Open Discussion: Week of December 10, 2018

The Hot Stove Season continues.  The big week is finally upon us.  Baseball’s Winter Meetings begin in Las Vegas this week.

A couple weeks ago, I would have expected a big Phillies’ announcement this week.  Expectation has turned to hope.  I still expect them to make announcements, just not as quickly as I would like.

Last week the Phillies acquired SS Jean Segura, RHP Juan Nicasio, LHP James Pazos, and LHP Jose Alvarez in separate trades with the Mariners and Angels.  The cost for the Phillies was 1B Carlos Santana, SS J.P. Crawford, and RHP Luis Garcia.

Segura will provide an immediate lift to the offense and an upgrade at whichever infield position he ultimately plays.  Nicasio, Pazos, and Alvarez will add depth and a couple lefties to the bullpen.  The subtraction of Santana allows Rhys Hoskins to return to first base.  Crawford’s short tenure ends after his promising career was stunted by speed bumps the past three seasons.  Garcia was popular with team mates but not so with fans.  Most readers here had him as the first or second DFA off the 40 as the off season progressed.

The Phillies have been busy all off season.  They withdrew from Paul Goldschmidt when they were unable to convince the Diamondbacks to accept Santana as part of the deal.  They couldn’t compete for reliever Edwin Diaz when the Mets agreed to take on Robinson Cano’s contract.  They were dismissed by the player when 3B Josh Donaldson opted to negotiate with just one team, the Braves.  And, they lost RHP Patrick Corbin to the Nationals when the length of contract became too stupid for the Phillies.

The Phillies are still in on a lot of players.  We all hope that negotiations culminate in announcements sooner rather than later.  But, if nothing transpires next week, let’s not wallow in disappointment.  The signings and more trades will come.  (We hope.)

I know we have all expected the Phillies to sign one of the big free agents – Harper or Machado.  The Phillies have the most money to spend and our owner says we will spend stupidly.  We have been led to believe that all we have to do is offer the most money and we will sign whomever we want.

That may be true in most cases.  New York state resident, Patrick Corbin was considered a lock to sign with the favorite team of his youth, the Yankees.  He was apparently swayed by big money when the Nationals offered a 6-year/$140 million contract.  That bested the top offer from the Yankees, reported to be 4-5 years at 17-20 million per year.  The Phillies were reported to have balked at more than 5 years and rumored to have gone as high as $110M (I heard they may have approached $130M).  So, maybe money does trump all.

However, if that were true, Bryce Harper might already be a Phillie.  He ended the season turning down Washington’s 10-year/$300 million offer.  He and his agent Scott Boras surely expected to see that offer topped during free agency.  So, let’s say the Phillies offer a 9-year/$360 million deal.  And let’s say the Dodgers, Harper’s preferred landing spot, only offer a 10-year/$320 million contract.  Would it be so remarkable that Harper might prefer the lower offer to play in the city of his choice?  Forty million dollars is a huge difference in Corbin’s case (the Nationals’ $140M v. the Yankees’ $100M).  But, it’s not as critical when you are in the stratosphere where Harper’s contract is likely to land.

Manny Machado is in a different position.  Due to his “Johnny Hustle” comments during the playoffs, experts think he may not command as long or as high a contract as Harper.  Machado is known to prefer the Yankees.  Given the Yankees’ thriftiness regarding Corbin, a commodity they actually wanted, they may try low-balling Machado.  This would play into the Phillies’ and other suitors hands.  The Phillies should actually be able to be the highest offer for Machado.  However, if the Yankees enter the bidding war seriously, the length and dollar amount may become high enough that Machado plays at a small discount to join the Yankees.

The above scenarios may not be likely, but it is possible that the Phillies have to seek improvement via the next tier of free agents and trades.

Speaking of trades, I read where the Phillies untouchables start with Aaron Nola and end with Rhys Hoskins.  Personally, I would suggest that even Hoskins could be had in the right deal.  But what this should make apparent is that the whole farm is available in trade.  If Sixto Sanchez could be considered in a deal that would have landed Jean Segura AND Edwin Diaz, then certainly anybody could be traded.  So, if the Phillies are to be taken seriously in a deal for a top player like J.T. Realmuto, it’s not unreasonable to see Sanchez included.  Especially when you see the players the Marlins are seeking from the Mets.

When you are suggesting trades in the comments section, consider this.  If you bundle several of our guys for a star player, if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not likely to be accepted.  We aren’t going to get a Realmuto for out spare parts and fading prospects.

The 40-man roster stands at 37.

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

Key Dates:

  • 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
  • February 13, 2019 – pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training
  • February 14, 2019 – pitchers and catchers first workout
  • February 18, 2019 – all other players report to Spring Training
  • February 19, 2019 – first full squad workout
  • 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)
  • TBA (last year on February 27th) – Minor League Spring Training begins
  • 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)
12/7/18 –  Phillies signed free agent C Adony Mejia to a minor league contract
12/6/18 –  Phillies traded RHP Luis Garcia to the Angels for LHP Jose Alvarez
12/3/18 – Mariners traded SS Jean Segura, RHP Juan Nicasio and LHP James Pazos to the Phillies for 1B Carlos Santana and SS J.P. Crawford.
11/30/18 – 1B Justin Bour elected free agency
11/30/18 – LHP Luis Avilan elected free agency
11/29/18 – Phillies signed free agent OF Shane Robinson to a minor league contract
11/29/18 – Phillies signed free agent INF Erick Brito to a future services contract
11/20/18 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Edgar Garcia from Lehigh Valley
11/20/18 – Phillies selected the contracts of RHP Adonis Medina from Clearwater
11/20/18 – Phillies selected the contract of SS Arquimedes Gamboa from Clearwater
11/16/18 – Phillies signed free agent 3B Ali Castillo to a minor league contract/Reading
11/16/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Camilo Brazoban to a future services contract
11/12/18 – SS Pedro Florimon elected free agency
11/10/18 – Phillies signed free agent RHP 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

798 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 10, 2018

  1. I haven’t heard or read anything recently about Whit Merrifield being available. He and Realmuto are two players I would love to see the Phillies engage in trade talks for.

    I agree with Jim’s thoughts above (and a couple made here of late) regarding the ‘pain’ we may need to be willing to feel if we want to acquire worthwhile talent in the trade market. Middleton’s money isn’t ours but many players already in the fold become treasured toys we refuse to give up for that bigger toy that someone else has. He’s mentioned Hoskins as a case in point. I’m not sure what trade value Kingery has at the moment but I have him as the toy I’ve been holding on to, slowly coming to realize that the bigger picture demands nobody is off the table completely. Some are just closer to the edge than the middle. Sixto is another. Yes he’s an impressive specimen on the mound. But how tightly should we clutch a small framed flame thrower whose arm has been on the shelf wrapped in bubble wrap for a good portion of his time in the system?

  2. “It’s Philly bidding against Philly,” said one agent regarding the Harper sweepstakes (according to Ken Rosenthal).

  3. Just so we are clear, the decision is not simply Harper vs Machado.

    It is Harper vs Machado, keeping our second round pick and keeping $500k in international signing money.

    That other stuff is not nothing. Personally I think Machado is more valuable straight up due to his defensive value. But with the other implications I am firmly in the Machado camp.

    1. How does signing a free agent affect international signing money? I get the compensatory picks, but didn’t realize they would also be limited in that area.

      1. “Beginning in the 2017-18 offseason, any team that is over the luxury tax threshold and signs a Major League free agent that has rejected a qualifying offer will lose $1 million from their international signing pool in the following signing period. A team that is not over the luxury tax would only forfeit $500,000 of its signing pool in the subsequent period.”

        http://m.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/international-amateur-free-agency-bonus-pool-money

        1. Interesting. I wouldn’t let it stop me from signing a Machado or Harper, but another wrinkle nonetheless.

    2. I don’t worry about the 2nd round pick, check out our past drafts and the results. Also international money, we keep stocking our system with projects which thin out the instructional resources. Concentrate on some finished or nearly finished talent, i.e. Harper, Machado, Pollock, Brantley, etc..

      1. Denny…what those 2nd round picks and signing the big money int’l latin players do…is keep the pipeline flowing at the beginning…which was not done thoroughly in ’09 thru ’11.
        Also…..those young prospects….could be trade chips for that reliever (Aroldis Chapman) or extra OFer (Steve Pierce) that brings a team a ring.

      2. Spencer Howard is a great prospect and Scott Kingery is one our regulars. So not sure what your point is. There are a lot of very valuable mlb players taken in the second round.

        1. In fact, the Phillies arguably have had greater luck with their second round picks historically than their first rounders. In addition to Kingery and Howard, Rollins, Rolen, Larry Hisle, Randy Wolf and, of course, Mike Schmidt, were all second round picks.

        2. Just saying, this year we should be focusing on Harper and Machado not a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I agree that drafting is very, very important but needs to be done right and our history is sketchy.

          1. plus in MM and harper, you are talking about 26 yo players who could be the anchor of your franchise for 7-10yrs
            your roster still stays young with these 2 guys

  4. I like MM a little more because you save a draft pick and its harder to find power hitting infielders who play top defense ( if he plays 3rd) than OFs but to be honest, I’d be superexcited with adding either to our lineup.
    no way I’m disappointed if they sign Harper, that’s madness
    they each allow for the building of a potential playoff caliper lineup

    1. Machado and Harper ..according to their offensive metrics:
      MM: 7 yrs.
      PA-4074…HR-175..RBIs-513..slash-.282/335/.487..ISO-.205..bWAR33.8..wRC+..120..OPS+..121
      BH: 7 yrs.
      PA-3957..HR-184..RBIs-521..slash-.279/.388/.512..ISO-.233…bWAR27.4…wRC+..140…OPS+..139

      Bottom line…assume it comes down to the preference for positional defense.

  5. Of the big two, the Phils will pursue both of them and the first one who accepts our offer gets signed. I expect it to be Manny.

    1. Please help us move our attention away from the Eagles and to spring training, make some “positive” moves soon.

      1. Why? What happened? Great game, feel robbed, but their is hope. To be honest, as long as Dallas or Pats don’t win it all, I’m good

        Ok back to baseball

  6. MM and Harper are once in a generation players to reach free agency at this age. usually you’re overpaying players entering their 30s, I truly hope we remember that and don’t try to be frugal

    1. It’s going to happen, Middleton is opening the vault, even though they may not be worth it. The team needs an identity, they need a star for attendance and TV ratings, therefore they will shell out the most. Of course Harper and MM have a say in where they go, but they will have to turn down Middleton’s millions if so. No way Middleton gets out bid for both these players. Also, no need to worry about risk adverse Klentak … it’s not his decision. This is a business deal if there ever was in sports.

      1. What I said Is true of other teams, but not for our market, where the Phillies stand vs other big markets etc …. it is in the bag, it is just a matter of which one imo

      2. Tac…agree Middleton will not get outbid when it comes to the offer and the money on the table.
        But also realize….he may not get either one, due to their own personal preferences of playing somewhere else…and leaving money on the table. Cliff Lee did that.
        .

        1. if they offer the most and get turned down, I can live with that because that’s out of their control
          if MM and harper don’t want to come to philly, nothing MK or middleton can do about that
          that’s the city the team exists in

        2. Very true. To this point, I don’t think another team will be within 20-30 million of the Phillies offer. Like i said, they will have to walk away from millions to play elsewhere. Now, with two superstars vs 1 on the market, it is in the bag imo. What are the chances they both don’t value money like 99% of the FA that have come before them? 🙂 if it was a hometown thing at the end of their careers … with them being the final piece for a chance at a WS, then I’d worry … but I’m sure these guys will want the extra money ….

          1. If these guys walk away from more money here to go elsewhere, they will be public enemy #1 on future trips here. Better where hard hats.

        3. True but Cliff Lee also knew what it was like to play for one of the teams going after him. That was the preferential advantage.

        4. right @ Romus, kind of like the scenario Jim mentioned above–say the Phils go 11 years 360million but Dodgers go 10 years 330million. Middleton was not outbid in terms of years nor dollars, but I bet Harper would be willing to give up x-number of millions in order to play for a team of his choice. Something tells me that he doesn’t really want to play for the Phillies unless they blow everyone else out of the water with an offer. The same could be said for Machado but I think the Phils are really only in serious competition with the Yankees for Machado. For Harper, I think Middleton will have to outbid about 4 other teams.

          1. I have never heard Harper express an interest in playing for the Dodgers, or any team for that matter. Did I miss something, or are you assuming that he’d rather play for them?

  7. Klentack comment to Jim Salisbury upon arriving in Vegas, “it’s going to be an exhausting week” doesn’t inspire confidence. I think they are going to be played by Boros. They have their figure in mind and should say here it is. If they don’t they will lose out on Brantley

    1. I don’t think any of us know what the hell is going on. IMO, it’s just as likely that we sign both than neither. He said, he said, then he said, yadayadayada….

      Let’s enjoy what is rarified air for this organization. Money to burn, talent to trade, unlike it has been in a loooonnngggg time.

      1. agreed but this team hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2011, how long does a fan base need to wait in a major market?

  8. When a team will acquire a generation talent like Harper – they SHOULDN’T be thinking of anything else like the draft picks and IFA $$ but rather focus on acquiring that generational talent. We all know what the Phillies lost when they signed Santana and Arrieta last year and they Rule IV draft just turned out fine, and possibly the best Rule IV under Johnny A. tenure. Again, for Bryce Harper the implication of the QO should be IRRELEVANT!! For the other QO players, then you think of that implication —- because they don’t have the same upside as Bryce Harper.

    1. Agreed. Signing one should bring an immediate boost to the win column. The rest needs to be put the side for now. While important, we are phasing out of the “rebuild” period and climbing higher towards contention. For a generational player, No second thoughts. We are transitioning from hoarding and developing prospects to using them as trade chips to be the last team
      Standing. What I loved about the Previous championship run …. they went for it. They didn’t win every time, but the FO went for it, and left it to the players. This time, I hope they do the same, just with a few more bullets to use … ok a lot more bullets to use – bullets=prospects

      Sign either MM or Harper …. and it’s go time

      1. If we sign both players we should increase our win total by 15. We would be 95-67; not too shabby. Nola winning games 1 & 5 for 1st playoff series win and games 1 & 5 in next 2 series for world championship.

        Let me Dream, thanks.

        1. Nola can be a 20-win SP with Harper and Machado. Eickhoff, if 100% healthy, will benefit in WIN games too since Eickhoff normally can hold opponents with < 4 runs.

            1. If he can regularly hit 93, then you might be right. If he can’t – it’s where he’s been for the last two years – in #4/5 land, and it’s too bad, because aside from velocity, he has a lot of plusses (including killer CB) and outstanding composure on the mound. But the stuff is fringy if he’s sitting 89-92.

    2. It will only become a Harper vs Machado decision if Middleton decided to have some limit in the stupid spending or if the Phillies think that they can spread around the $$ and sign other prominent FAs. With SPs looking thin after Kikuchi, walking away with both Harper and Machado is a big WIN for the Phillies. My bucket list will be:

      1) Sign both Harper and Machado
      2) Sign Kikuchi or Happ with Morton as the back up plan.
      3) Trade or DFA Morgan to create a roster space
      4) Sign Britton
      5) Trade 1-2 pen arms
      6) Sign James McCann
      7) Trade Knappy Boy
      8) Look who’s left in FA and improve the bench

      1. I don’t think Kikuchi is in their plans. I mean you’d think the manager would know about a guy they were looking at right? I get the FO are the main force but again I’d still think they would have dialog w Kapler. Kapler was asked about him today and you could tell by his face and response that he didn’t know much if anything about him. He basically answered by saying “Any player that makes this team better is welcomed”.

    3. KK – I agree. There is so much Trout talk on these posts that it makes me sick. I love the guy, but we’re in the “here and now”. Now is the time for Harper and/or Machado. Let’s wait until next winter to drool over Trout.

  9. I understand your thinking, Jim (and some others) who feel Harper and Machado may accept less money to play in preferred cities. I don’t agree with it, but I understand what you’re saying/why you feel that way. Cliff Lee is an absolute outlier. Almost all players (especially these two) have big egos and want to set records/standards. When you add their agents (Boras & Lozano … two more guys with huge egos) into the equation, it is a near lock Bryce Harper and Manny Machado follow the dollars and sign with the team offering the most stupid money.

    Also … nobody worries/cares about draft picks more than me … however … I’m not going to blink at losing a second round selection for a guy (Harper) who may hit 50 HR’s per year, drive attendance, and make the Phillies relevant again.

    1. @hinkie – I agree with you that both Harper and Machado will follow the $$. And if Middleton is really willing to open his wallet and get stupid with cash —- it is no longer Harper vs Machado — it will become Harper + Machado vs Harper or Machado — a situation where the Phillies is guaranteed to walk away with a young legitimate stud.

    2. Nice argument Hinkie. It is in the bag, the Phillies will get at least one of them. IF they are outbid, the backlash is going to hurt just as much financially in terms of tv ratings/attendance/merchandise than it be to offer 10yrs/375mil

      I will be shocked if the Phillies don’t win one.

  10. I can see Klentak signing two LHP’s within the next week to 10 days. JA Happ and Zach Britton are my best bets to get some of John Middleton’s stupid money.

  11. I’m still optimistic that the Phillies can sign both Harper and Machado. I give Harper a 90% probability and Machado at 60%. I expect some competition for MarGo with the $$ going to both Harper and Machado, the Phillies will look in the recycle bin and clearance rack to upgrade the bench.

    With Boras as his agent, the Phillies can become a dark horse for Kikuchi is they sign Harper. It is reasonable to assume that Kikuchi made up his mind in going to a west coast team, but with Boras, who bleeds $$ – maybe Kikuchi will listen and consider other options too.

    Ramos, Arano and Pazos shouldn’t be starting in LHV. Morgan is almost good as gone and Klentak will need to be creative to package one of his vetaran RHP to create oster space.

    1. Why would you think that? They’ve told you they’re not signing both. It’s illogical to spend that much money, especially when they have pitching holes also. It’s not happening.

      1. Yeah it’s not happening. They’re going to have needs in 2019 at the deadline, 2020, 2021, etc. They’re not going to commit 70 millionish a year to two players.

        1. This is where the depth of the farm and very good cash flow planning will come in – Howie Roseman is very good in cash flow planning when it comes to players contract and I’m sure Middleton will have somebody in his side who can advise Klentak on how to structure the contract.

          I expect that contracts with Machado and Harper will have some options and opt outs and the Phillies will design in a way that they can keep financial flexibility when Mike Trout hits the open market. And additional FA signings will be short term in nature that’s why the Phillies are smart to shy away from Corbin and refocus their attention to Happ and Morton who can be had for < 3 tears.

          By the time Nola and Hoskins gets expensive, Arrieta's contract is out and the farm already develop options to replace Doobie and Segura and clear their contracts. And if Sixto, Medina, Howard, JoJo developed as expected — Eickhoff, Vinny and others will be moved out too.

      2. @Murray – it is called being opportunistic and Middleton will be good at it since he is a business guy. 1-2 months ago, when the market price for Harper and Machado is close to $800M in guaranteed — Middleton might say, that’s too much. But if Harper can sign at $350M and Machado (who the main competitor the NYY bailed out on $300M) can be had at $300M — MIddleton will think and say —- I can have 2 generation talents for $100-150M less and these 2 guys can significantly increase my revenue stream for a minimum of 5-6 years and do some cash flow analysis and boom!!! — signing both Harper and Machado will yield a higher rate of return than signing one of them.

        If Machado market will fall below $300M, it gives the Phillies higher probably to sign him.

        1. True, Kuko. Can’t minimize the impact of selling all those brand new 13 and 34 jerseys at the Majestic store. And the 40,000+ butts in those blue seats.

          1. Remember, they know what kind of revenue that 40k in seats looks like .. they had it for years, I’m sure they WANT it back bad. Utley,Rollins, and Howard sold a lot of Jerseys, so I’m thinking they see the same with mm as Harper

        2. Signing both Harper and Machado will almost guarantee the Phillies to be the NL East champs and can run deep in the playoffs. Playoffs games are sure why of generating cash flow and revenue for teams owners since the stadiums will be packed and people will most likely watch the playoffs than the regular games.

          Signing both Harper and Machado will move the need big time and Middleton will see that. The only thing that will slow the Phillies signing Machado right now is gauging how low the Machado market will fall.

          WAS no longer expect to resign Harper so Harper can reasonably be had for $325M-350M. Every body expects that the Yankees will go hard on Corbin, but they cannot go higher than $100M. These GMs are balking because they are wary about the Phillies. Middleton will seize this opportunity and win the off season.

            1. @trollU – all GMs should be interested in Harper, because if they are not, it’s malpractice. WAS owner (Lerner) also said that they are not expected to resign Harper.

              I’m also interested to date Kendall Jenner, but I don’t expect that Kendall will chose me over Ben Simmons. Interest and Possibility/Probability are 2 different things.

            2. If it makes you feel any better Kurdt, I’m sure Ms Jenner would choose you over Ben Simmons to shoot a jump shot with the game on the line.

    2. SD is reportedly cool on pursuing Kikuchi. That’s one less west coast team in the mix but SF could be in play, SEA less likely as they rebuild.

    1. 11:15 … definitely having coffee together by now… talking about all the stupid crap he could buy with the money

      1. Must’ve of went straight to an lunch, then Bryce took them to his favorite golf
        Course, expect them to crunch numbers at dinner 🙂

        1. Wawa Mike…is bringing the Wawa coffee his brother sends him out to Vegas.
          Once they taste Wawa coffee…it is a done deal..

  12. If the Phillies can’t sign Manny, they should keep Franco. The Phillies will then need his punch in the lineup.

    1. The problem with Franco is that he cannot hit with his punches. Punches are worthless if you don’t know how to land them. If the Phillies can find a better alternative in 3B whether it is named Manny Machado or not, Klentak needs to find value for Franco in a trade because Franco has not value in the bench or in LHV.

  13. SFG is projected to be Kikuchi’s landing spot. It will be interesting to see if LAD will do something (i.e. overpay Kikuchi) to block SFG in signing Kikuchi. The Phillies is long shot for Kikuchi and I’m ok not acquiring Kikuchi if the Phillies signed both Harper and Machado. But with Boras as the agent, the Phillies can simultaneously discuss Harper, Kikuchi (and Hoskins) and land a deal to get the 3 play together for years to come.

  14. The Machado market is deemed “limited”. I think it’s limited because GMs are probably wary not to go into a bidding war with the Phillies. The Yankees are in need of Corbin than Machado but they pulled their punches. If the Yankees pulled their punches on Corbin, they will pull their punches on Machado. Comparing to the Stanton contract ($325/13 yrs), Stanton’s last 10 years of the contract is $295M from age 28 to 37. So handing Machado a $300M/10yrs (covering 27-36 of ages) is very reasonable. For the price of $300 – Machado is 100% will sign to play 3B for the Phillies.

  15. I still favor Harper over Machado, but for a crazy reason. Sign Harper, put him in the OF, no problems. If they sign Machado, that gives Kapler more flexibility, and I’ve seen enough musical chairs to last a lifetime. Many of you want Franco gone, but I don’t. He had a pretty solid season, and I don’t see him taking a step back next year. He’s a good six hole hitter with power.

    1. I don’t get that reasoning to be honest. He left his good players alone last year (Nola, Hoskins, Santana, and Hernandez). He’s not going to bounce Machado between SS/3B unless an injury necessitates it. Segura will play SS, Machado will play 3B.

      The only players that I can see bouncing around are the outfielders and Kingery.

    2. I’m down with Harper over Machado too. I know both are great players, but when you pay that kind of money, I don’t want to worry about a guy’s attitude and I do with Machado. But if they get him, he’s so much better than the alternatives, I certainly won’t complain.

  16. I personally think Machado gets signed before Harper. Which means if the Phillies don’t sign Manny, they will be hell bent on signing Harper. If they do sign Machado, then they can let the Harper market come to them.

    1. 8mark – If they sign Manny (to play 3rd base), that would be the only up grade over Franco that I’d be on board with.

    1. Hit send before I finished my thought.

      Why havent teams already done this? If this the Phillies havent met with Manny yet, I question their intentions this off-season.

      1. The Phillies FO (McPhail, Klentak) already had relationship with Machado and his agent Lozano. The deal can be done without the need to personally meet Machado. Most big FAs wouldn’t even care about meeting if they know (thru their agent) that their getting their big $$. Machado’s plan to meet with each team is for him to include his value since the market is limited that what he is expected.

        Not meeting Machado is not malpractice, the malpractice is if the Phillies will not talk to Machado’s agent and discuss about reasonable offer to sign Machado.

            1. I agree. I’m sure that Machado would love the chance to explain himself with regards to the Johnny Hustle comment. Machado knows that the assurance that he plays hard is done effectively face to face than asking his agent to explain it on his behalf.

  17. I prefer Trout over Harper…let’s see if a “stupid” offer like Hoskins, Sanchez, Kingery and Herrera could work….then sign Machado and go after Belt. We need to be very aggressive with the Angels now…let’s not wait for an “older”Trout and get him now. We are going to offer big money in 2 years anyway.

    1. So it’s basically Harper + Hoskins + Doobie + Kingery vs Trout + Belt (less the value of all the top prospects that the Phillies will surrender to acquire Trout and Belt). I love Mike Trout and I’ve been beating the Mike Trout to Phillies drum since like > 2 years ago. But your proposed move doesn’t clearly improve the team (compared to signing both Harper and Machado) and may significantly hurt the Phillies long term because of the team control from the top prospects that the Phillies will give up in the trade.

      Just sign Harper and Machado and structure the deal that one of Harper and Machado will opt out by the time Mike Trout hits the open market.

  18. Just listened to Kapler talk for about 20-30 mins at the winter meetings and I have to say I came away impressed. He mentioned things that he needs to work on and all of them were valid points, all that have been touched on PP before. They spoke about removing the shift, Hoskins back to 1B, time he spent w Herrera recently, where he sees Segura in the line up, losing his home in the fires, etc . . . Worth a watch.

    1. One thing that Kapler prove last year is that he is a sweet talker. The type of person who excel well in job interviews. Kapler can definitely articulate what most people love to hear like a politician during a campaign rally. But the Phillies success in the field is not going to be determined by his ability to talk, but by his decision making ability. Action speaks louder than words, I still withhold my judgment on Kapler until I see him make the adjustments he is talking about next season.

    2. I like what he said about Odubel. If he bounces back to his 2016 form you’re adding an ELITE player, even if he only bounces back to his 2017 form you’re still talking about a 2 win improvement.

  19. Franco should not be a considering when pursuing Harper and/or Machado. The only consideration is the overall value of the contract. Franco is an expandable talent with or without Machado.

    1. I personally like Franco as an everyday player … in a support role. He can go on streaks, good and bad. If he is not the core of the offense, but more of a support role .. like werth he is serviceable to above average. When he is your cleanup hitter, that’s a different story. If the Phils can sign Harper, having Franco is not such a horrible idea

      1. Franco is no Jayson Werth. JDubs is clutch that’s why a lot of pitchers are afraid of pitching around the Big Piece. RH6 production was greatly affected without JDubs hitting behind him. Kaplet should not bat Franco behind Harper. This will nullify Harper’s impact since pitchers will just walk Harper and challenge Franco instead. Rhys is the only good option to protect Harper.

        The Phillies has a lot of average serviceable complimentary piece in the team. They need legit hitting. Acquiring Jean Segura is a good 1st move to improve hitting.

        1. You’re pretty hard on a guy that’s still only 26 years old. Especially so when you’re comparing him to someone who didn’t have his first decent season until he was 28… and in a platoon role for a lot of that season.

          Franco’s talent is still there. The power has translated to the big leagues, his defense has been as advertised, and he’s been steadily lowering his K % while keeping his BB% respectable (6.2 for Franco, 8.5 league average).

          I’m not saying I let Franco’s presence prevent a Machado signing, but I’m also not just going to get rid of him for no reason. If we don’t get Machado for whatever reason, I’m all for seeing what Franco can do when he’s not THE guy. If you think Howard benefited from having Werth behind him, then Werth also gained something. You aren’t pitching around two guys in a row. You really think Franco couldn’t punish a pitcher grooving fastballs?

          1. The Phillies is issue is the lack of elite talent in the team. So I’m hard on players who don’t have a lot of talent. I watched so much of Franco that I hurt myself cringing every time he bats. Being patient with a marginal player is something I hear all the time. I can still hear how some wants to be patient with Cody “the Chase Utley Lite” Asche. Same thing with Domonic “the Prodigy” Brown.

            So you think that Maikel Franco will benefit something batting behind Harper? That’s non sense. Franco batted 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and gained nothing as he is still the same player since he become a Phillie.

            1. @romus — hahaha!! I know i put my chips with Kingery and I don’t knew if I’m right or wrong but I just feel strongly about Kingery over the likes of Franco/Brown (big red flags) or Asche (lack of upside).

  20. Bryce … Just take Middleton’s money already …. stop playing hard to get! Then go convince MM to sign in Philly too. Enjoy the next 3-4 years, before one of you is booted for trout

    1. Tac3…..I think once Harper and Machado are signed and their salaries are public knowledge, Arte Moreno will then make the better offer to Trout.

  21. Can only have one, who do you want:

    Bauer
    Ray
    Corbin
    Sixto

    And go … (killing time until Harper takes Middleton’s money)

      1. Up thru their 26age season..Ray 8bWAR pitcher…Lee 4bWAR pitcher.
        So barring injury he has a shot to become a dominant lefty in the league.

      2. Cliff lee one of my all time favorite pitchers to watch…

        So you think they should pull the trigger on a Ray deal then?

        What’s it going to take Romus? I was leaning towards Bauer but that is a nice stat on Ray

        1. ‘What’s it going to take?’……probably too much, not sure what it would take….still has two years before free agency. May be able to get him next off-season for less than this off-season.

          1. That would make sense, if is on a path towards cliff lee’s level. Bauer seems like a good gamble, rather spend some “prospect money” vs FA money. Don’t feel what’s out there is worth it, unless happ or Morton would do 2 years

          1. didn’t Bauer say somewhere that he’s only going to agree to 1-year deals after his Cleveland run is over? kind of interesting, if so

    1. Just baseball talk, see what you guys think In terms of who you’d want for the next 6 years. Corbin probably wins next year in most eyes but not for the full 6 years imo. Then it’s between ray vs Bauer… with Dixto to throw in since we love our prospects. Maybe some bet on Sixto to be better than Bauer/ray over a 6 year period, or some other scenario ….

      Honestly, this is like waiting to board a plane after it’s been delayed … we know we are getting in the plane aka 1 of the big 2 … we just don’t know when…

      Yes I’m impatient at this point, but optimistic

      1. Sixto is not yet comparable to the other pitchers you mentioned and the Phillies will have at least 6 years of control over Sixto without the next of a contract when they add Sixto to the 40-man. Sixto (injury aside) is comparable to Whitley, Mize, Soroka, Hunter Greene.

        So If I will take Sixto out, Corbin is the easy choice but not for 6 years so I’ll go with Bauer (combination of stuff and age).

  22. So did Rick Kranitz. I sure hope this Asst. PC is the real deal because we dumped Kranitz for him because we were afraid of losing him. Romus, TINSTAAPP is like telling me there is no Santa Claus! I am counting on ours big time.

    1. Matt13…..looks like Kapler’s initiatives and philosophy is not to the liking of some of the older senor guys …I am sure there will be more exiting.

        1. Romus,

          So, question: Is Klentak the GM and the superior, or is Kapler the tacit GM and the, effectively, senior person?

          1. Frank…listening both talk today…..you are spot on…Kapler seems to be the Type A personality of dominance, and is older….Klentak seems reserve and passive.

  23. Hey Jim, I have a request: could you run a poll here on Phuture Phillies as to whom participants think the Phillies will sign – Manny, Bryce, neither or both. Just curious to see how it breaks down among us fans. And neither is likely to sign within the next few days so what do you say…? Thanks.

  24. This speculation/projection about signing both Harper and Machado is not reality. It will not happen. See Jim Salisbury’s comments earlier today:

    “Though the Phillies have interest in both players, they will not land both. They are unwilling to tie up that much payroll in two players.”

    If you choose to believe or expect otherwise, you are certain to be disappointed.

    1. Well this is somewhat interesting, it sounds like a black in white answer for something that is not black and white. I’m on the wagon of fans that believe we get at least one, with a strong potential for landing the other. I don’t think they go bull charging in and say they sign both, but if They sign Harper, and MM market is limited, lowering his AAV/Length … then in can see Middleton/FO taking the plunge for both. It depends on how the market develops.

      Now I respect Salisbury’s reporting, but listening to Klentak, he mention they are open to multiple routes to improving, win games … straight from his mouth which is better than Salisbury imo

      Bottom line, they go in after both, happily to get 1, and should the market be in their favor, they could sign both.

      I wouldn’t rule it out, stupid money wants to be spent

      1. Tac3..I am inclined to lean Jim Salisbury’s way.
        Now they only way I can see them ever signing both, even remotely, is if Boras plays out his hand until the very end or until mid-March with Harper still not signed…..and the Phillies already have Machado signed.
        Then he may do a short contract with Harper and then try it again in 2/3 years.

      2. @Tac3 – I agree with you 100%. I love Salisbury and he’s reliable but I don’t know why you take Salisbury over Middleton and company when it comes to predicting the Phillies next moves. I understand that the Phillies will keep their cards close to their chest and play mind games with other teams and players agent. But their intention is clear — they opened the payroll specifically for Harper and Machado. Phillies is possibly the only team who can sign both Harper and Machado and the biggest thread in the Yankees has shown tremendous restraint. Does the Yankees play possum on both Harper and Machado?!? Possibly, but the Yankees need is starting pitching. The Cubbies and Red Sox are financially strapped and the Dodgers need to make moves in the OF before they can sign Harper and they already said goodbye to Machado. And White Sox? Does Harper or Machado really want to play for the White Sox?

        Middleton is playing it smart. Don’t show your cards but let everybody know that they are willing to play the big boys game. Having a young prime player in FA is rare —- Middleton will not miss this opportunity.

        Signing Machado and/or Harper is going to be team owners decision and MIddleton wants them all!

        1. “But their intention is clear — they opened the payroll specifically for Harper and Machado. ”

          Says who? I don’t believe they gained the flexibility simply and entirely to sign both of these guys. Other than someone’s fantasy, where/how/why do you state this as if it’s fact? …Personally, I believe Salisbury is right, they are not signing both. (And it would be foolish to longterm!)

          1. Most GMs marked the 2019 free agency in their calendar since 2 years ago — this is not a secret for those who follows baseball and is not based on some fantasy other than those who are in self denial. GM don’t need to expressly say this publicly but their actions speaks loudly than words.

            Why sign Harper and/or Machado and not the secondary players? It is because premier talent who are FAs at the age of 26 is a a rarity in the sports of baseball. Why would Middleton public say (and heard in all corners of the baseball world) that they will spend and they might be stupid in their spending? Middleton has been in control for more than 2 years ago — why say it now, not 2016, not 2017, not wait in 2019 or so? Middleton said those words to let every GM know that they will flex their financial muscles in the open market.

            Signing FAs is not the responsibility of the media. Media like Salisbury just report what they hear and front offices sometimes utilize media to create smoke screen and hide their true intentions. I believe Salisbury in most Phillies reporting but I will trust the actions and non-actions of the team’s front office to determine the move they will make in free agency.

      3. It seems to me it’s negotiating 101 to indicate that the team will sign either Machado or Harper. You create an incentive for 1 to move quickly to accept an overpay. A team indicating an interest in signing both is creating an incentive for long, drawn out negotiating when you’re the last team standing at the end of 2 expensive auctions. Why would any owner with brains do that?

  25. Cashman says Yankees are out of Harper sweepstakes. One GM says we are bidding against ourselves. If he takes a short deal, there could be 12 teams in on him. But, if Boras wants to top Stanton’s $, us, maybe WSox, not too many other teams in on that.

  26. No surprise at all, but Jayson Stark reports that we have had little interest in Cesar. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him and Doobie back here next year, leaving Kingery as the sub. Maybe Herrera to LF? Quinn in CF. Let’s say we don’t get either one of the big names. Brantley/ Quinn/Herrera, Rhys/CesarSegura/Moustakas, Alfaro at C. Add Keuchel and Britton. Is that the Division winner. or do we have to get Machado or Harper?

    1. Matt13…i think to move Cesar, you will need to put him in a package as added value. Alone, he probably does not get the return the Phillies want.
      Good question.
      The attendance will boom more with MM or BH….and maybe more wins.
      Do either move the needle to a division first place finish…not sure about that.

  27. Congratulations to Sal Agostinelli for being honored at the winter meetings, named by MLB as one of four ‘Scouts of the Year” in 2018. Way to go, Sal!

  28. Ok, Romus and everyone. Here is something I just saw from Baseball tonight, in the context of Harper not being worth $350 Million. Not my opinion, just look at the numbers and tell me what you think. Last 3 years, Harper: BBs 306, HR 87, XBH 175 WAR 7.5 DRS -25; Santana: BBs 297, HRs 81, XBH 185, WAR 8.3, DRS plus 10.

    1. Harper has been inconsistent from year to year… he is an odd man….odd years, except his rookie year, he has been superlative…even years …..not so much.
      But what drives his overall WAR down is actually is his poor measured metric defense.
      But Boras is also selling him from his market value and attractiveness to generate revenue via fan interest.
      Tough decision to go ‘high out of the park’ money wise for him.

      1. But Harper can carry a team offensively and he has the ability to destroy any team in a playoff match.

    2. This is true, but his OPS numbers are exceptional, and almost elite. I can’t say it doesn’t worry me, but with Hoskins and segura, it worries me less. Add Machado,even less. Tradefor realmuto … I don’t even blink. He will need a supporting cast, but he has been inconsistent for sure. Machado is more stable imo, but harpers ceiling is higher at the same time. We are paying for their 26-32 prime years, 32-36 you expect the decline but hopefully they have gotten you a championship or 2 in the first 6 years

  29. So, as we get into this more, there is a real possibility that the Yankees get Machado to play 3B. They can then trade Andujar and Bird to a team like Cleveland for a Kluber. Franco doesn’t get us nearly to Kluber. How can we think that we will go as high as Boras wants for Harper when we have a FO that is reliant on numbers? Machado at 3B is a Gold Glove player. It would appear that he is a better fir here, and the local writers seem to say that as well. We may be looking at the real possibility that we get neither of them and the suggestions I made earlier become more realistic?

    1. That’s what I’ve been saying as well. Maybe I’m negative for thinking this but I give the Phillies a 10% chance to get either Harper or Manny
      I firmly believe the Phillies will spread the wealth and also look at the trade market. That may not necessarily be a bad thing. Swing a deal for Trout 🙂

  30. Newest report on Hernandez says that the team isn’t looking to trade him and that he was playing on a broken foot the second half of the season. Kingery to continue the super utility role. Per Todd Zolecki.

    1. Don’t understand why a player or a team will let a player play with a broken foot to the detriment of the team when they have a guy whom they need to develop who can play the position full time. Klentak supposed to have an offer for Cesar last year but possibly overvalue Cesar based on analytics.

      Klentak will not trade Cesar this offseason because the 2B in the 2019 FA market is deep (this is already expected since 2 years ago) and teams have better alternative than Cesar.

      Cesar needs to be included in the package as most suggested. Franco probably has more value than Cesar and Cesar’s prior year’s WAR cannot do anything about it.

    2. I’m going to call out Cesar on this one …. or Zolecki …. He had a “broken foot”? Please … Sounds more like a stress fracture in one the non essential bones in the foot …. I’m just not buying this, most likely it was reported down the chain and it is gettting blown up. No limb? Yeah tiny stress fracture …. carry on. Kudos for playing Cesar but probably not worth being mention from the media/staff

      1. Even being a stress fracture, playing on that day in and day out as a 2B is painful. Making turns at the bag, stopping your momentum on a backhand, getting outta the box, etc.
        I agree that if this was the case it would have been a good time to get Kingery out there.

  31. I predicted recently we end up with Zero high priced free agents and I’m still predicting that. Brantley goes to Atlanta
    2019
    1b. Hoskins
    2b Hernandez
    Ss seguira
    3b. Moustakis
    Lf Herrera
    Cf Quinn
    Rf. Williams
    C Alfaro

    So
    Nola
    Arrieta
    Pivetta
    Efflin
    Eickoff

        1. I also think Harper to LA just makes so much sense. Boras will effectively remind LA that their back-to-back World Series losses can soon be forgotten with a Harper in the fold. They’re more desperate than the Phillies and, even though their managing partners didnt come out and say it publicly, they too may be willing to spend STUPID money on Harper. Who is more stupid? I think LA wins it and Phils overpay to get Machado here

    1. You might as well root for the Mutts, the Braves, the Gnats or the Marlins if you think your prediction will stay.

      The Phillies spent one of the biggest $$ in last year FAs so why can’t they do it again this year when they planned for this off season for a long time.

      1. Why? Not arguing but why do we have to believe manny or Harper will sign with the Phillies just because the Phillies have the money? Everyone is entitled to an opinion.
        I think the Phillies will sign FA but the funds will be spread.
        Harper to Dodgers is a Hollywood dream. Harper wants Hollywood.

        Manny has always been destined for the Yankees.

        Until I see talks are intensifying I will stick to my opinion.

        Phillies can construct a good team by spreading the funds and making trades. People on here have had good trade proposals. Phillies have the farm to be creative.

        1. Here’s my rationale why the Phillies will sign at least one of Harper and Machado:

          1) Middleton publicly saying they will spend – i may not trust Middleton as a baseball person but I trust him as a business man. Middleton will not make this public representation and not to back it up since the backlash will be massive!

          2) All about the $$ – the Phillies is the only team who has the deep pockets and team pay roll flexibility who can afford to sign Harper and Machado. Most superstars sign for the most $$ available.

          3) The Phillies don’t have a face of the franchise – Middleton saw the cash and revenue stream the last few years and he is not happy. He made the power move specifically to break the norm of being contented. Hoskins and Nola are good but don’t have (yet) the star power of a Harper or Machado.

          4) The Phillies are not longer in rebuilding. The Phillies will not wait for Nola and Hoskins to be superstars and not will wait for Sixto, Medina, Haseley and others before they stand to contend. Middleton wants to win and he wants is ASAP.

          So far the reasons from those who don’t believe that the Phillies will not sign a big FA:

          1) Machado has always been destined to be a Yankee – hello Patrick Corbin!

          2) Harper wants Hollywood! – No Harper wants $$ – he said that $400M is uderpayment!! Harper just turned down $300M from the Gnats. He can go to Hollywood but he won’t get paid. Boras will not let that happen.

          3) Don’t set expectations too high because I don’t want to feel bad when the Phillies don’t sign any big FAs.

  32. To throw a wet blanket on signing a superstar FA, would you guys be happy with a lineup, if they somehow miss out on Harper/Machado:

    Quinn
    Ceasar/Kingery
    Hoskins
    Realmuto
    Segura
    Brantley
    Herrera
    Franco

    To get Realmuto, you probably need to deal Sixto/Medina, Bohm and some more pain

    1. Realmuto would be a great addition that would cost prospects but he’d bring defense and offense, not just untapped potential.

    2. Realmuto comes with 2 years of team control so trading for him vs. signing 1 of the top 2 free agents to a long term deal would be a huge letdown.

      If Cleveland is back to trying to package Jason Kipnis in a deal with Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer, then I think CeHe becomes part of the fabric of such a deal. For Kluber I’d throw in Odubel, Eflin and JoJo Romero. For Bauer and Kipnis I’d certainly offer Hernandez, Herrera and Eflin. Might go slightly higher but not much for 1 of those 2. The Phils should be talking to every team giving signals of a desire to trim salary – Seattle, Cleveland, Toronto, maybe even the Dodgers though not till Harper lands somewhere.

      f the Phils got Kluber, re-signed Ramos and added Brantley, it would ease the pain of missing out on Harchado (Harper and Machado) if that were to happen.

    3. Let me go on my catcher rant which I seem to do 4-6X a year. DMARs rule of building a line-up: don’t ever invest heavily in the catcher position or rely heavily on it from an offensive standpoint.

      Catchers don’t hold up they get beat up and they get hurt more so than the average position player (I can’t quantify that other than to point to specific players like Mauer and Posey)

      To me the perfect catcher is a guy like Chooch or Yadier, a guy you bring up through your system that is solid defensively calls a good game instills confidence in the pitching staff and gives you a decent AB.

  33. Sr, If we don’t add a SP to your lineup, we are the 3rd best team in our Division, maybe 4th. Nick Williams is not a plus defensive RF, I like Moustakas as a back up Plan to Machado, and Alfaro has miles to go to be able to help a team offensively and Defensively as the every day C. Tac, I simply don’t see us in on Realmuto. But, I would trade Williams, Alfaro and Medina for him. Brantley in RF

    1. There’s a good chance Phillies get Happ. Reading that they’re having discussions with him. I think they’ll go 3 years for Happ and 1 year for Morton.

    2. Why people are in on Moustakas is something I can’t wrap my head around. Pay $ for the same player you already have in Franco but older. If they don’t land Machado, ‘d prefer to save the $, keep Franco, and see what he can do in a lineup with Harper, Hoskins, Segura, and improve/healthy Herrera, Hernandez, etc

  34. LOL, Tac3! I know exactly how you feel. I am on here 12 times a day, and check and re-check mlb trade rumors about the same. Dealing with this into February would be torture.

  35. Mets, Yankees and Marlins are in 3-way talks that would send JTR to NYM, Thor to NYY who would send young talent to MIA which the Mets either lack or are unwilling to move. Man, I would hate to watch a division rival acquire another top player at his position while we whistle in the dark. Does Klentak know how to set up 3-way talks?

    1. The 3-way trade with NYY is said not to be the strongest. Cashman wants to get Thor but unwilling to let of any of his good young players or top prospects that will eventually go to MIA. Unless Jeter want to do the Yankees a favor and willing to be fleeced by his old team, Cashman doesn’t seem to be willing to let go of a package of JTR or Thor value.

      1. The Yankee’s under Hal are a much different operation than they were under his dad. If George was still alive they would have dumped close to a billion dollars on MM Harper and Corbin and emptied the cupboards bare for Syndergaard

  36. Just wanted to throw this out there … MLB Tonight had a prognosticating octopus on last night. He picked Harper to sign with the Phillies.

  37. It’s shocking to realize that all these years into our rebuild, we could be the 4th best team in the division by start of 2019

    1. More than a few poster’s have been critical of Klentak this winter. Last year a lot of people wanted Darvish, Cobb, or Lynn, and even though Jake wasn’t as good as we hoped, he was a lot better than they were. Klentak seems to know how to play the “chess” game that GM’s play. He’s loaded our farm system with pitchers, and we have future stars, and valuable trade chips on the horizon.
      I have Faith, so should you.

    1. What?? If the Mets really want JTR they could have done it already. Looks like Jeter is ok with a Comforto (or Nimmo) + Rosario + some prospects for JTR. Other alternative will be dealing Thor in a 3-way trade. Acquiring JTR but losing Thor is like a wash.

  38. where does the franchise sit and will the fans be happy if we walk out of the offseason with seguira, happ, britton and brantley?
    the team won 80 last yr and their run differential had them at 76
    does that off season get us to the playoffs or will we need to really see major set ups from the young players?
    the biggest downside of 2018 is I still don’t know about Alfaro, kingery, Williams, Quinn, pivetta, VV, efflin
    I was hoping we would have a clearer young core at this point

  39. Klentak said the goal was 90 wins for 2019
    Wow, big goals.
    Also, if he’s not making any moves, how does he expect to get there?
    Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on him but he’s done nothing to change my mind.
    Segura trade slightly gets me there but he’s not a 10 win player.
    Change my mind Klentak!

    1. TrollU…have to remember the Phillies last 51 game last year they were 17-34…horrific by any standards. …even the worse teams over a season have a winning percentage of at least .370……Phillies in that 51 games were worse than that (.333)…..so even if they were under .500 for those games at say 22-29…they finish with 85 wins…add a 5WAR player in theory ..it gets them to 90..

      1. Romus, it sounds to me like a couple of Rocco’s “relatives” are “contributing” to our forum. You think?

    2. What do you want him to have done to this point? The Segura trade was a big move and most reports have them tied to every major player available. Machado or Harper may sign this week but there’s not a chance any of those guys would’ve signed in November.

      1. That said, I’m not as optimistic they come away with a big fish. Too many variables and it doesn’t seem like either really wants to play here.

  40. it’s weird watching the Mets be so active again, then getting Realmuto would be tough to watch, but I’d rather the Mets than the Braves m. The Braves would get a decent boost by realmuto.

    The division is tough, and I’ve said all along you need to not only rebuild, but you neeed to rebuild better than the other rebuilding teams. It’s part of it. The Braves are looking Strong, but if we get an ace, will be up two on them, that puts us in the lead. The Nats are in the lead imo even without Harper. Need that closer again though.

    I’ll give them the majority of the offseason before judging, but there are lot of ways Phils can improve over next two years … for instance I saw a
    Sign MM, put at third, sign arenando (sp) next year, move segura to 2nd, Kingery to OF if producing. If they sign Brantley this year, that’s not a bad offense while we wait for Trout, if any money is left by then 🙂

    Have faith, it’ll get done, but it will be nerve racking along the way. Plus, we have prospects that might actually develop … crazy

    1. From Phillies site

      “Besides, internally the Phillies believe any money saved this offseason will allow them to pursue Nolan Arenado or Anthony Rendon next offseason, or Mike Trout or Mookie Betts two offseasons from now.“

      The Phillies have some leverage, especially if the markets are not as robust as the players would like … let’s see how the FO plays their hands from now until Trout/Betts is available/if

      1. Get the players this year and we will worry about subsequent FA’s in future years. Don’t want to worry throughout the year abd next off season about signinfs that probably won’t happen.

      2. Tac3…and he also said yesterday when asked. Could the Phillies make a move this week? “I think there’s a chance,” Klentak said.

      3. BOS will lock Sale and Betts.

        LAD will have a big chunk of contracts to clear next year. They will get Arenado!

        No need for Rendon if you have Machado. Rendon is a supporting cast.

        Mike Trout is the only elite talent that will be available after this offseason. The Phillies cannot be a crappy team in 2019 when LAA discuss extension with Mike Trout, Middleton need to show that the Phillies are ready to compete for the WS so Mike Trout can tell Arte Moreno that he will not sign because he is looking for the best chance to win the WS.

        1. KuKo:
          “Mike Trout can tell Arte Moreno that he will not sign because he is looking for the best chance to win the WS.”….wishful thinking.

          I am willing to bet Trout signs a LTC with the Angels after Moreno offers it to him.
          Which could come once Macahdo and Harper sign their deals.
          Now I also can see Trout signing it with a three-year opt -out clause.

          1. Romus … there is no incentive for Mkie Trout to sign a LTX this offseason. He’ll wait until next winter to give serious consideration for that. He’s not going to lose anything by waiting 12 months. Offers are only going to increase, plus he puts pressure on Arte Moreno to take steps to improve the LAA.
            It wouldn’t surprise me if Mike Trout doesn’t secretly regret signing his first LTC. If he hadn’t, he’d be a FA right now. His deal would blow any contract Harper or Machado get out of the water. He’d get a half-billon dollar deal as a 27 YO FA.

            1. Nice points on Trout, I don’t see him signing a LTR deal with FA that close. If he wants to win, which who doesn’t m, he can not sign a deal and make Arte show him. In the same case, the Phillies better be ready for him, with the war chest open and the wins in column, some home cooking doesn’t hurt either

  41. Tac3, Here is my problem with that exact way of thinking. I have no doubt that internally they see future FA classes. MacPhail said as much. But, the fallacy in the argument is that the numbers for Arenado and Rendon and Betts are the same or greater than the Harper/Machado numbers. Why would we believe they spend the $ necessary then? Trout is a different topic, only because of the ties to Philly. It is one thing to play the “waiting game” at the dented can aisle, but if we are to be winners of Premier FAs, then we have to play to win, not just make a “good try” offer and finish 2d or 3rd like we did with Corbin. “Trust us, we will spend when the time is right” is nonsense, and they have done nothing to engender trust. I want to be wrong, but I believe that is exactly what certain of the FO believes. “If we don’t get it done this year, we will try, try again!”

    1. I hear you, i see why you feel that way, but I actually believe this is a new era. Middleton is a breath of fresh air for this franchise, and really they are in position. They went through the pain … but I will say … LAD angling to get Harper is a glimpse into the future … when the Phillies will be angling to get Trout. LA is smart to try to fit him, the team has The young talent to mix with, plus a playoff track record. Try to enjoy it, it’s a different feel around here. This is Steinbrenner esque, taken down a notch. For forseeable future , the Phillies will be expected to be players for top FA again.

      I will say, harpers deal scares me in potential dead money, but you gotta swing on this one, hope it works out

  42. I’m reading some of these comments and no offense but some of you are just unrealistic. I get that you want something to happen but you are dealing with hundreds of millions of dollars . . . the players are going to take their time and so are the teams. Don’t forget we traded for an All star already while unloading one of the guys that most on here bash while at the same time moving Hoskins back to his original position. How many all stars have changed hands this off season? How many 100 plus m contracts handed out? I must have missed something bc I don’t think there has been many of either.

    1. @Eric D – i agree. I can’t understand why some are so insecure with the GMs of other NL East teams and so depressed with Klentak like a high school drama queen.

      The Phillies have bigger fish to fry in Harper and Machado —- and these 2 bonafide elite talents will let the market play out to get the best financial opportunity they can get — ergo they will not sign right away unless there’s an offer cannot refuse (and no GM is Don Corleone!!). I don’t see any other team who is a big threat to the Phillies when it comes to bidding war. WAS bailed out on Harper and NYY bailed out of Machado. CHC, LAD and BOS are financially strapped. Is Middleton afraid of the White Sox?

      So far, Klentak achieved the following:

      1) Improve SS long term
      2) Improve 1B long term
      3) Potentially improve LF defense
      4) Add cheap LH depth in the pen (Pazos)
      5) Convert garbage (Luis Garcia) to better asset (Jose Alvarez)
      6) Create roster space for FA signing
      7) Smartly didn’t overpay for a LH who might be the 3rd SP in the team
      8) Engage talks with top FAs (Harper and Machado)
      9) Engage talks with Plan B options (Happ, Keuchel, etc)

      Middleton and the Front Office are following a sound game plan this offseason planning to be right than reckless.

      1. KuKo…in the past i have seen you with top tens ….now it is only a top nine…what happened to number 10? 🙂

        1. Gort carried away and I hit “Post” before typing my #10, but here it goes….

          10) Klentak played mind games with other GMs and made them over commit – like talking expressing interest with Donaldon and McCann then ATL locks them, threatening to offer Sixto to get Edwin Diaz forcing the Mets to absorb Cano’s contract and playing the Corbin game (eventhough everybody is expecting that Corbin will be a Yankee) and force WAS to overpay taking them out of the Harper sweepstakes.

          The #10 move is the most subtle and possibly the most underrated move made by the FO.

          1. Yeah it makes no sense. Give it time. If its the middle of Jan and we haven’t made any moves while others have, THEN I get it . . . but we aren’t even 2 weeks into December and only about a day and a half into winter meetings. And again, we just got a All Star SS!!! Moved one of our best hitters to his natural position. We are doing fine.

            1. Agree with Eric D. Give you credit for maybe the most level-headed post of the week.
              Who cares if they sign Harper or Machado in November, December, or January? The truth of the matter is … the earlier they signed one, the more it was going to cost. Let the market play out, and get one on a more reasonable contract (less stupid money).
              I stand by my pledge: a 6 month PP ban if Middleton strikes out on both Harper and Machado.

  43. One thing we need to remember and to which John Middleton will answer when it’s all said and done – “stupid” money. What does that mean? He’s the boss. We can all try to rhyme and reason our ways through this off season. But that is the bottom line.

  44. KuKo, I usually don’t disagree with you, but I have to. First, Klentak is incapable of playing subtle mind games. If Corbin was worth 5 years, then he was worth 6. He would fit very nicely behind Nola, and the FO agreed or they would not have offered 5 years. The Yankees did not bail on Machado, rather I think they are the team that gets him. So, I disagree with #7 and #10. It is far from over, but, right now, we are looking like the 3rd team in the East, and if the Mets get Realmuto without giving up Thor, we are #4.

    1. @Matt – here’s by rebuttal to your concern, so I hope to win you back in my side again… 😉

      I agree with you with Klentak. But I can see Middleton being a force this offseason so all these mind games are dictated by Middleton who by the way made the biggest mind game by declaring to the baseball world that the Phillies are going to spend and they can be stupid about it.

      Everybody knows that Machado is a $300M guy and PHI and NYY are the only teams who everybody thinks can afford the $300M price tag. Cashman expressly said that they will not pay Machado $300M so it means they bailed out. Did Klentak or Middleton something like this? Nada! The Phillies are even talking to Machado and his agent this week!!

      The Mets has a week farm. What trade package do you think Jeter will ask to give his best hitter to a division rival? If Mets acquire JTR without giving up Thor, it means they gave up Comforto and Rosario so this might end up as a wash if not only few games more.

      1. “weak farm” not “week farm”. sorry for a lot of typos and grammar stuff. i’m just too lazy to read before i post.

    2. @Matt13 – we differ in how we value Corbin and being a LHP. I don’t think Corbin will make that much of an impact – he is not Doc, Cliff Lee or Verlander who can go out and dominate almost every game. Maybe 1-3 additional games won in the next 3 years and he is a replaceable guy in the last 3 years of his contract. This is not a good value.

      And I say it is also smart because the Phillies don’t need to pay a potential a #5 SP $23M in 2022-2024 when Nola needs to be paid and a lot of arms are available that can be cheap (Sixto, Medina, JoJo, Howard, etc).

      Gerrit Cole will be a better value pitcher next year.

    3. Matt, how do you know if Klentak is able to play mind games or not. I don’t necessarily agree with KuKo that his is but rather he’s just kicking the tires on everyone in the market. But the idea that he’s not capable is based on what?

      As for Corbin, the statement “if he was worth 5 years, then he was worth 6” just doesn’t make sense. EVERY player has a peak value, the idea that they should simply pay whatever it takes is what gets you contracts like Cano and Pujols that teams are now desperate to move.

      I expect they will spend (even stupid money) but I hope they do so intelligently so we are sitting here 3 years from now complaining that they have all of these terrible contracts on the books…

      As others have noted, it’s mid December. They panic over every move/non-move at this point is foolish…

        1. 3up, that part about capable was tongue in cheek. I certainly understand that Klentak is smart, but I don’t think that he has been playing mind games. My view on Corbin. The FO made a determination that he was worth 5 years and over $100 Million. Their determination, not mine. Once they decided he was that good, then they need to enter the bidding prepared to win the bidding. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time. He now will take his talent and pitch against us. So, we not only did not succeed in acquiring someone we, as a FO, believe is really good, but our competition did get him. And this is over 1 year. We are not talking about a difference of 3 or 4 years. Corbin’s deal 6 years from now will have zero impact on our ability to do anything we want player related. If the Corbin contract is terrible in 3 years, the problem was in the player evaluation, not the extra year on the contract.

          1. It’s good business to know when to walk away. That supposed 5/100 (which is coming from people other than the Phillies, mind you) was their max. It wasn’t their opening offer. That is what they determined the BREAKING POINT to be. Someone went past that and they said no. Good. Business.

            And calling it just “1 year” is also silly. Again, that was their max. And that is a 20% increase. Imagine your salary going up 20%. Is that a small bump? I surely hope not.

            We’re seeing this in spades right now with Happ. Everyone is willing to sign him to 1 year. A lot of teams are willing to do 2. His agent has said he’ll sign with the first team to offer 3 years, and here he is unsigned. It’s not about the extra year, it’s about knowing where you draw the line.

            1. What about the rumors that we offered $130 Million over 5 years, not $100 Million. Then, we could have structured the deal differently. Look, none of us was in the room or on the phone. This isn’t the normal business world where you can buy widgets from another manufacturer, or there is another house to go look at. If Corbin was the best SP available, as determined by the people making the decisions, and you are in a competitive sports world, then losing out to a competitor was not good business. Allowing Washington to sign him in no way impacted their ability to compete against us this year or down the line. We were not in it to run up the price so Washington couldn’t get the guy we really wanted. So, acquiring Corbin because the baseball people you employ felt he was the best, and it required you to have to go over your comfort zone, is not at all silly, but the price to get Premium FAs in the market place. Otherwise, be Tampa or KC.

            2. Matt13…speaking of Tampa…just heard Stu Sternberg owner….looks like the new stadium deal is dead in the water…..they are committed nine more years there , but will probably relocate if nothing changes in that time frame.
              And the team came on and won 90 games in that division….but people do not show up.

            3. Yankees walked away from Corbin…and the Phillies did not want the extra year added to the contract.
              Here is a rather different view of it from John Stolnis:
              John Stolnis
              @JohnStolnis
              J.A. Happ is 36 and is looking for a 3-year deal that he’ll probably get.
              Charlie Morton is 35 and will get a 2 or 3-year deal.
              Patrick Corbin is 29 and will be 34 at the end of a 6-year contract.

          2. As someone who spends a fair amount of time going to estate auctions the biggest mistake you can make is getting caught up in the bidding war and losing sight of your original value assessment. As Dan notes, you have to define your price and then be willing to walk away when someone else has a higher price value or simply panics.

            If the Phillies assessment of Corbin was that he was worth 5 years at $100 million then they needed to stay disciplined enough to walk away when that number goes to 6/$140. Apparently the Yankees and probably several other teams also came to that same rational decision..

            Even spending “stupid” money, the Phillies do have a limited budget that needs to be used to fix as many issues as it can. Adding Corbin as the #2/#3 in the rotation would have improved the rotation but I don’t think it’s the biggest need they have.

  45. And, I really like the Segura trade. The addition of Pazos was a real extra prize. Hoskins at 1B is where he belongs. I give Klentak all kinds of credit for that deal. I know it is only barely 8:00 in Las Vegas, so there is a lot more to go. I hope he shows me that we have a GM who is one of the top GMs in the league. I really do.

    1. The difference in take home money can be very significant.
      And PA income/tax vs NY and California is a real plus….however, .about the same with Illinois.

  46. Maybe this will help some of you people relax.

    As I’ve recently been posting … Klentak may favor Machado, but Middleton dreams of a Trout-Harper-Hoskins lineup in 2021. Be patient, folks.

    1. Dan Dakich might be one of the biggest asses in sports radio. Not saying this to discredit what he’s saying but I just can’t stand him after his comments on Memphis and Penny Hardaway (Univ of Memphis Alum). Random, I know.

  47. And, before the Happ deal occurs, his Agent has said he will sign with the first team that guarantees a 3rd year. He has multiple 2 year offers. I want him, and I have no problem with giving him the third year to get the deal done.

    1. Yeah I don’t see a reason not to give him a 3rd year if that gets you the player. They have the money to eat a bad 3rd year.

        1. We don’t know that yet. For as much as I’m not happy about a Keuchel overpay he is a former Cy Young winner and at least solid performer over a period of time. At worst he should be a #3 for a few years. Cole Irvin hasn’t proven anything yet and I like him – but it’s not like you easily can say “why get a pitcher like Keuchel when you’ve got Cole Irvin?”

      1. Agree on Keuchel….he could easily go the way of 2016 and at CBP that could be an issue. The only saving grace…the infield defense has to be better and since he induces a fair number of GBs that could be a plus in his favor.

    1. I find it difficult to believe that SUDDENLY a GM is going to “try to make room” for someone who you would think would have been a prime target. Yes LAD tried to acquire Harper at the deadline in the name of the elusive WS title. They didn’t. Why now?

      1. Buster Olney✔
        @Buster_ESPN
        Dodgers have talked to other teams about moving two outfielders among the group of Kemp, Puig, Pederson, Bellinger, and as they look to re-shape payroll, they are also are prepared to move starting pitchers Rich Hill and Alex Wood.
        11:48 AM – Dec 11, 2018

  48. the two things in our favor in terms of major signs/additions to the team are :

    1. Middleton would be the laughingstock of baseball if the Phillies spend little to no money after his ” stupid money” spending comment
    they’ll never stop mentioning it on MLB network

    2. MK’s job will be in serious jeopardy ( not immediately but at the end of 2019) if he fails this offseason to make significant additions and the team comes in 4th place after all this time for rebuild

    1. Agree with the latter statement (MK is on the clock THIS YEAR), but not the former. If you’ve got a lot of money, sooner or later, somebody good will take it. It would be unfortunate but he won’t be a laughingstock by any means.

      1. for sure, if players go other places for other reasons, you cant do much about that. where he will look foolish after that comment is if they are consistently outbid for top talent

  49. On the possibility of Harper to LAD and Machado to NYY — I will not deny that these scenarios have some legs. However, to make it possible both Harper and Machado will probably need to agree to a below market short term contract — will Boras and Lozano advise that when a team likes the Phillies can offer a long term deal?

    It is also possible that both Harper and Machado want to reset the market by re-entering the FA next year. But I think the agents will advise to get the security of a long term deal but with the flexibility of opt out options within the next 3 years. NYY and LAD may not be ready for the long term deal even it has opt out options.

    LAD needs a lot to do to clear a spot for Harper considering they have a lot of committed long term contracts. NYY will have an easier time to fit Machado but as Cashman said, it is not for the (market) price the same thought process they have with Corbin.

    If Middleton is true to his word, both Harper and Machado are there to be taken. I don’t agree with the suggestion that the Phillies will be better of spreading the $$ to secondary players. If Rhys is the best hitter in the lineup, it will not move the needle. The Phillies will probably need to commit around $150-175M to acquire Mous and Brantley. And for the $150-175M, the Phillies will invest, they will be 3rd the most in NL East. That’s a waste of $150-175M!!

    1. I agree, Kuko. They are clearly the 2 best players available without giving up young talent. Who can presume that this crop of quality FAs will be available next year or the year following? As if the Phillies can merely pick and choose who they want later.

  50. Jeter said that MIA is willing to move JTR for MLB ready talents. Jorge El Oso Alfaro had good MLB exposure and still have 5 years of team control!!! This should be very appealing to any GM. Zach Eflin also saw some MLB success with 4 years of team control. And if Klentak cannot find a landing spot for Cesar, maybe he can include Cesar and swap for Starlin Castro’s contract (2 yrs, 2020 is club option).

    So an Alfaro + Eflin + Cesar (plus some more) for JTR +Castro can be a good starting point. Klentak just need to beat a Comforto + Rosario package and the Phillies have some good MLB ready or close to MLB ready arms to entice Jeter — delos Santos, Irvin, Parkinson, Ranger, Seabold, etc.

    1. KuKo…..I do like that scenario.
      Just not Eflin…anyone else (sans Sixto and Spencer)….from the list
      However, the trick will be re-signing JTR since he will be a FA soon.
      The Phillies would be wise to re-sign with the money they have.

      1. @romus – I think Jeter will either choose Pivetta or Vinny if not Eflin – the other young SP doesn’t have enough MLB experience to get Jeter’s attention. I also hate to lose Eflin but he is the safest young arm to trade for value.

        1. I’m a big fan of an offensive catcher, been watching them a long time, I’d love to see a Pudge Rodriguez clone but I’m sure that ain’t happening anytime soon. I really liked Alfaros skills , but at this point, a no brainer to trade for realmuto … who could easily be flipped if no Ltc is signed.

          I’ll give up Eflin or VV, with Alfaro and Cesar any day… the problem is that the Yankees are offering a pretty good player. Maybe Hasley, Eflin, and Alfaro?
          Maybe over pay but I’d really like to have Relamuto in the fold

          1. Are you talking about Miguel Andujar as the pretty good player? NYY wants to move him because he’s terrible defensively (poor fielding) and might eventually be a 1B/DH. Alfaro + Eflin + Cesar > Andujar as of now. Cashman will be wise to trade Andujar now and sell him high while he still have the top prospect smell before Andujar gets exposed like Maikel Franco.

            If Jeter like Andjuar, the 3-way trade is already complete by now. If Jeter cannot get Comforto + Rosario at a minimum, he will not trade JTR.

  51. Mccutchen?? Why?? Not totally against it
    Does this take us out of running for Harper? Does this signal a trade of another outfielder?
    Lots of questions to be answered

    1. More likely it positions us to trade one of our controllable OF for a SP. Williams, Altherr, and Cozens are now all extremely expendable. Doobie, too, if they believe in Quinn’s ability to stay on the field. Or maybe Quinn is the one they ship out.

      Dunno how much value any of them have. Doobie should still be very valuable, Williams has some, Quinn is valuable if orgs buy into the tools and discount the injuries as flukes. Cozens and Altherr shouldn’t be getting us much of anything, though.

      1. Doobie (with his team friendly contract) and Nicky Dubs (5 yrs of control) will be my bet to get traded possibly for a SP.

    1. Sort of a weird sideways move in my view, but it could work out if they also sign Harper. He might be pretty good in left field. It says to me that the days of screwing around with guys like Williams and Altherr as starters is probably over for now and it probably means a couple of outfielders, including perhaps Odubel, are likely to be traded. I think they overpaid him by around $10m, but I do love McCutcheon the teammate – this is a really good dude and he’s as good as a clubhouse influence as you’re likely to find and this team needs this type of player to keep the other guys on track.

      1. He’s a definite improvement over Carlos Santana offensively.

        The thing I like even if they don’t move Williams, Quinn etc those guys would be really good off the bench. Nick thrived as a PH last year and Quinn with his durability should really be a 4th outfielder.

        Kingery, Quinn, Williams back up catcher is a solid bench.

  52. Andrew McCutchen . . . I don’t get it. And frankly makes me think we end up with none of Harper or Machado bc I think Machado wants NY and takes a discount. Now I’m a little nervous. Someone tell me why this is a good signing?

    1. EricD…probably right with the Harper pass over.
      But now Manny makes more sense….Cutch provides clubhouse stability.

      1. Agree with Romus. Signing McCutchen is probably as much a clubhouse move as it is a on field move. Segura comes with some baggage. Machado, obviously, has some questions concerning his antics and how they could affect younger players. Harper, to a lesser extent, has had his immature moments.
        This probably sends a message to Boras and Lozano. The Phillies are spending. There may not be as much as that stupid money left if you wait too long.

        1. I’m not sure I get Cutch as a clubhouse move. He pouted when the Pirates moved him from the Cleanup hitter to batting 2nd (because their analytics said to put their best bitter second). And then he pouted again when they moved him out of CF. As someone living in Pittsburgh he was beloved and the face of the a franchise but I never viewed him as a good clubhouse guy.

    2. Because moving Hoskins to 1b means then need both a LF and RF option. McCutchen is the replacement for Santana and has no impact on the Harper/Machado decision

  53. If I’m the Phillies and I am getting uncomfortable with what stupid money really is I’d circle back to Haniger and/or jump on Castellanos. Both of those clubs have payroll they want to dump and neither of those players would require any of our premier prospects.

    Jordan Zimmerman is owed 2/$50 he could easily be attached to Castellanos and we could easily send back a controllable MLB player or two and a mid level rotation prospect. I’ll take Nick and his 800+ OPS and plug it into LF or RF.

    Same for Haniger if it were to help them move Seagar and his $57.5 million

    Add Brantley to that mix as you wait for someone like Haseley and Bohm to come along land Happ and Britton and you have a formidable line-up and pitching staff to compete in the east.

  54. Prompt response does not take Harper out of the picture. Cutch is Brantley with a little bit lower batting average, similar power or +, very similar defensive war, and he is not injury prone. Brantley wants 20 mill per year vs. this signing. This also means there are now too many right handed bats – will need Harper from left side ? Does this make Nick Williams expendable in a trade ?

    1. Getting Harper now, would only mean Klentak’s hands are tied ….he will be forced to move OFers or DFA them for probably nothing in return.That is a position i do not think is his strong suit.
      Harper…Cutch, then Williams …Doobie….Quinn….Altherr….one will have to go

  55. They need a right handed OF so McCutchen makes sense. The top 2 FA OF they are aiming at are Harper and Brantley both left handed whom would be added to an OF of Herrera (lefty), Williams (lefty), and Quinn (switch hitter) along with Altherr who is the only right handed hitter among them.

    This also means the Phils will use an OF to trade to help fill holes or improve team. They have needs for lefty SP or SP upgrade, back end bullpen help, back up catcher, or to add depth/prospect(s) in minors.

  56. Ok, Help me here. Cutch is one of the good guys in Baseball, but he is on the downward slope of his career. Not the excellent CF he used to be, and we are paying him 3 years and $50 Million. Why? He had 95 BBs, good, he hit 20 HRs, overall he was significantly better than the Williams/Altherr production, but $50 Million? And, wouldn’t Brantley have been a better option? Does Williams go in a package for something? Altherr’s value is minimal.

    1. Matt – McCutchen is good enough to start in LF, and back up Quinn in CF. This is adios for Herrera. Altherr can play all three OF positions, and Williams is proven to be a good pinch hitter.

    2. Matt13…Phillies are paying him QO money AAV for three years….that is not a lot for veteran with his experience and resume.

  57. Cutch can’t play CF anymore, but he’s a better defender than Hoskins (obviously) and Williams at a corner OF spot. He’s not being paid a lot so he wouldn’t have to generate that much WAR to make the deal worth it. That said, he hasn’t had a 3+ WAR season since 2015, but I think he could surprise. I’m ok with this signing.

    I think signing Cutch has no bearing on signing Harper. Altherr is not a starter (can’t hit), and I think Williams is not a starter (can’t field). So what’s left is Odubel and Quinn. Having those 2 guys to round out the OF as starters is NOT ideal. The Phillies will make another OF transaction I think.

        1. This is not stupid money. This is more like hoping that his decline won’t come that quickly in the next 3 years.

      1. Any OF in the line up is an upgrade defensively from Rhys and the Phillies already 3 capable back up CF so it’s not necessary a win. I just think that Klentak is working on a trade involving once of the cost controlled OF (most likely Williams) so he already nabbed Cutch before he sign with other teams.

          1. Yeah Cutch is a proven player but already in the wrong side of 30 and declining. Unless he is a member of the Twilight’s Cullen clan, Cutch will continue to decline. Cutch wll not bounce around PIT-SFG-NYY in < 1 year if he is the same proven player that you are thinking.

    1. Guru…but why harper….that means Harper (10 years) and Cutch (3 years) have to play 150 plus games in the corners.
      Klentak will have to move 2 or 3 of the young OFers or a prospect like Haseley, who’s ETA is 2020 at the latest..
      I see Machado being their prime target now, not Harper.

      1. We all love our prospects (probably a little too much), but Haseley is not what some people would consider to be an elite prospect. If he breaks out, we’ll find a spot for him, likely in CF.

        Altherr can’t hit, Williams can’t field, Quinn is injury prone, Odubel is an enigma. Worse comes to worse, Altherr is getting DFAd.

        1. “Altherr can’t hit, Williams can’t field, Quinn is injury prone, Odubel is an enigma.”
          Hey…nobody’s perfect. 🙂

  58. Let’s see were this goes I mean Altherr ,Quinn aren’t everyday outfielders . So you ,Herrera,Williams, Cutch and maybe Harper.

  59. Giving myself a few minutes to digest this, the $ is not all that crazy. It sounds like a lot, but he actually becomes our best overall OF. He played RF for SF, a tough place to play, and he can definitely play a good LF, so defensively we have improved. No compensation, a terrific guy, so I am coming around. Does Herrera, de Los Santos and Medina get Corey Kluber?

    1. ‘Does Herrera, de Los Santos and Medina get Corey Kluber?’…..now that is something that Mike Chernoff and the Indians will think about.

    2. CLE insists on getting a quality OF and seem to like Alex Verdugo from LAD – a MLB ready, cost controlled with high upside. This becomes a the LAD-Machado where the overall package doesn’t matter as the as the trading team gets the player they want. If LAD is willing to let go of Verdugo I don’t think Klentak can do anything about it.

      1. Even better – Cody Bellinger could be available as well. I can’t see any team wanting one of our guys over those two.

        1. Herrera has 4 years MLB experience with a better than average bWAR overall standing….but more importantly it is $$$$ contract.
          Verdugo is just potential at this point…Bellinger would be a good get for the Indians.
          That can be a very attractive selling point.

  60. Interesting move on McCutchen. I read early on in FA that Brantley had an offer on the table from the Phillies, that looks to be rescinded now. McCutchen has similar production, probably cheaper than Brantley wanted.
    What I like about the signing:
    Sends message to other FA, not just the big 2, come and get it while it’s hot…. and still there. Shots fired by the FO
    Good clubhouse dude, needed to keep segura in line, possibly MM
    Strengthens bench by pushing Williams,Herrera, or Quinn there

    What I don’t like
    Not trusting prospects – I understand Hasley is close
    If they sign Harper, what do you need Hasley, Moniak, and others for? Trade bait … sure, but you also need salary relief at some point.

    Interesting see where they go … specifically with pitching. It looks like HAAP to me, or whoever will take a 2 year deal

    As it stands now

    1- Quinn (CF)
    2- Herrera (RF)
    3 – Segura (SS)
    4 – Hoskins (1B)
    5- McCutchen (LF)
    6- Franco (3B)/Kingery
    7-Alfaro -(C)
    8- Hernandez/Kingery (2B)

    What i hope it looks like
    Quinn
    Segura
    Machado
    Hoskins
    Realmuto
    McCutchen
    Herrera
    Kingery/Hernandez

    It could happen, especially with Realmuto. Can now add more to trade

  61. Romus and Mike, you are both correct. It isn’t all that much $, Cutch plays a much better RF than Williams, and certainly improves the D in LF. Why can’t he also be the back up CF and let Roman Quinn get his shot? Altherr is also a good 4th OF. Segura and McCutcheon definitely upgrade the line up.

    1. Plus, he can tutor Quinn. He will be a coach on the field. I like the signing, and if he improves in any offensive metric, then it was an excellent move.

  62. Will Cutch be a $17M/yr 4th OF? Provide significant depth to the roster? I think Klentak is nowhere near finished with the OF. I’m beginning to be convinced that we’ll get Harper. That’s who Middleton wants.

  63. Todd Z just said the Phillies would be ok going into next year going after Nolan A, or the year after Rendon . . . I’m really starting to feel a 76ers off season . . . I can see the ledge . . . ✌🏻

    1. Nats are making an offer to extend Rendon…he is projected for $17M in ’19 in his final arb year…..so he will be a FA in his age30 season in 2020, and the Nats are looking to lock him up, I assume, for 4/5 more years after 2019. Probably until his age34 season

      1. @romus – i think WAS and Rendon will get a contract done. If ROX will not be in the running, they will trade Arenado to LAD and LAD will lock him up next offseason unlike Machado.

        1. yes…Rizzo apparently means business now….not going let him get away like Harper.
          Also heard Madison Bumgarner may be in their sites as well in a trade with the Giants.
          How he can afford all of these top TOR pitchers is mind boggling..

    1. $206mil is the competitive balance limit … for those who didn’t know, bumps 2 mil each of the next 2 years

      1. Phils currently at 89 mil with McCuthen in the fold. Could easily cut 23 mil for next year with Herrera, niacsco from SEA, and hunter. Throw more in for Neshek – replace with minor leaguers to balance our roster.

        1. Don’t forget:
          Add Segura’s $14M and Cutch’s $17M…deduct Santana’s-$20M….add Cesar’s $9 or $10M…..then add up all the approx $600K of non-arb guys….then the arb 1 guys will get a bump up also.

  64. Is Klentak big fish hunting? Sixto’s name has been floating in the trade market….

    1. Swap them if you like, the defense looks improved and the offense should be better. I just want Realmuto, if not , I want Alfaro to step it up this year, he needs to break out if not

  65. Machado will visit Philly, NY and the White Sucks,,,,Machado can be a Phillie by the weekend!

    1. Not this weekend…probably come sin next week when everyone returns home…so the weekend of the 22nd/23rd…before the teams go on their Christmas break.

    2. Time for the FO to decide on sixto, if the right trade is in place … is he destined for the bullpen? Or is he a TOR SP? Is he hurt,injury prone? Will see.

  66. I think I’m second guessing these moves because this offseason was super hyped
    Segura and Cutch add much needed D which will help the pitchers significantly

    We need a solid BP arm and a SP and I’ll feel even better

    Manny wouldn’t hurt either but I’m not counting on it

    1. TrollU…Manny’s final decision on his destination.. comes down to a Tale of Two Cities…Philly or NY.
      I am counting on Andy MacPhail and his past 2010 connection to Manny and his initial foray into MLB to seal the deal.

  67. I think it is (if it in fact it is) pretty shrewd that Klentak is poised to discourage either Harper (especially with Boras) or Machado from playing their waiting game. The Phillies have all the money! If a FA and his reps think they can simply use a financially viable team to bloat their market, the remedy is to fire a shot across their bough, so to speak, by making a significant signing which doesn’t yet preclude a much bigger one. Of course the FA could call their bluff, but is it worth the risk of getting much much less in money AND years from LAD because their market fell dramatically to the Dodgers (for example). Point being, let’s not allow MM or BH to dictate. We have the money!

  68. Machado seems to be between here and the Yanks. Does anyone think he goes to the WSox? I don’t know where Harper goes, unless he takes an LA or Nats offer for less than that $400 Million Boras wanted.

    1. I follow bleacher report team stream
      Several places mentioned it:
      Phillies Nation
      Joe Giglio via nypost.com

          1. Someone on twitter said they’re happy Happ is back with Phillies
            They may be jumping ahead of themselves though
            Mets report states Happ closing in on 3 year deal

            I’m searching twitter. It could all be wrong but I’m bored and trying to help 🙂

    1. Again not sure if it’s legit, but “sources say Phillies and Happ have agreed to a deal”
      Same handle says a Philly rep told him on Dec 4th that Happ would be a Philly for Spring training

      @cybbeat on twitter

      Again, may not be legit.

      I probably should learn real sources because This guy also predicts Manny deal will be done by christmas and Harper deal is 12 years $400mil and will be completed this week.

      Just a guy

    1. Or
      Hernandez
      Segura
      Machado
      Hoskins
      Hererra
      McCutchen
      Alfaro
      Pitcher
      Quinn
      with Williams and Kingery on the bench.

    1. Utley is being hired to work in the Dodgers’ FO … so …. kinda’ makes sense he would recruit Harper for the LAD. The Phillies could/should ask Rhys Hoskins to help in their recruitment of BH.

      In the end, Harper is going to sign with the team that offers him the most money.

        1. I can almost guarantee you the Phillies are not going to give Harper a 12 year deal. That’s all right because no other team is going to do that either.
          In the end, I think something like 10 years @ 350 million (first opt out after year 4 or 5) would get it done for John Middleton.

  69. If NYY will balk at offering Machado $300M, I would have to think that 9 years $325M (about $36M AAV) would be enough to keep him away from the Bronx. Plus multiple opt outs can be considered a given to any deal, which isn’t necessarily bad for the Phillies if their farm is fruitful over the next decade.

    As for Harper, who in the final analysis is the overall better fit here (if not necessarily the better player), he and Boras are also selling his marketability. I can’t see LAD moving pieces and payroll quickly enough to allow them to offer what the Phillies could. And the idea of returning to the Nats as a last resort can’t be very appealing to either Bryce or Boras, probably a shorter term, opt out laden deal.

    I actually see this coming down to a battle between Boras and Lozano. Whomever the Phillies determine to be most signable first leaves the other pretty much with a scaled down market.

  70. Here’s a prediction: Phillies sign Zach Britton today (or maybe tomorrow). They could also announce a JA Happ deal very soon.

      1. The Phillies are on Britton and not on Kimbrel. a LH-RH tandem at the back end of the bullpen is nice and Britton is more amenable to a shorter contract. KImbrel will insists on > 4 yrs and with higher AAV. Klentak will only talk on Kimbrel if they lost on Britton and Kimbrel is still available close to the Spring Training.

  71. Many of you refer to opt outs like they’re good for us. They’re not! If a player has a great year, he’ll use an opt out to leave if he thinks he can make more money. However, if he has a down year or gets hurt we’re stuck paying him for the remainder of the deal.

    1. They’re not good for us in that sense. They are good for us in the sense that they help keep AAV down. It’s a trade off. Not sure if it’s worth it, in this case, but the market will eventually correct itself if it isn’t.

    2. Scott Boras, who else, negotiated the first opt-out clause, inserting it into ARod;s $250M plus deal with the Rangers back in Dec 2000.
      Rodriguez used his opt-out, as have a dozen or so players to have such a clause come due since Rodriguez signed his mega-deal.
      Nevertheless, players want opt-outs.
      They want the flexibility, the option to escape a team or city if things go bad and, of course, the chance to re-enter the free-agent market for another big payday (or to leverage their team into an extension) before their decline occurs.
      Then again…..MLB teams also realized later that giving a player that option—which, in negotiations, is a concession to the player…but that can tip the balance in a bidding war or even limit the length and cost of a contract’s overall commitment—can actually be to the team’s benefit.

    1. If the Phillies are not into Kikuchi, Morton is my next option who prefers to play close to his wife’s Delaware residence and will accept 1-2 years contract. Screw the LH thing, The Phillies just need pitchers who can pitch deep and can get batters out regardless of what had they use to pitch.

        1. But what happens when they get to the World Series in October next year in a 7 game series vs great hitters from the left side!
          What does Kapler do then.
          Lets hope it is the Red Sox again and just have to get Benintendi out 🙂

          1. @romus – so, you are using my words against me since i’ve said before that “i can only see the importance of a LH starter in a playoff series when the opponent is LH heavy” — i still believe that. And if the Phillies are ready in need of a LH – there will be other avenues between now and the 2019 playoffs such as:

            1) Internal options (Jojo, Irvin, Ranger) – people will say that they are unproven and the Phillies have April – Aug to find out if they need to go other avenues.

            2) Trade deadline – some teams will LH starter will play out of contention and will make some of their LH starters available for trade. This is probably the best avenue to look for the needed LH is the Phillies really need it.

            3) August Revocable Waiver – some GMs might decide to dump salary and put their LH in the waivers

            4) Trade – the Phillies have some good assets like MLB ready cost controlled RHP. They can probably a GM who’s looking for RHP help so Klentak can swap some assets for LHP.

      1. If C. Morton takes a one year K with a second year team option or vesting option for reasonable bucks ($35m) – I’m good with that. They need another solid starting pitcher – better if he’s lefty, but a good righty is better than nothing at all and C. Morton can pitch.

        1. Charlie Morton is ready to retire and if not but his uptick in stuff while pitching for the Stros, Morton would have retired already. 1 yr with 2nd yr vesting or similar with that can get Morton to the Phillies.

    2. Is it bad that my literal first reaction to the signing was, “Great, now PP is going to be full of people complaining we didn’t sign Happ”?

      I liked Happ, but I’m still wary of 36 year old pitchers. So this may be a blessing in disguise.

      Also, all those reports about the Phillies being close to a deal with him and then the Yanks get him with the 3rd year offer. Maybe Matty K really IS playing mental chess with other orgs. If the Yanks were willing to go to 3 all along, Happ would have been off the market long ago.

  72. I’m really expecting that Sixto sticks around. Trout remains the only one I’d trade Sixto for. Trading him for two years of a catcher, even a good one, is nuts. I’m ok with the Phils kicking every tire as long as smart decisions are made.

    1. As far as I’m concerned, on the pitching side Sixto and Spencer Howard are near untouchables. Spencer Howard is a kick ass awesome prospect who has tippy top of the rotation potential – a fabulous draft pick (you’re welcome Mr. Howard!! And I’m not just saying that because you read these posts).

    2. @Murray – this is the time when smoke screens and truths are interchangeable. Throwing Sixto out there sends signal that the Phillies are ready to play the big boys game whether it’s via trade of FA. So far I can see the Phillies hand in a lot of things which basically made other GMs to act, reaction and commit.

  73. Plan C time. I know there are some here who think our SP is just fine. I am not one of them. I have seen nothing that shows we are in on Morton, so that leaves a trade. BTW, for those who I disagreed with over Corbin. The way the deal was structured has Corbin getting $35 Million in year 6. I would not have done that. That is just dumb, I agree. It has a relatively low salary in the first 2 years. I didn’t have a problem with the 6th year, but not a chance I pay $35 Million in year 6. So, you guys were right, I was wrong. I am not wrong, however, on our need for a SP.

    1. Matt13 …Phillies still at 37, not counting Cutch yet on the 40….so tomorrow they may look to draft a pitcher or two I assume.

      1. Matt13…..if they can sign one of the two big guys….perhaps some of the surplus assets can be packaged to the DBacks for Robbie Ray…..that is a possibility.

      2. Romus … Klentak should take a flyer on (Dodgers 3B prospect) Christian Santana tomorrow if he’s still available when the Phillies pick. If not, maybe he can pick someone and trade him for J2 money. They did that last year when they drafted Nick Burdi and then dealt him to Pittsburgh for 500K J2 bucks.

        1. Hinkie……like you….i want the money…J2 money that is in almost all the trades somehow.
          The more up to $8M the better to keep that pipeline flowing from the start.
          And if they sign the right kids..i e Luis Garcia ..that 5/6 year maturity wait time could be less
          Tomorrow LHP former first round pick ,Tyler Jay will be on the board….but not sure he will last into the teens, but Klentak likes taking a pitcher at times. So he could be another selection.
          Also, not sure if Klentak is still in Vegas..some GMs have already left….passing on the Rule 5 tomorrow morning.

          1. Tyler “the guy drafted before the Ninendo guy” Jay — is a good project pick for the Phillies as a LH pen arm if they intend to contend in 2019. Not really a fan of Jay since he is no better than Austin Davis.

            1. i think I forgot to insert “don’t” —it should say “if they DON’T intend to contend”….

            2. Denny….unfortunately Matt Klentak may look at the Rule 5 as going to the Dollar Store….what can I get for a buck…oh I can use this and that!

    2. The Phillies are as connected to Morton as anyone, for what it’s worth. There hasn’t been much news about him in general. But his own public stances make the Phillies a strong option and most everyone agrees it’s likely either the Phils or the Astros.

      But either way, the Phils are in agreement on your SP assessment. They’ll get someone.

    3. I assume the Nats back-loaded the contract because they are in a bit of a $$$ crunch currently, especially if they are looking to extend Rendon and be players with any other FA options this season. I disagreed with your opinion regarding going to the 6th year but I wouldn’t declare yourself wrong based on the terms he accepted. If the Phillies had been willing to go to the 6th year, I expect he would have gotten more money up-front…

      1. Looking close on the Corbin deal, $10 million of the $35 million in year six is deferred money to be paid between the end of 2024 & January, 2026.

        The Nationals love those deferred money contracts..

  74. I agree with the need to acquire a SP (preferably a LHP) to bolster the rotation. But the Phillies shouldn’t just sign one just to check this out of their to do list. The Phillies should acquire a SP that is good and better than what they currently have in the roster.

    On the LHP side, Corbin and Kikuchi are the obvious choice since they are good and can be good for at least 3 years. Other than Cobin and Kikuchi, most alternatives are short term in nature. Short term is fine, as long as the Phillies will not commit to them long term.

    On the RHP, the FA is weak. Morton offers a good combination of stable rotation arm, short term commitment and preference to play for the team — Morton is basically a slam dunk if LH is not a requirement.

    My point is, the Phillies doesn’t really have a a good option in the FA market other than Kikuchi, Happ and Morton (both Happ and Morton are ok to sign short term). If Keuchel will not price himself out, then he’s a good target. I just don’t want the Phillies to thrown $$ to garbage pitchers just to say they acquired a SP.

    1. I just don’t see Kikuchi in their plans . . . Kapler didn’t know a thing about him. Wouldn’t you think he would know SOMETHING if they were seriously looking at him? I know that it’s the FO not the manager however I would think the FO talks to him about their plans. Just don’t think it’s even a remote possibility.

      1. @Eric D – i don’t think Kapler has anything to do with the Front Office’s plan this offseason. Yeah, they might talk to Kapler for sure but like what Tywin Lannister always say “the Lion doesn’t care about the opinion of a sheep”.

        If the Phillies are not into Kikuchi it is because they believe that the have no shot of acquiring Kikuchi and has nothing to do with what Kapler say or think. Kapler is more of a Klentak guy and Middleton is the once calling the shots this offseason.

        1. You misunderstood what I was saying . . . I’m not saying it’s bc Kapler doesn’t want him. I’m saying that I would assume the front office has had talks with Kapler about what they are looking to do in the off season, and i’m sure they mentioned names. I would think that if they brought up Kikuchi as someone they were interested in, Kap would do some digging into the player. When asked about him he knew nothing, that seems odd to me. I know it’s the FO who does all the dealing but again I would think the manager is involved at least a little bit. Maybe that made more sense.

          1. Kapler’s main task is to manage the team – players already in the 25-man. “Digging” into the player is the role of the scouts, player development/evaluation or some other team not the skipper. International scouts are probably the group of people that Middleton to do the digging.

            Kapler already had his hands full in his skipper and Middleton will ask him to do some digging for the players they are interested? Kapler doesn’t have enough experience and clout to affect the FO decision making process.

            1. You are telling me if you are the manager of a team and the FO talks to you about their plans and bring up a pitcher who would come over from Japan (That’s kinda a big thing, bigger than just a normal FA), you wouldn’t want to know anything about him? It seems like Kapler would be the type to look into someone. Again, maybe i’m being to logical tho.

      2. The Phillies made a couple or big decisions this offseason – Segura and Cutch and I don’t see any link to what Kapler say before the FO made the decision.

          1. How it is different then? If the Phillies wants to do some investigation about Kikuchi, they will send international scouts and anybody who have relationships and connections related to Kikuchi. This is not the job of a team skipper like Kapler. At the most, Kapler can name some players he like but that’s it.

            1. It’s different bc he’s seen both of those guys play, he’s managed against them and he’s prob even played against them. He is familiar with them which is why it’s different.

          2. @Eric D – i think our difference in opinion goes down to how we view Kapler. I just think that Kapler doesn’t have any clout yet to get Middleton’s ear. McPhail even said that Kapler is a Klentak decision. Kapler might be a smooth talker but he made some mind boggling decisions last year that made Middleton shook his head. When Kapler said that he doesn’t know a thing about Kikuchi it is because it is not his job to scout and evaluate and international prospect like Kikuchi. If Middleton wants to know something about Kikuchi, the Phillies sent a team to scout him and they will be the one giving Middleton inputs not Kapler.

            1. Yes. The Phillies were in Japan this season, and scouted Yusei Kikuchi multiple times. They have been one of the teams reported to like the LHSP. BTW … I like him too. Hopefully, Klentak waves some of Middleton’s stupid money in front of Kikuchi.

  75. interesting question:
    what would be a successful offseason acquisition wise if we do not end up with MM or harper?
    losing Happ is not the end of the world, would still like to add a LHP to rotation but options dwindling
    may have to go with Suarez or Irvin and consider at the deadline

  76. I saw that there are some intriguing names available in Rule 5. I wouldn’t mind if the Phillies don’t draft any prospects from Rule 5 as I want the Phillies fix their sight on the main target – Harper and Machado. Although I like the suggestion to draft someone in Rule 5 and flip for some IFA $$.

  77. Phillies will spend stupid money
    They’ve lost out on two solid SP because of one year
    What a joke
    If they go in to the season with current rotation and bullpen…I’m not sure they win wild card
    It’s still early, but just my assessment

    1. The Phillies did the right thing. Their main goal is Harper and/or Machado – the rest are secondary. It is not a joke – it becomes a joke when the Phillies spend stupid money by overpaying secondary players and take them out of their main target. Corbin will not move the needle. Same with Happ.

        1. Yes, the Phillies has some controllable and MLB assets that they can move to fill the holes —- Eflin, Williams, Doobie and DLS are good candidates to be sent in a package for a SP.

          The forever trade bait Adonis Medina and arms in the low minors are also good trade assets for the Phillies.

          I believe that the Phillies will prioritize a LH pen than a LH SP.

          1. I see Phillies trading for a SP, getting a FA RP 8th inning type guy, FA back-up catcher, and try to get Machado or Harper. I believe they only get 1 and if they blow by other offers.

        2. I say the Phillies will trade for a SP who hasn’t been mentioned here. Don’t ask me who. McCutchen came out of left field. Pun intended.

  78. Maybe reading in to it but when Boras was asked how the talks with Philly went, he said something about you should ask the Phillies
    Doesn’t sound promising

  79. My guess, based on more years of reading Boras tea leaves than I care to admit, and having a fair amount of knowledge of how he operates from living in Orange County and near him is that he was letting the Phillies know he wasn’t impressed with what they offered.

    Boras is the kind of guy who generally waxes poetic when he is impressed with a particular team or leadership group and I am guessing he wasn’t that impressed with MK or his offers for either Harper or Britton.

    Now I do know that Boras has a great admiration and relationship with Middleton so this comment from Scotty B doesn’t necessarily doom the Phillies, though it sure throws cold water on the perception that Harper is Philly bound [I never believed it].

    I think Boras hopes Middleton will read the quotes and decide he needs to get involved, which we all know he will have to if either MM or Harper are coming to the city of Brother Love.

    Personally I think Harper is headed to LA, they always seem to get the guy they truly want [see MM this past summer] and despite denials I believe Magic DID visit Harper in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago because the Dodgers KNOW it will be an ownership decision to sign him and Magic is the most visible owner on the club.

    1. CA has the highest state income tax in the nation at 13.3% I believe! If he does land there (it makes sense its the closest city to Vegas with an MLB team) I can’t wait to see what the number is.

      To boot when Boras manages to get an owner involved it usually ends badly for said owner.

      1. Perhaps if LAD signs Harper at some outrageous deal….that may take them out of the Arenado market next year.

  80. Tampa gets Charlie Morton 2 yrs/$30 Million. He is an upgrade over Eflin VV, Pivetta, Eickhoff. I didn’t read anything that said we were in on him in any significant way. I would have signed him for that deal.

    1. That is very disappointing. You’d think he would have taken that money from the Phils in an instant. Bad non-sign at least until I see what else they do.

      1. Does seem daunting all of this maneuvering.
        But like the article said…if the Yankees do stay at 10/300M and no higher…than Phillies have a legit chance to land Machado if he wants the extra money.

        1. I feel a void in my stomach after following all these comments. I don’t feel we are going to do anything substantial after this and our year will bring us further away from the ring.

  81. Brantley is looking more attractive by the minute as well. I’ll take Cutch in right Brantley in left Doobie in CF and Quinn backing up all of them.

    Not sure what he is looking for but I’d offer him the same deal as McCutchen and turn my focus to relief help.

    1. get your thought but doesnt this team need more power somewhere? in this park, Hoskins and a few guys who max out in the low 20’s doesnt seem like nearly enough.

  82. McKlentak striking out on pitching Free Agents so far with whiffing on Corbin, Happ and Morton. The first two were because of additional years but not sure on Morton unless he does not want to bat (which was how he was hurt with the Phillies).

    1. The Reds are talking to the Blue Jays about Marcus Stroman and the Yankees about Sonny Gray, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

      “Stroman would likely be more expensive to acquire, but with his groundball ability, he’d be a particularly good fit in Cincinnati. The Reds also haven’t ruled out Corey Kluber, but he’d be quite a bit more difficult to land. Dec 12 – 3:17 PM
      Source: Jon Morosi on Twitter”

      ……he did miss 40% of the season last year, so he may be obtained for one of the four VV/Eflin/Pivetta/Eichkoff and a prospect….IMO a 5’8″ pitcher like him or Sonny Gray can be risky.

    1. the front office is unwilling to take risks. that may in the end be smart but there better be a backup plan. this is 82 win team as currently constructed.

        1. Wawa, don’t you find it peculiar how TrollU and sr often post around the same time? As if….oh, never mind.

            1. I actually like the moves they have made so far. im just advocating that a big market team that can be at the luxury task every yr be a little more aggressive.

            2. I’m not sr
              I’ve been the same poster using my same username using my same email address
              I’d imagine the moderator can verify that if you have any doubts

              Because I don’t agree with others that the Phillies will get Manny or Harper or are having a great offseason, makes me negative?

              I am just not drinking the red koolaid just yet. The moves are improvement but they aren’t backing up the bark of Middleton

        1. agreed. maybe there is a vision we are not seeing. im not advocating a specific trade or signing but winning teams take risks just not foolish risks. im not actually adverse to going with younger starters but then want to see additions to fortify lineup and bullpen

        2. Romus – I see Ray as equal to what we already have, but from the left side, and older with more miles on his arm.. Having said that, I agree with Hinkie that Kikuchi would be worth a shot.

  83. Lynn to Rangers 3 yrs/$30M. I was not interested in him so no complaints there, also Roark to Reds. It certainly looks like MacPhail’s influence against signing FA pitching unless at their #. He likes to grow the arms, however our arms are not close. If we do nothing more, our team may look better on paper but isn’t better in reality. 3rd in the Division, the pitching just isn’t good enough. Washington is better even without Harper, the Braves are better, and have a better farm. Segura and Cut h are nice additions, but only part of the puzzle. No star, no upgrade at SP and no upgrade in the BP.

  84. No one has ever seen sr and TrollU in the same room together.

    The only way the Phils get MM is if the Yankees don’t want him.

  85. Charlie — Or if he’s willing to take less money from the Yankees. If Middleton wants him, he will NOT be outbid.

  86. Mike, I don’t want to trade any of them. I have been against any rumor involving Sixto or Medina, and we can add Spencer Howard to that list. I wanted a FA so we don’t trade a young arm. Happ was going to let the Yanks match any deal, Corbin has been discussed to death, Morton was never rumored to be engaged by us, so I don’t know where the pitching will come from. None of the kids is ready and probably won’t be until 2020. Now we are rumored to be in on Keuchel. Why will we give him the years he wants but lose out everywhere else over years? I think Bowden and Olneyand Heyman and Rosenthal just pick us to sign every FA because they figure they will get it right once!

    1. The young pitching in the system is going to be what allows the org to carry these big long-term contracts for Machado, Harper, etc. Unless they’re getting young, controllable pitching or a true star (I won’t say the name everyone thinks, because I know it will never happen), they shouldn’t look to trade any of them.

  87. If the Phillies don’t get one of the big 2, I hope they go into the season with their current staff, beef up the bullpen. I think most fans forget how the SP was a strength, not to mention we have. Reinforcements on the way. If Nola takes a slight step back, Arrietta doesn’t fade, Pivetta takes his next step, VV or Eflin puts it together and Eickhoff comes back as I plan 🙂 … with an improved offense and defense … I’d rather they wait till next year to add vs just making a fa signing for the sake of it.

    I’ll be shocked if they don’t get either Harper or MM, the peacocking is picking up with Boras… must be pissed he won’t get 400 million lmao

      1. First…lost a few ticks off the FB velo, then the slider…slider was his bread and butter pitch, rated 55/60 when the Tigers drafted him, but when the lower velo on the FB, he got few bites on the off the plate slider.

  88. Boras states that Harper is at the point where interested teams can make a deal happen at any time
    At fear of being called negative for giving an opinion, I won’t give any input.

    I don’t think the Phillies have had a bad offseason, it just doesn’t match how Middleton was talking like it would be. Top targets have gone elsewhere, etc. Sorry if that thought is negative.

    1. To me it is part of the chess match with boras. He knows at the minimum, the Phillies will have a top 3 offer, most likely top 2. He knows that the Ownership group wants a superstar to add to the business … so our FO is probably telling him to get all other offers, will top it, but .. the catch is whether or not our FO believes that the #’s boras/MM agent present are legit or the Phillies are bidding against themselves. Harper is a very nice player to have, but I feel like boras is really really over valuing him. He was said to be looking at 400mil at one point, 275mil is probably fair, and a bit of an overpay for him, yet he is likely to get 350mil … the Phillies don’t want to pay more than they have to and the agents are trying to bleed a stone for their clients… it’s going to be a bit. The way I see it… rumors will spread that the big 2 are signing elsewhere to push the Phillies to raise the bar, then they’ll come back in late as the lead dog. LAD is probably trying to get them for a set price, if not, they will drive the price up on the Phillies. Happy negotiating!

      1. Tac3…I found it funny yesterday, Boras says Harper ‘hustles’, plays like ‘hair on fire’, will be loved in a blue-collar town……said everything other than …he is the complete opposite of Many Machado.
        Selling Harper to the Phillies in cost comparison model.

  89. I just wanted to clarify my position if my posts have sounded negative
    I’ve been a fan since 1972
    I’m frustrated because I see a big market team that hasn’t been near the playoffs since 2011. going on ten years now. that shouldn’t happen to a big market team
    I don’t want them to be reckless but I also don’t want to see them miss out on players that can help them due to one extra year on a contract
    big market teams don’t worry about eating one extra yr
    I like the seguira and McC moves
    I just don’t think those are enough to get them past the braves and nats
    hopefully we’ll see percentage improvements in all their young players and pitchers and that will increase the win total
    I’m also ok if they decide to move forward with their young pitchers as long as they fortify the bullpen and lineups, defense
    clearly they have opportunities to make improvements still
    I also don’t have faith yet in MK and middleton until they show me they’ve earned the faith.

  90. From the beginning of the free agency this year I didn’t think Manny or Bryce were coming to the Phils. I think (thought) Middleton would push the stupid money meter off the deep end but both would probably like to play somewhere else. I hope I’m wrong but I’ve been trying to figure out how to build a team without one or both of those guys. I think McCutchen was a very good choice because he’ll play up in CBP and his defense makes this a better team. Segura is a very good choice for the same reasons. If you can’t have one or both of the big FAs then improve the defense and make some pickups and/or trades to tweak a few things. I’m not looking for a WS this year so just work on putting the team on better footing.

    At the beginning of the 2008 season, I posted a comment on this board about how the Phils could win the WS that year. There were a lot of if this or that happens, the sun shines on good days and there would be rain or snow on some other days when the mudders (horse racing term not a statement about those guys in NY) are playing and especially the baseball gods like what they see and add a little umph. We’ll see how the offseason plays out and maybe another post like that will be coming. I’ve never done a post like that before or since but, for some reason, I decided to do that post in early 2008. I’m not a prognosticator and I won’t waste time creating such a post unless I actually see something that makes me feel like 2008 again. Not there yet.

    I guess I already wasted too much of your time, if you read this.

  91. Here is a hot take…the Phillies will either get both Harper AND Machado at a price way above market or will get neither. I don’t think that one of them will come to Philly to be the savior. Too much pressure when you can go to Dodgers or Yankees and not have as much pressure.

    At this point I think the odds are that they get neither. Hope I am wrong. But feels like we are being used to drive up price and will come in second place on both. Again, hope that I am wrong.

    1. V1again,
      If I’m agent, i need 3 teams interested, check – I bough LA to the table. Great. Now I have the 3 bigggest markets to drive the price up. I have one who verbally stated they will be spend stupid amounts. 1 team would like my superstar to push them over the playoff hump to a title, and the other are the yanks, who bleed money. thenphils have the most to lose, so I’m going to squeeze them the hardest to drive the price, in turn LA & NY will turn up the pressure, and in turn my commission will go way up . Top players will know to come to me. Not only will I get them big pay days, but I’ll get them into top markets

      Whenever these deals go down, the rumor mill is going to
      Be on fire, worse than last deadline with who was in the lead for Manny/BAL. it will be used to drive up the prices, it’s going to be up to the FO to determine what is real and what is not, because he team would like push up the price on each other.

      This is a scenario imo where collusion could be good for mlb, as these agents are trying to push crazy numbers for the wrong player. What is trout worth then?

    2. I agree with the above . . I think it’s both or none however i’m leaning towards none which would be more than a disappointment. But could you imagine a time up with both?

      1. Hernandez 2B
      2. Segura 22
      3. Harper OF
      4. Machado 3B
      5. Hoskins 1B
      6. McCutchen OF
      7. Herrera OF
      8. Alfaro C

      That has to rival the best line ups in baseball . . . I mean 2-6 (even 2-7) are all potential All Stars (McCutchen being the least likely IMHO). That gives you so much flexibility to move others players to improve your pitching.

    3. the interesting decision is if the Yankees offer MM 300 and the Phillies offer 350,
      is MM and his agent going to turn down 50 million dollars ?

    4. Signing both would certainly fill CBP again, and the ratings would be through the roof. The glut of young pitching in the system would also allow them to carry the inflated position player salaries once Arrieta’s deal is up, with Sixto/Medina/Romero/Howard/etc. hopefully holding down rotation roles at pre-arb dollars. Oh, and this team would certainly score some runs:

      Hernandez
      Segura
      Harper
      Machado
      Hoskins
      McCutchen
      Herrera
      Alfaro

      (Yikes)

      If it’s the luxury tax that they’re concerned with, couldn’t the Phils front-load contracts for Harper and Machado while everyone else on the roster is cheap?

        1. Ah. That makes sense. I was wondering why the MLB salaries are so uniform year-after-year compared to other professional leagues.

  92. Rule 5 draft in a few hours.
    I see Klentak taking a chance on a lefty pitcher….two former first round picks come to mind as possibilities, Tyler Jay and north Jersey’s Rob Kaminsky.

    1. no harm in making a selection but there seems to be a glut of pitchers for the 25man roster. is there really an opportunity for an inexperienced lefty to stick with the big league squad all year?
      guys like santos and Irvin are probably ready for opportunities that probably wont be there without injuries

  93. After listening to Jayson Stark on 94WIP this morning, my sense is that while the Phillies prefer Manny from a pure baseball standpoint, Harper seems to be the more likely get, with the most money/years for Boras/Harper being the lynch pin. He did say that it’s possible we get neither, of course.

  94. Although I’m not that totally disappointed, but missing on Morton for $30M I think is a missed opportunity. Being a risk taker and optimistic person, I like to believe that the Phillies missing on some SP FAs means to me that they are planning for something bigger. At the start of the offseason, I predicted that the Phillies will acquire the following:

    1) Superstar
    2) Established player
    3) Another FA

    My initial thought that it will be Machado-Brantley-Britton. I actually forgot that Cutch is a FA and I’m happy to have him over Brantley. So Middleton still owe me my Superstar and another FA, I wished for Machado but Harper will do! And for another FA, I still think that they are still into Britton although working with Boras to sign Harper to a mega-deal I’m starting to give the Phillies the chance to be a player for the Kikuchi guy!!!

    I also predicted that the Phillies will have a fruitful discussion with CLE involving one of their SPs. I mentioned Carrasco, but his agent sticks and decided to get underpaid but I think the Phillies are still in play for one of the Indian’s SP arms.

    1. Definitely a head scratcher for sure. I would’ve given him that deal. Maybe there’s something we don’t know behind the scenes from his time here. Seemed like an odd decision to let him walk in the first place when he was here.

  95. What’s the name of the 3B that Hinkie likes? I couldn’t find that post. Also, sr, I agree with you completely. I have been a fan since 1961, and seen some horrid baseball. I like the McCutchen deal and the Segura trade, but those are deals any team can make. I want to see us use our “big market” resources, and that may mean an extra year that we can easily absorb. I am not referring to Corbin. I did see our SP be a strength last year, and I also saw them fade badly down the stretch. Was there a single Quality Start from Pivetta, VV or Eflin from August 1st on? Add Eickhoff and de Los Santos and Ranger and JoJo and Cole Irvin. None hace shown they are, or will be, a #3 SP on a Playoff team. Maybe someday, but not yet. And, the chances that all are good is so slim I can’t count that high. 2 should be in the Rotation, maybe 1 in the BP, one traded for something of value to win this year, and 5 comprise the LHV Starting Rotation. Then we can see who emerges. I want to make the Playoffs this year. Maybe Happ was always going back to the Yankees, but I would have offered him his 3rd year guaranteed and seen what he did, maybe Morton didn’t want to come here, Corbin got too many years. But, all would be #2 or #3 for us this year without giving up prospects or current Major League talent. Keuchel can pitch. Maybe not at a Cy Young level, but well enough to help us this year. Won’t the years be an issue with him, also? A Morton or Happ would look very nice in our Rotation. I don’t think the SP is good enough. I don’t think the BP is good enough. What makes anyone think we will not lose good BP arms over years as well? Famiglia just got 3 years, how does Zach Britton or Andrew Miller not get 4?

    1. Matt13:
      Another Santana.,,,per MLB.com
      Cristian Santana
      : 3B/1B Age: 21 DOB: 02/24/1997
      Bats: R Throws: R Ht: 6′ 2″ Wt: 175 lb.
      Signed: April 21, 2014 – LAD
      Scouting grades: Hit: 45| Power: 50 Run: 45| Arm: 60 Field: 50 Overall: 45
      Signed for $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic as the 2013-14 international signing period came to a close, Santana led the Rookie-level Arizona League with eight homers in his 2016 U.S. debut. A shaky performance in instructional league that fall left the Dodgers wondering if he could survive against better pitching, but he made adjustments and had a spectacular 2017. He batted .537 with five homers in 10 games at Rookie-level Ogden, hit .322 at Class A Great Lakes and then went 7-for-17 (.417) in the high Class A California League playoffs for a combined .366/.394/.556 line.
      Santana has worked to calm down his right-handed stroke, allowing him to get more out of his electric bat speed. But he has met few pitches that he won’t chase and overswings too often, traits that have proven to be his undoing in his return to the Cal League this year. He needs to develop an approach at the plate and realize that he has so much natural pop that he doesn’t have to sell out for home runs.
      Santana has an easy plus arm and the ability to make throws from any angle necessary at third base, though his accuracy needs to improve. His decent speed and quickness have led Los Angeles to play him at all four infield spots, though he’s better suited for the corners.

    2. Cristian Santana is who Hinkie is talking about. I like Richie Martin who I thought was locked to be protected but apparently not.

    3. Maybe Cole Irvin is the new Happ. Eflin, Pivetta or Vinnie could ne Morton. Save money in these old pitchers and get the hitting. Just saved $32million on these 2 guys. Cost of our whole pitching staff. Get the hitting.

      1. Denny….I saw Happ’s rookie game back a decade ago in hot June vs the Mets….not very good, in fact can be called pretty lousy with a capital ‘L”…and he was in his mid-20s.
        But he rebounded and so it can take awhile for pitchers, and especially lefties to find their groove.
        I think Irvin will be a MLB pitcher…..but do not expect Hamels right away.

  96. I don’t agree that Harper and Machado do not want to sign and play for the Phillies because they don’t want the pressure to be the saviors. Both players expect to be paid and it is really lame that they are scared of any pressure for the $$ they want. I can understand the preference to play for a specific team/market but to say that they can’t handle pressure is bogus.

    If Middleton is willing to open his wallet, then both Harper and Machado can be had. I’m not talking about spending and emptying the bank account —- but basically what the current market is dictating —- range of $320M/10 to $350M/12.

    1. KuKo…..”I don’t agree that Harper and Machado do not want to sign and play for the Phillies because they don’t want the pressure to be the saviors”
      …..then would you agree…. they just do not like to be in Philadelphia.
      When it comes to LA or NY….Philly ain’t the happening scene.
      So let them go and try what they do, somewhere else.
      Manny can hustle his way vs the Sox for the next 10 years and come up short…and Harper may like the notoriety,weather and maybe the convenience of LA and southern Cal…3/4 hours from his hometown.
      Phillies will have to survive without either if that is the case…..I think they can.

      1. @romus – i think it is more fair and accurate to say that “both Harper and Machado prefer to play for a team ahead of the Phillies” — saying that they do not like to be in Philadelphia (or teams other their preference) is unfair and wrong,

        And I also do not agree with the rest of your post. If a team wants to win, they have to put talent to the team. If there’s elite talent available, it’s better to have that elite talent playing for you and not against you to increase your chances of winning.

        I’m hard on Klentak but I agree with him when he said “We cannot be sentimental in constructing the team” — this should be the mindset if you want to increase you chance of winning.

        1. KuKo…”saying that they do not like to be in Philadelphia (or teams other their preference) is unfair and wrong,”….why, personal preferences are not welcomed?
          So we agree to disagree

          1. @Romus – recently, Corbin ditched NYY to go to WAS. Morton ditched the Delaware are to play for TB, this list will go on and on. It is not about preference for the FAs, it’s about the $$. Cliff Lee is the only notable big FA that choose preference over bigger $$ that I remember.

            We always agree to disagree and I’m fine with it.

            1. Yes…it is about the money in almost every instance….and also depends on how much Middleton will be ‘stupid’ with it.
              Been reading $350M…or $35M AAV…for Manny or Harper….not sure he is willing to go that high.
              But will have to see.

            2. The ball is really in MIddleton’s hand right now since he can really afford both if he wants to. I’m still optimistic that the Phillies can sign both, but getting away with at least one is still good. I trust that Middleton will his guy Harper.

            3. Its not just middleton’s check book here, which is in the billions, there are other sources; other owners, merchandise, tickets, sponsorship, media, etc. We have the resources.

          2. I think he means it more like, just because they have places they prefer doesn’t mean they wouldn’t STILL like Philly.

            I prefer Reese’s, but I still enjoy a Snickers.

            1. Maybe some of that preference is linked to the proximity to the World Series in October.
              Yankees and Dodgers do seem to have the better odds these days, with the Sox and ‘Stros ..at least from what the bookmakers have them.

            2. @romus – the MLB players are not as blatant as the NBA players when it comes to winning championships. NBA players seems to be ok with the underpayment and sitting in the bench just to get the ring.

              MLB has more parity so MLB players are fine joining any team as long as the ownership is committed in putting together a competitive team that can go deep into the playoffs.

            3. The White Sox are trying to sell Harper on their projected near term run of playoff contention. The Phillies are selling NOW. The louder voices insist the Yankees are somehow in on him. The Dodgers have lots of furniture to either re-arrange or discard before they can manage a behemoth contract.

              Last night, Jason Martinez of MLBTR maintained his prediction of Harper to PHI and Machado to CHW.

              I agree that CHW plays a huge role in how things turn out. If NYY wants Machado bad enough, they get him and he them. Then Harper either comes here or goes to the South Side of the Windy City.

    2. If you can go to a lineup where you hit between Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge or one where you hit between Odubel and Hoskins, which one would you choose?

      1. @v1again – you know that the decision is not based on that. Why did Harper and Machado decided to test free agency?!? It’s because they want to maximize the $$. Both players will follow where the best financial opportunity is and the rest are just secondary.

        If we follow your thought process, then MLB should just cut the league into 4-6 teams since most players with either want to play in LA, BOS, NYY, etc.

        1. I am saying, if the money is close…if the Phillies WAY over pay, then sure, they will get them. But if the money is close, it really is a no-brainer to go to other teams/markets

          1. $10 million is a lot to you and me…but $10 million over a 10 year contract after agent fees and taxes is immaterial to the decision.

            So if the Phillies bid $310 and the Yankees bid $300, then the Yankees will get Machado. If the Phillies bid $350 vs. $300, then yes, they have a chance. But if the money is close, then we have no chance.

          2. Yes, Middleton should put extra $$ similar to what WAS did to snatch Corbin away from NYY ($140M vs $100M). I estimated a range of $320M-$350M, I think Middleton will give into it — it’s 4-6 prime years.

            1. The Philadelphia fan base and journalists need to take a more positive view of FAs, the team and the city to get players to want or accept signing with us. If it’s all equal or we offer a little more, we need to be a destination.

            2. @Denny – i think that’s old news. Corbin and Happ didn’t sign with the Phillies because they follow the $$ – Phillies doesn’t want to go 6 yrs and 3 yrs for Cordin and Happ respectively. I’m sure Morton would love to sign and play for the Phillies but apparently the Phillies are not after him. Even Harper said that he feels comfortable playing in Philly too!! Why do you think Cutch signed for the Phillies for less than he wanted when other teams ATL in particular are interested with him too?

              The City as a sports town have its own share of high profile athletes who love playing for the Philly fans – Wentz, Ertz, Jeffery, Cox, Embiid, Butler, Simmons, G, Simmons are good athletes and known nationally and internationally. Don’t sell your City too low.

          3. Maybe yes and maybe no. It really depends on the individual. I think what you’re saying could be correct for some players, but I think others are more concerned about the team, the environment, the team’s prospect moving forward, etc. And some players would prefer not to be in a pressure cooker like NYC (for example, I don’t Cliff Lee had any special desire to play there) so, it really just depends.

          4. I’m thinking if the Yankees offer Machado 10 years 325 the Phillies are going to need to be in the 375-400 range. It’s going to need to be a significant overpay.

  97. World Series odds as of today . . .

    Bos/Houston/LAD/NYY +700

    CHC/MIL/STL +1200

    ATL/CLE +1400

    PHI +1600

    WSH +2000

    Other notable teams: Mets +3300, Miami +15000, Baltimore +2500

    10th best world series odds. Interested to know where that would drop to if they signed one of the big 2. Def would jump Atl and Cle.

  98. @TrollU and Sr – I don’t think you’re the same and that you’re posts are negative. But I perceived both of you as a very impatient fans — and it is more surprising to me that you are impatient if you were fans for a long time. I’m not sure if both of you are truthful or just trolling. I mostly observe impatience with the younger generations who grew up in the age of “On Demand”. These generations expect to get what they want — PRONTO!!!

  99. If there’s one tactic that the Phillies can employ over the likes if NYY, LA is — the Phillies can “front load” the contract structuring it in a way that Harper or Machado will get 50% of the contract value in first 4 years (of a 10-year contract) or first 5 years (of a 12-year contract).

    The next 4-5 years will be the “peak years” and having a super high AAV in the peak years can probably help convince Harper and Machado to stay with the contract. Harper and Machado will probably negotiate for an opt out years (i.e. yrs 2, yrs, 4, yrs 6, etc) so the high AAV can help and if Harper and Machado decided to stay for the duration of the contract, the financial hit in the downward hits is not as much.

    1. KuKo…and do not forget…the AAV counts vs the luxury tax.
      So Middleton may have to be willing to pay the tax for a few years.

    2. @romus – yes, I consider that too. the Phillies cleared payroll to prepare themselves for this offseason. And the reason why i suggested the “front loading” it is because the Phillies have less commitment before Nola, Rhys and others are due for a bump in 4-6 years. If Klentak can navigate his way around the salary structure the way Howie did, the Phillies should not be concerned with the luxury tax.

    3. Kuko, just out today, Cutch’s contract has him making only $10M in ’19, $17M in ’20 and $20M in ’21. Interesting breakdown if you ask me.

      1. @8mark – see my response to Dan K below. I think it is in line with the following:

        1) The Phillies have commitments to Nicasio, Hunter and Neshek of $26M in 2019 so lowering Cutch’s 2019 seems fit especially if the Phillies east some of the contract when they trade them.

        2) The Phillies lost of Happ because they don’t want a 3rd year. So I expect that the Phillies will pursue another FA – whether a veteran bench guy, pen or innings eater SP for 1-2 years.

        3) Possibility of a 1-year high AAV signing?

    1. I think it’s more on their intention to sign another FA for 1-2 years only. Happ is probably the target but NYY offered him a year 3. Britton, if he’s ok with 2 years with 3rd yr club option, fits into that too.

      1. Plus the Phillies also have 3 relievers (Nicasio, Hunter, Neshek) with big contracts in 2019 so the $10M for 2019 is a smart decision since the Phillies might end up eating some of the RPs contracts when they trade them

  100. I hate to complain about something without an idea to fix it, but baseball’s “hot stove” season just really falls flat these days compared to the NFL and especially the NBA. Things move so fast in those two sports within a week or two and it is so exciting. Baseball was that way but as the FO’s have become more informed/patient, it really makes the off season a drag rather than exciting. Not sure how to fix that, but I think it’s the new reality.

    1. One thing that could help is change the draft to be during the Winter. I’m not entirely sure why it isn’t to begin with. That would also mean kids don’t have to worry about it during the College World Series.

      That would give GMs less to do during the season, I suppose. But I’m sure they could adjust.

  101. I just ran through most of the posts from this morning. Here are a few thoughts:

    * No matter what you read (and there is a lot of misinformation thrown around by agents), the Phillies are still on track to bring in one of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

    * The Phillies are not going to sign both MM and BH. They will be aggressive, but not reckless. In other words, they hope/expect Mike Trout to be available as a FA in two years, and want to be able to make him a Phillie.

    * Klentak may want Machado, but John Middleton prefers Harper. Harper moves the needle for Phillies fans more. He’ll sell more tickets and drive excitement for the team.

    * Phillies should take a flyer on Dodgers 3B prospect Christian Santana in the rule 5 today. If he’s not available/selected before the Phillies pick, look to draft a guy and trade him for J2 dollars.

    * I completely understand (and agree with) not going six years on Patrick Corbin. I’m less on board with not going three years on JA Happ. However, IMO, the biggest mistake Klentak has made (when it comes to acquiring a LHSP) is not outbidding the NYY for two years of James Paxton.

    * I hope they do not use any of Middleton’s stupid money on Dallas Keuchel. I would be good with using some of that stupid money on Yusei Kikuchi. If he doesn’t prefer the east coast, it might be time for the Phillies to finally adopt the “Hinkie Plan”. I offered the plan more than a year ago in the hopes of persuading Shoei Ohtani to come to Philly. The Phillies need to hire Iron Chef Masahara Morimoto (who is friends with Charlie Manuel and owns a restaurant on Chestnut Street in Phila) as the team’s Director Of Clubhouse Food Services.

    * The other LHP the Phillies could/should trade for is a guy I’ve been mentioning ad nauseum. Send Maikel Franco to the Padres for Matt Strahm. Strahm has spent the bulk of his young career in the BP. However, he has also started for both the Royals and Padres. After trading for Pazos and Alvarez, and with Britton a good bet to be signed, Strahm could start for the Phillies.

    * Finally, Mike Honcho mentioned this above. He is correct. If the Phillies spend big money on Harper (or Machado) and sign Trout after 2020, this team is going to have to employ younger/cheaper pieces to play alongside them. Klentak has already replaced JP Crawford with Jean Segura. Nick Williams may be forced out with the addition of Andrew McCutchen or the possible signing of Bryce Harper. This team needs to hold on to most of their young pitchers. This is the strength of their organization. If they can hit on even a couple/few of Sixto Sanchez, Adonis Medina (who is untouchable in a trade for me), JoJo Romero, Spencer Howard, Enyel De Los Santos (not too mention their younger arms [Gowdy, Morales, Llovera, Pipkin, etc]) that will help to keep their payroll in check.

  102. So Sal Algostelli got thd International scout award; what has he done? He signed Carlos Ruiz many years?ago as a 2nd baseman and then someone switched him to C within the organization and Calos Carrasco which he was lucky that the pitcher was a late bloomer. The only other thing he has accomplished is the # of international players in the organisation is overwhelming but not highly valued. Look at other organizations and their top players vs ours, we need to spend stupid money to be competitive. Washington and Atlanta’s young players? Sometimes if you wait ling enough you can win an award.

    1. You’re extremely uneducated about the work Sal does if you think his contributions stop at Ruiz and Carrasco.

    2. Literally the worst post around here for months – Sal is one of the most important people in this organization and has done a great job.

      1. Kapler was farm director for the Dodgers so he knows Jackson, so they probably thought he was worth a shot. Looks like Phillies did not lose anyone at least in 1st round

    1. @HInkie – Cristian Santana is probably the better prospect but it appears Santana is not MLB ready yet since he hasn’t players above A+. I’m not sure if Klentak will keep Drew Jackson, looks like he will trade it for someone who needs an INF bench.

    2. Drew Jackson from BA…..

      Drew Jackson, 2B/SS, Dodgers

      Jackson has power and speed and plays and can play both middle infield spots and is a passable center fielder. His speed, fringe-average power and arm could be alluring to a team willing to live with a questionable hit tool.

        1. so the orioles are going to try to carry 2 middle infield rule 5 guys? remember when Jackson came out of Stanford, but certainly he’s done nothing as a pro to get excited about. i’ll take the international money for the phils certainly.

            1. So the Phillies gave up nothing and got something.
              Not a bad draft….and the Yankee pitcher comes into the system

    3. Hinkie – I see every move, however insignificant, as a move on a chess board. If the Phillies move Velasquez to the pen and sign Britton, they probably only need a 7 man bullpen. That gives them a 5 man bench, and Jackson had 43 stolen bases the past 2 years. He also had 15 HR’s, and an OPS of .804 last year. I know it’s AA ball, but it’s worth the risk.

  103. MLB’s Will Leitch reports that the Phillies “…seem absolutely committed to get one of the two superstars….”. Which is why they aren’t in a hurry to throw money at Dallas Keuchel right now.

  104. I think I mentioned last week, the Orioles were a possibility for a rule 5 draft and trade. The O’s have a boatload of J2 dollars and no one to spend it on.

      1. Yes. Those deals are done ahead of time. “If Jackson is there when you pick, draft him and we’ll give you J2 dollars.”
        Last year (the Phillies picked 3rd) and chose Nick Burdi. They sent him to the Pirates for 500 thousand J2 dollars.

  105. Assuming the Phillies sign either Britton or Miller, with Velasquez moving to the pen, and they trade for a SP. The staff might look like this:

    Rotation: Nola, Arrieta, new acquisition, Pivetta and either Eflin (who may be traded) or Eickhoff.

    Bullpen: Britton or Miller, VV, Seranthony, Neshek or Hunter (one gets traded), Neris, Arano, Alvarez, Ramos (or Eickhoff as long man if Eflin stays).

      1. They have Pazos in their pocket at LHV. I do think he may turn out to be the steal from the Segura trade, Hinkie. He does have an option left, but he might beat out Alvarez for opening day roster, yes!

  106. Also don’t sleep on my other team the White Sox and their chances of signing one of these guys. I’m told and this was repeated during the winter meetings by someone who covers the south siders that they have a TV deal with comcast as well thats about to kick in. Reinsdorf at 82 is very eager to splurge.

    Don’t sleep on those guys they have a good system and one of the most exciting players in baseball Eloy Jimenez.

    Harper would be more likely for them as Manny seems committed to being on the East Coast.

    1. They need catching…I’d be willing to move Alfaro and Williams for Jimenez and Cease….Jimenez to LF and Cutch to RF. Cease to LHV until late summer.

      1. Nah they still like Zack Collins and Cease is going to be big for them this year with Kopech down for a season with TJ

        They really are sitting in the cat birds seat in a division that is pretty bad after teh Indians.

        1. You never know what goes thru a GM’s head when it comes to the high ceiling of a power catcher, with a rocket propelled right arm and runs like a deer..
          They are now all looking for that catcher with some semblance of a bat….Realmuto has now supplanted Posey as the guy, since sanchez has slipped a little down the rungs..
          Alfaro could be next in line.

  107. Weird the Rays were having a quietly nice off season and then they trade Bauers for Yandy Diaz….

    Things are moving

      1. Correct a pretty nice looking 22 yo with a power bat from the left. I know he struggled some but that’s a quick trigger on a kid that had some success in your system.

          1. Many have had them in on Nelly Cruz so we’ll see. They won 90 games last year and they have the reigning Cy Young….

            They could be interesting.

            1. They get Honeywell well back in their rotation also….but will they go again with the ‘opener’?
              Cash really did well with that change of philosophy, and maybe just a game changing tactic in major leagues for here on out.
              But in that division they still look like a 3 seed…but if the jJys and Os can improve at all..then that 90 win season of last year, could head south to .500….and 82 wins…they were 24-14 vs Os and Jays combined.

  108. Phillies trades rule 5 pick for international money
    I think a signing of a QO free agent could be close maybe?

  109. As the Winter Meetings comes to a close, I think underwhelmed describes my feeling. I have seen no evidence of us flexing our financial might. Maybe we get Machado or Harper, but I think if I were betting today, I would have Harper in LA and Machado to the Yankees. And, I hope I am wrong. I want Hinkie to be right, but I get the feeling that our overpay is going to need to be substantial. 10-20 Million is going to be meaningless to these guys vs where they want to play. So, are we going $400 Million to top the Yankees $325? At one time I thought that Middleton would pay whatever it took, but I am not of that mind set anymore.

    1. Matt, when it’s all settled and should the Phillies miss on both Manny and Bryce, Middleton and NO ONE ELSE will have to answer 3 questions:

      1 What happened that it didn’t happen?

      2 What exactly is the leadership structure of the club?

      3 Who made the decision that prevented the signing of either player?

      1. I’ll say it again … the Phillies are still on track to sign whichever superstar (Machado or Harper) they prefer. In fact, the guy the Phillies don’t sign is going to lose a lot of leverage/good deal of money with/from the other teams they’re negotiating with. So … you’re probably going to see the other teams wait for the Phillies to sign someone until they go in and low-ball the other guy (whether it be Harper or Machado).

        1. @Hinkie: I just read an article on Phillies.com, and boy did it sound like the FO was not just applying the brakes, but Slamming the brakes on signing either of them. What gives? I hope you have some inside info that can talk me off the ledge, but it doesn’t sound like the FO has an open checkbook like I was lead to believe, sounds like the checkbook stops at 300mil for 10years. Maybe it’s posturing … I’ll be pretty annoyed after all this planning and hype for 2 years or more. Honestly … I know they can win a WS without signing one, But ya didn’t have to hype it up like Middleton was the gens George Steinbrenner…

          The article brings back many feelings associated with the pre-2003 FO era.

          1. Hi Tac, this is the first comment I’ve read from this week. I don’t know what’s been discussed here and I don’t know what’s in the phillies.com article. But, the example I used above (9-year/$360M) is not something I made up. That indicates to me that 10-year/$300M is not an upper limit on the checkbook. Hope that is enough to talk you off the ledge. That said, the Phillies cannot make a player accept their offer.

            1. Then let’s get really “stupid” by signing Brantley, put Cutch in rf, sign Miller and we’re good to go.

            2. That’ll do it, I can make it through another season 🙂 if that is the case, honestly I wouldn’t be able to blame the FO/Ownership if Mm/Harper walks away or get a higher offer than that. Those are crazy numbers, even in today’s market. I’d say that is a full court press at that point.

    1. With a contract between 8-12 yrs in length for between $350M-$400M, well above the next best rival offer, I can’t think of any baseball player besides Mike Trout who couldn’t be persuaded to change his defensive position. And even Trout would switch because hey, he is such a good dude. But we can worry about that two years from now, right?😃

      In any case, at this point, I’ll be thrilled with whomever we sign between the two. What’s just as important if not more so is how the rest of the roster is constructed once MM or BH is in the fold. Either one should move the needle 5 wins. We will still need at least 5 more wins from the other 24 players.

      1. I would add that if Manny signs here, Brantley should be a target. Hopefully the timing isn’t off and he signs elsewhere. That would suck.

  110. Please explain to me what I am missing with Machado. He is a Gold Glove 3B, a clear upgrade to almost any team’s defense, except for Colorado and Oakland. Yet, he prefers SS. Now, as a SS, he thought he was worth more $, I am guessing here. If he is getting over $300 Million why would he care where he plays? Is there more wear and tear at 3B? I was always under the belief that you make more plays at SS. His whole attitude since the Playoffs has annoyed me. I think he makes us better than Harper does, and I know I will be complaining if we don’t get either, but Machado just makes me wonder what he is all about.

    1. I don’t think he’s as sharp as Harper. But hey, you can’t have it all. My concern, as I mentioned above, is who is placed around him. Not just on the field, but at the lockers on either side of his. He (meaning we) will need him to be kept in check with guys like Cutch. Even Hoskins entering his third season should serve as a figure of accountability, regardless of how much less MLB experience he has.

    2. Not sure why he thinks shortstop is more him than a third baseman.
      Maybe it is an ego thing or pride, maybe shortstops get more of the glory…..do not know how or why he thinks like that.
      A team player would do, what would make his team better.
      Hopefully, if it is Manny, that players like Hoskins and Cutch step up in the professional status.
      Looking around at the team and players…not many are the leader types.
      The young Latin players tend to avoid that situation, perhaps making them uncomfortable..Maikel is about the only one since Freddy and Blanco left, that would step up.
      Doobie as a four year vet now….should be in that category to take on leadership responsibilities….good luck with that however.
      Kingery could be one at some point…but you first have to establish yourself as a plus player.

  111. Today, Jim Salisbury says Andrew Miller seems to be our target and we are “aggressive in our pursuit.” Now, I don’t know what that means, since years seem to be the key, while we don’t offer years. So, how “we are being aggressive” is a good question. But, I read anything that has Phillies in it, so I will hope for Miller time now. One of these rumors is going to come true.

  112. Tac3, If you are referring to the Todd Zolecki column, he said the FO is still pondering whether to meet the demands that ” may exceed 10 years and $300 Million.” I think he was just preparing everyone for us getting neither one rather than slamming the brakes on. He also seems to think we are getting 1 of Miller or Britton, and that remains to be seen as well. Jim’s 9/$360M seems like it may have been an interesting counter to Boras’ reported 12 year $480 Million starting demand. And by reported, I mean it showed up in some blog or tweet somewhere. All we can do is read whatever is written and guess ourselves.

    1. It was, maybe it was the way I read it, but to me it sounded like the FO thought going past 300/10, just bought up pre-2003/Thome signing era to me. That was the vibe I got. At this point, if 360 over 9 years Isn’t enough to convince a player to sign .. forget’em. I would find another way. It should be, but if it’s not I’m fine with them walking away. I’d find another way to the championship.

      1. I have the feeling that we get neither
        There’s a point where an asking price is too much
        And you can’t blame a player if they want to play elsewhere
        Harper in LA – think of the marketing opportunity for him in that market. Think Lebron James
        Manny – he’s a wild card. Solid chance the Phillies get him but he prefers NYY and the White Sox are a strong competitor for his services

        1. At some point the asking price will put way the risk, especially say for Harper. Youd love to have them both or either, but the performance is not gauranteed. If Harper has 1 more mvp year, and plays more like last year for 7 years of the contract … then in hindsight it would be worth the public backlashing and find another way to a championship. If either of them want the pressure that is sure to come with this contract… God help them if they tank. Wherever they sign, they will make Philly fans look like choir boys

  113. With the rumors linking us to Britton and Miller, is it possible that we have made the same offer to both guys, and whichever one agrees first, he gets it? Even the local guys who are trying to downplay us getting Macahdo or Harper, seem to think we get 1 of the 2.

    1. If there be any uncertainty as to whether Machado (who all reports say is the Phillies’ preferred player) would accept 9 yrs/$360M, then they should offer the same to Harper. Knowing Boras’ history of dragging out the process, at least force the issue. Klentak said they won’t wait around. If they have already made what is more than likely the longest and highest AAV offer, what’s there to wait for? First come, first served.

  114. Just read a capsule from MLBTR regarding the Padres’ search for a 3b. I am hopeful that should the Phillies sign Machado, there would already be a contingent deal in place to send Franco to SD for Strahm and a prospect, as Hinkie has suggested here several times. Like with everything else, time will tell.

      1. Moustakas will cost $12M+, is another Boras client (Hosmer signed last year to a regrettable contract). Perhaps they had enough. Franco is much cheaper for now.

        1. OTOH, I would prefer Moose at 3b if we signed Harper. At least he’s a more consistent player. With Franco, do we really ever know from game to game or week to week which Maikel is going to show up. I’ve grown a bit weary of his ups and downs, productivity wise.

          1. if we sign Harper, I’d prefer Moose for the reasons you mentioned. if we miss on MM and harper, then I’d prefer Franco since our team will really be reliant on the growth of the younger players to find a superstar and become a playoff team and franco has more upside

            1. If we are reliant on our young talent, we are in trouble under this manager and coaching staff. Last year demonstrated that almost every single player stalled or regressed under this staff. The best way to win in this organization under the Kapler regime is to acquire talent that has already developed and hope they aren’t changed by the staff. I have no faith that guys like Franco will develop in Philly, but could see them flourishing elsewhere with the right guidance.

            2. If we miss on MM and BH, I think you go extremely hard at Arenado next year and one of Trout or Betts(I don’t think the Sox will let him hit FA) the following year.

  115. Here is my proposed superstar contract the Phillies should offer:
    9yr $350M; with options 11yr $405M
    40M, 35M, 35M, 35M, player opt out, 40M, 40M, 40M, 35M, 35M, then year10 at 35M with 10M buyout, and final year 35M with 5M buyout.
    Post opt out contract would be tough to beat: 5yrs $205M but ends at age34 season with team options for 35 and 36.

    1. How crazy would it be if by the options years … that 35mil
      Per year is a “bargain” for the Phillies? Nuts to think about…. but you can see it happening in a way

    2. For practical purposes, as to the AVV and the luxury tax considerations…better to stagger the AAV every two years…..so you do not shoot yourself in the foot with the penalties and give yourself some flexibility to go after another FA at some point..

  116. Guys like Hinkie have been so sure all off-season that we will get either MM or Harper. But I have been skeptical that we will get either. I hope, hope, hope to be wrong. I hope that you refer to this post. But I think the Patrick Corbin example really is a big red flag.

    I believe that we came in 3rd place in the Corbin sweepstakes. We were not willing to over-pay the top offer. And I think Corbin would have taken the Yankee’s 5 year deal over our 5 year deal.

    I think that we are being used by savvy agents to drive the price up. But I remain convinced, that unless we read reports that we are way above the second bidder (which we didn’t seem willing to do for the top FA pitcher), then I think that we will get shut out of the MM and Harper sweepstakes.

    It is not a matter of being the top bidder. We have to be materially above the second best bid. Like 20% more IMO. I think we need to be $375+/10 years to win. I don’t think $350/10 gets it done because I think Dodgers/Yankees will be above Washington’s $300/10 offer. So they are likely to be in the $320 – $340 range. So I don’t think that $350/10 for Phillies gets it done. But let’s see how it plays out.

    Again, hope to be wrong. But the longer this goes on, the worse that it is for the Phillies IMO.

    1. Buster and I agree with you v1. I expect the White Sox to go way overboard, similar to what the Nats did 7-8 years ago with Jayson Werth. Bottom line is these two guys want Yankees and Dodgers, IMO, and I think the White Sox are going to strike first with a ridiculous offer on one of them, and then the other one will have much higher leverage and we could miss out.

    2. I have to agree here. There’s “stupid money” and then there’s $300M+. There is literally no margin for error when giving somebody that contract. Any injury or decline and ESPN will be talking about that contract being the worst of all time for years to come. And if the Phillies are heavy into analytics, they know that the numbers say NOT to give a contract like that.

    3. Your overall premise may be correct, but Corbin isn’t a great example is thus isn’t “a big red flag”. From all reports I’ve seen, the Phillies balked at giving Corbin a 6 year deal, a smart and completely understandable position. So, yes, the Phillies were probably 3rd for Corbin, but they were wise IMO to not match or beat Washington’s 6 year offer.

      Conversely, I don’t see contract length deterring the Phillies for Harper or MM, unless some team is foolish enough to offer a deal beyond 10 years. This doesn’t mean the Phils are sure to land at least one of them, just that the Corbin situation probably doesn’t correlate much to the Harper and MM situations.

      1. disagree. i think the corbin situation is a perfect comp to both Harper and Machado. the point is simple…we have to be the most irrational bidder to win. a rational bid will not win us either machado or harper against the Yankees or Dodgers. I think the whitesox may put in a really really stupid money bid and if we are not above that, then we won’t get whomever they go after. and once one of the big guys is off the table, then it makes the other more valuable.

        1. v1 … Here is why the Patrick Corbin comp isn’t a good one:

          The Phillies (Middleton and MacKlentak) have been targeting/game planning for Manny Machado (or Bryce Harper) for more than two years. They are viewed as more than great young players. They are “face of the franchise” guys at just 26 YO. This team is desperate for a superstar to do more than help win games. Machado or Harper will be expected to bring fans back to CBP, up the TV ratings, and just make the relevant again. Their presence in red pinstripes means a whole lot more than Corbin pitching for the team.

          BTW … from what I understand (and maybe Jim can verify), the Yankees offered 5 years @ 100 million to Corbin. The Phillies went 5 years @ 120 million. I believe Corbin would have accepted the Phillies offer over the Yankees (because almost all players take the most money for obvious and less talked about reasons) if the Nationals weren’t involved.

          1. Also … to your point that once one of Harper or Machado signs, the other guy becomes more valuable … I see it more like this: The Phillies are willing to spend stupid money. The Yankees and Dodgers are more opportunistic shoppers. They will wait for the Phillies to use their stupid/more desperate money on one guy, then attempt to land the other guy on a cheaper/shorter term contract (maybe 7 years @ 210 million). For that reason, IMO the guy who signs second will be worth less.
            Now, I guess the CWS can throw a wrench into this scenario if they truly are willing to spend their own stupid money. However, they reportedly are only interested in Harper.

        2. Agree with V1 totally. You almost can’t win and can’t complete a rebuild without the young CORE demonstrating they are ready to win.

          The Cubs overpaid for Lester they had too. Took a chance on Lackey and Zobrist and got to the finish line. Once they won then they really overpaid for Heyward in the hopes to keep it rolling. A monster fail.

          Bottom line is Middleton should have walked back the comments and maybe he still will.

          Actually I guess he partly did!

          1. DMAR…remember when I mentioned trading Alf and Williams to the ChiSox for Eloy & Cease……guess who they signed a few hours ago….catcher McCann…a defensive specialist more or less.

            1. Romus my old friend you aren’t getting Eloy or Cease for Alf and Williams unless you’re joshing.

              McCann is the perfect sign for them as he won’t block Zack if he comes along faster.

            2. LOL….i know ,the pot would have to be stirred a little more, than sweetened .
              But do not under value Alfaro asa power catcher…even as bad as he is defensively…..even Gary Sanchez is getting bites according to Cashman.
              Rick Hahn could be blinded by the Alfaro lights! 🙂

  117. I’m hoping for either of these 2 lineups:

    Segura ss
    Brantley lf
    Machado 3b
    Hoskins 1b
    McCutchen rf
    Alfaro c
    Quinn cf
    Nola p
    Hernandez 2b

    OR
    McCutchen lf
    Segura ss
    Harper rf
    Hoskins 1b
    Moustakas 3b
    Alfaro c
    Quinn cf
    Nola p
    Hernandez 2b

    1. Player A: .251/.315/.459 with 7.7 % walk rate and a 16.2 % K rate
      Player B: .270/.314/.467 with 6.2 % walk rate and a 13.3 % K rate

      Player A: 30 years old and subject to FA bidding
      Player B: 26 years old and under team control at a very cheap price for 2019

      Player A: Moustakas
      Player B: Franco

      I can’t imagine the argument that we should allocate big FA dollars to Moustakas.

  118. “ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that executives from other clubs and agents throughout the industry find it increasingly possible that the Phillies, long the presumptive favorite to sign one of Harper or Machado, could instead come away with neither in hand. Olney, too, suggests that the Dodgers‘ efforts to move Kemp, Puig and other notable salaries could eventually result in the capacity to submit a winning offer to Harper. While there’s doubt that the Dodgers would offer the longest-term contract, Olney suggests perhaps a front-loaded deal with a substantial annual value from a team that has appeared in consecutive World Series would prove enticing. Meanwhile, the Yankees still present a viable threat to the Phillies for Machado as they look to close ground on the World Champion Red Sox.”

    This doesn’t make me feel confident

        1. Because KuKo promised us this would happen 3 hundred times over the last two years. Seriously, I’m with you – it could happen, but it’s entirely uncertain.

        2. It’s not confidence in a single player signing that I have. It’s confidence that our FO, despite suggestions otherwise, actually do know what they’re doing.

          Let’s look at it like this:

          FAs: Arrieta, Santana, the relievers

          Trades: Avilan, Bour, Bautista, Ramos, Loup, Cabrera, Segura et al

          Arrieta was a shrewd signing. There’s no other way to put it. Santana was a questionable fit, but a risk they took that helped later land us Segura. The relievers I would do all the deals for again, they were low risk and relievers are relievers.

          Excluding the Segura trade for now, who can name a prospect we gave up in any of the trades sans Kilome? Show of hands.

          Now it’s fair to point to the W-L record after the trades, but notice we essentially gave up NOTHING for any of the players. And, outside of maybe Bautista, they filled roles we actually needed. I just want to remind everyone we got Ramos for a PTBNL or cash. He hit .337/.396/.483 for us down the stretch. CASH.

          Now let’s cycle back to Segura. Remember that Santana signing? Who here would have thought that he + JP after a down year would land us an all star SS in his prime? Now who would have guessed that we’d ALSO get not one, but TWO very usable relievers? One of which is LH and controllable through 2022. I’m sorry, but I still don’t fully believe that trade happened. The Mariners are hoping JP turns into something similar to Segura. If he doesn’t develop any further, they got absolutely FLEECED.

          So maybe we get Harper, maybe we get Machado, maybe we get neither, maybe we get both. I’d put our odds at better than 50% for at least one of them still, which is WAY better than any other team in baseball can say. But even if we don’t, our FO has a plan. They’re executing that plan it’s true you need a little star power to be real contenders for the WS… but have we taken a look at Nola recently? How about Segura? He AVERAGES 4 bWAR the past 3 seasons. Hoskins at 1B last year would be close to a 3 bWAR himself. Are we sure he’s done developing at 25? How about Kingery?

          And last but not least, there’s that whole, “buy the bats, grow the arms” thing. We’ve all heard that before. Yeah… we’re doing that. Nola is an ace. Eflin and Pivetta have flashed MOR+. Sixto, Medina, Howard, etc. are in the pipeline. Our FO told us explicitly what the plan was. I feel like we’ve kind of missed the fact that they’re also walking the walk.

          1. Dan K…..’And last but not least, there’s that whole, “buy the bats, grow the arms” thing. We’ve all heard that before. Yeah… we’re doing that.’….but let’s not get carried away until there is a parade to crown MacPhail’s philosophic plan.

            Theo and the Cubs and Dombrowski and the Sox did the opposite approach….’grew the bats, but bought the arms’…via FA and trades.

            1. There are multiple ways to win, and realistically even if we don’t get another WS, it can still be the right strategy (2011 was undeniably one of the best Phillies teams of all time, regardless of playoff success, for example). But you’re right that it could turn out to be the wrong approach.

              However, based on what we saw last season and based on the moves they’ve made, I believe the FO has earned some latitude and trust. Imagine our pitching last season with a league average offense and defense.

              As a team we were 7th in FIP, 6th in xFIP, 6th in fWAR for pitching, but only 18th in ERA thanks to a defense that ranked better than only the O’s and Jays. Add to that our rankings in offense (21st wRC+, 21st wOBA, 23rd fWAR), and it’s no wonder we collapsed. But now we’ve started buying those bats (and gloves).

              I certainly believe we’re on the right track right now.

              Also it’s always been riskier to get FA pitchers than hitters, so if I have to buy one I’d personally it rather be the bats. Trades are another matter, though.

            2. Yes…..your point is correct.
              There are a few avenues to be taken to get to that elusive ring
              Teams like the Giants , Royals and even the ’17 Stros grew the arms and bought the bats or even also grew the bats.
              And as you mention. the pitchers would have been served well if there was any semblance of a defensive team behind them…and a manager who was able to install a defensive shift that could would have been efficient and productive.
              Like everyone else, the hope is that the team is on the correct track.

          2. Do you think Seattle got fleeced or was that payback for the Cliff Lee trade or a Patty G connection at work?

          3. Dan K. I agree wholeheartedly with your take. The other thing that I would add would be the $1.75 Million in international money(approximately) for Garcia, Zoellner and Rule 5 guy.

        3. I’ll answer that. Harper/Machado are worth more to the Phillies than they are to the Dodgers or Yankees. Even when the Phillies were winning during the first half of 2018, nobody was showing up at games, TV ratings were abysmal, and very few fans cared too much about the team. No other major market club (except the White Sox) has this problem. The Phillies will spend more money (stupid money) on one of these guys because they will bring in a whole lot more money for the team. The Yankees and Dodgers are going to make a ton of money with or w/o Harper or Machado.

            1. I’d bet that Manny Machado and Bryce Harper look at their trip through free agency as a way to get a record breaking contract. End of story.
              It’s all about economics. The Phillies will pay either Machado or Harper the most stupid money because they are the team that most needs one of them to make money/make their team relevant again. The players will follow the money.
              That’s not a Phillies point of view. That’s an economics point of view. Baseball (like all sports) is all about economics.

            2. I believe the decision is a lot more complicated than that. If it was that simple, then it would be a basic bidding process. Within a range, it is all the same money and quality of life matters. Winning matters. Who you play with matters.

      1. The Yankees are not putting another 300 million dollar type contract (Stanton) on their books – period! I think Phillies can get Machado for 300 Million with 10 years and 2 opt outs. The original Nats offer to Harper was 284 over 10 years with no opt outs. I believe Boras over plays his hand and he signs with LA Dodges on a short contract – 3 years 100 million. Boras took a shot at Klentak at the meetings and if I were him – I would go all in on Machado and Miller. Also staying away from Britton. In addition, San Diego is waiting for us to send them Franco.

          1. I believe the Nats made that offer in Oct/Nov – are you referring to what Harper will get in the open market?

            1. v1 … as usual, a lot of that 300 million dollars being offered to Harper by the Nationals was deferred money.
              That said … I do agree that 300 million isn’t going to get it done for Harper. I’m thinking something like 10 years @ 350 million. They’ll probably front load it and give him his first opt out after year five.

      2. Dan – great commentary. Instead of putting someone down for not sharing your opinion, please add something of value

        1. I’ve tried several times to offer rebuttals about the position and direction of the team, but each and every time has been met with some form of, “yeah, but it’s not what I wanted to happen so I think this offseason will end up being a failure.”

          It’s extremely draining reading half the comments be down trodden on the Phils just because 1) we didn’t sign a specific player, or 2) they aren’t moving fast enough for personal tastes.

          I get it, I really do; this off season is important. But this off season still lasts another 3 and a half months. And we haven’t stood pat to date to begin with. The Phils have been linked to every FA that matters, they’ve made an impactful trade and a less impactful trade, they’ve acquired IFA money for free, essentially…

          If you wanna talk about some new information, I’m happy to. But this isn’t new information. It’s literally the same thing we’ve collectively been harping on since before the WS ended. You didn’t offer us any new, concrete view points. It’s essentially Olney’s version of, “I feel like this may or may not happen.” Well color me surprised that we aren’t guaranteed to sign a specific player.

          And I’m sorry you read it as a personal insult. I’m sure you’re a great guy. I’m not referencing your character or anything about you other than you have yet to post something that WASN’T casting a doubt on what the Phillies are doing. You aren’t the only one, just the most recent one. I hope Christmas day finds you with all the Phillies goodies you could possibly desire and you go on a posting spree about how excited you are for the season to come.

          If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. Teams aren’t built on single players. What would your targets be if we do miss out on both the FAs in question? That’s a useful conversation. That’s one I’d be glad to engage you with.

          1. Good take. In particular, the plethora of “Why aren’t Klentak and the front office doing anything!!??” type posts have become quite tiresome.

        2. What we want and what we need are two different things. We need a big bat in the middle of our line up, and there are two available. We also need a right fielder, but we don’t need a shortstop or third baseman.
          We need a left handed reliever that can be counted on to get lefties out, and once again, there are two available. Miller and Britton are the cream of the crop, but my preference is Britton. Last year was a recovery year for him, and he will be 100% by spring time.
          Maybe the front office has made up their mind as to who to sign, but maybe they are thinking that either is okay. It’s a big risk, if you ask me. If they sign Harper, they get their right fielder. Problem solved. If they sign Manny, they still need an outfielder. There’s no telling how long Brantley will be available, but after Harper he’s the next best option.
          The two top needs have been identified as a big bat and a lefty reliever. Klentak should go all out, NOW, to sign the reliever. Perhaps that signing will make the Phillies a more desirable destination for Harper, and/or Machado.

          1. If they sign Machado, Franco is getting traded. We know the Padres like Franco, and while some have been beating the Hedges+Strahm return, they also have a glut of outfielders. They’re even actively trying to trade Myers. I dunno how he’d look back in RF these days, but that’s a potential fit if our scouts think it’ll work.

            I wonder if Machado would agree to not let it slip he’s signing until after we complete a Franco trade (so SD doesn’t leverage that against us)?

            1. Dan K – loved your comments and viewpoint. Critical but positive and most of all realistic. I suggest this – if Phils want Harper, trade Franco, and give Harper his uniform number which is the no. 7 – for the “Mick,” i.e. he wears 34 because his father’s favorite player was Mantle !

              On one of your comments – I actually believe Happ will out WAR Corbin over the life of their respective contracts. I think Corbin is a recipe for implosion – he has had one decent year, has a history of arm issues, and actually had declining velocity during 2018. Happ is consistent and has shown no injury issues. I would rather the Phils had gotten him than Corbin. Meanwhile, there are more than enough in house candidates and as you said, the off season is a long way from over. I have not heard the fat lady yet…..

  119. Would like to see Franco to San Diego for Hedges + Strahm or Franco + Santos for Hedges + Morejon or Allen. Phillies need to add a young solid LH starter – possible no 2 in the near future or a LHRP that can go multiple innings. I would like a combo of Miller and Strahm that take over the end of the game.

    1. SD signed Kinsler who’s a 2b naturally and has only played 3b 2 innings in his career. However, speculation that he might play 3b if their up and coming Urias takes 2b. Not sure if or how much that wrinkles the blueprint for a Franco to SD trade.

  120. v1 is correct in that the Corbin signing is a good example. Not because we should have signed him, we have debated that ad infinitum, and it is over, but because we were not the player’s 1st choice. So, to win the bidding war, we need to be substantially higher. The idea that the Yankees won’t spend $300 Million makes no sense. They can afford anything, they hate that the Red Sox finished ahead of them, and they have been planning for this for a while. That is why they got under the Luxury tax. The wealthy teams, and one day, we will act like one, don’t care one bit about the Luxury tax. They cared about the repeat offender provision, and they acted to re-set their clock luxury tax wise. A $350 Million offer needs $400 Million from us. We are not Harper’s or Machado’s first choice. And, asking Machado to play 3B seems to be an issue for him. The Yankees can play him at SS this year, then move him over when DiDi gets healthy. They can then package Andujar and a spare OF from their farm to get a SP from Cleveland, or some other deal like that. The statement from Middleton about “stupid money” is looking silly, and the feeling around the league is that we will not be spending $400 Million, or the years are an issue, or a million other reasons that the once “sure thing” is awful shaky. And, without Middleton pushing MacKlentak, it won’t happen as they are as risk averse and as willing to wait for the “next year’s FA class” or the one down the road as anyone around.

    1. Agreed…and one more thing on the comments that we should wait for “next year’s FA class” or for Trout…the same exact scenario is going to play out next year.

      I was born and raised in Philly. Love all Philly teams. But to kid ourselves that we can get any top FA without materially over-paying is fantasy thinking.

      The real Sam Hinkie knew this and said so. And built through the draft because of that.

    2. Trout is the only player worth anything close to 400 million. The longer Machado and Harper do not sign, the less leverage they have. If both sign long-term deals, they will be between 250 – 350 depending on years (9-10 years). Cashman is one of the best GMs in baseball and will not handcuff flexibility. If he can get Machado on a favorable deal he will do it – he needs to win every negotiation and every trade. Look at the Corbin offer. The Yankees do not need Machado to beat the Sox, they need another TOR pitcher. The Phillies need Machado, thus one will offer more. The Phillies have been chasing Britton and Machado since July. The only way Machado ends up in NY is because he wants to a Yankee, not because he was offered 300 million. Look at their public statements. They have been trying to lower the cost of Corbn and Machado all off-season.

  121. Wow, 650 comments and nothing much happened. Haha
    We should fill the stadium the day Manny visits. We can shout his name. Then all we have to do is pay him $350M and we’ll get him. Miller or Britton? Sure would like one of them.

  122. “worth” has nothing to do with FA signings at all.But, I hope you are correct. Let’s move on tho the “hotly pursuing” Miller and long held interest in Brtitton. Why will this not be another case where we are a year short of what it will take? Let’s say it is pretty well known that they each can get a 3 year contract, but 4 gets it done. Do we hold the line and lose out on one of them? We can make an argument that one of the relievers can be as instrumental in our success next year, as far as wins goes, as the signing of Harper. Is 4 years for a RP a “little stupid”?

    1. Well it depends on personal philosophy at this point. My personal philosophy says you spend extra MONEY on pitchers, and YEARS on hitters. Why? Because pitchers break more easily. (Obviously if you can get them without overspending at all, that’s ideal. But I’m operating under the assumption that any and all FAs will only join the Phils if they are overpaid).

      That is especially true for relievers. When you have a hitter past his prime, you can still often unload part of the remaining contract. But with pitchers… you don’t want them on your books when they blow out their shoulder. There are very few examples of a single injury ending a hitter’s career, but history is full of those with pitchers.

      All of this to say, if a pitcher we want is asking for more years than we’re comfortable giving them, I counter with high AAV and tell them that’s the best we can do. If they say no, I call up my buddies in SD, SEA, and TB and ask who they have available. (SD wants Franco and wants to trade Myers, SEA has more contracts they want off the books, and TB is TB. They have pitchers and they’ll trade them for other controllable pieces.)

  123. I am sure the Phillies have Plan A, B, C, and D. And I think getting Miller or Britton along with Strahm would really help missing out on Corbin. I say their down to Plan C in regards to pitching. How much better would Pivetta be at 6 innings and VV at 5 innings with either Strahm or Miller/Britton relieving them for 2 innings?

    I would do a 3-year deal with a 4th year vesting option based on innings pitched. Britton at the end of the season looked phenomenal pitching for the Yankees.

    1. Very true but got to get that hitting so we are in ball games in the 6th inning. Even 4-2 works with a good bullpen. I would like to go back thru last year games and see how many games we would have won if we had a lead and/or had a bullpen hold a lead.

      1. Philadelphia Bull pen ranked 18th 4.19 (ERA) 26-26 (W-L) 44-20 (S-BS) .246 545 265 67 220 581.

        Top 10 bull pens include Astros, Sox, Yankees, Brew Town, Dodgers, Cubs, etc.

        Lets say W-L goes 32 – 22 and will blow 5 less saves. Seems like a winning formula.

        But your right, we need another offensive weapon like Harper or Machado.

  124. I agree with you both. Left handed Reliever, whether he “closes” or is used in high leverage situations was higher on my “to do” list than another SP. Although, I think we need one of them also. Both give us a real weapon that translates to more Ws, and you are also correct that a 5 inning VV or a 6 inning Eflin or Pivetta is more valuable. And, that still gives all of the young SPs the opportunity to up their games and turn into #3s like we hope at least 1 of them does. So, I determine which one I like more and go after him until he says yes.

  125. Jim mentioned 9 yrs at $360M as NOT just random figures he put out there. Let’s see if those are the over/under, plus whatever % has to be offered above and beyond the competition. I think many people are assuming other clubs are just dying to depart with their stupid money, too. Not sure of that just because some local media-ites are pumping up their beats.

  126. Reports say that Manny is meeting with the Phillies next week, along with the Yankees, Chisox and some mystery team. (Boy, has that gotten old!) Anyway, I predict that on Sunday, Dec 23, the Phillies will announce the signing. Merry Christmas, Phillies fans. I think Boras will drag Harper’s Bazaar well into January. He wants to be the only show to watch. I think Manny, despite his warts, is more family oriented and wants to settle and decide his future sooner. Harper will enjoy the limelight a bit longer.

  127. Despite all the back and forth about Machado and Harper, if we have offered 9 and $360 that is a terrific offer. I am not saying we get either or that someone doesn’t pay more, or they don’t take a different structure, but $40 per year, and the total exceeding the Stanton deal is one big offer. I just don’t think that guarantees we get either one. I think while we are waiting on them, securing one of the 2 lefthanded RPs is crucial.

    1. Matt13…it is better that the team does make the highest offer, even if they do not get either player.
      And would be also beneficial if they somehow let it leak for public knowledge of that offer, though they did not get either player in red pinstripes

  128. That may minimize the backlash from the fans, Romus, but it still leaves us with a team that needs to make the Playoffs. Let’s say we get neither. And, we stay put in SP. That makes getting Britton or Miller much more important. Also, I think we need an OF. If we are going with Williams he has to play LF. Cutch is a better defensive RF than Williams, not that the bar is high. Or, are we trotting out the Willaims/Altherr platoon for a repeat? Or, do we go after Brantley? Losing Machado and Harper leaves a large amount of $ that can be spent. Even with them saving for “the FA classes yet to come.”

    1. Matt13…..for one, I would avoid Miller…..his shoulder issues will not go away, especially at his age….but they will still pursue him anyway because they probably lack that foresight and hope for the best..
      Guarantee…he will be on the DL by May.
      .Britton’s injury was Achilles heal…I would pursue him.

      As for missing on the two top targets available in free agency….then Klentak can start to do the part of his duties as the GM that can prove his mettle…trade for the assets to win. They have plenty of youth with potential to dangle out there and a farm system ranked in the top ten in most publications.

      1. agreed. strongly prefer Britton- but maybe they like to use the lefty the way Miller has been used in recent years, while Britton prefers to just close?

      2. I won’t forget and you’ll remember I said it at the All Star break. Out of the mouths of babes Manny’s little nephew was asked on live TV where do you want to see your uncle play next year and without much hesitation it was the Yankees. And as Manny sat next to him they looked at each other with the largest of grins.

        If Manny wants to be a Yankee he’s going to be a Yankee. The little nephew didn’t pull that out of thin air.

        Now the flip side to that is that didn’t help Manny’s cause nor did his ill conceived johnny hustle comments. Getting as much distance in days as possible from those comments will allow the Yankees to placate their fan base once they do the deal.

        While a great player he obviously isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but he happens to be almost a 900+ OPS player GG 3B and only 26.

        Harper OTOH must be reeling. I do believe the Yankees have 0 interest in him and thus they (team Harper) minds blown don’t know what to do.

  129. I see the Yankees are reported to have signed J A Happ and I was trying to remember back when he was with the Phillies, then looking at the return he brought back with various trades – all of which seemed somewhat underwhelming, and yet when he seemed like he was one of the top pitchers mentioned I was wondering what people think of the potential value of the pitchers on the market in general in terms of being able to make a difference?

    1. Not much. I prefer to see us go the trade route with CLE for either Kluber or Bauer. IMO, we need at least one new SP for this rotation. You may argue reasonably that Eickhoff might turn out as our #4 or #5. I like him but I only see Nola, Arrieta and Pivetta as locks at this point. A lefty would be ideal but Kikuchi is the longest of odds to sign here. Of course, my boy Cole Irvin may be ready sooner than later, but hopefully by August 2019.