Open Discussion: Week of November 12, 2018

The Hot Stove Season continues.  The player’s deadline to accept or reject their team’s qualifying offers is Monday.  Any who haven’t yet acted have until 5:00 PM EST.

The GM meetings were held last week in Carlsbad, CA.  The biggest early news was a Bob Nightengale article in USA Today that suggested (okay, he was adamant) that the Phillies would announce the signing of Bryce Harper during the baseball meeting in Las Vegas next month.  And then, a half-dozen other sports writers wrote articles stating that a half-dozen other ball clubs were in on Harper.  In any event, the Phillies were able to get meetings with whomever they wanted, and also spoke with everyone who asked to meet with them.

I think the only thing we can be sure of is that the Phillies will be active.

The owners’ meetings are this week in Atlanta, GA.  I don’t expect any trade talk, but I’m sure that they will be talking about things like the DH and pace of play.  Expect the commissioner to receive an extension.

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

Key Dates:

  • October 9, 2018 – Opening Day for the Arizona Fall League (AFL)
  • 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 29, 2018, 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”.
  • November 2nd 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.”
  • November 2, 2018, 5:00 PM – Deadline for organizations to submit qualifying offers to their free agents. This year’s QO is $17.9M.
    • This is also the deadline for organizations to exercise any club/mutual options.
  • November 2, 2018 – Free agents become eligible to sign with any team.
  • November 2, 2018 – Opening Day for the Columbian Winter League (LCBP)
  • November 6-8, 2018 – GM meetings, Carlsbad, CA.
  • November 12, 2018, 5:00 PM – Deadline for players to accept/reject qualifying offers.  Those who decline will become free agents.
  • November 14-15, 2018 – Owners Meetings in Atlanta , GA.
  • November 15, 2018 – Opening Day for the Puerto Rican Winter League (LBPRC)
  • November 15, 2018 – Opening Day for the Australian Baseball League (ABL)
  • November 17, 2018 – Last game of the Arizona Fall League (AFL)
  • 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
  • November 30, 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.
  • January 11, 2019 – Salary arbitration filing deadline
  • February 1-20, 2019 – 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)
  • TBA – Minor League Spring Training begins
  • 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.

Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
11/11/18 – Phillies signed free agent P Carlos Valero to a future services contract
11/8/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Jose Guaramaco to a future services contract
11/7/18 – Phillies signed free agent OF Derek Escobar to a future services contract
11/2/18 – Phillies sent SS Pedro Florimon outright to Lehigh Valley
11/2/18 – OF Ryan Goins elected free agency
11/2/18 – 1B Zach Green elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Matt McBride elected free agency
11/2/18 – LF Danny Ortiz elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Nick Rickles elected free agency
11/2/18 – SS Dean Anna elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Pedro Beato elected free agency
11/2/18 – CF Collin Cowgill elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Ranfi Casimiro elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Logan Moore elected free agency
11/2/18 – 3B Jesmuel Valentin elected free agency
11/2/18 – RF Jiandido Tromp elected free agency
11/2/18 – 2B Heiker Meneses elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Mario Sanchez elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Harold Arauz elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Gabriel Lino elected free agency
11/2/18 – 3B Will Middlebrooks elected free agency
11/2/18 – RHP Alberto Tirado elected free agency
11/2/18 – C Kevin Martir elected free agency
11/1/18 – Phillies signed C Victor Cairo to a future services contract
10/29/18 – 2B Asdrubal Cabrera elected free agency
10/29/18 – C Wilson Ramos elected free agency
10/29/18 – RF Jose Bautista elected free agency
10/29/18 – LHP Aaron Loup elected free agency
10/29/18 – Lehigh Valley released 1B Joey Meneses
10/25/18 – DSL Phillies Red activated 1B Maximo De La Rosa
10/25/18 – DSL Phillies White activated RHP Jose Brazon
10/10/18 – Reading activated RHP Mario Sanchez from the 7-day disabled list
10/10/18 – Reading activated LHP JoJo Romero from the 7-day disabled list
10/10/18 – Reading activated RHP Alexis Rivero from the 7-day disabled list
10/8/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Carlo Reyes to a minor league contract.
10/5/18–3B Trevor Plouffe elected free agency.
9/27/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Cristofer Adames to a minor league contract
9/22/18–Phillies signed free agent LHP Joel Valdez to a minor league contract.
9/14/18–Phillies signed free agent RHP Hermes Astudillo to a minor league contract

295 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of November 12, 2018

  1. How important is coaching and in-game play calling? We needn’t go any farther than last night. Reich and Defilippo are no longer here. It matters.

    As we Phillies fans gear up for a wild hot stove season and acquiring top talent, let’s remember how important it’ll be for Kapler and his returning staff have learned some things from 2018. The team’s collective plate approach? Defensive alignment? Use of the bullpen? We can’t win without talent. We won’t win with the same management philosophy.

  2. Updated vegas odds . . . People laugh when I quote Vegas however i’ll go by them over so called “experts” all day. In 2016 they had Trump at +400 a week prior to the election and it crept as low (or high depending on how you look at it) +145 the day prior to election, this was when all polls showed a HRC landslide. Vegas knows what they are doing.

    Harper: Even (Front runner)

    Machado: +150 (Front runner)

    Donaldson: +250 (Behind Cards and Indians)

    Keuchel: +650 (Behind Astros, Angels, Yankees, Dodgers)

    Phillies weren’t mentioned in the top 5 for any other players.

    1. As far as free agency is concerned:
      I would be alright with Harper alone in the group above.
      Maybe get a LHP reliever also ….maybe a Britton.
      The trade market is what i want to see what will happen and if Matt Klentak can be creative enough to move the needle further

      1. Romus – I’d be fine with Harper and Britton, but we need 1 more bullpen arm, and a back up catcher. If they want to go after a SP, I want a TOR starter. Arrieta, Pivetta, Velasquez, and Eflin are middle of the rotation starters in my opinion, so we don’t need another. Hopefully, we can deal some of our excessive baggage, and a couple of prospects for one.

      2. Romus, I agree. While I prefer no huge contracts (and thus passing on both BH and MM), I would be fine with Harper (more than MM) plus RP and focus on TRADES.

        I wrote a couple weeks ago that I’d like to see Klentak be creative and aggressive in trades. We have a wealth of “good” to “very good” prospects and MLB ready talent, so let’s pkg several for a “great” prospect, and/or pkg a “great” plus more of the others for a “stud”. Point is, Trade UP! We have depth so leverage it!

        Btw, I like Hinkie’s suggestions to trade for Paxton and Diaz, however I think the combo – and he even threw in Segura – would be a humungous price tag. I fully support – and believe we can complete – a trade for either Paxton or Diaz!

        1. John K … Yes. I have advocated for Paxton and Diaz. However … to be clear … I don’t believe Seattle would package the two. They would do much better by selling each guy separately. I did read someone else suggest a deal where the Phillies would get Paxton, Diaz, AND Segura. The Mariners would expect most of the Phillies farm + a young MLB player or two for that threesome.
          I do believe the Phillies have the assets to pull off a Paxton OR Diaz deal. Previously, I have suggested:
          Seattle gets: Vince Velasquez and Odubel Herrera
          Phillies get: Edwin Diaz and Logan Gilbert
          I have also proposed:
          Seattle gets: Velasquez or Eflin + Odubel or Nick Williams + Cameron Rupp or Deivi Grullon
          Phillies get: James Paxton

    2. Vegas is as good an indicator as anything else for something like this. You think Howard Eskin has a better idea?

    3. It’s a total side issue, but as the 2016 election neared the polls were not projecting an HRC landslide. Looking only at the polls (and not at the pundits’ discussions) a closing of the gap was indicated, and my favorite political data site, fivethirtyeight.com, gave Trump about a 28% chance to win, albeit most of those scenarios did indicate that he would lose the popular vote (which he did indeed do). FWIW, the proprietor of that site, Nate Silver, used to be a major factor at Baseball Prospectus. and was the creator of the PECOTA system.

  3. I’ve always believed the worst place you can be as a pro sports franchise these days is somewhere in the middle.

    Boras contends this is killing pro sports. I would tend to agree. Professional tanking is a great way to lose fans. That said he seems to ignore that he is part of the problem when mid-market teams can’t afford the asking price of his players.

    Which brings me to my point just signing 1 of Harper or Machado is doing nothing for the Phillies. Their current core is not strong enough and the depth of their rotation is not deep enough.

    1. Makes sense, Hoskins needs to place first. Only way it makes sense to keep Santana is if the DH is coming to the NL this year, or the league adds more inter league games. Probably not happening so, trade him. Moving him to third base just keeps the logjam going

    2. They are and I think they should be. You have to wonder what John Middleton is thinking about the talent evaluation skills of his FO guys. They have way more misses than hits so far.

  4. Klentak can chase pitching regardless of which of the big 2 we hopefully can sign. However filling in the other piece (OF if MM, IF if BH) will be very difficult because big 2 won’t sign before Jan. We need lots to get done. We want to make the push from 80 to 90.

      1. Sounds about what I’d expect.

        If they want to get good and stay good – they are going to have to find a way to get consistently better in this regard.

        1. The bottom three minor league affiliates…GCL, Williamsport and Lakewood…do have a few good prospects with a lot of potential and possibly higher ceilings than some of the guys at the three top minor league levels…just have to see how it all plays out.

      2. The table illustrates the huge mountain we have to climb. Atlanta is WAAAY ahead of us on the farm, with a farm value twice ours. The two teams have almost identical number of prospects, but they have 12 prospects evaluated as 50 or better, while we have 3. The majority of our prospects are in the lowest category, evaluated as 40.

  5. “shopping the hell out of”

    Carlos Santana 679 PA 229-352-766 24 HR 86 RBI 110 BB 93 K 2 yrs 41 mill

    Shin-Soo Choo 665 PA 264-377-810 21 HR 62 RBI 92BB 156 K 2 yrs 42 mill

    At least Choo can play the outfield moving Hoskins back to first base.

    Problem is Choo only played 60 games in the outfield last year.

  6. Can’t remember where I read (may have been a Cleveland reporter) the Phillies and a couple of other teams (Braves were one) have already made an offer to Michael Brantley.
    Not sure if this has any bearing on the team’s interest in MM over BH … or not.

  7. Keith Law states that Cesar is most likely Phillie to be traded – sees several fits : NYY, Dodgers, Cubs if they move some infielders, and others (5 total). Phils need to move Kingery, a 70 rated fielder, back to 2B and that should help his offense, he comments. Calls him a very underrated player.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out, RU. I just went back and looked at it. Law gives a very positive scouting report on CeHe. I just don’t see a very robust trade market for him because so many 2Bmen are available for just money as FA’s.
      Over the weekend … I posted if the Phillies sign Harper, I’d be for the team holding on to Hernandez and Santana (both high OBP guys) to hit in front of Harper and Hoskins. Two and three run homers beat solo HR’s.

      1. We need to move back to the theory of strong defense up the middle wins. Santana can’t really play 3b all season but Hoskins really should be at 1b. That will require a trade. The Phils already committed to Kingery and he needs to play 2b. They need to put the pieces where they belong. I expect multiple trades. It wouldn’t surprise me if Quinn ends up as the 4th OF too because he’s good but too brittle to be counted on. Can Choo still play the OF? That trade isn’t impossible if he can play out there.

  8. Hinkie – I think you are spot on. However, what do you make of Phils aggressively shopping Santana per one writer ? Only explanation is that the “new” LF who would replace Rhys be an on base machine himself ? or does Harper play RF and they continue to platoon with Altherr and Williams in LF ? no on base machine there, though.

    1. I’m honestly a bit surprised they are shopping Santana, i really figured they would try to force him at 3rd base. I guess that is not the plan, or at least plan A. I’d figure If they sign MM, santan is more likely gone vs it being Harper.
      I thought they bought early on him last year to help hedge the FA period this year, it’s basically an add on. Unfornately it doesn’t look like the add on fits. He fits a lot better on a team where he is not the hr/rbi guy, but a top 3-4 hitter on the team.

      Part of it depends on the return imo Santana vs Franco.

      1. I still think Tito will take him back….along with some Phillies cash to go against the salary. As for a return…probably a 10-15 range pitching prospect they have.

          1. I think they would do that deal,
            Hate giving up Medina in the deal ….32-year old Carrasco becomes a free agent after next year also.

          2. Carrasco is another one of many examples where pitchers take a little longer to develop…..he was worst than the Phillies Three Musketeers before his age27 season in Cleveland…than he blossomed that year, and for the next 4/5 years he has been a very plus pitcher in their rotation.

            1. I think the Indian’s DFA’ed him at one point as well. He’s why I’m not willing to give up on Vinny yet.

  9. Is there a positive scenario where we don’t get either Harper or Machado and instead get Brantley and Donaldson or Moustakas? Does that work for anyone? I read where the Phils made an offer to Brantley and the Yankees are doing “more than due diligence” on Machado and the Nats are still considering another offer to Harper and it is being handled at the Ownership level. So, it doesn’t take too much pessimism, especially after an Eagles debacle, to think we don’t get either. I am trying to prepare myself for what a Plan B or Plan C would look like.

    1. Matt, John Middleton has much at stake in signing one of the big names. Although it may only be a superficial reason, larger attendance figures to be a goal in the off season pursuits. The Phillies don’t have an acceptable plan B behind either Harper or Machado. While they certainly have to augment the roster beyond either player, it would be a PR disaster not to get one. It’s all about Harper/Machado PLUS….

      I like the idea of trading for a few key pieces because in many cases, you get better value through trades than the FA market. Plus we have the chips to deal, even if we have to throw some cash along with a Santana. And should they be able to move him in particular, that increases the likelihood of actually signing both Machado AND Harper. I’m thinking that may be the bigger urgency to trading him rather than simply opening 1b for Hoskins.

  10. Todd Zolecki just posted that the Phillies may be looking at FA options at 3b, mentioning both Donaldson and Moustakas. And that Klentak said that they won’t be waiting for the first domino (Harper/Machado) to fall before making a move.

    1. Donaldson would be a good early signing on a 2-year deal with a team option for a 3rd year. Then go into the trade market with Franco, Santana and Herrera for whatever pitching and prospect returns the Phils can get. Then sign Ramos, Britton and whatever starting pitcher (Kikuchi, Happ) they can sign. Press for Machado and Harper (they won’t get both) and if they lose out on both, get the best remaining corner OFer left on the market.

  11. “Part of the fun of this offseason is we don’t know which way we’re going to go,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said last week at the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.
    …….I think I would have worded that a little different concerning their flexibility.

  12. I think that many of you made up your mind on Franco before last season. What’s wrong with this picture? The Phillies are looking to unload their second (Santana) and third best players (Franco), from last year. We’re so good that we’re willing to pay Santana to play for some other team. WTF???

    1. Hinkie – I watch a TV show called Flip or Flop Paradise (Northern, CA). The entire City was destroyed by fire.

  13. Santana to the Yankees makes sense to me. Even if we still have to eat some ($10M?) of the contract. He fits their need for an established 1b/DH power bat from the left side. I would love to get Frazier back. Not sure who else we would have to include. If NYY passes on Manny, slide Torres to SS, perhaps they might find Cesar a value within the package?

    NYY gets Carlos Santana(+$10M), Cesar Hernandez, Vince Velasquez and Jojo Romero

    PHI gets Clint Frazier and 2nd tier prospect

      1. Agreed. Yankees’ prospects get over hyped a lot (though, not always). I think Frazier and Sheffield are grossly over-rated. However, Brian Cashman will continue to advertise/sell these Fords like they are BMW’s.

      2. Frazier is a nice player, I’d like to have him, but he is not a stud prospect. If you want Frazier – Cesar OR VV alone is roughly equivalent value perhaps even a slight overpay. Both Cesar and VV are good major leaguers that are like 3 years away from FA – they are at least as valuable as Frazier.

    1. 8mark….ViVe alone gets you Frazier and a pitcher like Stephan or Sauer from their system.
      Frazier, as talented and as a high ceiling he has….still has to be healthy and free from concussion symptoms.

  14. 8mark – You’re trading our 2nd best positional player, Cesar and a SP for Frazier? Assuming that the Phillies sign Harper, Frazier will play LF. You’re giving up Santana (24 HR’s, 86 RBI’s) and Hernandez (15 HR’s and 60 RBI’s). Frazier will not replace those numbers.

  15. My proposal may be an overpay but Cesar alone gets you very little. Velasquez not much more. I’m merely looking for a way to move “our 2nd best position player” to make room for our future 1b as well as a younger, more productive player in either Harper or Machado and whoever else we’ll be salivating over between now and 2020.

    1. I’d rather deal Santana and cash straight up for a top ten prospect. We can afford to pay half of his salary.

  16. A good home for Santana could be Houston. They’re losing Marwin and want to move their 1b Gurriel to a utility role. They’re also likely to let Gattis, their DH, leave. What does Houston have to offer us?

    1. Depends on how much money the Phillies are willing to eat. The Astros were reportedly willing to give up J.B. Bukauskas (and a couple of other prospects) for two months of Bryce Harper this summer. Maybe, in a best case scenario, Klentak agrees to take on ~half of the 35 million owed to Santana, and he gets Bukauskas.
      If the Astros are willing to absorb all of Sanatana’s money, maybe the Phillies get one of Houston’s younger, position players. Derek Fisher (remember him?) and JD Davis have flaws, but still have some upside. Jake Marisnick is a tremendous defensive CFer (something of value for the Phillies), but is a very underwhelming offensive player.
      To be honest (and I’ve posted this a number of times already), I’d probably just hold on to Santana and CeHe (neither of these guys are going to bring back much) and take advantage of their abilities to get on base by batting them in front of Harper (if they’re planning to sign him) and Hoskins. I can see Harper and Hoskins hitting maybe as many as 80 HR’s between them. It would be nice if they were two or three run shots, instead of solo blasts.

      1. You’re right about Cesar – he gets on base a ton and he’s a good fielder. He’s a good player and fits in with that OBP model. Santana is harder because if you move him from first, he’s such a liability in the field and do you really want him rather than a guy like Donaldson (?) and it’s really hard to hide a .225 BA, even if the OBP is .350, but I could live with him hitting second or 6th for a year – it wouldn’t be the worst outcome if you also had Hoskins and Harper back to back at 2-3 or 3-4.

      1. mlbdotcom list, in addition to the Twins, the Mariners, Rockies and Angels as teams who could be interested in a deal for Santana.

        What about a deal where the Phils move Santana, salary and all, and strengthen their starting pitching?

        to the Phils:
        Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Kyle Seager and LHP James Pazos

        to the Mariners:

        Santana, Franco, Eickhoff, Crawford, Knapp and JoJo Romero

        Phils take on a lot of salary but this doesn’t preclude a major signing of Harper or Machado. Other teams could offer better prospects for Paxton but can’t take on the salary of Fernandez or the commitment to Seager. Hoskins moves back to 1B. The Mariners shed enough salary to place themselves for a run at starting pitchers like Kikuchi, Eovaldi. maybe Corbin. Phils still need to address catching and OF if they don’t sign Harper.

  17. I would not be in a hurry to trade Santana. He played 161 games last year which I thought was a lot. He had never played that many games before and he should have been getting some nights off.

    Aside from the fact it threw Hoskins out of position which I was highly critical of when it happened I believe he would have a nice bounce back season in 2019 and having him with Harper and Manny if its at all possible would be awesome.

    I love switch hitters that grind out ABs for some odd reason.

  18. Question for Hinkie…who I enjoy reading and love his optimism about the upcoming off season. You, more than any other poster, have been 100% certain the Phils would sign Machado this off season, even indicating you would ban yourself for, I believe, 6 months if it didn’t happen.

    Now the momentum seems to be turning towards Harper. Do you still believe the Phils are a lock to sign MM or have you changed your mind. I live in Orange County and hear from Angel fans all the time about their fear that Trout is Philadelphia bound within two years. This is why I do not believe the Phils can/will sign both MM and Harper.

    Have you changed your mind or do ou still feel MM is Philly bound, given the seeming interest in Harper?

    1. The Phillies will not sign both MM and BH … unless one settles for a pillow contract (and I don’t think either will have to do that). For the past two years, the Phillies (behind closed doors) were absolutely planning to target/outbid everyone for MM. Things became murky after Machado’s “Johnny Hustle” comments. I posted two or three weeks ago that I ran into somebody who has a relationship with a person who might be in a position to have knowledge of what the team was thinking (that’s the best way I can describe it). They told me: 1) The Phillies end game is Mike Trout. They will go about their business this winter with the hope/expectation that Trout will be available as a FA after 2020. Maybe Klentak even signs Garrett Richards (Trout’s best friend in baseball) to a TJ rehab deal. 2) Machado’s “Johnny Hustle” comments caused some within the organization to feel Harper is the better fit for this team/this town. 3) Middleton has become pretty friendly with Scott Boras. Boras not only represents Harper, he also fronts Zach Britton, Yusei Kikuchi, and Marwin Gonzalez. The Phillies are linked to (not predicting they will sign) all of them.

      Personally, Machado, for me, is the better fit (on the field) for the Phillies. However, I certainly won’t be disappointed with a Harper – Hoskins (lefty – righty) combo batting third and fourth.

      BTW … I live in Mike Trout country. He was born down the street from my house. If you think Angels fans love him in Southern California, you should see the love he gets here. I think Arte Moreno will attempt to keep Trout by offering him an uber rich LTX after Harper and Machado sign this winter. However, I believe Trout will put off the extension (with the excuse that he wants to see what direction Moreno and Dipoto take the team in 2019 and 2020). I think it could go either way. Part of me thinks Mike Trout is a loyal guy (he married his HS sweetheart), and he won’t walk away from the Angels. But another part of me thinks Mike Trout is a loyal guy (he married his HS sweetheart), and he yearns to be back in Millville with his family and friends (especially now that he’ll probably be starting a family in the near future) and play with his childhood favorite team.

      One last thing … I actually promised to ban myself for six months if the Phillies signed neither Machado OR Harper. I stand by that. There is a near zero chance that Middleton comes up empty on both.

      1. I get that you need to look to the future but if they are thinking end game and Trout now, in my opinion that’s a problem. A player who isn’t a free agent for another few years SHOULDN’T be your end game right now. I dunno but if that is true (have my doubts) that concerns me greatly. Worry about today and next year, not something you have no idea of how it will pan out. Also I don’t think his comments are a sticking point either, he’s a generational talent.

        1. Every team plots future payrolls. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure Andy MacPhail even made a comment (during his end of year press conference) that this isn’t the last FA class in the history of the sport.

          1. No I get that but to have an end game focused on a single player seems negligent to me. Btw wasn’t trying to sound argumentative, I think it may have come off that way.

            1. No. It didn’t come off as negative. I understand your point, but this isn’t just any “single player”. The Phillies are plotting for the greatest player in the game – who is a local kid to boot !!! Can you imagine what Mike Trout would be worth to this franchise ? Look what LeBron meant to Cleveland (on the court and off). Same thing.
              I’m not saying this team is going to sit around and do nothing until the end of 2020 (when Trout can become a FA). In fact, quite the opposite. They are going to be very aggressive in adding talent this winter. They’re just not going to do anything reckless enough to cost them a chance at Trout in two years.

      2. Regarding Trout as our end game: it’s exciting to think about. And our chances are pretty good as far as we know. But that’s just it. What we don’t know. I’m sure the Phillies brass have a better idea of what they are looking at in terms of their plan. But here’s the thing – I enjoy playing SCRABBLE. My problem is that I too often wait a few turns to pick just the letters I need to make a big score which I can see developing on the board. Yet I get frustrated when those pieces elude me….

        Like I always say, a good plan today (this winter) is better than the perfect plan tomorrow (2020).

      3. It’s not near zero – but there’s a pretty decent chance they get one or the other. Probably better than 50/50.

        1. LOL. catch … you’re not going to be convinced until Machado or Harper are sitting on the dais with Middleton, MacPhail, and Klentak.
          I’ll say it again. The Phillies need a star to make this team relevant again. John Middleton is not going to be outbid for whichever guy (MM or BH) they want. I’ll ban myself for 6 months if they strike out on both.

          1. Hinkie…whoa, lets not jump to seclusions yet. With Boras we have until March possibly, and a six month ban puts you thru the draft and draft reports….perhaps do the ban in increments..a week here and a week there.:)

            1. Romus … HaHa. It’s not going to come to that. It’s not a question of “if” they sign Machado or Harper. It’s more a question of “when” they sign Machado or Harper.

              As far as the draft goes … I’m getting the feeling a highly ranked prep player slides to them at 1-14. Could be Bobby Witt jr.

          2. Well, since I’m saying it’s better than 50/50 perhaps even better than 60/40 – more likely than not I expect this to happen. I’ll be disappointed if they don’t sign either but will enjoy the six month respite from these discussions (lol – just kidding!).

          3. Hinkie, Like you, I can’t envision an outcome where the Phillies don’t sign one of Harper or Machado. However, regarding a self-imposed ban six-month ban, I think you should allow me to determine the length and application of any ban. I think a two-year ban between the hours of midnight and 6:00 AM would suffice. 😉

  19. I know we debate Cesar all the time here, but I don’t think he is a good fielder, he is merely average. He does walk quite a bit, but he is not a very good base runner, and I don’t think he should bat lead off. I want to see Quinn get his chance. I know all about his injury history. But he is a quality defensive CF, and a legitimate lead off hitter. We have 2 guys who we can count on to go 1st to 3rd and 2d to Home with less than 2 outs, and that is Quinn and Kingery. I want them to play. If they fail, then we need to know that, but keeping on with Cesar and Doobie is not going to lead to a Championship team, regardless of who we sign.

      1. If you want to take advantage of Quinn and Kingery’s speed, then they’re better off batting fifth and sixth or sixth and seventh in the lineup. This team isn’t going to want them running too often with Harper (if they sign him) and Hoskins at bat. That’s why I think CeHe and Santana are better off batting first and second. They each are skilled at getting on base. Let them sit there and wait for Harper and Hoskins to drive them in with long balls. The second half of the lineup can manufacture runs (stealing bases, hit and run).

        1. Peter Bourjos was really fast and an excellent base runner and fielder. His problem he couldn’t get on base….

        2. I love this idea. Bottom of the line up gives you a ton of flexibility to hit and run/steal. A CS is a lot less bad when you have your 7th/8th hitter up versus Harper/Machado or Hoskins. Keep the high OBP guys in front of them or between them. The hope is they’re still on base when those guys come up the second or third time anyway.

    1. I think Quinn will get his shot this season. That’s just my opinion and isn’t based on anything I’ve heard. How would you feel about Quinn manning center between Harper and Herrera?

      I heard that Hernandez played much of the second half with 3 broken toes. He played hurt in September when other guys didn’t.

      That doesn’t make him a better player than others, but it indicates to me that he is a gamer. The type of player that Philadelphians pride themselves in supporting.

  20. For anyone interested, MLBTR has just begun its FA prediction contest which ends this Sunday at 11pm CT. 1st place wins $500, 2nd $300, 3rd $100.

  21. I don’ Bat Kingery 2d, I want him to grow into that but I still think we can take advantage of his speed batting 8th. On Quinn and Hoskins and Harper batting after him. How many more fastballs do they get with a real base srealing threat on 1st? How can Pitchers risk breaking balls that bounce up there? Quinn helps them both. There is not a single Pitcher in the league who alters his approach if Cesar is on first. I have been waiting for Cesar to develop his base running, every aspect of it. It has not happened, I don’t think it will and I move on from him.

  22. The Sporting News reports:
    The Phillies manager, Gabe Kapler, who has been in Philadelphia as wildfires spread in Southern and Northern California, said a neighbor who decided not to evacuate sent him photos of what’s left of his home — a smoldering pile of rubble and a steel staircase.
    “Everything is replaceable. There’s nothing … it’s all just stuff. A home was stuff. To so many people, that home is their shelter and their safe haven. But everything we lost is replaceable. Our family is going to be fine. The love and support is incredible,” Kapler told The Athletic.
    Kapler’s ex-wife, Lisa, and their two sons evacuated the home last week and have been staying at a safe place.
    He said he’s fortunate that he knows he and his family will be alright, both physically and financially.

  23. I really feel terrible for all of those affected by the fires, the massive loss of property and the loss of life. It makes us stop and think about what is important, and I am glad he and his family are safe.

    1. matt13,,,,,he is here in Philly….the ex, must have got the house I assume in the divorce, and his two sons, lived in the house…..well until now.
      But you are correct…they are safe, and that is all that matters.

  24. In choosing between Harper and Machado, I would have to consider the other bat we would get along with either. I would rather take Harper and Donaldson over Machado and whichever OF we’d acquire. (Though I do like Brantley, but still…)

    1. Machado and Brantley would be a major boost.

      2B Hernandez
      LF Brantley
      1B Hoskins
      SS/3B Machado
      RF Herrera
      C Alfaro
      SS/3B Kingery/Crawford (Crawford at 3rd when he starts, Kingery as SS with Machado at 3rd)
      Pitcher
      CF Quinn

      would be a dynamic offense that could attach you in a few different ways.
      My bench would be Williams, Crawford/Kingery, Catcher, and another outfielder to compliment Williams as a PH (righty hitter)

      1. Another reason I like Machado/Brantley is if and when Brantley’s hurt you still have Quinn, Herrera, and Williams to fill the outfield and could even slide Hoskins into left field if absolute need be to cover an injury.

  25. Why do I get the feeling that Machado goes to the Yankees and they trade Andujar to get a top SP? And, that really puts the burden on Middleton to pay for Harper. Boras can negotiate directly with team owners. I don’t think Washington is totally out of it yet, and the Giants may decide that they are not re-building. Both are legitimate big $ spenders, and Boras has always been close with the Lerner family. Is it far fetched to think that the “Boras and Middleton are getting very friendly” reports are a push directed at the Lerner family?

    1. Matt, I think that the Giants and Nats only drive the price for Harper up. But I don’t see either outbidding the Phillies for him. Unless somehow the Yankees pass on Manny who would slide to us.

  26. Ray has health concerns for that price. Ray offers talent equivalent to what is available in free agency for $ only.

    But Odubel to the Rays for C Ronaldo Hernandez and LHP Anthony Banda, their #7 and #11 prospects. Doobie’s cost control should appeal to the Rays. If the Phils sign Harper, it will be a crowded OF with him, Quinn, Williams, Altherr and possibly Hoskins still in LF.

    1. Zero chance the Rays will trade two top 10 prospects. Phils are not trading for a catcher either, someone who would only play 50-60 games

  27. Good to see that Hoskins hasn’t lost his power stroke in Japan. He just homered in his 2nd consecutive game.

  28. Besides Harper, Kikuchi and Marwin Gonzalez, does anyone know which other free agents Scott Boras represents?

    1. 8mark…here is the latest list.
      Gio González
      Carlos Gómez
      Matt Wieters
      Matt Harvey
      Jeremy Hellickson
      Greg Holland
      Matt Holliday
      Jose Iglesias
      Austin Jackson
      Dallas Keuchel
      ———————
      Yusei Kikuchi
      Marwin González
      Bryce Harper

      1. Thanks Romus. Yeah, looks like those bottom 3 are the only ones I’m interested in, with exception of Keuchel who I don’t like as much as Kikuchi.

  29. Even baseball’s free agency is slow lol. This is tough, indications are that we are going to have to wait until the winter meetings before Harper/MM sign. Mentally I was not prepared for that. I was thinking we’d know by now where. They would be playing next year… (Phillies of course!)

    Just brutal. MLB needs to speed this up like nhl,nfl FA. A lot lot exciting imo

  30. So stupid – I woke up pissed off because I had a Phillies dream and Cesar didn’t score from 2nd due to bad baserunning again. Trade him! Haha

    1. Murray, that’s the recurring discussion that annoys me. If we can’t get “value” for Cesar, might as well keep him. Please! We’re merely treading water with him at 2b. He is what he is. Let’s find out about Kingery at 2b in 2019. If he fails, a 2b better than either of them won’t be hard to acquire.

  31. MLBTR list non-contender candidates:
    Should the Phillies be interested in any of these below if they are non-tendered by their current team?
    Travis d’Arnaud (Mets, $3.7MM).-c
    Adam Duvall (Braves, $3.1MM)-OF
    Wilmer Flores (Mets, $4.7MM)
    Avisail Garcia (White Sox, $8.0MM)
    Sandy Leon (Red Sox, $2.3MM)-c
    Jake Marisnick (Astros, $2.4MM)-OF
    James McCann (Tigers, $3.5MM)-c
    John Ryan Murphy (Diamondbacks, $1.1MM)-c
    Chris Owings (Diamondbacks, $3.6MM)
    Jonathan Schoop (Brewers, $10.1MM)-2nd

    1. They also listed Aaron Altherr, which is crazy. I know his 2018 season was a disaster. However, he’s still only 27 YO (for a couple of more months), he had a really good 2017, he’s IMO a better than capable defender in any OF spot (despite his recent negative dWAR #’s), and he’s only projected to earn 1.6 million in arbitration. Even if he doesn’t fit into the Phillies’ plans, he should still bring back something of value in a trade.

      1. Agree on Altherr…..the GM needs to actually start thinning the roster for some value in return. Not necessarily Altherr but others for sure.

  32. trade Cesar for something, trade Franco to SD, trade Santana to Rockies for inf. and more, trade herrera, VV and ranger for Diaz and sign Harper keeping Hinkie as a poster.

    1. Would the Rockies take 2 yrs of Santana plus some of his $$$ and a good young pitcher like Irvin for…..what would they give in return?

      1. In fact, Hinkie – your assignment for today is to provide trade scenarios for Santana to each of the following teams: Minnesota, Colorado, Seattle, Cleveland and LAA. Thanks.

  33. Here is my “in case we don’t get either Harper or Machado” opening day lineup:
    CF Roman Quinn
    RF Michael Brantley
    3B Josh Donaldson
    1B Rhys Hoskins
    LF Nick Williams
    2B Scott Kingery
    C Jorge Alfaro
    SS JP Crawford
    P Aaron Nola
    My off season also includes acquiring one of Morton or Happ, a back up C and Zach Britton

  34. Why does everyone want the 2019 version of Donaldson? I expect him to get hurt again. I would much rather have Moustakas on a 2/$36M deal. He’ll hit 30-40 homers for us and play good defense at 3b. I would also go hard after Brantley and then trade Herrera only if they get Harper. I don’t think you can go into the season with Quinn penciled in as a starter, just too many lost years.

      1. Eric – BANG! You hit the nail on the head. Moustakas is a more expensive Franco. If the Phillies were to trade Franco and sign Moustakas, I’d have to believe that he’s a clubhouse problem.

      2. Franco is cheaper and relatively as productive a Mous. I advocTed for signing him last offseason. At this point, it makes little sense to trade Franco and sign mous. I’d rather have the upside of Franco. I want no part of Donaldson, he looked cooked this year, injury or not

        1. Tac – Right on with Franco! He still has an upside. If he remains the same player, he’s still a valuable placeholder for Bohm. If the Phillies sign Machado, I’d go with Williams/Alther, Quinn and Herrira, but I’d also make Whit Merryfield my next priority.
          Starting pitchers, are an Ace and four #4 starters, sign, or trade for, a legitimate #2 starter. I like Suzuki as the back up catcher, and the 2 best bullpen arms we can get In the infield, Santana and Hernandez must go. Nothing personal, They’re in the right place at the wrong time.
          Gabe, sorry to hear about your house, but, as always, you have the right attitude about it. So many people are dead, and missing.

    1. Me too Murray I would want no parts of Donaldson or Brantley neither stays healthy and then you’re including Quinn in that mix no thanks I’ll pass.

      I’m back on the don’t trade Cesar bandwagon because I think he is worth more to us than anything he would bring back.

      I’m more inclined to believe Kingery is closer to Bourjos than he is to Cesar’s 162 game slash but yeah we have to find out somehow.

      I’d make twin offers to MM and BH 10/$350 stagger the 2 opt outs so that they both can’t opt out in the same year. Both have to accept limited no trades. Push it out there make it public and put a reasonable deadline on it.

      Do the same with Corbin 6/$136 with an opt out after year 4.

      4/$48 on Britain

      Set the market throw your weight around John

      Harper
      Manny
      Santana
      Hoskins
      Herrera
      Cesar
      Alfaro
      Crawford

      Quinn and Kingery are my super utility guys. Franco gets traded for something nice as does my excess bullpen pieces.

    1. Hand is gone…so assume you mean Erlin or Strahm?
      Strahm would be my choice….but he will cost since he seems to be an up and coming relief pitcher on the rise and under team control for a few more years.

      1. Franco for Strahm is the foundation for a Phillies/Padres deal. I really like Strahm because (aside from BP duties) he can even be a candidate to be the extremely rare/seldom seen LHSP in the Phil’s rotation.

  35. The lynchpin of the off season market right now is the NYY-Machado question. Will they or won’t they? Once that’s settled, and who knows how long NYY drags it out (pisses me off how they coyly talk like ‘oh, geez we’re not sure, we’re focused on starting pitching, maybe, we’ll have to look at it, yadayadayada….’ pretending they’re not the elephant in the room.

  36. On the final day of the season the Nats offered Harper $300 million for 10 years and got turned down. As far as I know there were no opt outs or no trade clauses involved. With that, we know what the floor is on signing Harper. Does anybody know what he, and Boras are asking for? In Las Vegas, there is a murmur that, while Harper wants to be the highest paid player in baseball, he doesn’t want to go through this process again. Perhaps the Phillies should offer him a contract that guarantees that he will continue to be the highest paid player in baseball for the first 5 years of the contract, and give him the option of 5 teams that he’d be willing to be traded to.

    1. I’ll bet the “ask” is something like 12 or 13 years and $500 million. They know they’ll never get that, but I bet that’s the initial ask.

      1. I would be willing to bet that Harper/Boras shoot high as well and get 10 yrs at $35M per with 2 additional vesting option yrs at say, $20M-$25M per, along with an initial signing bonus of $15 which will approach a total value of $405M-$415M for the entire deal. Also, opt outs following yrs 3 (or 4) and 5 (or 6).

  37. Wow! Rick Kranitz just got bumped as pitching coach as Chris Young is reportedly about to be promoted as the Phillies guy. Kranny is now reportedly free to speak with other clubs. Young had drawn interest from other teams and the Phillies were afraid he’d leave.

  38. Does anyone know what that is about? I thought Kranitz is a well respected and well liked guy. The Pitching is the reason we were even in first place in August. Back to the Moose/Donaldson question. I like Donaldson because I think he takes a 1 year deal to bolster his value. He played very well after he was traded and got healthy. I know Quinn’s history. But, we have to give him a shot regardless. He is a genuine lead off hitter and a top level Defensive CF. Cesar is not a real lead off hitter, only someone who bats there because there was no one else. His defense is not that good. Doobie’s Defense has fallen off the cliff, and I am know what he is. He has some value though, especially with his team friendly contract. I am opposed to hanging on to guys that helped us be mediocre. If their replacements fail, so be it. They then have to be replaced as well. But what is the point to keeping guys we know will not help us win a WS? Because we are afraid KIngery is no good or Quinn gets re-injured? So what? We have to try to be great not afraid to get worse. We know that Cesar and Doobie are not good enough, so if we don’t try to see if we have in house upgrades now, when will we?

    1. matt13…. Kranitz is 60-years old now and maybe wants to take things a little easier. Maybe he was making overtures of leaving after the 2019 season, so the Phillies may not want to have got hung out high and dry if he stepped down after 2019, and Young was already gone.

      1. Apparently, Young was getting interest from other teams.

        1. Jim – I’m sure if the Phillies wanted to keep Young, they could have given him a hefty wage. Make him an offer he can’t refuse.

          1. There’a a pecking order for coach’s salaries. I think it goes – bench, pitching, third base, first base … I don’t think you can pay the assistant pitching coach a hefty raise if it comes close to the pitching coach or surpasses the base coaches. In any case, they did want to keep him and they did make an offer he couldn’t refuse.

  39. MLBTR just posted their first in their Projecting Payrolls series: the Philadelphia Phillies. Excellent breakdown of recent history, ownership structure and what it holds for the future. Well worth a look….

    1. That Arrieta contract , come next November , could be interesting on how ti proceeds. My first inclination is for the Phillies to exercise the club option , however I hope he does have a plus 4WAR season, and he then may just opt-out anyway.

        1. Yeah that makes sense….but then i thought Santana and Hunter are both probably off the books with Harper or Manny on in 2020 , along with one other big name, so keeping him at $20M AAV may be doable, if he still can pitch effectively….and signing Trout can be also accomplished
          It probaly comes down to next off-season and see what they do in the FA market…..will they be in play for Arenado?.

  40. Hal Steinbrenner is talking tough about Manny’s post season comments and that he will need to explain himself in the process of determining whether they pursue him. Man, is that already negotiating down his contract or what.

  41. I also think that Arrieta is the type to reinvent himself, a guy always working on things. He can still be very effective and even as a #4, I am glad we have the option.

    1. I think we are underestimating this guy. He lost a couple of MPH on his FB a few years ago but has remained steady and even gained a little velocity back ever since. He is a fierce competitor and has good command and excellent movement. He’s also smart as heck and a workout warrior. He pitched like a 3 last year and, to me, I could easily see him further adjusting and having a solid bounce back year. I’m good with Jake Arrieta.

    1. Do not see anyone having a need for a first baseman only player at that salary, relatively low as it may be, …so he could be in Triple AAA next season.
      Though would not surprise me if Jeter signs him to the Marlins again.

      1. Have to assume 36…Medina and Llovera will be added later this week.
        And maybe even 37 if Eshelman still has favorable consideration with Matt Klentak…which I think may be the case, since he traded for him.

        1. Have seen conflicting info on whether Llovera has to be protected this year. Jim P. did not list him as Rule 5 eligible in the prospect discussion thread.

          1. Yeah….PMT has him at 2019. Have to see when he signed.
            But PP’s excel spread sheet has him this time around…and the rule says players who were signed when they were 19 or older and have played in professional baseball for four years are eligible, …question was Llovera signed at 19 in 2015….he turns 23 in the spring and has played four seasons counting the VSL year.

            1. Roster Resources and Matt Wink’s site also have him as 2019 (or don’t have him as 2018). If he is 2018, I agree, he definitely needs to be protected.

            2. frankf….Mauricio signed as int’l FA on Dec. 14, 2014….he was 18 years old., four months shy of 19 (DOB- April 1996)…..by the MLB rules does not need protection next week but next Nov 2019.

          1. Grullon and Pujols are two others …thhe passed thru last year…but maybe not this year. The risk that GMs have to take.

            1. It really all depends on who else they hope to acquire before Tue. Luis Garcia should definitely be a non tender. Not sure who else but it won’t be long before we find out.

  42. On the 40 man talk, I’d be surprised to see escheleman left of the 40man. Seems to be he should have value, and if lost could’ve been flipped for lower level prospects during the year with proper planning from the fO

    Some reports have the Phillies still signing BOTH MM and Harper, should we just toss this up as lazy journalism, or do we think there is a legit chance we sign both… as in that is the FO’s plan A in FA? Sounds wishful thinking to me. I hope for Hinkie’s sake we don’t whiff on both.

    1. Yankees appear (to me at least) to be posturing regarding Machado. They seem (to me at least) to be opportunistic and are trying to pull Manny’s market down which would normally benefit the rival suitor(s). But if he is dead set on playing for his favorite childhood franchise, they may be able to sign him for perhaps lesser years at a higher AAV, decreasing the contract’s total value. Which is where the Phillies might enter, going longer in years if not higher in money. This will be intriguing. And yes more pubs are asserting the Phillies as his ultimate destination. But I don’t trust NYY, just like they sluffed the idea of trading for Stanton, and then 5 minutes later….hate ’em.

      1. Money still talks, I think the Phils will pay for Manny. I think he’s still their #1 target. Then they’ll chase Britton and Brantley too followed by a SP, preferably a lefty.

      1. This is my opinion as well. Signing both locks up a lot of money, and I do believe that being prepared to pursue Trout, if he hits the market, is the final piece.

        1. Tac3…..signing both Machado and Harper at anywhere near their asking price, then along with Nola and Hoskins coming due in last phases of arb years, and also assume Arrieta is here for another 2 and maybe the thuirs year of his option year, virtually leaves Trout out of the picture.

  43. Does Doobie and Santana, with us eating a chunk of Santana’s contract, get us ine of the Cleveland pitchers?

    1. I think that eventually, one of the AL teams will find Santana an appealing veteran bat in their lineup. How much of his contract and who else is included remains to be seen. But I am willing to bet we see him traded by Tuesday.

      1. ….in fact, as he and Hoskins are representing the Phillies in the Japan/MLB all star series, it wouldn’t surprise me if they already have a deal and are waiting for his return to the States before announcing it.

        1. 8mark…series ends today with the sixth and final game, so if it is coming assume it will be tomorrow or this weekend. More than likely has to be before Tuesday the 20th since teams finalize their 40 and I just cannot imagine a GM wanting to try to juggle his construction at the last second.

  44. Getting any value on a Cesar trade becomes more daunting every year….the talent pool at second base, however, is brimming this winter. A whopping 24 second basemen filed for free agency, with a number of good hitters among them.
    I think Matt Klentak should have struck while the iron was hot last year and settled for less.

  45. The release of Justin Bour and reports that the Phillies are shopping Santana (if true), should make a lot of people happy. That would seem to indicate that the plan is to move Hoskins back to first base. Good news for Listi and Hall, too.

    1. Yes, I’m glad to see Hoskins back to first full time. He technically can play LF, but the defensive metrics say that he definitely shouldn’t.

      My only concern about these moves is the potential for the NL to adopt the DH. Not the a fan of the DH, but if it happened I would hope the Phillies had an early advantage In this new format. Santana would be a pretty nice fit to have on the team for such a scenario, minus the contract. I’m not overly worried, other Prospects are on the way, I’d just like them to be off to the races if it was to happen …. kinda like when Thome was blocking Howard. I still get annoyed about the NL not pulling the trigger for when philly could’ve dominanted. Thome in that lineup!

  46. Nola:
    Find it difficult to understand how Nola did not receive one solitary vote for 2nd in the Cy Young…are you kidding me!
    Thirty votes and not one…….who was the judge of election??????

    1. It’s not that hard to believe. DeGrom was ridiculous, Scherzer was amazing and both of those players have a better reputation than Nola so that was probably what nudged them ahead of Aaron. By the way, slowly but surely, Max Scherzer is becoming a very strong HOF candidate – not something many would have predicted for him 5 years ago but good God is he an incredible and entertaining pitcher.

      1. Each had amazing metrics…and Nola had some better and vice versa….but not ONE vote is unheard of.
        Also Nola had almost a 2bWAR advantage over Scherzer.
        If there was a Philly writer voting, I’d like to really hear his rationale.

        1. Actually, your statement is a little misleading. While it’s true that Nola had close to 2 WAR advantage in bWAR, Scherzer had close to a 2 WAR advantage in fWAR – so it’s not like Nola was universally viewed to be the better pitcher..

  47. If the Phillies eat like $5-7 M of his salary for each of this year and next, they should find a taker for Santana – he just doesn’t fit in here with Hoskins really needing to move back to first base. It’s too bad the NL doesn’t have the DH – it would be so easy to park him there for 135 games a year, with an occasional start at first. But, damn, I don’t want him as our third baseman.

    1. Tito did want him back last off-season, but at only $13/14M AAV…if the Phillies eat the difference of that over the next two years, they may again want him back.

      1. That’s the thought – in the right circumstances he could be very useful to a team but having watched him play for a year, he’s really not as good as his statistics would suggest (and I realize he had a little bit of an off year and may be better than he showed). He’s okay, but not much more than that.

        1. Heard last night one of the beat guys say he had that awful start in April and if you factor that out, his season was a typical season for him….which in the past was alright , just not an all-star caliber season for sure.
          IMO, the return may not be much…a low tier prospect I assume and hopefully a bag of int’l money credits that Sal A. can use to pluck on a young 16-year old Latin player with potential.

          1. I’m not expecting to get anyone of consequence back – let’s be frank, this is a salary dump and roster clearing move. They overpaid him a little – not a ton, but enough that they now need to eat some salary.

  48. I really like to hear Scott Lauber’s account as the Philly writer why he could not bring himself to give Nola a 2nd place vote.

    1. Seriously…this is lame by all accounts:

      Scott Lauber
      @ScottLauber
      14h14 hours ago

      Nola received 27 third-place votes, including mine, two fourth-place votes and one fifth-place vote. Here’s the breakdown:

      Scott Lauber
      ‏Verified account
      @ScottLauber
      14h14 hours ago
      More
      Nola’s third-place finish in Cy Young voting is best by a #Phillies pitcher since Cliff Lee finished third in 2011. Also, Nola is first homegrown Phils pitcher ever to finish in top-3 in Cy voting.

      1. Actually, deGrom and Scherzer have been established stars. Nola simply didn’t receive their veteran cache in consideration for the Cy Young. I have no problem. Ws and Ls hold virtually no importance any longer in this age of analytics. On that matter I agree. Nola is young with plenty of productive years ahead. I had no expectations of him taking the honor this year. 30 voters thought pretty much the same way. Why need there be a few outliers?

        1. 8mark…sorry…I do not see it that way….a Philly writer who saw every Nola game I assume, cannot muster one second place vote for him I find disappointing.

    2. Do you really think Nola was better than the other two guys? Homerism aside, 3rd place is where he belongs. He had a great season but the other guys were better.

  49. Nice article this morning in The Athletic explaining why Phils decided to offer Chris Young the pitching coach job – naming him above Kranny. As Jim remarked above, a number of teams wanted to hire him – namely the Braves, Texas, and several others. He was instrumental in the stat side in using data to develop pitch sequencing for the young staff. Several of the young pitchers gave him alot of credit for their performance as a result. Article also states that Kranny was well liked by all and that the team is trying to help him with his next job. I would agree that he seemed to have an avuncular approach to the kid pitchers. It appears that the team just felt he was too valuable to lose.

  50. MLBTR just posted a pretty good breakdown of potential trade partners for Santana. They have MIN, HOU, TB, and to a lesser degree COL, STL and CHW.

  51. Just read it 8mark, and they left off Cleveland, where I actually think he ends up going. I think they want Rhys at 1B, and I cannot see Santana at 3B, and since there is no DH, I think they are going to get offers and take the best one, rather than try the moving them around depending on who is pitching approach.

    1. I agree that the 1b-3b/1b-LF idea for Santana and Hoskins respectively would go over like a lead balloon. That was just a line they came up with while biding their time before making the final move of Santana. As for Cleveland, I’m not sure why they weren’t listed as a potential trade partner. I think we will know before Tuesday.

  52. Likelihood of being traded this off season:
    1a Carlos Santana 2-1 (MIN, CLE or HOU)
    1b Maikel Franco 2-1 (SD, SD or SD)
    3 Odubel Herrera 4-1 (SEA, OAK or TEX)
    4 Cesar Hernandez 5-1 (LAD, LAA or PIT)
    5 Any one of Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin or a near MLB ready pitcher like Enyel de Los Santos, possibly Adonis Medina if there is a blockbuster. 10-1

  53. I know a few people are against signing Donaldson due to health risk and the possibility that he’s pretty much done. However, I would hedge that bet by first signing Marwin Gonzalez as a super U/LF who could man 3b should JD not hold up. In both cases, we could offer higher AAV than the rival suitors and shorten the length of the contract. Donaldson: 2/$45M with 3rd yr vesting option. Marwin: 3/$40M with 4th yr club option.

    1. I am, from what I remember last season of Donaldson, he looked like trash compared to his pre injured self… which could be I because of the injuries but at the same time, he is on the wrong side of the age curve…. along with performance enhancing drugs supposedly out the game… this is not a player I would touch, I’d stay with Franco between Josh D and mous.

      1. I might have to rethink this. Just reviewed his stats online, and on multiple sites it has his stats split between TOR,TOT, and CLE. Not sure what team is TOT, or it’s a misprint, probably my ignorance. I’d consider him, based on looking at his averages, but he looked cooked in the highlights i saw. He will be 33,34 the next two seasons.m, I could see him hitting .280/30 doubles/30 hrs in Cbp if he has a decent year. He will have to learn all new pitchers, which I would suspect would lower his numbers. After next year, I can see him falling off, maybe 2 years. Would have to be a short deal and it’s unlikely he’s signs for only 2

  54. I have to believe that we get some action by Tuesday. Not that we necessarily have to make more 40 Man space, but because some teams do, and that seems to be a good time to get this started. If San Diego or the Twins or one of those teams is adding a player like Santana or Franco, that may impact their Roster decisions, so I am hoping we see something by Tuesday. Mainly, I am more than ready to get started!

    1. Even with their ways of finding a little more room on their payroll, I find it difficult to believe they can manage to sign Kikuchi AND Corbin (who by all accounts seems to be a NYY lock) AND Machado. At some point they will have to pick who they want. While everybody waits. I would love to see the Phillies strike the FA market early and force the Bombers’ hand.

  55. Romus, I have not focused on him or Corbin because I believe that if the Yankees want them, they will go there. So, I would go to JA Happ and tell him he is our 1st choice, not an after thought like he is to NY, and sign him. I think ego still matters, and we are certainly able to pay top $. He gets a shorter term deal, and we have no problem if some of our young Pitching bangs on the door in a couple of years.

    1. Matt13…i like Happ and he would fit nicely in the rotation as the lefty they need…he is not Paxton or Corbin, but I guess he will be productive.
      It comes down to the playoffs…and that is how you have to think.
      He will need to be one of the top three, so that could prove to be interesting.

  56. Also, Christian Yelich wins MVP. Many of us here, and I believe in the Phils’ Front Office, wanted him for years. What an addition he would have been!

  57. Bob Nightengale was on ESPN’s BBTN podcast.
    http://www.espn.com/espnradio/play?id=25284462
    Nightengale on Bryce Harper:

    * Believes he’s not returning to Washington
    * Is looking for a 12 or 13 year deal at 35 million AAV
    * Will be stunned if he doesn’t end up with the Phillies

    Nightengale on Manny Machado

    * Believes he’s a Yankee
    * Maybe he doesn’t get the long term deal Harper gets. Instead he could get a higher AAV (maybe 5 years 200 million).

    1. And finally, Middleton speaks….Nightengale just posted his interview with the Phillies owner in USA Today. Pretty exciting to hear him affirm “we will spend”.

        1. I don’t believe I’m in any danger of a self imposed 6 month ban. Listen to Middleton:

          “We’re going into this expecting to spend money,’’ Middleton told USA TODAY Sports. “And maybe even be a little bit stupid about it.’’

          Middleton laughed, then said without smiling: “We just prefer not to be completely stupid.”

          1. Here is the yeah but Hinkie….it takes 2 to tango and if these guys have their hearts set on a city that’s where they will be. Middleton’s bucks will be nothing more than leverage.

            He can win even if he loses by jumping out and making a really strong offer. There is only so much money to go around and if you force even the Yankees hand to spend more than they want to it helps us down the road to make other signings.

          2. I think you are going to end up in Elba or St. Helena, but take your IPAD with you because I’m going to miss your posts. LOL

        2. If you really want, he’s still very active in other forums that deal with baseball discussion. Much to the detriment of the general public.

  58. Many on here will like reading this.

    Personally, Nathan Eovaldi wouldn’t be a Phillies top target for me, but I can understand the infatuation with him. He was a beast/absolute warrior in the post season.

    1. To get the best bang for your buck from Evoldi you need to almost invent a new role for him. He’s not 30 starts and 200 IP anymore and he’s probably not a closer.

      If I were MK I would pass…

      1. DMAR…agree…also two TJs…his shelf-life at 29-years old could be really shortened with 1200 innings pitched so far.
        If he is willing to take a 3 year deal that may be worthwhile….but 4 or longer is very suspect IMO.
        I think he wants the longer variety deal.

        1. As much as I like Eovaldi, I would first target a LHP, and if his market lags for some reason and we have some more money in the coffers, then yes go get him at high AAV for 2/3 yrs.

          Right now, my radar is honed in on Harper, Donaldson, Marwin, and Kikuchi as gettable gains.

          1. I’m guessing Manny, Happ, Pollock, and Britton plus Moustakas. Add in a trade of Franco for a reliever and Santana and Herrera for another OF. That would be the biggest off season ever. Of course, it won’t all happen. Let’s start with Manny and go from there.

            1. Murray, I am convinced that Manny is Bronx bound. NYY are just playing their coy game of negotiating down his inevitable deal. I can see them offering him higher AAV (say $200M/5 yrs) and then trade Andujar for a TOR. He’ll bite because he wants to play for the Yankees and he’d re-enter free agency again at age 31.

  59. Following up to another posters comments…. Both the AL and NL MVP’s were both potential Phillies, “rhetorically” at some point. Betts was speculated to be apart of the Hamels deal to Boston, and Yelich was a potential trade acquisition when Stanton was being shopped. Crazy how it could’ve shaked out differently.

    1. I’m pretty sure we would have traded Hamels for Betts straight up, so I don’t know how much differently that one could have shaken out. But yeah, woulda been cool to have one or both in red pin stripes.

  60. I think that Yelich was a lot closer than Betts. There was a genuine offer for Yelich, but the Marlins’ infatuation with Lewis Brinson won the day. There was only junk offered by Boston, if I recall correctly. That was a frustrating time when Betts, Boegarts, the Catcher Swihart, Devers, and anyone close to being a top prospect was off limits. We were offered 4 or 5 lower level prospects instead. Awful trade offers.I enjoyed reading what Middleton had to say. It makes me a helluva lot less nervous. I have been counting on him for 3 years. Let’s see how it plays out.

    1. The Boston/LA trade proposals for Hamels were both infuriating, and I honesty believe that the trade valuation shifted near that point. You couldn’t get a teams upper prospects for a proven Pitcher like Hamels? Give me a break. It didn’t make any sense to me back then and still doesn’t… basically the team who gets the proven player gets to have their cake and eat it too. They get the proven player, and then get to hold onto the prospects that best help their teams future vs the Crap shoot of prospects they send in return … makes little sense to me how proven help you win right now players return has dropped so much from even the 2005.

      1. Tac3……though there have been many ‘star for 3/4 player’ trades that did not work as well for the team giving up the star player for multiple prospects /players.
        With Hamels….the Ranger deal may have been the best the Phillies may have received looking back now.

  61. I predict we get Stammen and a prospect from SD for Franco. I would like Hedges too, but not sure who they would want. Eflin? A younger arm?

    1. They did draft Zach Eklin 6/7 years ago.
      So if any of the scouts are still around they would be receptive I am sure on bringing him back.

  62. The Yankees trading Chapman to the Cubs worked out well. They then got Chapman back, which cemented it as a great deal. But, I am always willing to take the gamble and be on the end receiving the star player. The only prospect I am reluctant to part with is Sixto. But if I could acquire another Doc or Cliff Lee, then I would move him as well. The problem that I see is there is not that player out there to trade for that is worth Sixto. Snell is not going anywhere. Realmuto would require Sixto plus Major League talent, and I don’t think he is even on our radar.

      1. ….at least until the next CBA. About time the young legit talent gets paid sooner. Let’s see if the brain trust of the players union will be able to shift the imbalance of paying more for past performance.

    1. Hinkie, that opens up another market for what Kapler likes to refer to as “value in the margins”. Gonna be interesting to see who’s available for less after the big fish are caught.

  63. Hinkie, that is for the lower tier players, I think. There is a glut of relief pitching available, a glut of 2B, both in FA and by way of trade, so I see numbers there going down, as well as what is required to give up in a trade. Machado and Harper will still get between $35-40M/year, and Corbin will not have to settle for less.

    1. If I know the Phillies, if they sign Harper or Machado, they will front load the salaries with the understanding that the player may opt out after about 4 years. I think the team is more worried about another Ryan Howard deal than they are overpaying for a player for a few years.

      1. Fear is a front office killer. The previous regime worried about losing the fan base so they kept the core of aging players too long. The Ryan Howard deal had more to do with misfortune (his Achilles blew!) than natural regression. I’m sure this FO will phenagle the big contract to provide themselves with some protection but I doubt they are dreading what they have been preparing for the last 3 years now.

        1. No – it was a horrible deal the day it was signed and they were widely and rightly criticized at the time.

          1. At the time, most MLB clubs would have re-signed him to a comparable deal, horrible or not. I agree that it wouldn’t happen now because the tide has since changed.

  64. I don’t think I want any of the FA relievers. A younger, controllable arm like Edwin Diaz should be a trade target if SEA is amenable to a package of our young, controllable players, beginning with Odubel along with a couple promising prospects. Or Hinkie’s boy in Pittsburgh, Vasquez. Make either team an offer they can’t refuse for a luxury they have little need of at this point in time.

      1. Yes I’m on board with that, Romus. Although a high leverage righty is my 1st priority. Strahm would give us an upgrade from our current crop of southpaws.

        1. Yeah….my first inclination is for the lefty reliever…I think Seranthony,Ramos, Neris, Arano Hunter, Neshek etc should rebound.

          1. Corey Seidman was on 94 last night, mentioning that a reliever like Neshek or Hunter may be traded due to their relatively large salary. We’ll see. I’m not a Hunter fan.

          2. Agreed. The Phillies have a glaring need for LHP (starters and relievers).
            I do love Felipe Velasquez, and would have given up Eflin (when he was going good) and a few prospects for him this summer. Since then, the Pirates surrendered a strong package of prospects for Chris Archer. Unfortunately, they’re not going to deal Vazquez now.
            That doesn’t mean Matt Klentak has no other options. IMO Jose Alvarado (Rays) has Vazquez-like “stuff”. He’s more raw, and lacks Vazquez’s track record. Alvarado would be a priority trade target for me this winter.
            Of course, I have been beating the table for Matt Strahm (in a Franco trade) as well.
            The FA market is loaded with LHRP’s. I think Zach Britton is the guy the Phillies could have the most interest in.
            As far as LHSP’s go … there seems to be some growing buzz about this team’s interest in Patrick Corbin. It just seems to me Andy MacPhail is not going to want to get involved in a bidding war with the NYY (and other clubs) on a multi year contract for an arm. I think 27 YO Yusei Kikuchi (5 years @ 70 million) or JA Happ on a shorter term deal (2 years @ 35 million) makes more sense.
            There ought to be a few big names available on the trade market. I’m not interested in Danny Duffy. I’m also not too wild about Robbie Ray. One year of Madison Bumgarner would make some sense (if the price is right). However, two years of James Paxton makes the most sense/is a game changer. I know he has an injury history, but most of it has been fluke, non arm related. Paxton won’t come cheap. The Yankees, Braves, Astros, and most other teams interested in winning will all be bidding.
            The “buy low” guy I have always liked is Daniel Norris. The Tigers could/should be open to dealing him for prospects.

            1. I don’t see the Phillies outbidding NYY for Corbin, but just like Machado, they will drive up their respective prices. Perhaps the Yankees bail on either once the market gets out of their comfort zone. So, the Phillies stand a decent chance to at least sign one despite both Corbin and Machado preferring to play for NYY. Then the Harper market will play out.

              If I’m Middleton, which I’m not, I tell both Boras and Lozano to let him know when all suitors have made their best offers, and then we’ll make ours.

  65. I am with you Mike. It seems like just a couple of minor things so far, but none for us. There should be activity before Tuesday.

  66. 8mark, I agree with you. If I am Middleton I make it clear that I will not be used to drive up the price. Do your homework, then come to me with an offer that, If I say yes, your client signs. If he doesn’t want to play here, then we are wasting our time.

    1. Jim … you can delete my post (above) waiting for moderation. I’ll just break it into two posts.

      The Cubs being “in” on Harper can mean a lot of things. Probably half the teams in the league will speak to Boras. Speaking to Boras is a long way from being able to make a legitimate/contending offer.

        1. Romus … here’s a theory. Scott Boaras calls Theo Epstein and asks if the Cubs want to talk. Theo says, “sure”. Boras than alerts the media the Cubs are “in” on his client, creating a greater market/bigger deal for his client.

          1. Yeah…I can understand Boras’ maneuvering when it comes to his free agents and getting the most for them, I just think the writers need to be a bit more pragmatic, and spell out the odds based on teams’ current financial commitments..

      1. You can assume that every big market club will at some point over the next few weeks be mentioned as potentially “in” on both Machado and (thanks to Boras) especially Harper. SF, LAD, NYY, CHI, PHI. It’s the almost daily fluff bits on him, like being lured by a town’s better food, that are most annoying. In the end, it’s PHI or WAS (which I doubt) for Harper, and either NYY or PHI for Manny. The other mentioned clubs are merely market fillers. I’m sure even the least likely BOS will get a blurb on either player before long.

  67. The Cubs being “in” on Harper can mean a lot of things. Probably half the teams in the league will speak to Boras. Speaking to Boras is a long way from being able to make a legitimate/contending offer.

    Look at the Phillies future payrolls https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-philadelphia-phillies-info/
    Now take a peak at the Cubs upcoming payrolls https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-chicago-cubs-info/
    Who do you think can make the more serious/”stupid” offer to Harper and Boras ?

  68. Id like to add as well, be careful how some writers such as Joel Sherman and Buster Olney put things out there. The two of them are so anti phillies and pro Mets and Yankees, that they have written things over the years trying to get their slants out as facts. Go back and read some of their articles during the phillies runs from 07 through 11. Bitter towards the phillies.

  69. Huh. Apparently the Mets want MLB talent back in a trade for Thor. I didn’t initially peg us as a match on that because I figured it would cost a ransom in prospects that we wouldn’t be able to match from other teams. But if their goal is to compete next season, we MAY actually line up.

    The Mets definitely need a 3B, and I imagine they’d like another OF. Start with Doobie and Franco, add any one of the non-Nola pitchers they want. Depending on how much they believe in McNeil, Cesar may also interest them.

    I don’t think those 3/4 on their own necessarily get it done, but centering the package on MLB players means we can just sweeten the deal with a prospect to get it over the hump. This seems doable. I’m having trouble thinking of another team that’s as willing to give up 2+ controllable assets for a single pitcher.

    Nola, Hoskins, and Kingery are the only three I would not even consider sending to them (of the current MLB roster).

    1. Dan – I don’t think this is even remotely likely because the Mets don’t want to face Thor at least 4 to 5 times every season which they would being in the same division. Thor to San Diego for prospects plus ready now major leaguers ?

    1. Hinkie…MLBTR Poll on Phillies signing Machado and/ or Harper:
      They won’t sign either player 32.52%
      They’ll sign Machado 26.88%
      They’ll sign Harper 26.46%
      They’ll sign both 14.14%
      …looks like 1/3 of the baseball world of fans think neither will be in Philly.

      1. I ran my own poll about the readers of MLB Trade Rumors.com: It turns out about a third of them have no idea what they;re talking about.

      2. Coincidentally … I ran my own poll concerning the readers of MLBTR.com.
        Here’s what I discovered: one-third of them have no idea what they’re talking about.

      3. There’s a lot of anti-Philly sentiment nationally. Those polls carry no more weight than asking your favorite flavor of ice cream.

  70. I won’t relax until one signs! Completely believable that we lose both, not because we don’t offer enough $, but simply because of personal preference. If I make $350 Million to play where I want to, I wouldn’t care about $400 Million , and especially with 2 or 3 opt outs!

    1. Matt … take a deep breath. It’s going to be ok. There is practically zero chance that one of Machado/Harper aren’t playing for the Phillies next year.

      A catch post in 3 … 2 … 1 ….

    2. I know some people/writers seem to think something will happen quickly, but I’m not so sure. Boras has been known to drag out negotiations for awhile and in this case whichever one signs first then sets the bar for the other one. So there’s a game of ‘chicken’ between Machado and Harper in that regard.

  71. With the 40 protection date now less than 36 hours away hours away, maybe Matt K will have some action tomorrow.

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