Open Discussion: Week of September 10, 2018

The Phillies’ slide continued.  They are 4.5 games behind the Braves in the division and 4.5 games behind St. Louis for the second wild card.   The real gut punch this week, for me anyway, was when the Red Sox overcame a 7-1 deficit and defeated the Braves 9-8 on Wednesday afternoon.  The Phillies failed to take advantage losing 2-1 that night.

The Phillies still have 20 games remaining, 16 against teams in their own division and 4 against the Rockies.  Unfortunately, the Phillies have a losing record within their own division, and lost 4 out of 6 to the Marlins and Mets this week.

I keep all sorts of records.  I’ve noticed this year that the Phillies haven’t been able to slip many guys through waivers this season.  In previous years, they have lost guys in October after the season is over, and guys during the Rule 5 draft, but during the season this year seemed like a new thing. They also made more small trades this season.  Maybe these are an indication that our system includes players that other clubs see value in.

  • Cameron Perkins, CF, Waiver Claim by Seattle on 12/11/2017
  • Carlos Tocci, CF, Rule 5 claim by the White Sox on 12/14/2017
  • Freddy Galvis, SS, Traded to San Diego on 12/15/2017
  • Tommy Joseph, 1B, Waiver Claim by Texas on 3/19/2018
  • Eliezer Alvarez, INF, Traded to Texas on 3/21/2018
  • Ricardo Pinto, RHP, Traded to the White Sox on 3/28/2018
  • Wilson Garcia, 1B, Traded to Baltimore on 5/1/2018
  • Tommy Bergjans, RHP, Traded to Cincinnati on 5/28/2018
  • Elniery Garcia, LHP, Traded to St. Louis on 7/5/2018
  • Hoby Milner, LHP, Traded to Tampa on 7/14/2018
  • Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Traded to the Mets on 7/27/2018
  • Jacob Waguespack, RHP, Traded to Toronto on 7/31/2018
  • Zac Curtis, RHP, Waiver Claim by Texas on 8/7/2018
  • McKenzie Mills, LHP, Traded to Miami on 8/10/2018
  • Jake Thompson, RHP, Waiver claim by Milwaukee on 8/14/2018
  • Felix Paulino, RHP, Traded to the Whit Sox on 8/22/2018
  • Jack Zoellner, 3B, Traded to Baltimore on 8/27/2018
  • Mark Leiter, RHP, Waiver claim Toronto on 9/1/2018

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for baseball topics.

358 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of September 10, 2018

    1. i Don’t usually comment, but this has been bothering me all year. The Phillies have not had a good team in years. HOw is it possible that these good teams around us. specifically OUR division are finding flat out super stars and not us.
      Juan Soto

      Have been been game changers for the Nats & Braves. Where were our scouts when it came to these guys. I don’t pay too much attention to our minor league system but it seems we may still be several years away from bringing up any hitters in our system. While these 20 year olds are lighting it up around us.

      I can’t envision the play offs if we don’t have playmakers.

      1. Our one glimmering star in the distance could be Luis Garcia. But he’s just recently busted on to the scene. However, your point is well taken. Scott Rolen may have been the last young stud in Phillies developmental history. Rookie of the year in ’97. That’s two decades of moderate success from the farm.

  1. The roster could and should take on 10-12 new players come opening day. As mentioned here before, each position may have a different opening day starter from ’18 to ’19.

    Aside from personnel changes, intangible dynamics like clubhouse leadership and accountability must be addressed. Kapler’s personality likely won’t change. Positive spins and polishing turds might be acceptable for a first year skipper of a young team still learning to win. But veteran players, and I mean good ones, are necessary for this team to progress from this season. And veteran players don’t buy in to warm fuzzies when losses begin to mount. Veteran players who have tasted major league success are more likely to give voice to the sense of urgency this current club seems to lack. Laying eggs like they did vs Miami on Wednesday AFTER watching Atlanta collapse historically earlier that afternoon to give them a shot of adrenaline? Hoskins may eventually become a leader, but he’s barely a full year into his big league career. Nobody likes dissention within the ranks, but respected, venerable voices (meaning more than one) have to be present along with better talent.

    1. 8mark……..I think your points are spot on.
      The manager and GM, the way i see it, have one more year.
      And the evaluation starts December in Vegas….and it will begin with the FA signings…need to get one of the two players
      Not getting one, is the first notch against them.
      Not making progress in more total wins next season than this season…..probably seals the deal.
      I assume, inherent in more wins…better defense and better offense.

    2. 8mark – I believe that “clubhouse leadership” (replacing Galvis) was the driving force in signing Santana.

      1. Which reaffirms what a poor idea it is to try to sign someone for “clubhouse leadership”. Should stick with signing guys who “can actually play”.

        1. You can say he’s been disappointing from a BA perspective however to say he can’t play is a joke. Not only that, but what did everyone expect? He’s a career .250-.260 hitter. He’s not a piece you build around, he’s a comp piece. BTW since the All Star break he’s hit .266/.348/.480/.828, i’m sure thats one of the better stat lines on the team since. Also think about this, when his avg was sub par the Phillies were winning, now that he’s closer to where it should be they are losing. Should tell you that Santana is not the issue.

  2. I’m becoming convinced that Eflin, Pivetta, and Vasquez are not the answer as starters. All have a propensity for one disastrous inning per game. We need to get 2 SP’s this off season to hold us until Sixto, Medina, and Howard are ready. We may even be hard pressed to finish over .500. Can’t believe how bad we continue to be with RISP.

  3. Velasquez has every excuse under the sun armed and ready when he talks to the press. What a headcase. His pace is unbearable to watch. Eflin, Pivetta, Velasquez’s four seamers are flat and poorly located. As you all may recall, the staff had these 3 work away from their 2-seamers earlier in the season.

    Kapler and this schtick the organization is going through reeks of Chip Kelly’s tenure across the street. So we can only keep our fingers crossed that Dusty Wathan is the Phillies version of Dougie P and Trout rescues us from a player’s perspective, much like Carson did with the Birds.

  4. A lot complaining going on. If the Phils can get to within 2 games of the Braves before their series, they have will have a shot. They will need to to win 5 of 7 from the Braves down the stretch. The Braves can hit, but can’t pitch, and they also have a hard time beating any team outside the NL East. I’m not overly worried but time is running out

    VV, Pivetta, Ann’s efflin all have it, they are going through growing pains. Look at neris? Is he back, look at Franco? He had a turnaround. You need to let this play out. Next year is a different story, a short leash for similar performances. Let’s see how they do going down the final 20 games.

    My prediction – they all pitch well and Nola is the one That coughs up the season after a Cy Young performance.

    1. …and if Nola “coughs up the season” as you predict, he’s earned a pass.

      Hell, last week my bipolar twin predicted a Phillies division title. I can’t take (nor will I trust) the roller coaster twists and turns of these last few weeks. The NL LEAST should be better next year but the champ this year will likely turn out to be no more than the tallest midget.

    Word from Ken Rosenthal is that the Angels will try to extend Trout this off season. Should he decline, that might make the next 2 yrs rather interesting.

  6. Adding all of these veterans even at little to no cost was stupid. Would rather have seen the kids get a chance to continue their first half momentum and learn to play during the difficult playoff stretch. Instead, Asdrubal Cabrera is taking development ABs from Kingery and JPC. Bautista taking ABs from Nicky W or Aaron Altherr. All for what? They haven’t even helped. Very bad decisions by Klentak. We are still in the building phase, not the “need a couple pieces to put us in the World Series” phase.

    1. BSD – not sure Klentak and Co haven’t already decided what the young players are, right or wrong. That’s why the roster will likely go under an overhaul this winter.

      1. 8 mark, I agree with you. I think the scrutiny and evaluation is already done. The only action that is unfinished is the housekeeping and moving pieces off the board. Also, I believe everyone has had the opportunity to shine and no one has really grasp the opportunity. In some cases learning a new position at the ML level might seem unfair, but it was still an opportunity.

        1. They’ve already decided Kingery isn’t worth developing despite signing him for 6 years and $25MM just a couple months ago? Not sure I buy that.

          1. The only thing Gabe said about Kingery’s future long-term ‘permanent’ position and how he will develop into that position ….was he was not sure.
            A politically correct statement to be made with Cesar still on the team and looking for a long-term contract himself with the Phillies I would think.
            I guess what should be kept in mind…..both Gabe and Matt K. may not be around after next season to make any of those long-term developmental decisions on Kingery.

            1. I think you are wrong. The front office is very happy with Kapler, and ownership is very happy with Klentak. To think otherwise is to ignore some obscure clues. For one, Joe Jordan leaving with a year left on his contract indicates that Kapler is more entrenched than we think. It even looks like the student has overtaken the master. I don’t see or hear MacPhail as much as we used to.

            2. IMO, two things can occur or not occur that will dictate what Middleton and MacPhail will do.
              First…..if one of either Manny or Harper are not signed to a Phillies contract…first square is left unfilled.
              Second….if the team ends up missing the playoffs next season….and also it is more of the same at the end of the season like this, next season….do not see either of Gabe and Matt back.
              Also, Gabe’s contract is for a straight three years….no options, like the other new managers that were hired prior to this year.
              Then these words from MacPhail almost one year ago after Pete mack was let go:
              “Obviously, I talked to Matt when he came to me and talked about where he was. I probably spent more time with Matt talking to him about sort of the ramifications of his decision as anything. I told him that this is going to confuse people. You just extended the guy when we stunk four months ago and now we’re getting better and you make a change. You’re going to have to explain that. I also told him the media is going to be surprised by some of this. And my experience would tell me that media does not like to be surprised. They get pretty angry when they get surprised. Just make sure you’re ready for that. “We also talked about — and you guys have already written it — that the GM only gets so many managers. If you make this move, you’re going to increase the scrutiny on yourself. Are you prepared for that? He understood. He’s unafraid. He feels like it was the appropriate time.

            3. To be honest … Matt Klentak and Gabe Kapler aren’t going to be the reasons Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper either sign or don’t sign here. It’s all going to come down to John Middleton (and the Bucks).
              The Phillies ownership is acutely aware that this franchise needs a superstar to build around and drive attendance. As I’ve mentioned once or twice (or 1,000 times), Manny Machado is worth more to the Phillies than he is to any other big market club. The Phillies have manipulated their payroll (over the last two to three seasons) to attack this historic free agency class this winter. Middleton WILL NOT be outbid.

              As far as the LAA and a LTX for Mike Trout … anything is possible. However, IMO, it’s more likely Trout uses the “I want to get to the post-season” excuse to put off the extension.

            4. That may be true….” Matt Klentak and Gabe Kapler aren’t going to be the reasons Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper either sign or don’t sign here”…..but that will not make Klentak’s resume any better if neither do sign with the Phillies.

              He will be the man fronting those negotiations so it will come down to his responsibility….even with the bucks available, which would make matters even worse if they do not come signed to Philly.

              As for Trout….and if he is offered an extension this off-season as Ken Rosenthal suggests, I do not see him doing a Manny Machado to the Angels and their fans.

              If Hoskins or Nola came out said they will not sign an extension contract with the Phillies but rather test the FA waters when their time comes….the fan allegiance meter could actually change for them.
              Machado came out and said no…Harper has avoided the answer to that question and left the door open on returning to the Nats.

            5. Worst “hot take” ever? Middleton and Co love what Klentak has done so far, and they haven’t even entered their first real off season of free agency. to even suggest that Klentak won’t be here after next season is either pathetic trolling or the most ridiculous prediction yet posted on this site. And that’s saying something.

            6. LOL…..”they haven’t even entered their first real off season of free agency.”….I guess $120M for Arrieta and Santana does not count…okay.
              Like I said, Phillies miss the playoffs next season and/or regress to fewer wins then this year…..will see what Middleton does with the GM after four years on the job.

            7. A few things about Mike Trout:

              * There is no way Mike Trout signs a LTX before Machado and Harper sign their deals. He is not going to set the market. He will break the market.

              * If Trout rejects an LAA LTX later this winter with the excuse of “I want to get to the post-season”, he’s not going to lose any love from Angels fans. That will simply put more pressure on Arte Moreno to make sure the Angels get to the playoffs.

              * Moreno is not going to trade Trout this winter. Moreno would get crucified. The cost for the Phillies to acquire Trout this winter (in a hypothetical deal) would be overwhelming. It would look something like this:
              Angels get: Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Nick Pivetta, Sixto Sanchez, JoJo Romero, and Alec Bohm
              Phillies get Mike Trout and Albert Pujols

              * Mike Trout got married in Millville last December. There’s a good chance they’ll be starting a family within the next couple of years. Where would the Trouts like to raise their family ? IMO, they built their home in Millville (on 300 acres) with the thought of one day living there full time. I think he, his wife, his family, and his friends all envision him coming home to Millville and playing for the Phillies in 2021.
              Remember … Trout admitted to Gregg Murphy (in an interview last season), “Growing up as a kid, you always want to play for your team” before throwing the Angels a bone, “but I love it in Anaheim. I can’t say enough about this organization, I was brought up here”. He ended by saying, “we’ll see what happens.” To me, that sounds like a guy who is completely open (maybe even leaning to) playing for the Phillies when his contract with the Angels runs out.

            8. Romus … you’re my man, and I have mad respect for your knowledge of baseball … but … in this case … I gotta’ agree with Rick. The Santana and Arrieta signings last winter were like riding through free agency with training wheels on. This November/December, Middleton and MacKlentak will be doing 110 MPH down the Schuylkill Expressway with the top down.

            9. Hinkie:
              The Phillies spent approx $169M plus in FA this past off-season
              The only team that out spent them…..Cubs approx $212M.
              Other were close….Rockies -$120M…San Diego (Hosmer basically)-$150M….and even the Mets were at almost $90M

              So why do you suppose a GM would spend so much for a team in rebuild that won less than 70 games the year prior?
              Because he went out on a limb with hiring Coconut Gabe and cannot afford for him to falter or fail….MacPhail’s comments reflect a little of uncertainty about the decision on hiring Gabe. Klentak’s job is on the line on the way Gabe comes through.

              Now fast forward to three months from now…..the expectations are for Klentak to sign either Machado or Harper at maybe some exorbitant cost.
              If he fails to sign either player….then the disappointment level will really rise, but the expectations for the team in 2019 will still remain……more wins than in 2018.

              I could be wrong in saying less wins in 2019 for the Phillies will mean for Klentak/Kapler duo…as G Cobb use to say….”outta here like Vladimirr’.
              Will have to see how th team performs.

    2. To your point, the team is 15-20 since August 1st. I was fine with them making some additions to add some bench strength but starting a line-up of Santana at 3b, Bour at 1b, and Bautista anywhere is a failure by both manager and GM..

      They needed to learn how the players they have react to a playoff race, instead, they’ve become a boring, old team that doesn’t win games.

    3. I concur – I would have much rather seen the FO stick with the team (ie. young guys) that delivered a 2.5 game lead in the NL east as of July 27 before the trades started happening. Bringing in a bunch of new guys changes the clubhouse and the dynamics of the team. It also sends a message to the young guys that the FO doesn’t believe in them. But I get why he tried to make changes with the hope that it would improve the team. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

    4. I agree,seems like all the winning came with the young guys. Now we bring in all these new faces and everything goes down hill. The young guys played as a team,that is why they had success. I think they should of stayed with the guys who got them there.

    5. With respect, BSD, I think yours is a bad misreading of the Philly fan base. The Eagles’ success put in stark contrast the fortunes of the two teams and another season with an empty ball park was a daunting proposition. The turnaround success of other teams made it imperative that the Phils show something to their fans. In hindsight, it’s hard to say who among the kids would have profited from more playing time. It would have to be from among Alfaro, Kingery and Crawford and of course Crawford has been hurt and hasn’t showed even while in AAA. Not a lot of support for your proposition,

  7. Man I just got back from a week in Denver what the H happened? 4 weeks ago I said hey whatever happens happens and this season is a success but then

    Trade for Bour ok off the bench no big deal

    Trade for Cabrera OK get some spot starts from him at SS and 3B and some pinch hitting good deal but Kilome I don’t know.

    Then Bautista kind of sealed their fate I think. As 3Up says above starting these guys instead of say Franco and Dubs is malpractice to my naked eye as these 2 seemed to respond very well to their early limited playing time.

    it all seems willy nilly to me.

  8. Klentak will earn his keep this winter (we hope) by managing all the moving parts of the rule 5 implications on the 40 man roster. Then moving the valuable but non-future pieces (i.e. Cesar, Doobie, etc.) and making room for the big fishies (if Middleton has laid down the mandate as he’s reputed to). Failing to acquire Machado or Harper, at this point, would be a PR nightmare. JM’s reputation is really on the line here, as well as Klentak’s longterm status.

  9. Ben Harris had this note on Twitter

    If the Phillies’ and Braves’ results against the Mets and Marlins were flipped, the Phillies would lead the NL East by 5½ games. That’s a 9½-game swing.

    1. There were also a handful of heartbreaking losses throughout the season, many of them NOT vs Miami or NYM, as well. Close to 10, let’s say, including the opener vs Atlanta. Let’s say the Phillies held on to win half of those – whole different outlook. I don’t buy the narrative that it’s all about the struggles against 2 bad teams. I remember the horrible Astros of old seemed to have our number, sweeping series and such. Virtually every MLB team has one or two opponents that are thorns in their side. The Phillie simply haven’t capitalized on big opportunities to take over an otherwise weak division.

  10. The Braves are better than the Phillies right now and will win the division. They will also continue to improve in the next few years. We do not have anyone like Acuna in our system. We need to buy Manny or Harper to get that level of talent into our system. The idea of a Trout trade will be the main news of the winter once Trout rejects the Angels extension offer. There will be lots of teams, including us, ready to empty their system for two years of Trout.

    1. As much as I don’t want to give up the farm for Trout, I might be motivated to get two more years of his prime up front instead of just paying for his entire 30s decade years, including the much less productive end of contract years. As for the young talent we would have to give up, I’m less possessive of our farm now than say, a year ago. A player like Jhailyn Ortiz profiles to be huge success but hasn’t exactly lit up any top 100 lists. Sixto Sanchez has us seeing visions of Pedro Martinez…or is he a brilliant yet fragile figure whose career path might more closely resemble that of Stephen Strasburg? So do we bite the bullet, pay more for Trout sooner in prospects and increase our chances for contention or do we wait and pay more for the fading star with lots of cash later during the latter, less illustrious part of his tenure in Philly?

      I don’t pretend to know. I’m just thinking out loud here. Where do we draw the distinction between overvaluing unproven youth and protecting the cupboard from being stripped bare?

  11. “The idea of a Trout trade will be the main news of the winter once Trout rejects the Angels extension offer. :…..there are no guarantees Mike Trout will do that.

    He is above the fray of the prideful….Manny flat out said no to the team that nurtured him, and wanted to get shown the auction money……do not see that in Trout’s personality.
    I think he signs any extension offered him by the Angels…his loyalty is beyond reproach.

    1. Romus, while I totally agree with you regarding Trout’s character, I don’t necessarily see the connection to being a career Angel. A bad organization is a bad organization. I’m sure he’s surrounded himself with wise voices who’ve already spoken to the matter behind closed doors. He very well might re-sign with LAA for all we know, but to suggest any certainty is a little presumptuous.

      1. If the Angels offer an extension, IMO, it will be for another 6, maybe 7 years of his service, until he reaches age 36.
        I can see him signing that….but with also the now traditional opt out after 2/3 years into the extension, putting him in that 32/33 age area when he can elect to move on.
        So he placates the Angels and for the most part all the non-Angel teams that want a shot at him..
        But the question will remain…how will he do when he ages.

        1. Here’s what I don’t get, why should a non pitcher sign an extension that will clearly be much less than will be available upon free agency? The risk of injury for a non pitcher is practically nill. His skills won’t suddenly dry up. As it relates to Trout, yes he’s a great guy, a loyal guy, but he’s also an east coast guy. I still think his future is on the east coast. Every team will bid for him. I think the Angels will ultimately have to trade him but it might not be until next winter.

          1. I think non-position players have been signing the extensions and teams have been locking them up as earl;y as possible.
            Only Machado and Harper were the exceptions….and because ownership/FO brought them up way before their Super Two status would ever kick in and also not delaying the start of their service time. Cubs played it smart with Bryant and get him for that additional year of service by the delay.
            Phillies avoided it with Kingery and signed him into his 30s
            Its the pitchers that are hitting FA at 29-31 years old ran\ge.

            1. They sign their first big contract to get paid but they don’t sign extensions later on. They wait for free agency.

          2. Correct….position players have been doing that of late, but after they are already in their early 30s.
            Pujols was another who was brought up really at an early age, and ended up with the extension by the Cardinals, then leaving in his age32 season for the Angels trying to get first FA contract.
            I can easily see that with Trout….he may sign the extension with the Angels, but also with the opt-out clause after 2 or 3 years….so i can see him there for another 4 maybe 5 years.

  12. Congratulations to Hoskins and Santana for being named among the first 8 players to tour Japan in November. Acuna and Yelich are also going. Don Mattingly will manage the squad.

  13. I don’t disagrre, Jim, that ownership is happy wik Klentak and Gabe. But, I also believe that JM expects Klentak to successfully navigate this off season. We need one of MM or Harper, we need the Herrera and Cesar situations resolved, we need more SP, a Closer, and improved D. That is a lot. But, that is the job, and we will see soon enough if Klentak is up to it.

    1. I think the owners are happy with Klentak and their manager. I also think management understands how hard it will be to sign Manny or Harper, more than the fans do.

  14. Gabe back to his regular lineup tonight:
    Cesar 2b
    Hoskins lf
    Williams rf
    Santana 1b
    Ramos c
    Herrera cf
    Kingery ss
    Franco 3b
    Arrieta p

    1. I do think he’d been overusing Cabrera instead of as a utility man, spot starter with a decent bat.

  15. It may be hard to sign MMor Harper, but that is the job. Middleton is. Ot going to sell the fans on “ oh well, we tried hard” He knows the Braves are better than us and have a better farm. We have Aaron Nola, Rhys, and $. Klentak has to use the other pieces and the money advantage to jump ahead. A good effort doesn’t sell.

  16. Can we talk? For a brief moment, we had a trade in place for Machado at the deadline. From what I’ve read, the Dodgers won out because Klentak refused to add Sixto. Good for him! That’s way too much for a rental player, and we all know it.
    What we don’t know is who better fits this Phillies team; Harper or Machado. Harper is a better long ball threat, but Manny has a better average. Harper draws more walks than Manny, and has a higher OBP. Which player is better?
    Harper could slide right into RF, that’s simple enough. Manny wants to play SS (so he says). This complicates things for me because I like Franco and Crawford. I don’t want to lose 25 Homers and 75 RBI’s at 3B, and replace it with Crawford at third base. I’ve gone back and forth on this decision (Harper or Machado) several times. Have you? Has Klentak?
    Now, Trout has entered the picture as a possible trade acquisition. The cost will be very high, and will include players on the current roster plus Sixto and several other blue chip prospects. Whatever the cost, it’s worth it for the best player in the game.

    1. IMO, first shot take at signing Harper for RF…Williams to LF, Rhys back to first,
      …and Carlos back to the Indians since they wanted him on the cheap last year, now they will get him as they wanted, if the Phillies pick up 25/30% of his last two years.
      I agree with you…Franco stays and JPC goes to shortstop,,,Gabe has to accept that if Klentak goes in that direction.

      1. Harper is a lot less complicated for sure. Here’s another possibility. If NL owners can be convinced to institute the DH, the Phillies could keep Santana and Bour.

    2. I’m no oddsmaker but my amateur attempt would place Harper at 5-2 signing here, Manny at 4-1, both at 8-1. Whichever they sign, the most important work Klentak has to do is realign the roster to where pieces actually fit together. That will have to involve trades. Not necessarily blockbusters, but smart moves that maximize the value of the players being moved.

    3. And with you on Trout, Wawa Mike.

      A lot of people think it’s ridiculous to even consider the cost of acquiring him. And if he was 24, I would also wait for him to become a free agent. But if I can get the 27- and 28-yr old Mike Trout as we enter our contention seasons, I’d rather cough up the package now then spend mucho dinero for 5 yrs of a banged up future HOFer. Just saying….and besides, somebody is gonna pull the trigger if LAA can’t extend him.

    4. Question for the group – what would it cost to acquire two years of Trout, assuming of course that he wouldn’t agree to a sign and trade? Would the cost include future core players like Hoskins or Nola? If so, I pass. But which major league teams would offer parts of their future foundation for 2 years of anybody, much less a year or two months. Point is, the longer LAA waits to move him, the diminishing return will only get smaller.

      1. 8mark … I posted above that Arte Moreno would never trade Trout this winter. The cost for the Phillies would be overwhelming in a hypothetical deal. Here’s what i got:

        Angels get: Rhys Hoskins, Scott Kingery, Nick Pivetta, Sixto Sanchez, JoJo Romero, and Alec Bohm
        Phillies get Mike Trout and Albert Pujols

        1. This would be the best holiday gift the Angels ever received and the Phillies would be the laughing stock of baseball not just now, but for the next 5-7 years. It’s an organization killer this trade.

          1. Having gotten this gift of young players and the miraculous payroll reduction it would achieve then Angels would then go out and acquire a top notch pitcher and a guy like Machado and it would set them up perfectly for the next 5 years or so. Do you realize how bad this trade is?

          2. Then who would make a good trade partner with LAA for Trout this winter? Next winter? ’20 deadline? And who might they offer that wouldn’t bankrupt their farm?

          1. The Phillies would be competing with every team in baseball. The bidding for the greatest player in MLB (since Barry Bonds. Or Willie Mays if you want to disqualify steroid users) would get outrageous. Klentak couldn’t compete w/o at least including Hoskins, Kingery, and Sixto. Fill in from there. And the Angels would definitely want to unload Pujols in the deal, as well.
            Trout still has two years of team control. Moreno would have to be bowled over to even think about trading him, and dealing with the backlash he’d receive from Angels’ fans.

            I’m not saying I would do this deal. I wouldn’t (and I’m the biggest Mike Trout fan on here). I’m just telling you this (IMO) is what it would take to get Trout this winter.

            1. The Cardinals and the A’s got together and made a deal for Piscotty so that he could be close to his dying mother so there is still some humanity in FO’s.

              Piscotty is no Mike Trout of course.

              We can all play the game of who to package for #27 the bottom line is no one knows and to say it would take this or that is an exercise in futility but more fun than an hour on the treadmill.

        2. I don’t think the Phillies have worked their way to get themselves payroll flexibility only to take on that much dead salary. Some maybe, like Santana’s when they trade him this winter. But not the albatross that Pujols is. Might as well invite the Big Piece back and offer him a few million again😀

          1. Plus, to pile on to 8Mark’s point, shouldn’t one of the objectives be to get the huge Hoskins defensive liability out of RF, and where can Pujols play but first base? So, adding Pujols means getting rid of Hoskins probably. Not the end of the world, but not necessarily advantageous.

    1. Well, he may know something, he was part of the ground crew last night for five minutes raking the infield.

    1. DMAR….do you think the Cubs will exercise the option on Hamels?
      …..they still have big bucks to pay for Lester and Darvish…then Hendricks will be a first time arb guy so he will get his bump up to around $8 or 9M AAV…and then Jose Quintana is a FA with team option of $9M AAV…and finally Chatwood at $13M AAV
      That will be a lot of their budget tied up in their five/six starters..
      I think they may let Hamels or Quintana go..

      1. I think Hamels was sort of bored in Texas – it happens (it’s part of what happened to Verlander in Detroit). If they’re smart, they will exercise his option. If he stays healthy they won’t regret it.

      2. Yeah Romus they absolutely pick up that option. If they don’t the Phillies should be all over him and Corbin as well.

        1. GMAR…then I assume Quintana goes?
          Phillies should jump up him if that is the case for the LHP in their rotation.

          1. Wouldn’t you rather go after Corbin? I’d don’t think Quintana has been that good. I’d even go Happ before Quintana…

  17. my 2 cents on moves the phils should make for the 2019 position players (pitchers are another topic) :

    move hoskins back to first base. either trade santana, if possible, without giving him away. if the NL goes to a designated hitter he would be valuable to keep. sign bour as hoskins backup.

    sign harper and move williams to left field.

    hopefully find your center fielder from among quinn, herrera and allterr. the fourth outfielder could be in that group also.

    trade ceasar for some pitching and establish kingery at second base. kingery can play 3 infield positions whereas ceasar can only play second. kingery can also be used for some mix and match around the infield

    sign machado and play him at short (not optimal defensively but adequate).

    play franco at third.

    use crawford as a ultilty man along with kingery.

    sign wilson ramos and keep alfaro as backup.

    this upgrades both the offense and defense to a level where they can compete for a WS.

    i realize this is a pie in the sky utopian dream but coupled with some intelligent upgrades of the starting rotation and bullpen it would be one hell of a competitive team.


    1. I love Kingery and I think he will be good. But I really don’t know when that will happen. I’d prefer to hold onto Cesar until we have a good feel that Kingery is likely to be as good or nearly as good as Cesar. I’d hate to go backward at second next year and if you trade Cesar that is a distinct possibility.

      1. Yeah I’m not sure if Kingery will even eventually be good. There are 219 rookies who have had more than 425 plate appearances since 2000. Kingery ranks 215th in wRC+ in that group. He’s been a terrible hitter even by rookie standards. He’s also been less than advertised as a base stealer.

        It’s one thing to want to move on from Cesar, but I don’t think Kingery has earned a starting job.

        1. Agreed. He’s had a bad first year at bat, but I still like him. He’s done well in the field but until he shows he can hit, you don’t just trade a player like Cesar.

  18. Jim – Pretty sure Bour is Phillies property for another year or two, he doesn’t need to be signed.

  19. — Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 11, 2018
    The Phillies are bringing Drew Anderson, Enyel De Los Santos and Ranger Suarez today. They’re up to 39 (!) active players.

    1. Del Los Santos is legit – the other guys are either meh (Anderson – he’s really nothing special) or not particularly ready (Ranger).

  20. I am happy for them getting their per diems. I don’t think any of them make a difference this year, and there is the possibility that all 3 are part of off season trades. I don’t believe that Cesar brings much in trade value that will help for a while, and I feel the same way about Doobie. If we get 1 of MM or Harper, there are still holes to fill. Those 3 Pitchers and 1 of the trio of VV, Pivetta and Eflin, Cesar and Doobie, are what I see marketed to get help.

  21. How close are they:

    1. The three each have a lot of potential. But they all need to improve. The numbers would suggest that they pitched like 3s, but if you watch the games you know they pitched like 4s with occasional moments of brilliance. One of these guys needs to take a big step forward and I don’t think you can count on Eickhoff to do anything unless his velocity recovers which questionable at best..

      1. I think matt has the best idea….take the one with the highest perceived value by other GMs ….and include the pitcher in a deal.
        You may be giving up the next Arrieta….but that is the risk.

  22. Another outing where Nick does not last 5 innings. High pitch count, and although he only gave up 1 run, he is already out of the game. There hasn’t been 1 of the 3 that has stepped up down the stretch. And, don’t get me wrong. I like them all, but always believed 1 would go in a trade, 1 would end up in the BP, and 1 would be the #4 SP, who, some days, pitched like a #3. I bet if we did a poll, there would be a 3 way tie between them of who was each poster’s favorite. I honestly have no idea, but I hope the person paid to decide, picks the right one.

    1. I really just want this season to end. The team has had one of the more disappointing wind-downs I can remember. They just went limp and did nothing. If they had started this way we would think we were in store for another 90 plus loss season. I can’t really blame them for the July and August moves – they seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and it’s nobody’s fault.

      They may be like the 7-9 Eagles team that preceded the SB winner – a big rebound could be coming. But the front office certainly has its work cut out for it this offseason. They have been making a lot of well-calculated and safe choices. And that’s not the worst thing to do during the beginning and middle of a rebuild, but I think they are going to have to make some truly hard choices this offseason. Choices that will determine if they really know what they are doing or not, but choices which could result in some big upside if done correctly.

      1. Adding Cabrera, Bour, Joey Bats and Ramos……in hindsight was a mistake.
        Ramos would appear to be the most logical to add since catching offense AND defense was pretty putrid…and he provided a spark when he was healthy.
        The other three overall…not so much.

        Now did Matt K go to Gabe last month and say the following guys are available and what ones would you like to get….or did Matt K. just get them and tell Gabe , here you go, do what you need to do with them in your lineup.

        My guess….first scenario….Kapler told Klentak who he wanted.

        1. Can only imagine the uproar on this board and elsewhere if Klentak just stood pat at the trade deadlines. By the end of July, it was apparent the Phillies needed more offense and a big bench upgrade for a potential playoff run. Cabrera made sense to get some more pop in the lineup. Ramos made a ton of sense. Bour made a lot of sense for the bench. Only Bautista was maybe a bit of a head scratcher. Also, the acquisition cost in each deal was at worst reasonable, and in some cases next to nothing.

          It doesn’t appear the trades will work out how the Phillies hoped, but that doesn’t mean they were mistakes – with the possible exception of Bautista, who has been pretty bad all season.

          1. The problem wasn’t with the acquisitions (other than Bautista). The problem is with how they are being used.

        2. Romus,

          I’ll stick by my earlier comments. One or two of these guys added some veteran pop to the line up. All of them added slow, bad-fieldin old-timers and stole time and fun from the kids. Bad moves.

      2. Herrera, Franco, one of kingery/Crawford, and more. They are going to have to role the dice with quinn imo. And treat it as a platoon for when he is injured.

        I’m in shock on how bad the wheels have come off. Near the best record in the NL to the worst over the playoff push. Still hoping for a miracle, but not expecting it

  23. Not a banner day for Gabe. Why use Knapp (.216) to pinch hit for Kingery (.228)? I don’t get his random substitutions that don’t work nor should they. It just seems like this team has no fire, just standing around, looking at Gabe to see what innocuous at best move he’s going to make next. Meanwhile, a close game slips away….and the season for that matter.

    1. Gabe might be the worst in-game manager in baseball right now. I’ve never seen so many bad moves in a single double header. I always thought that Charlie Manual was a sub-par game day manager but he looks like a genius in comparison..

      1. Whoa……better not be too critical of Coconut Gabe on this board.
        Lots of posters think he is the end-all be all as far as the next generation of baseball managers are concerned.
        The next analytical guru to hit the baseball world.
        Total reliance on analytics,(though he tells Tom Mac he has gut feelings going down the stretch now on his moves) innovative approaches to the game, attitude changes and why not also, a good diet will bring the ring to the Phillies.
        I remember the last Philadelphia coach who had head strong ideas about how his system will prosper at the top of the professional level.
        I give this much to Gabe….he does listen and communicate with his players.

        1. I don’t have insight into how well he is perceived in the locker room, his communication skills, etc. which is why I referred to his in game management. My biggest issue is that he doesn’t seem to have a feel for the game.

          Watching on TV it was obvious that Dominguez was completely out of gas early in the 9th inning but he let him continue to flounder past 40+ pitches, giving up 2 runs and loading the bases before finally making a move about 3 batters late..

  24. Exactly! What was the point of Knapp there? 6 pitchers to get through 6 innings, pukls Bour right away just to make moves? Watching this team drives me nuts! Fedde had an ERA about 6 before this game. Hardly a top pitcher. Yet some truly awful ABs

    1. We certainly do cure other teams’ pitching woes, don’t we? Our bats can turn Eric Fedde into Greg Maddux in a matter of a few innings.

  25. Romus, Why do you think Klentak involved Gabe in that? I think he looked at each deal, individually, and decided that he wasn’t giving up too much, there was no cure for D, so he would add offense. I have no problem with Ramos and Bour, the pitching has been argued into the ground, and I think that the overall approach to hitting is the problem. No matter who the pitcher is, we look for BBs, take too many pitches that are hittable, don’t run very well, and don’t adjust. Except for the 1 time vs, Thor or Scherzer, when Kapler admitted they went up there looking to hit early in the count. Yet, we get beat when teams take extra bases, and string together singles, put the ball in paly so we can throw it away, and do all the things we refuse to try. We don’t just lose because the BP gave up a 3 run HR late. Yet, that is the only way we know how to win.

    1. matt13…..”Why do you think Klentak involved Gabe in that? ”
      IMO, Klentak’s job depends on Kapler’s success.
      I think Coconut Gabe has been calling all the personnel shots….from Kingery’s going north to Philly vs LHV in April, thru the addition of Bautista.

      IMO, as far as managers and coaches go….Gabe Kapler and Chip Kelly are two peas in a pod.

  26. Romus, I have no knowledge either way. And, you may be correct on Kapler. I just hope not. But, I do know that 15 Ks today in 9 innings, Altherr Ks with the bat on his shoulder in a 3-0 game in the 9th Inning, so many games with so many bad ABs. The team needs such an over haul. I am happy that there were meaningful games in August, but this is not the structure of a real Playoff team, needing 1 or 2 additions.

    1. matt13… could say the season was an overall success…..74 wins so far with 19 games. to go…..but they still may not win 80, and the over/under was 75.5, so…

      IMO, Kapler was hired the last week of October….and six weeks later Santana was signed. That was the first real head scratcher move…since it also involved our best hitter changing positions.
      Heck…I may have been wrong….Kapler may have already been calling the shots in December well before spring training broke.

      As for additions…..many more subtractions need to occur also.

  27. I have seen most of the games, and I love Nola and Hoskins, although he can hit 20 points higher and not affect the HRs he hits. But, he is still very young, and I think his slumps will last shorter. He is not a good defensive LF, and belongs at 1B. I hope Kingery can play and I believe Quinn should play CF and bat leadoff. Arrieta has a spot as do a few of the BP pieces. Nick Williams looks ok. What else do we have? A year has gone by and we know less about JP who was our top prospect for a long while. No one is ready to come in and take over any position. Franco showed some improvement, but enough to have some trade value, or enough to be the every day 3B? I don’t know.

  28. Alfaro with “golden sombrero” plus one silver tassle! Might actually be the second time for that achievement. I think some of these coaches have to go.

    1. Alfaro is pretty much the same player he was at every stop of the minors. Maybe we would be better off with some coaching changes but I can’t blame them for Alfaro striking out all the time.

      1. No, I know that. Two separate thoughts there. When the team is 28th in fielding and 21st in hitting and I know we aren’t very good in the catching discipline, we might need to upgrade some of the coaching staff.

  29. positivity doesnt work 100% of the time. a manager needs to get mad at his team every once in a while, and Gabe is at least a couple weeks late on that at this point.

    With 85 pitchers on the roster, and after repeated failures with multi-inning relief performances, how can you go down that road again?

    this team is almost unwatchable at this point.

  30. It’s time to redeem the final 18 games by playing them as an extension of the next spring training. All together now….

    1b Hoskins
    2b Kingery
    ss Crawford
    3b Franco (I guess, although Middleton should be charged up enough at this point to go full throttle after both Machado AND Harper.)
    OF Williams, Quinn, Cozens, Altherr
    C Ramos/Alfaro

    There is no point in continuing to play Cabrera, Joey Bats, or even Santana. Let them hang out as pinch hitters. Bour is still ours for another year or so and useful as Rhys’ backup.

    There is no one in the bullpen that I trust with any late inning lead. Let’s have Pivetta and Velasquez spend the last couple weeks down there just for fun and give DLS and Ranger some starts.

    As for Kapler, this roster is what it is. I don’t hold him responsible for the lack of talent. I do, however, think that he’s been managing like he’s playing Strat-O-Matic with all his impulsive in-game maneuvers. He shines the spotlight unnecessarily on himself by his style. That concerns me. A veteran squad, which he will have to eventually manage to sustain a winning club, will not buy into his willy-nilly approach. And even these young kids have to be wondering at this point, “how am I going to develop when I get pinch hit for after 3 innings?” He’s lost me.

    1. I’m not too worried about Kapler. He’s a lot things, but he’s no dummy. He will learn and, also, a lot of things look bad now just because the players on the team were horrible which is mostly not his fault. He can only play the cards in his hand.

      1. “He can only play the cards in his hand”.:…he chose those cards.
        I am not that naive to believe Kapler made the trades without first getting Gabe’s blessing on the guys coming over..probably provided Gabe a list of availabilities and asked who he preferred.
        Then when he gets the four…he uses and makes changes with them in peculiar ways.

        All i can say…Middleton better hope and pray he will be able to sign either Machado or Harper to plug into the top of that lineup….or next season, with this same cast of characters, and I assume minus a few of the recent acquired vets, the Phillies may regress.

        1. I agree Romus that Kapler certainly would have had input into the players that were acquired. I also expect he was involved into the off-season signings as well.

          He wasn’t blessed with a great roster to start the season so I don’t fault him for their poor hitting and most of the defensive struggles but I place much of the blame at his feet for the bullpen’s collapse. He has mismanaged/overworked them since the beginning of the season.

    2. hard for me to see a scenario where Bour is here next year, even if Santana would somehow be moved. he certainly doesnt want to be a part time player outside of the pennant race he thought he was getting traded into.

  31. With the playoff push over, I would like to see Suarez get another start or two over Eflin who has faded. It’s time to look towards next year. Try Pivetta and Vinnie as relievers? Why not.

    1. I agree with this. Let’s start building toward next year. Often when teams do this, they get a pleasant surprise because the younger group of players is better than the older group.

      One exception is that I want to see Wilson Ramos as much as possible as he is auditioning for a FA signing with the team. If he can stay healthy, signing him would go a long way toward curing the team’s hitting woes. He flat out rakes. One thing I also learned this year is that, while OBP is hugely important, if you build a team based on this, you also need guys with good hit tools (basically, .280 and above hitters) to drive in all the guys who get on base. It’s not enough just to clog the bases – someone has to drive them in. It seems simple enough, but that’s actually this team’s biggest problem and Ramos is a helpful partial solution to that problem.

      1. By the way, I am NOT going to rip them for their trade deadline deals – they were well conceived and well executed. They were pretty much all a good idea at the time but players either got hurt or went cold – you can’t control that. It just didn’t work out too well, but, certainly, the players they acquired weren’t the root cause of the problem – virtually the entire team imploded with some notable exceptions. What I am really hoping is that the players learn something from this painful collapse that they can carry into next year.

      2. I agree on Ramos.
        When he is healthy he is capable of catching 125 plus games like he did a few years ago with the Nats.
        Keeping him healthy will be the key to future success.
        But as for a back-up…defensively Alf or Knapp may not be the answer, and at the plate, since the bar is not all that high for catchers, they still fall a little below that bar. but for a year or so, until Grullon et al the minor league catchers are ready, one may have to do.

        1. Yes, but the team needs to develop a second catcher so unless they’ve decided that neither guy has a real future, I’d go with one of them. I think, sooner or later, Knapp is really going to hit – but he hasn’t shown it yet. Alfaro has huge swing and miss problems – he has gaping problems as a hitter than I’m not sure he can ever tackle. He could end up a career, power hitting, defense first back-up – that’s how I see him now. Knapp won’t be in that role. He will either become a good enough offensive player to be a starter or near starter or he’ll probably be out of baseball.

        2. The catching in the system intrigues me too, Romus. Duran, Marchan, and Bossart (mostly as a solid backup who reputedly handles pitchers well). I’m not as bullish on Grullon as some here, but it seems to be a strength of the farm.

          1. 8mark…how about this stat with Alf….606 pro games caught….112 pass balls.
            I am not great in math…one every six games I guess….but at that rate if he catches 130 games as a Phillie….there could be an inordinate amount of pass balls.
            Hopefully in time he improves….right now he leads the league with 10 in 97 games….so the ratio is getting better.

            1. I love the kid, Romus. Honestly, I wonder if they will ever consider making him a RF. With his current shortcomings as a catcher but the cannon on his shoulder, maybe he would be less burdened with the most demanding position, both physically and mechanically, and freed up to focus more on his plate approach. The power is undeniable. His athleticism and agility lends to playing a corner OF. He’s already a .250-.260 hitter. Perhaps he gains 20 pts without worrying about the demands of catching? His OBP is likely to always be relatively low but I believe he’s got 30+ HR pop. And with a respectable slash with a potential jump in his BA, he might be a middle of the lineup bat. And his work ethic and hustle are already highly regarded.

            2. That was an alternative consideration in 2015 when he was acquired if his ankle was not going to come around.
              Still I’d try him in LF and Rhys back to first…let Harper play RF.
              Hah…like Harper will now want to come to Philly after witnessing first hand mis mis-managed team.

  32. I don’t know that Kapler will turn out the same, but I am wondering if any others remember a wonderkind minor league manager for the Phils who was brought up to manage the big league club, and within one year was being lambasted by the fans as the worst manager ever. Terry Francona could not be shown the door fast enough!

    1. Well, yeah, that’s who I’m thinking about. They need to give Kapler time to develop as a manager because I think he has the potential to be one of the better and more advanced managers in the game.

    2. But Terry Francona did not try to re-invent the game to the nth degree.
      Nor did he tell Ed Wade who he wanted on the team.
      And don;t forget….there was a four year hiatus as a manager after the Phillies let him go and he was hired by the Sox.

      1. I don’t think he’s trying to re-invent the game, I think he’s trying to figure out how to make things work. I thought when he came that he’d stubborn and arrogant like Chip Kelly – but I don’t see that – he’s just trying to make things happen. He’d look a lot better if his players didn’t suck so much.

        1. A big part of his future as a Phillies manager will hang on either Machado or Harper wearing red pinstripes next season.
          If neither is signed….then Klentak will need to be a very creative trader, more in the Dombrowski mold.

          1. And that’s where the rubber meets the road – even if he can make some signings, he’s going to have to show the ability to judge talent properly and make good moves. The easy lifting is over. Now the heavy lifting and the day of judgment is upon him.

  33. Wouldn’t Ben Lively be another name that could be added to the list at the beginning of this post of Phils cast offs other teams have valued?

    1. It’s not that they don’t value him really, it’s that they don’t have room for this many pedestrian pitchers. They have to choose so they chose Lively – I can’t really fault them for that although it’s unfortunate he couldn’t be traded.

    2. Correct….a hurried exit off the 40 with a DFA, for another last minute vet addition that made no difference.
      Since Lively was clearly, not part of any future in the Phillies plans…why not have moved him for int’l money after his first or second rehab start in the GCL?
      The base $250K could be a future Latin signing that could be an impact player.

      1. I am not going to kill them for trying to get veterans to make a playoff push. They were right in the thick of it and if it had worked out it would have been hailed as an act of genius. They took reasonable chances trading a mediocre talent to try to get into the playoffs. I think that’s a fair trade off – you can’t look at a move like that in hindsight.

      2. It appears to be a sad pattern of poor planning of “resources”. I am still disappointed when basically the same thing happened with Jesse Biddle. But, if I remember the article I posted on Lively this may have been a deal he made with the Phillies to provide him the opp to play for another team. In other words, the org may have been trying to live up to the standards John Doe has for them and do “right” by him. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t have done right by him and gotten some international money back!

  34. I apologize for venting, but Gabe deserves to share the blame for that 2d game fiasco. That was stomach churning. You cannot get 2 Innings out of SerAnthony. You can’t let the lead go to 6-5 and have the bases loaded before you pull him. And,you cannot put in a reliever who has control problems in that situation. That was awful. We have to look to next year. And, quite frankly, we need Harper AND Machado, not or. Just one of them is not enough. We need to re-sign Ramos to Catch, Alf just is not good enough, at least not yet. Arrieta should be the # 3 SP, so we need a #2. We need a closer. Can we honestly expect Klentak to do all that this off season? And,, make the correct decisions on CF and 2B? I certainly have doubts. And, without all of those pieces, this is not a Playoff team next year, and the owner will be as aggravated as we, the fans, are.

  35. And, on the trades. Joey Bats was a head scratcher. I, obviousl,y loved the Ramos move since I want him back. I like the Bour pick up. Meh on Cabrera, and the reliever pick ups were a waste of time and effort. I agree that Lively was wasted, he could have, at the very least, brought International $. What I will not stand for is the Front Office saying they need another year to evaluate, and put off the Playoff team building for another year. This is the off season to re-make the team.

    1. This is Matt Klentak that the FO appears to love. Klentak will not swing big because he’s adverse to missing big. But if hitting small and still miss it?! the Phillies is a year ahead, so Middleton can give Klentak the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully, Middleton will be true to his word next year. Middleton said he loves to win — and if Klentak can’t deliver – ax him!

      With hindsight, the obvious move is Cole Hamels and Daniel Murphy for literally nothing. A move that a man of foresight did – you all know who he is.

      1. “This is Matt Klentak that the FO appears to love”…heard that before.. former partner owner Claire Betz’ grandson “everyone loves Ruben he will never get fired’ were his words.
        Middleton loves everybody….but business is business.
        Middleton is the FO…and MacPhail already gave Matt Klentak the kindly innuendos around this time last year after Pete Mack was moved out… a ‘GM only has so many manager hires’…and he put it out there in print for public comsumptuon, which is more telling.

        1. I’m just a gun slinger and a risk taker so i have an inherent dislike to the Matt Klentak type. Middleton should be happy and relieved that the scouting department are finding gems domestically and internationally. otherwise, this organization will look like the pre-Jeter MIA Marlins.

          1. I do not know the impetuous level of degree in Middleton….but I assume the Klentak/Kapler duo will get one more year to prove themselves.
            Phillies finish with less wins…even one game less….I think Middleton makes the move. And if a manager like Buck Showalter is out there, or a Joe Girardi, I think Middleton will push MacPhail and whoever the GM he hires, to look in that direction.

  36. Don’t look now but we are now in the 16th draft position and dropping fast. Not enough games left to fall into top 10 to protect that pick with the big FA signings (Hopefully) but 13 is realistic if the FO strikes out (pun intended) this off season.

  37. This recent slide, with last night as the exclamation point, serves us like a cold splash in the face. I am excited today more than before about the off season. Last winter, the brass said in so many words that the way to build should follow that of Theo and the Cubs. Nobody expected 2018 to go down like it has. I don’t think Klentak was sure how to handle it midseason. But I don’t fault the moves he made. I question the dialogue he and Gabe had to have at some point around the deadline. But after the PR fiasco surrounding the wet infield postponement being salt on Middleton’s already sore backside, I would like to think he’ll lay out in no uncertain terms to the president and GM how hot the stove should get come December.

    1. Concerned that Seranthony is not the future dominant closer that we had hoped he would be. That being said, with the expanded rosters, why does Kapler have him pitch more than 1 inning??

      1. Kapler’s mistake is in not realizing that certain relievers – Seranthony being one – are different pitchers mentally when returning to the mound for a second inning. He’s not a long reliever. Velasquez or Pivetta better fit that bill.

  38. exactly debra, and why after Seranthony has shown that he isn’t pitching like he did at the beginning of the season? And has shown lately that he has problems with inning #2? And why wait until the lead is down to 1 and the bases are full and go to a guy with control problems? Closing is a combination of elite stuff, and certain mentality and mental toughness. You could see Seranthony’s body language struggling as he did last night.

  39. Looks like the Washington Nationals will take over us for second place which is incredible given their injuries. I hope that Mr. Middleton saw all those empty seats and gets upset enough to make changes.


    For all those who have been blasting Johnny Almaraz, looks like the organization puts the blame on the player (hitting) development.

    1. Reaction to the repeated news we kept hearing about how they were tinkering with players swings with bad results? Both MM and Randolph improved after reverting back to a more comfortable approach. I would assume that same was happening throughout the system.

    2. Or maybe it was Johnny who blamed them. But, clearly, the hitting is not developing all that well in the minors. There is a clear problem there so at least someone is trying to fix that.

    3. I grieved the loss of Matt Stairs to SD while he waited for an offer from the new manager. His work with Williams and Altherr in particular showed noticeable benefits. I’m not sure what current hitting coach John Mallee is feeding this group, but something seems amiss from the overall performance of the offense. It’s kind of like there are mixed signals between “work the count” and “pick your pitch”.

      As for the 4 org men dismissed today, I doubt they all had varying approaches. Easy to make the connection to Joe Jordan, I guess. But there evidently was a pre-existing philosophy at work heading into this season. But Klentak was already here before that. Which leads my detective’s nose to the newest figure in a power position – Gabe Kapler. Just thinking out loud…

      1. The four men whose contracts were not renewed had multi-year contracts with this season being the last in the contract. Their upcoming release was “probably” the reason Joe Jordan resigned. I don’t think he wanted to be the guy to “fire” his guys. It’s a loyalty thing. I don’t believe Kapler has that much influence over player development. Bryan Manniti, maybe …

  41. They definitely reacted to their place in the standings. They were better but they weren’t incrementally better to the point of being the NL East Champs. Some refer to this as fools gold and when you run out and start buying new things because you thought you struck gold you wind up getting stung.

    The Braves OTOH were incrementally better adding Albies and Acuna to Freeman and Inciarte. Folty also took huge strides forward and while the rest of their rotation wasn’t stellar they weren’t blowing up either to the point their offense couldn’t keep up.

    The trades we made in a vacuum were all fine as we didn’t give up anything to add what we did. The problem is that (I think) they added guys who weren’t going to buy into Kapler. I think you saw it early in the season that veteran type players weren’t going to get on board with the walking talking Tony Robbins cliche factory.

    Young players trying to make a name for themselves yes maybe. But if you then go and surround them with guys who are saying “yeah look kid I’ve been around this game a long time and this guy is a clown” you’re going to have mutiny on the ship.

    Now of course that may not be fair of me to say but the utter collapse cannot be explained any other way. Yeah they (the FO) would have heard it for standing Pat but in hindsight they would have been better off.

    Too much disruption to the chemistry they had going on. They were basically a 500 team all along (at best) that was buoyed early by the collapse of the Nats, Mets and Marlins.

    Just because you are well spoken and good looking doesn’t mean you are intelligent and just because you give the appearance that you are a good communicator doesn’t mean you are when your actions may not align with your verbal cues. Emotional Intelligence a phrase Jeff Lurey coined when he fired Kelly.

    Case in point Kingery. You jump out and give him a terrific extension. A kid who never played a season in the MLB. You just put all the spotlight on him and all the guys around him are watching his every move probably even chiding him some.

    When he fails and you keep running him out there when other guys with some track record are getting set down or not getting the same opportunity to prove they can play you breed distrust. And when you have distrust you have nothing.

  42. DMAR, I can’t go as far as you. I think the collapse is not about distrust of the Manager. Who was bent out of shape because they mishandled Kingery and played him all over, and didn’t send him back down to AAA? I think their play is a reflection that, over 162 games, you need a complete team. The D has been awful. They look to walk too much and do not have the hitters to back up that approach. Their BP has collapsed at crucial times. Their SP, except for Nola, was inconsistent over the season, and the young 3 Musketeers did not deliver down the stretch. And the Manager contributed to the poor play with some poor decision making. I don’t think the additions at the deadline hurt the chemistry. I think they were doomed by a lack of talent and are exactly where they are now due to talent and decisions that need to improve.

  43. I doubt Klentak’s job is even close to being on the line. If he has a horrible year next year, however, it might be or he might be in trouble. But knowing Middleton – I don’t think we are at that point yet. But the recent spate of firings are probably prompted by some very pointed and displeased Middleton questions like “why aren’t our hitters developing well?” “Why do the Braves and Nationals always find these wunderkinds and our 20 year-olds have a tough time hitting low A pitching?” I would not want to be the person making Middleton upset and I think heads are rolling as a result and perhaps they should. Are YOU happy with the way we have developed our supposed young hitting stars? I’m not.

    1. But it also tells me that Johnny is probably the next FO guy in the cross-hairs. His guys better do well next year or he’ll be the next big name replaced.

      1. I love a good conspiracy don’t you? If Rhys credits Andy Tracy with his success how do you reconcile that? I don’t think we should lump all these guys together and make a judgement. Hitting coaches I mean.

        And to boot if Joe Jordan resigned citing phila-sophical differences with the FO which preempted these firings and calls out that its about how you treat people what does that say.

        I think you have to pinpoint who was doing what. MM had a terrific GCL then what happened? Then his dad verifies someone or some group was trying to alter his swing who was it and at who’s direction? Same with Randolph what happened there….he seemed to have the same type of resurgence as MM towards the end of his Reading campaign but was abysmal to start.

        He (Joe Jordan) also calls to attention what I’ve known for years and that was Dallas Green was much more involved than he should have been and was the main thorn in the side of Ruben when he wanted to grow the analytics department.

        Dallas was a good man but he could also be a bit of a bully.

        Now we’ve been whipsawed in their haste to move things forward and it’s creating some pretty bad growing pains. I believe it will get better.

  44. My Letter to Phillies Owner John Middleton, sent September 12, 2018

    Dear Mr Middleton:

    My name is John Doe and I am a lifelong 46 year old Phillies fan who now lives in the Long Beach, CA area. I grew up in Philly dreaming of one day playing for the Phillies or working for the Phillies. While neither of those dreams materialized, I’ve taken great pride in being a diehard Phillies fan and taking nothing but the greatest of pride in wearing the Phillies logo wherever I go. With the Phillies defeating the Dodgers in both 2008 and 2009, it was quite fun living amongst Dodger fans bleeding Phils red.

    I’ve never before sent a letter to an organization like this but dire times call for dire measures unfortunately. But before I get to the purpose of my letter to you, I want to first thank you for the passion you have for Philadelphia sports and your leadership of the Phillies. The organization has always been run first class, whether it be Bill Giles, David Montgomery, or yourself as the face of the franchise. Over the years, the 3 of you and the countless others that have played a part make it very easy to wear the Phillies brand with great pride and admiration. The Phillies of course have always had great ambassadors to the game of baseball, whether it be Larry Bowa or Dallas Green, Charlie Manuel or Pat Gillick, John Vukovich or Roy Halladay. I love this team and this franchise with all my heart. I grew up feeling like Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas were Grandpa Whitey and Uncle Harry the K. I cried like a baby the day each of those great baseball men passed. I fell in love with the game of baseball as those two taught me the game. To this day, every time a pitcher sacrifice bunts a runner to second when there are runners on the corners, I can still hear Whitey in my head cursing the move. Every year I make at least one weekend getaway to South Philadelphia for alumni weekend to pay tribute to those who have provided me such joy throughout my life in the great game of baseball, sometimes including a quick stop at Whitey’s resting place in Gladwyne to offer my respects. Most years I watch every Phillies game in the state of California, often times their series’ in Phoenix and Denver, and at least 1-2 additional trips back to Philly to see games at CBP, my favorite ballpark in the country. I’m writing to you because for the first time in my life, I don’t feel the same pride in being a Phillies fan, and with the exception of alumni weekend this year, I’ve done none of the things above that I’ve done almost every year for the past 13 seasons, no matter the Phils record.
    I certainly want to explain myself and provide detail to why I feel that way but I do want to cut to the chase and provide my reason right up front – Gabe Kapler. I have never been more embarrassed by the performance, behavior, and pure lack of basic competence than I am of this manager. Now I understand the game has changed and I agree with a lot of that. I know that you know the game of baseball well enough to have seen and understand some of the egregious mistakes that have been made this year. I certainly don’t want to bore you with a full list starting with taking Aaron Nola out after 68 pitches on opening day and as of the writing of this letter to you ending with another example of Gabe trying to use a short inning reliever for 2 innings of work after 1 great inning only to see Seranthony fall apart in his second inning of work, this time in the second game of a DH sweep at home vs the Nationals on Sept 11th. There are countless other examples of incompetence in between regarding his game management but again, too numerous to list here. I do want to touch on several key, critical topics though to express my opinion on this matter.

    First, the complete imbalance of analytics vs the human element. Let’s start with the lineups and the position players. In the pre-data analytics world of baseball, we all know that lineups looked mostly the same each and every night, with maybe a platoon mixed in here and there, but for the most part the same guys played, they played the same positions, and they hit in the same or similar spots in the batting order. Data analytics have provided a great opportunity for managers to optimize their lineups by taking more data into account and making tweaks. I am 100% supportive of this and think not doing it would be missing out on a great opportunity. However, Gabe Kapler is playing a video game – put everybody anywhere anytime all the time without any consistency. You cannot have players batting 1st one night, 7th the next, 3rd the next, etc and expect them to perform at an optimal level. Baseball is a marathon and these guys came up through the minors following a very structured environment. A human being takes pride in batting in a certain spot and playing a certain position and drives to become good and successful at doing that. Yes, every team needs a utility person, but teams don’t need and shouldn’t have 10 of them. Has Gabe’s approach helped or hurt the 2018 Phillies position players? Let’s answer the following questions and see:

    Carlos Santana – Has his 2018 performance lived up to expectations or has he fallen short of them? An OPS of 818 in 2017 and 776 in 2018, a decline of over 5%.

    Scott Kingery – This poor young man has been borderline abused by this manager. A second baseman by trade who played every day in the minors was shuttled all over the diamond in the early months of this season, only to then settle on SS, a position he never played before and had to learn at the big league level, and then shuttled to the bench in favor of veteran players that are not part of the Phils future. His results have been awful but I cannot blame him – the blame lies with Matt and Gabe for putting him in a position to fail.

    Odubel Herrera – Mr Opening Day – Phillies fans hoped that the inconsistent play of Odubel would steady under the new, positive influence of Gabe. Maybe Gabe would reach him and we’d see maturity. Not only have we not seen improved consistency, we’ve seen his performance drop by OPS from 778 to 745, a drop of over 4%.

    Cesar Hernandez – Here is a guy who’s performance (OPS) improved for 3 straight years under previous managers, but this year has seen a decline from 793 to 721, a drop of over 9%.

    Rhys Hoskins – The analytics say he is the worst LF in MLB, by a fair amount nonetheless. Putting this great young talent in this position is unfair and uncalled for. A drop in OPS from 1014 to 865, a drop of almost 15%.

    Jorge Alfaro – A drop in OPS from 874 to 711, which represents a drop of over 18% for a young player who should be making significant improvement, or at least maintaining progress.

    Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams – Two more young players that should be improving but are either stagnant with an OPS decline from 811 to 758 (Williams), or regressing with an OPS drop from 856 to 590. Not only have both players failed to take a step forward this year, Gabe selected the wrong one out of the gates by giving most of the playing time to Altherr when Williams has proved to be the better player.

    Mikael Franco – the one example where performance has improved from an OPS of 690 up to 780, albeit by accident it would seem. Had it not been to an injury to JPC, Franco was going to be relegated to a bench role with a much lower OPS and another disappointing season.

    Now I challenge someone to explain how a manager can be deemed anything but a failure when the facts, cold hard quantifiable facts, show that almost every position player on this roster has regressed since last season. I strongly believe that the defensive impacts of where guys are playing and the constant lineup inconsistency is causing a big portion of this. Gabe’s approach does not work as he is treating these guys as players in a video game vs human beings with real feelings, emotions, and needs.

    Second, the management of the bullpen. Again I understand that the game has changed and maybe the idea of having only one guy pitching the 9th inning and only one guy pitching the 8th inning is a thing of the past but there again has to be some reasonableness to this. I had a great conversation with a former Phillies relief pitcher from the early 2000’s at a game I attended last year in San Diego and had the pleasure of sitting next to him. We talked at length about how the game has changed and one of the things he talked about was how disruptive it is to a reliever to not know an approximate inning in which he’s going to be used. He talked about not just the mental preparation but also the stretching and mobility work that happens before you start throwing. While he acknowledged that it’s impossible to say on any given night what inning someone is needed, you can provide some general guidance that would be helpful. Now jumping ahead to this season, Gabe is using guys all over the place. Sometimes they pitch to one batter, sometimes one inning, and sometimes multiple innings. These guys are being used all over the place without any role definition. Additionally, time after time after time he is using guys for two innings that have proven time after time after time that they struggle in that second inning of work. I get that the data analytics might say use the guy in a second inning, but after it’s failed so many times one has to stop and reassess whether the individual(s) is/are prepared to execute the tasking. How many games are we going to lose late because this failed strategy continues? It’s certainly not because there aren’t enough relief pitchers on the roster – this is the most in Phillies history. This bullpen has underperformed and been awful and truly feel sorry for the pitchers that are taking the heat when they are being put in a position to fail time after time after time.

    Last but not least, I want to talk about the human element. Roster management and lineup management are not the same in the real world vs fantasy football. I can very easily bench my star running back in fantasy football and be assured that he’s not going to have hurt feelings or perform worse the following week if I put him back in the lineup. Unfortunately for the Phillies, this team is being managed that way and these are real human beings who take great pride in their livelihood and that livelihood is played out in front of the world to see, unlike most of the rest of us. Every move, every decision has ramification on that player’s ego, mindset, confidence, and pride, and must be treated as such. In my career, I lead an organization of ~200 employees that work across many different locations and for many different managers. Every month I have ideas about how my leadership team structure could be enhanced if I moved Manager A from this job to that job, and Manager B over here, etc. However, I have to stop and think about two things. First, what is the impact of that change to each manager? How will this impact them? How will this affect their career? Second, what will the impact be on all the people they lead and manage? Is it too much change for them? How will it impact their ability to do their job? Most times I decide against change because of the answers to those questions because the cost outweighs the benefit. At the end of the day I’m responsible first and foremost to ensure my company is delivered the best possible performance from my organization, but in order to do that I must understand the psyche of the 200 people doing the work and managing the people doing the work to ensure I’m treating them in a way and putting them in a position to deliver positive, profitable performance for my company.

    The situation regarding Zac Eflin is a great example of where Gabe and/or Matt have failed in this regard. This young pitcher was having an absolutely fantastic season. After years of having pain in both knees, going through multiple surgeries, and working through a tough rehab, this young man persevered and overcame and was having a very strong season for the Phils. I don’t care what the organization plans to do to make him whole financially going forward, or what level of candid and respectful conversations were held with him to help him understand why the move was being made, it was a slap in the face and I don’t blame him one bit for being affected by it. He is still a young man who is finding his way in the world and is very, very early in his major league career. To step back and think about his whole journey and then process where he was currently at in that journey, making this move just to get one extra player on the roster for a period of 10 days was not worth it to the team in the short term, and certainly not worth it in the long term when you think about the potential emotional impact it had on the human being involved. If this was a fantasy football lineup, you’d do it every time. This is not a video game.

    I don’t want to go into details on all of these situations because there aren’t others as bad as the one mentioned above, but there are numerous other examples of where this exists. Scott Kingery is a great example. JP Crawford is an example. Nick Williams was an example earlier this year. Probably the second best example was Odubel Herrera on opening day. Again, if it was a video game or fantasy football, benching one of your best players from the year before on opening day because of matchups would be an easy decision to make. But Opening Day is special and important to players and he did not deserve that face slap, regardless of how well it was communicated to him in advance. The Phillies have always treated their players with the utmost dignity and respect, maybe even sometimes to a fault, but that’s part of being a Phillie – knowing that you are going to be treated right.

    Matt Klentak shares much of the blame here as well so I don’t want to overlook his role in all of this. Let’s go through just some of the examples of decisions he’s made:

    • Carlos Santana – This contract is not going to get better with age and year one has not been good. Additionally, his signing has forced the Phils to move their best young position player out of position where he is struggling mightily and it is painful to watch, as much for him as for the fans. I also understand part of the attraction in signing him was to mentor younger players, but to my earlier point, who has really improved this year outside of Franco?
    • Jake Arrietta – Jake has been a solid performer this year, but nothing more, and this contract too will not get better with age.
    • Charlie Morton / Clay Bucholz – big missed opportunities
    • Tommy Hunter / Pat Neshek – while these guys have not been bad, they have not had great years due to inconsistency and injury, respectively.
    • Ben Lively – how do we allow a decent young pitcher who’s had at least some success at the major league level to be lost off the 40 man roster so we could activate Pedro Florimon (the 6th guy off the bench) or Jered EIckhoff (the 10th man out of the bullpen).
    • Cole Hamels – could have been had for nothing in terms of prospects, he would have sold tickets, energized the fan base, and everyone knows he is a bright lights performer. Most expected his turnaround to occur much like most knew that Pivetta and Velasquez were likely to slow down late in the year.

    This is just a small example of some of the things that have occurred. There are clearly many, many more. Being a GM is a tough job and nobody expects Matt to strike gold on everything, but he has had a really bad year or two at the major league level.
    We are now 4+ years into this rebuild and really what is there to show for it outside of lots of money to spend on future free agents? Aaron Nola is fantastic. Seranthony if handled correctly has a very bright future. Hopefully Scott Kingery can overcome this mismanagement and take full advantage of his talents. Rhys Hoskins will be great if moved back to 1B. The farm system is solid but has more quantity than quality, but hopefully the Sixto’s and Adonis’s of the world will stay healthy and become big time pitchers. Beyond that, this team is going to be built through free agency because Matt Klentak has not delivered the needed performance up to this point.

    The most shocking thing to me about the summer of 2018 is the complete and total lack of enthusiasm for this team by the fans of Philadelphia. You and I both know that in Philadelphia it’s more than just winning and losing, it’s how a team wins and how a team loses. The 1980 and 2008 Phillies will never be as popular in this city as the 1993 Phillies because of the story of that team and the personalities and the style of play. I will always love all 3 of those teams, but I know the ’93 team holds a special place in my heart even though they didn’t reach the same mountain top as the other 2 squads. I have colleagues, friends, and acquaintances in the Los Angeles area and other areas of the country, as well as back in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas. Across the board, they have all attended less Phillies games this year than ever before. Throughout the summer, I’ve tried to understand why I feel so disinterested in spending time and money on this team more than ever before, including the high loss seasons of recent years. And I tried to understand why the people I know that share a love for this team feel the same way. My new wife who is LA born and bred but a proud, new Philadelphia sports fan asked me in April and May – “I thought the fans of Philly loved the Phillies and they’re doing good, what’s with all the blue seats?” I told her it’s early and the team has had years of bad seasons since 2011 it’s going to take a month or two for people to believe. Plus I believed that in April and May the city was very focused on the 76ers new success and that was distracting as it related to the Phillies. So then June and July rolled around and with the exception of some fireworks promotions and alumni weekend, the seats remained very blue and I told her I honestly don’t know why at this point, it doesn’t make sense. So she asked me why I didn’t seem as excited as I had in years past and I spent some time thinking about it and the first thing that came to mind is that I’m embarrassed that Gabe Kapler is our manager. We both laughed and she said no really why aren’t you as excited and I thought about it and that really is the primary reason. I think the other reason is that Matt Klentak has fielded a roster that has played the worst defense I’ve ever seen a baseball team play in my entire life and there is nothing that looks worse than a bad defense. I decided then to start asking other people – hey what do you think of the Phils this year? You going to some games? More than half the people I asked expressed some version of the two reasons I mentioned above – a total dislike and lack of respect for the manager and the mention of awful defense. Most of the others also cited their dislike of the manager and the common theme about how badly they felt for the players that are being put every single day in a position to fail. The single biggest reason the seats remain blue is Gabe Kapler.

    Mr. Middleton I ask just one thing of you as the only man in the world that can bring back the pride and esteem of the red pinstripes and the Phillies name on that jersey. Please take a long, hard look at what has happened across the street.
    Pete Mackanin and Ruben Amaro were Andy Reid and Joe Banner – great, great men in their respective sports who pre-analytics were very, very good at what they did and accomplished many wonderful things, but had to go because the world was changing around them faster than they were.

    Gabe Kapler and Matt Klentak are Chip Kelly. Two organizations greatly over-reacting to the new analytics environment by finding and hiring the most progressive, new wave thinking leaders in their respective sports. Chip Kelly proved to take it too far, past the point of understanding the human element and ignoring the impact that metrics and analysis have on the individual human being and the collective team chemistry that is usually necessary for success. Gabe and Matt are proving to be the same more and more each and every day. This experiment is going too far in the wrong direction and will end badly one day. I beg and plead that that day is early October 2018.

    (Insert names here) will be the next Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman. The Eagles did not fire Chip Kelly and return to the pre-analytics days of Andy Reid and Joe Banner. They found a way to strike a happy medium. They kept many of the advances in technology and data that Chip Kelly and others brought to the organization, but they hired someone who truly understands human relationships and the importance of team chemistry, and then injected some of those other things into his coaching process. This is exactly what the Phillies need – move on from these two individuals and bring in two new individuals that fit the philosophy of Doug and Howie, but keep the best and brightest advances that Matt and Gabe brought to the organization.

    I am sure that both Matt and Gabe are great guys and I have no doubt they’ve both worked very hard and take great pride in doing the best job possible. I don’t mean to disparage them personally in any way. I’m not asking that the Phillies turn the clock back 10 or 20 years but rather move forward into the future. The old past in sports was 100% scouting and 0% analytics. The recent past in sports moved more towards 100% analytics and things were black and white – you had teams driving analytics and you had teams opposed to them. And those opposed were left behind and the others took advantage. The current state in sports is that the new advantage goes to the teams that are combining both – great analytical capability with human leadership that is able to process and digest information in order to make smart decisions, effectively communicate the approach to their team, and put their players in a position to successfully execute. With Ruben Amaro we were the old past in a world that was in the now recent past, and we were at a disadvantage. With Matt Klentak and Gabe Kapler, we are now in the recent past in a world that is in its new current state. Please move us into the current state Mr. Middleton. Please send a message to Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and others to not overlook your great leadership, the great financial offers the Phils will provide them, the opportunity to play in front of the most passionate fans in the world, at a beautiful ballpark, for a franchise with great history and first class treatment of its players, just because our current on field leadership is not competent and not worth the risk they would be taking by agreeing to sign here for multiple seasons for unproven on field leadership.

    I know you love this franchise just as much and likely even more than I do. Please help Phillies Nation move past this dark, embarrassing time. Please Mr. Middleton, you are our only hope.

    John Doe

    1. Dear John Doe,

      Thanks for your passion, and thank you for your letter.
      Please understand, the Phillies are actually a year ahead of schedule. Our plan, as an organization, has always been to compete for championships beginning in 2019.

      In addition, I am fully aware that we have not been a fun/exciting team to watch. We will be rectifying that by spending huge amounts of money on Manny Machado (and other free agents) this winter.

      Again, thanks for your support. Hope to see you back at CBP again next season.

      Yours truly,
      John Middleton

      1. Okay I’ll play along “Mr Middleton”. I would be careful to get too excited about being a year ahead of schedule, because if you have the wrong general manager, and/or the wrong manager, being a year ahead of schedule in 2018 won’t translate to success in 2019. Those Yankees are licking their chops for Mr Machado, and lots of teams are doing the same for Mr Harper. I know you probably believe that you’ll outbid everyone else, and you probably believe that only money will matter in the final decision, but that is not always the case. We only need to recall the Cliff Lee decision several years back that went in our favor that sometimes players value things other than money. And if they do, I would love to know what it is about a 3/4 empty stadium, a very poor won/loss record over the past 7 years, a questionable at best manager, and a team that collapsed in September that is going to convince those players to come to Philadelphia? And what does next year look like if you don’t land 1 or both of those two players, along without landing Corbin? Almost every player on this roster is at an age where they should be improving as they age towards their prime yet they’ve almost all regressed this year. And the players that are past their prime are unlikely to improve next year over their performance this year. And the most important element in this year’s “success” that nobody talks about is the Phillies had 4 starting pitchers that were basically healthy for the full season and a 5th that was healthy for the majority of the season. How often does that happen? What are the odds the Phils will not lose an Aaron Nola or Jake Arrietta next year for a substantial period of time? This team is 3 strikeouts in free agency and an Aaron Nola injury away from being 65-97 next year. You have the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Angels, and Giants as teams that could easily compete with the Phils financially for those top 3 free agents, and a slew of other non-competitive teams that could buy their way in if it’s really only about money, like the Rangers, Orioles, and White Sox. I would be very careful to not get too excited about being a year ahead of schedule Mr. Middleton.

    1. He lost me when he began to praise Ruben and Pete Mackanin. Old school guy longing for the good old days. I get it. I share some of his sentiments but Gabe isn’t the biggest problem as he strongly asserts. 2019 will be the litmus test of how what’s going on now will be addressed over the winter. But sure, it’s physically painful to watch.

      1. 8mark, you make a good point. I originally wrote Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick but then wanted to be more current and changed them to Pete and RAJ, but forgot to tone down the great comments just a bit.

        Having said that though, if you look at the most valuable assets today in the Phils organization, most of them were acquired by RAJ not Klentak. I understand that it’s not fair to compare the two based on that today as the most recent drafts of Klentak need time to develop, but the evidence when reviewed is not in Klentak’s favor at all.

        Players RAJ acquired during his tenure: Nola, Hoskins, Sixto, Medina, Kingery, Herrera, Quinn, Cesar, Franco, Pivetta, Eflin, Dominguez, JPC, Alfaro, N Williams

        Klentak moves: Signing Santana, Signing Arrietta, Rule 5 Tyler Goeddel, Signing Michael Saunders, trading for Clay Bucholz, and then letting him leave and become very good this year somewhere else, Signing J Benoit. None of these were good.

        The best Klentak moves I can come up with: Trading for Pat Neshek and the Freddy Galvis trade for Delos Santos. The Bour, Bautista, Avilan, Loup, and Cabrera trades all didn’t help. I’d consider the Ramos trade a win if they can keep him next year.

        As for the Giles trade, it seemed great there for a while, but it’s really just coming down to Giles for Velasquez, so not sure that’s turned out to be a real good trade looking back on it.

        The takeaway here for me, Klentak has made more bad moves than good at the major league level. It’s too soon to tell on his drafts. And he’s really just let RAJ’s guys play things out and he’s going to go try and throw a big checkbook around to buy free agents since they haven’t really developed enough players on their own or signed the right guys.

        1. John Doe, I fault Ruben primarily for not standing up to the old guard – Monty and Uncle Bill. His hands were tied, as far as I’m concerned. I liked Amaro on a personal level. Mackanin just didn’t seem to engage with the most players as a communicator. He was little more than the night watchman in the interim stage of the transition from then to now.

          Your letter was extremely thoughtful and thorough in all you touched on. I agree that Klentak has much to prove. Ruben, like Ed Wade, left us a considerable amount of talent on the farm. My only detraction was your take on Gabe. Your view of him may be accurate but the “embarrassment” part was overstated, in my opinion.

          Otherwise, your letter to JM is quite compelling. Well done. Yes there’s a reason the seats are empty. I think not for long….

    2. matt13…looks like I am not alone in the Chip Kelly/Coconut Gabe comp.:)

      BTW…..when Andy MacPhail came on board to the Os a decade ago as their GM…..Joe Jordan was already there to help in his transition and stayed there for another four years with Andy before MacPhail left in 2011 and also Joe left with Andy….the Phillies hired Joe Jordan in 2011
      I think there was a mutual respect there that still exists even after last week

    1. Thank you DMAR, appreciate that. A hard copy left in the mail today for CBP so hopefully he will read it.

  45. Not trying to be “that guy”. The one who keeps beating a dead horse when he knows he’s right … but …

    In late July, Jim Salisbury reported the Phillies were looking at Felpie Vazquez as a potential trade target. I was completely on board with making a strong push to acquire the Pittsburgh closer. According to Fangraphs’ trade value chart, Vazquez market was set by the Ken Giles deal that sent the Phillies closer to the Astros. I used that Giles and Jonanthan Arauz trade that netted the Phillies Vince Velazquez, Brett Oberholtzer, Mark Appel, Tom Eshelman, and Harold Arauz to propose a deal that would have landed the Phillies Felipe Vazquez, and a lottery ticket for Zach Eflin, Adam Morgan, Franklyn Kilome, Connor Seabold, and Nick Fanti.

    That idea was unanimously vetoed by every poster that responded. Most of you were horrified with the thought of flipping/selling high Eflin (a replaceable MOR arm) for Vazquez (an elite closer/2nd best LH closer in MLB on a team friendly contract for 5+ years). How’s that working out for you ?

    Since late July, the Phillies have blown six games in the ninth inning (and another two in the eighth inning). During that same time, Zach Eflin (in nine starts) has registered 45.1 IP,

    1. Since late July, the Phillies have blown six games in the ninth inning (and another two in the eighth inning). During that same time, Zach Eflin (in nine starts) has registered 45.1 IP, 6.5 ERA, 1.68 WHIP.

      This team needs to do whatever it takes to find a closer this winter.

        1. I like the outside the box thinking, Romus !!!
          Maybe they should just hold open auditions next spring for every arm in the system.

          1. Hah…actually I can Warren starting in CLW and and if he does anything like he did at Lakewood….in Reading and maybe LHV by August.
            Look at Seranthi=ony….last year he was in CLW and out for two months with the shoulder issue…and ended up in Philly…..although, being over used by this anal-guru coconut -crazed manager

      1. We should be able to find Felipe Vazquez from our system though. Look at what he was as a starter at AAA the year before Washington converted him to a reliever – 7.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and a 1.4 WHIP. Those numbers are pedestrian. I think there are several starters and relievers in the minors (or Eflin, who you mention in the trade) who could develop into what Vazquez has become. It’s much harder to find a #3-4 starter.

        Also, you’re paying a premium based on his past performance. He’s signed through 2021, which can be seen as a good thing, but how many relievers have a good 8 or 9 year run?

        1. Vazquez salaries:

          2019 … 4.5 million
          2020 … 5.75 million
          2021 … 7.75 million
          team options for 2022 and 2023 for 10 million

          I would disagree that this is paying a premium.

          Also … I’ll say this again, Eflin is certainly replaceable. It’s extremely difficult to find LHR’s who throw 100 MPH with wipe out breaking balls.

          1. I’m not talking about salary though, I’m talking about what you’re giving up to get him…Vazquez wasn’t even a top 30 prospect according to Fangraphs or MLB going into his 2015 season with Washington. In fact, he wasn’t even in the honorable mentions. There’s a reason the Phillies haven’t moved Pivetta, VV or Eflin to the pen yet. It’s because it’s much harder to find a starter. Vazquez himself is proof of that.

            1. Look at it this way … If, in late July, the Phillies replaced Zach Eflin in the rotation with Enyel De Los Santos, how much worse could it have been? As I mentioned above, Eflin has averaged 5 IP per start, 6.50 ERA, 1.68 WHIP in that time. If at the same time, you added Felipe Vazquez to the Phillies bullpen, it’s reasonable to believe the Phillies don’t blow six games in the ninth inning or later. That puts the Phillies right in the thick of things with the Braves for the lead in the division. It also gives the Phillies (IMO) a dependable closer going forward (for the next 5 seasons). By this time next year, guys like Adonis Medina, JoJo Romero, and even Sixto Sanchez could be in the rotation. Any or all of them could make you forget about Eflin. The team can also go out and buy a guy like JA Happ this winter to replace Eflin. For the Phillies, it’s really not that difficult to find a #3 or #4 starter.

            2. Hinkie….you make a lot of sense in your persuasive argument.
              But wouldn’t you rather draft 14th than 24th next year? 🙂

            3. Hey … after another down season on the Cape, Logan Davidson could slip to 1-14. Johnny A has already drafted him once …

    2. The Pirates traded for Chris Archer at the trade deadline, I don’t think they were/are looking to trade Vazquez anyway.

      I think the problem with Eflin/Velasquez/Pivetta at this point is they’re running out of gas. Same thing with Seranthony. They’re not used to pitching in this part of the season. The reason the front office is riding them now is to make sure they’re stretched out for next year.

    3. I’d still veto the trade. Maybe Vazquez is one of the 3 or 4 relievers to have consistent excellent results, but you’re still banking on 2 years of (RELIEF, AKA SMALL SAMPLE) data. No thank you. 99.99% of all MLB relievers are ridiculous fluid on results year to year. Even the excellent ones.

      You took the Giles trade as a framework (which is flawed reasoning, by the way. The market has changed). How about look at the results of that trade. Even if VV hasn’t been outstanding and the others have amounted to nothing, I imagine the Astros would still take a mulligan. They thought Giles would be one of those relievers with consistent success, but he was anything but. The Kimbrels and Chapmans are few and far between. Just ask the Indians.

      Besides, a closer is typically the LAST piece you acquire for a WS contender. That is exactly why they traded Giles to begin with. Fill the other holes first. Get your closer later. There is always a closer on the market. Always.

      1. Agree…relievers on a whole are way to fluid for dependability and reliability every year. Even now Chapman is fading.
        In the Phillies system now there are youthful arms that can fill that void.
        Edgar Garcia next up to join SeraD, Arano et al.
        The trick is for a manager to utilize them correctly.

        1. But then you used that sentence as the basis of your own trade proposal. So you also used it as framework.

          1. … so … you’re saying you understand the trade market better than Kiley McDaniel and Fangraphs ? It’s their opinion I’m basing the Vazquez trade proposal off of.

          1. DMAR … The Fangraphs trade value chart I used was published this summer (July 16). Giles’ lack of success was established by then.
            In fact, the value placed on players isn’t based on the performance of a guy like Giles after being dealt. It’s based on his performance before being traded The Giles deal set the market (according to Fangraphs) for young, controllable top relievers/closers.

            1. I don’t have time to read this every day and I often completely miss discussions like this or I find them later. Even 3 days late, I cannot help but reply to this…

              For what it’s worth, I was completely onboard with trading for Vazquez and giving up a package where Eflin was lead. Honestly, I have no idea why anyone here would argue with that. I like Eflin as much as the next guy, but in another team’s system few of you would jump at him to say he’s a unreplaceable future piece. Pivetta and VV have more upside, if they can ever reach it. (I continue to LOVE Pivetta no matter what the masses here say.) Also, given we’re likely to sign a f/a SP and given we have some great SP prospects coming by mid/late next year (and beyond), giving up Eflin when he was red hot was exactly what the FO should have done. (Btw, I am not just saying that now I was quite outspoken about that in July to friends/family, and I included him in a trade idea I posted here.) We have a lot of guys with the potential of Eflin IMO.

              Back to Vazquez… while I understand and agree that RPs are not always consistently dependable, I am entirely with Hinkie that Vazquez is special. I traded for him in my rotisserie league in early June when he was struggling because I see him as superior to most RPs.

              Now whether the Pirates ever would have traded Vazquez or whether they’d have given him up for what Hinkie proposed are real questions here. And none of us can answer them.

  46. I’m all for the reshuffling at the minor league level. Randolph, Moniak, and Haseley weren’t reaches where they were taken by any stretch and they’ve all had well documented struggles. JP Crawford hit a wall offensively at AA two years ago. Other than Hoskins every young MLBer has come up and struggled (Kingery, Williams, Alfaro) with their approach.

    Even at the lower levels, Ortiz, Gamboa, Brito, etc these guys are all talent but aren’t taking steps forward. Even if they’re not going to be contributing to the MLB team you need these guys producing to trade them for useful pieces.

    1. You’re cherry picking when it comes to the success of our minor leaguers. It’s fair to say those named haven’t exceeded expectations or may have seen their stock drop this year (Haseley is about exactly where I would have pegged him coming into the year, personally). But assuming Sixto is healthy in the AFL, he’s stock up. Suarez, de los Santos, Irvin, Young, Howard, Parkinson, Dohy, Pipkin, and more are all stock up. Luis Garcia is WAY UP.

      It’s the nature of prospects where most fail. But saying all of our prospects, or even all of our top prospects, are all talent with no results is false.

      How much more did you want out of Haseley, by the way? Dude hit over .300 with an .880 OPS and almost as many walks (16) as strikeouts (19) in his limited time at AA.

  47. JPC starting:

    …not sure what Kapler’s thinking is on JPC.
    Season is probably over now.

    1. Good time to start all the youth again. Maybe Gabe will phase them in as the season’s end nears…?? My frustration is in insisting on playing Santana, Cabrera, Doobie and Cesar as if trying to somehow increase their value. Would Klentak sit down with Kapler to persuade him to play the future.

      1. 8mark……”Would Klentak sit down with Kapler to persuade him to play the future”….you do know how comical that sounds! 🙂
        Klentak should tell him….but then again he should have told Mack last season to bat Freddy 8th ilo of 2nd for 3/4 of the season.
        But maybe Matt is timid and not forceful in his way..

      2. I wonder if Franco got hurt again last night. In a bit of fairness that was the reason he wasn’t playing, wasn’t it – not lineup juggling? Completely different topic – doesn’t the timing of the firing of those minor league coaches seem a bit weird? Sure, they might not have been about to do any more coaching this season but still.

  48. Hinkie, I remember exactly where you stood, and unfortunately, you were correct. Those who wanted Hamels, who cost nothing, were also correct. I am hoping that lessons were learned, not by posters here who disagreed with you, but by Klentak and MacPhail, who somehow, remains unscathed, yet I believe he sets the tone for the FO. BY tone I mean “safe risks”, nothing too risky”. Middleton is clearly the boss, but he seems like an owner who delegates, until results are not achieved.

  49. Hoping for:
    A meaningful, finale for the regular season against the Braves – win or go home
    Reality – a pain in our fan groins is real, and the season is over

    Looking towards offseason FA/2019:
    What happens with the DH to the NL will have major implications on how the team should proceed. This has happened to the Phillies before … 2006 rumblings started for the DH, when the team could’ve had Howard and Thome in the same lineup.. not cool and I’ll never get over it
    Anyways… Santana is not Thome, but is a nice piece to have for a lineup that would regularly use a DH.
    Franco has showed me enough, that he is an everyday mlb player, just not the face of a team. He is a Jason werth type piece of the puzzle. I’m ok with going after Harper vs Machado. Going after Harper also opens one hellva trade route for klentak to get trout.

    We have all talked and dreamed about this, but trading for trout is becoming more reasonable to me:
    Give up Sixto,Kingery, Medina, Alfaro, Moniak, and Halsey and sign trout to his extension

    Trout, Harper, Quinn, Herrera OF
    Hoskins, Hernandez, Crawford, Franco, Ramos
    With bour,Knapp, and design caberra

    Nola, VV, Pivetta, efflin, eickhoff, Arrieta mix with Corbin,Hamels, Irvin, del los Santos, etc ..

    The team will score runs .. pitching can develop or regress

    Sorry my pharmacist. Hooked my up today …
    But I don’t think it is far fetched as it once sounded. Machado could be nyc bound, Harper can be pried away from WAS, and Trout will decline angels offer this offseason to extend… lighting Middleton’s fire to get his trophy back …. but … to also draw money making crowds back to the park. This near playoff run showed him, the team has to pony up, get players fans want to see

    No way phans stay away from a lineup that includes Hoskins, Harper, and Trout … with Nola pitching

    … and before you ruin my fantasy here … I don’t think a trade would HAVE to include Hoskins and/Nola to get it done… not for 2 years of control.

    1. Trout…..Sixto and Medina , IMO, will not cut it.
      Unproven prospects at this point.
      Moreno will want Nola, and as pitchers’ value go…that would be the return value for Trout when talking the pitching aspect of the deal.
      The other players involved, and the quantity, who knows what he would want.

            1. I hear you on Trouts value … but just because is his value is high, doesn’t mean the Angels will get his full value when it comes to a trade.
              Why? Sure everyone will want him, but not everyone make bids/serious bids
              Further driving down his value, not everyone can afford his next contract, thus pulling teams who aren’t ready or willing to pay the price. Next, if he declines to sign a contract this winter, as rumors are angels owner will ask him to do … will weaken the angels position, knowing that teams know their best deal is now vs later. Lastly, teams will consider the “price” vs 2 years & whether they can resign him … lastly … they will consider his preference on where to play.

              The Angels have some power, but not all of it. If Trout resigns, well all cards are off, if he declines… well the Angels better start thinking about life without Trout, and how they can beat move forward … instead of living in his shadow.

              I think an important aspect of this is for the Phillies to block a Harper/machado signing for the angels … for our fantasy to come true, we don’t want trout to get a taste of winning .. until he wears the Phillies uniform!

              I hope his wife is home sick, has parents she wants to be around more… and the grandparents bug all the time to see the grandkids .. if so… book it… Trout in redpin stripes this offseason.

              I’d say it is a 60/40 shot. O remember … being a diehard eagles fan during a Super Bowl era … has to hold some
              Weight too

              Don’t just dismiss it because you think it will cost Nola or Hoskins.. they won’t be going Imo. All others are on the table

  50. Seems even Nola is tiring as the season’s end nears. With the meager support behind him, I can’t blame him.

  51. Heckuva a lot more talent in ‘07 than today. Not only has Nola been great, he has known he needs to throw close to a shutout every time out.

    1. Nola now going into his 5th year and first time arb eligible, and still only 25 years old with almost 15bWAR over these last two seasons…I expect the Phillies to reward him with a big bump up financially.

    2. It’s hard to compare this team to the 2007 team. There were more established stars on the 2007 team and it was better and deeper to be sure – it was a much better team than the 2018 model and projected 2019 model prior to trades and FA signings. But, over the long haul, this team has more younger, developing players and the farm system today is infinitely better than the relatively barren farm of 2007. This team also has tons of money to burn.

  52. It may only be a couple games and not even a SSS, but could we please let Crawford finish the year by getting the lion’s share of starts at SS? Two doubles and a tater opens my eyes to a guy who’s otherwise been little more than an afterthought all season. He’s a former 1st round pick. Let’s at least give him the crumbs of schedule.

    1. Agree with 8mark. Unbelievable how many posters had written Crawford off after less than 200 MLB AB’s.

      1. Crawford’s July/August in 2017 were all i needed to know that he can adjust.
        Of course….convincing Coco Gabe will take more …since putting in crawford is a sign of ‘desperation’.
        If the Phillies do not sign Machado or Harper… can thank Gabe.
        For sure I can see Machado asking ex-teammate Jake about Gabe…..just hope Jake is over the whole defensive shift process.

      2. Everyone knows I am the JP fanboy. Last night I saw a glimpse in the old JP the one that lead me to believe he could be an excellent MLB player and none of it was in the result of going 3-4.

        JP always had an uncanny ability to know a strike out of the hand. He excelled because he would get himself into probable hitters counts routinely and once his timing was locked in he hit fastballs hard all over the field.

        If you watched his AB’s closely last night he wasn’t even flinching at balls. Even that called strike 3 last night was probably outside.

        1. DMAR….agree. If JPC is not the starting shortstop on this team next season when it breaks north from Clearwater, I will be very disappointed.

          1. Romus, I don’t believe that Machado signs to play 3B. And, there will be multiple offers to pay him a lot of $ to play SS. So, I will be very disappointed if we don’t sign either Machado or Harper. If the FO believes that JP at SS is more beneficial than not having Machado, all the eggs go into the Harper basket.

            1. I don’t think I expressed that well, but I hope you got what I meant. Which is more important? Signing Machado or JP at SS? I don’t think we can have both.

            2. If Machado gets the money he wants and the city he wants he’s not going to care if he plays SS or 3B.

              This season was a play for him to showcase himself for the best possible LTD.

            3. Honestly? I think the issue of ss/3b is only slightly more important to him than what the new team’s uniform colors are. The whole short stop thing is about increasing his market value which will be already set by the time the bidding begins. He’s a gold glove 3b. If playing ss is that big a deal to him, I’m not sure he’s worth the trouble in the long run.

        2. Agreed – he doesn’t have more than about a 50/55 hit tool, but he has 75 or 80 strike zone judgment – it’s elite and it’s going to give him a nice big league career sooner or later because he has all the tools necessary to make him a really fine player including very fine fielding skills.

    2. I think the terrible state of the defense is going to result in Crawford getting some serious time at SS next year and I still believe has the ability to be an above average SS or better. He needs a lot of innings and I’ve always thought he is the type of guy who is going to improve slowly over time.

      I would use him as the starting SS next year and use Kingery as a super sub (he’s already gone through that baptism of fire – so let’s use him for that) until it’s clear that Kingery can hit enough to be better than Cesar at second. Kingery could also start a reasonable number of games at SS (1/5 or 1/4 of the games).

      This will be the most interesting off season in 8 or 10 years but I think the worst thing the team can do is panic and just start wholesale selling off young guys who are still developing. They need to be judicious about who they keep and who they trade and they need to make trades and sign FAs with an toward the present AND future – much as the Eagles did in the 2017 off season before the SB run.

      Matty K – the days of easy, safe moves is over – time to perform pal. Good luck.

    3. Although I’ve read comments and questions (more so recently) regarding Crawford’s work ethic, I still am of the impression I have from his overall profile and development, albeit interrupted by inactivity and sporadic production, that he still has that ‘IT’ factor which doesn’t just go away. It’s been mentioned here that most players’ development is more hyperbolic than linear. If he were to continue to perform at a static pace, then of course, at what point do you say “hey, let’s move on”? (And this thread would not be posted had he not 4 hits over the pastb2 days, right?) But my ideal scenario for next spring is that JPC goes north with Manny gladly stationed to his right at 3b, his gold glove position. That would conceivably give us 3/4 of a dynamic infield defense, with hopefully Rhys adequate at 1b. We can have all the vision in the world but the Phillies brass has to make these calls.

      1. And while I’m at it, this opening day lineup is within the realm of possibility (if not likely) if Mr Middleton empties both barrels as we believe he will:

        c Ramos/Alfaro
        1b Hoskins
        2b Kingery
        ss Crawford
        3b Machado
        lf Williams/Altherr
        cf Quinn
        rf Harper
        p Nola

        Those more conspicuously absent would obviously help us acquire some pitching and reinforcements on the farm.

        1. I’m not sure Cesar helps get us anything other than a decent prospect at this point (lowered offensive output combined with the continued saturation of the 2B market). But Doobie could conceivably be the center piece for a #2 or 3 starter. Plus prospects, of course.

      2. 8mark, I hope you are right and I am wrong. I want Machado and realize he is better at 3B. I will gladly admit I was wrong when he signs here to play 3B.

    4. We don’t get into spirituality much on this site. And I’m not suggesting we open up a forum here for everyone and anyone to share their belief system. I certainly don’t pray (nor have I ever prayed) specifically for my team to win. In competitive sports, there are two opponents both trying to win. It doesn’t seem important enough for the higher Power to prefer one over another on the field of competition when it comes to Ws and Ls. Pretty silly, actually.

      Having said that, however, I am a 55 year old man of Christian faith. Now I am not going to share my creed here, and if anyone who’s begun reading this post is not so inclined to, feel free to move on from it….I’m aware that many world views are represented by posters and readers of Phuture Phillies. No offense intended….

      So, late last evening as I gave thought to early yesterday’s thread, my experience has been to follow sudden, seemingly random burdens I might feel by praying for that individual, group or situation. And so I did – for JP Crawford. Now I’ve never met the young man. But sensing that he’s recently been at a crossroads in both his career and life path (who among us would know the particulars of someone’s personal life?), I felt the Lord’s unction to lift JP up. (Yeah, I know – sounds like Doug Collins interceding for Andrew Bynum, right?) Seriously, I share this with those here interested in not only the player, but his well being as well.

      I believe Crawford could very well turn out to be a rallying point for this Phillies club. In fact, a team leader if only by example. Today or tomorrow? No, but I think he will become a very special player. And when God anoints certain people, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory on the field of play, but success in the true sense of the word. Ask Dougy P, Carson and Nick Foles.

      Okay, so let’s see what happens….I’m done my sermon.

      1. 8mark…thank you for opening and sharing.
        And as for JPC…when I heard a week or so after just graduating HS and getting drafted by the Phillies in the first round in 2013, he was driving his mother to chemo treatments for cancer…it made me appreciate the young man even more.

          1. 8mark … just read your post to discover you and I are the same age.

            Last March, my wife and I saw JP Crawford in Clearwater. I didn’t want to bother him. He was walking with his girlfriend to his vehicle (black Mercedes SUV). When he got to the car, he gave his girlfriend a kiss before he opened the door for her. I thought to myself, that’s the kind of guy I hope my daughter finds. He seems like the kind of kid Phillies fans should all want to root for. I believe Crawford will be the Phillies starting SS next season. Kingery to play 2B, Machado at 3B.

  53. As much as possible, JPC, Kingery, Williams, Quinn, Alfaro, and even Franco should be playing the rest of the way. If the Phillies want to bring back Ramos, then maybe he should play more often for obvious reasons, but I see no reason to bring back Cabrera or Bautista next year so there role at this point should be pinch hitting and an occasional start out of respect for their veteran status, but it is time to let the kids play. I believe they should keep Nola on every 5th day out of respect for his Cy Young pursuit albeit fading quickly, but maybe around him add DeLos Santos into the rotation as a 6th guy just to give him 2-3 starts to end the year. Eflin, VV, and PIvetta look to be at the end of the line anyway so giving them an extra day or two between starts won’t harm them at this point.

  54. I can’t argue at all Jon Doe. I can’t knock the trades/acquisitions because the cost was minimal. They did not have to lose Lively for nothing as there were other options. But, now is the time to play it out. I want Ramos back next year. I do not think Alfaro is an every day C. If we play Kingery and JPC and Quinn a few days in a row, I bet we see an immediate defensive improvement, at the very least.

    1. Obviously this ship has sailed but at the deadline the Phils could have gone 3 ways. 1. Stand pat and play the kids and hope for the best, and if nothing else it helps in their development for next year. 2. Do what they did which is address two of the three biggest weaknesses – offense and the bullpen. or 3. Fix the defense and add to a strength – starting pitching.

      In hindsight, maybe the better approach would have been to shore up the rotation by taking Cole Hamels for next to nothing in prospect cost, and go to a 6 man rotation or more likely, move Pivetta or VV to the bullpen for the remainder of the season. Or maybe even more aggressively, move both to the bullpen, add Hamels, and put DeLosSantos in the rotation. With that added pitching strength, shore up the defense by playing JPC at SS, Franco at 3B, and on some days play Hoskins at 1B and improve the OF defense by playing Quinn. So rather than trying to win games 6-4 with the Bour’s and Cabrera’s of the world, try to win games 2-1, and manufacture some runs.

      I’m glad they didn’t give up much for these bats that can’t field, but I’m not sure it was the right approach. If anything, these older players seemed to take some life out of this team.

  55. Let’s get crazy for a second here and play out a hypothetical. The upcoming free agent market will likely stand still until the Machado and Harper dominos fall, and then likely Corbin, because I’m thinking the Dodgers and Kershaw are going to either work something out ahead of free agency and a possible opt out. Let’s just say for whatever reason, Machado signs with NYY, Harper signs with the Cubs, and Corbin signs with Washington. Let’s not argue whether those things will happen, let’s just assume they do.

    What is the Phillies long term plan then? What is the Phillies plan for the off season going into 2019?

    Is it bring back a similar cast of characters and hope for further development, buying time for Adonis and Sixto and others to get to the majors? What is the Plan B?

    1. You just laid out my nightmare scenario. And, the team gives us the “we are still evaluating the young guys, and we will be big spenders as soon as we identify our needs” line of crap.

          1. catch and DMAR, you are both correct. And, I do have trust in John Middleton that he wants to spend to put a winner on the field. But, there is a real possibility Machado and Harper go elsewhere. There has to then be, in place, a significant Plan B. We need significant upgrades. And, that may, very well, require risk taking. Do we have risk takers in the Front Office?

            1. We will see. Risk for risk sake isn’t helpful. They need to be good judges of talent – which, so far, they’ve been pretty mediocre at doing.

            2. There are a couple of scenarios that for me don’t make it as bleak as many think it would be.

              Scenario 1: The players really don’t like Gabe. If that’s true then players always win and manager’s lose and get the boot.

              If that happens there are some players we can win on that would help this club improve. Happ, Pollack for starters and then there should be a trade opportunity or two to fill in some holes

              Scenario 2: The players like playing for Gabe and things somewhat normalize as far as positions go. The guys we have bounce back and a couple of additions again Happ and Pollack, a couple of trades possibly net us some good not great players and we have a season where we are greater than the sum of our parts.

              Either scenario includes some re-tooling of roles such as moving a starter or two to the BP, giving Yelly a chance to compete for a starter job and getting the production out of Crawford that we had hoped for this season.

              The last question “do we have the FO to judge talent and make creative trades” is difficult to answer. Based on what I have seen probably not but that doesn’t mean a new voice couldn’t enter the fold at the end of the season to help out MK and company.

            3. DMAR….”:that doesn’t mean a new voice couldn’t enter the fold at the end of the season to help out MK and company.”……will be up to Andy MacPhail deciding on this.
              Of which…conspicuous by his silence ever since his friend Joe Jordan decided to pack up and leave last week, has been Andy MacPhail. Jordan haloed him transition into the Os 11 years ago and am wondering what MacPhail feels on Jordan’s recent exodus.
              Assume Jim Salisbury will be having a sit down interview with Andy MacPhail soon after the season ends in a few weeks.

            4. @Romus like the little kids in the back seat “are we there yet” in my old age (I’m about to be 49) I’ve learned a lot of fun can be had on the ride there and sometimes even more so than the actual destination LOL

              So far I’ve seen an Eagles SB which I never thought would happen. I kind of remember the back to back Stanley Cups. I do remember the Sixers and my passion has and always will be baseball so 1980 and 2008 plus the additional appearances in 83-93-09 have me quite content.

              I know that’s not likely how younger fans feel. My gosh it won’t be long before we have a bunch of posters that don’t even remember 2008.

            5. DMAR…rock on.
              Just hope however the wait is not another 27 years, well now 17, before the Phillies take another ride down Broad Street.

          2. It could snow tomorrow, also. But I’m certain it won’t.

            Is it out of the realm of possibility that both MM and Bryac Harper refuse more money from the Phillies to sign elsewhere? I guess it’s possible. Will it happen? No way.

        1. Middleton will likely have to authorize obscene amounts of coin to be offered to the big fish. Talking 15-20% above the asking price which NYY, either CHI team or LAA are more than willing to pay. The opt out clauses negotiated will also be integral to which gets whom.

          1. I don’t see them paying a 15-20% premium. Not because they couldn’t (they probably could) but because that premium would take them above the team’s perceived value of such player. Just saying.

          2. Pretty much what the Angels tried to do with Pujols and Josh Hamilton. It probably does more harm than good.

          3. Well, ok. Maybe 5-10%. Enough that if a FA still turns it down, it’ll either force another team to up their offer or the MLBPA raises cane that one of their own wouldn’t set the higher AAV standard.

    2. One “plan B” possibility is loading up on all the pitching they can acquire. If they land neither Machado nor Harper, I’m inclined to think they will stand pat with Santana, Hoskins and Franco and hope a couple more in house bats come along. Otherwise, who’s available on the trade market besides veteran bats on the wrong side of 30?

  56. On a moving forward subject. Kapler praised the hitting coaches with his usual hyperbole. They are just the greatest tandem ever! However, everyone on the team regressed, except for, possibly Franco. Hoskins, who I believe is the real deal, can still hit 25 points higher, and shrink the length of his slumps by doing some adjusting, which I think the hitting coaches should help with.. Alfaro, Cesar and Doobie all got worse. Let’s take Kingery and JP out of the mix. Nicky Dubs stayed about the same while Altherr got much worse, and they picked the wrong guy, Altherr, to get the majority of the ABs at the beginning of the year.. They K an awful lot, BB a lot, but don’t have nearly the power to substantiate all the Ks. If you look at Santana and Rhys and their really high numbers, you can see that the rest of the lineup does not walk enough. And, the big issue is that they don’t hit the ball nearly well enough. So, my question? Am I correct that Gabe is blowing smoke and just protecting “his guys”? Or, am I missing something?

    1. Kapler blows smoke everyday, in fact he blows so much smoke day after day that sometimes one doesn’t realize that he is blowing smoke. One or two things are evident. Either the instruction is poor or the student is incapable of putting the instruction into practice. Matt, I agree with you about 95% of what you put on this site.

      Many posters post positive things about Altherr, but I don’t see it. I watched him quite a few times at LHV after he was sent down and to me he is the same player as he was before being sent down. He’s got a good attitude and he is good defensively, but I am tired of good field no hit players. We have too many of them.

      Earlier I posted that I felt we needed to replace some coaches, I still believe that.

  57. On another topic related not only to Gabe and his Good Ship Lollipop but even to the previous regime – resilience.

    First, there’s only so many “gut punches” a team can take before internal bleeding causes the body’s malfunction. Secondly, how about inflicting some gut punches of our own? This team doesn’t put teams away. Nor do pitchers put hitters away (although that has more to do with stuff and command).

    And when we’re allowing 24 runs on a really bad night, how about pitching inside….hard. Cole Hamels would not only have improved the quality of starts on the staff, he certainly wouldn’t have sat silent or played soft toss with the catcher if he were out there.

    1. Wow the Giants didn’t get much for their $195 mil…

      As for the Sox they’re enjoying themselves these days!

      Not only are the Yankee’s under but I believe they may have some more money coming off the books once the season ends.

        1. That’s ok if they are willing to dangle an Andujar or Torres in our direction after Manny signs with them.

          1. But they will not come cheap.
            What pitchers would you be willing to give it…and who they would accept, for an Andujar or Torres?.

            1. Yeah…..those pitchers may do it…I’d would think ViVe and Medina would get you Gleyber Torres.
              Meneses is a minor league free agent so Phillies cannot deal him…unless they add him to their 40.
              Mets turned down Yanks in the deGrom—-Torres talks….Mets wanted Sheffield, Torres and Frazier…which makes sense for a strong Cy Young candidate.

  58. Here’s another scenario should neither big FA signs here. Kapler takes a large chunk of blame for creating a less than desirable player destination for top ticket talent. The 2019 Phillies fail to improve on 2018. Dusty Wathan takes the reins at the end of next season. Analytics isn’t going anywhere but a more traditional way of dugout/clubhouse management is restored with the guy whom came up with the core group of prospects, now with nearly 2 yrs of major league experience under their belts. As for the talent, that’s where Klentak will make it or break it as GM. Middleton’s patience will ultimately be the determining factor because at that point Andy Mac will be even quieter than he is now. Even he said a GM gets only so many managers.

    1. If Buck is let go by the Os….would not having any objections to Andy Mac hiring him again as he did in 2010, or directing Matt Klentak to do it..
      May be a catalyst in getting Manny here also.

      1. I wouldn’t think for more than 2 seconds about it Buck on the other hand might not want to work for a boy wonder with a questionable track record.

        Pay scale for managers is on a death spiral as well so for some of these big names they may want to just get back into the broadcast booth.

        1. DMAR…he already has worked with the boy wonder…for a brief time
          In 2008, MacPhail hired Klentak as Director of Baseball Operations.and then left in 2011 for the Angels.
          Buck worked with him for about a year from mid-summer 2010 until Klentak left ….so he knows him…not sure what their relationship was like however.

  59. I don’t know that we should hope for a trade with the Yankees. I would not wager that Klentak gets the better of Cashman in any transaction.

  60. David Parkinson and Austin Listi were named winners of the 2018 Paul Owens Award, presented annually to the Phillies top minor league pitcher and position player
    Congratulations to the players.

  61. I gotta admit … I’m laughing at all the doomsayers in this thread.
    2018 was never the year the Phillies were intending to compete. Kapler (I’m getting a vibe Romus really doesn’t like this guy) somehow had this club in contention until a couple of weeks ago. Everybody got excited (which is understandable), and now are crushed that we aren’t going to the playoffs. The plan has always been to get the young players up, and evaluate them this season. Then supplement the youngsters with an all-star FA (or two) this winter. As I’ve pointed out many times, Middleton and MacKlentak have manipulated their payroll to be able to outbid anybody for (most likely) Manny Machado and/or Bryce Harper. I am very confident Manny Machado will be manning 3B for the Phillies in 2019. If (for some reason) Machado refuses more money from Middleton to play somewhere else (NYY), The Phillies will win the Harper sweepstakes. I’ll give myself a six month ban if the Middleton strikes out on both.

    1. Hinkie, your confidence is compelling. This winter is all about Middleton. Once he gets his man (or men), then Klentak’s mission is to supplement the new core with smart moves addressing the pitching, bench and correcting the defensive alignment.

    2. Agree with you, Hinkie. The only thing making me feel crushed is that we took a young, first place team and added a bunch of mostly mediocre veterans in order to compete for a playoff spot prematurely and that resulted in a crash. If anything, people should be grateful that games still meant something in September, rather than being apathetic by May as they have during the recent years.

      1. MLL … I understand what you’re saying, but Klentak had no choice. Once the Phillies got off to the start they did and found themselves in contention this summer, he had to show support for the current players and had to let the fans know the team was trying to make a playoff push. Gotta’ at least give Klentak some credit for not surrendering any top prospects for rentals.

        The club has to now use the final three weeks to play/evaluate the young players again.

        1. This is indeed the case, as I’ve posted previously. Acquiring Cabrerra, Ramos, and Bour all made sense to shore up weaknesses in the Phillies’ roster for the hopeful playoff push. Frankly, most fans (including me) would have been disappointed and upset if Klentak made no effort to improve the team. Only the move for Bautista made little or no sense to me, mostly because he is pretty much washed up.

          While the trades didn’t work out as hoped, the Phillies gave up little in return. The only tangible asset the Phillies lost was Kilome, and that was fair value for Cabrerra.

    3. Hinkie…correct on my Gabe feelings.
      Started with Williams, a youngster so that was kind of blew off…then there was Arrieta, a vet, hmm, interesting….then there came Neshek….all before August.
      Probably what topped it off for me was when Joe Jordan exited quickly.

      I hope I am wrong about this gut feeling…..but as long as Kapler is the manager….Machado and Harper will not be in Philly….even with the additional ,money thrown their way.

    4. I think 2018 was more about making the franchise not look like a doormat anymore to help in landing a big impact FA.

    5. yes, the plan for 2018 was to evaluate young players. however, the results of the evaluations on most of the them, appear at this point, to be inconclusive. still more question marks than not. based on that result, the plan wasn’t very successful.

  62. Hinkie, First, I hope you are right because we need Machado and/or Harper, and probably both. Second, I hope you are right because I would miss your posts, and I don’t want you to ban yourself. I think it will be more than simply money that lands either of those guys. They want to win, they want an environment they are comfortable in, and they want a place they think they will be happy. I agree with Romus often, but I hope he is wrong about Gabe, and I just don’t know if the players see a genuine guy who just talks and acts a bit differently. They know if he is full of crap or not, and they know if he is Chip Kelly. We don’t have an advantage like the Cubs do where everyone acknowledges that Theo is one of the best in the game and everyone loves to play for Joe Maddon. I don’t think we learned much of a positive nature this season to make up for the disappointment of crashing down the stretch. I always though Rhys and Nola were for real. Who improved? What else do we have to build around besides the $ Middleton will spend? Is that being a doomsayer or a realist? I root for the Phils always, but I see huge holes throughout the lineup and the Rotation and the BP, and I don’t have a lot of confidence in Klentak to fill them.

    1. As far as position players are concerned, Machado, Harper and re-signing Ramos fills the bill. Imagine….

      Quinn CF
      Machado 3b
      Harper RF
      Hoskins 1b
      Williams lf
      Ramos c
      Crawford ss
      Kingery 2b

      ….is a lineup I would love to start the 2019 season with. Which means Klentak’s heavy lifting will involve augmenting the starting rotation (Kikuchi? Corbin? Trade extraneous players?) and bullpen (Kimbrel?)

    2. matt … I could have offered a six YEAR ban. I’m in no danger of the ban. Middleton knows he needs a star player(s). Not just to compete for championships, but to get fans to CBP and up the TV ratings. This is going to be a wild winter !

  63. About free agents: I’m aware of the curious case of Cliff Lee … however … 99% of the time FA’s sign for the most money offered. It’s good for them because it makes them wealthier. It also makes the MLBPA happy because they set the market for other current and future FA’s.

    About the manager: How many times have I read posts regarding Kapler accentuating the positives after a loss instead of putting a player on blast because of a base running blunder or failure to get a hit with runners in scoring position, etc? Is a manager who acts that way more likely to attract FA’s or turn them off? The truth of the matter is Kapler (and Klentak) really aren’t going to tip the scales in the Phillies favor or tip the scales against the Phillies. Why? See above (about free agents).

  64. The Athletic has a new piece on which pitchers have been hurt most by their team’s fielding. 3 of the top 5, THREE OF THE TOP FIVE, are Phillies: Pivetta, VV and Elfin.

    The kicker: Herrera alone has cost 10 runs with his D this year.

  65. According to MLBTR, 21 year old Cuban CF Victor Victor Mesa (and his younger brother Victor Jr) have been cleared to be signed, under the international signing bonus pool rules, by a MLB club.

    Scouting reports have the older Mesa as an elite glove, strong arm and top of the lineup hit tools. Baltimore and Miami (distant 2nd) are said to have the most money in their pool. 8 teams are in the “penalty box” hard-capped category after blowing their allotment in the ’17-’18 period. Four teams have spent most of theirs already in the current period. The Phillies were not mentioned as a team out of position to at least attempt to acquire either Mesa. What say ye, Matty K?

    1. …The report mentioned that the older Mesa could conceivably slot into high-A or double A ball right now.

        1. Romus, after watching Soto and Acuna thrive in their rookie seasons, and in the same division, hows about us getting some!

            1. Steve….yeah I can see that….and maybe if he adjusts well up there in Lakewood…perhaps a CLW promo back to the Complex, sometime later in the season.
              BTW…nice to see you back on the board.

    1. That’s a good find, Romus. Thanks for posting it.
      I’m telling you guys … the Phillies have been targeting this winter’s FA class for at least a couple of years now. They have manipulated their payroll to be this winter’s big spenders.

      As far as Trout goes … it’s possible he agrees to a lifetime deal with the LAA. However, I don’t think it’s likely to happen this winter. I believe he’ll wait a year before he makes a decision. That would also allow him to see if the Angels seem any closer to contention. My gut says Mike (his wife, and their families) would be very happy to sign a FA contract with the Phillies in 2021. They’ve built a forever home in Millville and they’ll probably be starting a family in the near future. Trout to the Phillies makes a whole lot of sense.

      1. Hinkie……I think Trout was thinking lifetime deal back 4 years ago, when he was fairly new to LA and the West Coast.from what i read from this piece……I would think not now….like yuo say, i think he wants to come East.
        Moreno had his best shot then with trout…..but with Pujols and Hamilton he more or less blew his wad too early..

        1. Someone justs needs to make a sales call to mike trout, pitch coming back home, and see what he says …

          So … what is the probability of the Phillies signing MM & BH … and then trading for Trout?

          Lol … would be so awesome, and our Pham base might sky rocket over NY. This team would be so hated, and we’d all love it

      2. Many naysayers out there and it appears too good to be true on the surface of the negadelphian mindset. Even shamelessly scandalous. But all stars line up, so to speak. The Phillies unprecedented fiscal state, for one. Obviously, Trout’s deep roots to the area. Klentak himself is a former Angel exec. (Hell, even Mike Scioscia hales from my hometown of Springfield, Delco.) Middleton’s recent bromance with Scott Boras. (Even Harper seems to have developed a man crush on Rhys.) Virtually the entire FOs long standing relationship to Manny and his agent. What am I missing??

        If the Phillies DON’T land one of these guys, THAT would be scandalous. Two is a distinct possibility. All three would be unreal!

  66. We have to roll the dice on Quinn and start him in CF. Kingery got better at SS as the year went on, but no one here thinks he is the SS down the road. If Machado plays 3B, if, then SS D is upgraded with JPC, even though he had a bunch of throwing errors to start the year. C is an issue. The Catching D was awful, and I want Ramos back. Willing to take his bat, and give up some D there if SS, 2B and CF give us high level Defensive results. I think Kingery at 2B does that. Harper in RF improves the D there, and a big minus defense becomes a big plus. All we need are MM and Harper! Then we can address the Rotation and the BP.

    1. Exactly, Matt.

      And a couple things we need to keep in mind even if we strike gold this winter with MM and BH. They will both likely receive opt-out laden contracts which would make their respective tenures in Philadelphia uncertain to a large extent. Perhaps Harper agrees to loads up front while Manny accepts a more evenly spread AAV. These significant details will have major ramifications for what other moves Klentak will be able to make.

    2. Matt – I’m on record for Quinn in cF next year. What that makes of Herrera, to me depends on who the FO signs as FA, but my gut says he is going to be traded. He has talent, but lacks understating for the games details. Hopefully he can bring back a nice piece of the puzzle.

      Either way, Quinn has wrestled the job away from him, when healthy. The battle is between the 4th OF – Herrera,Williams,’and Altherr… but honestly, who knows, the only lock for next year is Hoksins in the lineup, his pos is up for debate.

  67. Cannot understand why CeHe and Joey Bats are in the starting lineup, and Crawford and Williams are not.

  68. Altherr is our 4th OF for next year. Plays good D, and unlike our old friend John Mayberry, Jr., Altherr plays a very good defensive CF. Santana, who has not been a favorite on this site, is going to end up with pretty decent numbers. Not $20M/yr numbers, but decent nonetheless. I would think he has value, especially to an AL team.

    1. Sounds like they want Rhys at 1b in ’19. Something has to give. Cleveland might like to have him back. We could use one of their relatively young arms.

    2. Hopefully. He has great athletic skills, but he’s got to have his average up high enough to showcase his other skills (power hitting, base running). He can’t hit in the .200 range – that won’t work.

      As for Quinn, he has to rank among the more exciting players I have ever seen – his talent is electric. I am always wary of both SSS issues and judging a player before the league has had a chance to adjust to him, but if he’s even close to being this good (and I think he is), you have to let him play. But even if you believe in the talent, you always have to have a strong plan B with him due to the injuries – he’s not like other players in that regard. He’s NEVER played 100 games in 7 professional seasons – so you have to plan for that. My sense is that the team will sign one outfielder, will move Hoskins to first, will try to trade Odubel (but will NOT trade him for less than fair value) and will either trade Santana or let him play third and sometimes first with Hoskins playing left. Hoskins is so bad in left that you really can’t run him out there 140 times a year – it takes from being a 4-6 WAR player to a 2-4 WAR player – he’s more valuable than that and I think next year is his real coming out party as the league adjusted to him this year and, after a period of struggle, he has adjusted back again. I think he is ready for a monster year next year and he was pretty darned good this year too.

      1. FYI – we are NOT getting anything of value to Santana as things stand. He is not worth his salary so, logically, he is not worth the salary plus the asset a player represents. The team might get some type of low level prospect if they eat half his salary which I think they might do.

        1. If it is Cleveland again, and I think Tito would .like to have him back….Phillies would need o eat about 25/30% of the remainderof his contract to get him to what the indians offered him last off-season (I believe ($14/15M AAV) before they eventually decided to QO him at $17M

          1. Romus – thanks for earlier comment. New job and way too many NFBC teams have consumed much of my time. I’ve already started considering my Top 30 for the off season poll though – so Phuture Phillies always in the back of my mind.

            As for Santana – I think he is indeed trade-able, provided Phillies cover a relevant portion of his remaining 2 yrs / $41mm (2021 team option won’t be a factor due the low $500k buyout).

            I do not think there is any scenario where we receive a notable return for Santana, even if we presume to eat all his contract. He is an obvious bounce back candidate, but currently Phillies trading from a position of well-known weakness.

          2. But: (a) he is worth substantially less than what he was worth last year because he’s a year older and had a pretty bad season; and (b) the only gave him a QO to obtain the pick – they actually were not looking to pay him that money. The Phillies will need to eat close to half that salary – probably get it down closer to around $10M to absorb the risk of two seasons that may not be good.

            1. cleveland has Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso (8 million)signed through next season so something would have to give there to have a spot for Santana.

  69. I think we do eat part of his salary, and I think we get a decent prospect back. He has some value, and I know he became a non-favorite here, but his numbers will be decent. He walks 100 times, hits 20 plus HRs, that has value. We are not trading him for Blake Snell, but we should get something of value back. Doobie will not be a good back up player, he makes too much money and does not have that demeanor at all. We are going to have to move him even if we don’t get back very much. Quinn needs to play CF. Keeping Herrera and moving everyone around to find playing time like they tried this year is a negative, not a positive. I hope they learned that.

    1. Should we be so fortunate to nab both Machado and Harper, not only would we be acquiring two top talents but the defensive alignment should also be more readily corrected. That would be a huge upgrade, especially if Manny agrees to play 3b. Even if Kingery and Crawford don’t provide the offensive boost we hope for eventually, that keystone combo will still do wonders for the defense.

  70. agree completely 8mark. We have seen how valuable good defense can be, and I think that if JP and Kingery are settled in at SS and 2B, we will see an improvement in their offense. I am of the belief that trading Doobie and Cesar, even though they are talented, and I have zero against them, will impact the team positively the way the Bobby Abreu trade catapulted our previous Playoff squad.

    1. matt13…if the Padres decide to try to move Tatis to third, they may want to resign Freddy…..perhaps they may look to obtain Cesar to re-team with Freddy as a double-lay combination.
      Of course…..there mayl be little return value with the glut of 2nd baseman on the market, but maybe a low A ball player and maybe some int’l money for the coffers.

      1. Unfortunately, Klentak simply waited too long to trade Cesar. Yes, many here believe he shouldn’t have been moved since Kingery was (and still is) unproven. Yet they still threw Kingery to the wolves of major league action anyway, instead of starting him at AAA. He struggled at the plate as a ss instead of his natural position. Yet Cesar wasn’t the future here if only because he’d be 30ish and his arb eligibility is closing as the time the era of playoff contention nears. Again, head scratching.

        1. Yeah…if they do not resign Freddy, would they be willing to go with both a rookie shortstop and 2nd basemen? They may and wait out until they are established.
          Hey….there are not many options out there right now for a Cesar market.

            1. They could also go with Cesar for another year….his arb elig year with two more years of control….but he would block Urias, unless they move Urias to short and Tatis to third.
              Too many iffy possibilities to try selling them Cesar.
              And if they took on Cesar…the return may be small…though I would still try to get Hedges if they go with Mejia next season.

          1. One situation to keep an eye on is Colorado. Just read where Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Rox may lock down FA-to-be DJ LeMahieu and trade Arenado this off season. There top prospect Brendon Rogers is a 2b but he could be moved to 3b? A lot of ifs there, so that may be a situation where COL could be interested in Cesar if only as a transitional player. Again, I think his value is maximized in a package. Plus, should we miss out on Machado, maybe one year of Arenado before he turns FA might not be too rich for our blood, prospect return-wise?

  71. Romus, there are a lot of 2B options this off season, and that is a shame. But, I think they just have to get creative and find a way. I think he is going to be part of a package. Cesar is a good player. There are plenty of teams who are trying to get to “good”, not to the Playoffs, like we are. So, he, and Doobie, have some value. Just not #3 SP value.

    1. “So, he, and Doobie, have some value. Just not #3 SP value.”..agree.
      Looks like it will have to be prospects in return for either Cesar or Doobie

      1. Trading Hererra after his worst season would be a mistake, especially when his replacement is basically guaranteed a stay on the DL.

        Also, I can’t knock the team for implementing the “pull everything in the air” philosophy when the numbers say it works, but it doesn’t work for every player. I think that might be the reason why Odubel hasn’t been able to break out of his funk this year.

        He’s hitting more balls in the air than ever, pulling the ball more than ever and, no surprise, has the lowest rate of hitting to the opposite field in his career. Actually, in 2016 and 2017, he hit less to his pull side than he did up the middle or oppo.

        I always thought his biggest strength as a hitter was his ability to hit the ball hard anywhere, and it seems like it’s been dampened in the all-encompassing need for home runs.

        1. But there are also down sides by holding him longer.
          —Risk he does not improve or betters this year’s metrics….plus he may have to endure further limited playing time if Quinn stays healthy.
          —-Will the Phillies keep Altherr….just another OFer out there to clog things up more.
          —If Haseley truly progresses….Phillies are now caught in a surplus and GMs know they have to move him for low value.

          It is more risky if they move him this off-season, or the GM can play it safe and bring him back.

          1. Those are risks I would take with Herrera. I think he’ll only be 27 next year and has a couple of 4ish WAR seasons to his name. If he loses time to Quinn then that means that Quinn is playing well and is healthy. That’d be a good thing but not something I’m counting on. I think Williams-Herrera-Harper with Quinn as the 4th OF who plays a lot is the dream scenario.

  72. Todd Zolecki had an interview with John Mallee. He said a lot, but just for purposes of this thread moving forward with Kingery, he is very high on him. “No way he doesn’t hit better next year.” So, the Management of the team is high on him, I don’t see him going back to LHV, and he needs to play 2B. I don’t think there is any choice but to trade Cesar. Doing this “moving Kingery all over the place” plan again would be plain stupid.

  73. Santana is still owed $35Million of his $, the way the contract was set up. So, not $20M/year. If the Phils pay $3.5M/year, knocking him down to $14M/yr for the acquiring team, that seems pretty reasonable, don’t you think?

    1. matt13……Indians did make him an offer around that amount last year. I do not the length however….but he still naturally refused when the Phillies came in with their offer..I would think the original Indian’s offer would be the market value for him However, based on another year older, and somewhat mixed metric results…believe it or not, he still is top ten in MLB for first basemen when it comes to fWAR.

      And yes….I think it is reasonable, if there is a market for him from some club.
      Carlos Santana …3 years/$60M (2018-20), plus 2021 option
      $10M signing bonus
      2018:$15M, 2019:$17M, 2020:$17.5M,
      21:$17.5M club option ($0.5M buyout)

  74. For the most part, I’ve backed Gabe Kapler this season. He’s got this club five games over .500 and was in contention most of the season despite a negative run differential. However, aside from his original sin of pulling Aaron Nola way too early back in game #1, last night’s decision to pinch hit for Scott Kingery in the SECOND INNING was the most ridiculous/stooopid maneuver he’s pulled the trigger on this year. For what? The Phillies are not going to the playoffs. It’s time he manages that way. Play Kingery, Crawford, Quinn, and Williams. Give Eickhoff a couple of starts. Start planning for 2019.

    1. Hinkie….LOL, coming around a little?
      His rational is also somewhat skewed….’Kingery will get his 700 PAs down the road’

      Since it appears whatever Gabe wants, Matt will suffice, I think one of ViVe/Piv/Eflin will be moved this off-season, in order for the team to incorporate a LHP in their rotation.. I think Gabe wants to have at least one LHP starter there so he can have some flexibility amd to have a change of pace in a series.

  75. Let’s hope Luis Garcia, the very young SS prospect will never be confused with Luis Garcia, the relief pitcher currently on the Phillies major league roster, and why on earth he is I’m still waiting for some explanation. Please!

    1. This season was on record a success with almost 80 wins…vs last season’s 66.
      But i felt more optimistic and enthused at this time last year, for 2018, than i do this year for the 2019 season.
      Last year…their record from August 1st on to the end was 27-32.
      So far this year from August 1st until now is 17-24 with 14 games left.
      Perhaps a big FA signing in December will pump up the enthusiasm level.

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