Open Discussion: Week of October 1, 2018

There still seems to be no necessity for me to recap the past week.  The over 300 comments indicate that you are perfectly able to generate discussion without me stirring the pot.

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and MLB baseball topics.

Okay, I lied.

I’m sure in a few weeks people will come to embrace the 14-game improvement the Phillies made over the 2017 season.  Among my friends and in a a pre-season poll (Winkelman, I think) I predicted a 15% increase in victories from 66 to 76.  I thought that was a reasonable advance as the Phillies approached playoff contention in 2019-20.  (In fact, I think I also guessed 2020 would be the likely season for the Phillies to realistically contend for a division title.)  When I respond to any of these polls, I usually write a corresponding article for Phuture Phillies, so I’m sure that my prognostications are here somewhere.  Ironically, 76 wins is the Pythagorean W-L for a team that scored 51 runs less that it allowed this season.

I did not allow the strong finish in 2017 influence me.  I did not make the type of assessments that I made when I was in grade school where I anticipated career years out of everyone.  Or every trade for every player I wanted to be fulfilled.  I made what I considered to be a cold, calculated estimation of the 2018 team’s potential.  And was wrong for four months.

Yes, the final two months of the season are disappointing whether you felt the Phillies were going to struggle to a .500 record or whether you expected a playoff appearance.  A lot of people thought that this would be a season to see what our first wave of prospects could do, so that we would know what had to be tweaked for the 2019 season.  (I understand that some feel more than tweaking is necessary, but tweak was an acceptable pre-2018 season term.)

I think we and the Phillies learned a lot.  And I’m sure the Phillies learned more than we did.

  1. Aaron Nola is a true Ace.  Regular readers know that I subscribe to a narrow definition for Ace/#1.  So. if I’m going to throw that out there, then I think he is among the top 10-12 pitchers in all of baseball.  But please don’t go into next season expecting the same performance.  I’m not saying he won’t or can’t be the same or better, but don’t go all “he’s a bust” if he suffers any slight regression.
  2. Jake Arrieta may not have performed up to his contract, and you all know my position on his signing last off season, but he pitched well for four months and provided the intangibles that a young pitching staff needs.  In fact, Arrieta’s WAR increased from 1.9 in 2017 to 2.9 in 2018.  Not sexy, but at $9M per WAR win, he’s only “stealing” $3M, and that is surely covered by the intangibles.  And his flagging FB was also better this year.  His recent year-to-year decline had his FB at 92.2 mph in 2017.  It was at 93 mph in 2018.  A small increase, but one I have to acknowledge.
  3. Pivetta, Velasquez, and Eflin pitched enough for the Phillies to know what they have.  All three exceeded career highs in innings pitched (maybe part of the reason for the late season collapse?).  All had ERAs under 5.00 (4.36 – 4.85).  Two struck out at least one batter per inning pitched, and Eflin fell 5 short of matching that feat.  All three had a FIP under 4.00 (3.76 – 3.80).  Pivetta and Eflin posted BB9 below 3.0 (2.8 and 2.6).  By contrast, Nola posted a 2.5 BB9.  Pivetta (10.3) and Velasquez (9.9) posted SO9 higher than Nola’s 9.5 SO9.  And, all three posted WHIPs below 1.400 (1.305 – 1.343).  The five pitchers I have mentioned so far started 150 of the Phillies 162 games.  The remaining 12 games were started by Lively (5), Suarez (3), De Los Santos (2), Anderson (1) and Eickhoff (1).  (And, Eickhoff should return healthy next season.)
  4. Seranthony Dominguez showed he can pitch at the back end of a bullpen.  He started the season in AA and only made three AAA appearances before being called up to the majors.  At the conclusion of Clearwater’s 2017 season, Dominguez was still a starter. He should benefit from an off season of preparing to pitch as a reliever.
  5. The rest of the bullpen probably showed enough of who they are to help the FO to make decisions this off-season.
  6. Offensively, we all learned a lot about the Phillies position players.  Defensively, too. The Phillies also learned about the maturity of some of their young players.  I think we all expect changes.  I suspect that the changes I envision are quite different than most of yours.  Take a look at who played and where the last seven games of the season after the Phillies were eliminated from division contention.  I think I can speculate who starts 2019 and where if Machado is signed and if he is not.  Take a gander at the last seven games –
    • Hernandez 7 starts at second
    • Santana 7 starts at third
    • Herrera 6 starts at corner OF
    • Hoskins 6 starts at first, one in LF
    • Ramos 2 starts at catcher, 2 PH
    • Altherr 1 start in LF (then injured)
    • Kingery 7 starts at SS
    • Quinn 7 starts in CF
    • Knapp 4 starts at catcher, 2 more as defensive replacement
    • Cozens 4 starts in LF, 3 more as defensive replacement
    • Walding 1 PH, 1 defensive replacement at third
    • Bour 4 PH, and 1 start at first
    • Bautista 2 starts in RF, 2 PH, 3 defensive replacement in RF
    • Crawford 3 PH
    • Alfaro 1 start at catcher
    • Florimon 3 PH, 2 defensive replacement at second and in RF
    • Williams 3 as a pinch runner

With the end of the Phillies and minor league seasons, off season programming has commenced.  I’ve already posted the results of the first post season polls.  The second round of polls has posted.  I’m still collecting your post-season top thirties.  (E-mail your personal season-ending top 30 to me at prospectpoll @yahoo.com, I will compile and report back, IF I got enough responses to make it worthwhile.  I’ve received seven.)

I’ve begun the Key Dates section (below).  It includes transactional dates, contract dates, dates dependent on the end of the world series, dates that haven’t been announced yet, and spring training and Instructs game dates.

Rosters and Lists have been moved over from the Recaps as well as Transactions.  I’m thinking about adding the links to my Rosters and Lists to the menu bar above.  I’m also considering an overhaul of the menu bar as well as changing the banner photo back to the original since all the guys depicted have moved up or on.

I’ll revive the Organizational Changes section to follow the myriad of changes expected during the off season.  I’ll do not quite daily reports from Instructs for the next three weeks.  And, I may do something with the winter leagues.

I pulled the breakout players post and I expect to do an article on how that went.  I’ve also posted a 40-man roster article that includes free agency, Rule 5 eligibility, and remaining options.

And then, right after Christmas, I’ll start our annual Readers’ Top 30.

Key Dates (some dates become set with the conclusion of the World Series):

  • October 1 – at Pittsburgh
  • October 2 – v. Baltimore
  • October 3 – Camp Day
  • October 4 – at Baltimore
  • October 5 – v. Atlanta
  • October 6 – v. Baltimore
  • October 7 – Sunday Off Day
  • October 8 – at Atlanta
  • October 9 – v. New York
  • October 9 – Arizona Fall League Starts
  • October 10 – Camp Day
  • October 11 – at New York
  • October 12 – v. New York
  • October 12, 2018 – Opening Day for the Mexican Winter League (MPL)
  • October 12, 2018 – Opening Day for the Venezuelan Winter League (LVBP)
  • October 13, 2018 – Opening Day for the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM)
  • October 22, 2018 – Opening Day for the Nicaraguan Winter League (LNBP) 
  • October 15, 2017 or on the fifth day following the last day of the World Series, whichever is later, of the last year of a player’s Minor League Uniform Player Contract, the player’s Minor League Uniform Player Contract shall expire and the player shall become a ‘Minor League free agent’ unless the player’s Major or Minor League club has remaining options to renew the contract.  (Major League Rule 55)
    • According to Major League Rule 3(b), “All Minor League Uniform Player Contracts between either a Major or a Minor League Club and a player who has not previously signed a contract with a Major or a Minor League Club shall be for a term of seven Minor League playing seasons.”
  • The day after the last game of the World Series, 9:00 AM – “Following the completion of the term of his Uniform Player’s Contract, any Player with 6 or more years of Major League service who has not executed a contract for the next succeeding season shall become a free agent.”  Organizations began an exclusive five-day negotiation window (referred to as “the quiet period” in the CBA) with their own free agents. During “the quiet period” any Club representative and any free agent or his representative may talk with each other and discuss the merits of the free agent contracting, when eligible; provided that the Club and the free agent shall not negotiate terms or contract with each other. The following subjects are among those which may properly be discussed between any Club and such Player:
    • (i) the Player’s interest in playing for the Club, and the Club’s interest in having the Player play for it;
    • (ii) the Club’s plans about how it intends to utilize the Player’s services (as a starting pitcher or reliever, as a designated hitter or not, platooning, etc.);
    • (iii) the advantages and disadvantages of playing for the Club including the nature of the organization, the climate of the city, availability of suitable housing, etc.;
    • (iv) length of contract;
    • (v) guarantee provisions; and
    • (vi) no-trade or limited no-trade provisions.
    • Notwithstanding the foregoing, the free agent and his former Club may engage in negotiations and enter into a contract during “the quiet period”.
  • The fifth day after the last game of the World Series, 5:00 PM – Deadline for organizations to submit qualifying offers to their free agents. Last year’s QO was $17.4M.
    • This is also the deadline for organizations to exercise any club/mutual options.
  • November TBA – GM meetings.
  • The fifth day after the last game of the World Series – Free agents become eligible to sign with any team.
  • Tenth day after the end of “the quiet period”, 5:00 PM – Deadline for players to accept/reject qualifying offers.  Those who decline will become free agents.
  • November 2, 2018 – Opening Day for the Columbian Winter League (LCBP)
  • November 15, 2018 – Opening Day for the Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC)
  • November 15, 2018 – Opening Day for the Australian Baseball League (ABL)
  • November 20, 2018 – Deadline for roster expansion to 40 players prior to the Rule 5 draft.
  • November 26-29: MLBPA Executive Board Meeting, Dallas, TX
  • December 2, 2018, 8:00 PM EST – Deadline for teams to tender contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters, including arbitration-eligible players.  Non-tendered players become free agents.  Tendered players who are arbitration eligible who do not accept the tender proceed to the arbitration process in February.
  • December 9-13, 2018 – Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • December 13, 2018 – Rule 5 draft.
  • TBA – (last year on January 9th) – Salary arbitration filing deadline
  • TBA – (last year on January 12th) – Salary arbitration figures exchanged
  • TBA – (last year on January 29th – February 16th) – Salary arbitration hearings
  • TBA – (last year on February 14) – pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training (tentative: report on 2/13, first work out 2/14)
  • TBA – (last year on February 19) – all other players report for full squad workouts (tentative: report on 2/18, first work out 2/19)
  • February 22, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 spring training opener at Tampa Bay (TBD)
  • February 23, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 spring home opener v. Pittsburgh (1:05 PM)
  • February 24, 2019 – at Detroit (1:05 PM)
  • February 25, 2019 – v. Detroit (1:05 PM)
  • TBA – (last year on February 27th) – tentative start of minor league spring training.
  • February 26, 2019 – at NY Yankees (TBD)
  • February 27, 2019 – v. Minnesota (1:05 PM)
  • February 28, 2019 – Split Squad v. Baltimore (1:05 PM), at Toronto (1:07 PM)
  • March 1, 2019 – v. Pittsburgh (1:05 PM)
  • March 2, 2019 – at Tampa Bay (TBD)
  • March 3, 2019 – at Minnesota (1:05 PM)
  • March 4, 2019 – off day
  • March 5, 2019 – v. St. Louis (1:05 PM)
  • March 6, 2019 – at Toronto (1:07 PM)
  • March 7, 2019 – Split Squad v. NY Yankees (1:05 PM), at Detroit (1:05 PM)
  • March 8, 2019 – at Atlanta (6:05 PM)
  • March 9, 2019 – v. Toronto (1:05 PM)
  • March 10, 2019 – at Baltimore (TBD)
  • March 11, 2019 – v. Tampa Bay (1:05 PM)
  • March 12, 2019 – off day
  • March 13, 2019 – at NY Yankees (TBD)
  • March 14, 2019 – Split Squad at Pittsburgh (1:05 PM), at Tampa Bay (TBD)
  • March 15, 2019 – v. Toronto
  • March 16, 2019 – v. Houston
  • March 17, 2019 – v. NY Yankees (ss)
  • March 18, 2019 – at St. Louis
  • March 19, 2019 – at Houston
  • March 20, 2019 – v. Detroit
  • March 21, 2019 – v. Toronto
  • March 22, 2019 – at NY Yankees
  • March 23, 2019 – at Pittsburgh (ss)
  • March 24, 2019 – v. Baltimore (ss)
  • March 25, 2019 – v. Tampa Bay
  • March 28, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 season home opener v. Atlanta (3:05)

The rosters and lists are up to date as of September 30th.

Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
9/27/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Cristofer Adames to a minor league contract
9/18/18–Philadelphia activated LHP Aaron Loup from the 10-day DL
9/15/18–Reading activated CF Adam Haseley from the temporarily inactive list
9/15/18–Lakewood activated RHP Ismael Cabrera
9/14/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Hermes Astudillo to a minor league contract
9/11/18–Philadelphia recalled RHP Enyel De Los Santos from Lehigh Valley
9/11/18–Philadelphia recalled LHP Ranger Suarez from Lehigh Valley
9/11/18–Philadelphia recalled RHP Drew Anderson from Lehigh Valley

286 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of October 1, 2018

  1. I thought the Phils would win 72 games this year. 80 is much better than that but I also felt that in August they were hanging in the race so why not “Win the whole F’n thing.” The team down the stretch couldn’t beat a high school team. I had a coach in high school and we had a pretty good team but just not good enough to get into the County Championship. When we were knocked out of the contention the coach sat us all down and said that we should play our final 5 games like champions would. He said we can’t win it but we can sure help decide who plays in it. We won 4 of our last 5 games and we knocked two teams out of contention. We didn’t win it but we sure helped pick the ones who played in it. I wish the Phils could have, at least, done that. I’m thrilled they won 80 games but disappointed the way they played in September.

    1. OK … now that that’s over, the fun begins.
      As I’ve pointed out once or twice (or a few dozen times), 2019 has always been this team’s target date for “serious” contention. They have manipulated their payroll over the past couple of years to be able to attack this off-season’s historic FA class. Here’s the way I see it:

      * Manny Machado is the “must have”. Machado is exactly what this team needs. He’s a GG/run producing 3Bman, who will (just as importantly) drive attendance. For these reasons, MM is worth more to the Phillies than any other big market team. John Middleton will not be outbid.

      * Bryce Harper won’t get the samae kind of contract from the Phillies that Machado will get, but if he needs a pillow contract, the Phillies could be his destination. The Phillies (John Middleton & Jake Arrieta & Rhys Hoskins) have quickly built a strong relationship with Scott Boras.

      * Klentak will acquire one LHSP, one LHRP, and an actual closer. He could do this through either free agency or trade. JA Happ or Yusei Kikuchi are possibilities. Patrick Corbin is most likely headed to the NYY. Zach Britton IMO is the leading candidate to be the LHRP/closer.

      * Marwin Gonzalez could be under consideration. He is a guy who can actually play capable defense at six different positions, is a good offensive player, and would come with a championship pedigree (at least one ring).

      * Garrett Richards should not be forgotten. Klentak would be wise to invest in a TJ rehab deal with Richards. Give him something like a 2 yr/14 million dollar deal. He rehabs with the Phillies in 2019, then throws for them in 2020. The 14 million dollar investment could pay big dividends. If/when Richards returns to health, he could be a big piece of the 2020 rotation on an inexspensive contract. And … not to be overlooked … Garrett Richards is Mike Trout’s best friend in baseball.

      * Wilson Ramos will not be re-signed. I believe he’ll likely get a 4 yr/60 million dollar deal. He’s been riddled with injuries the past few seasons. How healthy can the team expect him to be playing the toughest position in the sport during his age 31 through 34 seasons? They should get roughly the same production from Jorge Alfaro during that same time span at ~50 million dollars less. Klentak should be able to fetch a defensive minded back up catcher through free ageny/trade/waiver wire.

      * Maikel Franco becomes expendable after they sign MM. Yes … it’s possible he may have finally figured things out. However, most likely, he isn’t as bad as he was in 2017, but isn’t as good as he’s been in 2018. In other words … Franco is a perfect “sell high” candidate. The Padres and Rangers could be good fits.

      * Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera are a different story. Klentak is in a conundrum with these guys. They are in the way of younger and cheaper players who could (or could not) turn out to be better players. Does Klentak “sell low” to get Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn into the lineup every day? My guess is … he does.

      * The young pitching threesome of Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin are in danger of being broken up. For me, I would rank them the way I just posted them: 1. Pivetta, 2. VV, 3. Eflin. I would look to deal either Velasquez or Eflin. I think Klentak could maybe get something done with Seattle. Klentak has a relationship with Jerry DiPoto. The Mariners have two closers on their roster: Alex Colome and Edwin Diaz. I don’t like Colome, but I love Diaz. Seattle is in dire need of rotation help. I’d offer Odubel and either Velasquez or Eflin for Diaz, Logan Gilbert, and Joe Rizzo (or J2 dollars).

      1. Thanks to the LAA walk off win yesterday, the Phillies earned the 1-14 pick in next summer’s draft. This year, the Mariners had the 1-14 selection and chose Stetson pitcher Logan Gilbert (the guy I mentioned above in a proposed trade with Seattle).
        As I mentioned last week, this is the area in the draft where high ceiling prep players usually slide to as college bats rise on draft day. Maybe Bobby Witt jr or CJ Abrams fall to them. Or … even better … Carter Stewart could be available to be picked at 1-14.

      2. @hinkie – I will echo the same. And if Klentak cannot prove that he can be BOLD this offseason, the trio of McPhail, Klentak and Kapler should be fired before next season starts.

        I also agree with SEA as potential trade partner. DiPoto is a gunslinger who prefers to reload and contend. OAK is another trade target I like.

          1. LAA doesn’t have depth at SP (with Richards gone and Ohtani getting a TJS) so they may be unwilling to let go any of their young SPs including a prospect that both me and Hinkie like —- Jose Soriano. I’ve suggested a Cesar for Marsh trade before, but I’m not sure if LAA will pull the trigger unless Klentak will add a young SP that LAA covets.

            While people will expect a Adam Eaton type for Doobie, OAK is not in the same position and mindset as WAS when the Eaton trade made made so I don’t expect a GM giving that type of package for Doobie especially after this season. Last year, I proposed a trade to OAK for Nick Allen, Daulton Jeferries and Jesus Luzardo for the newly signed and team friendly contract of Doobie Herrera, but of course, the WAR lords shut it down.

            1. A.J. Pollock is available in free agency so Odubel for prospects makes sense if the Phils are thinking straight. I like Quinn but a contending team can’t pencil him in for 150 + games.

        1. I also agree that Middleton will drop the axe by midseason should there be a regression by the all star break. Until then, MacPhail, Klentak and Kapler are a package deal. However, I wouldn’t be surprised (despite what anyone thinks of Kapler personally) to see Gabe end up smelling like coconuts. If Middleton is as impressed with him as much as he expressed last off season, and things go anywhere but north, perhaps he would move him from the field to the front office. This is probably MacPhail’s last rodeo and Klentak is unproven and even younger than his manager. Just saying…

  2. Just my quick assessment by position, hoping Klentak and Kapler plan to fit round pegs in round holes next season:

    C Whatever happens, the consensus seems to be that Alfaro will be given every opportunity. And I don’t think the FO has designs on spending more than they have to for a backup catcher. Ramos’ history of health issues preclude any consideration of getting his bat in the lineup.

    1b Hoskins looks to be returning to his natural position while it remains to be seen whether Santana stays at 3b, perhaps to Machado’s right, or he’s traded in which case that would likely require much of his $$$ to be eaten.

    2b Cesar showed power in the final weeks. But his slash line took a hit this season. I am fully committed to give 2b to Kingery in 2019 but man, did he look overmatched at the plate this season. Wonder if they have specific plans to make adjustments with him.

    SS Machado or bust!?!? I would prefer Manny at 3b and allow Crawford to have the position in 2019. But it remains to be seen if JP is even in their plans.

    3b Whatever the scenario, I would be mildly shocked if Franco is the opening day guy at the hot corner. Seems like Santana acquitted himself nicely at 3b but I certainly don’t think he’s a longterm answer. If Machado is signed to play short, he would eventually take 3b in the minds of the consensus. If he doesn’t, perhaps they hope Bohm makes large strides the next two years before Santana says goodbye.

    OF Quinn will most likely be auditioning for CF, but as much as I love his skill set, I’m not so sure he’s anything but a valuable 4th OF. Nobody else on the current 40man roster seems to be in the organization’s longterm plans. Harper would anchor the OF offensively. And a lefty power bat is absolutely ideal and needed for this ballpark. And his BB rate as well.

    SP It’s Nola, Arrieta and fill in three big blanks. Let’s assume they acquire a LHP, maybe two.

    RP Nobody in the bullpen has cemented himself as a permanent fixture. Seranthony has the most upside among relievers but a reliable backend arm should also be on Santa’s list.

    BENCH Marwin Gonzalez is the ideal piece for the roster, especially with a tentative outfield and infield. I don’t see any other current players who I would say, “Oh, he’ll be back as a bench player.”

    1. “3b Whatever the scenario, I would be mildly shocked if Franco is the opening day guy at the hot corner. Seems like Santana acquitted himself nicely at 3b”
      ….by hook or crook, I think the Phillies will put all their emphasis on Alec Bohm trying to become at least an average third baseman….they have to or else that third pick of the draft’s overall value is lowered since he is only limited to 1st/DH and not even sure a LFer..
      So he may be the one they , right now anyways, they want to replace Santana over at third by 2021.

  3. It’s really apparent that Franco,JP and Wiiiams are hated by Kapler. None of these guys got Scottie love.
    The bullpen will be an interesting development this off season. I think the locks are:
    Neshack. Hunter. Arono, Sir, de los santos

    1. Not sure they are thinking DLS as a bullpen piece right now….i think they see him still as a starter competing for one of the rotation spots next spring.

      You failed to mention any lefties in the bullpen…Morgan and Davis could be competing for that spot or there may be two spots for lefties, who knows.

      And then there will be the question again possibly for one more year…will Luis Garcia survive another year…he did do well in non-pressure situations..

      And then there will be the next rookie to step up…Edgar Garcia could be that guy.

      1. “…he (Luis Garcia) did do well in non-pressure situations..”

        …wow, Romus – if ever that was a full hearted endorsement😀 I’ll drive him to the airport on the next available flight. Another Kap favorite.

        1. 8mark…..yeah, Luis will probably be moving on.
          But Kapler seem to like him and Doobie…..anyway he did make seem to make excuses for their less than desirable performance at times….and also for Doobie’s less than desirable …for lack of a better word, desire?

          1. Romus, I have ripped Doobie a lot. In all sincerity, he seems like a happy go lucky, likable kid. Still immature at 26 or 27, perhaps. A kid who IMO may thrive on a roster of established major league position players with whom he could be a complimentary player. They could help pull his head out of his a** when necessary. Was it you who suggested offering him to Oakland for Puk? I can picture him in green and yellow already. I truly wish him well.

            1. No matter what the offer might be, Klentak should never consider trading Herrera to a Div. rival. I want him in the AL, if possible because he’ll be a Phillie killer.

    2. Don, you may be right but the only bullpen arms I would have stay are Seranthony, Neshek and Arano. All the lefties can go. Hunter is a Kapler favorite (for some inexplicable reason) but he’s crapped the bed a few too many times. Ramos is decent and Neris seems to have rediscovered his splitter but as 2 guys without options left, they may be included in some type of trade. Time to see what we have down on the farm. Word is they plan to move relievers up quickly. Zach Warren is possibly one.

      And let’s remember, this has now become a hybrid organization in terms of how talent is deployed. Starting pitching (except an absolute stud like Nola) is being redefined. The 6 or 7 inning outing is no longer going to be the acceptable norm by 2020, if not sooner. So how we rank our pitching prospects should factor in that inevitability.

      And I second Hinkie’s motion to sign Zach Britton.

      1. And speaking of Tommy Hunter – while Kapler tries to “help” Doobie get into better shape for next season, get TH on the treadmill while he’s at.

  4. Other than signing Machado or Harper, I’m not sure I see areas where the Phillies can improve next year. Maybe Hoskins is improves his contact ability. Other than that you’d just have to dream about Quinn/Alfaro/Kingery fulfilling their ceilings. Sad.

    1. @ the dad of Brock Stassi … the Phillies can definitely improve by trading for/signing a proven/competent closer. This club must have lost a dozen games this season by blowing leads in the ninth inning (or later).

    2. They have a number of way’s to get better beyond Machado/Harper. There are a number of lesser signings/trades they can do to improve their defense like adding a good defensive back-up catcher behind Alfaro. Add a better defensive CF, move Hoskins out of LF and replace him with a solid player.

      And as Hinkie noted, added a closer or a good, late-inning left-handed reliever would be a big help…

    3. Interesting that you didn’t include Crawford in this list lol it’s incredible to me that he was the no. 2 or 3 prospect in baseball at one point. If he doesn’t improve, I wonder if people will put him in the same category as Dom Brown: supposed cornerstone franchise player with a bunch of hype but little productivity. At least Crawford has the ability to ability to get on base, and his bat seemed to be improving later in the year. But still a lot to be desired from him.

        1. Anyone who believed J.P. Crawford was a potential cornerstone franchise player was probably viewing without even a pretense of impartiality. His hitting has gotten worse at every level.

          1. Just look at his last two months metrics last year …2017…at LHV.
            He does show improvement over time after adjusting.

          2. I watched Jurickson Profar put his game together at age 25 when he had ‘bust’ written all over him. I’m not prepared to write Crawford off and am confident the Phils won’t either, whether they sign Machado or not.

            1. I won’t write Crawford off either, but franchise cornerstone player was never a tag that should have been applied to him.

  5. My prediction was 82 wins which looked safe before the 9 game losing streak. 80 still feels like a comedown but I was happy to see they won the last 2. Picking 14 is a nice spot to acquire talent. As for 2019 and what can we take from the last seven games of 2018, recognize that Williams, JP, Alfaro and Franco were all hurt the last week or would have been playing more. Kapler loves Cesar and he won’t be given away for nothing. Kingery did not earn more than a utility job so far. JP earned even less unfortunately and I could see him back at LHV. You don’t trade low so I don’t expect him to be gone. They will certainly chase Manny and Harper but I’m not certain either comes here. I could see them signing Happ and putting VV in the pen, finally. They definitely need a better lefty in the pen as several relievers will be dropped from the 40. Always sad at the end of the season but the AFL should be fun this year.

      1. here is a etter synopsis from TGP’s Liz Roscher:
        This is the key paragraph:
        The Phillies’ season started in embarrassment, with Kapler making a series of questionable decisions and failing to execute a proper pitching change. Both the manager and team rebounded, and through Aug. 7 the Phillies were 64-49 with a 1 1/2-game lead in the NL East, raising the possibility Kapler would be a candidate for Manager of the Year. But then came the 16-33 fade, including a nine-game losing streak in which the Phils were outscored, 70-21 — a damning indictment of Kapler and where the organization stands……But he also touched on how the focus now shifts to Klentak to give Kapler better players. And he ended by mentioning that Phillies players don’t think Kapler’s “unusual tendencies” will make it hard to attract free agents, but that the biggest issue on that front is that the question has to be asked at all.

        1. “outsmart themselves” is term i used a lot of times to describe the Klentak tenure. Klentak gives me the impression of a sweet talker presenting graphs, statistics and power point presentations to not so tech savvy old timers. I’ve encountered these kind of young professionals a lot in the field. While they are impressive with their presentation skills, they lack the experience and wisdom in navigating the nuance of the game.

          I still believe that action speaks louder than words. I don’t hear the words that Klentak is whispering to Middleton, but his actions, of lack thereof, is a big cause of dismay from my end.

          1. KK – Klentak has made no deals that, on paper, looked bad at the time. The other GM’s looked at him as an Ivy League kid who’s pocket they could pick. Even though I advocated trading Cesar last winter, I was happy that he stood his ground and wouldn’t sell low. This winter will be Klentak’s do or die off season. Forget about Machado and Harper. Their agents will be dealing directly with Middleton. If neither signs with us, it won’t because Middleton was outbid. The acid test will be adding enough complimentary players to make the playoffs next year.

        2. The whole Gabe Kapler debate is pretty partisan. If you’re not a fan (for instance … you refer to him as “Coconut Gabe”), you’re likely placing the blame for the season ending collapse squarely on the manager. If you’re a Kapler believer, you’re saying he did well to keep a team made up of bad defenders, poor base-runners, dreadful clutch hitters, young pitchers, and lacking a closer in the race as long as he did.
          Certainly, Kapler’s original sin of removing Aaron Nola too early in game #1 was terrible. The other move that I would label as “stoooopid” was pinch hitting for Scott Kingery in the second inning (Kingery’s first AB of the game) against Miami about a month ago.
          I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict, if given a better roster, Gabe will become a better manager.

          1. By in large very thoughtful comments across the board here today. I am one NOT inclined to fire either Klentak or Kapler. For me, it’s mostly a matter of “seeing how this movie ends”. We’ve seen acts one and two. For them, 2019 is act three. I have serious concerns but to change horses mid-stream would be even more problematic. Organizational instability (or the perception of it) is an open market killer. Klentak has all the rope he needs – either pull the club up to playoff relevance or tie it around his own neck. Like in Shawshank, will he be Brooks or Red?

          2. Hinkie, I think that Rhys and Aaron Nola are the key players on the team. They both seem to like Gabe, and I don’t think they are at all phony. We know he is coming back, so I hope he learned a lot and is a better Manager next year. He made himself into a productive ML player, and he may do the same as a Manager. I have said all along that the “flexible” roster and a lot of his moves were generated in coordination with the GM. If Manny Machado says he will sign but I want to play SS, and I like to hit 3rd, for argument’s sake, then that is exactly what they will have him do. I don’t worry, at all, that FAs won’t come here because of that. I have a lot of other concerns about Klentak, but playing Harper and Machado every day at the same spot is not one of them.

          3. Hinkie – I’m a Kapler fan. He probably made over 200 moves that I questioned at the time. What I see in Gabe is a perfectionist, and a man who is driven to success. He will be better next year, and every year after that.

          4. I don’t fall in either camp. I’m not a believer in Kapler but the team fell apart following the late July moves that Klentak made. They both own the swoon as moves that looked good on paper didn’t help the team on the field.

            Pitching has to be addressed this off-season since presumably both Klentak and Kapler overestimated the quality depth they had at the trade deadline. No one here seems to pencil Eickhoff into the rotation going forward which I find interesting.

    1. Rosenthal’s observation about the Braves vs. the Phillies is the exact one I made (though not on PhutuePhillies) that Kapler was talking about the demands of the long season on his young players at the very same time he was losing to the young Braves who apparently didn’t have the same problem.

      1. I was certain that the Braves would collapse after being swept by Boston, the final game on Sept 5 was a crushing come from way behind day game. But the apparently uninspired Phillies who reportedly watched it together in the clubhouse that afternoon later lost to lowly Miami that evening 3-1. That was to me THE turning point of the division title. Did they think all they had to do was show up?

  6. At the end of the day, the Phils won 80 games. Even the biggest optimist didn’t see that happening. Overall, it was a good year, but, yeah, its tough to wash away the collapse. As such, I’m also expecting a significant overhaul this winter.

    Hernandez, Herrera and Franco I’d say are gone. I don’t think Herrera or Hernandez will fetch much, and even Franco is of limited trade value, but, collectively, I’d expect a bunch of pitchers, of varying pedigrees, as a return.

    I’d also say there’s a better chance Santana opens the season at 3B than he does on another team. At first, I thought him playing 3B regularly seemed outrageous, but the idea has sunk in. I also think its in the cards that Hoskins returns to 1B, and since there will be almost no market for Santana, 3B makes sense for him.

    I also think Quinn will open the season in CF. And Williams will be in play for one of the OF spots.

    Alfaro, I also think, will start as C.

    The biggest trouble is pitching. Its hard to acquire good pitching. Even Franco wouldn’t acquire a decent starting pitcher. And all three of our back-end starters are fungible, with no real hope on the immediate horizon.

    Then there’s the bullpen, which, like our starters, has a bunch of fungible guys. Easier to add relievers than starters so perhaps this is what we target in trading away Herrera, Hernandez. etc.

    As for Kapler, he stays. More likely the team parts with players who don’t match his philosophy and tries to acquire those who do, than ridding themselves of him. He’s Klentak’s guy.

    And, no doubt, the star of this off-season will be Klentak. This is his off-season. I’m expecting him to be aggressive, unconventional and stubborn. Will it work? Inshallah!

    1. Fritz – The Santana move to 3B was either a stroke of luck, or a stroke of genius. It makes him more versatile, and tradable. At worse, he could end up being the third baseman next year.

  7. Jim, I am not sure which changes you think are different from the consensus here. I look at Cesar playing 2B at the end as a “showcase” for him. I think they move on from him and go with Kingery at 2B. I think Odubel is gone, and Kapler’s personal mission to get him in better shape is just the organization wanting to appear that they are not trading him. I think we learned enough from the young SP to learn that Pivetta and VV cannot both be in the Rotation, and one gets moved to the BP or is part of a trade. That spot goes to an acquired lefthanded SP. I had them winning 76 games so they did better with wins than I thought. But I also didn’t expect them to be 15 games over on August 5, and the collapse down the stretch is much more disturbing than the 80 wins is good news.

    1. Matt13, for starters and without going into my reasons, I’m not sure that Crawford fits into their plans going forward. I’m also not sure that anyone in the organization sees first base as Hoskins “natural” position. He’s just as likely to remain in left field.

  8. There’s a lot has been said about each player in the current roster and what are the “things to do” for Klentak to offseason and I agree with most of them.

    In my view the unsatisfactory talent evaluation is a big concern for this Front Office since talent evaluation is what separates a winning team from an ordinary team. We all know that the Front Office of Matt Klentak is high on “analytics”. That’s good! But does the Front Office have the right people who know how to interpret the information that they have in their database to come up with a sound decision?!? Data and information are good, but as I said in the past, data and information are like double edged sword — it can help you (if you interpret it right) or hurt you (if you don’t).

    I do hope that Klentak doesn’t make the same mistake that casual fans made —- misusing information in making decisions.

  9. Gabe Kapler’s 1st year will be remembered for the various “out of the norm” decisions he made. But unfortunately for him, the Game 1 snafu will be remembered the most. The in game decisions he made in Game 1 can be used as a lifetime example for: a) what micromanaging a game is; and b) how to be an incompetent team manager.

    1. Item B is my biggest concern moving forward. A manager’s in-game decision making only really impacts a handful of games each season but how he handles players can create disaster in the clubhouse.

      We don’t have much insight into how the players stand on Kapler’s juggling but the collapse down the stretch raises the concern that the players became frustrated with being jerked in/out of the line-up and batting order, especially since it looked like the team lost interest/focus for most of September.

      The test in 2019 will be to see if the end of 2018 was simply growing pains from a young roster that ran out of gas. Add a couple of high $$$ veteran FAs who are not worried about being paid anymore to the mix and if Kapler’s approach is a problem, I expect we will start to hear the rumblings

  10. KK – Gabe will always be remembered for his first game as a manager, but he shouldn’t always be judged by it. If you stick your hand in a fire once, you know that you don’t ever want to do it again.

  11. Despite the disappointing finish to the Phillies season, I’ve taken a rooting interest in the playoff picture. I’d like to see Milwaukee take the NL. For some odd reason I am cheering for Yelich, want to see both the Cubs and Dodgers knocked off (despite Chase’s final chase for glory – he got his 10 years ago and as a core member, not a bench player), while I don’t see Atlanta having the horses to compete with the other teams.

    In the AL, let’s go A’s! Beat the Bombers and the Bosox, and I’ll be happy. Houston and Cleveland aren’t as despicable. Wouldn’t mind the Tribe finally taking the crown.

    1. While I like Milwaukee and Yelich too, I can’t get around how Braun accused the collector as being anti-Semitic before he won his appeal and then got caught up in the Biogenesis stuff for his eventual suspension. I’d like to see Braun never on a championship team.

  12. The offseason is here, a bit early imo, but nonetheless… it is here. Depending how the playoff series unfold… in about 30-35 days we should know which prized FA’s will be playing for the Phillies. In addition, the suspense of Trout is going to heat up in 2-3 months, maybe less. It is a great time to be a Phillies Phan right now, the Phillies are all possibilities for some of the game’s top tier talent. Pretty amazing for those who have been following this team for 30+ years. It is not often the Phillies are in position to make sure moves. Let’s see how it unfolds.

    I prefer machado over Harper. Harper could be the better player over the contract, but there is more certainty with MM imo. My fear of Harper is a potential belly up contract… so I’m hoping it’s a pillow contract.

    On the pitching FA, I’ll take one, and let the young guns fight out the final 2 spots, maybe even force arrietta to be dealt.

    Here is hoping for fr crWford and Kingery to find their ceilings next year, I’d so, this team will be something special imo. Assuming we can grab one of the big 3.

    With the crap out of the big clubs season record, I will say Moniak and hasley helped a lot. Glad to see them get going, and prove some naysayers wrong. They still have a ways to go, but I’ll take it.

    Biggest disappointment of the year – for me…. I’d say it’s a tie between Ortiz and Alfaro. I projected a big move up the prospect list for Ortiz, as did others, that was a pretty full bandwagon. Very disappointing season from my view. Alfaro as well. His k rates make Burrell look like tony gywnn. His hr totals were weak for the amount of power he has. He was a player I was hoping would establish themselves for the upcoming title window. He should have left no doubt about his future with the Phillies. That didn’t happen for me. And I was an Alfaro supporter.

    I think a lot of phantom gave up on Eickhoff. He got injured, but he showed a lot. Something tells me we need to hold onto him, give him a shot at sp next year. Tough call for the fo, a lot of decisions involving prospects/early mlb careeer players … make the wrong call and everyone will be second guessing them.

    1. Interesting point on Eickhoff. If nothing else, the dude knows how to pitch. That alone doesn’t by any stretch make him a TOR, but we could do worse for a 4/5. Impressed by his finesse on Friday night. Or he might factor in as a swing man in the pen. It all depends on what Klentak does this winter. But I don’t think trading him will get us much. For now, he’s probably a more valuable option staying put.

  13. “…I DON’T KNOW is on third base…” in 2019.

    a) Manny Machado
    b) Josh Donaldson
    c) Carlos Santana
    d) Mike Moustakas
    e) Maikel Franco

    1. My guess is Santana … or MM. I have a feeling MM is really serious on playing SS, just a gut feeling. So that leaves Santana at 3rd with Crawford trying to make him expendable.

      A lot of people will say Klentaks signing of Santana was a mistake… sure I don’t disagree with you, but trying to get into klentaks mind, I believe he signed Santana early so
      He didn’t have to go for broke on the 2019 class. Here is hoping to the the DH coming this offseason, so we can play Crawford at 3rd for defense and let Harper/machado/Hoskins/trout knock in Santana 🙂 lol … the pills where easily accessible this morning! Cut me some slack

  14. Sorry 8mark, I can’t root for Francona. I think there will be some great series to watch, but I don’t want Boston and I don’t want Atlanta. So, that knocks me out of 3 of the teams.

      1. Wouldn’t mind the Dodgers getting it with Utley in his last hooray. That the A’s finally getting there again. I’m fine with the astros repeating as well.

  15. Here’s the newest arm into the Phillies system …

    From what I’ve read, Maldonado is a former catcher who turned to pitching this season. He started for Graceland University this season, but moved to the BP while throwing in the Northwoods League this summer. He is already 23 YO, and is a real project. At Graceland Univ this season (an NAIA school), Maldonado K’d 67 batters in 37 IP. However … this summer in the Northwoods League, he posted an 11.73 ERA and BB’d nearly two batters per inning.
    Here is a scouting report from D1 Baseball.com on Maldonado from earlier this summer.

    “Omar Maldonado, Senior, RHP, Thunder Bay (Graceland University)
    6-foot-5, 240 pounds. Well built throughout. Three-quarters arm slot, full arm path. FB 88-92, up to 94. Throws both SL and CB, did not see a CH. Trusts the SL more. SL was 78-81, good movement downwards bite. CB was spotty, threw 69-73, more of a slurve shape. Struggled to find the zone. Walked six batters through 2.0 innings, gave up one hit, four runs, while punching out three. Has decent stuff, good body and above average velocity. Command issues limits upside.”

    It’s important to note … he apparently improved his control and his velo (97 MPH) later in the summer. The Giants and Indians were also interested in him before he signed with the Phillies.

        1. Thanks for the post hinkie. Add him to the surplus … going to be interesting to review who panned out vs who didn’t over the last few hyped years of pitching prospects

          The unprospected list…
          Kilome
          Appel
          Thompson
          Biddle (a stretch but I’ll include)

          More to come I’m sure…

          *to be clear, the list is for those who didn’t work out for the Phillies during this rebuild vs moving on and finding success.

          1. Kilome….will be pithing in NY next year sometime…probably July/August.
            One thing the Mets do right it seems…is bring pitchers along.
            Makes me even me wary since they showed interest in Kilome.

  16. How good is Christian Yelich? I wish we could have been in a position to get him. I don’t think there is another team looking to dump salary that we could take advantage of. If we strike out on Machado and Harper there really isn’t another plan that I can see.The Rockies have to try and keep Arenado.

  17. tac3, I firmly believe that Santana was signed to bring stability to the lineup, and to help make the team more attractive to this year’s FAs. He can’t possibly have been a hedge against failing to get Harper or Machado. That would have been a JDM signing.

  18. Two 10WAR players in one league this year….Trout and Betts.
    Other than Ruth and Gehrig in ’27 (24WAR together)…..not sure thee was ever any others in the AL

    1. We already have one right there in LHV….Austin Listi.
      Then there is also Joey Meneses…..but he will not be protected and will be a minor league FA come 5 days after the WS ends….so adios to Joey.
      But the question will remain….where do you play them?
      Muncy would not have seen the Dodgers lineup where it not for injuries to Turner early on..

      1. With the lack of consistent hitting in the entire system it would be mistake not to keep Joey Meneses. We don’t know for sure, if the Phillies will sign either Machado or Harper. Why give up someone who hit for average and power in AAA.

        1. It’s Meneses’ choice. His contract is up. He’ll likely go to an organization that doesn’t have so many first basemen blocking him – Santana, Bour, Hoskins – and guys like Listi and Hall in the wings.

    2. This is what I’ve been talking about again and again. Having an eye for talent and the ability to develop talent is what this group has not shown yet. For all their money, the Dodgers made smart, below-the-radar and cheap moves in acquiring Chris Taylor, Max Muncy, and Justin Turner. And our awesome below-the-radar pick-ups have been . . . oh yeah, nobody.

      1. If you count Rule 5 picks as ‘under the radar’, since their level of successe is probably the lowest of any talent acquisition venue, there would be Doobie…less value this year in a down year, but over his 4 years he has valued.

  19. With the Phillies depth they have a lot of trading power. They could get some really good quality players in return by pairing up a couple of players or a player and a prospect in trades.

    Quinn is best CF on team. Herrera could be traded but would make a good corner OF and also be back up in CF in case of injury to Quinn, I would keep him unless the trade offer is too good. Williams then becomes the most likely to be traded. Altherr, since he can also play CF, is valuable as a 4th OF candidate and hopefully a bounce back year. Then add Harper if they can to play the other corner OF, the other option is a trade for corner OF.

    An IF of Hoskins, Kingery, Crawford, and a 3rd baseman would be ideal. This makes the most likely to be traded as Franco, Hernandez, and Santana in that order IMO.

    The rotation is set at top with Nola and Arrietta then I can see 1 of Pivetta, VV, Eflin, Eickhoff in rotation too. An addition via free agency and another by trade maybe pairing up 1 or 2 position players with a pitcher and/or prospect could net them a better pitching option hopefully someone who could slot into the 2nd spot.

    If I was Klentak I would look to move 1 OF, 3 IF, 1 SP, and a prospect or 2 to improve this team. Trade-able pieces could change depending on the other team’s demands and also on what the other trades and free agent signings do to the roster.

    November and December could be entertaining this year.

    1. I don’t see the value of Altherr, in order to have a bounce back year you need something to bounce back from………..and IMO nothing worthwhile has yet been established.

    2. You can talk about depth until you ask yourself who the Phils have that other teams covet. Seattle might like an outfielder with pop so that could open the door for a move of Herrera. San Diego could prefer Franco as a 3B upgrade of Wil Myers. But it’s not a sellers market for either. Hernandez probably doesn’t attract attention unless/until an injury opens a spot next spring training or early season. Mostly what the Phils have is trade filler rather than #1 targets to offer in trade.

  20. I am sure he will temper expectations for this off season, and tout being in the Playoffs “in the near term.” He is another risk averse person, so there is very little chance we will come away from his press conference feeling really optimistic. That is not to say Klentak will fail in bringing in Major talent this off season, just that MacPhail will not make us feel really confident.

    1. Matt13..agree.
      Something like this in a nutshell:
      ‘The team won 14 more games than last year, so going strictly by a win-lost % it was a successful season. Hiwever, that dos not preclude from the fact that the last 7 weeks were a disappointment for everyone…the fans, the players, and the coaches. And we are going to make changes to try to prevent that from happening again”

      This is being played out all across America today from all the MLB VPs/GMs that are not in the playoffs.

      1. You nailed it!!! They will also talk about not overreacting to 7 weeks over a whole season and they will talk about players taking big steps forward such as Nola and Hoskins and finding young talent like Dominguez.

        The reality is that this season has been a marked disappointment. Not because of the record but because of how few answers there were and how few players look poised to become above average players, let alone game changers.

        I believe we are now at the point where Middleton is holding them to a much higher standard. If next year is bad, some heads will roll. Which heads is an open question.

        1. It’s a feel thing as much as anything. Have you ever watched a football team that went 7-9 and just never went anywhere or an NBA team that was 43-39 and squeaked into the playoffs but had no stars. Right now, this team feels like that with some very minor exceptions. The fans were right about this team all along. There is a LOT to be desired when it comes to this team. It may all come together in a year or two, but it’s feel far away right now.

          1. “few answers there were and how few players look poised to become above average players, let alone game changers”……exactly.

            IMO, Coconut Gabe wanted to win ‘today’, not two years from now with the kids.
            He sacrificed some of their development .for the sole purpose of justifying his own prophecy in March…..” i guarantee a playoff this year”.

            And then tried to ensure that end, by in July/August getting those veteran bats that proved not to live up to expectations…while certain younger players (Crawford/Kingery) languished on the bench when a pennant run experience could be advantages to their development.
            Even one of the more improved players , Franco, was limited to some degree….his wrist injury for one was a factor , but also some bench splinters were accumulated in stretches for some inexplicable reason

            From the signing of Santana in Dec thru the acquisition of Bautista in August all have Gabe’s signature trademark on it…..win today, let tomorrow take care of itself.

            Rosenthal of the Athletic put it best…..why would a question have to be asked, if Kapler’s presence will influence a future free agent players decision…and we all know he was indirectly referring to Harper or Machado..
            .

  21. Hinkie has another guy in his Manny corner. Jayson Stark said that if he had to pick one or the other, Machado is the one the Phillies get. He also said the idea of getting both Harper and Machado is preposterous and would seriously limit their payroll options for years.

  22. Odd and amazing stat that one may never see again:
    A’s Kris Davis, over the last 4 years, besides clubbing 160HRS….has had the same BA for each of the last 4 years.
    A BA of .247…..and could have been 5 but for maybe a hit or two in 2014 when he batted .244

    1. Romus, great, random post!
      I’m in a rotisserie league and have noticed Davis’ statistical consistency for couple years now. The exact same BA year after year is uncanny!

  23. I think that Jayson Stark does a great job. But, he said if he had to pick one it would be Machado, and I think most agree. However, that doesn’t mean we will get him, just that Machado is more likely than Harper. He did not say that he would pick the Phils as the team to land Machado which is a whole different prediction. Hinkie has guaranteed me that I should not worry, Machado is coming here. It will be a real let down if we get the Gonzalez brothers as our FA haul. And I know, they are not really brothers.

    1. I don’t think Harper is a better player than Manny but I have felt he would be a likelier sign than Machado. Mainly because of the Boras-Arrieta-Hoskins connection. But that could be overplayed. The Machado decision will likely be made much earlier than Harper’s. So, if Middleton is dead set on getting one and Manny signs with NYY (as I expect) than they will love bomb Bryce with loads of more cash on the table than the other suitors. I could be wrong.

      1. This is all true. As I mentioned at the start of this thread (and in many threads before this) … Manny Machado is their top target. He is exactly what the Phillies need: a GG/run producing 3Bman (yes, he’s a 3Bman … even if they promise him some time at SS). Harper is more of a pillow contract candidate for the Phillies. If he and Boras can’t find a long term deal they find rich enough for them, Middleton could put together an offer that would pay Harper outrageous money for a couple of years, and would encourage him to walk after the 2020 season (at exactly the same time Mike Trout can become a FA).
        Bottom line … the trio of Klentak, MacPhail, and Middleton have been targeting this winter’s FA class for a couple of years now. They are all in for 2019 (and beyond). They need a superstar player both on the field, and (just as importantly) off the field to make the club relevant again and drive attendance.

        1. There’s no doubt that MM would help enormously. But this team has a much bigger talent (or talent progression) deficit than people thought it would have when 2019 and 2020 were targeted. Let’s put it this way. If the Phillies had MM at the beginning of this year, they still wouldn’t have been close to making the playoffs in my view.

          1. Yes they are more that 1 player away which is why I was one of those opposed to trading major prospects for MM or the other names floated at the trade deadline.

            But they are also a team that won 80 games as constructed so I don’t think the talent deficit is as bad as you think. They have several needs beyond a single star player but they do have enough ML average guys to win if they address the several big needs that they have.

            1. They are nominally an 80 win team, but their run deficit would suggest they are a 76 win team and if you believe in viewing the second half stats as more of an indicator of the future than first half stats, they are less than that – to me they looked, felt and played like a 72 or 73 win team – a bad team with a few good players and, frankly, that’s exactly what they were. To be much better, some of the young hitters are going to have to develop and they are the farthest thing from a sure thing.

            2. Jim,
              #1, they need a middle of the order bat that can play a defensive position. Manny or Harper both fit that need as different positions.
              #2 – they need a #3 starter, a lefty would be best
              #3 – They need a back of the bull-pen lefty reliever
              #4 would be a good defensive catcher that can split time with Alfaro.
              #5 is a 4th OF that can play a good CF for when Quinn gets hurt. IF Harper is the big FA signing, he can fill this role…

              The first 3 are expensive, the last 2 shouldn’t be..

              Beyond that they just need to put players in better position both offensive and defensively and let them continue to grow. They have arms in the system that will soon be ready as well.

            3. 3up, I think you are spot on with your assessment. I too, think we need some stability in the 3 hole and it would really be refreshing to get some 2 way starters.

          2. Perhaps, but having an established star player at his rightful position, helps align the defense more appropriately. The overriding issue to me isn’t necessarily the team’s talent level alone (though that certainly needs to increase) but how the roster was ill-constructed, with square pegs in round holes which created a domino effect resulting in the league’s worst defense.

            I was once an anti-DH guy through and through, but now I’m hoping it’s adopted, especially since Santana’s and Hoskins’ coexistence may depend on it.

  24. As disasppointing as the season ended… really big win happened…or could happen. If Machado signs with the Phillies, it will make the landing from the freefall that much softer. Being able to keep our top prospects to repackage in a deal to strengthen the team…. with MM. I’ll take that over an early exit from the playoffs. This team needs MM, hopefully the feeling is mutual. In an added bonus, i think NYY success makes them less likley to sign him. Will see, not much longer to wait.

  25. By reading the tea leaves of how the younger players were handled this season, I think we can predict fairly accurately who stays and who goes.

    Stays – Kingery, Alfaro, Hoskins, Quinn
    Goes – Crawford, Franco, Williams

    Off topic, but speaking of who’s coming and going, which is in worse condition – the Phillies outlook for the winter? Or sports talk radio in Philadelphia? To my dismay, the one guy I enjoyed more than anyone else (and that’s an extremely small group) was Harry Mayes who 97.5 let go (or he left, more likely) since they couldn’t match the ratings of WIPs morning circus clown show. Gargano’s mush mouth moves to midday and replaces Mayes. Mayes was down to earth, without the schtick, and a relatable sense of humor.

  26. Look Out Gabe, Feds May Be Calling Soon…..

    https://www.sbnation.com/2018/10/2/17928568/mlb-department-of-justice-sports-illustrated-investigation-dodgers-chart-of-known-criminals

    “The trove of evidence — the material that largely persuaded the bureau to launch an investigation — includes videotapes, photographs, confidential legal briefs, receipts, copies of player visas and passport documents, internal club emails and private communications by franchise executives in 2015 and 2016”.

    http://raidargist.com/u-s-doj-investigating-mlb-international-player-dealings/

    1. “One particularly remarkable document shows that Dodgers executives in 2015 went so far as to develop a database that measured the perceived “level of egregious behavior” displayed by 15 of their own employees in Latin America. That is, using a scale of 1 to 5—“innocent bystander” to “criminal”—front-office executives assessed their own staff’s level of corruption. Five employees garnered a “criminal” rating.

      The Dodgers went as far to develop the above document to detail the “level of egregious behavior” displayed by their own employees in Latin America. Graded on a 1-5 scale from “minimal” to “criminal,” four of their own employees ranked a 5, described as “criminal; oversees the operation of people and money.”

      — Internal communications by the Dodgers show concerns about what team officials called a “mafia” entrenched in their operations in the Caribbean and Venezuela, including a key employee who dealt “with the agents and buscones” and was “unbelievably corrupt.” Other personnel were suspected of being tied to “altered books” or “shady dealings,” according to the documents”

      ….Phillies may be looking for a new manager soon.

      1. Remember – Francona’s son had a serious issue with Kapler.

        If Gabe was involved with stuff like this, he’ll be gone. In fact, it may end his entire career. We’ll see.

        1. Exactly….J former GM ohn Coppolella of the Braves was banned from MLB for life.
          Gabe probably will get the same ruling.

          Ironically….Andy MacPhail was talking today to the press.

          They will probably now search for anew manager….Federal investigations are not a good thing….especially when they start by saying…” a trove of evidence”….that ain’t good to hear.

          Buck Showalter…come on up! 🙂

      1. The feds probably already briefed the Commissioner on their findings .
        Manfred, if there is any truth to these allegations, will tell Middleton probably need to let Gabe know what is happening and what he may expect.

        1. Romus … I think you’re painting with a really broad brush. I just read both of the stories you posted. It looks to me like the culprits are LAD’s employees in Latin America. Kapler was the Director of Player Development.
          Maybe the GM or an Assistant GM gets caught up in this (like with the Braves), but IMO it’s unlikely the Director of Player Development does.

          1. Yeah…Friedman, Ziadi, Gomes and Gasparino will all have to answer to these allegations.
            But who knows what they will say about Gabe during that specific time period …2015-2016….under questioning..people can say anything when their job is at stake…..he was the Director of Player Development during this time frame.

            I think catch came close to hitting the nail on the head…just a guess on my part, but Tito’s son may have went to the Feds and opened up the can of worms on Gabe and the Dodgers.
            Scorned former employees have been known to do that.
            .

            1. Wow …

              In addditon, it is worth noting that Gabe may not have to be found guilty, if the perception is he did participate from guys in the clubhouse… I’d imagine he’d be gone, especially in this city… and with what’s going on right now… I doubt he would he the benefit of the doubt. Not to be political, just realistic .

            2. If it does happen to touch Gabe in some way….and the Phillies are told to move on, .i would feel sorry for him and his sons.
              Feds normally do no go out, or be proactive, and look for these type of ‘criminal’ activities , if you can call it that…in sporting arenas…they have better things to do. The FBI job is to protect the US and its citizens.

              But if someone comes running to them and makes accusations and pushes it as a whistle blower than they will go to the Commissioner of the sport involved, and tell him about the accusations. Then it is up to the commissioner to let them go ahead and open the books so to speak and start the investigations or he could have done an internal investigation first…..which I thought would be done, not the Feds..

              Plus the Feds are only looking at just the two years…2015–2016….not 2014 , not 2017 or ’18. just the two years that Gabe was the Director.
              Just too many coincidentals.

  27. No reason to wait for the outcome of DOJ’s investigation. We have a poster who is eager to try, convict and terminate Kapler based upon absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing by him. Sounds all too familiar!

    1. LOL.
      Let it play out…since the Feds do make mistakes.
      Dodgers are the main culprit in the investigation.
      Perhaps Gabe had no bearing in it at all in 2015 and 2016….when he incidentally was the Player of Devlopment. Director

      https://www.prosportsdaily.com/articles/this-dodgers-chart-of-suspected-criminals-on-our-payroll-seems-bad-533320.html

      Lets’ see what Dodgers execs Andrew Freidman, Farhan Zaidi, Brandon Gomes and Bill Gasparino have to say about it all.
      The future MLB employment is also at stake.
      .

    1. Matt13….Jim Salisbury just tweeted this:

      @JSalisburyNBCS
      7m7 minutes ago

      Asked about managing partner John Middleton’s view of the season, Phillies club president Andy MacPhail said: “I think he shares my assessment of significant progress that was significantly diminished by an awful ending. He’s been a little crabby to be around lately.”

      1. MacPhail also downplayed the upcoming FA class by mentioning that there will be another good one NEXT off season.

        Try selling 2019 season tickets with that mantra.

        1. “…As attractive as this free agent class is,” MacPhail continued, “take a look at next year’s class. The class coming up after this one, really impressive. And this isn’t the last year that Major League Baseball is ever going to be played, so you’re not going to throw every resource you have at this year because there’s the following year as well.”

          …..so this was the off-season for the big spending.!

          1. He forgot to mention the 2020-21 class that follows next year’s class. That one currently is headed by a pretty good CF’er.

            Don’t sweat it. They’re buying a superstar this winter.

  28. Just read SB Nation’s latest update (@4pm ET), Gabe Kapler has been cited in the report. Nothing specific but the Dodgers are most oft-cited team. Atlanta (surprise!) is another team mentioned but there are likely other teams as well.

    1. While many on here want to see Kapler gone, this would not be good news for us Phillies fans, as for the timing. Again, the organization’s perception of instability would affect how well we can take care of business this winter.

          1. LOL…very good.
            Can the Braves afford to lose more Latin prospects if the are found culpable again?
            I guess having Acuna, Albies and Carmargo locked up fro the next 5/7 plus years makes no difference at this point.

      1. 8mark….a tipster…..oh boy.

        “How did the investigation start?”
        According to the report, an “MLB insider” tipped off the FBI during Spring Training, handing over information about the possibly corrupt practices that is one of the worst kept secrets in the sport. From there, the DOJ’s Fraud Section got involved and took over.

      2. 8mark….it gets more interesting by the minute.
        Now MVP Sports co-founder Manny Paula may have been the one to have blown the whistle it claims in the SI article.
        And wouldn’t you believe it….he and his partner Dan Lozano in MVP Sports….represent Manny Machado…..this gets so weird.

  29. Oh let’s go Feds, save us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This would be Bryan Colangelo-esque. There is hope for the Phillies after all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. I don’t want to see any bad news associated with the Phillies. The only mention of Kapler in the SI piece was that he did not return a call for comment. As Director of Player Development I don’t think he got involved until after the prospects became part of the Dodgers. Any dealings with buscones or Agents would come from another part of the Dodgers’ organization. I don’t think he did a great job, but I don’t want any bad news linked to us. I would rather Gabe develop into a terrific Manger than have him ousted over a scandal. Just my viewpoint.

  31. With all this backlash coming to the clubs that have traditionally been good about getting LA talent, it’s making me wonder:

    Have we been criticizing the Phils for simply following the rules (and laws)? Yeesh, if they’ve been missing out on top prospects simply because they’re not willing to break their moral code, then I’m actually really proud of them.

    Of course it’s probably not that simple, but something to consider.

  32. Dan K., You know, I am always quick to complain when we don’t take advantage of our ability to spend, and criticized Bill Giles for not going over slot before there was slotting, and there was only Bud Selig “wishing” there was a slotting system. This is a whole different scenario, with out and out illegal activity, bribes and corruption. Not participating in that would make me proud of them as well.

  33. MacPhail did exactly as expected. Asked rhetorically if we were one player away, poo poo’d the idea that we could land both, said “Major League Baseball will not stop being played after next season”, so they have to maintain financial flexibility. Where was the frustration that we as fans feel that this is going on season 8 and we still don’t have a winning season? I want an acknowledgment of that. I want to feel their determination to win next year, not continue to build towards some year down the road. I want to hear from Middleton, because I knew I would never get the sense from MacPhail that he cares about winning next season as much as I do. I think I would get that from Middleton.

    1. It’s always safer to publicly tamper expectations even if the team, behind closed doors, is planning to be MLB’s free agent champions this winter.
      Remember, “We owe you one!”
      To a lesser extent, it also helps in negotiations that the agent and player don’t see you as desperate.

  34. I am not a big Andy MacPhail fan, and I hope I am wrong and they build this team into a Championship one, but what aggravated me the most was his reference to the 3.5 Million fans that showed up in the good years. Let me tell you something Andy, you put a Playoff worthy team on the field, then complain we don’t show up. Where did the Billion Dollar Cable contract come from? The support of the Phillies’ fans, not your brilliance! So when the team goes all out spending wise to win, we will show up 3 plus Million strong. Did anyone listen to him and feel that burning desire to win? I surely did not.

    1. “Did anyone listen to him and feel that burning desire to win? I surely did not.”…..yes that could be drawn form his remarks. He did say Middleton has been ‘crappy’ lately.
      And i still l have to fork over some cash by the first week of December for next season’s tickets, so that still will be getting their shrae of revenue.

      BTW…that Comcast 25 year $2.5B deal.
      I believe they are now in their fourth or fifth year…..so they should be getting an installment somewhere around $70/75M in 2019.

  35. In case you all missed Angelo Cataldi’s EPIC radio interview with Gabe Kapler this morning, he asked the manager what he thought Scott Kingery’s best position was, to which Kapler replied, “shortstop.” Implications, if any? Cataldi also asked about Santana and Hoskins playing 3B and LF, and Kapler said that, essentially, he thinks they could play there long-term.

    1. Implications are – they have no idea what they plan to do with the infield until the bigger question is answered – Manny or no Manny.

    2. That’s scary. He doesn’t even rank in the top 20 offensively and defensively he was 15. No one on this board or otherwise is likely to say his best position is SS.

    3. I heard, from a csnphilly link. Good listen, not as EPIC as I would’ve liked. Gabe won some points in my book. I’m not a fan of his over analyzing everything, but at least he has a method … which is to over analyze analyzing. I’m more than fine with giving him another year, possibly two to get it right, unless I hear it is MM/Harper or Gabe, then he is gone. Other than than, I can let some more rope out and see what happens.

  36. I don’t buy into the tempering expectations philosophy. The Yankees don’t, Red Sox don’t, Dodgers don’t, Cubs, under Theo, don’t. They are rumored to be in on every FA. Red Sox had a Klentak, Ben Cherington, and fired him. I want us to be another team that plays in the grown up league. We aren’t sneaking up on anybody. As soon as FA starts we call Manny. I want us to be in on it every year, we have suffered through lousy seasons for too long.

  37. Let’s talk about Yusei Kikuchi.
    For about a year, I’ve been hearing about and posting about him. I had been optimistic the Phillies (with loads of money to spend) would be players for the Japanese pitcher. However, over the past month or so, I had kind of come to grips with the fact that the team would more likely sign an older FA arm (maybe JA Happ) to a shorter term deal because of the talent they have now in the upper minors (Sixto Sanchez, Adonis Medina, JoJo Romero).
    But … after spending the past couple of days reading more about and watching more video of Kikuchi, I’ve decided he’s got to be #2 on the Phillies top targets list (MM is #1A. Bryce Harper is #1B). Why is Kikuchi #2?
    * he’s a LHSP … that takes care of a team need
    * he’s just 27 YO … he fits right in with this teams’s core players (Nola 25, Hoskins 25, Ser Ant’ny soon to be 24, Kingery 24, Machado 26)
    * he’s marketable at a time when the Phillies are looking to become more relevant/attract more fans.
    * Most of all … he’s really good (very good command of a 94-96 FB, knee-buckling 78-79 CB, 84-86 SL is more hit or miss, some have good bite, others not so much). He also seems to be a very faster worker (get the ball – throw the ball) which could help one of the leagues worst defenses.

    Having wrote all of this, I read Kikuchi (like most Japanese pitchers [including Ohtani] is a huge fan of Clayton Kershaw). And the Japanese news agency Nikkan Gendai reports the Dodgers and Padres are Kikuchi’s “current” front runners. However … maybe playing into the Phillies favor … Kikuchi is considering Scott Boras as his agent. Stay tuned.

    BTW … Yusei Kikuchi is what JoJo Romero could become (in a perfect world). They’re the same size (6’0″, 190 lbs), hard throwing (up to 96) LHP’s, with at least four different pitches.

    1. The Phillies are among four teams listed as most interested suitors for Kikuchi. Saw that reported recently.

      I would be satisfied if they sign either Machado or Harper, Kikuchi or Corbin, Marwin Gonzalez and a high leverage back end reliever (previously known as a closer).

      1. …..Then of course trade from our considerable “depth”(?) to acquire another SP, perhaps a #3, and also a decent bat to compliment the core.

          1. Hinkie, you can probably cross off KC and TB, to start. The real players are the usual big market teams. Again, the Phillies can outbid all competitors but it’ll likely come down to where he’s most comfortable. And it would help make them more attractive to the Asian FA market in the future if they can sign Kikuchi this off season.

  38. Seems to me that McPhail isn’t entirely happy with Kapler and Klentak.

    On Kapler, McPhail out-and-out said his ceaseless positivity can alienate the fans. (I would say it has and McFail thinks so, too.) Also, the team needs to strike out less; so much for the productive strike outs that Kapler praises.

    McPhail also said the team needs to improve defensively, which could be a veiled shot at Santana and Kingery signings, the former of which forced Hoskins to left field and allowed less playing time for true outfielders, and the latter that created a middle infield logjam that had Kingery playing out of position.

    And McPhail noted that the Phillies spent the most on free agents but did not get commensurate production from them, another possible shot at Klentak.

    1. With all due respect, Frank, I didn’t get the impression that MacPhail was putting them down. I think he’s probably more candid than any of the other brass, including Middleton. My take on MacPhail is that this his last rodeo and he’s going to let the GM and skipper play out their plan. He probably didn’t say anything negative to the media that he hasn’t already said in private to Klentak, especially.

      1. 8mark, my use of the word “shot” was probably too strong, but McPhail does appear to have different views from those implemented this past year.

    2. Frank…Phillies spent second to the Cubs….Darvish and Chatwood were their two biggies ..and look what that got them this year!
      Theo will need to regroup soon for his window on impact starters are closing in on him as they age ,and then the issue they may become less reliable due to health reasons..

  39. I found this report by Christopher Carelli on this seasons playoff squad. Figures from Cotts and based on the 40 Man Roster including Luxury Tax. Columns are Team/Payroll in Millions/Cost Per Win/Team War/Cost Per WAR

    Team Payroll CPWIN TEAM WAR CPWAR
    Brewers 115.4 1.20M 43.1 2.68M
    Dodgers 194.2 2.11M 53.8 3.61M
    Rockies 146.7 1.61M 33.8 4.34M
    Cubs 190.3 2.00M 40.0 4.76M
    Braves 126.5 1.41M 40.7 3.10M
    A’s 86.9 896K 44.4 1.98M
    Yankees 191.3 1.91M 56.0 3.41M
    Indians 146.5 1.61M 50.6 2.90M
    Red Sox 237.4 2.19M 50.3 4.72M

    1. A top 25 manager in MLB history for wins.
      I wonder what he would have done with a mote generous owner when it comes to free agency….more than guys like Cobb and Trumbo.

    2. There is also speculation that Joe Maddon may move on from Chicago. He has 1 yr remaining on his contract with no talk of extension, he and Theo reportedly aren’t on the same page AND he may be interested in the Angels job with Scioscia gone and his longtime relationship with Arte Moreno as a coach there years ago.

  40. On Theo and the Cubs, I predict they sign Harper and then trade an OF for a young, controllable SP. And, as we all have learned, it is much more than writing a check. Just getting Machado does not make us a Playoff team. There will have to be beneficial trading done. Klentak has to get that right. He has to know who we can trade from our prospect depth and who is a legitimate front line player down the road. We will know over the next few months if he can do the job.

    1. Giants and Cubs seem to be the two favorites for Harper right now.
      I think it will not be the Phillies because he still has allegiance to Rizzo and the Nats and will not want to go back into the same division…….of course, the money being equal among all bidders. But there always seems to be a darkhorse and I have not heard of any yet.

  41. Here’s my Predictions …

    MM to the Phillies
    Harper to the Cubs
    Kikuchi to the Dodgers
    Corbin to the Yankees
    Buck Showalter to the Phillies as a FO advisor

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if MacPhail brings Buck on as an “advisor”. I get the impression that MacPhail isn’t committed to Klentak beyond 2019. And therefore, neither is he committed to Gabe.

    2. I agree Hinkie. The Oriental’s love for the West Coast is too much to overcome. But I will double down on Middleton. They will sign Machado ASAP and swoop Harper in the last minute.

      I don’t see the Phils making a splash to sign a SP, but they may consider Wade Miley as buy low option.

      1. KuKo….the really buy low option would be Sox LHP Drew Pomeranz….he will be in line for a break out year with his poor performance so far this season, he will not get many offers I would think….unless he has an explosive play off run.

        1. I can still see Pomeranz commanding close to $10AAV while Miley will command not even half of that so Miley is literally the buy low candidate between the two.

          The lefty that I like is Cole Hamels and the Kikuchi dude — unfortunately, the odds are against the Phils in landing any of them. JA Happ is a good option at $15M AAV, but I rather use that $15M to throw a pillow contract to lure Harper. I was never high on Ranger but I do trust Cole Irvin so I will tap the farm to get the LHP if needed.

      1. Hah……they work near the Baker Bowl bar in the Hall of Fame…they come out for breaks with their laptops in hand. One guy actually could pass for a younger version of Jonah Hill.

          1. Oh….the dress code…don’t wear suit jackets, like anyone does anymore…. or any ties for that matter, And go untucked…. ..looks more relaxed than casual.

      2. Maybe we could get Trout for Hoskins and VV or Nick or Eflin and Kingery and Medina. Or some other combination that includes Hoskins. He certainly is a better fit in the American League and if the Angels can sell high now before free agency why not test their receptiveness.

        1. Hal, you raise an interesting point. Not that I expect the Phillies to trade Hoskins anywhere, the assumption is that, as he is currently the face of the franchise, he is untouchable. We get that. And it makes even more sense IF the NL adopts the DH much sooner than later. But yes, the idea has a shelf life for as long as Hoskins progresses at the plate. Because that is the one and only place he has value as a 2-tool player as of today. Granted, those are the 2 biggest tools a player can have, but this roster needs a bonafide 4/5-tool player….or two. My biggest concern with the organization now (besides talent evaluation and player development) is the propensity to overvalue prospects that simply are not blue chip. I hope (and in fact insist) that Sixto becomes a star TOR with the Phillies because if they refuse to trade him or any supposed top prospects in a package for a transcendent talent, and he doesn’t become a star TOR, I will be very pissed in retrospect.

  42. Baseball Betsy video caught Matt Vierling with a hit to LF yesterday in FIL action.
    I really like this guy….just maybe another 5th round gem in the making..

    1. Yeah, I definitely like the Vierling pick. He could end up being a legit big league player. In fact, I’ll go on record in saying that the Phillies have done really well under Johnny A. AFTER the first round. The first round picks have been a source of concern and at least one (Randolph – non-athletic left fielder without much power – not much to build on there) seems to have been a sort of stupid pick at the time it was made.

      1. The recent success of picks after the first round is odd, and both gratifying, satisfying and at the same time disturbing. Is it pure luck or is there a specific science to it?

        Also I noticed in the recent drafts of Johnny A., that with selected collegian position player picks…..they have been both position players and pitchers on their D1 teams…. Haseley, Darick Hall and now ND’s Vierling….maybe that is a coincidence, or maybe they intended to do it that way based on some analytical study….just do not know.

        1. Just a thought – is it possible that the higher acumen (lower draft round) players adjust more readily because they have had to work harder than the better all around athletes selected in higher rounds? Kind of like how more journeyman major leaguers make better managers. Again, just supposing….

          1. That is a good explanation.
            They have something to prove to all the teams that passed them by …and everyday they do it.

            But i like to think also the Phillies have found the hidden secret of lower round draft success…and they will reap the benefits with multiple WS rings! :).

    1. DMAR……that is the reason why the Phillies are drafting 14th ilo of 13th next June.
      That has been mentioned on here over the last week or so.
      However the bottom-line reason why the Braves did not sign them is something new to me.

      1. Stewart is considered a long shot at winning his case to be declared a free agent. His agent btw is Scott Boras. Maybe Atlanta’s recent indiscretions will sway the court? Doubt it. City Hall is hard to beat.

      2. But if part of the grievance is true and the Braves did not make the minimum offer then they should not get the draft compensation this year?

        1. ‘…..they should not get the draft compensation this year?’….so what you are saying buyer beware?
          They did not make the minimum offer due to the injury he sustained…. but then again,they should have known of the injury before drafting him since medical history and records are suppose to be given to the teams prior to the draft.

          Could have been a orchestrated ploy on their part to pick up another top ten pick with the bonus money for this year.

          1. From what I read in the story a team has to offer at least 40% of slot to be eligible for draft compensation if the player doesn’t sign. The grievance claims that they did not make that offer so I would think they would not get the compensation.

            But yes, I they are going to draft a player in the top 10 they need to do some checking.

          2. Romus … from what I understand, the players and their agents can (or can choose not to) share their medical records with whichever teams they like.
            BTW … the injury Carter was diagnosed with was a wrist injury.

    2. The Braves signed their 2nd pick, Greyson Jenista of Witchita St. They tried to sign Zach Hess from LSU, drafted in the 34th round, with savings from their 1st pick but since they didn’t sign Stewart, they were unable to sign Hess.

        1. DMAR – my initial read of that article was similar and thought the reference to the Hess pick was as the 34th pick (which would have been 2nd round) but it was really the 34th round that the Braves selected Hess.

          If the Braves hadn’t signed their 2nd round pick they would be getting a comp pick at #35 this year and I knew that wasn’t accurate.

  43. I read most of the transcript from MacPhail press conference, and while I am still aggravated about the referencing of the number of fans in the stands, He did make some points that are more interesting. First, he seemed to indicate that we should be Franco on the trading block. He something to the effect that “maybe the next team can unlock it”, referencing Franco’s lack of consistency. And he did state that we K way too much. So, we may not see us get the top players in FA, I think we can count on a number of trades.

    1. Speak of SO … I’m going to use this as a Segway opportunity. On another site, a poster was in love with a particular Hispanic prospect … posting everyday on a particular site … that eventually changed the way the site operated … I’m sure most of us know who I’m referring to, I’ll leave it up to your memory to figure it out. Anyways …that said prospect turned MLB everyday player … cool he made it … to the tune of striking out 217 times this year … with little power to show for it. Remember back to then, all the posts about this one prospect … and to boot … a certain said owner is about to open the war chest … that’s gotta hurt to be so off.

          1. think about all those posts … for a guy who finished 4th all time for SO in a season. Not good. Total waste of time. Something tells me, even a certain said owner has heard about this poster. I could see that owner giving a shout out to Free AEC as he signs Manny Machado. Lighting up a cigar of course. It would be hilarious.

    2. Yeah, I would be shocked if there were not a considerable amount of turnover.

      I don’t expect Franco or Odubel to be on the team next year (Odbuel is talented as hell and might even have a near MVP season in him and I sort of like the guy, but he plays like a dufus and hasn’t matured – I’ve seen enough). I think Cesar will be there unless they are made an offer they can’t refuse because, frankly, nobody else is close to proven in the middle infield. If MM is acquired, he will play third. Hoskins will be moved to first. What becomes of Santana is anyone’s guess.

      1. If MM isn’t acquired – maybe Santana plays third – who knows? A catcher will be signed and that may, or may not, be Ramos. A starting lefty pitcher will be signed. And they will try like hell to sign one star – be it MM or Harper (buyer beware on the last one).

        1. I would try to get Hedges from the Padres for catching.
          His defense and overall catching will also improve the pitchers.
          His Defensive Runs Saved on a 66 win team was 12….Alf on a 80 win team was 0.
          The injury he incurred in May that kept him out for seven weeks is behind him

    3. Franco, Crawford and Williams saw little action on the field and were reportedly nursing injuries at season’s end. Ironically they are among the several who may very likely not be in red pinstripes in 2019.

      1. Were they nursing injuries or egos? Jim made a comment that some of the players that were “injured” might not have been injured…

      2. I think they would be out of their minds to trade Crawford except in a big trade for a very valuable player. He should grow into a good major league player. Why sell too low on him? I wouldn’t.

        1. He still has an option , maybe two left, and so he can be sent down to LHV to start the year.
          But I am leaning your way…..I still have hope in him.
          His minor league metrics are not a mirage.
          He does adjust like he did last year at LHV.
          I hope Kapler is not calling the shots on him.

          1. He needs to play and work through his issue, just as Kingery has had to do. But given his slick fielding and high OBP, I expect Crawford to be fairly useful right away.

        2. I haven’t given up on Crawford. I am only speaking from the perception of how Kapler used him, or didn’t. My only concern with JP as a player is his durability. He needs to get stronger than he is now, even at age 22.

  44. I was pretty bewildered when Gabe said on the radio debate with Cataldi that the best position for Kingery is SS. I don’t agree, I think it is 2b. I think he does not have the arm to be an outstanding defensive SS, but I am assuming that Gabe’s view is what the FO feels, and they see him at SS. I don’t get it, but that is just another on a long list.

    1. Matt, I don’t think Kapler, Klentak or anybody in the front office is going to make any definitive statements regarding who plays where. The status quo is that Kingery is the starting SS as of now. Signing Manny will obviously change things but why would they say anything to imply that until they have to. It’s an irrelevant question AND answer.

        1. Not sure how long Gabe has as manager right now.
          Seems certain former baseball people and one particular sports agency…..incidentally Manny’s agency…. have decided to specifically ‘out him out’ to the Feds.
          Comm Manfred does not like bad optics for his sport and this could turn ugly.

          1. Romus, I will believe it when I see it. MLB is in its highest marketing period now with playoffs and won’t respond to any controversy until after the WS. In the meantime, Kapler will have plenty of time to craft his explanation, first to his immediate bosses here, and the league office as well. I doubt very highly that anything beyond speculation will come to light anytime soon. However, it would be prudent for Middleton, MacPhail and Klentak need to take preemptive measures with Kapler if he is culpable in any way.

            1. 8mark…Fed do not take on investigations on a whim.
              Prior to conducting one, they want to ‘touch every base’ so to speak, to ensure there is substantial cause to go in.
              Human trafficking is not a light matter…though we are not talking children or women for prostitution, but just adult male sporting athletes ….but skirting immigration laws and the authorities is a serious charge.
              And if he is in anyway linked he could suffer the consequences.
              The redacted emails do show 5 people in the hierarchy of the org aware of what was happening.

              And the other thing that is of interest, if a Phillies fan….the whistle blower on the Dodgers…and specifically citing Freidman and Kapler in the charge..is Manny’s representing agency…MVP Sports.

            2. What surprises me, Romus, is that this story hasn’t blown up locally. Seems nobody is touching it but from the periphery.

            3. Yeah…..it has been mentioned in most national media outlets…but not to any in depth reporting, other than SI….probably because the Feds do not release much anyway. The FCPA violations are serious so there may be a lot confidentiality
              I think Kalper was cited specifically due to a disgruntled employee who he fired, and who knew all the inner workings of the Dodger org, his former asst at the time Nick Francona.
              Francona could have contacted Manny Pauley of MVP Sports , who he knew could have been were jilted thru Gabe’s actions, from getting a client, Cuban Hector Olivera…..and wallah…..thus starts the process.

              That is just pure speculation on my part….but have seen enough of similar investigations that usually begin with whistle blowers who were disgruntled with bosses or management.
              .
              https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2018/10/2/17929336/mlb-investigation-dodgers-braves-international-players-crimes-department-of-justice-fbi

  45. Does anybody have an update on Haseley? They shut him down, for some reason before the season ended. Is he at the Florida instructs?

    1. Good question.
      One of the other locals who visit the Complex frequently, said today he has not seen him down there yet.
      Jim has said he will report when he sees him as he posted a few weeks ago.
      It has been since August 25th from the TIL designation…and now and it is mystifing and worrisome. Hopefully it is not a medically related issue.

      1. Thanks for the info, Mr. Howard.
        BTW … from what I’ve heard, Matt Klentak was at both of you son’s playoff outings. He (and others in the FO) was/were blown away (with good reason). And … while a final decision won’t be made until next spring, there is a shot Spencer gets double-jumped to AA Reading to start next season.
        Like I said in the 2018 breakout prospect thread, “2 words … Spencer Howard !”

  46. I am hoping Sixto pitches well in the AFL, shows he is healthy and ready to go into next season at the top of his game. A healthy Sixto, realizing his potential as he continues to move up the System would be a huge boost. I don’t think we have a really good chance of landing Kikuchi, I simply don’t think we have developed any inroads in Japan, and I don’t see them going after Corbin. So, any hope to add a TOR guy lies in the Farm. Maybe we get a Happ or Gio, but I don’t see MacPhail authorizing big money and a long term for Corbin. And, I left out the other way, trade, but we don’t have that elite prospect, except for Sixto that is needed to get a young, controllable, future TOR guy. Doobie and Franco are not getting him.

  47. Glancing at the upcoming FA class, here are the players I think might be worth considering:

    C – Wilson Ramos but I doubt the Phillies pursue more than a 2 year deal which won’t get it done.

    IF – Manny Machado, Eduardo Escobar, Josh Donaldson, Jose Iglesias, Marwin Gonzalez

    OF – Michael Brantley, AJ Pollock, Bryce Harper

    LHP – Drew Pomeranz, Andrew Miller (rel.), JA Happ, Zach Britton (rel.), Patrick Corbin, Jake Diekman (rel.), Gio Gonzalez

    RHP – Craig Kimbrel (rel.), Garrett Richards (2019 TJ recovery), Adam Ottavino (rel.)

    Upon further examination, and the reality that we’ll probably sign only one biggie, the class isn’t as impressive as I originally thought. The second tier talent (Donaldson?) come with uncertainty such as health risks or performance arcs relative to their career.

    NOW, IF THE DH IS SOMEHOW ADOPTED BY THE NL BEFORE THE MARKET OPENS, I would be very interested in a few other bats such as Daniel Murphy.

    1. It seems somewhat underwhelming FA class when your fan base goes all or nothing for MM and/or Harper. I really can’t see Harper signing in philly vs Chi knowing a good childhood friend plays in chi town, and are playoff ready. I think it is mm or bust. The dodgers making the playoffs is not in the Phillies favor, imo.

      Sixto needs to be Hamels 2.0. The team needs it. Nola is there now, but we just need him to develop into who is he projected to be, a TOR. Nola’s success can give him some breathing room

      I can see the Phillies offering Ramos big money. I know they have Alfaro, but he has progressed slower than needed. Signing Ramos makes sense, as insurance. He looks like a good leader as well. If they can sign MM, Ramos, and Kimberl, I think most of us would be happy

      Quinn
      Herrera
      Hoskins
      Machado
      Ramos
      Williams/Altherr
      Crawford/Santana
      Kingery/Hernandez
      Pitcher/DH?

      I think the team would be improved, but one that is on the brink of making playoffs/missing. A schwerd trade would need to me made for me to feel its playoff bound. In this scenario, the big surprise would be Eickhoff. How hisnseason goes could make a big difference

      Nola – 17+wins
      Arrieta – 14 if we are lucky
      Eickhoff – 15+ -I have faith in him
      VV/Efflin – 12-14
      Pivetta 12-15

      With a beef’d up pen with Kimberl, Domingo, Neris, and that other old guy. AS last year for us

      I can see a big push for the playoffs with that team, not sure expectations would be high once they make it, going to need another year of FA and prospect development to start making a legit run. Klentak will have to change my mind with some Yelich type trade for the OF

      1. Tac3…..”The dodgers making the playoffs is not in the Phillies favor, imo.”
        My guess Dodgers may not be in the picture….Friedman tweeted a few months ago after they traded for him, something to the effect…”hope Manny can improve his free agent market value with us”.
        Then this week it is revealed to the public Manny’s representing sport agent’s firm, MVP Sports….implicates the Dodgers in that Federal investigation.
        So not sure the Dodgers want to deal with them right now.

    2. That’s a pretty good list. The best picks for the Phillies are Machado (Average and power), and Britton (lefty reliever). I’d also like a relief pitcher who can for for 2+ innings. We may already have that pitcher in Pivetta. As for the DH, if the NL goes that way, we have Santana.

      1. Manny K’d 3x and hit into a DP last night. His small playoff sample isn’t all that impressive. But hey, he’s still young.

      2. As I’m stepping off the “Both MAchado&Harper” bandwagon, I think that makes Ramos more likely to be resigned. I think they give him big money. The more I think about it, the more Klentak should resign him. If he can put up similar numbers as his averages, with some regression as he ages, bump in Alfaros growth and playing time, I think the Catcher position could have some top tier production for the league. If Alfaro does take off, well, you live with it. It would venture that trading a productive Ramos wouldn’t be a huge issue, might have to eat a few mil, but the return should be worth it. I still see Alfaro needing another year of seasoning at the plate. Wouldn’t push Ramos out until half way through the contract, if it’s a 3 yr deal. I think that is doable. Then trade Ramos at the 2020 deadline for prospects

        1. Wow, come to think of it, whether they sign either Manny, Bryce, both or neither will greatly impact how/if they address all their needs. You’re right, Tac3. Ramos becomes a more viable option should they fail to sign either MM or BH. But timing is a critical element to the off season and Klentak seems to be slow on the trigger in some cases like dealing for international money. Ready…aim…ready…aim…. but the dude doesn’t fire. As if he’s afraid he’s either giving up too much or getting too little. That concerns me.

  48. IMO, bats should be the main priority this offseason. If Middleton can sign both Machado and Harper then do it! Both are still young and approaching their prime. The Phillies will have at least 5-6 good years from Machado and Harper.

    I’m optimistic that the farm can replenish the pitching — bullpen in particular. I think we haven’t see the best from Austin Davis — Davis can overtake Morgan as the best lefty from the pen. Mo Llovera can be a surprise. I can see him being protected from Rule 5 and converted to the pen full time. Edgar Garcia has a good arm, but he probably need another year in LHV/REA. The Phils need also to convert Anderson to the pen and serve as the long BP arm.

    I’m not confident of Ranger Suarez. Cole Irvin might be the better LHP option next year. Not sure what’s the ultimate plan for JoJo Romero, he can be another pen arm and transition back to SP in the future.

  49. In my opinion:
    No DH coming to NL
    Ramos will not be resigned, Alfaro will be starting C with a veteran signed as back up.
    They will chase MM and Harper but I fear they’ll get neither and hope they get either.
    They will trade for a SP and move VV to the pen.
    They will move Anderson to the pen as long man.
    Franco or Santana will get traded in addition to Cesar. Herrera will go also IF Harper signed.

    1. Aside from the DH, which I think you are wrong about. The rest of your prediction will probably come out as you’ve prophesied. I don’t think Ramos is a good fit and some of the others you mentioned should have been moved this year.

      1. Still trying to understand how the DH can be implemented into the NL prior to 2022.

        The current CBA expires Dec 1st, 2021. doesn’t this change have to have approval from both the league and MLPA?
        Commissioner Manfred may want it for higher scoring….but he still works for the owners and the NL owners are the ones who will vote on it, not him.

        As it stands now, MLB has allowed the two leagues to operate under different rules for more than 40 years, and the debate over the DH will continue I assume up to the next CBA scheduled for Dec 2021, and have to see whether or not that agreement introduces the DH to the NL.

        1. Can’t the CBA be modified by the mutual consent of both parties? I would think this would be attractive to both, am I wrong on this? What financial benefit would favor one over the other? IMO I am weary of the changes (double switch) and roster manipulations that go on to circumvent the pitcher batting, then we go to extra innings, etc., etc..

          1. Good question on the issue of modification with mutual consent.
            I do not know if it can be done..
            Adding pitch clocks and monitoring mound visits was accomplished ..perhaps adding the DH to the NL can also be done prior to the next CBA.

            1. I read where change is afoot. It’s a matter of when the final push is made. It could happen that the owners agree to the MLBPA’s desire to make it universal, BUT the hitch might be whether the owners use it as a bargaining chip for the next CBA. That’s my understanding.

  50. This is going to be a long month waiting for the off season moves. I really can’t wait, and I am hoping I am not setting myself up for a huge disappointment. My faith is really in Middleton. I listen to Klentak and MacPhail and they just depress me. Everything they say makes me think we will hear “we weren’t just 1 guy away, we think adding Player X, (from the third tier of FAs), will make us a better team, and we are counting on internal improvements to move us forward. When the time is right, we are committed to spending money.”

  51. Matt – I can’t wait for the wheeling and dealing to begin. I expect the front office to blow Manny away with an offer he can’t refuse within days after free agency begins. Make no mistake that Middleton Will be the person doing the deal. After Klentak will get to work trading Franco and Herrera. Franco may look attractive after a good second half of the year, and he’s still young. Every team in Baseball knows what Herrera is capable of doing. He’s young and has a manageable contract. Both of these players should be attractive to a rebuilding team.

  52. I agree Mike, There are quite a few teams looking to improve who have no illusions that they are Playoff contenders. Doobie and Franco can help them. I don;t expect Blake Snell in return, but I do expect some value. Question for any of you? Who is responsible for evaluating the talents of other teams’ minor leaguers? They report to Klentak, I know, but is that something that Charlie Manuel does or is part of?

  53. Thanks Romus, I think he needs to have a big role this off season. I don’t think the guys we have that are trade candidates like Doobie and Franco will bring top of the line Major League ready players back. I don’t want some scrubs, so I suspect that the return will be prospects and I hope that we get lucky.

  54. I wonder if anybody can answer a question for me about Free agents? So what I am wondering, if Pullin decided to return from retirement again, the Phils wont want him back, but what I wonder is that if this was his 7th year and he didn’t complete the year, will the Phills still have more time owed to them By Pullin, or would he be free to sign with another team as a free agent? I don’t understand all the years of contract restrictions. Thank you in advance.

    1. From my understanding he owes the Phillies that seventh year….and he would not qualify under MLB Rule 55…..but as Mitch Walding will do once next month if the Phillies decide not to protect him on their 40, which seems to be the assumption.

      According to Major League Rule 3(b), “All Minor League Uniform Player Contracts between either a Major or a Minor League Club and a player who has not previously signed a contract with a Major or a Minor League Club shall be for a term of seven Minor League playing seasons.”
      MLB Rule 55,
      “At 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 15 or on the fifth day following the last day of the World Series, whichever is later, of the last year of a player’s Minor League Uniform Player Contract, the player’s Minor League Uniform Player Contract shall expire and the player shall become a ‘Minor League free agent’ unless the player’s Major or Minor League club has remaining options to renew the contract.

      You can read more on it on the CubReporter:
      https://www.thecubreporter.com/minor-league-free-agency

  55. I know a few of us disagree on Ramos, and whether or not he fits. I’m hoping the FO finds a way to sign him. His offense the last 3-4 years would give this team some insurance with Alfaro developing. I’m an Alfaro fan, but I wonder if he is going to pan out. Not only does he SO too much, he has trouble making contact. I say sign Ramos 3-4 years, preferably 3, then trade him after 2 If Alfaro is ready to take over offensively. Having an offensive catcher is such an advantage imo, and it is a commodity that can be resold 2 years from now. Will see what happens, but im. Hoping MM and Ramos are signed this offseason. Ramos is a .300 hitter that SO less than 80 times a year. I’d keep him. Getting both Harper and mm are Long shots, but mm and Ramos are much more likely. Use the trade surplus to bring in an OF talent, and the offense should be good enough if the pitching can do its part.

    1. Ramos is going to ask for (and more than likely get) 4 years @ maybe 60 million dollars. He’s been riddled with injuries over the last couple of years. IMO, it’s not reasonable to believe he’ll be mostly available/healthy playing the most brutal postion in the sport during his age 31 thru 34 seasons. On the other hand, Jorge Alfaro should continue to improve (both offensively and defensively) over that time span. When you consider the fact that Alfaro will cost ~50 million dollars less, and the Phillies gave up nothing to acquire Ramos … Klentak is most likely going to let Ramos walk and find a defensive minded backup catcher through trade/free agency/waiver wire.

      1. Hinkie…..I think we both agree….get Padres Hedges to really shore up the catching defense. Maybe the Padres are still interested in Maikel Franco .

        1. My is concern is that Alfaro doesn’t develop into an offensive catcher. He looks overmatched at the mlb level. Signing Ramos and splitting time for Alfaro, should give the C position the boost it needs. Getting Ramos in the fold is insurance for Alfaro. I prefer having offense at the C vs Defense minded player. If Alfaro would’ve showed me more this year, I would agree to let Ramos walk, but his performance has led me want a pretty good insurance policy.

          1. Tac – Alfaro batted .262 this year, trailing only Franco at .270. However he more than doubled Franco’s strikeout total. I think that, had he not struck out 132 times, we would think that .262 was not a bad year for a catcher. There were times when a simple fly ball or groundout would have scored a run, and I was as frustrated as you. He does seem to be willing to learn, and assuming that he’s going to play winter ball, I’m sure he’ll be better next year both offensively and behind the plate.

            1. A leopard cannot change its spots, and a tiger cannot change its stripes….you may have to live with Alf and his K rates……27% in the minors over 8 years in almost 2700 PAs and 35% in the majors in over 500 PAs.
              He was one of the leaders for ” in- the- zone” swing and miss, which is really telling….why?… because majority of all the pitches thrown in the zone, .are FBs

            2. See Romus points below. I agree, his 132 SO to me felt like a lot more. Again imo, he looked over matched when I saw him. Still not sure how he got the .262 act. His mo is start the season on fire and flame out. I didnt Look but I’m willing to wager his 2nd half numbers were atrocious. I’m an Alfaro supporter but his SO totals are believe are him. Sign Ramos hedges that bet. Will see, but I have a feeling they should hold onto Ramos

            3. Tac3…..”we would think that .262 was not a bad year for a catcher. “….you are correct for a catcher that is pretty good….but have to remember his BABIP was plus.400, which is a norm 50/60 points higher than his normal past years.
              So he could be fortunate.
              I hope his off-season work outs do produce a better version defensively in 2019.

    2. Tac – I like Ramos too, and thought a 50-50 split with Alfaro might work. If the Phillies can overpay him on a 2 year deal, or blow him away with a 1 year offer, do it. I don’t want him on a 3 or 4 year deal.

  56. Now that the LAA’s season is over, Mike Trout is back to being a full time Eagles fan.

    We’ll probably see him at the Linc today in his usual end zone field seats.
    Hopefully, he resists Arte Moreno’s 500 million dollar LTX offer, and makes it to free agency after 2020.

  57. I am still annoyed at MacPhail’s statement about 3.5 Million fans. I apologize for being boring. Aside from the notion that they need to field a team capable if winning, we the fans, have already proven we show up in droves, I contend the team is better able, financially, to spend in the rop 5 than in ‘07-‘11. Assume the difference is 1Million fans. I believe, correct me if I am wrong, a fan is worth on average, $100 per seat. They have to give the City a share and the rest of the league, so let’s say $70 per fan to the Phils. $70Million. The new Comcast Cable deal, worth 1.2Billion, I believe over 10 years, is $120 per year. Maybe I am off a bit, but it remains that the financial ability to spend is greater now and the #of fans matters zero in the ability to spend.

    1. matt13….. the Comcast deal is 25 years @$2.5B….averages $100M annum
      However, installments will be incrementally increased over the 25 years started in 2016 at approx $65M a few years ago.
      The annual disbursements are estimated between 3% and 4% annually with the largest installment at the latter half of the contract.
      My guess for 2019….approx $70M area.

  58. Matt – I agree! If the Phillies sign Machado, and add a couple of complimentary players, they’ll get their extra million fans.

  59. Thanks Romus, I knew you would have the numbers. So, point is correct? Team is, financially, well able to spend what they spent ‘07-‘11, and another miilion fans simply adds to profits?

    1. matt13…correct.
      The team has the green bucks available to spend…and at above a certain level of the gate revenue, it could be similar to just, ‘house money’ for them

  60. Assume Middleton/MacPhail/Klentak have thought of a Plan B.

    Now Fangraphs weighs in on the investigation:
    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-dodgers-might-be-in-actual-legal-trouble/#more-296915

    “In other words, for current and former Dodgers employees — including people like Gabe Kapler (who ran the Dodgers’ player development system from 2014 through 2016) and Friedman — getting banned from baseball may end up being a best-case scenario depending on the extent of their involvement and whether they knew or should have known about the illegality going on in their operations.”

    1. Romus, if Gabe was involved in any of these illegalities then Klentak should follow him out the door for failure to check Kapler’s background.

      1. philabalt……not necessarily.
        The only reason why the Feds are investigating these allegations..is because of a whistle blower…..Manny Paula of MVP Sports Agnecy, also coincidentally Manny Machao’s representative agent.
        A lot of the information was internal to the Dodger’s organization, proprietary rights to the Dodgers…..and somehow Manny Paula got a hold of it and presented it to the FBI ..their FCPA. people.
        So Klentak would not have any inclination of any of that stuff.
        What he has however is the Kapler job interview and Gabe tactfully omitting anything that may have been nefarious as the Dodger Dir of Player Personnel.
        He does not have to say it…if not asked however….which can be pretty crafty in Klentak’s eyes…and possibly cause for termination.
        I do not think Klentak isculpable for hiring Kapler if he just had no inkling of what Gabe did earlier.
        I also assume Andrew Freidman gave Gabe a favorable reference.

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