Merry Christmas! The Hot Stove Season continues. There was a flurry of activity as we approach the holiday week. The Phillies signed a handful of minor league free agents, but nothing happened that would alleviate the anxiety of most of the people following the Phillies’ off season.
The Phillies announced the signings of the six players I reported earlier in the week and the signing of Shane Robinson which I reported last month. All seven received invitations to spring training. The Phillies usually invite over 60 players to spring training. In addition to a lot of IronPigs, expect invitations to go to some high profile prospects and some high production players. Announcements extended to internal players will be held up for now.
The 40-man roster stands at 38.
As matter of due diligence, the Phillies remain “in” on most of the big free agents still available. They were/are interested in a lot of the players involved/discussed in trades. Their “inability” to close any of these should NOT be cause for concern. They are conducting their baseball business in the sane and rational matter that we as fans should demand. They are not over-spending or granting those pesky extra years. And, most importantly, the two players whom they expressed an intention of spending “stupid” money on are still on the market.
Manny Machado visited this week. He concluded his 3-team tour in Philadelphia. He announced that he would not make (announce?) his decision until after the New Year.
Word of the Cubs interest in Bryce Harper surfaced this week. The Cubs are one of Harper’s preferred landing spots, but they seem like a long shot due to their current salary level and their expected, future salary level. The Dodgers became a media darling in the pursuit of Harper after they cleared salary space with their one-sided trade with the Reds. (Why do small market teams continue to bail out the big market teams?) The Dodgers ARE Harper’s first choice, but there is no guarantee that they cleared the space for Harper. It’s more likely they added the prospects to make a serious run at Miami’s Realmuto. The Yankees’ primary target right now seems to be Machado. They seem to be on the back burner in the Harper sweepstakes. The White Sox are, well the White Sox.
So, why not the Phillies.
In the Machado market, the Phillies must contend with his first choice, the Yankees. If it comes down to just money, the Phillies should win if their best offer is substantially larger than the Yankees’ best offer. “Substantial” will be determined by Machado.
In the Harper market, the Phillies are his fourth choice. The Dodgers remain his first choice. The Yankees and Cubs are also ahead of Philadelphia. Again, the Phillies should win if the decision is based on the most dollars. Neither the Yankees nor the Cubs are inclined or able to meet the mega contract demands of Harper’s agent, Scott Boras. It seems unlikely that Harper would accept a shorter, smaller contract with the Dodgers. But, that’s a position that most Phillies fans would assume.
Hypothetically, why would a player not jump at the opportunity to sign a contract for the highest dollar amount and the highest AAV? Why would a player not take the advice of his agent and sign such a contract? Why would a player wait to see if his preferred team could put together an offer even though such an offer would likely be for fewer dollars and fewer years? Hmm. Yes, Why? I can come up with hypothetical scenarios that might explain a preference for another city. But, I wonder would any really cause a player to leave money on the table? I can think of 2-3 that might turn a player off to Philadelphia, but at the expense of dollars and years? I don’t know.
The Phillies contracted with Jason Ochart as a hitting instructor earlier in the off season. They took that relationship to the next level this week when they signed him as their new minor league hitting instructor. Ochart remains the Director of Hitting at Driveline Baseball. He follows a data-driven approach to training hitters. He has a fairly large following and is widely considered a hitting guru using modern techniques. Ochart is an anomaly in that he never played or coached professionally. Perhaps the coolest thing is that he started following me on Twitter about two weeks ago, around the time that I heard that he was going to be a part time hitting instructor.
This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics.
- 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.
- organization’s rosters
- organization’s injury list
- organization’s Rule 5 eligibility list (includes player info, assignments, …)
12/13/18 – Phillies selected SS Drew Jackson (LAD) in the Rule 5 Draft
12/12/18 – Phillies signed free agent RF Andrew McCutchen
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