewhere. He is a key piece to the rebuild imo. Donaldson is a nice consolation, but I’d have to take a look at his numbers again. I think the FO makes a ginormous push to get machado, even at the deadline if they feel a contract extension is involved to complete the deal. If they lose out on him, I wonder if The FO would make a major play for trout early, or try to sign Harper. To me, neither one fits as well as Machado the way the team is presently constructed, thus I see
    The FO “dropping their pants”
    To get a deal done.

    1. The great place about this time in phils hx, is that, the deals may not get done … but thinking about some of the best players in the game today … playing for the phils … isn’t a total pipe dream anymore …. Harper and machado could be signed, and the phils could outbid them all….
      And they have the fire power to offer a deal for trout .. and then sign him. Good time to be a Phillies phan

      1. The idea of acquiring Harper makes me chuckle when I’ve also heard people positing the Phillies trading for Hamels this summer. That would be a fun clubhouse. I could see a Papelbon-esque choke fest.

        1. It’s nice to be back in the “Jim Thome” days. The Phillies are players again, now they may or may not sign these guys, but they are at least a real contender for them. That wasn’t true the last 6 years, and has rarely ever been true in the hx of the franchise

  36. I think Today’s game is being televised. I need to go back and watch it. Eshelman has pitched 3 innings with no runs and 4 Ks. If Eshelman can strike people out he becomes a very intriguing option. I know I preach velocity, velocity, velocity. But Eshelman could be one of the lower velocity outliers I always mention.

      1. By the way, another dark horse in the mix here is Jesmuel Valentin.

        He is much stronger and swinging much better than he has before. He can field and hits the ball with serious authority. Could end up being a player.

        Yes, Cesar becomes more expendable every day. And don’t get me wrong, I like Cesar. But you can only have so many middle infielders.

          1. Many of these prospects are now sprouting….Klentak cannot accommodate all of them at the MLB level….so the .ball is in his court.
            What will he do?
            You can only option them out a limited amount of time, then there is the 40 structuring.

            1. Romus me and you were on this kid valentin. I think you told me he dad was a big leaguer, Has a chance to really help us, if he stays healthy

            2. rocco….Jose Valentin is his father.
              Believe it or not,…two nondescript trades Ruben made may pay rather large returns…..Lively from the Reds for Marlon Byrd, and Valentin and Arano from the Dodgers for Roberto Hernandez back in ’14.
              Then he strikes out on the Chase Utley deal to the Dodgers, go figure!

        1. Valentin had a good ST last year until he gets hurt. He is showing the same results this year and should be the frontrunner for the UTIL. Valentin might end up the better player than Cesar since he can play multiple positions and has more pop than Cesar.

          Walding is also having a nice ST which should keep Franco on notice.

          1. I agree on Valentin. His competitor, Florimon, has the experience but I think it’s time to allow Jesse to grow as an MLB role player and see if he becomes more than that. Again, value for either here or another club.

            1. I’m on board the Jesse train. That kid really impressed me last year and he’s picking up where he left off.

            2. DMAR…buy your discounted ticket now for the Darick Hall Express from Clearwater to Reading later this season.

            3. Haha ok Romus looks like they will be in my neck of the woods 2X in May. Once early and once late. The not again until Aug 31.

            4. Thats right…you are in Yankee Trenton Thunder country.
              Well don’t cheer too loud when the Reading Fightin’s start whooping up on the Yankee Thunder @ Arm and Hammer or Waterfront Park, or whatever they call it these days…….never know about those Yankee fans.

            5. Arm and Hammer is what they go by these days. Never any problems there with cheering on the Phillies in fact when Reading is in town you’ll see just as much if not more Phillies gear in the crowd.

    1. Eshelman is spot on commandeering his pitches.
      He has that simple delivery, from almost a standstill, Maddux like, then the quick release to the plate with absolute exceptional command
      Kevin Keirmaeir had the one solid hit I saw…right thru the box.
      Though FB velo was only 88-90, but it does have movement.or maybe he just gets it up on the batters very quickly with his release.

  37. We keep discounting Eshelman, but I think he has a nice Major League career. There is a glut of Starting Pitching at LHV and Reading, not just a bunch of mediocre arms, but some quality. The 40 man crunch this off season is going to present a number of issues for Klentak.

    1. I’m sorry but Eshelman reminds me too much of KK. He nibbles quite a bit. I hope I’m wrong but he seems like one of those guys that might get a guy the first few times he sees them but once through the line-up a few times or through the league a few times he’s gonna be mediocre at best.

      1. KK might have a better stuff but Eshelman’s command and effective utilization of his 4-pitch mix will give him better chance of success and longer tenure than KK.

        I’m not that high on Eshelman but he’ll be better than a lot of back end starters playing in the majors.

        1. KuKo…think DMAR has a legit point on Eshelman…third time thru the lineup vs MLB hitters could be rough going for him. He has a slight advantage in the NL facing the pitcher vs DH, so that may aid him.
          But if he can command and harness his SL or CB with better break he has a chance of faring better than one Kyle and as good another Kyle ( Kendicks and Hendricks)
          His CU yesterday was not that bad.

          1. @romus, i can see DMAR’s point. To me, it is still too early to tell if Eshelman have or will have a problem 3rd time thru the line up based on one ST game alone.

            it that a concern, of course yes. that’s a concern for any pitching prospect with no TOR type stuff. but you cannot make that assessment yet when Eshelman is not even in the 40-man. Give him 10 games in the majors then we can come up with a preliminary assessment.

            1. He is not in the 40 because he does not have to be, this is good because it leaves room for people who have to be on the 40 to be protected.

    2. He’ll likely get his chance this year at some point but he’s behind Lively, Eflin and maybe even Hutchinson if the Phils decide to keep him at AAA, and that assumes Thompson goes to the pen and DeLosSantos doesn’t pitch amazing himself. Lots of competing arms. Pivetta, Eickhoff, and VV will get first crack but if they falter the team will swap pitchers with LHV.

  38. Valentin, Quinn, and Knapp seem to be winning their bench spots. Williams/Altherr becomes the main PH. With a 4 man bench I wonder if the manager might use the sitting catcher to pinch hit once in a while. Winning at the margins!

    1. I bet we even see Arrieta pinch hit a few times. He does have a triple 4 years in a row and has homered 5 times in the last 3 years.

    2. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool National Leaguer, but four-man bench reduces so many in-game moves that I’m about ready to throw in the towel and say go for the DH.

  39. Should we dismiss that the ST season is half way over and we are dead last in OBP, BB’s and OPS?

      1. Ehhh …. maybe they are not “working on” OBP,OPS,BB in spring training … 🙂 … like pitchers.

        A little concerning, but I’ll over look it for now. Last few games I want to see some numbers, then it’s time to focus on the only number that really matters, wins, anyway you can gettem… ugly wins, pretty wins will take them all

    1. Yes, it’s a question of who’s playing in these games and how many at-bats are they getting.

      I would be more concerned with the 2nd half of ST as the rosters get trimmed and the regulars start getting more regular work..

  40. The dynamic baserunning due of CeHe-Doobie strike again. Cesar singles to lead off the game. Doobie follows with a single, Cesar gets nailed at 3b. Then Doobie gets picked off 1b. It’s poetry in motion.

  41. I know I am beating a dead horse. There are those of you who love Doobie and Cesar, and I don’t want to get into the whole debate again. But, watch Kingery play for a little bit, and tell me he doesn’t have a Baseball IQ that is extremely high, and he doesn’t scream “ballplayer” to you. In game awareness, that “it” factor we love in him. When do we see that in either Cesar or Doobie? If it can be taught, how long is the learning process? I know, ST and all that. And, every instance it happens has different circumstances. But how many times have we seen this episode of poor base running re-run, no pun intended, before we figure that is just who they are?

    1. I think it is who they are.

      The relevant expression would be “Manny being Manny” in reference to Manny Ramirez’s tendency to do strange things. For most of his career, they were tolerated because of his ability to produce runs.

      Are Doobie and Cesar good enough to tolerate the rest?

      1. I should add that I’m in the camp of replacing Hernandez with Kingery because I think he will be better and keeping Odubel because they don’t have anything better right now..

    2. include Franco in that bunch. 12 months ago it’s taboo to mention Trade and Cesar/Doobie in the same line – the WAR lords will raise hell on you for even thinking of it.

      my concern is that Klentak will not be able to get good returns from them if moving on from Cesar and Doobie is the best course to do.

      I’ve mentioned before that Altherr (and Quinn) should be able to handle CF some the analytics guys said otherwise.

      analytics is good, but there should be a balance of analytics, actual ability and common sense. analytics is a double edge sword. it work wonders if you know how to use it or burn you if you don’t. with those complicated calculation and imputed assumptions from non-baseball guys — analytics should be approached with caution,

      1. WTF!
        Cesar and Dooblie’s combined fWAR last season was 6.1….and you want to trade them! 🙂

        1. just think, if they only produced half that war last year, we might have the first pick in the draft again.

      2. Then there’s the eye test KK, and my eyes agree with your assessment of Altherr and Quinn. I’ve observed both of them in person many times. Quinn was a centerfielder before the Phillies drafted him, and he’s thrived in CF ever since they gave up on the SS experiment. Once in a great while at SS for flexibility will be ok.

        Altherr is a born outfielder. He just glides to the ball and has a good arm. Center field is his natural position and he can handle left and right as good or better than any other outfielder in the Phillies system.

  42. Speaking of Cesar (and Scott Kingery) … ESPN Insider story (from Craig Edwards) lists 10 trades they like to see before opening day http://www.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/22749417/mlb-trades-see-opening-day . Here’s #10. It’s not something I’d be happy with. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, the best opportunity/most value to have dealt CeHe was anytime before now. Next year’s historic FA class is loaded with good/very good 2Bmen. De Leon (IMO) is another back end starter (if healthy), but he was also the return for Logan Forsythe.
    I’d rather Klentak deal CeHe for a lower level/higher ceiling prospect. At this point, I’d probably even take a flyer on a bigger arm who has all kinds of trouble throwing strikes … someone like Tyler Glassnow.

    10. Philadelphia Phillies trade 2B Cesar Hernandez to the Rays for INF Brad Miller and RHP Jose De Leon

    Given the tepid market for Neil Walker and Ian Kinsler, it’s fair to conclude there isn’t a big market for average second basemen right now. In most situations, that might lead the Phillies to hold on to Hernandez, but they’re not in most situations. Second baseman Scott Kingery is one of the best prospects in baseball and knocking on the door of the majors. Miller could keep the seat warm and then play a utility role after they finish messing with Kingery’s service time, then insert Kingery as their regular for the rest of the season. As for the injured De Leon, the Phillies can afford to wait a year to see if surgery helps him recover his lost value.

    For the Rays, Hernandez would be a cheap upgrade with multiple years of team control. Miller doesn’t have a large role, and while losing De Leon hurts, he was already done for 2018, limiting the number of years the Rays could utilize him at the lowest possible cost.

    1. It is a shame that a return for a 3plusWAR 2nd basemen like Cesar……with youth and a very favorable contract situation o his side….he cannot bring back more in return value.
      But being realistic about it….both Cesar and Doobie will probably not be the long-term future core on this team and both will probably be gone before the 2020 season begins.

      1. I’m on board with trading CeHe to someone that has a pretty deep system of pitching. A low A high upside arm sign me up

        you might even be able to get creative with a team like the Tigers….

    2. Dumb trade a utility player and a hurt pitcher for herdanez. I Am amazed at the lack of knowledge posted on this site. when it comes to Cesar.

          1. Well that dumb trade suggested was from an ESPN writer, not someone posting on the site. But what it does show is what the market expectations should be for a non-power hitter at 2b.

            Hernandez should bring more in a trade than a utility IF and an injured pitcher but he’s not going to bring back top-tier prospects either..

    3. what would we want with brad miller? Deleon will be 26 by the time he’s on a mound again and has thrown more than 100 innings once, so he’s going to be a reliever if he ever makes it in all likelihood.
      pittsburgh would seem like a possibility if they move Harrison.

    4. @hinkie – as you mentioned the best time to trade Cesar is ASAP which i’ve been advocating for more than a year now. while it is reasonable to seek good return from Cesar mainly due to his age, cost and recent success — the market dictates the trade value and not just the buyer or seller.

      Brad Miller and JdL may not look good now, but in 4-6 months, Klentak might be regretting this lost opportunity since he will end up paying at least $6M for a bench 2B only player.

      GMs are opportunistic and they know leverage and 2B is not really an important position to fill. GMs will not overpay when they know that Klentak will be more than willing to unload a $6M back up 2B.

      1. also as far as that trade proposal, Tampa picked up Nick Solak in the Souza trade- probably isnt up til later this year or start of next, but similar skill set to Hernandez, so not sure how interested they would be in CeHe anyway at 5 million bucks more a year.

  43. I’m I the only one who thinks that at this moment, Scott Kingery is the best player on the Phillies? (Despite the fact that he’s not even on the 40man let alone the 25)

    1. 8mark,

      I might be with you, though I want to see what Kingery does when games really count, even at AAA.

    2. 8mark, I agree. Much has been said about trading Kingery or Sixto for a young starter. While Sixto is still a couple of years away, Kingery is ready now. I would not include either of them in any deal.

      1. “Much has been said about trading Kingery or Sixto”…..from whom?
        No one on this site I can assure you of that.
        Position player names I have frequently heard for awhile now are Cesar, Doobie, Rupp, TJ (before being waived) and Nick Williams.

        1. I have been saying if you expect to get a young controllable top of the rotation starter you are going to have to trade Kingery or Sixto. Those other names you listed even combined with other prospects doesn’t get it done. Don’t mistake quantity with quality.

          I am not however, advocating trading Kingery or Sixto. I am just being realistic with what trades are to be had, something that is often lacking on the trades I see proposed on this board.

        2. There have been a few on this site arguing to keep Cesar and trade Kingery. I’m not one of them but they are there..

  44. I love Kingery and yes he could be the Phillies best player by the end of the yr.
    Imo until someone comes along that can do what Herrera can do he’s staying.
    I mean a GGCF , .285 or better hitter and that can hit 40 doubles 20 hr steal 20 bases in he prime stays . Also playing near 162 a yr .
    When the day comes the Phillies have that player then you trade Herrera .
    The Philles might in there minor now .
    This is spring training Soo.

    1. Middleton may just have to offer MM that much more $$$$, Romus.

      If Boras and Johnny M hit it off well in their little walk and talk yesterday, that could bode well for signing Harper. I was luke warm on getting him but the more I think about those balls flying out CBP…

        1. I’m not sure I’d sign Harper. If he plays like he can he might be worth it, but I just have this feeling he’s one of those guys who will always be injured. And, by the way, if you sign Harper, you’re not also signing Trout – you need money for the rest of the team too.

          1. There is really no assurance Trout will reach free agency at this point….just pure speculation on the part of Phiiladelphia folk based on his local ties to this area
            Moreno could extend him another 4/5 years and if the Angels go ahead and get to the WS then things could change for him
            If Harper or even Machado, if he is amenable to third base again, are out there next year….and the Phillies are in the running…then I would go for it.
            A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

            1. Yep. Sure Crawford at SS and Machado at 3B would be better but I’d rather have Crawford at 3B and Machado at SS than Crawford at SS and Donaldson at 3B.

            2. Crawford is not an ideal fit at third as a hitter. He would need to play 2 WAR defense to make that shift worthwhile. My guess is he would be worth more to the Phillies as a SS trade piece than as their own third baseman.

            3. Whether or not Machado want’s to play SS now won’t matter in the long run since he will eventually need to move to a different position as he ages (see Hanley Ramirez)

              I have no problem moving Crawford to 3b for the first few years with the idea that they will eventually flip places. Crawford at SS and Machado at 3b is ideal but if that’s a deal breaker, I don’t break the deal..

            4. if the Phils sign Machado, i don’t see any reason why JPC can’t move to 3B especially if JPC can still be good defensively at 3B. The “power profile” attached to a 3B is also non sense. While the Phils will lose some “power” with JPC at 3B, the SS position will have more “power” since Machado is there so it’s a wash. so whether JPC and Machado are SS and 3B and vice versa, the “power” argument against JPC at 3B is not an issue.

  45. I would be curious to see what a super utility role looks like for Kingery playing CF, SS, 2B, & 3B. Though, the OF is already crowded & it would be tough to get enough playing time there with other guys.

    I’m all for it If Kapler can get him 400 ABs, But I would like to see Valentin get a chance as well.

    This is going to be a well stocked team at absolutely every position.

    If the team is winning, there will be an opportunity to sell high on someone at the trade deadline.

    1. John H.:
      I would think and hope Kingery would not be in a Zobrist-type mode and end up playing 4 different positions, since he really is not that experienced and why mess with him like that which could adversely affect his hitting.
      I would hope the Phillies would do a modified utility role with him , like the Nats did with then rookie Trea Turner in 2016…basically two different positions…CF and 2nd base….and only two games at shortstop, where he ended up anyway full time in 2017..

      1. I like the depth of the team & hope Kapler can get guys to buy into sharing time. Winning allows players to put need for stats aside.

        Roman Quinn is listed as the 5th OF on the team website. Very interesting, he could be a wildcard for this team.

  46. I think fine if he goes down to lv and hits his butt off. The Phillies always could trade Cehe at the deadline.

    1. Nope, right to AAA but they are looking good and will get called up during the season for sure

    2. I can’t see them making the team. I see the pitching staff as:

      Nola
      Arrieta
      Eickhoff
      Velasquez
      Pivetta

      Neris
      Morgan
      Neshak
      Hunter
      Garcia
      Ramos
      Milner
      Leiter

      I think Thompson could save his career by going to the pen, ala Morgan. Those two guys plus Dominguez are probably the first priorities for a call up.

      1. Unless Dominguez takes off the way Ken Giles did the year he came up, I would suspect he will make it here, if at all, during the mid to later portion of the year.

      2. Arano for Killer , Thompson may have a chance at the rotation. This is based on last yr and So this yr.

  47. I just read a story in the Athletic about the signing of Arrieta. Meghan Montemurro is a really good writer, and covers the Phils for them. It was a terrific piece. He is very close with Tommy Hunter, and it seems that the team goes out of its way to make guys feel comfortable and welcome. I may be a sucker, but I believe that stuff works. Sure, you need talent, but that camaraderie goes a long way.

    1. Good stuff. I was considering Howard as my breakout player this year. He could move through the system quickly.

      1. I am all in on Howard. If you’re looking for a guy who could become the poor man’s version of Corey Kluber – this is your guy. I give the Phillies grief for bad picks, but I think this was an outstanding pick so kudos to them. It may take time for the command to iron itself out, but he has a very high ceiling – probably as high as a #2.

  48. Two pitchers mentioned here last month as possible gets via the trade route …Marcus Stroman and Danny Duffy….have been having their issues so far.
    Stroman looks like he will have some shoulder flaring going on and finally gets to make his ST debut on Saturday. Duffy cannot seem to get batters out….and control is not sharp.

  49. Looks like one Cub reporter is claiming Arrieta and Boras stiffed the Cubs:

    “In January, USA Today reported the Cubs offered Arrieta four years and $110 million. That’s an average annual value of $27.5 million, which is more than the $21 million AAV of the contract to which the Cubs and Yu Darvish eventually agreed….. I’m just trying to wade through the words and actions to establish who’s most responsible for Arrieta’s exit, and I conclude it’s Arrieta. If you’ve been blaming the Cubs for this divorce, then you can see they wanted to pay Arrieta more per year than the ace they later signed.”…Steve Rosenbloom
    http://www.prosportsdaily.com/Headlines/ExternalArticle?articleId=504882

      1. I will be interested in seeing how the fans greet Arrieta come the first week of June when the Phillies visit Wrigley……that is if he is slated to pitch during that three game series.
        Articles like this in the Tribune only stir up unneeded controversy
        My guess the Cub fans will give him a standing ovation if and when he takes the mound.

  50. At the time, Boras still wanted more money than Darvish got. It was reported that before signing Darvish, Theo called Boras to see if he would take the 6/$126M that Darvish was getting. Boras turned it down. So, any narrative that the Cubs didn’t want him back is wrong. The end result is that we benefited. I am even happier that we got him now after reading all the reports. The Cubs wanted him, so, naturally, they want to assign blame as to why they did not get him. Klentak played it well. He deserves credit. Even those of us who are skeptical have to be excited listening to Middleton’s comments. We need some of the young guys to blossom, but I believe they will spend whatever it takes.

    1. Let’s be careful to make a distinction Boras doesn’t turn anything down without consulting his client.

      I’m no fan of Scott Boras. I’m sure he intends to do well for his clients and he must share in some blame for filling their heads with grandiose figures they will get in FA

      …but in the end the player makes the call.

  51. Does anyone know how many days a team has to claim TJ before he can sign a Minor League deal? I have not read anything.

    1. matt13…seven days from his official designation date….use to be ten days under the old CBA.
      Rule:
      “Within seven days of the transaction, the player can either be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers. If the player is claimed off said waivers by another club, he is immediately added to that team’s 40-man roster, at which point he can be optioned to the Minor Leagues (if he has Minor League options remaining) or assigned to his new team’s 25-man roster. If the player clears waivers, he may be sent outright to the Minor Leagues or released. Players with more than three years of Major League service time or who have been previously outrighted may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency.”

      1. I hope for Tommy’s sake a team finds some room for him on their 25 man he’s a good kid and he can hit enough to be in someones system for a few more years.

        I’m not one for the what if game but if he never suffered those concussions we wouldn’t be having this conversation. He’d likely stick instead of Rupp or be in another org as a B/U catcher.

        1. Yes…agree. He lost to much time in his peak developmental years.
          Ruben probably would not have asked for Alfaro in the Hamels trade if TJ remained behind the plate..

  52. Exactly Romus, and thank you for the DFA answer. I wonder who would have been the player instead of Alfaro coming from Texas if TJ was the hot C prospect here?

  53. Tojo will be fine maybe 350 hr in his career. He just needs time he has that short swing with big-time power.

    1. Tim…..350HRs???????
      Turns 27 in July…..only has to hit 307 more HRs to reach 350.
      At 30 a year, he’d only needs to play approx. 10 more years at that rate. 🙂

      1. 40 a yr for 7 yrs puts him close. And eickoff is a great pitcher. and they will make the playoffs, This team really stinks .Shame Sheldon is banking on next year.free agents

    1. But Tim…Mark Reynolds already had 158 HRs by age 27 and since over the last 8 years he has only 123 HRs…..as a player ages his HR production normally declines , unless yuor name is Bobby Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmiero or Mark McGwire …and we know the circumstances behind all of them.

  54. I mean Tojo already has 42 so 308 1st baseman or DH players usually have long careers. Tojo will do everything he’s asked and try hard at it. He was 1 of the youngest 1st baseman last yr . So he’s right behind an Aging crop of 1st baseman.

    1. I can see ToJo maxing out at maybe long shot 200HRs….if he stays healthy and gets 500 PAs a season.

    2. In the old days, I could see a version of ToJo having a 6-10 year career doing some variation of what he’s done thus far.

      But things have changed. His offensive and defensive metrics are not good. If he’s going to get playing time, he’s going to have to get quite a bit better as a hitter; becoming more selective and improving his batting average – really, just improving his OPS. Tommy doesn’t become a particularly valuable player until his OPS gets in the .850 range – last year he was a .721, so he has a way to go. But he does have some ability so it wouldn’t shock me if he became a productive player for another team (it seems pretty clear that he’s not going to be in Philly past this year and perhaps after ST).

      1. Tojo can be only played 3 yrs at 1st his defense can improve. The Tools are there his short stoke the easy power. That lineup last yr was 1 of the worst in baseball
        His first full yr . You put Tojo In Boston ,NY, Colorado he can. Easily up 30 home runs a yr. BTW Santana batting avg isn’t much better then Tojo. Just because you can Take a walk you still have to have the ability to hit a baseball.

    3. Tommy Joseph will be lucky to max out at 100 ML homeruns. He’s sub-par defensively at 1b, he has no speed, doesn’t hit for average, get on-base, or do much of anything else even average other than show marginal power.

      No team is going to give him a regular job at DH where he can hit .240 with a sub .300 OBP just to get the 20-25 hrs he will hit. His career will most likely become a question of how long will he last as a AAAA level talent.

      I have sympathy for Joseph who’s major league career was short-circuited by concussions. His offensive numbers would make him a little better version of a Cameron Rupp level catching prospect but his numbers aren’t close to 1b/dh caliber..

      1. Agreed that his current trajectory is as a AAAA player.

        To have a new go of this, he would need to go to AAA and play like a valuable major leaguer and then break his way back into a line-up through much improved play. Could he do it? Yes, it’s possible. Is it likely? No, it isn’t.

        1. Oh he will get his shot again in the majors …that is, if he rakes at AAA or maybe over in Asia….Eric Thames as an example.
          But Tim says he will have 350 HRs when he calls it a career………no way.
          Maybe if he had anabolic assistance like the late 90s guys, but not now.

          1. LOL – I like ToJo, but OMG – 350 homers?

            Ryan Howard was, for a 5 year period, the best home run hitter in baseball and he only hit 382 in his career. Tommy Joseph is not going to hit 350 homers. Odds are he won’t hit 100 because he won’t get the MLB at bats to do so. Even if he gets a second life somewhere he’d be super lucky to hit 200 – and that’s a best case scenario where he remakes himself into something he simply is not at present.

          2. I would make the case that Joseph is already basically Eric Thames and Thames won’t be a starter in Milwaukee for very long (if at all since Braun will probably end up at 1b after all of their off-season moves). Take away his ridiculous April last year and Thames wasn’t good in 2017. From May 1st, Thames OPS was .790 with just 20 home runs and a .217 average. His only saving grace was that he still posted a .335 OBP.

            I think Thames is a better athlete but his only real advantage over Joseph is that his walk rate was much higher.

  55. Phillies (unsigned) 2017 34th round draft pick, Kyle Hurt, was the lead man in a USC no-hitter last night. Against Utah, Hurt went 7.2 IP (117 P), 0 R, 0 H, 6 BB, 7 K.

  56. That depends Tojo because of his head injuries has less wear and tear of most.
    Carlos Santana had his first 30 hr season at 30 yrs old . Alot of catcher’s hit more Hr after they move to first.Napoli for 1, but there’s alot of players that hit more Hr after 30 then before . Nelson Cruz, Jim Thome , Jose Bautista,Jermaine Dye,Edwin Encarnación,Raúl Ibanenz, Matt Stairs,Josh Donaldson.etc.

    1. A lot of catchers and former catchers are late bloomers as hitters because catchers have so many things to focus on that it seems to delay their progress as hitters. And then the wear and tear of catching shortens the career on the back end. It’s why it’s so infrequent to see a catcher with a long career as a top hitter. Guys like Buster Posey and Johnny Bench and Mike Piazza don’t grow on trees. Speaking of which, it’s hard to overstate how great Buster Posey has been. He is one player who produces excellent WAR, but that stat doesn’t even begin capture how great he is and how critical he has been to the Giants’ success. Were it not for Mike Trout, I think Posey might be the best position player of the 2010s. And if you’re looking for the clutch gene – it found a permanent home in Posey.

  57. With 13 days until the bell rings, here goes a BOLD fearless forecast ~

    NL EAST
    Washington (87 wins)
    Philadelphia (85, WC)
    Atlanta
    New York
    Miami

    NL CENTRAL
    Chicago (90)
    Milwaukee (88, WC)
    St Louis*
    Pittsburgh
    Cincinnati

    NL WEST
    Los Angeles (94)
    Colorado*
    Arizona*
    San Francisco
    San Diego

    AL EAST
    New York (96)
    Toronto (86, WC)
    Boston*
    Baltimore
    Tampa Bay

    AL CENTRAL
    Minnesota (90)
    Cleveland (88, WC)
    Chicago
    Kansas City
    Detroit

    AL WEST
    Houston (98)
    Seattle*
    Los Angeles*
    Oakland*
    Texas

    I see less W totals for playoff teams and more parody. (*) teams within range of a WC berth.

    1. If, for some reason, the Phillies are in the WC hunt come mid-July (a distinct possibility), unless one of the younger pitchers in the rotation takes a huge step forward, I see a trade for an established rotation arm. Will it cost them a lot in prospects? Yeah, to a certain extent, but it might be worth it. Ironically, the best fit on this team might be none other than Cole Hamels (checks all the boxes – lefty, experienced, still effective but older so the price won’t be quite so high). I always expected him to end his career as a Phillie, so let’s get the last chapter of the Hamels book started sooner rather than later. I have no doubt he’d love to come back.

    2. 8mark,

      Bold indeed.

      I lean towards 81 wins right now, but a lot can go wrong, like injuries or Kapler being a disaster.

    1. And so it’s begins.

      Ugh, Cobb is a possibility but they also have Eshelman who IS pitching well, Thompson, efflin. Eick’s misfortune is an opportunity for another arm to step up.

      Arrietta
      Nola
      VV
      Pivetta
      Eshelman

      With lively, efflin, and possibly Thompson knocking on the door. Will see.

    2. If signing Arrieta + another SP was a consideration before, all the more so now, wouldn’t you think?

      1. Team is not going to sign/trade for another pitcher because Eickhoff is going to miss 4 or 5 starts in April..

      2. They have plenty of arms to replace Eickhoff…….Eshelman is not one of them…he is not on the 40 and they will hesitate bringing him up for now.

          1. rocco……Eickhoff was only a 90/91 guy anyway.
            Though Eflin brings it to mid-90s….also Pivetta and scatter-shot Vinny V.
            Rotation could be….Nola/Arrieta/Velasquez/Pivetta/Eflin.

    3. Eshelman could easily get that spot. It looks to me like he’s ready for the major leagues. Efflin is a great guy and pitcher, but he could use time in the minors who better hone his breaking stuff.

    1. For the The Phillies??? I don’t follow them nearly as close as you guys. I’ve been to just two games. Esh has pitched well. But I think they want him to start the season in Lehigh Valley. Sometimes it’s not a meritocracy. Scary scenario. Hutchinson was signed to sit in AAA for just this kind of emergency if a rotation guy went down and the young guys weren’t deemed ready.

  58. will Eickhoff go to the 60-DL to create a roster spot (for Esh or FA). If everything goes the same for the next 2 weeks – I can see Nola, Arrieta, Vinny, Pivetta and Lively starting with Leiter, Morgan, Garcia, Neshek, Hunter, Milner (or Curtis) and Neris in the pen.

  59. Vinny got 5Ks in 2 2/3 IP – but he also gave up 5 hits and a walk with 2 extra bases. Phils are lucky to limit the damage to only 1 run.

    Flaherty is still making a fight for a back up role with the Phils or another team. For now, I have Williams, Quinn, Valentin, Knapp and Flaherty?! with Eickhoff going to the 60-DL for Flaherty’s spot.

    1. They just added Florimon to the 40 man, I think it’s down to Quinn/Valentin for the last spot.

        1. Florimon may have had an out clause in his contract, so I guess they decided today to add him to the 40.

  60. Klentak might not sign a FA arm, but from what I’m seeing, we need one. Pivetta is not ready yet. Vinny is simply inefficient and a poor excuse to have an 8 man bullpen.

    1. They are never going to know what they have if they don’t let them pitch against major league hitting. I would rather they figure it out in 2018 vs. waiting until they are truly ready to compete in 2019/2020.

      They are at most a .500 team but I expect them to land somewhere around the 75 win mark..

  61. Romus, Florimon had an out if he was not on the 40 Man Roster by today. He still might not make the team, but now they have some extra time to decide.

    1. I think guys like florimon are the reason, I think klentak is bad. The guy is almost 32 yrs old, This is a young team at least three yrs away, what good is florimon??? none rather take a young kid north like valentin, not a older utitlity who is a career minor leaguer. The phillies right now don’t have a clue.

      1. Roccom. You’re making too much of this.

        He’s a possible last utility guy on the team. He’s not going to displace permanently any player with real long term value. It’s like saying Howie Roseman is a bad GM because you don’t like one of the special teams players. It’s really not a big deal.

          1. No, I get it, but if the young guy is good enough, his future isn’t going to be altered by Pedro Florimon who, by the way, is showing himself to be a pretty decent utility player.

          2. I’d rather have Valentin get some ABs in AAA than sit on the bench in the majors. He’s only got about 200 PAs in AAA and hasn’t hit too well there. If he actually proves he can handle that level without a problem then it’s a different story.

  62. If for some reason Quinn isn’t deemed a fit to go north on the 25man, at this point he may be better off traded. Should get you a nice return from another club with either a strong system or a decent major league arm, or some serious cash/comp pick combo. I personally want to see him stay with the big club. I just hope his value isn’t squandered. He would at least be a starting OF on a second division team.

      1. IMO, Quinn’s return value is probably low….he is an unknown and undependable quantity right now, regardless of what he he is doing now in the spring.
        Until he can play 140 or more games a season the Phillies would be hard pressed to persuade any GM to give up anything of premier value.
        Granted….you may be able to get a CBA pick or $750K in int’l slot credit money…but I would think the Phillies would be selling low.

  63. I’ve been pretty impressed with Valentin and Crawford. Valentine may be one of these guys who suddenly gets stronger and his game takes a huge leap forward. Crawford is starting to show some real power. I’ll go on record right now and predict that if Crawford can hit 15-20 homers a year, he becomes a star.

  64. There are still 11 weeks to go until the draft, so a lot can still happen … but … IMO, four players have separated from the rest of the pack. The good news is the Phillies (with the third pick) will get one of them. Here are the four guys most likely to be a Phuture Phillie:

    * Nolan Gorman … very productive HS 3Bman with a sky high ceiling. He’s the top power bat (HS or college) in the draft. He won just about every HR Derby he competed in during last summer’s HS All Star circuit. So far this season, Gorman is 11 GP, .536/.674/.1.178, 5 HR.

    * Nick Madrigal … the top (most consistent) college bat available. He’s currently out for 4 to 6 weeks with a broken wrist (suffered in a play at the plate). He has a career .378 BA at Oregon State, and was slashing .560/.593/.880 this season before he got hurt. He’ll most likely be the first guy from this year’s draft to reach MLB (probably in 2019). He’s Scott Kingery 2.0 (small 2Bman with some surprising pop “for a little guy” and excellent wheels).

    * Casey Mize … Auburn RHP has been dominant this season. Through five starts, Mize is 32.2 IP, 15 H, 3 BB, 51 K, 1.93 ERA, .134 OBA. His K/BB rate is no fluke. Last season, Mize had 109 K vs just 9 BB. I watched him dominate Texas A&M last night with a 95-96 MPH FB, and late biting splitter.

    * Shane McClanahan … The U of South Fla LHP has also been dominant this year. After last night’s win vs Army where he K’ed 15 in 6 IP … McClanahan is 30.2 IP, 12 H. 13 BB, 56 K, 0.00 ERA, .118 OBA. McClanahan has a lightning quick arm. He throws mid 90’s and has hit 100 MPH this season. He is a TJ survivor … so there’s that.

    The other guy with a shot to re-enter the 1-3 discussion is Ethan Hankins. The HS RHP has been out of commission for the past three weeks with shoulder tightness. He’s expected back on Monday. If, over the next two and a half months, he shows the shoulder is fine (and some of the other prospects already mentioned slip or get injured), Hankins could still be a possibility for 1-3.

    The other thing to note is, without a second or third round draft selection, the Phillies are more than 2.35 million dollars short on slot money. What if a team drafting behind them (CWS, Reds, Mets, Padres, Braves), offers a kid (maybe Gorman) well over-slot money ? Do the Phillies spend an extra 500 thousand (?) dollars to get him signed ? That would blow through their fourth round pick money and probably any high ceiling day three HS prospect they usually pick. I would guess this draft is going to be all about that 1-3 pick. They have to hit on that pick. Anything after the first round, this year, will most likely be minor league filler.

    For me, I would be most happy with Gorman or Mize. I believe the Giants may lean to Madrigal, so there’s a solid chance Gorman or Mize makes it to the third pick.

    1. Hinkie…good info, thanks.
      I see Detroit selecting Gorman, since their top four prospects are all TOR arms.
      I like Mize or McClanahan…though like you mentioned with McClanahan, he is a TJ survivor, and they do have a limited shelf life and also he did have some control issues in the past, this year so far it is not great but it is still early in the process for him….he could however end up as possibly another Tanner Scott in the making.

      1. Romus … your Tanner Scott comp for McClanahan is interesting. Hopefully, Scott is McClanahan’s floor.

    2. Excellent breakdown, Hinkie. Thanks. I’m hoping Gorman is still there at 1-3 but Mize sounds like a beast as well. And a potential rotation piece in ’19.

    1. I don’t know if anyone has been following what Pat Gillick has been saying but it’s always an interesting read because he’s often right and his comments are almost entirely unfiltered. He just said he thought the last wave of Phillies players (his group) was more talented than this group. I think I agree among the elite players, but this group is far, far deeper than that group, which had about 4 or 5 frontline players and little behind that (as it turns out, that was enough). It’s refreshing when a guy is kept around and consulted even if he isn’t always a yes man for management. That’s to the Phillies’ credit – they are strong enough to appreciate a critical voice – something most organizations probably wouldn’t tolerate.

      1. Interesting thought on Gillick’s part:
        …..not looking at te pitching staffs but position players,
        —Utley vs Kingery
        —Rollins vs JPC
        —Howard vs Hoskins
        —Chooch vs Alfaro/Knapp
        —Vic/Werth vs Herrera/Altherr/Williams
        …if you go by minor league analytical metrics, it would be equal and in fact lean more 2018 version.
        Athletically same way overall as a group.
        Defensively the 2018 group has the potential to be equal but not now.
        Whether or not the current group ever materializes into champions is another story.

        1. Looking at pure talent is one thing but the earlier group of players all just about hit their ceilings. If the current group of players does the same then we’re in fantastic shape, but that’s just not likely.

        2. Another advantage the earlier core has over this current crop is that they did it. However, none of them are HOFers to be. Crawford, Hoskins, Nola and Kingery are well poised young men who have shown traces of brilliance. Only time will tell their story.

  65. Gillick was really high on Victorino, he has it over Doobie, the 1st Baseman, 2d Baseman, and SS were the best in the history if the franchise. I don’t think this group will reach that level but they have so much more depth that I am hopeful if a successful run that can outperform as a whole the ‘07 to ‘11 teams. Of course they have to hit their potential and find enough SP

    1. matt13…..looked up both Vic and Herrera…..just by WAR, Doobie has a 10.5bWAR before age 26 in 444 games.
      Vic had a 2.0bWAR before age 26 in 210 games…..some with SD and broekn up with AAA time also.
      So doobie is ahead of Vic inthat regards.
      But 26 years old and after, Vic exploded ….over the next 5 years a total 20bWAR effort.

  66. Best One-Two Starting Pitcher Punch in Majors as rated by MLB.com:
    Rationale…. ignored team depth charts, and instead took the two players with the best projections.
    1. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, Mets
    2. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
    3. Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Indians
    T-4. Yu Darvish and Jose Quintana Cubs
    T-4. Chris Sale and David Price, Red Sox
    6. Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, D-backs
    T-7. Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, Astros
    T-7. Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees
    9. Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola, Phillies…********************
    10. Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, Dodgers
    11. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha, Cardinals
    12. Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija, Giants
    13. Chris Archer and Blake Snell, Rays
    14. Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon, Pirates
    15. Garrett Richards and Shohei Ohtani, Angels

  67. I don’t know what the roster will look like going North, but if ST performance counted, Valentin and Flaherty earned spots and Kingery was the best player on the team.

    1. Kingery might be the best player on the team but he’s going to the minors so the team can keep him under control for another year. Fear not – he’ll be back soon.

      Flaherty is 31 and has never done anything in the big leagues. Putting him in the line-up in ST is a waste of time and I don’t get it. Let’s move on – he’s not a decent MLB player.

      Valentin is very interesting. He’s the same age as Kingery and it looks like he’s become much stronger and is now driving the ball as never before. This is where the team needs to scout it’s own players and allow for the type of unexpected improvement that often occurs with a younger guy. They should send this guy back to AAA so he can get some real playing time and at bats to determine whether he’s just a utility guy or has improved to the point where he’s much more than that. He is putting himself on the map in a hurry and they are making a mistake if they just pigeon-hole him as a weak hitting utility guy. Give the dude a chance.

    2. matt13…agree on Valentin….even the limited winter playing in the PR aided in his timing. I do think he needs to play regularly however, and not on the bench and come in every other game for an at bat or a few innings in the field.
      And IMO, should be assigned to LHV for a month or two.
      People seem to think he should be labeled as an utility guy…..but at 24 years old that is far from the truth. He needs to be given the opp to start at a position.

        1. Amen.
          He is another whom Matt K and Kapler will need to decide what is best for the team and/or what is best for the player.

          1. Valentin is already on the 40man AND having a fine ST. Not sure why he wouldn’t make the 25man. He most likely would have spent considerable time up last season if not for the injury. And he’ll likely get at bats what with Kapler’s philosophy of multi purpose players.

            1. Well looks like one, mayve two of these will be selected if they go with three catchers………Ryan Flaherty…..Pedro Florimon …..Adam Rosales……Roman Quinn…….Jesmuel Valentin.

  68. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be an everyday position open for Valentin on the Phillies. So while I get what you both are saying about letting him prove he can be a regular, that just opens the question: a regular where? If his only path to the majors right now is to be a utility guy, why not let him do that if he’s ready?

    1. I am sure he wants to be on the 25, every minor leaguer wants that……playing anywhere he can.
      But he would be a whole career’s worth of an utility guy on this team at this point.
      IMO, I would just let him get a few months worth of AAA time swings, then decide what can be done.
      He really has faced limited AAA pitching so far and another 175/200 PAs probably will not hurt him.

    2. Because he could be much better than that, that’s why. Even if you’re looking to trade him, you want every player to ascend to his highest and best use. That’s why a month or two in the minors would be very helpful to see him show his stuff. If he’s a utility quality player, so be it, but if he’s a potentially very good regular, you need to know that, especially when the guy is just 23.

  69. All good points. ST results are not the arbiter of roster spots. I was just commending them for excellent springs. Remember Joe Lis? A phenom in ST, hit HRs all over the place, but could never translate that to the Majors. Valentin and Flaherty are at 2 ends of the spectrum. Flaherty may hook on with some team as an extra player. Valentin still hopes he can be an every day player. I don’t know the right answer re: playing every day at AAA vs.spot at bats in the Majors.

    1. If you think a guy could breakout in the minors and become an MLB regular you do him no favors by making him immediately serve a utility role in the big leagues. I remember when the Phils first obtained Shane Victorino. They offered him back to the Dodgers after a Rule 5 tryout and when the Dodgers said “no thanks, you can keep him” the Phillies kept him and sent him down to AAA rather than making him a 4th/5th outfielder. And thank goodness they did because he raked in AAA and developed into a fine starting MLB outfielder. Valentin is the same age as Victorino was when he had his breakout AAA year. Let the guy play for a while and not waste away on the bench. And by the way, to answer Roccom’s question about why you would keep a guy like Florimon when you have younger guys, this answers your question too – having an experienced guy play in the big leagues can actually help your younger, still-developing players finish their development on the farm without rushing them.

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