Open Discussion: Week of December 24, 2018

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.

Key Dates:

  • 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)
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA SS Gregorio Petit to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA 2B Phil Gosselin to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA C Rob Brantly to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA LHP Jeremy Bleich to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA RHP Josh Martin to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA C Matt McBride to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/14/18 – Daniel Brito assigned to Clearwater from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Edgar Cabral assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Garrett Cleavinger assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Grenny Cumana assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Juan Escorcia assigned to Lakewood from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Jose Gomez assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Luke Leftwich assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Oscar Marcelino assigned to Lakewood from Lehigh Valley
12/14/18 – Alejandro Requena assigned to Reading from Lehigh Valley
12/13/18 – Phillies select RHP Gilmael Troya (NYY) in the AAA phase of the Rule 5 Draft, assign to Lehigh Valley
12/13/18 – Phillies sign free agent INF Raulyn Blanc to a 2019 minor league contract
12/13/18 – Phillies traded SS Drew Jackson to Orioles for Future Considerations
12/13/18 – Phillies selected SS Drew Jackson (LAD) in the Rule 5 Draft
12/12/18 – Phillies signed free agent RF Andrew McCutchen
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
12/21/21 – Phillies signed FA LF Shane Robinson to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
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

528 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 24, 2018

  1. Merry Christmas, Phillies phans! My list for Santa still includes Machado and Britton, but as these might be difficult presents to deliver, I’m hoping he can help us swing a trade for OF Nomar Mazara from Texas. He doesn’t have crazy good stats yet, but I love his approach and I think he’s on the verge of a breakout season. The Rangers are kind of re-tooling a bit and seem willing to get rid of some of their win-now assets in order to build a competitive team in a couple years. They are in need of young, controllable arms and 3b depth (now that Profar has been traded), so I’m wondering if Franco and Vinny V could get the deal done. If Machado comes on board, then we can afford to part ways with Maikel in order to bring in a lefty power hitter to play RF. Mazara would be my choice.

      1. there was talk a while back about how Jon Daniels was putting an emphasis on acquiring starting pitching, which is a glaring weakness on Rangers’ roster (and the Lance Lynn signing probably doesn’t do a whole lot to correct this…). JD mentioned that an offensive player (or two) could be moved in order to lock up a young, controllable arm (or arms). So, to me, it just seems like the Phils and Rangers match up semi-well on a trade like this, as the Phils stand to benefit from the presence of a lefty power bat (sorry, Nick Williams) and the Rangers, I’m sure, would love one of the Phils’ young starters. Basically, it’s just swapping a position of depth for a position of need for both teams.

  2. I’m not saying the sky is falling, but we lost out on the top arm in Corbin. One of the two elite, lefty relievers is now off the board in Miller. Kluber is looking like a strong case to go to LA. And Harper/Machado is looking like a coin flip at this point… Klentak better pull a rabbit out of his butt if he wants this team to be competitive.

  3. Good luck to Jason Ochart…..the overall yutes in the system, except for maybe a handful, really can use a bump up this season.

  4. Agree with Jim. There is no reason to believe the Phillies are striking out on both MM and BH. Better for the Phillies to take their time and get their guy at a better price than to sign one early at an inflated price. They’ll sign one. Not both. When the Phillies do sign their guy, the other will see his asking price take a hit.

    1. As for the Cubs and Harper…i really do not get it…Theo wants to have Boras talk to him when he gets his last offer before making any decisions.
      In 2020, Tyler Chatwood, Yu Darvish, Jason Heyward, and Jon Lester will account for $75 million in payroll, and it isn’t clear how much those players will bring to the table. Add in another $75 million for players like Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras, Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, (Addison Russell-????), and Kyle Schwarber, and the Cubs won’t have much room to maneuver if they don’t add payroll. And that is only half the roster.
      I assume Theo will try to move players like the Dodgers are doing.

    2. There is so much skill to all of this negotiating that it takes patience and lots of money. I remain hopeful that we’ll sign one of the big two plus a high end reliever plus find a SP. Fortunately or unfortunately they won’t do anything stupid. The good thing is they know they need to add to the team to stay (become) competitive so more moves are definitely coming.

    3. Hinkie- Don’t mean for this to sound sarcastic or snarky, but what makes you think Phillies will sign one of the superstars? Inside sources or ?
      I’m truly intrigued because every article I see puts the needle for Machado in Yanks favor and Harper either LA or Chi (yes I put the cubs in this category because Theo seems to want the opportunity to match an offer).

  5. Merry Christmas to all here. Excellent summation by Jim on the Phillies off season this morning. I am in agreement with him and Hinkie.

  6. I can’t help but think that it boils down to this – the first one between Harper and Machado to accept the stupid money wins, while the other suffers a serious drop in his market and hence, contract. We merely need to become comfortable with the fact that we’re the least attractive sister among the bigger markets.

  7. Merry Christmas to this very informed group of readers. Thanks Jim
    I’m becoming more concerned with Klentacks recruiting skills. Dull guy

    1. Did you see him when Machado came through their doors? Looked like a good salesmen to Me. Mile wide smile, confident slap on the back, manny just needs to sign

  8. In case anyone hasn’t seen my post on the Minor League discussion, I wish all of you and your families a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. And, a great 2019!

  9. Merry Christmas you rat bastards!
    My list of things to be Merry about:

    The Phillies are in a very good, enviable position for the next 2 years.

    1-They have a young SP rotation that if they take the next step, many will thank for missing out on Corbin . They will be pushed by at least 3-4 arms, with a lotto prospect I’m sure along the way. Gives the team currency to make a trade, and keep their payroll down

    They are in position to get 1 of the big 2…. with Trout lurking in the back, 2 years from now. Even if they miss out, we have Hasley, Moniak, Bohm,Ortiz, and Garcia coming through the pipeline, that can help push the core offense: Hoskins, Segura, Quinn, & possibly Machado with complimentary players Franco, Herrera, And McCutchen. Our wildcards are Kingery and Alfaro.
    Don’t knock it, a lot can change in 2 years

    The bullpen could be a real strength in the coming seasons. See Anthony, Neris, And a FA will help. Not to mention the strong candidates they have to bounce back.

    The team is evolving, it is just going to take longer than we all want it to. Making the playoffs is possible with an eye on the WC2, and in 2 years, I see Trout signing that deal with Philly to give this team a power house

  10. I appreciate all the kind comments regarding my work on Phuture Phillies. But let us not forget our benefactor, James. He has once again ponied up the fees that not only keep the domain up and running, but also those that prevent advertising on the screens.

  11. Thank You James, and thank you Jim for reminding us! I, and I know many if you, come to this site multiple times each day. I would feel lost without it, and I enjoy even the disagreements because I generally learn something. I am very grateful.

    1. Jim,

      Thanks. I don’t know James or anything about him, but we all certainly appreciate him. And I, for one, would be willing to pitch in to help keep PP going if that is ever needed, or if James would like some help in sharing the costs.

  12. Not sure how true it is but all 3 of Manny’s suitors have submitted their final bids and that’s why the decision will be made after the holidays. I assumed there would be negotiations, etc

  13. THANK YOU – Jim and also James for all the information you post, the support, , and allow a community posting board to everyone else. You provide a superior spot to think Phillies in the off season. Also thanks to many of the frrequent bloggers, namely V1, Hinkie, Romus, and KK and there are others who I have neglected to mention / sorry – who all provide additional sites and information. Wishing you all the best of the holiday season and a healthy Happy New Year. Thanks for making me enjoy being a Phillies fan in many other ways……for over 70 years now.

    1. RU…Merry Christmas to you and your family, and. thank you also for the acknowledgement. And over 70 years as a Phillies fan…you have paid yurt dues and more, for sure.

    1. I second that thought – thanks guys and thanks to all the posters here for our interesting and spirited baseball debates.

  14. Merry Christmas to all. By now we’ve pretty much discussed every possible deal that the Phillies could or should make. I still believe that it’s likely that the Phillies sign Machado or Harper, and both players are capable of having an MVP season. If I’m Middleton I’d offer $330 million each, and let the players agents figure out the best way to break it down. Both are already wealthy, so I wouldn’t think that a signing bonus is important, but number of years, and opt outs are negotiable. I’d offer Britton a take it or leave it overpay on a three year deal. If Britton says no, I’m a little bit interested in Minor as a reliever, a spot starter, and a starter option in case of an injury to one of the starters.
    There has been a noticeable drop in the discussion of trading Franco. Theoretically speaking, if the Phillies sign Machado, we could have Franco, Machado, Segura, and Hoskins. Another option could be Machado, Segura, Hernandez, and Hoskins in the infield. It’s a win – win for the Phillies IF they sign Machado. IF they sign Harper, he’s in RF, Quinn and Herrera can fight it out for CF, and McCutchin is in LF. I believe in Williams’ upside, and ability as a pinch hitter, he would be my 5th outfielder. Kapler needs to put Williams in the best position to succeed because Williams could be a valuable trade chip in July,
    In my opinion, there’s not a FA starter available that I love, but I do love our current staff. One or two will take a big step forward this year. I’m positive! The bullpen is improved already, but Britton or Minor could upgrade it some more.
    I’d love for the Phillies to sign A J Ellis as the backup catcher, Williams, Kingery/Hernandez, and Quinn/Herrera would be a very good bench. Not just for pinch hitting, but also for pinch running.

    1. Mike, I agree with the above, except for Harper. If they sign him, I don’t think he’s a lock for RF. I read that he was the worst fielding RF in 2018 (Fangraphs, I think). If true, I can see Harper being moved over to LF.

  15. First, Merry Christmas to all, and may 2019 may a wonderful one for all Phillies phans, maybe with a Machado or Harper under their Christmas tree. Also, this is a question for TrollU…where did you hear or read that Machado has received his final offers from the Yankees, White Sox and Phillies? Curious to know since it certainly seems a strange way to negotiate. Seems the best way to negotiate is to get the teams offers, then go back to the Phillies and ask them if this is their best offer…since it appears they are likely to offer the most money.

    Where did you hear this, TrollU?

            1. 8mark – kind of like my Harper comment and you said i shouldn’t pay attention bc it wasn’t on MLBTR (it showed the next day).
              I just try to contribute on here and the evil empire tweet didn’t really lean to one specific team so I thought it was useful info
              It’s just like posting the Phillies will sign Manny or Bryce just because they have the money to do so. It’s all speculative just like the tweets I post.

  16. Thanks to Jim and James for making this an excellent site and for all the thoughtful contributors. We are making it a place for civil disagreement.

  17. If Phil Dunphy makes $26 million from Modern Family for salary and other perks resulting from the show, there should not be any real concerns about monies for MM or Harper.

    1. If either Machado or Harper were offered 5 years @ $200M to play in their respective preferred locations, or 8 years @ $300M to play in Philly, they would be losing $100M to play in either LA or NY. There is no way Harper is breaking the record Boras covers as an elite agent, especially if Manny opts for the Bronx. Despite all the clamor of being LA bound, Harper is not a target of the Dodgers. That’s a bunch of agent-national media hype. They simply don’t need a lefty hitting OF at such a cost, nor do they operate under Friedman as an organization that throws big splash money around. They’ve always an end game and Harper would not be it, no matter how much HE wants to be in the Hollywood/Vegas limelight. The Cubs simply can’t afford him. I can see Machado taking significantly less from NYY, but not $50M-$100M less. The figures I used above are approximations but certainly reasonable.

      If Manny chooses the Yankees, then Boras and Harper will linger until he gets the “historic” deal. Barely. If Manny signs with PHI, Harper might as well sign a pillow contract to return to WAS. Otherwise, he’s not getting anything close to what Middleton is offering…
      whatever that is at this point.

      1. “If either Machado or Harper were offered 5 years @ $200M to play in their respective preferred locations, or 8 years @ $300M: ….huh?
        So in 2024 they sign again somewhere else for $40M AAV or higher on a short term deal …they will only be 31 years old and the next 3 maybe 4 years, will still be productive years.

        1. That’s why they insist on an opt-out in the longer contract. I agree with 8mark … few players would leave $100M guaranteed on the table.

        2. Romus, any agent worth his salt won’t simply let his client pass on that gap in years and cash. Between now and 2024, their careers might seriously downturn or besetting injuries could squash their future earning power. You aren’t serious by asking ‘Huh?’, are you? A pillow contract (which is also unlikely for either) offers much less risk of future income. Also the fact that upcoming free agent markets in the next few years are potentially stronger than this one. They are both entering their prime years NOW. In 5 years, it’ll all be different.

          1. Actually an opt-out is very similar to that 4 year ‘pillow’ contract…..their choice, after 4 years…..they are willing to take the risk that they will not incur a career injury or their game suffers a decline.
            The Dodgers have been in rumors circulating about that 4 year deal for Harper ever since the meetings in Vegas when they had their sit- down with him and Boras..
            Sure at age 31 players will decline, but they may be willing to bet on themselves, that they will have 3 or 4 more years of production worthy of a higher AAV than what they will get this off-season.

            1. An opt out does not assume the player will continue to sustain his productivity. It assumes the player can move on should the market be to his advantage at the point of the lot out. With a short term deal, it’s on him to make hey before it expires. With the opt out, he stays put and gets paid either way.

            2. Understand that,
              But in Harper;s situation…and this is my opinion…he will take a Dodger offer of 4 year high AAV vs a Phillies offer at 8 years and lets say $270M…..if the Phillies decide to offer him to invoke his opt-out clause after 4 years and not before.
              He may not want to be stuck in a city that is not his preference after 5/6 years..

            3. Even more, he won’t want to be in a contract where he doesn’t get paid after 4 years should his value drop significantly.

            4. People are really not getting how this works at a fundamental level. The star player type opt out is not designed to benefit the team – at all. It is designed to benefit the player. Period. If the player negotiates an opt out, the team does not “offer” it to him. The player simply decides, at a designated point in time, if he would like to invoke the opt out and thereby becomes a free agent. The player holds all the cards. If the player believes, at that point in time, that he will receive more money going forward on the open market than he would if he played out his contract, he opts out and ends the deal. If he’s injured or has not played well such that his contract is worth more than his market value then he does not invoke the opt out. The team still guarantees the contract. It’s a great deal for the player and a bad deal for the team.

            5. At the end of the day, the team offering most years and money, especially with an opt out or three, will get the player to sign, not the higher AAV offer over less years.

            6. Exactly, when asked the question of whether they would like the biggest contract with the highest dollars, or the highest AAV, or the best opt out clauses, the player will answer “yes.”

            7. The team does have leverage in WHEN they can offer the opt-out clause.
              Everyone knows it benefits the player….but the team can offer if later in the contract for the concession that the player will accept a higher AAV early on.
              The Phillies can offer the opt-out at anytime they feel will benefit them also….players do not have to accept and then the negotiation just continues

            8. Yeah, sure, a team decides whether or not to give an opt out, but, for premier players, opt out clauses are “market” – meaning that if you don’t give them, and probably give a couple of them throughout the contract, you won’t sign the player.

  18. I still believe that Stupid Money wins out over “likes”. (Except in all the Hallmark movies where the girl always chooses the small town fireman over the big city finance tycoon). In real life, money talks. If the Phils offer $50M more, they’ll win themselves a player. Can they do it with +$30M? +$20M? That’s what’s being negotiated.

    1. Yeah…..Machado and Harper may not be thrilled going to Philly…but they will put on a happy face, say all the right stuff at the presser, knowing full well the money will be loaded up on their cart going to their bank accounts.

  19. Belated Merry Christmas to all of you.
    Thank you to Jim and James for Phuture Phillies. Also, thank you to RU for your mention. Here’s hoping you all have a fantastic holiday season, and a Phillies team featuring MM or BH and headed for the playoffs in 2019 !!!

  20. Assessing the trade market, there are several teams which may prove to be good partners in acquiring players to deepen or strengthen the Phillies 2019 roster.

    1 Cleveland has starting rotation depth which we don’t, and they could use an outfielder or two.

    2 Texas has Mike Minor. Perhaps another major league player could also fit into the Phillies plans. Somebody mentioned Nomar Mazara at the top of this open discussion. I would offer Herrera, Velasquez, Franco and a top 15 prospect for those two players. (Mazara would be the plan B to Harper, assuming Manny signed here.)

    3 San Diego makes for a logical partner, with an arm like Strahm and a backup C like Hedges as targets.

    4 NYY have plenty to shop around, whether they sign Manny or not. We could be the beneficiaries.

    1. ….and assuming Harper doesn’t sign anywhere soon, Machado is the domino. We should see plenty of action once he finally announces his foregone decision.

    2. You’d have to believe in Mazara’s potential a LOT to do that trade. Mazara is still quite young, but he’s not been a good MLB player thus far. Texas would likely accept that trade in a heartbeat because each of VV or Odubel has been more valuable, standing alone, than Mazara whose had quite a few MLB at bats over the last few years and hasn’t gotten better. Texas’ rebuild/reload has gone very poorly.

  21. Another day closer to the answer… will Heart or money win out in Mannys decision? Same with Bryce. My money is still on, the money wins out. I think the opt out clauses makes it even easier to decide money over heart.

    Manny is no Cliff Lee. Harper, definitely is not.

  22. Here’s another thought regarding Machado/Harper. By virtue of their advantageous position, the Phillies could have very easily ended the suspense of who and how many and how much. However, they are wisely being careful not to simply be bidding against themselves. If Manny informs them that he’s going to sign with NYY, they have the final option of offering more or saying adieu. The fact that both Machado’s and Harper’s markets are as small as they are, and as the days roll over into weeks, is even more to the advantage of the team with most to offer.

    1. Manny already has the three offers on the table according to reports I have seen.
      Have not seen anything about additional proposals that will increase the original bid offers. Where did you see that?

      1. I didn’t. It’s only logical that he might give either team a last ditch effort to sweeten the offer. Besides TrollU’s sources, where did you see that he has 3 final offers. I haven’t.

            1. Actually, MLBTR cites Verducci from time to time. He’s solid, but he doesn’t break many stories. He’s more of a columnist/analyst than reporter. I’m referring to local beat writers like Matt Gelb and Joel Sherman, and national baseball insiders like Heyman, Rosenthal, Morosi, Nightengale, Passan, Stark, etc.

        1. Jon Heyman reported all three offers are now on the table and Manny will make his decision after the New Year,
          Sounds to me the offers were final for all three teams.

          1. Jon Heyman
            @JonHeyman

            Manny Machado has conveyed to the three known interested teams — White Sox, Yankees and Phillies — that his decision will come after the new year.
            1:18 PM – 21 Dec 2018

          2. Just not sure right now if Manny and his agent Dan Lozano will entertain any counter-offers in 2019.
            Lozano is not Boras and does not usually play that game.
            So when Dan Lozano says they will decide based on the three offers, have to take him at his word.

      2. I can see his agent calling Middleton, saying this is the Yankees offer, beat it by this amount and MM is yours. I think whatever offer is on the table from the Phillies, the amount asked will obviously be higher tonextract more money.

        Will see. Once the Phillies sign one, or if they feel they are not going to be picked, the leverage changes for each plyser. They maybe be young superstars, future HOF yadayadayada .. but they only have 3-4 teams each, that can afford what they are asking. That really limits them if one drops out, and one of the teams left is the Low bid

    1. Prediction. If the Padres acquire him, he will be in a trade deadline deal from the Padres to another team either this year or in 2020. The Padres of the NY Jets of baseball.

      1. Preller has revamped the Padres’ farm system over the past few years, turning it into one of the best in baseball. It’s a change the club hopes will lead to a sustained run of success in the not-too-distant future. In short, Preller has put his vision into place in San Diego. His latest extended contract will run through the 2022 season.
        So looks like he will continue to do his magic to keep their farm right up there.
        But bottom line….he still has to beat out the Dodgers and looks like the revamped Rockies in the NL-West.

        1. I hope you’re right. I’d love someone to really take on the Dodgers, if only for a few years. San Diego’s park and the Gas Light District where the park is located are awesome. I’m thinking of following the Phillies there one year for a west coast road trip.

          1. Yes….San Diego is something else…hard to believe they now only have the Padres…still think of the Chargers as San Diego…in fact, a city like that needs at least three pro teams.

      1. This might be a good opportunity for Klentak to explore a 3-way deal with SD and CLE. We have Franco, Eflin, Velasquez, Herrera, Hernandez, de los Santos and Williams as potential extraneous pieces with some value to rebuilding/retooling teams like the Friars and Tribe.

        1. I know the opinion that many here have concerning Herrera. The Phillies fully expect Herrera to be their starting center fielder. They have never wavered from this belief. The things that the Phillies believe were influencing Herrera’s play last season are no longer an issue. They expect Herrera to return to his 2016-17 level of play in 2019. So, I don’t think they will be offering him to jump start a trade. He’s not an untouchable like Nola, but the other team will have to ask that he be included.

          1. Based on Jim’s above comment regarding Odubel (and I’ve been a critic of Doobie’s mental approach to the game), and the FOs inability to move CeHe (whom I consider a nice player but a block to the bigger upsided Kingery), I think this lineup could open 2019 and be pretty formidable:

            Cesar Hernandez 2b
            Jean Segura ss
            Bryce Harper lf
            Rhys Hoskins 1b
            Mike Moustakas 3b
            Andrew McCutchen rf
            Odubel Herrera cf
            Jorge Alfaro c
            Aaron Nola p

            With a bench of Scott Kingery, Aaron Altherr, Roman Quinn and a veteran backup C, the roster would have better defense, more depth, more speed and agility, and most importantly for CBP, more power.

            1. I like that lineup. Although … why replace Franco with the older, more expensive Moustakas if the Phils don’s sign Machado? He’s still got three arbitration years left and would allow for more payroll flexibility.

            2. Everyone keeps knocking Dylan Cozens but when you look at Moustakas ‘ production it is no better than what DC can bring to a lineup maybe even more power. I know he can’t play third but put Franco there and DC in the OF it would be cheaper and more productive. Defense would not dip either. DC can play all 3 outfield positions and maybe first in the future. Both have too much potential to disregard so quickly.

            3. @Denny: I’d love to see Cozens develop, but dude hit 1 HR vs. a 55% K rate in his September call-up. To say he could surpass the offensive production of Moustakas is a stretch.

            4. Sporadic playing opportunities. Put him in day to day, which they should have, would have produced results. Better than the Moose .

            5. Moustakas may be similar to Franco at season’s end by raw numbers. But he is much more consistent and lefty pop to boot. He only costs money while Franco may fetch us value in another area of need.

            6. Ah . . . Denny, Denny, Denny. I’m glad you like Dylan Cozens, but, so far, he hasn’t shown himself to be a particularly good AAA player, let alone a major league player. It’s possible he becomes something but he’s not a player you can rely on at this point. He’s more a lottery ticket than anything else.

            7. Denny, nobody is knocking Dylan Cozens. You are promoting him beyond what is reasonable. Whatever your relationship or allegiance to him, God bless you but the kid may simply need a fresh start with another organization. Perhaps he’ll be included in a package somewhere.

  23. We lived in SD county for 32 years. This past June we moved to about 15 miles SW of Nashville. One of the things I will miss is going to Petco, when the Phils came to town ( before that the Q) especially the last 10 or 12 years, since the Phillies almost never lost to the Pads. During the real good times, there were many times there were move Philly plans then Padre fans. Gas lamp is great!

      1. In LJ. George’s At Cove is a very nice place for dinner, it’s a bit pricey, but if you can sit in the back and have a view of the water. The view is killer. We liked Jakes, in Del Mar, it’s on the beach, so you can walk on the beach after dinner, watch the sun set. Save room for Hula Pie for dessert, one is plenty for 2 people.

  24. The manny/Harper sweepstakes has the potential to be like the day after Christmas; so much anticipation and excitement built up and then it’s over with. Let’s hope we get one of them and it’s Christmas year round 🙂

  25. FWIW, MLBTR’s Jason Martinez said on tonight’s live chat that he thinks Manny will go to NYY or CWS while Harper signs with PHI.

    1. The most annoying thing I’m seeing from several outlets recently is how they are latching on to the idea that Philadelphia is neither Machado’s nor Harper’s preferred destination. While I don’t deny that may well be the case, and I also have no problem with anyone having their personal pecking order of desirable places to play and live – hey, it’s a free country – it climbs up my spine that so called journalists feel the need to project the area as some kind of leper colony. Now, I have my own issues with our fan base at times. No city is a perfect haven for sports. But it’s become so easy for lazy social media types to take the least common denominator. Alright, I’m done. Good evening.

    2. Harper is the better fit. He will sell more season tickets and Phillies gear than Machado. Their ability to play the game at a high level is pretty much equal. One thing that has worried me, and that very few have mentioned, is the hustle thing. We all know that Phillies fans will be all over Manny if he doesn’t hustle every time.

  26. There hasn’t been a lot of talk here about upgrading the catching position. I’m not sold on Alfaro. Low contact rate (even for a catcher) and poor defense. I like the idea of making Grandal an offer. The Phillies will still likely have a lot of room between their commitments and the luxury tax threshold, even after signing one of MM/BH. Grandal is tied to a qualifying offer which isn’t ideal, but that’s a secondary concern. His framing would help the entire young rotation, plus he’s a big upgrade with the bat. Alfaro could be traded for bullpen or rotation help.

    1. Actually, Alfaro’s main problem defensively is blocking pitches in the dirt and passed balls. The pitchers like his game calling and his framing is passable. My concern about his bat isn’t swings and misses as much as he doesn’t drive the ball consistently. He should easily be a 20-25 HR guy with his raw power.

    2. Sal – I, and the Phillies are sold on Alfaro. He’s going to be a great catcher some day, but for 2019 he’ll be better than most.

      1. Alfaro’s floor is still pretty low- a backup/second division catcher. He is a neat guy and physically very talented but the holes in his game suggest that there is a huge gap between his floor and his ceiling which means it’s hard to know what to expect this year. I am quite disappointed that the team did not sign Wilson Ramos.

  27. The experienced accomplished players who came to the Phillies via free agency or trades – Rose, Thome,Rowland, Doc, Lee, Moyer. — played their hearts out for the Phillies. The fans loved them and they didn’t get mega contracts. They also never gave the impression they were doing Philadelphia a big favor for coming here. Are we going to get the same thing with Manny and Harper? I for one doubt it, particularly Manny.

    1. That’s some pretty selective memory. Thome and Lee absolutely got mega contracts. Lee got Corbin money 8 years ago (5/120 vs 6/140 for Corbin). Thome’s wasn’t nearly as much as the contracts we’re talking about now, but his set precedence for contracts to come.

      Oh, and you know what players Phillies fans didn’t love; at least for a while during their tenure? Schmidt, Rollins, Hamels, Werth, Howard. There are more, but I think I’ve made my point.

      It’s easy to say how much we all love them now, after they’ve won for us. But Schmidt got shit on for years. Rollins rightly got a bad reaction to calling us fans front runners, but how often did he get backlash for his lack of hustle or hitting the ball in the air? Hamels was nearly run out of town when he said he wanted his bad season to be over. Werth was reamed for his base running gaffes and occasional defensive blunders. Howard got destroyed for signing a contract that was offered to him.

      You know who Phillies fans still hate (at least the ones old enough to remember)? Rolen. There’s exactly one thing different about Rolen and all those others; he wasn’t around to reap the benefits of winning. Rolen is either the second or third best player of the entire group (depending on where you rank Hamels), and he did everything he could have possibly done to get wins. He even racked up injuries from playing all out. But he wanted out of a bad situation and got his wish, and that’s all Phillies fans remember about him.

      How many Phillies fans remember Placido Polanco put up 4.6 WAR in 2003? Hell, how many remember he was even on the Phillies in 2003? Know who else was on that team? Abreu. How often do Phillies fans talk about him in a positive way? Dude gave us 7 consecutive seasons of 5+ WAR, 4 of which were 6+.

      All of this to say, it really doesn’t matter how good you are or if you hustle or not. The vast majority of fans remember one thing, and one thing only: wins. If they sign here and win, they’ll be deified. If they sign here and lose, they’ll be crucified. And either way, they’ll be booed. Maybe not all the time, but definitely more than never. If you’re not named Chase Utley, Philadelphia will boo you eventually.

      1. Dan K, you make some good points. However, if you sign with the Phillies and don’t hustle, chances are you are not going to win. I think you have to play your heart out to win a World Series. Frankly, I didn’t see Manny breaking much of sweat against the Red Sox. Yes, Rose, Doc and Lee got good contracts, but not for 10 years or anything like it. Rollins may been booed for lagging, but it was far from his pattern. I do have some hope that Harper could work out and give his all. I don’t see it from Manny. But it’s all speculation, who really knows what makes another man tick.

    2. “On Dec. 5, 1978, the Philadelphia Phillies made Pete Rose baseball’s highest paid player when they signed him to a four-year contract worth $800,000 a season. Pete Rose made certain that the entire country knew how great he thought he was. Pete flew around the country in a private plane, showing a 25-minute film of his career to prospective employers.”

      Sounds mega to me.

  28. First and foremost, THANK YOU JIM AND JAMES! I do not read any other sports blog or forum and never have, but I love this one.

    All, I can’t tell you how much I wish everyone would stop hanging the “this offseason is a failure” if we don’t sign one of these two players to a disgusting, future-organization-killing contract. While I would be happy to have either on our team, I’ve repeatedly written that I just don’t like the crazy-long contracts and history shows that the vast majority end up a miserable failure for the team. (And I believe their ‘age’ is misleading as they’ve already played 7+ full seasons and history supports that they’ll wear down earlier. Plus, if they want to play elsewhere and ONLY come here for the “stupid money”, then WHY pray tell would we believe they’ll have the same fire to continue to be amongst the absolute best in the league for more than a few years?!) I just don’t get the emotional comments here about HAVING to have one (or two! as some foolishly fantasize). Yes, I have heard, and I fully understand, that either would be critical for merch sales and ticket sales and all other local and national marketing. But I believe winning and developing new young faces of the franchise will do both without mortgaging the future. And this is tried and true!

    Call me crazy, but…
    > In the the 2000s, we signed no major free agent but we won the ’08 WS! (Our biggest trade by far had been for Lidge. A significant trade for sure, but not near the realm of what many are calling for today.)
    > In the 2000s, we built our team on system-developed talent. i.e. Hamels, Myers, Rollins, Utley, Howard, Burrell.
    > In the 2000s, we augmented our roster with smart, shrewd, upside signings and trades. i.e. Werth, Victorino, Blanton.
    > In the 2010s, the Red Sox, Cubs, Astros (all teams we have stated we are modeling rebuild and some philosphies after) mostly grew their rosters out of their systems (including prospects gained via prior trades). *The Cubs did sign Lester and Heyward (though they turned only a 50% value). *Astros did trade for Verlander (but not until August ’07 and at a very reasonable price!) Red Sox signed JD Martinez last offseason (but only when his price came down and to 5 years). …And btw, the Dodgers success has not been based on giving out contracts like you’re all wanting to throw at BH and MM. It’s against Friedman’s philosophy. And I agree!

    For years we have been excited about the rebuild. About our young players. About the promise they had and the possible phuture they held for the big league team! I still believe it!

    Yet, here we are and now many of you want to sign or trade for every single major player whose name comes up in the news. Wishlists often include 5! of the 8 non-pitching positions to be filled by newcomers! WHAT KIND OF REBUILD IS THAT?!!

    Patience! I still believe in Kingery! In fact, I still love his upside as much as I did 1 year ago today! He’s the same player. And even better given how he cut his teeth last year. I agree they did a disservice not starting him at AAA and then more so by starting him all over the field other than his best position (2B). But he doesn’t suddenly suck and have no future. And neither does Herrera! (Please read Jim’s post!) And Hoskins is finally back at 1B and will be a stud and the face of the franchise! I also still love the potential of Quinn and want to see him get a lot of ABs! And Alfaro. And Williams (as 4th/5th). …And (yes, even) Franco. I get that we need to inject some established, high-level talent. I agree, some is needed. But if you haven’t noticed, the FO HAS! The trade for Segura was great! And the signing of McCutchen has been lauded by nearly everyone. (I only wish he was a Lefty to balance our lineup, though as Romus accurately pointed out a couple weeks ago, being heavy Righty is way better than heavy Lefty given the true matchup-problem is Lefty vs. Lefty since they don’t see as many of them.)

    And as 8Mark wrote above (and Jim agreed) and I totally agree and have written, the Phillies pitching is already a strength and is only going to improve soon given Phillies closest-to-ready prospects are pitchers (i.e. de los Santos, Romero, …and then Howard, Medina, Sanchez, etc). I’ve been a Pivetta cheerleader for years. And Eflin deserves a chance. (I’d support getting one SP for 1-3 years tops, thus moving VV to bullpen. Though de los Santos really needs a chance.)

    Segura, McCutchen, (maybe Moose to play 3B only because he’s a lefty – otherwise I’d rather keep Franco given upside and age), and hopefully Britton. ….And most importantly …believing in the kids and trusting the process to continue! = THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL OFFSEASON! And one that I would applaud. (Not that I wouldn’t accept another big move, I just don’t think they HAVE TO.) Just my .02. (in long-form. lol.)

    1. Nice layout, John K. You make valid points about patience vs spend big bucks. One thing I would say about the 2000’s young core crop which I’ve yet to see in this current wave of youth – they had a swagger. Rollins, Utley, Howard and Hamels exuded confidence even in their mid 20s. That remains a question mark among this crop. Nola and Hoskins are building blocks for sure, but who will be the cement guys?

      1. Thanks 8mark. There’s no guarantee of choosing one path or another but like everything in life, it’s best to consciously try to maximize the odds for success. I’m not sure I’m right but I believe my preference provides the best odds for now and later. And I’d continue to reassess as I go. For now, I still want to see so much more of the young guys. …Remember that this past year was the first full season for all of Pivetta, Hoskins, Kingery, Alfaro, Williams, Quinn.

    2. “In the the 2000s, we signed no major free agent but we won the ’08 WS! (Our biggest trade by far had been for Lidge. A significant trade for sure, but not near the realm of what many are calling for today.)”

      Notable FAs pre-2008: Jim Thome, David Bell, JC Romero

      Notable Trades: Billy Wagner, Rolen for Placido Polanco+, Thome for Rowand and Gio Gonzalez, Schilling for Padilla+, Gavin Floyd and Gio for Freddie Garcia, Joe Blanton.

      I disagree that the Lidge trade wasn’t in the realm of what we’re talking about. We gave up Bourn in that trade. All of the other trades I listed also had significant prospect value being swapped as well.

      This offseason is business as usual. The contracts are just bigger and there’s more publicity now.

      By the way, what history supports that they’ll wear down earlier? The HOF is full of players who debuted early and had long careers.

      1. Dan K,
        You are correct that there were more moves across the decade, however, I don’t believe there were any more significant than the likes of trading for Segura and signing McCutchen that directly impacted the building of the 2008 championship team. (Thome signing was huge but that was prior to 2003 and traded before 2006. A homegrown talent pushed him out.)

        I am all for moves like Segura and McCutchen. As I wrote, the FO HAS already made big, bold moves! ….My concern is that so many phillies fans act as if these were nothing and only BH and MM can satisfy.

        Regarding “history supports they’ll wear down earlier”… I’m not saying every elite talent does but there are many who wore down due to wear, injuries, or both, and never were the same after their first studly 7-11 seasons. Very, very few can keep that level up. Pujols was dropping from ‘elite’ during/after his age 31 season.
        Griffey dropped from “elite” after age 30 season (except possibly age 35 season).

          1. Murray, I agree. But would you say it was bigger than Segura trade (at the time it was made, not hindsight after Lidge’s magical year)? I’d suggest giving up Crawford was as much a prospect as Bourn. And Segura is at least similar value as Lidge. (In fact, Lidge was coming off two years at 3.36 era, 1.25 whip, and 5.28 era, 1.40 whip. Segura was an AL All Star last year!)

        1. It’s not like these guys aren’t playing in the minors normally at the younger age. Coming to the majors younger does not shorten their career in any way.

        2. I think the thing you’re neglecting in your assessment of players declining in your examples is that after age 30 is exactly when players are expected to start declining. It’s less about wear-and-tear and more about the body’s ability to heal decreasing.

          I fully expect both Harper and Machado to start declining in their 30s. But They’ll both be 4 years into their contract when they turn 30. Plus, when you’re declining from being a superstar, that usually means you’re “just” above-average for a couple of years. So following a general trend of performance for baseball players, starting at their respective baselines, it’s reasonable to expect 4 years of MVP-level production, 2 years of AS-level, 2 years of above-average regular, 2 years of average, and then below-replacement from there on out. So a 10 year contract would take us exactly to the point of where we’d want to stop paying them.

          Now anything can happen. Maybe they sign and never hit above the mendoza line. Maybe they’re one of the few players who drastically fall off one year and never reach their old heights. But, historically speaking, that’s the typical aging curve for baseball players; every couple of years after 30 shows a slow decline.

          1. The ‘typical aging curve for baseball players’ has been shifting in recent years. I think most baseball FO’s, including Phillies, are factoring that in.

          2. Dan, so let’s play the “By the way, what history supports ..” game with your expectation of it’s “reasonable to expect 4 years of MVP-level production, 2 years of AS-level, 2 years of above-average regular …”.

            1. Fair enough. Random sampling of recent HOF-level players. I’ll include everyone that comes to mind even if they don’t support my argument. I’ll go by bWAR for sake of convenience and (relative) brevity. We’ll say 6.5+ is MVP level, 4+ is AS, 3+ above-average (AA), 2+ is average (A), and below that is below average (BA). Also note I’ll only be doing hitters because pitchers are much more volatile.

              Utley: 26-30 MVP level, 31 AS, 32-35 bordering on AS (33 being injury shortened).

              Pujols: 26-30 MVP, 31-32 AS, 33 BA, 34 AS, 35 AA.

              Beltre: 26 AA, 27 AS, 28 AA, 29 AS, 30 AA, and then 31-38 alternating MVP and AS

              Cano: 26 AS, 27 MVP, 28 AS, 29-30 MVP, 31 AS, 32 AA, 33 MVP, 34-35 AA

              Jeter: 26-27 AS, 28-29 AA, 30 AS, 31 AA, 32 AS, 33-34 AA, 35 MVP

              ARod: 26-29 MVP, 30 AS, 31-32 MVP, 33-35 AS

              Beltran: 26 AS, 27 MVP, 28 AA, 29 MVP, 30 AS, 31 MVP, 32 AA, 33 BA, 34 AS, 35 AA

              Ichiro: 27 MVP, 28 AA, 29 AS, 30 MVP, 31 AA, 32-35 AS

              Rolen: 26 AS, 27 MVP, 28 AS, 29 MVP, 30 BA (injury), 31 AS, 32 BA, 33 AA, 34-35 AS

              Helton: 26-27 MVP, 28-29 AS (almost MVP), 30 MVP, 31 AS, 32 AA, 33 AS, 34 BA, 35 AA

              Chipper: 26-27 MVP, 28-33 AS, 34 AA, 35 MVP

              Miggy: 26 AS, 27-30 MVP, 31-33 AS, 34-35 BA

              Manny: 26 AS, 27 MVP, 28-34 AS, 35 BA

              Alright, so that’s a fair sample size for this exercise, I think. Obviously, as is the case with all curves, the players don’t follow them to the letter. Most have one or two year aberrations one way or the other. But generally speaking HOF level players put up 3-4 MVP level seasons in their prime, a handful of AS seasons, and a few AA seasons.

              The average of these players: 3.15 MVP seasons, 4.31 AS seasons, 1.92 AA seasons, and 0.62 BA.

              So based on this sample, I gave 1 too many MVP seasons, but 2 too few AS seasons. AA was right on the money. It’s worth noting that we may have lost 1 MVP season from Ichiro being in Japan for his age 26 season, but we’ll never know for sure and it doesn’t really matter. Also, I didn’t count any of Beltre’s seasons after 35. I only listed them because I found it interesting.

            2. Dan K, appreciate your response to Jim. Great detail!
              One sentence jumped out at me…
              “But generally speaking HOF level players put up 3-4 MVP level seasons in their prime, a handful of AS seasons, and a few AA seasons.”

              So, now consider that BH and MM have already had some of those MVP level and AS seasons. Do you believe they STILL have 3-4 MVP seasons AND 2 more AS and 2 more AA,etc likely left in the tank? (especially if their greatest motivation to choose the phillies is for the money.)

    3. Interesting discussion. Here’s the thing though, Utley, Rollins and Howard has a much higher upside than anyone on the current roster. Obviously, they turned out to be the best at their positions in the long history of this team. We do not possess that level of talent today. Not in the majors and not in the minors. Luis Garcia is a 17 yr SS who was a star in the GCL. Are you really going to hang your hat on him? Haseley profiles as a nice player, a borderline starter. The Phils need to add top talent to this team. They do not have a #3 hitter, anywhere. Signing one of the two FAs gives them the chance to do that. If you haven’t noticed, both the Nats and Braves brought up phenomenal rookie OFs last year that we will be competing with for years to come. Yes we need Manny or Bryce to compete.

      1. ‘Interesting discussion. Here’s the thing though, Utley, Rollins and Howard has a much higher upside than anyone on the current roster.’….IMO Hoskins has an higher upside at first base than Howard…offensively and defensively.
        I would be willing to bet when Hoskins is done with the Phillies he will have a higher WAR than Howard did as a Phillie.
        As for Rollins and Utley….you are probably correct there.

        1. Take a look back at Howard’s stats and then tell me you think Hoskins can reach those numbers. Hoskins looks like a solid 260/35/100 guy for a few years. Howard obliterated those numbers. Granted, it was only for a short period of time but he carried this team for a few years and was a feared hitter. If Hoskins can reach that level, that would be surprising but great news.

          1. Extrapolating Hoskins projection over 1572 games……it is a 20bWAR player vs Ryan Howard as a 15bWAR player.
            Defensively……it may not even be that close, Hoskins may not be Keith Hernandez over there at first, but he is certainly not a consecutive 11- year negative dWAR player.
            Now extrapolate their HR/AB…..Howard every 15 ABs….Hoskins currently every 14 ABs….as close as it gets.

          2. I wouldn’t say Howard ever carried us. But you’re right that, for a couple years, he hit at a clip that’s scarcely imaginable. I don’t expect we’ll see a peak offensive player of that kind for a long, long time.

            Fortunately, though, Hoskins has the ability to beat him in longevity. Also, the offensive environment these days is drastically different, so he doesn’t really NEED to be that behemoth to be similarly valuable.

            1. They are somewhat different players. I am a believer in WAR but admittedly, sometimes WAR does not capture the full impact of the player and that’s true for Howard. Nobody could pile up video game-like statistics faster than Howard could at his peak. But he was a limited player and he went downhill quickly. Hoskins won’t hit as many homers, but he gets on base a ton and he’s a heck of a player. Very different players but I’m happy we have a chance to have see them both.

    4. I do not want a player who just takes the money hoping to opt out for their ‘preferred’ team later.
      Though Machado is better current fit at 3B, I do not want a superstar upset at his position wishing he was playing elsewhere. I can see mid-season comment that Manny thinks he is a better SS than Segura
      Harper may fit style better (walks) but he has no value in the field so if the bat declines he really loses all value.

      Both have lots of risk and looking at Stanton’s contract, I think no team wants that situation… and Stanton is an excellent player.
      Would anyone been happy ttrading for Stanton?

      1. IF IF IF IF IF….

        IF the Phillies sign Harper or Machado, either one might get run over by a truck. I’m so tired of the IFs, ANDs and BUTs that are so prevalent around here. How about some positive waves for a change….

            1. Kelly’s Heroes is an all time classic. Donald Sutherland was among the greatest utility men in acting history.

  29. Joel Sherman of MLB/NY Post thinks Machado and Harper will end up with the White Sox and Phillies because they offer more money (go figure). He’s not sure which will go where. Also points out (to my irritation) that neither is keen on Philadelphia. But who cares? It’s all about the Benjamins.

        1. TrollU….Plan B…..Klentak will need to make trades….like he should have been doing all along with his abundance of MLB-ready assets.
          All these young analytical GMs have similar philosophies, want to accumulate assets……then when an old head comes along and starts to trade them , their team wins a WS like the Sox, or when a first generation analytical type like Luhnow learns. better to trade them for the last pieces…he will do it , like he finally did with Verlander, and tried again this past season with Gerit Cole.

          Klentak just needs to be more creative and take the risk.
          I hope he does not start doing it when Amaro finally did it….when he was shown the door.

            1. TrollU….the easiest to do right now to start…sign Moustakas for 2@$18/20M…and move Franco and a prospect for LHP Strahm and Austin Hedges.
              Because if he waits…..Cashman could announce signing Machado and immediately trades Andujar to the Padres for similar results and Preller has no need for Franco at that point..
              Klentak should strike while the iron is hot and not wait if Lozano does give him more indication that Machado is still not sure between the Phillies and Yankees..

          1. Romus, there was a different ownership group when Amaro left and they would not allow him to trade the stars. Also, they allowed few resources to grow the International Market and Analytics but they signed Sal A. to grow the LA player connections.

        2. This is not the fault of the organization. This can’t be blamed on the Phillies. It’s because of the fans and/or media in Philadelphia. It’s the reason for one of the players, I don’t know about the other.

          This is why our prognosticators here at PP can’t envision why a player would leave stupid money on the table. They don’t consider some fan or media interaction with family members in the stands that might influence a decision over money.

      1. Souring on playing for the Phillies is just another language for ‘I want more money to play for the Phillies’. Which either will get.

        1. 8mark – perhaps it really means neither want to play for the Phillies? You seem to think that because the Phillies have money to throw around that they’ll sign one of the big stars. You aren’t citing any sources when you claim the Phillies will sign one.

          1. For the 400th time … FA’s (aside from Cliff Lee and some guys near the end of their careers chasing rings) sign for the most money offered. Harper and Machado want to break records for the richest contract in MLB history, Scott Boras and Dan Lozano want to brag they negotiated that contract, and the MLBPA wants these guys to reset the market for every other current and future FA. Harper and Machado are worth more to the Phillies than they are to any other club with the financial might to sign them. Middleton needs a superstar “face of the franchise” that’s why he is willing to spend stupid money. The Phillies are desperate shoppers. The NYY and LAD are opportunistic shoppers.
            Some of you guys can continue to doubt, but it won’t be long (January) until either Harper or Machado are sitting on a dais with John Middleton, Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak, and the Phanatic.

            1. And Hinkie…….”but it won’t be long (January) until either Harper or Machado are sitting on a dais with John Middleton, Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak, and the Phanatic.’
              …..and saying ‘ this is where I always wanted to be, with a team with a rich tradition (translation – owner) and trying to get to the next level’…and still putting on that smiley face.

      2. I’m sure this is 100 percent factual and has nothing to do with squeezing more pennies out of Middleton’s accounts …

        1. Honcho – I agree with you. Just because the Phillies have money will mean someone HAS to sign with them.
          The Phillies need to be working on trades or other FA’s.
          This offseason hasn’t been a total failure but I don’t call getting Cutch and segura a great success either.
          The Phillies owner is sure going to look like a goon when they don’t spend the stupid money. There’s an issue when two of the biggest stars in baseball don’t want to play for your team.

          1. “The Phillies owner is sure going to look like a goon when they don’t spend the stupid money”…why?
            If they actually tried and put their best foot forward with outlandish offers and were subsequently rejected by the two divas, then it may be a better sign for the organization. They could be the sympathetic party in these ordeal
            Plus many secondary FAs may see an opportunity with the Phillies and get a few million more in their wallets.

          2. Again, I don’t necessarily believe the “don’t want to play for the Phillies” report. I think, as 8mark said above, that their agents are trying to get more $$ out of the Phillies. I think the Phils sign one of the big two.

  30. Just bc someone doesn’t want to play for Philly we shouldn’t start calling them names. Looking like we miss out on both. Said a bunch of times that they need to want to be here as well. And it just doesn’t look like we are that attractive right now. Sucks.

  31. Off the trail here but has anyone read the book, “The Chicken Runs at Midnight” by Tom Friend? I received a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas and I am eager to buy it.

  32. Like most teams in the Harper – Machado sweepstakes the Phillies must wait. I still say that money talks, and the Phillies will sign Harper for 9 years, $300 million. The additions of McCutchin, Segura, and Harper will probably mean one or two more runs per game. In that scenario, the Phillies don’t need another starting pitcher, but they still need someone to Hold or Save games in the late innings. Best options are to sign Britton, and/or trade for Minor. Seranthony and Britton could own the ninth inning, and Minor would give the Phillies a reliever who can pitch multiple innings, or be a spot starter. The backup catcher is a bit of a problem because A J Ellis is the best choice, but can only catch about 40 games. We would be betting on Alfaro to remain healthy all year. If the Phillies were to sign Ellis, they would have to acquire another catcher (minor league contract) to be called up in case Alfaro gets injured.
    The waiting is killing me, but, in my mind, the rebuild is a year ahead of schedule. We’re no longer looking for placeholders (Saunders, Kendricks), but for stars who can propel the team to the next level.

    1. Wawa, I will predict Harper gets 8 years at $300M. That’s $37.5M AAV, an overpay but hey, the price of doing business with the big boys. Opt outs after 3rd and 5th seasons.

      Trout will cost us low $40Ms, and maybe a lifetime contract. You know, like a team ambassador when his playing days are over.

      1. Add two more years to the deal (10 years and $375 m) and two opt out periods (after years 3 and 6) and now you’re getting somewhere. Personally, I think the deal will be something like 11 years and $425m (again with opt outs after years 3 and 6/7). Now THAT is stupid money.

        1. And I think it’s entirely possible, in that scenario, that Harper doesn’t play for the Phillies past year 3. And, by the way, this opt out would NOT be beneficial in any way for the Phillies as some have suggested. If he exercises the opt out it means that his camp believes he’ll get more than the balance of his contract which also means that he and his contract have net trade value. Once he exercises the option, the trade value, of course, is gone.

          1. catch … you/we have no idea if a MM opt out after three or four years would benefit the Phillies. Obviously, it in no way hurts Machado. However, it could also help the Phillies. What if Manny gives the Phillies four productive/excellent years then opts out just when the team has a younger/cheaper option (Alec Bohm or they could draft a guy like Josh Jung or Bryson Stott in 2019) available. Machado goes on to play somewhere else in his 30’s (where he’ll probably begin to slowly decline) for more money, and the Phillies use the money Machado leaves to extend younger players (Hoskins/Pivetta/Medina).
            I’m not saying an opt out definitely helps the Phillies. I’m just disputing your contention that “this opt out would NOT be beneficial in any way for the Phillies”. An opt out helping the player and the team don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive.

            1. It isn’t beneficial for the Phillies – almost by definition. At best, it’s neutral. Let’s look at this again so I can explain why this is so. The player either invokes the opt out or doesn’t – he has all the control.

              There are two possible scenarios (either opt , both help the player and hurt or do not help the team.

              If the player has played poorly such that his remaining market value is less than the value of the term of the contract, then he will not exercise the opt out and the team will be stuck paying a player an above market rate. Certainly, in this scenario, the opt out has not helped the team – it is just overpaying for a player going forward.

              If, however, the player has outplayed the contract such the player’s market value exceeds the balance due under the contract, the player will opt out. But THIS DOES NOT HELP THE TEAM. It doesn’t help the team because, due to the opt out, the team: (a) does not have the option of keeping a player on a below market contract; and (b) just as important, even though the contract has net a positive value, the team cannot trade the player. It’s this second scenario that you are missing. Anytime a team controls a player on a market-friendly contract that contract/player has a positive trade value and not only can the team rid itself of the contract (because other teams in the marketplace will want a player for below-market rates – see Chris Sale), but it can get further value for that player in a trade. At the very best, the option is neutral where the player is worth the amount due under the contract and so his leaving is neither a net loss or a net gain.

              But, no, opt outs don’t help the team. They don’t. By definition they are designed to be, and are, an economic tool that just helps the player.

            2. ‘Now, mutual player/team options can help the team’…..except ain’t none yet in the early ‘opt-out clause’ portion of these type contracts….at least i have not seen any from any team…..they will have the mutual option at the last year of the basic contract as an addendum year to it.
              But like you said….this type of a contract …opt-outs….basically favor the player all the way..
              Cubs finding out the hard way with Jason Heyward.

            3. Romus – YEAH, NO KIDDING – type A free agents don’t have to give mutual options so back to my basic point – player options just benefit the player. They do NOT benefit the team.

        2. Jim Peyton originally did hear somewhere around 9 yrs/$360M, but that offer was taken off the table once the market became what it is now – narrow, and the Phillies would essentially be bidding against themselves. So I don’t see how it rebounds to 10+ years, though the AAV may stay between $35M-$38M.

  33. I’d be curious to know which wears on a player more. Winning but not bringing home the WS year after year of being a favorite to do so.

    Or losing and not making the playoffs year after year!

    If its true that neither player wants to play in Philly could it be because of the manager hmmm?

    I’m glad to see that we passed on Miller I would like to see us lock up Britton. Given what Joe Kelly got from the Dodgers I would think the number should be about that for Britton with possibly another year added on.

      1. This is what intrigues me…the players involved from three months ago up to now.
        -MVP Sports Group….founder Dan Lozanao and Manny Paula ..the whistelblowers
        -the FBI…..and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
        -the Dodgers….two specifics Andrew Friedman and Gabe Kapler
        …..a very unique situation
        i wonder how the game is played in this process of the negotiation..

        https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/10/02/fbi-investigation-mlb-atlanta-braves-los-angeles-dodgers

  34. John K, I applaud your optimism, but the issue I have is that your plan does not seem to make us a Playoff contender this year. Maybe that is ok with you, looking towards the future, but I can’t get there. I want the Playoffs this year. Your plan counts on our current young players developing more than I think they have shown they are capable of. I, too, am a big Kingery fan, but there are no plans to trade Cesar, leaving Kingery with no position again, and I see being a platoon player as hurting his development. I agree with Jim that the FO views Herrera as their CF, I just don’t think he is very good. Hid D, which should be excellent as a CF, is only mediocre. Just because their decision is that they like Doobie does not make it the right decision.Franco, Nick Williams, I just don’t see has high ceiling players, That is why I want one of the Machado/Harper tandem. On that topic, despite my belief that Machado as a 3B is a better fit, there is something about him that I don’t feel comfortable with. How will he react with so much guaranteed $ when his hustle is questioned as he was supposed to be showing teams why he was worth so much $. I see the fans here turning on him, and that would be an awful thing. I sent, regardless of the $ he gets, Harper’s personality never changes.

    1. Matt13, appreciate the comments. I want to win in 2019 and every year after. Most years I go to Clearwater in March with high hopes for the new season. In 2009, I still wanted to win as much as I did in 2008. The optimist in me believes they can and will compete in 2019. Why? …
      I predict two other meaningful moves to come (one hopefully being Britton). I also envision they’ll make a big move midseason assuming they are in striking distance. (And per some posts here, who knows, maybe just maybe, that move is for Trout. *I’m NOT expecting or predicting such, but just saying that anything can happen. Don’t force something now just for short-term at likely detriment of the longterm. Keep making smart moves and it’ll pay off.)

  35. Yesterday, Jim Peyton mentioned that the Phillies believed that the issues that led to Herrera’s awful year were over. Nobody has questioned this, until now. Was it injuries, personality conflict (Santana), turmoil in his native country, or something else? More importantly, if this is the case, he would be a valuable member of this team again. Going into the season with Quinn in CF is a risk.

  36. Just to be clear, if Machado or Harper doesnt take our money and goes for less elsewhere they will absolutely become public enemy #1 around here. They’ll get worse treatment than JD Drew got. The booing will be intense and wearing hard hats will be advised. Yes, philly fans take this stuff seriously. All the national press continues to put down Philly (why would anyone want to live in Philly over NY, LA, or Chicago?) I’m sick and tired of it. You don’t want us, things will get ugly… All the NY homers can jump off a cliff too….

    1. There’s no way this becomes worse than J.D. Drew – people will boo, but it won’t even be as bad as what they did to Jayson Werth.

      1. Harper saw how Werth was treated in Philadelphia. I remember hearing it reported that Phillies fans cheered when Werth broke his wrist in DC in 2012. Harper would have been there for that, too.

    2. Murray, the fan reaction you suggest is exactly the type of behavior that may be costing us one of these free agents this off season. And if it occurs as you suggest, it will probably cost the Phillies top FAs in the near future.

  37. Google Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and just look at all the 3rd rate pubs and reactionary tweets jumping on the “they don’t particularly like Philly” line. Makes me wanna puke. Which may be their intent. Lazy, thoughtless reports all parroting each other. Fake news at its core. Get out!

    1. You just have to ignore it. Thanks for nothing 1968 Eagles fans throwing snowballs at Santa Clause. It’s a 50 year-old tired cliché and it’s mostly crap.

        1. Yes… he was a skinny 17-year old kid sitting in the stands when the actual Claus did not show …he was wearing a Santa suit and fake white beard, was asked to fill in. But when he ran downfield past a row of elf-costumed “Eaglettes” and the team’s ­ brass band playing “Here Comes Santa Claus,” boos came down from the crowd of 50K plus in Franklin Field and snowballs began raining down…pelting the poor kid.
          Actually fans were mad at Joe Kuharich the coach …team was lousy..Vikings beat them that day….50 years ago. I do not remember al the action going on…I was 17 and in the end zone seats near the open end of the field….but there were snowballs coming out from the seats around mid-field.

  38. While I agree with the monetary policy espoused by Hinkie, “give me the money, John,” I have to admit that Manny had a 4 hour meeting – vs. 1.5 hours with NYY. There had to be some serious terms discussed then – does he have the offer and is waiting for more or is there more to come ? OTOH – all the negative talk about Philly and the teams with the other lottery tickets for both players (except the Whi-sox) being instant Series candidates – I can only assume that is the agents stoking a quiet off season and pushing up the contract values. It still appears this is going to take a long time to unfold – and all the usual pundits have their opinions – Bowden, Olney, etc. Wonder what Law thinks ?

    1. It would be hard pressed for many to believe that $$$ negotiations didnt take place at some point during a 4 hr meeting … plus a dinner. I’d say a good 30-45mins went on about how the Phillies could make Machado stupid rich. Give and take on # of years, opt outs, AAV, and when the no trade clause kicks in.

      Overall, I still absolutely see the Phillies signing one of these guys, setting up for trout as the finishing piece in 2020. It just makes all too much sense. It will happen, as money wins out 99 out of 100 times.

      Signing one of the significantly boosts the rebuild. It makes up for missing on previous prospects and trading away a prospect such as Crawford.

      MM/BH + Hoskins, Segura is a very nice 3-5, with Herrera&McCutchennas strong complimentary players. I believe Herrera will be more consistent this year, that also goes for his brain. Fart as well. Will live with it. Add in the upside of Kingery, Alfaro, Quinn, Williams, ans Hasley this year, the team is in a nice position, with their low payroll & big savings acct.

      Time to roll, especially with our young pitching. Nola, Pivetta, Eickhoff, Efflin, And Arrietta is going to please a lot of phans.

  39. Law thinks Phillies get Harper. By the way, something that hasn’t been mentioned, but that Hinkie suggests in a Philly sort of way, is that for the first time in 14 years major league player salaries decreased. To the major league players association this is not a small thing and would suggest that Harper and MM will be under union pressure to take the largest deal they can get…since they will in some ways set the market for future free agents, big and small.

    This reminds me a bit of the Jim Thome saga. Everyone knew of Thome’s love of Cleveland, he was not shy about mentioning it. And in the end it came down to Cleveland, a town he knew and loved, and Philadelphia, a town he knew little about but also the town that offered the most money. The union pressure was enormous and Thome chose the Phillies. Unless I missed something he never regretted the decision and grew to love Philadelphia.

    Maybe Hinkie can address this one issue that worries me…or anyone else can chime in. My sense is that these players reluctance to commit to Philadelphia has less to do with the city and more to do with Philadelphia leadership. I just sense that few players come away from meeting Klentak and McPhail and think, “wow, now those are two guys who have a vision of greatness.” Middleton probably does but I am unsure how much he has physically put himself into these negotiations. As for Kapler, my guess is that players are still unsure of him.

    Thoughts on these items, anyone???

    1. CD, excellent point on MLB player salaries dropping for the first time in 14 years. There is SO MUCH more at stake here than the whims of personal preferences.

      1. :MLB player salaries dropping”…one contributing factor. last off-seasons very slow FA market signings with the Phillies oddly…being near the top of paying out money..
        It is collusion……according to Scott Boras.

    2. The union – lol. These players are unionists as we think of them in only the most tangential way. They are represented by highly informed and expertly advised agents who are sophisticated business people. The player doesn’t take or not take an offer based on what its union says. That is so ridiculous.

      1. Not entirely true. The MLBPA wouldn’t allow ARod to take a VOLUNTARY pay cut to be traded to the Red Sox. I’m sure there are other examples of them flexing their authority, but that one is the most prominent as far as I’m aware.

        Granted the situation needs to be extreme for them to intervene, but they do have some power and say. If Manny were to take an offer from the Yankees for 5/100 when the Phils offered 9/340, I guarantee they’d step in. Which is not to say that I think he would take that Yankees offer, just suggesting that the union does have some real power in addition to the “peer pressure” they exert.

        1. A voluntary pay cut to a contract that is already agreed on is different from accepting a lower contract to play in a preferred city. If the difference in contracts was as extreme as in your example, I would think his agent and family would want him to see a shrink. The problem will be what can the union do when the offers are closer to each other.

          1. This is a reply to Jim as well since it’s in the same vein;

            I just want to assure you both that I don’t think it LIKELY that the MLBPA will be involved in all in any decision either FA makes. I just wanted to point out that they aren’t entirely a non-factor. If the contracts are within 50M in value, I don’t expect anyone from the union would make a fuss with accepting the lower bid. I don’t see a scenario in which any player passes up 60M+ regardless of personal preference, so I can’t see any scenario in which they would even want to intervene.

            So yes, the hypothetical was outlandish. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, though, so who knows for sure.

    3. Cal Dreamer,

      The union and agents would have us believe that the owners colluded to control salaries. And, maybe they did. But, they did so under the sound business decision of promoting their young players from the minors rather than overpaying free agents who were finally entering the free agent market in their age 30 and above seasons. That played a part in salaries going down.

      While team ownership may come into play when deciding where to play, and should be a consideration, I don’t think that is the case with Harper and Machado. If you want to say it’s the “city”, so be it. I don’t think a snowball incident 50 years ago is the issue. I think a very real perception of the worst 5% of the fan base is a big part of the problem.

  40. 8mark…thanks for the kind words. I do feel as a Phillie phan living in SoCal I can offer my perspective on what I hear about the Dodgers [Harper] and Angels [Trout] and I certainly will do so if/when I hear anything of note. Right now the Dodgers are playing it coy but I do believe Magic made a visit to Las Vegas to recruit Harper even though he denied it publicly.

    I also sat down with a long time Angel season ticket holder and he acknowledged that the Angels fear Trout may want to play in Philadelphia, its sort of the 800 pound gorilla in the room for the team.

    1. Yes, I can’t help but think that he graciously declines any extension offer from Arte Moreno, expresses his and his family’s desire to “explore” the free agent market in 2020. This conversation should take place soon after the Machado and Harper contracts are signed. At which point, Eppler begins to field inquiries from interested teams prepared to offer trade packages. I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that he’s moved by this coming August’s trade deadline. It would be malpractice for the Angels to keep Trout for the sake of local fan appeasement.

      1. ….and on the matter that Trout doesn’t want to place himself in an awkward position regarding his affinity for Philly sports, he wouldn’t be sitting in the end zone box he occupies for every Eagles home game. With zealous fans displaying Phillies jerseys with the number 27 in plain view.

  41. Jon Heyman says that should the Phillies fail to sign Machado, Josh Harrison may become a free agent target to play 3b or super utility guy.

    1. Pass on Josh….give me Moustakas….a 13 FWAR career player who has 41 games at play-off experience…..just for two years though.

    2. Signing Josh Harrison to play 3B would be nothing more than a spite move in regards to Franco, honestly. Giving up on Franco for the likes of Harrison would be an absolute joke.

      It’s one thing to move on from a young player when you have a good alternative option. But doing so because you have a warm body to replace him is not smart baseball.

        1. No, absolutely not. Just saying that if we are taking Moose on my tean at this point I would definitely like to see Franco get 3B and DC have a shot for an OF position or last man on the roster.

          I’m not as dumb as I sound, lol.

            1. Cost?
              With Moustakas at third…..then Franco moved to Padres as rumored back in July….for LHP Matt Strahm (one problem solved)…add another piece with Maikel, like Medina, and you get the best young defensive catcher in the game( increases defensive game all around and gives the pitching staff a two day late Christmas gift, especially Arrieta and Seranthony).

            2. I don’t think anyone is saying that Franco is the answer (could he break out next year, sure, he could also have the worst year in his career. Crap shoot) however, at least in my opinion the upgrade I’m terms of money just isn’t worth it. The production Franco put up last year would be fine for the 7 hole, he’s not a middle of the line up hitter right now (not saying that anyone thinks that he is).

          1. I’m with you guys on keeping Franco if we don’t land Manny. Moustakas no thanx, Franco gives me just about the same with the possibility of more.

            Btw no one thinks you are dumb Ms Cozens, we get that you are rooting for your boy. Haha but in all seriousness, what have you seen in Cozens that would make you think he could even handled the 4th spot? Or even bouncing around from the big club to AAA? He just isn’t good enough. No shame in that, most aren’t.

  42. I believe the Phillies get one of the big two, I’ve been on record saying so, let’s go down the MM to yanks, Harper to Phillies rabbit hole.

    If the yanks do get MM, thoughts on trading for either Andujar or Stanton? If Phils get Harper, Stanton is out imo
    (He probably has a ntc that would have to be worked out)

    If the Phillies get neither, how much does it take to get Haniger? sixto, Hasley, efflin, and more

    Goldschmidt if he was a 3B would’ve made a lot of sense, but his home is at 1B.

    If the Phillies can get MM, I’d circle back hard for Haniger. If they get Harper, I’d pass, if they get neither, I’m calling up my old boss to pick his pockets again. It’ll hurt, as I’m sure he has a few good years of cost controlled production left

    I’d kick the tires on Grandal if neither sign as well, and trade for Haniger or Andujar since the Yankees will need, or rather should need to dump
    Some players to fit MM.

    1. Tac3….getting Harper throws Klentak into mind boggling downward spiral….now he would have to move or DFA 2 or more OFers of Williams, Herrera, Quinn, Altherr or
      oh no….Cozens….Cutch stays in LF or RF..
      Losing assets at well below value.
      Manny is their preference IMO as the left side infield solution….and Cutch was their OF option.

      1. Lol I totally forgot about the MCCutchen signing…. all this is just easier if MM signs.

        Ok, I’m going to lay off the Bottle, too long of a Xmas break for me

        Waiting for these 2 to sign is like watching a snail and turtle race…

    2. Also, if they somehow strikeout on both, doubtful, I’d look at Nick Castellanos (sp), I’ve heard he is atrocious in the OF, but I’d live with it in LF – going with the Burrell argument to support suggestion. if he is the same or better than Hoskins was.

      these suggestion focus on boosting team OPS, with a focus on players who can hit a lot of doubles – 34+ to 47

      1. Cutch will be in RF and Castellanos would go to LF…..he may be atrocious but a step up on Hoskins in LF.
        Heck the guy played third base in the minors, so he does have some abilities in the field.

            1. Nah. Quinn would be 4th OF. Williams would be traded. Altherr might stick around as a 5th OF or traded as well.

    1. I would trade Hernandez, Franco, Odubel, Medina, Eflin, Altherr, etc for Trout and I would take on Pujols salary. Let’s start the dreaming.

      1. Way too light. The starting point is still probably Sixto/Bohm/Medina even with Pujol’s contract attached. That’s before any major league assets are included.

        Hernandez has no trade value, the Angels can just sign a 2nd Baseman.
        If we don’t want Franco why would another team?
        Altherr is a 5th outfielder
        Eflin is a 5th starter.

    2. Per philliesnation, The Angels have no interest in trading Trout. To me, this is like malpractice, especially after seeing lesser players – MM and BH leave for nothing or a box of balls. You want to sign Trout, if he won’t, you can’t let him walk or get a pathetic return. The team better win, if not, time to sell now, or at the latest the deadline. Personally, i see them be stupid and let him walk.

  43. The Good Phight earlier today posted a sensible piece on the “don’t particularly like Philadelphia” crap put out there, presumably by Manny’s agent, to squeeze a couple million a year from Johnny Cigars. The short and sweet, but apparently not too inviting, visit to the Bronx left Machado and Lozano scrambling for another play. Let’s face it, if the Yankees offered Manny anything close to what the Phillies offered, he would have taken it by now. Over and done with. Right? So now, here we are watching and waiting for this dog and pony show to end mercifully. And I’m willing to bet that neither NYY nor CHW offered more than $200M or 5 years. The Phillies probably need only to have offered 8 years at $250M. That’s about $31M AAV. Pretty good, but a FAR cry from 9 years at $360M, aye?

        1. Jim, you’re especially talkative today. What gives? (I’m not complaining. To the contrary, I welcome more input from you since you know more than you can tell.)

    1. It’s Philly media writing a biased article like the NY media wrote a biased article.

      NY writer – Manny and Harper want to play here and not Philly
      Philly writer – they’re only saying that because NY isn’t offering as much

      I know you’ll argue my point but what’d you expect Philly media to say? Oh yes NY media, no one wants to play here.

        1. Good point, Dan. This has little to do with bias and much more to do with motive. The media gets played by the agents who aren’t biased like the fan bases. They are trying to negotiate publicly.

        2. I never said I believed NY.
          But of course our media will come out with an article stating NY media is wrong.

          No one truly knows. We do know that Dodgers or Yankees can strike at any time and in years past haven’t been scared of the luxury tax.

          1. TrollU…though Freidman and the Dodgers have shied away from signing the big FAs under his watch the last three years.
            They will fork over millions on Cuban prospects….that almost all bust, except maybe Puig ….but the big FAs on the market they have not gone after.
            Harper may be the first one for Friedman….but everything points to it being a shorter deal than what he and Boras want..

    2. 8mark, nobody negotiated anything with Manny and his wife in the room. The Phillies discussed vague parameters of what they had to offer and tried to sell the city and surrounding communities to the Machados. Manny and his agent talked about the vague parameters they’re looking for and put their best foot forward to obfuscate the “Johnny Hustle” comment. No offers were made by any team yet. That wasn’t the purpose of the visits.

    3. agree with you in principle, but I think those numbers are still just too low. I think somewhere around 300 million is the breaking point–where the Yanks won’t venture beyond and the Phils just have to decide HOW much further to go to get Machado to sign. Maybe 330?

  44. Does anyone else have the feeling that we are caught up in the chase, and we desperately want one of the two, but when/if we get one, we won’t be so happy? The idea of one of these 2 Superstars has been on our minds for so long that we don’t see the warts they both have. Aside from a huge contract, Harper’s D, and Machado’s lack of hustle may come back to haunt us? I know I am guilty of wanting to win. My feelings are based on the fact that I have found the last 7 years to be unnecessarily bad baseball, and I have, as well as many others, set my sights on the “blockbuster FA class of 2018.” I feel as though the FO “owes me” for what I believe was mismanagement, and they can pay me back by spending lots of $. The more I think about both of these guys, the less excited I am, but I, honestly, see no Plan B if we don’t get one. Unless Plan B is really “hope the young guys take big leaps forward” and finishing in 4th is ok because there is FA next year, and then, maybe Mike Trout comes in 2021! This sounds sarcastic but it really isn’t meant that way. I just am feeling that thinking we get one of them may be better than actually getting one.

    1. Matt13, I know what you are saying. Phillies fans are desperate for the front office to make a big splash this offseason and for the team to become a legit playoff and WS contender. Signing MM or Harper should certainly help, but neither is a panacea and neither alone will get the Phillies to where we want them to be.

      That said, the thing that make MM and Harper different from most big-time FAs is their age. Both are 26, and should be in their prime for the next six seasons or so. Personally, I will be disappointed if the Phillies sign neither.

    2. The big problem is that we had 4 top 10 draft picks in a row and we don’t have a guaranteed first division regular, let alone guaranteed star, in the bunch. Now, maybe they will develop, but it’s the furthest thing from a sure thing.

      It seems like whenever the Red Sox or Yankees are momentarily bad, they dip their magic wand into the draft pool and emerge with a jewel. We, on the other hand, get Cornelius Randolph. Just saying.

      1. That is a real issue.
        When the team was going good and first round picks were in the 20s or 30s…that is one thing if the players do not come around…the odds are not as great.
        But when the picks are of top five/ten selections in the draft…..and there is no discernible semblance of an immediate impact player…that is the real issue.
        Nola at 7th is the only exception of late.
        i still have high hopes for both Moniak and Haeley…..leery on Randolph and Bohm, and not withstanding when it will come to their eventual defensive position in the field….apparently now limited
        Makes you also wonder…..picks after the first round seem to develop at a better rate and show more promise.

        1. Romus, I still don’t get the Randolph choice. Some really good prospects were missed. Allard, Whitley, Kaprelian and Buehler. He was supposed to have an elite hit tool and electric hands. I don;t know what happened to him. Also, he was drafted as a SS, and some thought he could play 3B due to his athleticism. What happened to that?

          1. I have discussed the Randolph pick at length and it was a head scratchingly bad selection from the moment it was made. He had one tool of note – hit tool. Everything else was mediocre. For that to have been a good pick you would have to think he was the best pure hitter in the draft since Tony Gwynn and I don’t think anyone ever said that.

            1. Dylan Cozens isn’t a run producer by MLB standards yet. The ability to hit a homer, by itself, doesn’t make you a good player or a run producer. Denny, its POSSIBLE Dylan Cozens becomes a good MLB player, but the odds are still against it. Let’s see how he does this year, but so far, he’s not shown himself to be a big league player.

    1. Matt13, Yes! I have been saying this all offseason. I see their warts. I see the risks. I want the talents they have now for short term but I do NOT see the smarts of signing either to a huge 10 year contract. (let alone both, God forbid) My long post last night was to wake up the masses here to consider that signing neither would not be the end of the world nor an offseason failure.

  45. Lol, 8mark! I think I am getting more cynical as I get older, and I am cushioning myself against disappointment. That was a terrific line, however.

  46. Here is my revised Plan B: 1)sign Moose; 2) sign Marwin Gonzales; 3) trade Franco and Alfaro for J.T. Realmoto; 4) if 3 doesn’t work, trade Franco, Medina and Williams for Kluber; 5) throw big money at Arenado next year; 6) pay an excellent hitting instructor to work with Haseley, Listi, Moniak, and Hall; 7) after all that you still have money to pay Trout in 2020 or 2021. Remember, the Phillies aren’t going to the World Series next year with or without MM and Harper.

  47. Rob – All I can say to that is I’m glad that you’re not the GM. The Angels will never, ever let Trout get to free agency. They’ll sign him or trade him first. Who says the Phillies can’t get to the World series next year with MM and Harper?

    1. Wawa Mike, Never claimed to be any kind of GM. All of these are probabilities.Trout is just piece of it and, no doubt, uncertain. If Angels were in a mind to trade Trout, there could have to be a Plan C. In any case, time to think of a future without MM or Harper.

    1. Just a reminder that Vegas odds aren’t necessarily a predictor of probability. They are set based on where they think the money will be bet and how they can make money no matter what the outcome.

      1. Correct however they are there to make money and have more ins than anyone of us here . . . There’s a reason why they have all those big buildings in Vegas. Also I will always go back to the 2016 election, NO ONE gave Trump a chance, yet Vegas had him closing in as the favorite as Election Day neared. Vegas def knows what they are talking about.

    1. FWIW USA Today is HQ’d in McLean VA which isn’t far from NY and would more than likely hold a NY bias.

      I still believe Manny is destined for NY and Harper for LAD. That’s just an opinion from a Phillies fan. I’m not one who is buying the “Phillies have the most money so they will sign one”.

    2. They still sell papers in NYC, it’ll help move copies off the racks 🙂

      I’m not buying it, they’ll go where the money is. To temper that a bit, at least one of them will. I believe Middleton is ready to pony up the money.
      This is like 2003, they started ramping for the new ballpark revenue. Similar feeling with the TV contract. Smart business has Comcast pressuring Middleton to overpay.

      I’m just looking for these agent shenanigans to be over. Time for them to sign, it’s not a mystery. Imo they are dissapointed in the actual offers vs the hype.

      I’ll be really happy with a 6 yr opt out.m, that way if it is manny, he can’t be dog it an extra 4 years on our watch.

    3. LOL Romus. It sounds to me like the Yankees are pretty content with what they have and that Hal and Cashman are on the same page about long term deals.

      Klentak seems to be playing his hand correct and not bidding against himself.

      If there is collusion it is GM collusion as GM’s finally have their owners convinced that these mega deals should be a thing of the past. I’ll point to the JD Martinez of last year. He thought he would get a $180 mil plus deal and had to settle for $110.

      The Dodgers seem more likely to me to want to make a few trades and improve in aggregate. They have enough to trade for Realmuto and probably Kluber and could pick up a deal on Pollack. Rumor has it they want to get more right handed.

      Sure MM and Bryce may prefer other destinations but the Phillies are likely sitting there with the best deal for both and its likely not a stratospheric amount of loot.

      Bryce is most interesting because we know he turned down 10/$300 with no opt outs. What if MK offered 8/$300 with an opt out after year 6 and MM 8/$260 with double opt outs after year 5 and year 7?

      1. DMAR….’What if MK offered 8/$300 with an opt out after year 6 and MM 8/$260 with double opt outs after year 5 and year 7?….you are being team friendly with the opt-out dates.
        lets take Jason heyward’s contract signed in Dec 2015….he is about the same age as both Manny and Bryce at the time….he got and received opt-outs after 3rd year or 4th year….as it reads, “Heyward may opt out of contract after 2018 season or after 2019 season with 550 plate appearances in 2019”
        So I think Lozano and Boras ask for opt-outs NLT than the 4th year, possibly after the third year.

        1. I agree that for either player, 8 yrs guaranteed is what it’ll take.

          Boras/Harper may demand opt outs after 3rd, 4th, and 5th years. Say $300M

          Lozano/Machado may demand 2nd and 4th yr opt outs and take less money than Harper. Say $250M, since it’s likely Manny signs first.

          1. 8mark……IMOIIWJM….no way you sign the guy if he wants an opt-out after the 2nd year….alters the team’s long term planning.
            The only reason why he would want it….because he s definitely leaving.

  48. I still maintain that LAD and CHC are not viable candidates to sign Harper under their current payroll constraints. Historically, the Dodgers haven’t demonstrated the willingness to go for the big FA and all the less when they clearly need a righty power bat and starting pitching, even if they managed to clear more space. Don’t get the Harper connection.

    As for Manny, sure – the Yankees are always in a position to go big even when it doesn’t make the most sense. From a pure baseball standpoint, the Phillies are the most sensible destination for either, regardless of all the “preferred” rhetoric.

  49. I hope so Mike. For instance , signing Britton is necessary regardless of whether we get Machado or Harper. A back up C is necessary also. I am disappointed that it looks like there will be no trade of Franco, Cesar or Odubel.

    1. Matt, I think Franco is already packing. Just waiting for the call to where. But yes, it looks like Cesar and Doobie are here to start the 2019 season.

    2. Matt – Don’t be prematurely disappointed. Sometimes the best trades are the ones that aren’t made. A lot will depend on which FA we sign. I believe that Boros may be doing Britton a disservice by dragging things out. Do you know if Knapp has played winter ball? I still like his bat, but his defense was worse than Alfaro. I get the impression that a deal has been made with the Padres for Franco, but it depends on what Machado does.

  50. Phillies negotiating with Keuchel. Holdup is the 5th year. They need to find a compromise. I do believe Keuchel could help balance the rotation. He’s good but not great but would help to have a LHP in the rotation.

    1. I really only like Keuchel if they get Machado. They need a strong infield defense for him to be successful IMO. I don’t think Segura/Franco is good enough.

      He’d go a long way to saving the bullpen come September though. Should improve getting out of the AL.

    2. Not a fan of this, sounds like Arrietta part II. I’d rather take a chance on Bauer. Kluber and Kuechel are some of my fav pitchers in MLB, but they have been beaten like rented mules, I’d really worry about their “availability” over a 5 year deal. Some else pointed out Kuechels analytics, that scream stay away.

      1. I’m expecting a better year out of Arrieta. His velocity was strong last year. Improved defense should help his numbers in addition to a full spring training.

      1. Signing guys like Dallas Keuchel to long term deals is how growing teams stagnate. This would be a HUGE mistake. One year is fine. More than that – no way.

      2. Have to agree….since his break out year of 2015……over his last 83 starts….a 2.3bWAR. And last season led the league in hits allowed at 211 in 205 innings pitched.

        1. Denny…you are correct, he could have the same results, but it may be in 3/4 years from now, as Keuchel took awhile also to achieve his stardom.
          It is about the timing….Phillies may not want to wait.

  51. All of this talk of Harper and Machado not interested in Philly seems to be just a bunch of hear-say. No one has quoted either player and it is more likely some agent or other team or reporter creating this rumor. It may be done to drive up the price (if created by agent), or to create a story (if created by reporter), or to make Philly panic to overspend (if created by other team etc…). So just chill out I think we may see some movement here very very soon.

  52. Anyone know if the Phillies are in on Kikuchi?
    Coming into the offseason I was thinking he would be the 3rd best option as LH SP on the market. Kershaw and Corbin ahead of him with Keuchel and Happ just behind him. His upside could be pretty good with him, also one of the younger options out there (granted with risk).

    1. @Bob D – i do believe that the Phillies with check on Kikuchi’s possibility since Kikuchi’s agent is on the Phillies speed dial. Kikuchi will not be in the top priority but if opportunity comes and Kikuchi is ok with what the Phillies can offer — I can see Middleton going for it. Number of years should not be an issue because of Kikuchi’s age.

    2. Kikuchi’s time is getting short. I believe he must sign with a team by Jan 5 by the international FA posting rules. That’s Saturday of next week.

      1. 8mark…are the Japanese on the Chinese calendar?
        If so… this is a Year of the Earth Pig, starting from the 2019 Chinese NewYear on Feb. 5…lets hope he doesn’t confuse things.

  53. Happy Holidays to all — and thanks to @RU for the shout out. We may always agree to disagree but we all want to achieve the same thing — a parade down Broad Street to celebrate (multiple) WS title(s). Thanks to Jim and James for giving us a forum to share our different opinions and thanks to all who support the site and sharing your thoughts and opinions too.

    Now back to Phillies talk — I’m still optimistic about my offseason prediction of:

    1) One superstar
    2) One established player
    3) Another FA

    The Phillies are still in good position to meet if not exceed that prediction. I still like to think that Middleton will sign both Harper and Machado but it is just me being the overly optimistic Phillies fan and not based on any reliable source.

    I believe that Middleton is taking tabs of GMs making trading to make their teams better and pressure is on Klentak this offseason to make this team a legit contender.

    1. I tend to agree that Matt Klentak has something up his sleeve when it comes to trading.
      The Segura deal may have only been the start.
      He has the resources at his disposal to make a mega blockbuster move.

      1. I tend to agree. The free agent market leaves me high and dry after the two big ticket players. I prefer a trade for controllable players like Segura. I am pretty confident Klentak has a Franco deal #1 and a Franco deal #2 in place. Bauer is a little nutty but a risk worth taking for a potential TOR. More so than Kluber, who may cost more in prospects. Bauer might cost a Doobie or Velasquez but that isn’t prohibitive IMO.

        1. I am wary of Kluber….turns 33 in April ….over 2300 innings pitched counting college.
          May only get one good year and who knows how many more BUT the one big plus….team options for both 2020 and 2021….so the contract is good.

  54. People say they haven’t done anything, which is a statement that is both untrue (McCutcheon and Segura are more than “something”) and premature (it’s not over yet).

    1. I agree but obviously the big 2 are the ones everyone expected, meaning 1 of the 2. I still think they should go crazy and try for both. Not only do you improve the team drastically but you now have so many options with other players to move in trades . . . The following would become expendable (also adding in pitching):

      Williams/Herrera/Quinn/Altherr/Franco/Hernandez/Kingery/Bohm/Eflin/VV/Pivetta
      You can improve your rotation and pen easily.

      With all that said, I feel like we swing and miss on both.

  55. KuKo, Cutch is “another FA”, and I think a pretty good one, and Segura is “an established player.” I don;t know about the Superstar, but still hoping, although I am prepared for neither. I wanted an upgrade in the Rotation and a high leverage bullpen arm, preferably lefthanded. I like Keuchel and consider him a significant upgrade. However, I know the argument about the years and I don’t want to argue that point again. I feel that if a player helps us for 2 or 3 years, I don’t care very much about years 4 or 5. But, that is just me. It isn’t my $. Britton is still a big boost, and he hasn’t signed anywhere else yet. That will come down to, undoubtedly, the extra year.

    1. Matt, the odds that BOTH Machado AND Harper turn down the most money/yrs offered by far are almost astronomical. That would be the story of the year and not to mention, the MLBPA would go berserk over a development that would set their agenda back several years. Think about it….

      1. The MLBPA’s agenda was set back last season when GMs decided to promote their own guys from their systems rather than sign older free agents to big contracts. Those that did sign generally signed for less than MLBTR projected (unless they were fortunate enough to strike an early deal with the Phillies – Santana, Hunter, Neshek). If Harper or Machado leave $40M on the table it will barely move the needle compared to the projected salary dollars lost last off season.

        Harper already turned down 10/300 and passed on 9/360. What’s the union going to do if he takes a lesser deal? Force a team to put 9/360 back on the table? All they can do is blame it on the owners/GMs and cry “collusion”.

  56. You are right, 8mark, if we look at it from an odds standpoint. But if you look at each one individually, you can make a case that neither wants to play here, so how much more $ will it take, and does Middleton pay $50 Million more to get one of them, and do you really want to pay someone that much money who doesn’t want to be here? Again, I would, but it is not my money. I think you over estimate the influence/power of the MLBPA. Scott Boras’ ego is probably a much stronger influencer.

    1. Matt13…”you can make a case that neither wants to play here,:…..neither has actually come out and said that….but then again, neither has come out and denied all the reports that are now well documented and discussed on sports networks like the MLB network for sure.
      So I assume by the fact they or their agents, have not come out and denied the reports they stand to be true

    2. Matt, Boras’ ego is probably greater than the collective egos of the entire MLBPA. He wants to make the big splash, especially on what is arguably his biggest deal ever.

  57. Romus, they are Free Agents, and lots of players have wanted to be Yankees. It is a storied franchise, I understand that. And, I really don’t need them to profess their love for Philly or have either one of them claim “it was a lifelong dream to play in Philadelphia.” So, I find it perfectly believable that they would prefer to play elsewhere, maybe both in NY or Harper in LA. I just believe that it will be a huge difference in contract offers that sways them, and I don’t know if Middleton has a tipping point. They certainly bailed out on Corbin and Happ and Miller negotiations, maybe they do the same at some point for Machado and Harper? There is so much that goes into it, that I don’t have the confidence that 1 signs here that some of you guys do.

    1. Matt13….to be honest,
      I would have more respect for Middleton if he does ‘bail’ if their asking price is too prohibitive, for the sole purpose to compensate for playing where their hearts are not set. I want this owner to stand tall as high as William Penn, or the Comcast building, whatever is taller these days, and testes as strong as the Liberty Bell.

      1. We all want Middleton’s balls to clang like it’s New Years Eve, Romus. But I wouldn’t overthink things and get too overly moralistic. These are businessmen, not non-profit entities looking for the greater good of humanity. The money, the money, the money. Show me the money.

    2. Players and Agents may be using an old playbook trying to invoke the “I want to be a Yankee” mantra

      Sure they used to be able to count on the Yankees out bidding everyone else or at least driving up the perceived cost but I think those days went by the wayside with the passing of George.

      One point Boras persists on that I agree with is that it has become acceptable to tank in all professional sports. Even worse that fans have become accepting of it as well.

      Trust the Process coined right here in Philly has created apathy among a majority of fans. We here on this site are outliers.

  58. I appreciate Jim Peyton’s posts yesterday and if I may be so bold as to read between his lines about which of the two FA’s doesn’t want to come to Philadelphia because of his perception that 5% of the phans are unruly…sounds like it would be Harper.

    Remember that much was made of the fact that Werth indicated that he HAD talked to Harper about what it was like to play in Philadelphia, and how we assumed that Werth had spoken glowingly of playing there. And hitting wise, he probably did, but Harper already knew this since he has punished the Phils as a Nat for years.

    What wasn’t discussed, and Jim alluded to yesterday was how Werth was treated AFTER he left the Phils…it was unmerciful and some phans cheered when Werth broke his wrist playing against the Phillies. Harper was there and certainly didn’t forget that treatment.

    My guess is that Harper doesn’t view the Phils as his final destination and wonders how he would be treated AFTER he takes his out on his deal and moves to another team. Werth has already shown him the roadmap.

    I think Harper coming is a real loooooooooong shot.

  59. CD, I never turned on Werth, although you are correct and some did. I blamed that fully on the FO. First, he was a big part of our success and was never replaced, although they tried with the Pence deal. Second, he was low balled. If you remember, he would have taken far less than the $126 Million that he got from the Nats. I think the number was 4/$75 and we offered something like 3/$36. It was such a low offer that Werth fired his Agent, hired Boras, and Boras got him $126 Million that seemed so far beyond what anyone had thought. A reasonable offer for Werth would have signed him before the end of his last season here. Acceptable, if the team had a back up Plan, but that Plan was the disaster that was Dom Brown, then a trade for Hunter Pence. Werth never dreamed of $126 Million, so I never blamed him, always blamed the FO. He always wanted to play well against us after, and some fans did not like thta. But, it was exactly what I would have done in his situation. He wanted to stay, and was close with Cliff Lee, and then Lee came back, and Werth was even more ticked off. We have had some very successful periods with our baseball team, but not nearly enough. Much is due to malfeasance by the FO. So, when I want them to spend $ like a big market team it is based on years of accumulated disappointment.

  60. And, BTW, we are a big market team, and just have failed to act like one over the years. I expect Middleton to change that, but I am still waiting.

    1. Totally agree with you, Matt. There may have been more that met the public eye when Werth was allowed to leave with a pittance of an offer. There may have been some dissension within the organization regarding him.

  61. One thing I was thinking about today: Verlander. He didn’t want to be an Astro at the trade deadline. He wanted to be a Cub or a Dodger. At the very last second he approved a trade to the Astros and the rest is history. It’s all worked out. Even if Harper/Machado don’t want to come here now doesn’t mean they’re going to be disgruntled the whole time. They just have their preference and will try to go there until they can’t.

    I’d be surprised if they take a heavy discount to join the Yankees. They’re both certainly not going there with Stanton under contract and Judge’s arbitration coming up.

  62. A few things from today that I found interesting:
    Yankees focusing on BP while they wait for Machado sweepstakes to shake out. One name that was mentioned was Britton.

    Others from a SI article:
    Here are all the latest transactions and rumors around baseball:

    • The Yankees believe they are “still the favorites” to land Manny Machado in free agency. (Pete Caldera, North Jersey Record)

    • RHP Matt Shoemaker has agreed to a one-year deal with the Blue Jays. (Jeff Passan, Yahoo Sports)

    • The Brewers are in trade talks with the Yankees for SP Sonny Gray. (Jon Morosi, MLB Network)

    The first and third points from SI intrigue me. Yankees think they are favorites? By why? Have they been told something?

    Third – Brewers and Yankees are discussing Gray.

    I would love for the Phillies to be this active unless their FO is so tight lipped that deals are being discussed and we just don’t hear about it.

      1. He is a very legitimate sports reporter. Whether his source is also legitimate is unclear. But he is a longtime reporter whom I assume knows how to vet sources.

        1. Or maybe his source’s source was Lozano, planting a seed to swell anxiety and pressure the Phillies to increase their bid. We could go on and on and on….

      1. It is bad news if the player that the team clearly targeted signed elsewhere. They have not shown Harper nearly as much love as Manny. There has to be a reason for that.

          1. While that’s a bummer, it’s to be expected as it’s where Manny wanted to go.
            Just because the Phillies have the most money means a player has to take it.

            Bad news for sure. I get the vibe that Harper will go where he prefers to play as well.

  63. Lets be honest for a second . . . Name a player that has wanted to play for Philly who hasn’t
    1. Played there (This would apply to Lee).
    2. Wasn’t born in the area/grew up a Phillies fan
    So no reason to kill them or say “do we want someone here who doesn’t want to be here?” I don’t think it’s that Manny or Harper don’t want to play here, it’s just that they have much more attractive options. And again, if we are being honest, no one really says “I want to go play for Philly”, we just don’t have the same appeal as NY or LA. Thus the obvious reason an overpay is needed.

    1. “Lets be honest for a second . . . Name a player that has wanted to play for Philly who hasn’t
      1. Played there (This would apply to Lee).
      2. Wasn’t born in the area/grew up a Phillies fan”
      …i will name one….probably one of the greatest…Pete Rose in the late 70s.
      And who did sign for a bushel of money….but could have gone to the Yankees or Dodgers or even the upstart Sox, who were still licking their wounds after the Bucky Dent hit …all decent teams at the time with cities that had a lot to offer more than Philly

      I will go back to my original premise……”do we want someone here who doesn’t want to be here?”…..if it is out there….and no denial on the part of the agents/players…then yes.
      Middleton should just withdraw his offer and instruct Klentak to move on,

      1. This is an irrational view that will only ensure Philly teams stay bad for a while. Why not just accept the reality that there are many more desireable markets and understand that that means we have to pay above market.

        1. I accept and agree with the second part of your comment. The first part – joining the fan base’s provincial pride and the FO’s practices at the hip – is a silly idea. Nobody in the CBP offices is born and bred in the Philadelphia area.

        2. “This is an irrational view that will only ensure Philly teams stay bad for a while.”…huh?
          IMO, not at all.
          Almost all FAs, especially of this magnitude, will not make overtures that their preference is for one location over another.
          Corbin grew up a Yankee fan….but never did I once see in print or see on the MLB network, that he did not prefer to be in Wash DC.
          Morton wanted to be close to his in-laws in Delware…..did not ever hear him say anything derogatory about any other location.
          But with both of these players…entitled as they be…i have seen it from many sources BUT…..they straw that breaks the hump back camels back… never a denial from agent or player.
          Seems many on here think if the Phillies do not get either player….the team is doomed.
          I don’t..

          1. “Seems many on here think if the Phillies do not get either player….the team is doomed.
            I don’t..”

            Romus, I’m with ya! I’ve been on this wagon all offseason. If we get one, fine, but I believe the Phillies will be just fine without them. (I’ve also preferred we don’t sign a crazy l/t contract.) The FO has done a great job so far and I’m positive they are not done.

            1. I have to agree with both John K and Romus. Don’t wish for something too hard, because you might end up with it ? MM is not a Phillies player in the spirit of the game as it is played in Philly ; Harper was an anathema as a fielder last year and was no where near an elite player either – he played for Nats and they couldn’t even win one single play off game anytime ? Yes – if the Phillies signed them I would be happy (either of them) but imagine that money spread among other pitchers, a bullpen, and a good trade. This is not the end of the world – other than being a P R smack in the face to the city. Yes – Philly will have to pay alot more than the other possible destinations – but in the end, wouldn’t it be amusing to actually have a player sign on because he wanted to play with Rhys and Nola ? And that we felt we were getting another FA Rose, Lee, or Thome ?

          2. How many times have they been asked if they dislike Philly? What was their answer when asked?

            If the answer to the first is, “never” or to the second, “no” then it’s a pointless conversation.

            I’m not saying they like Philly or don’t like Philly, but I am saying there’s literally no reason to respond to rumors that the media spreads. They’d be spending all day trying to put out fires. Their best course of action is to only respond to questions directed at them when they talk to the media.

            And why should we care if they don’t initially like Philly anyways? All it takes is one big hit in the red pinstripes to get hooked. Let them be the story of the player that heard all of the negative and came in expecting the worst, only to find that with the bad comes a whole lot of good.

            Plus… we’re Philly. If you don’t like us, we don’t care. Help us win games and collect your check if that’s what you want. Done and done.

            1. Sounds like some people are trying to exaggerate the warts so they aren’t too disappointed if we don’t get either of them. Sorry guys but these are 2 generational talents or as close to generational as you can get and young. If we miss on one it’s a failure, period.

      2. Maybe Middleton okayed Klentak to go after his preferred player (Machado) first and has his food pal Scott Boras standing by with an offer Harper can’t refuse once Manny decides on NYY…???

        I find it difficult to believe that all interested parties have been utterly in the dark, without any reliable whispers or winks, regarding MM’s leaning and likely destination, especially at this stage of the game.

        1. I doubt Boras is just waiting around on Middleton.

          I’ve already faced the reality that the Phillies won’t get one of the stars.

          Finding out we are the 3rd or 4th preference for a player and the other teams can make competitive bids, I decided that we aren’t getting either.

  64. Like Catch presented earlier I’ll be less PO’d that/if we don’t land one of these guys than I am if this string of top 5 draft picks and high picks don’t start panning out.

  65. If the rumor is true about Manny, it sounds like the difference in money from Phillies to Yankees was enough for Manny to change his mind.

    Besides “Phillies have the most money to spend” why do we think Phillies will sign Harper?

    It’s time to start looking at some of the other free agents.

        1. Not getting the full gist of this twitter clash….but sounds if the one, Ethan White, feels Dan Clark is not a reliable source and probably should be wary of any of his predictions. Apparently, there may be a lot of mis-information being tweeted.

          1. Dan Clark sounds like the exact reporter Manny Machado/Dan Lozano would leak bad info to in order to get the Phillies to up their offer.

            BTW … I’m not entirely sold that the Phillies have even made an offer to Machado yet. I know Jim Salisbury has been reporting Matt Klentak likes Manny, but I believe John Middleton prefers Bryce Harper. Just putting that out there.

            1. Hinkie – I just loved the way you did not state your premise, but presented citation after citation about the blue checked scribe’s inability to lay out the goods. Well done ! I wonder if Dan’s mother is embarrassed !!! He must have been dangerous at recess ?

            2. Nice work, Hinkie. These media flies are annoying and won’t go away unless someone swats them. Unfortunately, a few people here want to make pets out of them.

  66. While I am not a big fan of either Manny or Harper, I think a line-up with Harper, Hoskins, Cutch, Franco and Herrera (rejuvenated) could give the Phillies punch from both sides of the plate. And to Hinkie, no matter how this turns out, stay with us. No one here is a prophet and you add a great deal.

  67. According to Richard Justice of MLB, feeling within the industry is that Kimbrel will sign with the Phillies, although not at the 6 years he’s been asking. I’m not down with that, although the bullpen should be deep enough to withstand his continued regression over the next couple years. A solid lefty reliever is still needed.

    1. Hmm. Not crazy about this news, as I think Kimbrel is on the down side of his career. Still gets strike outs, but BB rate and HR rate have increased over his prime years. I wouldn’t go more than the 3 year/$39.5M deal that just expired with the Red Sox. Anything more than that, no thanks.

  68. If they miss out on Harper and MM, and I’m still hopeful for Harper who I wanted the most anyway, they may need to go to a plan of signing Kimbrel, kuechal and maybe even britton and then use their excess resources to trade for a bat.
    looking at the available bats in free agency, you could make a clear argument that if they miss out on MM and harper, their next shot for a big impact in free agency is trout in 2020.
    at some point this team has to make the playoffs, we are closing in on a decade of no playoff baseball
    I doubt next yrs big free agents make it to the market ( just my gut feeling) plus there is currently not evidence, ( only our hopes) that top level free agents with multiple options will sign here with this leadership in place

    1. I agree with Jim Peyton that the Phillies leadership is not what dissuades prospective free agent acquisitions. It’s the city, meaning just that percentage of “fans” large enough to spoil the party, so to speak. At least that’s the national perception by outsiders. Again, Philly is viewed as the ugly sister among the big market cities.

  69. If true, Manny will be leaving roughly $70mil on the table to sign with Yankees. Not sure of the validity.

    Secondly – when the Phillies miss out on Manny and Harper, assuming because of how our media and fans treat players;
    The front office needs to do public plea to the media and fans to stop acting like immature brats. If the fans and the media are making Philly an undesirable spot perhaps a makeover is due. If top FAs see fans and the media changing their ways perhaps they give us a chance. Weird idea but worth a shot.

    1. TrollU…..”The front office needs to do public plea to the media and fans to stop acting like immature brats”….you have not read many of the other teams’ blogs.
      When it comes to negativity every city has their fair share of cynicism ….and
      especially Philly, NY and Boston posters.

        1. Because it’s NY and Boston! I’m Philly all the way but if you dont understand why those 2 are more attractive than I dunno what to tell you.

      1. Philly has never really been a destination for top free agents in baseball. who are the top free agents over the yrs
        lance parrish
        rose
        thome
        lee

        and rose and lee had ties to the team ( lee was on the team and rose had a lot of friends on the team)

        certainly some good players but not many stars
        we’ve had our 2 big runs with home grown players with a mix of non superstar free agents

        philly is a great place to play but a tough sell to outsiders who see the glamour of LA, NY, Chicago or the mid America love of st louis

        1. The Phillies have never had THIS MUCH money to spend before, or the media this broad to become the proverbial elephant in the room for this off season. I believe that everyone is still waiting to see what the Phillies do, but it’s not necessarily working to their advantage. The agents appear to be putting out the narrative that their clients are in control. It might not be this simple but I would like Middleton to declare to each of the 2 FA camps that there is a standing structure of an overly generous offer to the first player to say yes. Settle it once and for all. Take the lead in this otherwise indecisive market.

          1. I guess it would be easier if we knew what the Phillies offers were.
            they have a lot of money but are they trying to skimp on yrs like they try to do in contracts
            less yrs is always a good analytical model but they’ve missed on Paxton, happ and miller because of it

            1. I don’t know the offers, but I think it is fair to say we are the high bid, as expected. Jim P put the 9yrs/360mil out there for a 40milAAV, that’s off the table due to the reports of the yanks not going over 300mil for 10 years. Unless CHI gets ultra crazy, I think Team Middleton will have the high bid by a good margin. A margin that would make it hard to walk away from

              Have some faith, the man put himself out there, and he has the bankroll to back it up. I have no doubt he is the high bidder by 30 mil, just need MM or BH to sign.

            2. Tac3…still think if Machado does sign on with the Phillies, for whatever amount it is….he will make sure he has the option to opt-out after four…his age30 season.
              Heyward had the option after three and perhaps after 2019 (4th year of the contract) if he reaches 500 ABs, I think.

    2. Sorry, Troll – I find it difficult to follow your thought process from post to post. Not sure if it’s how you write or what, but often it seems you argue against yourself. Or you’re thinking out loud and your thoughts aren’t placed in context to the previous comment. Not sure anyone else sees this the same way but I just thought you might want to think about it. It would be helpful to other readers. Thanks.

      1. 8mark – lets just agree to disagree. I don’t appreciate you calling me out.

        You seem to nitpick the majority of my posts. You should just go ahead and ignore me.

        I find your thought process laughable – we WILL sign Harper or Manny because we have the most money. Doesn’t appear their signings are likely so perhaps your line of thinking is wrong.

        1. How is the idea that the team with the most money will sign one of the big free agents laughable? I find it decidedly logical.

          And why aren’t their signings likely? Because of a few anonymously sourced tweets in the middle of a contract negotiation?

          Wake me when Stark, Rosenethal or Heyman weigh in.

          1. Honcho – someone said it on here that Mannys agent isn’t like Boras and final bids were final bids. Maybe this Dan Clark guy is right about Manny picking the Yankees and taking less money to do so (per another anonymous source).
            As Jim mentioned a player may not want to come here because of the fans/media. To me, just because the Phillies have stupid money to spend doesn’t mean a player has to take the highest bid. 8mark and Hinkie have almost all but guaranteed a Manny signing because of the Phillies bank roll. Maybe, just maybe, the players hold other things into consideration and not just money.
            You do know they could take less and make up the difference in endorsements, right? So it’s not just about the contract with a team.
            Manny is more marketable in NY
            Harper is more marketable in LA

            Doesn’t matter what I say, you and 8mark will jump all over me.

            1. Or, they can take the most guaranteed money and still rake in a ton in endorsement money. I remember a lot of Subway commercials with a certain slugger in recent years …

              It’s certainly possible they sign for less somewhere else. But mocking the idea that Machado or Harper will jump at significantly more money to play in Philly is a bit … Negadelphian.

              Let the process play itself out. When the dust settles, I’m willing to bet one or the other will be in red pinstripes.

            2. To be clear … I’m not guaranteeing a Manny Machado signing. I’m guaranteeing a Manny Machado or Bryce Harper signing (if they don’t get one, I’ll ban myself for 6 months). This team had been planning for Machado (he had been #1 on their list) for a couple of years. His “Johnny Hustle” comments sent things sideways a bit. I believe Matt Klentak and most of his staff still like Machado, but John Middleton prefers Harper.
              Machado described his meeting with the Phillies as “awesome”. However, I’m not even certain the team has made him an actual offer yet. They may have laid out the foundation (years, opt outs, no trade, etc) with Dan Lozano but I’m just not sure if an actual offer exists yet.

            3. John Middleton is a smart guy. He didn’t make his “stupid money” comments for no reason. While most people saw that comment as dumb because it put more pressure on the team to come away with one of the two available superstars (even if they had to overspend). IMO, Middleton’s comment was more tactical. He has set the Phillies apart from every other team with their “stupid money”. Harper/Boras and Machado/Lozano need the Phillies to either sign them, or bid on them to drive up their price from another team. Middleton and MacKlentak haven’t come out and said who they prefer. You hear different reports from different reporters. Instead of the Phillies bidding against themselves for either guy, maybe they get Harper or Machado to take a little less to be the first to sign, and not be left w/o a market that doesn’t include the Phillies and their “stupid money”.

            4. Hinkie – do you have sources because a guarantee is a strong statement especially if you’re willing to ban yourself for 6 months.

            5. LOL – the only thing that’s “guaranteed” is that the Phillies will play a season in 2019. I think the odds are better than even that one of these two guys is signed, but it’s not 100 percent.

            6. Honcho – I’m a Negadelphian because I’m not drinking the koolaid that because the Phillies have the most money that they’ll definitely sign one of the superstars?
              Lol you’ve got to be kidding me.
              Players don’t have to sign with the highest bidder. I’m being a realist in thinking there is a high chance the Phillies won’t be getting either superstar. That’s not being negative whatsoever.

            7. I don’t buy it being the fans one bit or the media one bit. Sorry but you’ll never sell me on this. It has to do with the other potential landing spots, where the team is in terms of winning and money. With that said, every team in the running is doing better than us. It’s really not that hard to understand. I mean enough people who have played and won in philly say we are some of the most knowledge and best fans out there, I’m sure they both heard that already. When you lose, if a fan base cares, the players will hear about it. Not new to Philly.

            8. Troll … most of what I post is based on opinion/what I’ve read/common sense. However, a couple of months ago, I spoke to someone with second hand knowledge (they have a relationship with someone in the Phillies organization) who told me the team would be aggressive, but not reckless this winter because their end game is Mkie Trout in 2021. They also told me MM’s “Johnny Hustle” comments caused some to prefer BH.

  70. 4-5 years of no moves to come away empty handed this offseason regarding Manny and Bryce.

    Klentak needs to wake up and make some trades. Perhaps it’s not him. Maybe Mcphail is holding up the trades. Who knows but as I’ve said many times, Cutch and Segura do not move the needle for this team and probably won’t help fill the stands.

    1. Hinkie – I don’t think that Matt or Andy appreciate their names being combined, MacKlentak, They’re two different people, and even though they show a united front, we shouldn’t assume that they are always in agreement.
      Finally, forget the 6 month ban talk. So far the Phillies have upgraded the batting order, the defense, and the bullpen. Even if we don’t sign Harper or Machado, the Phillies are better. This sight would suffer without your input.

      1. Wawa……don’t worry……….Hinkie’s 6- month ban, if it were to ever occur, would have a temporary reprieve of 30-days for the June draft

  71. I’m perfectly willing to wait and see what the opening day roster looks like before passing final judgment on the offseason, but the lack of urgency from Klentak and Macphail for a franchise last in the playoffs in 2011 is striking to me.

    they are either the coolest cats in the world and have total confidence in themselves and their standing with middleton or they are just indecisive.

    the roster on opening day will be interesting because it cant be the roster on dec 29 without further losing the fan base.

    the lack of current impact players with the high draft picks over the last few yrs doesn’t help

    1. I don’t like waiting for off season activity any more than the next guy, but I will wait before making judgment. What bothers me more is that since the acquisition of Segura and Cutch, the word from Zolecki and the like (even quoting Klentak) was that the Phillies were not going to be held hostage by the big FAs and waiting for their decision. Well, I am sure they are searching out every other possible way to improve the roster, but it sure seems to me like Manny and Bryce are jamming up the works.

      1. But the Phillies have the most money so surely it’s a no brainer that Manny or Harper will sign with the Phillies (sarcasm)

        1. TRollU, statistically speaking, the odds of signing a player, goes up significantly when you are the team offering the most money. It has been this was for 40-50 years. The odds are heavily in the Phillies favor to get 1 of the 2. Everything else you are reading may have a bearing, but it is what I call “noise”. A lot of erroneous noise going on about things that don’t hold nearly the weight that money does in determining the final outcome. If a guy like Jim Thome would leave CLE for PHI … you better believe a guy like MM/BH would sign in PHI over NYY/LAD. Have some faith, the Phillies are the financial bully for the first time, uncharted territory for us phans, but it’s true. All roads lead through Philadelphia’s front office. No way they don’t have the best offer, that will be more than enough to sign one of them. Nobody hates more money.

        2. Lets all CHILLAX. The FAs don’t hate any city or team. They are making an important career decision that will affect their families and they playing careers. Once they decide, it will be after much thought and we should respect them throughout the process and then make our rooting decisions afterwards.

      2. 8mark – I think – as you – the 2 big FA are jamming the system / not only because of the protracted negotiations but because of their agent(s), Boras particularly. Otherwise, why wouldn’t Boras have had Britton signed by now – or is he waiting for Kimbrel, Robertson, and Ottavino ? Because NYY need 2 relievers and also want MM – Boras may be holding out on the reliever to see how much $$ NY has left ??? You can almost imagine a scenario where Phillies acquire one of the big FA players and then there is a ripple effect through the roster with several trades ? Or none, too.

  72. Not FA related but this is an interesting article regarding the fact the Phillies have 3 leadoff type hitters; CeHe, Cutch, and Segura. They all have some pros and cons.
    I agree with the article that Cutch is the most intriguing possibility. After he was traded Cutch was primarily used as a leadoff hitter and had .405 OBP. Small’ish sample size but still intriguing.

    https://www.thegoodphight.com/2018/12/29/18159367/who-should-hit-leadoff-for-the-2019-phillies

  73. with the current roster ,my preferred lineup would be:

    Quinn
    segura
    Hoskins
    mccutchin
    herrara
    franco
    aflaro
    pitcher
    hernandez

    I like Quinn as a trial as leadoff because of the energy he provides
    hernadez works at 9 because he walks a lot so I like a 2nd leadoff hitter
    don’t like him at 1 because he’s such a bad baserunner and only hits singles/walks
    Hoskins at 3 because he’s the best player offensively

    kingery in the super utility role

      1. agreed
        right now they are an 80-84 win team in my opinion
        that could increase if we see dramatic improvement in Pivetta, VV, efflin, Quinn, Alfaro, Williams, kingery and even Hoskins

        some of this is possible ,even likely

        but this team still needs about 5 more wins in player acquisition, whether that is in trade or FA to get close to a playoff team and a lot more to be a real WS contender.

          1. that seems just about right

            I’d would put us just out of the playoffs with the current roster. 80-84 wins
            but with room for more if most of the young players make the natural growth improvement you would like and expect to see
            if they add a britton or kimbrel that’s another couple of wins
            but to be a ” true” WS threat, and not just a wild card team that gets hot at the right time, they need to get to 93-95 wins

            if they somehow added harper, britton/kimbrel and keuchal/ trade of kluber, they could compete for a WS

      1. Man, what a not so secret weapon he could be! I am fine with him as a utility player, preserve his body throughout the season. He could still start 60-80 games depending on the outfield alignment.

        1. Assuming Doobie isn’t traded and Jim is correct in that he is a bounce back candidate to man CF, with Cutch and Harper (my preference over Manny) on either side of him, Quinn and Kingery off the bench might work beautifully. I am beginning to warm (resign myself) to the idea that Cesar will open 2019 as our 2b, but not our leadoff man.

      2. If Quinn is healthy all year, then he is my breakout candidate of the year. Not only could he hit 20 triples and steal 50 bases but he could hit 15 homers and bat 290+. He is coming into his prime right now

      1. 🙂 … I sense we have a non-believer amongst us! Lol it’s my prediction, and no I didn’t say he’s play everyday, but he’s healthy the whole year. He puts a lot of prep into his Fitness, I think this year they (himself/trainers) figure it out.

      2. Denny – Maybe Dylan won’t hit 30 homers and drive in 100+ this year, but he will in time. I want him on the 25 man roster this year.

          1. Denny ….just wondering, would you still be the number one DC faithful follower if he were wearing a DBack jersey this season?

            1. Don’t have any past data that would support the future except the “hope” that he gets the full opportunity at LHV to provide proof the he is more than a 4A player. Gut feeling.

            2. I would. I feel that he represents all the guys that need a break, a full break. This a fabulous business/game when you do great, even very good and also if you can’t make it you are out quickly. But the guys that need that break and may never get it, they need support, extra support and I feel DZ will always get it from me if in anyone’s uni. I will fight for the tweeners.

  74. On the issue of the fans/media and how we are perceived, my 2 cents is this: I want us to be exactly the way we are. When a player gives us his all, we love him, and if the team wins with that guy, he is a hero for life. There is nothing wrong with the way we are fans. If someone does not want to play here because we “expect” too much, too bad, don’t come here. And, I say that fully committed to us winning, to our FO spending $ equal to what all the “big market” clubs pay. The Yankees are the Yankees, and I know the West Coast has appeal, especially to Japanese players, but there is no reason, except for the competence of the FO, that we should not be equal to Boston. We threw snowballs at a drunken, substitute Santa impersonator, and I was there, and we have heard about it forever. Where is the talk of the racist crap that a Superstar like Jim Rice had to deal with in Boston? Us being “tough” is an excuse that the FO needs to disregard and just do their jobs. Put a Playoff team on the field this year. This is year 8 since we have been relevant. Falling 1 year short on every Pitcher is inexcusable, and there are still weapons out there. Let’s go get them.

    1. Matt, you raise an interesting point. I don’t think (nor do most around here) see it as a matter of how or even if we as a fan base should change our stripes. It is what it is. A huge factor which may be overlooked is the fact that cities like Boston, New York and Los Angeles have a richer history of winning than we do. That is an appealing quality for a metropolitan area to sell prospective star athletes to join in on.

  75. I agree, and the lack of impact prospects either through the draft or Internationally has put us behind Boston. They can finish in last place and win a WS 2-3 years later. We stink for 8 years. I have high hopes for Moniak still and Haseley, but Randolph was not a good pick and I have no idea what Bohm is. But, it goes back much further than that. If we had Bryant or Acuna or Robles or players like that, the need for Harper or Machado would not be so dramatic.

    1. Very true, which is why the FO must be the highest biddder to put its bet foot forward in grabbing BH/MM.

      Signing 1 of them would be like having Don Brown not flame out. Or having Crawford have been a much earlier callup/Impact bat … and now it’s time to keep pay them, as they’ve reached their projection. It really can help wipe away some of the previous mistakes, while we get to keep the accumulated prospects in exchange for less financial flexibilty 8-10 years from now. They need to sign 1 of them. And then the player needs to due their part for the next 7 years, with declining years 8-10

  76. The FO’s failures in the past have caused this need for over spending now. It is not that we are overly demanding of them, but a big market team, run properly, does not need 8, 9, 10 years to rebuild and put a Playoff team on the field. So, we can argue all day about the extra year it would have cost to get Corbin or Miller or Happ and maybe Keuchel or Britton or whoever they try to get. If they are stuck with an extra year or 2 and little production, but get value for the first 2-3 years, then that is simply the price ownership pays for short changing the fans for much longer than they should have. I have no interest in re-hashing the mistakes of the past, simply MacKlentak can kick the can down the road and hope they still have jobs in 2 years, or let Middleton spend the $ he wants to spend.

    1. Matt13…what is strange….is the patience of the MacKlentak duo at this juncture of their tenure……normally the GMs will try to get done what they need to get done as soon as possible…since they are all the clock.
      For both of them….year four is coming up so they, buit specifically Klentak since he is the younger one with a career ahead of him, surely must feel the need to make the move.
      MacPhial at age 66/67 not nearly as much at this point.

    2. Matt – So far the Phillies have signed placeholders to tide us over until the kids develop. Kendricks, Saunders, and even Santana and Arrieta were signed to hold the fort while we unloaded big contracts. This was the year that we’ve been waiting for. If Harper and Machado sign for less money, fine, but if we’re outbid for their services, that will be a FAILURE.

  77. Romus, I know that the man, Klentak, is smart. I do not blame him for the failures of his predecessors. I do expect that the owner has made him aware that the timetable he has is shortened because prior to his arrival, they waited too long. Middleton claims to be a fan, like us, just a richer one, and one who can accelerate a process that has taken too long. So, when I see him acting too risk averse, I have a problem, not a problem with whether he is smart enough or not. He has already seen MacPhail distance himself from Klentak’s “bold” Managerial hire. Remember the “I told Matt, a GM only gets so many Managerial hires!” And. it is MacPhail who announces “there are FAs next year and the year after..” So, I guess I am waiting for Middleton to over rule his deputies. Anyway, on a more positive note, there are still a lot of upgrades possible. Corey Seidman did a piece, on possibilities beyond Machado/Harper. He points out what an upgrade Moustakas is over Franco. I happen to agree. I think we have seen enough of Mikael, and may be able to make a deal like the one proposed a hundred times with SD before the Pads get their 3B elsewhere. Britton, some #5 SPs, if we package of of the 3 younger SPs we have, Kimbrel, although I am not sure our attachment to him isn’t a ploy to get Britton to sign. I am not big on Pollack, but there is work to be done. Despite how I might sound, I am still hopeful.

  78. I’m actually more hopeful about Harper than I was MM because I don’t think his allegiance to other teams is like MMs desire to play for the Yankees, and with Boras as his agent, its unlikely he’ll turn down the top offer for a lesser deal.

    btw, other than talk, do we really have proof that Middleton is willing to put out the money.?
    this team should be sniffing the luxury tax each yr
    yet this team has no long term deals and no players close to 100 million dollar contracts.
    maybe we are all looking in the wrong direction and this really is Middlton.

    sign harper, keuchal and britton/kimbrel and this team has a real playoff chance esp with pieces available to trade

    1. IMIO, if it were up to Boras, Harper would already be a Phillie. Boras is not the problem. His client could not be persuaded to accept 9/360. His client wanted to see what the Dodgers would offer. His client told him to make LA happen. This rests solely on Harper; not Boras, Klentak, Kapler, MacPhail, or Middleton.

      This doesn’t mean that Harper won’t be a Phillie. But after Machado signs, one of his suitors will likely no longer be in pursuit (NY or PHI). If it’s the Phillies, his market really shrinks and so does his possibility for a record contract.

  79. Quinn/ herrara ( obviously Herrera wouldn’t be lead off)
    seigura
    harper
    Hoskins
    mccutchen
    franco
    Alfaro
    kingery/hernandez

    nola
    arrieta
    kuechal
    pivetta
    efflin

    sir Anthony /britton- kimbrel at back end of rotation

    you have efflin/ VV/ Herrera, Williams, plus minor league to trade if needed

    good mix of youth with upside and veterans

    still plenty of money in future for trout

    can also go Mike Moustakis and trade franco if you prefer

  80. sr, I agree with you on Harper/Machado. Although, earlier jim alluded to Harper turning down 9/$360, and piecing together previous jim posts, I think that 9/$360 was from us and has been subsequently pulled. I am not yet ready to blame Middleton, but it is ultimately his responsibility.They didn’t spend for a few years specifically looking forward to this off season. We still are in it, so have to have hope!

    1. you wonder if that was Boras’s unwillingness to jump at an early offer and drag it out for more years as is his MO
      I’m sure he would love to say he got Harper at 400 million dollar contract 10yrs at 40 a year ( not saying I would pay that but might have to )

        1. I’m not saying anyone will or should pay it I’m just saying that’s what boras is holding out for hoping someone will get desparate
          that strategy has worked for him in the past
          otherwise, if reported accurately, why turn down 9/360?

  81. I would say anyone willng to go 9/360 should go 10/400
    is there really that much of a franchise changing difference between the 2 offers

      1. frustrating that we have money to spend and cant get impact players to take the money leaving us to shop at the non superstar counter

        I worry about this going forward to future years with star players

  82. I am guessing that since jim knows this, the Dodgers know it, and may just offer Harper 5/$150. A lot of $, sure, but leaves so much on the table that Boras would literally get sick. The Dodgers won’t outbid us, that is pretty certain. Boras may try to go back to the Nats and his friends the Lerner’s, but we were smart to take the offer off the table. That doesn’t mean it may not be put back, and maybe Middleton/Klentak knew that our offer was twice that of LA. I really am not feeling us and Machado at all.

    1. With this new nugget, I’m going to give a big applause for the FO&Middleton. For those who are not confident in the FO, or believe they need a sense of urgency, they are indeed playing this game of CX very well. I was aware of Jim’s previously reported offer, I believed it was for MM, but it now points to BH. It’s playing out perfectly. BH is sweating imo. He wants the Dodgers but it’s not truly a fit. I can see why, close to home as he’s gonna get, proven postseason roster. Again, not a fit for a 10yr/400mil offer. Philly is … once Machado signs … his offer is very unlikely to increase. If Philly comes off the board to sign MM, it’s likely to definetly go down, and he’ll have to settle for less an AAV of 10mil less a year as both NYY & LAD can’t or won’t push much past 30mil AAV.

      This is like the sports version of Deal or No Deal… wow, well played FO, well played. I can’t be mad at them, they put the best strategy forward they could. Harper is the one holding everything up.

      In an attempt to be non biased I can see why Harper would prefer LA over PHI, he will really scorn his WAS fan base. Tough kill to swallow, but 40mil AAV should make it go down smooth.

      The next 10 days will be crazy.

      Harper, Ray, Britton, and Kimbrel? Could happen. I’ll end with …
      “I’ve got hiiiiigh hopes!”

      1. What would we lose again in draft picks, is it 4 of the top 5 or 6 of the top 7? I forget exactly who other than Kimbrel and Harper got qualifying offers! Personally I am with those who don’t want Kimbrel tho I can see the other side.

    2. Machado is comin’ Matt–be ready for it. I want him more than Harper and I honestly think we have a better shot at Machado anyway.

      1. They’re still insistent on not rebuilding so I’m not sure a deal happens. But if it does, gotta imagine it needs to be centered around major league talent rather than prospects. Their CF options are, shall we say, limited. I’d guess a trade centers around Doobie and one of our young starters.

        Doobie, Eflin, Seabold?

        1. they won’t say “rebuilding” because that word often has such a negative connotation for the fanbase, almost akin to “tanking.” They are, however, probably looking to “re-tool” a bit as they’ve already traded the face of the franchise in Goldy. Why make that bold move if others are not coming? I think your trade proposal is quite fair. The farm has taken so long to build and I would hate to gut it entirely for two years of solid-but-not-elite Robbie Ray. I’d hope for something like Doobie, VV, and Brito to get a deal done.

    1. “an offer for Groome!”,,,,,Dombrowski does trade prospects whenever he feels there is a MLB player that will help the team.
      That team is loaded in position players though Bogaerts will probably leave via FA with Betts getting their super-max contract after next season.
      Bradley is always on the trade block too it seems.

  83. In my opinion, the desire to play for their respective Shangri-la (Harper to LAD, Machado to NYY) is the driving wedge here, not their dislike for Philadelphia. That’s just a convenient narrative to build a case to raise the Phillies already “stupid” offer. “Compensate me for not playing where I really want to.” Fine.

    Jimmy Rollins called this fan base “front runners” (true when it comes to non-football teams, IMO – I’m referring to the larger, nominal base of self proclaimed baseball fans who get their indoctrination from Eskin, Cataldi & Co.) and he was railed for it. But JRoll won and will be glorified next season at CBP as a potential HOFer. In any case, we can get over ourselves when and if either of these two star players sign here.

    While Machado is the better player from a pure baseball standpoint, Harper may make the bigger impact in the whole – tix sales, marketing, TV ratings, merchandise, and intangibles within the clubhouse, perhaps.

    A wise owl whispered to me this scenario (likely? Maybe not) – Machado signs with the Phillies first. Harper won’t sign first in any scenario, but his market dwindles severely if MM takes the Phillies stupid money. After shooing away 9/360 (WOW!), thinking LAD will turn up better than or closer to that deal, they don’t (nor should anyone with a reasonable mind believe when you break down LAD’s needs, wants and history of doing business).

    In the end, I also agree with that wise owl that Manny will choose his beloved Yankee pinstripes and Harper will be persuaded by Boras to swallow his pride and take the most, stupidest money and become a Phillie for at least a few years. Either player will tie us over until the Millville Meteor touches down, and not just in his end zone box at the Linc.

  84. 8mark – If your wise old owl was a fly on the wall I might be inclined to agree with you. The truth of the matter is that we know nothing. Reports are flying around all over the place from people who are serving their own agendas. We take this “leaked” information and eat it up because the alternative is to trust our front office. When Middleton said that we could spend “stupid money” you have to ask why he would say that. Is it a slip of the tongue, a negotiating ploy, or was he trying to scare off the competition?
    It seems to me that we are all watching a great mystery movie, and were all trying to solve the mystery before the final act.

    1. Wawa, we already know that 9/360 was turned down by Harper after Boras urged him to take it back at the winter meetings, as per Jim Peyton. I understand your misgivings with all the crap that’s been put out there. My wise owl wasn’t a fly on the wall, but he isn’t far removed from the right perch to catch wind. Anyway, I believe we can still reasonably piece some things together without having iron clad info. But FWIW, I had no reason whatsoever to doubt the words of the owl with whom I conversed.

          1. No you didn’t…so this owl has reliable information that will make Phillies fan happy?
            That will be a breath of fresh air for sure.

        1. My guess is Harper takes 9 yrs/$315M, which is $35M AAV. Granted he will get multiple opt outs. But we may have to painfully wait until close to spring training before he signs.

          1. Dodgers have some money coming off the books don’t they? They can stomach a luxury tax penalty for a year or two to sign their guy.

  85. Lots of moving parts to this entire Harper/MM saga but it wouldn’t be the worst idea to keep an eye on what the Dodgers or Yankees due BEFORE any official signing is announced which might indicate whether the Phils are in the game or not.

    For instance, if the Yankees suddenly deal 3rd baseman Andujar, it likely would be an indication that MM is headed to NY. And in regards to the Dodgers, they are still in need of a catcher and another starting pitcher, both of which might prove costly. They are still talking about bringing Grandal back or dealing for Realmundo, both of whom would be costly and put the Dodgers dangerously close to the luxury tax, a number the Dodgers have insisted they would like to stay below.

    I expect we will all know where Machado is headed with 7-10 days and, contrary to many, I do believe that report that Machado has indicated privately he is headed to NY. The internet poster knows Machado well and covers the Orioles, albeit from a distance. Doesn’t mean things can’t change but I suspect we might well be very disappointed if we are counting on Machado heading to Philadelphia.

    As for Harper, I completely trust and believe our phaIthful overseer of this site, Jim Peyton, when he indicates Harper was offered 9/360 by the Phils and turned it down despite the advice if Scott Boras. Many of you [myself included] heard the Salisbury interview with Scott Boras after the winter meetings as he waxed poetic about Middleton, Philadelphia and the Phillies. Frankly, I have never heard him so positive about the city and team and he even talked about his time playing winter ball for the Phils.

    My educated guess was that this was approximately when the offer was made and Boras may well have even thought Harper would sign it. Keep this in mind…Boras and Harper don’t necessarily have to wait for MM to sign to insure that they will get the highest offer,,,there is no way either the Yankees or White Sox are topping that offer for MM, regardless of when he signs.

    But, by the same token, it seems to me that the ONLY way Harper gets the highest offer ever is if he DOES sign with the Phils, the Dodgers are never going to pay him 360 million, they are more likely to try and get him for 5-6 years at less than 200 million.

    This much I believe. If the Phils fail to sign either player this offseason their crop of imports will be viewed as a failure regardless of who they do eventually sign [Britton, Keuchel, Pollack et all]. I am holding on to Hinkie’s prognosis while inwardly preparing for the worst. As someone who cut his teeth on Phillie baseball in 1964 as a very young phan, I am used to “swimming a long lake and drowning at the end of the lake” to quote Cookie Rojas after the ’64 campaign ended.

    1. agree..harper has no desire to play for Philly, none at all, if he did you would hear rumblings about it for a while, its LA, Wash or long shot Chicago. I also don’t see Machado unless the union forces him to take the Phillies offer which I believe is the highest on the table.

      The Phillies need to move hard and swiftly, come Thursday when the holidays are done and done!

  86. One more item to consider…the beat writer for the Washington Post who covers the Nats had a column today entitled “Expect the Nats to finish the off season with a BANG and not a whimper.” I could see Harper going back to Washington rather than come to Philadelphia. Hope I am wrong.

  87. Mike Trout is the best player in the game, a local guy and a huge Eagles’ fan. But he has never stated any desire to play baseball fir the Phillies. It is a great fantasy, and we will see in 2019 if he signs an extension, but nothing that we do now shoukd, in anyway, be affected by hoping Trout comes here ever.

    1. matt13…IMO, would probably not be appropriate for Trout to do that.
      Even at the football game last week…the Phillies jersey being waved at him from the other end of the seats…, my buddy sitting behind him three rows, did not see him make any grandiose gestures of acknowledgement, which I am sure he was aware of it….I just assume he knew it would get back to LA via social media and he’d prefer that not to happen.
      Machado really never came out publicly an professed his affinity for the Yankees….of course his nephew knew all along, and said it, and probably other family members knew but were tactful of it being known, even wehn he efused to sign an extension with the Os three years ago..
      .

    2. Matt, neither Mike Trout nor any high ticket talent is going to publicly state that he desires to play for another team while under contract. Even free agents Machado and Harper haven’t stated such things. It’s all hearsay and speculation.

    1. Because “anywhere else” can’t substantiate that particular piece of information. Neither Harper’s camp nor the Phillies will confirm that.

        1. And there were ZERO leaks about Machado definitely going to the Yankees except to Dan Clark? What’s your point? Not everything is worth someone’s credibility being questioned.

          1. If your not questioning credibility and taking things at face value then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. I don’t know Dan Clark. But the fact that his “word” has been out for 2 days and not picked up by anybody else kind of tells me what I need to know about Dan Clark.

            All eyes are on the Phillies to see what kind of stupid money they offer. 9/$360M would qualify as “stupid money.” And in a slow offseason, it would certainly be news-worthy. Heck, that number obviously isn’t even click-bait worthy enough for Dan Clark to share.

  88. Romus, I don’t disagree with you. I just don’t think it is a foregone conclusion that Trout’s hope is to play here. I would love him to, but I find the $ to sign him if he is available and I don’t do or fail to do anything this year or next based on a hope he is coming here. That’s my only real point.

    1. matt13…yes, I agree with you there for sure.
      In fact, I have stated it earlier, IMO, Trout will sign that Angels extension that Moreno will offer.but with the early then usual opt-out clauses attached. I have seen them as early as three years with Heywards, Trout could ask for two -years, but more than likely it will be three. However, this is just pure speculation on my part.

  89. Matt … Maybe you missed Mike Trout’s interview with Greg Murphy last season. When asked about playing for the Phillies, he said …. “Growing up as a kid, you always want to play for your team, but I love it in Anaheim. I can’t say enough about this organization, I was brought up here and we’ll see what happens.”
    I mean it doesn’t get any better than that from a guy (especially as high profile) under contract with his current team. You can see the video here https://www.nbcsports.com/philadelphia/philadelphia-phillies/big-philly-sports-fan-mike-trout-talks-possibility-coming-home-play-phillies

    Romus … just can’t see Trout signing an extension this winter. As I’ve mentioned a few times already, he already has plenty of money in the bank, the offers will only increase as he waits, and putting off a new contract puts more pressure on Arte Moreno to improve the LAA.

    1. Hinkie…..I see it with Trout a lot about allegiance and loyalty and not so much about the money.
      Like I said…pure speculation on my part.

  90. You are right Hinkie, I did not see that. And I wasn’t clear, i was more talking about family members or friends talking about him wanting to play here growing up. I really want him here, but I also don’t want us to fail to make moves now thinking about later. I have always maintained that there will be whatever $ is needed for us to get him.

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