Open Discussion: Week of December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!  The Hot Stove Season cooled off over the holidays.  Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the torrent of rumors created to generate online clicks.  There was very little activity.  None by the Phillies.  Our anxiety continues into another week.

The Phillies lost a coach as first base coach Jose Flores defected to Baltimore.

The 40-man roster stands at 38.

The Phillies remain “in” on Harper and Machado, and are still being linked to every free agent with a pulse.  I’m not going to repeat any of the top FA stuff I’ve already printed or that we’ve discussed.

Instead, I’m going to congratulate Nick Foles and the Eagles on rallying to make the playoffs.  Eff that Super Bowl hangover bull.  Now, let’s go back into the playoffs as underdogs with a backup quarterback.  Again.

This 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

485 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 31, 2018

  1. alright! i was the first one in to say Merry Christmas and now first one to say Happy New Year to all in the Phillies community (I’m on China time so I’m 13 hours ahead, maybe that’s why!). Thanks, Jim, for all of your work on the website and for maintaining the best Phillies baseball discussion out there. Will the new year finally bring us Machado? I’m still super confident that the Phils are in the driver’s seat here–just gotta play through the negotiating process. Really looking forward to seeing his bat in the heart of the Phils order, and hoping we can bring Britton on board to pair up w Sir as a huge 8-9 inning punch. I know I’m overly-optimistic in that i expect Pivetta AND Eflin to take noticeable steps forward this year, but with VV and Eickhoff looming as huge question marks, I do think the Phils should try to sign Keuchel to a healthy 4 year deal. I might be alone in my opinion here, but I think he will age quite well being that he doesnt throw so hard, and he likely wont have to reinvent himself due to a loss in FB velocity (like many guys have to do). If AZ’s asking price on Robbie Ray is too high, I say go hard after Keuchel–he represents a true upgrade and provides much-needed depth in case Eickhoff doesnt bounce back from his missed year.

    1. You were able to perfectly summarize my position quite effectively, and you didn’t go down the “MacHarper” rabbit hole. Thanks.

  2. Heck of a game by Foles! He saved the season. Wentz is still the QBoF but this is Foles time to shine. Kudos to Sudfield for throwing his first NFL TD.

    Not expecting much baseball movement to happen until Wednesday at the earlier. Crazy to think we are just over month from pitchers and catchers reporting. Would be nice to have another rotation arm reporting that day.

      1. All the ones who weren’t DFA’d are still on 40man roster, awaiting their arb hearing sometime in late Jan/early Feb. Any may be traded before hand, but remain arb eligible.

      2. MLBTR $$$ projections for the current eight eligible:
        2B Cesar Hernandez — $8.9M…if he stays
        RHP Aaron Nola — $6.6M…no brainer
        3B Maikel Franco — $5.1M…trade?
        RHP Vince Velasquez — $2.6M….about right
        RHP Hector Neris — $2.0M…probably keeper
        RHP Jerad Eickhoff — $1.7M
        OF Aaron Altherr — $1.6M
        LHP Adam Morgan — $1.1M…eventual DFA?

      1. I believe they were going to be running some tests on Foles today and determine. Foles mentioned in his presser that today was a big day in determining if he could play.

        FWIW – the guys on the FOX pre/post think it’s related to the hit from the Texans game and Foles should be fine considering before he went to the sidelines last night, he pushed himself up with both arms. If he was seriously injured, it wouldnt have been so easy to get up.

        Sunday will be a big day for Philly. Playoff game and hopefully some FA signings for the Phillies

      2. Denny – just read that Foles is expected to play. Tests show that ribs are just bruised and nothing is broken.

          1. Eagles fans owned Fed Ex Field like Phillies fans used to dominate Nationals Park. Look what happened after yesterday’s game as Eagles fans watched the Bears beat the Vikings.

            Happy New Years, everybody !!!!!
            Look forward to Bryce Harper or Manny Machado signing with the Phillies in (January) 2019.

            1. Appreciate your positivity but it’s hard to think either one will sign because there have been zero rumors about either signing with the Phillies. All rumors have pointed towards Yanks and Dodgers

    1. IIRC, Jim indicated previously that this would be the case (i.e., no comments with the daily polls). I believe this to avoid potential influence of the comments on future votes.

    1. Well he has about a .333% chance of being correct. Talk about putting yourself out there … Same old garbage in this day and age of trying to be the first to break the story. Personally, I think he is correct … or that Harper
      Feeels the squeeze and tries to ramp up his contract money, deal
      Is imment and the Phillies hold off on MM knowing They sign BH. That’s my prediction, we definitely get 1, just not sure which one. But I put it at 65/35 that MM is a Phillie

      1. Tac3…..it may be old news based, just not sure anymorw…Dec 20th….from a John Williams tweet.
        John Williams

        @JohnWill2017

        #Sources are telling me that Manny Machado left his meeting with the #Phillies with a “hand-shake agreement” and that the deal is upwards of 10 years 370 million.
        5:51 PM – 20 Dec 2018

        1. I think that was a fake tweet as well. I remember seeing that and I think even mentioned it on here as well.

          1. check out a tweet from @ercidavies01 – this could be another guy trying to break some news but he said he is hearing optimism from Phillies FO that Machado could pick their revised offer.

            Now on the flip side, Lim Lerityz says Manny deal is all but done for the Yankees. Lerityz also had the scoop last year regarding the Stanton trade.

            I think my needle is still pointing at the Yankees even with this information

            1. Also not sure how true it is but @mlb2019insider is tweeting Harper is headed to Hollywood. Harper and dodgers are finalizing a multi year deal.

  3. I wish all of you and your loved ones a very Happy and Healthy New Year. I believe we start adding more talent this week. Thank You jim for all the work that you do. I love this site, and I appreciate all of his hard work, and I appreciate all of your opinions and information. If I disagree with anyone, it is probably because I am guarding myself from disappointment!

  4. And, however it works out, if we do not get either Machado or Harper, I do not want Hinkie to ban himself. His posts would be missed, and he is correct that we would be the highest bidder. But, the highest bidder may not rule the day. I actually think we have a better shot with Harper. I don’t know either guy, but I think coming here as “the Star” and being the one we look at to make the Playoffs, adds a burden to the player. In NY, Machado falls behind Stanton, Judge and the Yankees’ mystique. Much easier, despite the huge contract, to get lost. Here, he would not have that. I think, looking from the outside, Harper would care much less about any burden on him. Either way, or even if we get neither, I expect a RP, some upgrade at SP, and a back up C. We will see.

  5. Some of you may remember My wild Phuture Phillies prediction for 2018: Roman Quinn would start 80 games for the Phillies. I was wrong. Once again, Roman was stung by the injury bug. But he did look good when he finally got his chance with the big league club.
    Here’s my 2019 wild prediction: Despite the additions of Jose Alvarez and James Pazos, and the possibility of adding Zach Britton, Mike Minor, or Matt Strahm, Josh Tols will make his MLB debut as a LOOGY in the Phillies BP at some point this season.

    https://twitter.com/Tolsy21/stamtus/1062523530867281921

    If you have a wild Phuture Phillies prediction for 2019, post it now.

    1. Traveling man….three stopovers…CLW, Reading, LHV and final stop Philly in August….St Augie’s Zach Warren.

          1. My wild prediction is that Denny is right and Dylan Cozens gains discipline and pitch recognition, makes the Big Club, hits more than 30 home runs and is Rookie of the Year. (Actually, more a wish than prediction.)

            Wild Prediction II: Scott Kingery becomes the regular 2B and Scotty JetPax is reborn.

            Wild Prediction III: Roman Quinn stays healthy THE ENTIRE YEAR and leads the club in stolen bases.

            1. My wild prediction is Kingery has one heck of a bounce back year that mirrors his last year in LHV

              Second – Williams hits 25 HR and has .330 OBP

      1. Among the things you’ve suggested, this is among the more realistic. If Dylan Cozens figures out how to hit high level pitching enough, it’s realistic for him to be a platoon lefty and put up stats like that. The problem is that his platoon splits against lefties are so freaking bad, that you’d have to start him only against righties and pull him as soon as the other team went to situational relievers. In the old days, this meant you could often count on 7 innings. Today, 5 or 6 if you’re lucky. This dramatically diminishes the player’s value and usefulness. Now, if Dylan Cozens could learn to hit lefties at, say, a .225 clip with a .320 OBP, then we can have a different discussion, but he’s shown zero thus far to suggest he can even do that against minor leaguers. It’s pretty brutal. Why are people not discussing this with him?

        1. There is hearing and then there is listening. Once a person tells the difference then the changes can occur. Lets hope this is the results with Coz.

          Maybe a Morandini/Duncan, Chamberlain/Eisenreich, Thompson/Inky, Johnstone/Brown situation can happen and be productive.

          1. Denny….DC needs to study video of Votto/Rizzo hitting with two strikes…choke, stroke and poke basically. Up to him if has the discipline.

    2. Eickhoff – 15 game winner , earns spot out of SP, #5, works his craft,
      Works his way up the #3 spot after the Allstar break. Good confidence inspiring starts. Will be a solid 15 game winner, not a got super lucky with high run support/crap era.

      Overall Phillies SP takes a step forward, minus Nola. I think he stays the same, or slight regression.

      1. If Eickhoff can sit 92-93 with his FB., touching 94 or 95, this could happen. Otherwise, his FB just isn’t good enough to keep hitters honest. But if he can just keep up the velo there is and always was a lot to like about him and his poise and mound presence are palpable – he’s got confidence and a ton of fight in him. I love the player – it’s the stuff that gives me pause.

    3. wild prediction–last year I predicted that Alfaro would be a top-5 MLB catcher in terms of …. I think it was SLG… by the All Star Break. I think I knew enough not use OBP because the guy can’t take a walk, so I’m pretty sure I picked slugging in the top-5 in SLG by the break. I was wrong. Bold prediction this year? Pivetta completely reverses his W-L record from last year and goes 14-7 on the year. This Phillies offense has at least one big IMPACT move coming up, and with the additions of Cutch and Segura I think this offense provides a bit more run support for the starters than we saw in 2018. Pivetta benefits from this and he continues to develop command/control and does a better job at keeping the ball down. Whenever he hung a pitch last year he got clobbered, but he definitely has the ability to correct these mistakes going forward…

  6. Hinkie, Can I steal yours from last year? I really think Roman Quinn makes it the majority of a full season this year. I mean 125 plus games, not 82! But, my own prediction is Adam Haseley makes his Phillies’ debut in August, 2019.

  7. We kicked a lot of tires around about how roster changes could go, not sure if I saw this posted here…. but I’ll take a swing.

    Backup MM plan & or a pro BH signing move.

    Trade Franco for best deal. Take Moniak, JoJo, a& Suarez and trade for the Reds Senzel. Reds are flirting with moving Senzel as he has no everyday position. I’d assume an overpay could get him. If so, obviously Put him at 3rd.

    It might not be painful enough, so I’d be willing to give more. Not sure how much more is needed. Medina,Moniak, And Suarez? Or is this too much of an overpayment?

    Personally I think Franco is good enough everyday player if BH is added to the lineup, but I’d move him for Senzels upside.. easily. Kingery could hold the spot warm for him if he were to struggle.

    Thoughts? Feel free to say I’m off my rocker.

    1. Ok, sounds like Senzel is the package piece for a established star. I think the resds trade him, cash in on their surprise for a piece they need to win. Interesting team to watch, to see if they poo or get of the pot. Kluber would be a nice get for them if they believe in Kemp and Puig.

      1. The Phillies just drafted a 3rd basemen with the #3 overall pick. Trading for Senzel to block him would be admitting a massive mistake. No chance that happens.

        1. I can see that POV, the counter argument is that Senzel has a higher ceiling/Upgrade/ further along for a team that is closer to going for it. You fill another position of need with Franco, and swap Senzel for Bohm, while adding Moniak and a pitcher. Hopefully one of JoJo,Suarez, or De Los gets it done, may need To be Medina

          If you have Senzel, you don’t need Bohm, If you sign harper, Moniak is expendable with hasley close. Medina would hurt, I can live with the others being traded.

          Would be interesting

          Quinn/Herrera
          Segura
          Hoskins
          Harper
          McCutchen
          Senzel
          Hernandez/Kingery
          Alfaro

          I’d think pretty hard if I was 100% sold on Senzel. To boot, He has position mobility, which we all know the FO/Manager love

            1. I disagree. You have to keep looking forward. Right now, can you say Bohm and Moniak will have more of an impact than Senzel? You can’t. Moniak was a poor choice from the beginning. Always go after the most talented.

              And Bohm is projected to shift over to first base in the somewhat near future. If potentially going after a long term asset for third base results in the loss of some higher draft picks, that’s a risk you take.

              You can’t look at where someone was drafted 3 years ago and assume he still has a higher value than the guy drafted 2 spots after him.

            2. Agree, if for no other reason than you’d be selling incredibly low on these draft picks, particularly Bohm who we haven’t seen healthy yet. I have to give him a mulligan for last year and, often, guys don’t do well coming off their first college season and go nuts in year 2 (see Hoskins, Asche, etc. . . – it’s very common). But, assuming you delete the high-end pitching prospect (that’s just way too much), to me, whether you’d consider trading MM and Bohm for Senzel really depends on how you project these players. I think they believe that Bohm, if he does what they expect him to do, could go on to be a perennial AS with above-average power and OBP. If you think he can play third competently, that’s not a player you don’t easily aside easily. The real question is whether they should have picked Gorman and not Bohm, but that’s another discussion and it’s hard to kill them for picking a solid college bat with power and plate discipline – that’s usually a winning combination.

              Also, to give them some credit, I’ve liked their last two first round picks. I think Haseley could end up being a really nice player – an above average regular, which is a good (but not great) outcome for a number 8 pick.

            3. Agreed. The fictional trade is illogical.
              1. Why would the Reds do it? Makes no sense on their side. They just got a big package from Dodgers. Why would they trade a near mlb ready top prospect for 3 prospects that are not close to mlb ready?
              2. As you point out, it is selling extremely low in Bohm.
              3. Senzel is a good prospect, but has had injury issues and is certainly not a proven prospect that is can’t miss. Way too much value.
              4. It is selling low on Moniak who made a swing adjustment and had a good second half and is still very young with good tools.

            4. Hard decisions need to be made at some point, or you risk losing the value your prospects currently have. We’ve seen that recently over the past few years … Thompson,Appel, and others.

              Many have soured on Moniak, some project him to be a 4th OF if his power doesn’t develop. On Bohm, questions about his ability to stick at 3B are concern. Both players are 2+ years away. Senzel is knocking on the door, which fits the Phillies rebuild better imo. If you added Harper through FA, Moniak would then have to beat out Harper, Herrera,McCutchen, Quinn, and Haseley, not to mention Williams. Converting Moniak’s value into a 3B is not illogical. On Bohm vs Senzel, you have to decide who is the better prospect, and Is the conversion of 2 years of development time worth Moniak? If you believe Moniak
              Is more than a 4th OF, then you probably don’t. Lastly you probably need to add in pitching to entice the reds to take Senzel out of trade package for a proven player. Cost of doing business.

              If you believe Senzel is the better player than Moniak and Bohm, you should it dismiss it based on selling low, especially if you have Sign Harper which not makes Moniaks road much tougher on the Phillies.

              The reds are shopping Senzel, as they have a nice 3B option.

              I suggested this trade as To find a player who is obtainable before they are not. In addition, Senzel would be cheap, which will be needed if stupid money is thrown around.

            5. Tac3…..the thing with Senzel…teams are going to wait on him for repeat symptoms. It has happened to him twice now and this new season will be more telling for him if he can get thru it completely without any recurrence..
              So the Reds may not want to move him if other GMs will low ball them because of his health issue.
              A team would take a risk.
              https://247sports.com/college/tennessee/Article/Former-Tennessee-star-Nick-Senzel-back-after-battling-vertigo-118621630/

  8. Scott Kingery takes over the everyday 2b position by mid-season and Cesar Hernandez is traded before the trade deadline…

  9. There are only a couple of days for Kikuchi to sign. Isn’t it odd that the rumors are almost non existent? Is there any chance we get him?

            1. I mean seriously, all you’ve been doing is quoting unreliable twitter sources that have no idea what’s going on. Do what I do, if you don’t have anything valuable to add, sit back and just enjoy reading the great insight that the knowledgeable contributors on this site have to offer.

  10. my phuture phillies bold prediction for 2019 is that mitch walding gets his first career hit off a non-position player

  11. One wish I have for the new year is for MLB to come up with some type of measure to remedy what has become a God awful pattern of utter drudgery in the off season FA and trade markets. Just as there is a midseason trade deadline, so too could there be a time frame for the hot stove, say Jan 2 through Feb 10, all transactions should be completed, rather than the indefinite months following the playoffs.

    1. this is a very good suggestion. All for it. Tier them in classes so the big guys need to drop first, find out some sort of system.

      1. Assuming that both Harper and Machado are intelligent young men, the only reason to let out rumors of a favorite would be to get the other bidders to up their bid. If not, the only thing accomplished by letting a team know that it is the favorite is to encourage them to offer less in order to leverage the preference.

        1. Ding … Ding … Ding … Ding … Ding !!!!!
          We’ve got a winner. MLL is correct. These antics/leaks of favorite landing spots are used strictly to try to get the team with stupid money to bid against itself.

          1. Like I said the other day, I’m not convinced that the Phillies don’t actually prefer Harper. Maybe the Phillies offer (if they’ve already made one) to Machado reflects that.
            That is pure speculation on my part.

      2. Isn’t it likely that Manny would have already signed with NYY if they were in fact his choice despite the underpay? Perhaps the Phillies have given him pause, but how much more $$$ would they need to blow NYY out of the water at this stage?

    1. Kikuchi will get 3 yrs guaranteed with one player option yr OR Seattle can replace his option yr by adding 4 more yrs guaranteed. Never saw that kind of deal before but it’s certainly a creative one for a largely unknown yet intriguing commodity. I did read a while back that many interested teams considered him to be a long reliever/swing man. But in any case, once again a west coast club wins the Asian player.

      1. As far as the LHSP market is concerned … at this point … it’s Matt Strahm (who can start or come out of the pen) in a Maikel Franco trade, or bust. I would have given three years to JA Happ before going four years to Dallas Keuchel. And I would have definitely used prospect capital on James Paxton before giving up a top young player(s) on Robbie Ray.
        JoJo Romero could be ready by as early as this summer. I’m not a huge Cole Irvin believer, but I’d give him every chance to force his way to CBP this season, as well.

          1. I think the Phillies have already made their decision on Franco when MacPhail let it slip in October.
            GM Matt Klentak said he expects to make “significant changes,” … which MacPhail seems to believe are required..
            MacPhail even might have made a Freudian slip….. noting that Franco hit .330 in July and .240 in August, MacPhail said, “The other team, maybe they’ll find the key.”

            1. Romus – Sometimes things change. Last winter, we were all positive that Hernandez would be traded.

            2. Yes that is true,
              But never heard the President say anything passively-negative about Cesar like he did with Maikel.
              When Kapler benched a healthy JPC and Maikel down the stretch the hand writing was on the wall.
              I like Maikel but they, mainly Kapler, seem not to.

      2. Only NY and Boston seem to get the Asian premier talent along the East coast.
        West coast teams do have that geographical advantage for the Asian player.
        The other exception….Rangers got Yu 7/8 years ago.

      3. The Phillies could have beat the Seattle offer, but it probably wouldn’t have changed Kikuchi’s mind. The Mariners are rebuilding so they can plug him into their rotation this year, whereas, with the Phillies, there was no guarantee that he would win a spot in the rotation.
        I expect Machado to make an announcement within a week, and the domino’s will fall into place. If he chooses the Phillies, I would keep Franco at 3B, Manny at SS, Segura at 2B, and Hoskins at first. Franco showed me enough last year to go with him another year. If he regresses, or stays the same, we can go after Arenado next year. Meanwhile, Franco isn’t exactly chopped liver. He’s going to get his 25 homers and 75 RBI’s.
        Manny is MacPhail’s and Klentak’s choice. If he signs with the Phils, I still expect the Phillies to go hard for Harper (Middleton’s choice). If Harper signs with the Dodgers, he will leave at least $50 million on the table.
        Of course, it’s a best case scenario that we get both, but if we do, we’ll score more runs and be able to go with the starting pitchers longer. We may be able to go with 7 arms in the bullpen, and carry an extra bat on the bench. That’s the optimist in me talking.
        The pessimist in me says that, if we get neither, I’m okay with McCutchen in RF, Quinn in CF, and Herrera/ Altherr in LF. Williams is the 5th OF’er. Cozens will start at Lehigh, unless Herrera, Altherr, or Williams are traded.
        The starting pitchers will take enough of a step forward that they’ll be okay, but I still want to sign Britton (another MacPhail, Klentak guy). Locks for the bullpen are Ramos (26), Arano (24), Dominguez (24), all right handers, and Jose Alverez (29), and Britton (31) from the left side. The final two or three spots could easily be filled by Neris, Neshek, Hunter, Nicasio, Pazos, and possibly Velasquez from the right side, and Austin Davis and Morgan from the left side.

        1. I agree with you about Franco . . He was touted as possibly being in the All Star discussion each year (if he hit his ceiling) but he felt below that, obviously. I feel like that skews people views on players, cieling vs where they end up. I’m perfectly fine w Franco another year, I actually would love the infield to be Hoskins/Segura/Franco/Manny w Franco in the 7 hole.

  12. He must have wanted to be in Seattle. Forget the team option, he got 3/43, which is Relief Pitcher $.

  13. The holiday season, technically ends today. So time for Manny to pick, Harper as well. Hopefully Manny can decide in the next 10 days or less.
    8Mark, really like the idea of having a deadline for a decision aka trade deadline scenario to get this guys to pick. It gets old waiting for a decision to be made. It’s not really like much has changed for any of the involved teams in the last 2 weeks. He’ll have as much info to make a decision today, that he will 3 months from now. Time to pick fellas. You’d think accepting near an AAV of 30mil
    Or more would motivate one to pick up a pen, and scribble a signature.

    1. Maybe they will come out and say they will wait for Valentine’s Day to make their decision….keep the hot stove stoked. :).

    2. Yeah, the deliberate pace that both players and FOs are taking is sucking the air right out of any enjoyment we fans might find in what should be an exciting period of this otherwise dismal time of the year. Personally, I’m all holidayed out. Let’s get on with it. It’s become physically painful to read knucklehead tweets quoted by juveniles on a daily basis.

      1. 8mark,

        It’s been in the mid 80s here in southwest Florida and with the calendar turned to January it means that spring training is “next month.” Baseball is around the corner. Can’t wait. MM and Harper should be deciding soon.

        In the FWIW department, I prefer Harper. Don’t want the selfishness Machado has displayed, at least publicly.

        1. Frank, while I think Harper may eventually sign with the Phillies, if Manny does go to the NYY, and relatively soon I suppose, I don’t think I can stomach another month of ridiculous speculation on where Harper lands. Can you imagine the idiotic social media bites, along with the mainstream tabloid crap of who Harper was seen with at some restaurant in NY, LA or CHI? Barf bag, please!

  14. Wawa – Hunter, Neshek, and Nicasio are guaranteed spots. They are not cutting anyone who is making 7-9 million for the season.

    1. And for major league minimum. I wouldn’t read much beyond that. Even if Tulo was a stop gap for Didi, NYY would probably play Manny at 3b anyway, should he sign with them.

      1. I think this is a good sign, for this who prefer Manny over Harper. The Yankees have a deep farm, or used too, so Troy will cost them 1 40 man roster spot, 2 if Manny signs. Granted 40 man spots aren’t the only consideration, but to me, it looks like the yanks know Manny is going to either PHI or CHI. It’s an insurance policy from where I sit. We should know soon enough

      2. That’s what he would have gotten regardless of where he signed, Blue Jays are paying his salary (I believe it’s close to 40m left but that sounds really high to me). It’s somewhat interesting, if you are Tulo why sign with a team if you have zero chance of playing (if Manny signs)? Did he get assurance that he would play (no Manny)? Or maybe they told him they would release him if Manny signed? Could mean nothing but it def fuels the conspiricy theorist.

  15. Bob Nightengale mentioned that this week, Manny will “begin to field offers” from NYY, PHI and CHW. Wha?? What happened to just announcing the decision? Could Hinkie be correct in that the Phillies hadn’t even made an offer yet?

      1. And don’t mean it in a negative way, I’m assuming he means deciding between the offers given to him.

    1. 8mark…..when Machado came in with his wife to CBP on the 20th, from my understanding, it was more or less ‘meet and greet; and present to him an overall picture of the organization and what he would mean to it. I really do not think they would have passed the offer sheet across the table to him and his wife…I am not even sure if Dan Lozano and any of his MVP Sports Group team were there with the Machados…they could have been.

      1. Romus, yes I did not expect the CBP visit to be a negotiating session. However, what the hell has been going on since early November that some traction to the proceedings hasn’t born fruit toward an outcome, one way or another? I just don’t understand how the biggest FA market in years has been met with such uncertainty and indecision on both sides. And it has boggled up the entire off season, trades and all.

        1. I find it very hard to believe that Manny and his agent team don’t have a firm parameters of at least minimums from each team, in terms of years,AAV, and over contract worth. I mean, unless NYY put in a 50mil dollar WS winning bonus, pretty sure he knows where the most bread is coming from. The dude needs to pick, and stop holding up the offseason

  16. 8mark, I agree with you on both the Kikuchi deal being a great one for Seattle, and the fact that I am exhausted from thinking about where they sign. Just get it over with. I can’t not read whatever I see posted about who signs where, but it is way past time to move on.

  17. Interesting read from MLBTR
    “It’s too soon to count out a reunion between Bryce Harper and the Nationals, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan writes in his latest column, as “Harper has met multiple times with representatives” from the team. In a rather surprisingly open interview last month, Nats managing principal owner Mark Lerner said his organization wasn’t willing to go beyond the ten-year, $300MM extension it offered Harper after the season, though rumors have continued to swirl that Washington is still at least monitoring Harper’s market. It could still be some time before we have an answer about Harper’s 2019 destination, as the outfielder (like many Scott Boras clients) is in no rush to sign a contract that doesn’t meet his satisfaction. The Phillies and White Sox, Passan reports, are willing to guarantee Harper at least a ten-year deal, indicating that the two teams have at least made some progress in their pursuit of the free agent outfielder, though obviously the gigantic dollar figure Harper is demanding is still a very notable obstacle.”

        1. If he is 10 on MLB’s top 30 how can he not make FG’s top 36 is what I am asking rhetorically.

          I guess it speaks to my issues with ranking prospects when a 24 LHP makes 25 starts in AAA and posts a 1.054 WHIP is considered a nothing burger. I don’t think his stuff is great either to the eye test but there is a little something there.

  18. Hot take – Phillies planning on meeting with Harper in the next week or so.This was NOT on Twitter and is by Jim Salisbury. 8mark – does this information work for you?

    1. IMO … this is exactly where the Phillies want to be. Play MM and BH off of one another. Cast two lines (with the most alluring bait) into the FA ocean at the same time. Whichever fish bites first gets the stupid money. The other fish ends up with a contract with another team for less years/money.

      I always had a hard time believing the Phillies had made an actual offer to Machado up to this point. They most likely set some parameters on money, years & opt outs. Manny had to let it be known he’d be fine with playing 3B, and walk back his “Johnny Hustle” comments.

      At this point, I think the Phillies will get one of Harper or Machado for something like 315-325 million over 9 years. That’s my best guess/opinion.

      1. Totally agree, Hinkie. This scenario could/should have played out weeks ago. But anyway, I’m not only confident we sign one, I even hold some optimism that both may be gettable. The pressure right now is on Manny since his market is more defined. But if/when he signs, the weight falls onto Harper to salvage a record setting contract.

        1. This thing is so crazy, I’ve swung back and forth with what I think happens. Went from thinking we get 1 to none, then to both and back to none . . . And now I’m back on the def will get 1 of the 2 🤷🏼‍♂️
          I love the idea of getting both, it would help so many areas and the most interesting/intriguing thing would be what do they do w the now surplus of players? And some that are fairly valuable.

          What could a package of
          Herrera/Eflin/Hernandez(or Kingery/Medina get us?

          Or even Sixto/Herrera/Eflin/Hernandez (or Kingery)
          Starting to open up to him being apart of a package. His size and injuries that have come along concern me. I think if he makes it he’s a solid 1 really good 2 but the odds aren’t in his favor.

          Either player signing opens up trade possibilities.

          1. Eric, the key to any trades is that the Phillies avoid older players with long, dollar heavy contracts or salary dumps. Let’s convert this depth into some controllable, relatively young yet seasoned players with upside, like Bauer from CLE….uh, like Segura😀!!

            1. ….or Merrifield from KC. Now there’s a ball player. Turning 30 but would cost what we have, mostly young talent. Good opportunity to trade CeHe in a bigger package with a top OF prospect plus a top pitching prospect. Doable.

            2. Love to get Trevor Bauer . . . I’d actually buy out his arbitration years (2019/2020) and sign him to a 3 year extension to age 33.

              What do you think it would take?
              Sixto/Herrera?
              Sixto/Kingery (Indians take his contract)/Williams?

            3. Yes, I think Herrera and a top pitching prospect (dare I say Medina?) along with Eflin and another near MLB ready arm like DLS.

  19. I know it’s because the Phillies graduated most of their top prospects, but their farm system is rankked #14 by Bleacher Report

    1. That sounds about right. It seems the system is high in depth but fairly muddled in terms of top tier prospects. I have to say that, right now, my long range feelings about this team are fairly “meh.” I’m not saying it won’t work out, but this isn’t like the Cubs or Astros or Braves were you thought to yourself – “wow, in two years, this team is going to be a monster.” Honestly, on the whole, it’s mildly disappointing right now.

      1. I’ll admit, the depth is there, but the top tier prospects have been slow to come. Appel,Thompson,Cozens, Asche, Crawford (for the most part not catching on here) hurts. I’m not going to further back with Brown,Biddle, and Quinn’s injury history. Franco has seeemed to reach his ceiling, which is a support player, not core.

        Hoskins and Nola are strong home grown prospects. The bullpen has been strong imo. Neris, Ser Anthony, and others. Of course Giles , was converted to VV.

        A lot of the rebuild hinges on Kingery and alfaros development. Segura has erased Crawford’s hole. McCutchen allows for Williams and Altherr to be traded while we wait for Hasley and Moniak.

        Of course, replacing Franco with Machado would really help this team imo, the team OPS will have been raised with the moves, improved defense, and then it’s back
        To the pitching, which is the strength of the team.

        The real issue is how much our division rivals have improved. The Phillies have, but I feel they will not improve their win total unless MM pen BH is signed, due to the NLEast games becoming much more difficult to win now

        1. We cannot use the failures of the past to predict the success/failure of the present since the decision makers are entirely different. IFA for instance was not given enough resources and priorities in the past. Under the new regime, new facilities were built, additional IFA$ are acquired, bigger IFA $$ were spent and 2 ROK level (DSL and GCL) were maintained to ensure that the farm have more prospect to acquire and develop.

          The Rule IV philosophy also changed from high risk toolsy players and low ceiling college players to players who have high baseball IQ and sound fundamentals.

          It is still going to be hit or miss, but I will not use the lack of success of the previous administration to marginalize the gains that the farm is having.

          1. Speaking of regime changes, the majority of the recent success, Still looks like the previous regimes talent. Moniak &Gowdy are Klentaks if I recall correctly. What about The rest of the Top 10? Sixto? Howard,Garcia i believe are the new regime.

  20. Machado was informed about Tulo signing days before it happened.

    My needle still points to NYY getting Manny.

  21. I was looking at the stats and ball park success by both McCutchen and Segura and I do believe that playing half of their games in Philadelphia would actually help both in offensive categories. We may see an improvement by both to some degree. These moves will help the team a lot.

    1. I need to catch up with the prospect poll discussion and participate in the polling. But my current Top 10 is:

      1) Sixto Sanchez
      2) Adonis Medina
      3) Luis Garcia
      4) Adam Haseley
      5) Alec Bohm
      6) Jojo Romero
      7) Spencer Howard
      8) Enyel delos Santos
      9) Francisco Morales
      10) Cole Irvin

      1. Good list KuKo.
        Here’s my top 35:

        1. Sixto Sanchez
        2. Adonis Medina
        3. Alec Bohm
        4. Jhailyn Ortiz
        5. Luis Garcia
        6. Spencer Howard
        7. Adam Haseley
        8. JoJo Romero
        9. Mickey Moniak
        10. Kevin Gowdy
        11. Francisco Morales
        12. Enyel De Los Santos
        13. Ranger Saurez
        14. Nick Maton
        15. Starlyn Castillo
        16. Rafael Marchan
        17. Dominic Pipkin
        18. Arquimedes Gamboa
        19. Simon Muzziotti
        20. Rodolpho Duran
        21. Cornelius Randolph
        22. Mauricio Llovera
        23. Kyle Young
        24. Will Stewart
        25. Cole Irvin
        26. Carlos De La Cruz
        27. Matt Vierling
        28. Connor Seabold
        29. Austin Listi
        30. Logan Simmons
        31. Bailey Falter
        32. Logan O’Hoppe
        33. Daniel Brito
        34. Jake Holmes
        35. Edgar Cabral

        1. I initially have Jhailyn as #10 but I switched him with Irvin since I can see Irvin contributing to the MLB team at some point in 2019. Here’s the rest of the Top 40. Ranger have a short leash and Victor Santos and Carlos dela Cruz can be the fast riser. I just need to see Kevin Gowdy for a couple of starts (need to see his make up, command and control) and Gowdy can easily break by Top 10 and #5 pitching prospect behind Sixto, Medina, Jojo and Spencer.

          11. Jhailyn Ortiz
          12. Mickey Moniak
          13. Rafael Marchan
          14. Ranger Suarez
          15. Arquimedes Gamboa
          16. Dominic Pipkin
          17. Starlyn Castillo
          18. Nic Torres
          19. Jon Guzman
          20. Brayan Gonzalez
          21. Simon Muzziotti
          22. Nick Maton
          23. Colton Eastman
          24. Kyle Young
          25. Connor Seabold
          26. Jake Holmes
          27. Bailey Falter
          28. Cornelius Randolph
          29. Kevin Gowdy
          30. Manuel Silva
          31. Daniel Brito
          32. Logan Simmons
          33. Logan O’Hoppe
          34. Abrahan Gutierrez
          35. Jhordany Mezquita
          36. Will Stewart
          37. Vic Santos
          38. Carlos de la Cruz
          39. Ben Pelletier
          40. Austin Listi

    2. Cole Irvin didn’t crack FG’s Top 36. IMO, Cole Irvin is better than Ranger Suarez who ranked #13. Eventhough i see Irvin’s ceiling only as #4/#5, he got the “IT” factor that can make sim succeed in the majors similar to Eickhoff.

        1. Between Irvin and Ranger, I give Irvin a higher success probability, Irvin can be like a LH version of Eickhoff – big and reliable starter that can go 5-6 IPs while limiting the damage.

          Ranger can be like Severino Gonzalez. Pitchers who build their resume via commanding their pitches in the minors but cannot replicate the success in the majors.

          Ranger is a Phillies farm hand, so I will cheer for his success. But I just think that Irvin is better than him.

  22. KuKo, I mostly agree with you. I swapped Garcia and Haseley because of proximity and you are higher on Morales than I am. I have Ranger pretty high, I may be off on him. The ranking, I think is reasonable because we don’t have really highly rated Top 25 players. Sixto is our best and he didn’t pitch all year. I expect some break out seasons. I think jim does that after the Top 30 is done.

    1. @matt13 – Morales’ age (projection left) is what pushing Morales high on my list. With potential 2 plus pitch – FB and CB/SL/Slurve and a heater that can project to mid-to-high 90s, Morales will be a Top 15 if he entered this coming Rule IV draft. Phillies will draft #14 and whoever the Phillies draft at 1.14 can easily make the current Phillies Top 10— this is my simple way of justifying Morales ranking inb my personal ranking.

      I agree with v1 that it will be fun to have the comments section in the poll and see some of us make a case for their ranking while influencing others to do the same.

  23. I understand that reading too much into all of this will drive us all crazy but it does seem to me that the announced meeting next week face to face with Harper can be interpreted in several ways.

    One, it could indicate that the Phils have a pretty good idea that Machado is headed to New York and its time to move on from him. Two, it could be a way of pushing Machado to make a decision already since that $300 million budgeted for MM could suddenly go to Harper. Three, it merely shows that the Phils can walk and chew gum at the same time and realize that they need to keep all options open until one or the other [or both] make their decisions to sign.

    I do feel that things will break this month with both, especially given the enormity of the contracts. Afterall, teams still have to plan and manage their budgets and these enormous amounts can certainly be used in other ways to sign several players.

    Personally, I would be happy with either one and am trying to hold on for dear life to Hinkie’s guarantee. It will be a huge disappointment if they get neither and such an incredible letdown.

    1. Whether the Phillies intend to sign one/both/none of MacHaper — meeting with the premier FAs face to face is the right play for the Phillies. I’ve done a lot of meetings/communications in various ways and even using technology and there is no better way of communicating than talking face to face.

      As some of us are saying in the past, the Phillies will get at least one of the MacHarper. Let the FO do their thing and we will be rewarded with a better team this coming season.

    2. Cal Dream – however we might read into the situation, it’s a good development. If Harper was dead set against playing in Philadelphia, I highly doubt he would entertain an actual face to face with Klentak, Kapler and company, even in his own hometown. The Boras factor may ultimately help in acquiring him despite his failed effort to convince BH to sign for 9/$360 before the winter meetings. While Middleton may prefer Harper and Klentak may prefer Manny, I see no reason why they can’t pursue both players simultaneously, and communicating clearly to both that that is what they have planned all along, in order to increase their chances of signing at least one. No secrets, no ambiguity. Cast the golden line and whichever fish bites first, gets reeled in. Plain and simple.

    3. Cal Dreaming – I liked your take on the “non-signings” to date. I actually agree with your first premise – and I also think that Harper may be a better fit for the Phillies and their fans.

      What I can tell you – living in the New York area – the local media, and Yankee fans here — do not think the Yankees need MM – nor do they like the idea of him “polluting” the wonderful clubhouse comraderie of the Judge era young players. Now – whether NY states that by signing Tulo they still have interest in MM may be nothing more than PR – that might not be directed to its local fans but to the national media. It is the national media (and agent prompting) that has the Dodgers, Cubs, and Yankees interested in these 2 players – not the local markets, it would seem. Incidentally, Tulo is considered a wonderful clubhouse “team” player and can fill the Didi role for a short time. By signing him, MM would be playing 3B right away for NY – which now means they will have to trade Andujar and Sonny Gray.

  24. 8mark…one of the reasons I so enjoy this site is the outstanding Phillie perspective I get and lots of it comes from you! And I agree with you that regardless of how one views this development, it does seem like a good thing. Can’t imagine Harper would be meeting with the Phillies if he had already made up his mind on going to the Dodgers and as someone who lives in SoCal [though not a Dodger fan] I can assure one and all that there is NO way the Dodgers are offering Harper $300 million.

    I believe they are trying to sway him with a contract in the 3-5 year range with an AAV of maybe $35 million. This will be interesting to watch as Boras himself told Jim Salisbury in his interview that he was not interested in a shorter deal, he wanted this one to be record setting.

    While Boras likes to move slowly on his top clients and might prefer to have this go till mid February it seems to me that the sheer magnitude of the deal screams for a quicker resolution. Too many other players [including many Boras clients] are likely being held for the MM and Harper situation and there will be extreme financial pressure on the players and their agents to get as much as they can and be done with it.

  25. Boras and Nats’ owner Ted Werner, with a 5-hour sit down.
    What can they absolutely be talking about for 5 hours!

      1. Oh yes…..$$$$ etc etc.
        If Harper resigns with the Nats….then the door for Rendon swings open.
        I cannot see them able to squeeze Rendon’s request for r $20/25M plus AAV under their budget.

        1. If Nats re-sign Harper and manny goes to Yankees that is a bit better to stomach than the scenario of Harper going to LAD and Manny going to the Yankees

        2. The 5 hour meeting in question happened on 12/22. 11 days ago.

          Lerner can see the NLEast in his sights, if he can resign Harper. They would be the favorite again. It’s interesting dynamic, because we know Lerner dislikes the Phillies and their fan base. Losing Harper to the Phillies might push him over his budget limit to retain him. In addition, Harper would have to consider playing back in WAS many times a year, and im sure he’ll get boo’d to no end. It will be the counter to Werth.

          If he does go back to WAS, the Phillies are def. driving up there price from 300mil. Personally, I think the Phillies FO are playing their cards/hand very well. They tried to bully the superstars with their war chest for 9yr/360, but BH wants to be wined and dined.

          1. T-3 – Nats don’t have the strong team following of the Phillies – and I agree Harper will get booed at first if he is wearing red pinstrips but not enough of their fans show up – often enough- to make it the constant barage of boos that Werth heard.

    1. They could have been discussing how they can drive up his price to exhorbitant heights for those stinking red pinstripers up I95 north.

  26. Okay, my turn – reports from high ranking official say White Sox will not offer more than 7 yrs to either Machado or Harper.

    1. That’s from 670 The Score’s (Chicago) Bruce Levine, contradicting Jeff Passan, now of ESPN, who reported that both Phillies and White Sox would offer 10 yr deals. Levine cites high ranking industry sources that 7 yrs is the max they would offer for either player.

  27. If I can play “Hinkie” for a minute, allow me to surmise about this 5 hour meeting between Boras and Lerner. Who leaked this meeting and why would he leak it? Sure seems that it wouldn’t be the Nats, my guess is Boras leaked it and it might be to get the Phillies attention. I mean, sure it could be to get the Dodgers attention but we already know they are not going 10/300, which was the Nats offer in October.

    There is only one team that will offer more and thats the Phillies. Boras, Harper and Lerner could all benefit from this leaking. Boras and Harper…to get the Phils to up their ante and reason top negotiate quickly and Lerner…to get a division rival to spend as much as possible on Harper, which would limit said team [the Phillies] in the future should they wish to try and go after a player like Rendon.

    And what do we know???? Phillies, through their reporter ace, Jim Salisbury, announce they will be meeting with Harper face to face on the SAME day that the Boras/Lerner meeting is leaked publicly. Also happens to be on the same day the Tulo signing is announced.

    Could all be completely unrelated. Could be. But I doubt it.

    1. The water is finally starting to boil. My take for what it’s worth.

      The reported 9yr/360mil was an offer attempted to bypass all this drama. Harper gambled it’s go higher. Lerner did the baseball world a favor by leaking the 10/300 limit. Boras felt the iron from MM closing in on a deal. I think he believes the Phillies have a serious shot at Machado, so he is encouraging Bryce to get to the table with the Phillies. If he wants the largest deal over town preference, I think both players know it’s coming from Phillies ownership. If MM signs first, Harper stands to lose out on 50mil or more. I think they both sign within the week. I’m sure they are sick of it too.

    2. When you break it down, amid all the hullabaloo and noise from this corner and that, the real markets for each player is two teams:

      for Manny, it’s NYY and PHI;
      for Harper, it’s PHI and WAS.

      Both Chicago teams are either unwilling or unable. LAD is merely the national media’s propped up suitor to make Harper’s market appear wider with only the ability to offer a short term deal. And any other club that pops up in “reports” is merely speculative “what if” journalism with no substance or basis to support it.

      My conclusion – Machado will sign with NYY this weekend, which will prompt the Phillies to address 3b (Moustakas?). Harper will finally sign with the Phillies in two weeks. I’m not a big Keuchel guy but I think he accepts a 4 yr deal to join the Fightins. I also believe that a trade for another SP is in the works once Harper is in the fold. Possibly Minor or Strahm, either of which can swing between the rotation and bullpen.

        1. 8mark……bear in mind, Britton is represented by Boras, and if Manny chooses NYY, and the Phillies look to Moustakas, he also is represented by Boras.
          So the Phillies probably are tactfully over-charming Harper and Boras to further possible other gains.
          Though, in all legality, each client is one and a separate identity on the books….but who knows how Boras plays his game.

            1. Eric, two reasons I prefer a Moustakas over Franco – 1) lefty power, 2) consistency. Plus Franco should fetch a useful return to plug another roster need, like lefty RP and/or backup C.

      1. ….or Manny surprises and can’t resist the bigger, better offer and signs here. In which case, Harper returns to the Nats for just barely over Stanton’s $325M.

  28. In the FWIW HOF department, Dan Clark tweeted an hour ago that he has always thought Harper would sign with the Phillies and still does….

    Is that supposed to make us feel better?

  29. My hot take: ABomb MASHES in A and sees Reading by June 1, his BA dips in AA but of course his power increases and he gets called up to LHV by the All Star break where he finishes off the year flashing his power . . . Hits a combined .305/.390/.525 w 30 plus HR. Becomes a top 20 prospect.

      1. Romus, we’re gonna start calling you “Rain Man”. Our parades have no shot with you tempering our excitement😉

      2. If it’s lakewood then he jumps Clearwater but I would think due to age and supposed skillset (and even draft position) that he starts in Clearwater. Keep him warm all year long haha.

  30. Jim – if you’re reading this; any new info you may have heard after you published thisvweek’s discussion? If you can’t divulge I fully understand.

      1. Did not know, his brother is Albert Brooks…another funny guy….the agent for Steve Nebraska from the Scout.

  31. FWIW Dept….Salisbury today said Machado is still Phils main focus and that they are doing their due diligence on Harper but then said this! For the first time he said that he now would NOT rule out the possibility of the Phils signing BOTH of them.

    He still thinks its unlikely but doesn’t any longer believe its impossible. Sheesh…

    1. Signing them both puts that out of the Trout sweepstakes in a few years. Not sure that is their intentions.

      1. While I understand that line of thinking, Romus, I don’t think signing both Machado and Harper precludes Trout in 2 yrs. Yes, it likely pushes the payroll over the luxury tax threshold but there are creative ways to manage that from year to year. Let’s not presume too much. In any case, I would not NOT sign both if I could, just because Trout MIGHT be available in two years. THAT would be presumptuous.

  32. Per Levine via MLBTR
    “Levine does take care to note that, per his sources, Harper “has had” ten-year offers with “big” proposed AAV salaries, though the tendering clubs remain as yet unknown.“

    1. …something that I can just casually enjoy, rather than something that is a flat-out addiction…

      1. Honestly, it’s killing my work productivity (that’s on me) , not to mention it seems unhealthy … to be mindlessly refreshing baseball webpages in hopes of some new information.

        To me, they both know where they are going, and basically did near the start of offseason. Sure I’m not a professional athlete (but I do crush the youngins still 🙂 … I just don’t understand how the decision takes this long, other than trying to squeeze more money out of your desired destination. It’s schematics now , and pure agent shenanigans.

  33. Ken Rosenthal, One of the baseball writers I trust, has a blurb about us not getting Britton, or Kimbrel or Ottanasio, for that matter, because Gabe won’t commit to a closer. Seems Andrew Miller didn’t care, Cards simply bid more than we did at 2/$25 Million. We wouldn’t beat that for Miller? can that be possible? Anyway, that may be why the interest in Minor, although the Rangers allegedly want a nice haul for him, and Britton only costs $. Trying to escape the Harper/Machado drama, what does everyone think? 2/$28 for Miller would have been just fine with me.

    1. A closer is my least need. A luxury right now. Seranthony, Hector and perhaps Velasquez can vie for the undefined closer role?

  34. 8mark, still need a lefthanded RP who is an upgrade. Miller wouldn’t have been a closer per se, but just what he has always done, pitch excellent in relief in high leverage situations. Perfect for us, and a necessity on this team, especially with no upgrades in the SR.

        1. If we are inly looking for 5 inning pitchers, why not transition Morgan back to a SP? No trade needed, cheaper, lefty and you know what you got.

          1. Keep Morgan in the pen where he can throw more heat with his FB and effectively use his SL. The Morgan as a SP boat already sailed, no need to revisit it again just to be cheap.

            I’ve mentioned this before that the need for LH is only important during playoffs when the Phillies is up against a LH heavy team. If if the Phillies will start a LH, it should be a good LH not a crappy one.

    1. @Matt13 – my BOLD prediction in 2019 is Austin Davis will be a dominant LH arm from the pen. Davis should give you peace of mind and make Klentak smart by not gambling on Andrew Miller. I still think that Britton should be acquired and one the veteran RHP (Neshek, Hunter, Nicasio) should be traded.

      1. and consider also Hinkie’s BOLD prediction of LHP Josh Tols coming up in 2019. Unlike Davis who is a big lefty, Tols is tiny like the Altuve of the pitchers.

          1. Kyle Dohy and Zach Warren hopefully can continue the upward development – 2 leftys with good size and improving stuff. Although I don’t expect to see them in 2019 (2020 ST is possibly the earliest they will join the major league team).

            Bailey Falter is the one I like since drafted. He will be eligible for Rule V in 2019. I want to see a dominant year from Falter.

  35. Per Nightengale; White Sox have made a formal offer to Manny. They’re also engaged with Harper but haven’t made formal offer.

  36. KuKo, I would love to see that, and, we just signed David Robertson, 2/$25 Million. Definite upgrade, although not the Lefty we were looking for, nevertheless, a quality arm. Good pick up!

  37. Interest in Robertson hadnt really been discussed. Similar to the Cutch signing.

    No interest in days leading up to signing, then all of a sudden interest then a same day signing.

    1. Yeah, it’s okay. It’s a slight overpay, but he brings some stability. Not bad, but nothing to write home about either. It’s often telling when the Yankees don’t re-sign a guy. Just saying.

      1. Not arguing your point but they were supposedly in on him as well.
        But now the Yankees will probably get Britton.

        1. They have no choice because the available relievers are dropping. This hurts the NYY as this was their guy….

  38. Not sure if it’s true or not, but apparently Harper and Manny have told Klentak they dont want to play for the Phillies. Could be twitter nonsense due to the whole Manny and Bryce dont want to play in Philly article.

      1. Johnny – how about you back off? It’s a rumor, I will post it to see if anyone has heard differently.

  39. And, he was here today, and passed his physical. He said some really nice things about us fans, the ballpark, the team’s hunger to win and the team’s charitable ways. Per Zolecki on the official website. Represented himself, so talks had to have been going on for a while. Interesting that Phillies’ leaks are rare these days.

    1. Harper. DO NOT WANT. Plenty of guys out there who can hit .240 and 30 home runs, for a heck of a lot cheaper than Harper. Hell, Dylan Cozens could easily do that if given the chance, for a whole bunch cheaper. Plus Harper is a douche. Just because he puts on a Phils uniform doesn’t make him less of a douche. Don’t forget, this is the guy who threw (or at least attempted to) his helmet at a pitcher just a year and a half ago.

      1. And we had a pitcher who purposely threw at him bc “he’s a rookie”, love me some Cole but that’s a “d*****” thing to do, no? Anyone who gets in a fight w Papelbon is good in my book. Now he’s a . . .

      2. Yeah, sure – Harper and Cozens are interchangeable. Talk about a credibility issue.

        Harper seems to play the game the right way and, by the way, if some guy was throwing at me I’d be pretty tempted to throw my helmet at him.

        1. Rushing the mound is one thing-especially if I get to see Nolan Ryan kick your ass, but throwing your helmet is pretty childish and weak.

          1. Exactly. If someone throws at you I’m ok with going out there for a little “chat” but throwing equipment is unacceptable.

        1. Don’t shake it too hard, you’ll need to save some up for when you realize if the Phillies give Harper “stupid money” at 10 years he’ll be 36 years old at the end. Hitting .249 with 34 home runs as a 26 year old, I imagine those numbers will be quite a bit lower as he ages. Ryan Howard wasn’t doing much worse than that while we all called his contract an Albatross. Harper is also a marginal defensive outfielder too. I fail to see the upside of picking him up other than showing people we are willing to spend money. How’d that work out last year with Santana……

  40. ROBERTSON —Love this signing – he is really the best reliever available because he closes and does any inning you want – like Miller. Great team guy – pure healthy history – and his out pitch is his curve so he won’t collapse if he loses any velocity. He has alot of experience and can help the younger relievers. Solid addition in my opinion !

    1. You make valid points. Having a guy who is willing to slot in anywhere without drama or decrease in performance is quite valuable in the era of bullpen dominance. And I do like having leaders on the team. You’ve changed my viewpoint a bit on this.

      1. Having a leader on this team will go a long way.
        Ol Gabe will have plenty of options. Robertson and Sir Anthony will be able to share the 9th and not get overworked.

    2. I think Kimbrel in particular, is costing himself a lot of money, sometimes you have to look at what else is available when pricing yourself

        1. I think you are right. but he still is chasing the Market down. He will probably end up with 4 yrs 65 to 70 Million, rather have Robertson. at price we paid

          1. Needle points him going back to the BoSox IMO. His market has shrunk. His postseason was not so great either so I think his stock took a hit from that as well.

    3. Agree that I like the deal. Not too many relievers out there that have been as consistent year to year while being willing to fill whatever role is needed in the pen at the time..

  41. We should all feel great about the Robertson deal. The term, the amount, the player… I have to give props to Klentak. Great job.

    1. I like the signing a lot. I like what he said about the team as well. Hopefully manny or harper read or heard his quotes.

  42. Where the FO should get a round of applause is when all around them the blaring of trumpets, the chicanery of agents, tweeters, and other morons – they have managed to acquire 2 players / in Cutch and Robertson — true quality professionals, team players, and very hard workers. Moreover, they are worthy spokesmen for the city and the team as well.
    Kudos to the men in the master suite !

    1. Yes it’s good to add some quality character to the clubhouse to balance out the ‘characters’ already there…or any soon to arrive.

    1. not sure it makes them expendable as much as it makes them less critical when they struggle, which both did for stretches last year..

  43. Good points RU, and I have been skeptical of Klentak, but he deserves kudos on the Segura trade, the Cutch signing and this move. No question. We can’t be, and I hope we are not, finished, but all 3 moves add talent upgrades, and the latter 2 add real quality people. No slight on Segura, but I have heard glowing reports about Cutch and Robertson.

  44. Great signing and after all we have been hearing about the reticence of either Machado or Harper to come to Philadelphia it was nice to see a ballplayer praise the city, ballpark and team. Also nice to see a player that A] played for the Yankees and B] was wanted back by the Yankees choose Philadelphia.

    And while reading tea leaves is often a bad way to read things, allow me to read some today and hopefully have Hinkie and others show me where I am wrong…because I want to be!

    First, Heyman, who reported the Phils were close on Robertson and has been quite accurate this off season, reported today that from what he has heard the Yankees have’t yet made a formal offer to MM, simply parameters on a deal. Second, we heard today that the White Sox have made a formal offer to Machado that is likely in the 7 year area since it was reported yesterday that they were not going over 7 years for anyone.

    Third, many seem to believe the Phils have gone 10 years to both MM and Harper [not sure if this is correct on MM but we know they want him badly. And yet we continue to hear reports [rumors or leaks?] that MM doesn’t want to come to Philadelphia.

    So here is my reading of the tea leaves. It appears that MM is waiting on the Yankees to make a formal offer and this is the reason h has not accepted a Phillie or White Sox offer. Dan Clark indicated that MM has told friends he is going to NY and perhaps he is merely waiting for an offer.

    Am I missing something…would dearly like some help here from Hinkie or others?

    1. Cal Dream, you’re my kind of people from the thoughtful comments you make….but you lost me at ‘Dan Clark’….😉

    2. From. What I’ve heard on this site, it is unclear if the Phillies have made an official offer to MM. BH was given an offer, 10yr/360 for 40aav but was taken off the table. No team has reported to be @10yrs or above 300mil other than the Nats. Could be a sleeper imo. The offer was said to be pulled off the table from them as well, but that could obviously change.

      It’s a bit crazy to think that the involved teams haven’t made official offers. I’m assuming they don’t want to put themselves out there, to be rejected. I would think once other FA see what was offered, they could try to make the Phillies overpay, even with the stupid money comments

      Middleton stated the stupid money, has the need for a superstar with the tv contract, and saves his farm teams prospects to overpay for one.

      Lastly Salisbury believes there is a possibility that the Phillies sign both. Take it FWIW.

      That’s what we know as close to factual as we can get, without being personally in on the negotiations.

      My opinion, we get one of them, with a 35-40% chance they splurge for both, due to a lower AAV than perceived.

      1. If the Nats offer Harper 10/$350M, then Klentak can put the 9/$360M back on the table. That’s $5M more per year, and a record setting deal. At least it should keep the Phillies in play for BH.

        1. Personally I don’t believe the Phillies will be out bid, for either. I think it comes down to MM deciding how much less money he will take to play in NY over Philly and if the Phillies want to sign both.
          Either way, I believe they are able to sign one of them. After that, odds are still good but I’m not expecting it

    3. Mr. Dreamer …

      * Don’t put much credence into anything Dan Clark tweets/reports. He is a freelancer. He has yet to prove he has the intel to make his reports reliable. Last week, I posted former Dan Clark tweets that showed how completely off target he was about reported MM trades last year.

      * I’ve posted a few times that I’m not sure the Phillies have even made an actual offer to Machado yet. I think they would like to negotiate with Machado and Harper at the same time.

      * Again … the Phillies are desperate shoppers. The NYY and LAD are more opportunistic shoppers. John Middleton will offer more money to make sure he gets the guy he actually wants.

  45. 8 RHPs – Robertson, Seranthony, Neris, Neshek, Hunter, Arano, Ed.Ramos, Nicasio, with 4 LHPs – Morgan, Pazos, Davis and Alvarez from the 40 man roster. Who goes?

    1. Morgan I could see going.

      8 Starting Fielders/Catcher
      5 Starting Pitchers
      4 Bench
      4 out of that 12 relief pitchers need to go.Morgan, Myabe Neshek and Hunter get traded. Maybe Davis starts in AAA

      This is where we need Klentak to get super creative.

  46. Robertson gets a decent late Christmas gift and the Phillies get a quality reliever and person.
    Assume now he heads out to Santa Clara to see his ‘Bama ‘Tide win another championship.
    Things are going good for him.

  47. Kudos to Klentak on this signing. I think, and hope, this means the Phils have moved on from Kimbrel.

  48. Good addition in terms of on field production and contract length. Hard to complain about this one. will probably be even better in NL since hitters are not familiar with him.
    I would assume they will see what they have for a LH relievers and make an inseason trade if need be though a trade with franco to san diego or a trade for Mike minor are still possible.

    goals for rest of offseason
    sign MM or harper
    sign keuchal or trade for a LH starter
    get some value for excess inventory of relievers though some will probably start in the year in Lehigh valley and come up as needed

  49. sr – The Phillies currently have 6 starters, and with the exception of Arrieta, they have not reached their prime. Trading or signing another would be foolish. The signing of Robertson negates the need for Velasquez to go to the bullpen.

    1. Eh . . . I’m not so sure. There’s a big gap between Nola and Arrieta and a bigger gap between Arrieta and the rest of the starters. I don’t blame them for hunting for more arms. Just because a guy is young and can throw hard doesn’t mean he will ever become anything special or even improve. A player like Patrick Corbin could have helped an awful lot and I think they should still be looking.

      1. I think they have the flexibility to go into next year with what they have and add at the deadline (i.e. Bumgarner/Ray).

        Nola
        Arrieta
        Pivetta
        Velasquez
        Eickhoff

        wouldn’t be bad if Eickhoff performs well. Eflin could pitch in the minors to open the year.

        1. I think the FO neeeds to be mindful about clogging up the SR, there is some chatter that Medina could be ready by 2020, sixto 2020/2021. If these guys don’t get traded, we don’t need bloated salaries blocking their promotions, that’s my prospect loving phan view.

          You need to leave 1 spot open for those 3 to fight for down the line. I get the push for Corbin, but if it’s not him I’d rather ride the SP to next year or at least the deadline.

        2. LOL – it looks better on paper than it does in my head. I think they really do need another arm. Sadly, had they been thinking a little more outside the box last year, that arm could have been Cole Hamels who literally would have been the perfect addition last year and this year.

      2. I agree. One solid TOR, one .500 #2, and 4 young arms to cross our fingers for is not the rotation I want to start 2019 with. We need a 1a behind Nola.

      3. I could be wrong but I think we’re going to see some more bounce back with Arrieta. He really didn’t lose a lot of velocity and still has crazy good movement. I think he’s trying to find his sweet spot with the type of pitcher he has become, but I could see him being nearly dominant again. His stuff is very good.

        1. Some beat writers are taking my “big prediction” for 2019 story line … Jim … we got some moles lurking around here! Lol Barely a day later and Eickhoff is a star headline are running around. He is the FA eqivalent to anything below Corbin’s level. 15 wins, easily our #3.
          Remember when you read all those hacks, you heard it here first lol !

  50. I like Eflin more than VV, so I am not sending him to the Minors. A nice article in the Athletic on Eickhoff. He could be a big help. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted Corbin and then Happ, and think we need a lefty in the Rotation. But, I still like all of our young pitchers and think we have a strength going forward. My bias is that I want to make the Playoffs this year.

    1. Velasquez should be added to the bullpen, which would make 9 righties in the mix. Or he could be traded with which I would have no problem in a package for an impact player. The Yankees are one team with whom they should explore a deal.

      Pivetta gets this year to make strides, which I believe he is more likely to than not.

      Eflin should make another trade chip with value to a team like SD, say in a package with Franco.

      Eickhoff should get the opportunity to win the #5 spot in the rotation, or be the righty long/swing man out of the bullpen, or of course be traded for a couple minor league lottery tickets.

      de Los Santos is considered by Fangraphs as a possible #5, but they are becoming less and less valuable with the advent of the liberal use of the bullpen. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a “6 man rotation”, so to speak. Nola would not skip his turn every 5th day, but the other starters would be scheduled around him, with a guy like Minor being used as a spot starter. But the days of any guy even nearing 200 innings a season are numbered.

      Point being, there are no impressive candidates to be that confident in. Again, I will give you Pivetta as the most likely to emerge as a reliable #3/4.

      1. Amazing always trying to trade Eflin.
        Oddly…the one pitcher most people on this site want to trade believing he has the least worth than Pivetta and Velásquez……conversely, the one of those three pitchers that most opposing GMs probably think has the highest ceiling more than Pivetta and Velásquez.
        A former first round pick that has the pedigree behind him, and the best favorable MiLB metrics, along with durability and length per starting role.

        1. No, Romus – I believe Eflin has significant value and should be sold high. Yes he is more of a pedigree as a starting pitcher than Pivetta (whose stuff is nastier) or VV (whose decreased velo is concerning to me, hence a move to the pen might help uptick a few mph). But like Nick Foles, can Eflin sustain over the course of the season?

          1. He has done it in the past…if yuo go by professional years and starts and innings also…better than VV and right there with Nick P..
            ZE…7yrs/143 starts…785 innings
            VV…8yrs/136 starts….731 innings
            NP…6yrs/ 147 starts….774 innings

        2. I have no desire to trade Eflin whatsoever. I just recognize that he’s the one I’d target it I were an opposing team trading with the Phillies. He has value.

          Trading VV would be selling a bit low on him at the moment, whereas Pivetta hasn’t established as much value yet.

          Eflin has the pedigree, as you mentioned, he’s got the results, and the past injuries haven’t been an issue. He’s pretty much exactly what you want in a player. Which means that’s what other teams would want, too. If we can get similar or greater value for one of the other two, I say pull the trigger. But to get pieces we want, we need to give them pieces they want.

  51. catch is right. It made no sense to rely on all the young guys last year down the stretch. It really didn’t take a crystal ball to predict that they may stumble, that although wins count the same in April as they do in August and September, they are harder to come by. Teams have seen the pitchers a few times and adjusted, and the young pitchers don’t have the opportunity to adjust back, they get weary after never having pitched that many innings before, and quite frankly, a couple dozen more reasons that acquiring Hamels or Happ at the deadline did not require a genius, nor did it involve giving up on any of them. But, Klentak chose not to and we tanked for the last 2 months. MadBum, and Ray, if available, will cost quite a bit more than Happ and Hamels did last year.

    1. It absolutely made sense to rely on the young starters down the stretch last year. The purpose of last year was to evaluate what they had on the roster and to allow those players to experience a pennant race. That process would not have happened if those young pitchers were replaced with Hamels or Happ. Besides, do you really think that Hamels or Happ would have been enough to push the Phillies ahead of the Cubs or Dodgers or even Atlanta?

      Their collapse at the end of last season was frustrating to watch but it wasn’t solely because of their young pitching staff. Starting in mid-August when they were tied for the division lead, the offense also went into the tank, scoring more than 4 runs only 13 times in the last 45 games.

      Add it a bullpen that struggles to hold leads or keep games close and the combination was a terrible 6 week stretch of baseball…

      1. I would also add that in the 30 loses suffered after August 12th (the last day they were tied with the Braves) a relief pitcher was the loser in 8 of them and Nola( 3) / Arrietta(4) were the losing pitchers in another 7. So 1/2 of those 30 loses belonged to someone other than VV, Pivetta, Eflin, Suarez, etc…

    1. That’s prob just bc they gave their formal offer. So all the news your gonna hear is Sox right now.

  52. It’s going to be very difficult to trade Neshek (7 Mill), Hunter (9 Mill), or especially Nicasio (9 Mill).

    Arano will probably end up in LHV with Ramos and Rios.

    1. Not to a big market contender that is looking to bolster their bullpen – the most increasingly important part of today’s MLB roster.

    2. If Neshek, Hunter, and Nicasio aren’t in the plans for this summer, the Phillies could trade them and pay half of their salary.

      1. I’m assuming one of the three will be traded. Other teams need bullpen help. Maybe get back a back up catcher or 1b

    3. Arano was awfully good last year, hard to see him going down. Ramos was pretty good too. I think one of the three vets will be traded. That will leave 6 righties and allow for 2 lefties

  53. SUGGESTION TO ALL: Just as a reference (and this is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to add any names I inadvertently omit) but can we agree to monitor the social media for the following credible accounts:
    Jon Heyman
    Ken Rosenthal
    Jayson Stark
    Jim Salisbury
    Scott Lauber
    Jeff Passan
    Bob Nightengale
    Jon Morosi
    Joel Sherman
    Todd Zolecki
    Matt Gelb
    Buster Olney

    ….and disregard or at least refrain from relaying tweets from any sources if the above have not echoed the same piece of news/speculation/insider info.

    Thanks.

      1. Example – one time I mentioned Cubs interest in Harper based off a rumor. You told me it wasn’t legit because it wasn’t on MLBTR. Two days later it was on MLBTR. Wasn’t any of the sources you mentioned that broke it.
        I agree there are some bad rumors flying out there but i feel like yourr trying to exclude people from opinions and conversation. Just my two cents.

        1. Harper and Bryant, boyhood friends, spent New Years together. That’s the only connection that was then expanded.

            1. Eric – mine won’t imtreret you as I only follow maybe Oklahoma State Football and Bryce Harper. I use it to search for any rumors, etc.
              I need to get more arcicd though. Just joined in December so still getting the handle of things…no pun intended or was it?
              @pokes912

  54. I’m still hoping for a trade for Robbie Ray. Hererra or Franco, Vinnie, and Medina could get it done. It might take another lower ranked prospect added in. If we get one of the big two plus a trade for Ray, I think we have a shot to be a good team.

  55. Franco is expendable only if 1) Manny is signed and plays 3b; 2) The Phillies sign Moose. Should Franco continue, as he did the later part of the season, his bat would be essential to the lineup. In fact, if Franco continues as he did, it may be better to keep him and use Manny’s money for another day.

  56. Franco is a negative defensive player and too inconsistent with the bat. Moustakis is a better all around 3B than Franco, bats left handed, so adds more to the line up, does not require a long term, so there is room for our maybe future 3B, a fellow named Bohm, to prove he deserves it. Machado is better than all of them, but sticking with Franco, if we don’t get Machado, does not improve the team. Plus, he may bring back something of value.

  57. Okay, I had an epiphany. In the shower. I do some of my best thinking then….

    First off, the White Sox. Remember those TV shows back in the ’60s, the outdoor shots with the fake mountains in the background? That’s what the White Sox are in the Machado/Harper scenario. Fake background. They just came off a 100 loss season in a bad division. Yes, they have impressive young talent on the way which should make them competitive within the next few years. But they have far too many needs to address than to be making a big splash on one star free agent right now. So, please stop with the White Sox nonsense.

    Now, I see the Machado/Harper saga playing out like this, and it’s all contingent on who Manny signs with.

    If in the next few days he chooses to take less and play for NYY, then the Phillies will go full court press on Harper next week, basically holding out a blank check from Middleton’s stupid money account. If the Nats owner decides to up his original offer, the Phillies may agree to put the 9/$360M back on the table….or perhaps bump it up to 10/$400M.

    Now if Manny decides instead to go where the stupid money is – say 10/$320M with opt outs galore, which no other team will come anywhere near, to don red pinstripes instead of navy blue, then we may see the Nationals up their previous offer to Harper, in which case he might take it if it’s a record setting pillow contract – in terms of AAV, that is. If Washington chooses to stand pat, Harper’s market drops like an anchor. The Dodgers have little or no inclination when they need right handed power and starting pitching. Besides, even if they did make an offer, Harper and Boras would be embarrassed to settle for less than half of what the Phillies had originally offered.

    In which case, how much more stupid money would Middleton be willing to spend?

  58. Another quality signing in Robertson today! Glad to see almost all on this site agree.
    Klentak is 3 for 3, IMO.

    1. agreed, 3/3. Cutch and Robertson are durable guys with proven track records and very manageable salary commitments. I expected DRob to get a three-year deal from another team (the Yanks) for at least 30 million total guaranteed, so I’ll take a two-year, 23 million investment any day of the week. I still think Britton is more of a game-changing pitcher and would have been an awesome lefty partner with Sir, but it is hard to not like this deal for the Phils.

      1. It’s funny how you learn things about a sport from various sources. One thing I learned from the 2017/18 Eagles is that consistent competence throughout a team can go a long way and you can improve greatly if you address weak spots on your team and just make them above-average. That’s what I see the Phillies trying to do with these acquisitions and I think it makes a lot of sense. I also think BP depth is huge these days as teams move from a 6/7 inning starting pitcher model to a 5/6 inning model.

      1. And I really like the leadership guys like Neshek, Arietta and Robertson can bring to the pitching staff and, undoubtedly, AC (one of baseball’s undisputed good guys) will bring added leadership to the line-up. I appreciate management’s focus on team building and think it’s a real thing. It’s not as important in baseball as it is in other sports, but I think it is still very important particularly as it relates to how each player develops over the long term. One of the reasons the Yankees are so good is that their players seem to always reach their potential. I don’t think that’s entirely an accident – that’s a byproduct of team culture.

        1. Leadership, experience and a sense of team chemical stability goes a long way in August and September….if the team is still in the play off hunt that is.

  59. For the 800th time … John Middleton and Andy and Matt MacKlentak will decide which superstar FA they want the most, then will outbid every other team for their guy. Whether it takes another day, another week, or another month, one of Bryce Harper/Manny Machado will be wearing red pinstripes in 2019.

    1. This is also a great leverage point for the Phillies. Gelb/Stark mentioned that with the Robertson signing, the Phillies are no longer focused on adding a starting pitcher unless one were to “fall into their lap”.

      And with their excess of relievers, they can wait for rival clubs to approach them about a trade. Any movement involving Franco will likely wait until Manny announces his decision.

      1. Agree……..with Roberston on board….team is now chock full of quality right handed relievers.Perhaps MattK will be making another trade soon with one or two involved in a package?

        1. What do you value at this point Romus? For me its lefty pop we don’t seem to have a 30+ HR guy from that side any where in the system. It’s why I would break the bank for Harper.

          There are enough good pieces in other places in the system especially if you believe in Bohm and Haseley.

  60. Klentak has done well to load up the bullpen, the depth of which is nowadays more important than a deep starting rotation. And valuable trade leverage as well. Nice work.

  61. I excited for our SP this year. As most know, I’m bullish on Eickhoff, and now his carpal tunnel/nerve compression issue is over, even higher. To me, he has the makings of a #3 workhorse. He’s going to flash #2 stuff at times. I believe we are going to see a return to his 2016 form, boosted by his experience now. When the Phillies can sign one of these superstars, I think he may push over 15 wins, with where he is slotted & having a competent offense behind him for run support. He was on par with Hamels results early after the trade.

    Eickhoff gets me more excited about Howard, who I had #3 on my top ten. I think you can make a legit case for #2, possibly #1 if you believe sixto is bullpen bound. Howard has that smooth repeatable delivery, with an extra 5-7 mph on his fastball. His hook is not as nasty as Eickhoff ‘s 12-6 curve, but I think the Phillies are in good position with this too. sixto and Medina’s fb have a lot more movement, and will play off these guys nicely, “throw in” Nola, and the SP has the makings of a home grown top tier SR, on the cheap. A major advantage for the team and FO.

    The rebuild is shaping up nicely imo. Getting one of these stars will give it a very nice boost. They should be in the hunt for the WC2 or better, if so. If the division didn’t spike up in competiton, I’d worry less, but they will beat each other up, suppressing the record. Facing the Degrom&Syngard and Corbin,Scherzer is going to test the offense. It is AL East level competition. The prospects who come up and hit, will be legit if so. They’ll need to get hits off the games best.

    1. Eflin, Sixto, Mickey for Ray? Thoughts?
      1 MLB ready
      1 top prospect
      1 upside prospect
      I remember Jim’s post about trade proposals and how they should be realistic so here’s my shot at it

      1. You lost me at Sixto. One of the most important things a big league team needs to learn is who NOT to trade. All the teams that are great and stay great consistently cultivate a steady stream of young and inexpensive talent. When you start trading all that talent to try to artificially speed up a rebuilding process you risk the long-term success and stability of the franchise. If you think Sixto is going to be a 1 or a 2, you don’t trade him for a guy who is presently a 3. That’s a potential disaster.

        1. Let me temper that thought a little. I like Robbie Ray and maybe he is a guy you should try to acquire. But if you truly think that Sixto is going to be a 1 or a 2 (that’s the type of judgment management is paid to make and get right more often than not) then I don’t see how you make that trade. If you think Sixto’s going to be a BP arm or a 3, then it’s a different analysis.

        2. Catch, you believe Ray is a #3? I ask because I don’t know much about him. If so, I’d stay away. That is bad value so to speak. Roll the dice with the current SP, and let Eickhoff prove he is the 2019 breakout player. If he fails, go after SP at the deadline, IF the team has legitimate chance to make noise in the playoffs. I’d Save the prospect capital for something else.

          1. He has only once pitched to a 4 plus WAR and last year he was a 1.4 bWAR – so, yes, right now he is a 3 with very good stuff. He definitely has the potential to be better than that but so does Vince Velasquez.

            1. He only made 24 starts in ’18….with a full 32 and complete health,..that WAR could be projected a little higher…probably 2 plus somewhere.

      2. Robby Ray averaged 5.1 IP per start in 2018 with so-so numbers which makes him a 4th starter at best. Not sure why the team would want to give up 2 top-10 prospects (including their #1) plus a MLB #5 for the guy.

        Hell, Eflin’s numbers were almost as good at Ray’s in 2018…

        1. Eflin’s June metrics were probably near the best in MLB….if he can ever come close to that for theother 5 months then he becomes a TOR2 guy.

          1. I am a huge Zach Eflin fan because I went to ST a few years ago and met his grandmother, who is as nice as can be. But as V1 has said, Zach needs to continue missing bats and he’s gotten better at that. He’s an evolving pitcher but I think he has longer to go toward being dominant than, say, Nick Pivetta, who often seems razor close to being a 2/3 – his stuff is just that good.

        2. No, I get why they are intrigued by Ray, the stuff is tantalizing and he could morph into an impressive pitcher in his late 20s just the way James Paxton did (their trajectories are similar through the age 26). I get it. I just don’t want to lose a guy who could end up being an ace for 10 years to get him.

      3. Pass. I’d save that prospect capital for something else. You would need to believe that Ray is transforming into a near Ace to give up your #1 prospect. If you were to trade for Ray, I think you’d have to go lower on the list. I’m not sure what the dbacks needs are, so that plays a factor in matching too. I’m not sure how much of an upgradde Ray is over current SP. For arguments sake, I think you should be able to get away with 1 prospect in the lower top 10, and 2 outside, towards the bottom 20-25. If you put Efflin in, which I don’t suggest, you’d have rework the trade. Also depends on how many teams are after him. I need to see more of his pitching to see why fans/teams are after him.

        1. Was just a thought
          There seems to be a lot of hype for Ray so wanted to give a proposal a shot.
          If he’s comparable to Eflin, I’d stay stud quo

          1. Ray is intriguing because he’s a lefty with big swing and miss stuff. He has TOR (by that, I mean a 1 or 2) potential, but the floor is a 3/4. So it’s risky.

            1. Sixto is risky. He has been injured and hasnt pitched a ton.
              Love him as a prospect but he is no guarantee.
              But on the flip side, with Ray’s floor being a 3/4, it’s a risky deal.

          2. I hear ya. I’m comfortable going into the season with what they have, and saving the bullets for another day. I’d have to look deeper to make sure that Ray doesn’t turn into another Paxton, because those are the types of deals the Phillies need. You’re on the right scent, I’m not as well versed in Ray’s career as I should be. He does have hype building.

          3. And for the record, I think that Ray is better than Eflin but the gaps not enough to give up a couple of high-end prospects plus a major league player.

      4. I’m only trading Sixto for a stud everyday player. I am not opposed to getting Ray but I don’t think you need to offer that much to get him.

        There are a few guys I would try to swap out Sixto for: Kirillof, Verdugo, or Yordan Alvarez.

        1. While you make a good point, DBacks aren’t keen on trading him, so it may take spicing up the deal a bit to pry Ray.
          I read a blurb that the Phillies may way until July to make a pitching trade anyways.

    1. Yeah, I definitely think that if Machado signs with NYY, we might wind up back at that 9/$360M neighborhood again for Harper.

      1. If Matt plays his cards correctly…..if Machado to the Yankees does occur, then Harper and Moustakas as a team to the Phillies….that would make Boras ecstatic.
        But also quickly deal Franco and others, to the Pads before Cashman deals Andujar there….get Strahm and maybe Hedges.

        1. This would be a pretty crazy roster overhaul, and a reasonable expectation of happening . If this goes down, I’d like to see how much the offense has been transformed in terms of all the 2018 metrics vs projected 2019 metrics. Interested to see what the new Runs per game average will be.

          1. A run of the numbers, last year the team hit 186 hrs. About 50
            Coming from the bench/traded players

            I’d forecast this roster overhaul could boost them to 215hrs, probably 235 being their height. 265 was hit watermark last year. I think it would be safe to say the Phils should boost to a top 5-7 hr team next season. Now let’s hope they are not all solo shots. The offense will get a very nice boost if they can land Harper, MM as well.

      2. I think the Yankees will bid close enough on MM that he goes to the New York. I think we will then overpay for Harper, but, like I said, I have a really good feeling about how BH would fare on this team. It’s just a hunch, but I think he and Hoskins and a supporting cast could terrorize the NL for years and I, for one, cannot wait to be entertained by real offense again. I’ve had a partial season ticket plan for 9 years and about 8 of them there has be no offense to speak of. I’m ready for that change.

    2. Romus – report this morning that Jim Bowden (who is openly opposed to Harper and/or MM ever playing in Philly – and beats up Middleton whenever he can—- the “stupid” money line) tweets that Nats have made an offer above 400 to BH. Whether that is just further posturing or a plant – one can’t tell what that really means because Nats only deal with “future payments” which when calculated back to present value are no where near what it looks like ; i.e., 400 mm oayable over 20 years with annual salaries of 20 for 5 years – and 35 over the last 15 years. This – due to being hog tied by their tv contract battle. Whatever, given Bowden’s dislike or disdain for Philly I am not surprised he would tweet this – just suspicious.

      1. Smells fishy to me. 400mil+ …. that is 100mil off the reported offers for a long time now. Sounds like Lerner is trying to spike the cost for BH.

        Looks like a PHI/WAS rivalry is brewing, both owners are getting into the spotlight, it could be on the lines of NYY/BOS. Both teams would be wise to do so. Remember ARod, for both BOS&NYY going against one another for his FA. NYY took him last minute from what i recall.

      2. RU…..yeah can understand how Bowden is trying to influence things by tweets that may be tied to Boras and Co.
        As for the Nats and their differed contract payments…Scherzer, Strasburg, and maybe Harper….one day they will have to pay the piper.
        Then there is the Rendon situation after next season…another $25M AAV player….not for 10 years but at least for 4/ 5years.
        So Rizzo will have to do his magic again…..just like Theo is trying to do in Chicago.

    3. I could be wrong, but we are supposed to believe he has an offer for much more than 300 million from one of the 2 teams he wants to play for, and he has not taken it ( Nats) Boras wants the Phillies to bid against themselves

      1. Nats must really want Harper back
        Why wouldn’t he jump on that if it’s been offered. Does seem a tad suspicious.

    4. They may have but most of the additional money was probably deferred. Should be easy to top an offer from them.

      1. I think the Nats would prefer we make a foolhardy deal for Harper more than they actually want him back at what it will cost.

        They have a pretty solid team without him and Robles is on the way.

        1. Agree…their 40 OF is now kind of full: Adam Eaton….Victor Robles….Juan Soto…Andrew Stevenson….Michael A. Taylor.
          Bringing Harper back means Eaton or Taylor or Stephenson has to go….assume it would be Stephenson….then Eaton and Taylor get limited ABs

  62. I don’t trust Bowden, and I hope this whole saga ends soon. In the meantime, I don’t want to see all of Cesar, Franco and Herrera back here, and we have a glut of Relief Pitching. I just don’t know what we get back. Not enough for a Kluber, and I can’t think of the OF to trade for.

    1. Bowden telling the truth or not, it’s obvious that Harper’s market right now is virtually paper thin. It’s PHI for sure, and WAS…maybe. Boras is only doing his job to pump up the Nats’ involvement. Perhaps he mentioned their offer to Bowden for that sole purpose. Who knows? But meanwhile the Phillies sit pretty as Harper’s camp scramble for a perceived market.

      1. ….and yes it also serves the Nats for the Phillies to pay much more than necessary for BH, as a division rival.

      2. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if WAS is having parallel “pillow contract” talks with BH. If BH has his typical dominating season this year, he actually could benefit from a pillow contract – I think all options are on the table.

        1. A pillow contract for Harper is highly risky. A second consecutive “down” year in 2019 would dampen his next FA rodeo. He’s riding the resume of his entire career to date, along with his marketability. Sure, he could also rebound in a big way. The dice are his to roll. But you know Boras is about winning the deal, securing the largest contract in history, like a badge of honor.

          If I’m Middleton and Klentak, I say, “Look, we will put the 9/$360M back on the table. If Mr Lerner or LAD or anybody else wants to challenge that, get back to us.”

          1. Yeah, if he were a pitcher I’d say it was pretty risky, but he’s not, he’s coming off a down year and he’s coming into his prime and I agree that Boras wants to sign him to the biggest contract ever, but I don’t think Boras cares if that occurs this year or next.

            1. yes, been thinking more in the last week- if the Phils are by far his best offer and he really doesnt want to play here, taking the 1 year to go back to Washington- and taking another shot there with Corbin in the fold, Soto for the full year, Rendon in his last year, could be what he chooses to do, then go back out next year off a better season and with possibly more location options next year.

          2. Also, “27 years old is closer to 30” – its not 26, with ten productive years to go but it is a marketing ploy too. Glass half full or half empty ?

      3. What if the Nats are truly interested and have made a mega offer? They drafted Harper so I’d think they have the slight edge.

          1. I just think because the Phillies have the money it doesnt mean they WILL sign someone.
            I’d leave some money on the table if it meant going back to where I was comfortable. $50million may not mean much to Harper. I know I will get chastised for that but that’s potentially only $5mil/year and he can make that up with all of his endorsements. Who knows, maybe Boras negotiates that the deferred payments include interest which then makes the contract value larger.
            Think Bobby Bonilla.

    2. Matt – Assuming that the Phillies sign Harper or Machado, the first opt out could come after 4 years. The Phillies should look to load up the lower levels of the farm with high upside players that they trade (Cesar, Altherr, Herrera, and excess relief pitchers).

  63. When you guys get a chance checkout, CSNPhilly, on the current Phillies payroll, sits at 154million. That would lead you to believe they are out on both, but they could technically swing it, and be under the threshold by trading Franco and Cehe. That trins the total by 14. Scrubb some of that bullpen depth away, and you can drop another 7-9. Probably have to eat some so say 5. 154-14-5= 135m + 35+30 = 200m. Doable, but you’d figure that want to get both those guys for 30& 27-28mil in AAV. That would leave some decent wiggle room at 192m. That leaves 18m, plus salaries coming off the books for the future salary numbers. They could do it,
    So will see if they do.

    I will say, I haven’t double checked their math, But I’m taking their word for it.

    1. The luxury tax are calculate at the end of the season not beginning. So even if the Philies exceed the $206M threshold before the season starts, they can still wheel and deal within the season to minimize the impact of the luxury tax hit.

      My calculation is $2M lower but its close. I have $92.7M (9) guaranteed contracts, $10.5M for (21) TC players and $31.3M (9) ARB plus the $5M retained for the Howie Kendrick contract — that’s a total of about $140M before benefits. This still put the Phillies in better financial position (luxury tax wise) against the big $$ spender like LAD, BOS, CHI and NYY.

      I will not be worried about the luxury situation when offering big contracts to MacHarper. The Phillies may need to be more creative in clearing salaries if the opportunity to sign both Machado and Harper falls in their lap.

      1. I don’t think they will have much problem losing 20-30 million dollars just from moving excess bullpen pieces and arb eligible players, be it before the season opener or sometime before the trade deadline.

  64. I never thought that signing both was in their plans or a really reasonable option. One of them is what they are trying for, and there is plenty of room for one, even in excess of $35 Million. I am certain there will be a couple of trades, and the Luxury Tax is not even issue.

    1. I just cannot fathom the continued talk of signing both players.
      Even Harper for a pillow…which will have to be some sort of a My Pillow contract of 4 years minimum….would jeopardize future plans.
      As Hinkie has said 4 million times….fly fishing for Trout is the end game….signing these two only makes that a virtual unreality.

      1. Romus, I’m going to throw this out to you & others as a hypothetical. Looking at the current roster & salaries, I’m proposing tjat the Phillies could theoretically sign all 3. Now… I’m not saying they will or should, but a legitimate business decision would need to be made. Maybe klentak can use his analytics to show Middleton that signing all 3 increase their year end profit over not signing all 3. I’m sure a packed stadium, playoff, food sales, merchandise, $50 VIP parking calculations can be made.

        MAybe they do some weird type of seat licensing like the Eagles. It’s nuts, but I can see a case being made. The pentalty is a portion over the “cap”, it’s like 5-6 million, up to 10million. That could be theoretically looked at spreading across the 3 players AAV

        If you had a lineup of

        Quinn/Herrera
        Kingery
        Trout
        Harper
        Machado
        Hoskins
        McCutchen
        Alfaro

        … how much bankroll would that create?

        Will it happen? Probably not, but let’s say I won’t be shocked from a business standpoint.

        1. TAc3…i am not talking about the operational money, that will always be there with the Comcast deal….$75M plus this year I think…I am talking about the lux tax issue.
          Machado, Harper and Trout alone will cost $100M AAV…almost half the lux tax on three players….what about the other 37?

          1. I was referring to the luxury tax. Even with tax pentalty, the “company” may make more money buy signing those 3 guys than not, in there year end profits. It’s a long shot, but the Redsox are currently at 260mil.. so it’s not as impossible as it may initially sound

            For the record, my understanding is that the luxury tax is calculated by the (teams year end salaries – luxury tax threshold) X .20 (1st yr over).30 (2nd yr over), .50(3rd yr and beyond over)

            So hypothetically, say the Phillies are at 200m with BH&MM, add 45mil for Trout, and cut 10mil from reliever salaries.

            235m-210= 25milx.20= $5million I’m pentalties … big deal when you are putting Harper,Machado, and Trout in a lineup. The Redsoxs don’t even seem to sneeze at it…

            I’m done with hypothetical, but if it were to happen, this is a path they could take. Treat the 5 million as an operating cost to make an extra 10+million. Of course I’m guessing what the team revenues actually are, but i believe it’s plausible

            1. But also what about the draft pick penalties after a few consecutive seasons of busting it?
              You start sliding down the board….that is the lifeline of an org.

  65. FWIW, Andy Martino of SNY TV is shedding doubt as to NYY’s actual interest in signing Machado what with adding Tulo, and the inhouse options of Torres, Wade and Alberto. He characterizes their interest as lukewarm.

    1. I was on that train back at the trade deadline. Nick would be well served offensively in our park and putting him in LF would help his defensive metrics. That’s a big RF out in Detroit.

      But now with Cutch it would seem to be a bad fit.

      1. Isn’t Cutch going to RF?
        If so, castellanos would be well in LF…at least better than Rhys was.
        And his HR totals would really do well in CBP

          1. Overblown theory…..only matters if predominantly LHBs.
            Boston did not suffer with only Benintendi….and the Yankees and Astros did well with predominantly RHBs.

  66. As someone who has been watching Scott Boras behavior [strategy??] since the JD Drew non-negotiations of 1997, and since I live near him, have seen him and his son at the airport together on several occasions and reluctantly have come to at least understand the way he operates. allow me to surmise what is happening with this sudden Jim Bowden tweet that the Nats offer is for more than $300 million.

    Boras is one of the best at being used as the “source” that several sportswriters, especially Heyman, use when offering up their tidbits of supposed breaking news or info. Not only that, but Boras is brilliant at using an off hand remark made by a coach, GM or even an owner to make it sound like said money amount was actually offered. Here is an example…in 1997 Boras kept insisting that he wanted $10 million for JD Drew after he was drafted by the Phillies and said he had already received that “offer” from another team before the draft.

    What actually happened was this and it was reported by then Giants GM, Brian Sabean. Sabean and Boras were at the batting cage watching then Florida State OFer Drew take batting practice and Boras mentioned that he felt Drew was a better prospect than Barry Bonds coming out of college and casually mentioned to Sabean that Drew was worth $10 million in talent alone. Sabean, who knew he would never get the opportunity to draft Drew anyhow casually agreed, not seriously but as a way to state he liked Drew’s potential.

    Boras ran with that statement and Sabean could never deny it for fear of angering an agent who he would likely have to deal with in the future. Boras and Washington owner Ted Lerner have a wonderful relationship and it would not surprise me if Lerner said something to the affect, “Good luck, Scott, I hope Harper gets more than $300 million from a team” a comment that Boras could suggest as being an offer north of $300 million. Lerner, who has Rendon coming up next year for negotiation with Boras, would never compromise his relationship with Boras and besides, probably likes Harper alot and would love to see the Phillies, Dodgers or Cubs bleed themselves of future salary budgets.

    Joel Sherman of the NY Post said basically the same thing on Wednesday when he said that even if the Yankees had pulled out of the Machado negotiations they would never anger Lozano or the Players Union by saying it because it would be bad for business.

    I think if I were the Phillies I might offer both players a similar contract and suggest that the first one to sign gets the money and the other player loses the only “stupid money” team on the market. Not sure it would work but it would be a heck of a negotiating tactic and would make lots of sense.

    1. I believe it CD. It’s sad but true with the money being as big as it is it really makes you question if there can be any true journalism these days.

      Writers need to make a living and unlike politicians can be on the take without any illegality or real scrutiny.

      Boras has the bankroll to control the narrative but it would seem GM’s and clubs may be a little wiser to this game of thrones.

      No one ever wrote about (that I can recall but) Jose Fernandez I believe was offered an extension of upwards of $140-$160 million by Loria and now he’s dead. Was that good counsel to tell him to turn that money down and wait to become unrestricted?

      Granted extreme case and I’m sure he also didn’t counsel him to do an 8 ball and throw back a 12 back and drive his boat but still.

      Greed is not mutually exclusive to the owner. I am a capitalist but gosh darn it be a capitalist for the good of humanity.

    2. Excellent insight, Cal Dream! And thanks for posting your observations. It all rings true with the nature of the business of leveraging one man’s words to the benefit of another.

  67. Thank you 8mark, I not only appreciate your kind words but find this site rich in knowledge and useful information about the Phils so I enjoy contributing when I can. One more tidbit worth mentioning…it was suggested yesterday by a reporter that the Phils eventual signing of a reliever would tell us a lot about how they viewed their chances of signing one of the big two.

    To wit…if they felt their chances of signing one of the two were either poor or nil they would more likely go hard for Kimbrel, a guy who likely to cost more years and more money. But when they instead pivoted to Robertson it suggested they preferred a reliever on less years and money so they could instead use the money for the big fish.

    I find this argument compelling and if true, displays a gameplan in action that few felt that Klentak/McPhail actually had. Of course, the proof will still be in the pudding and if the Phils eventually go 0-2 in their current fishing expedition the slings and arrows will be swift, sure and accurate. But if they should come home from their fishing trip with either Machado or Harper they will deserve all the plaudits that they are likely to receive…and we will get to continue to enjoy all of Hinkie’s precious words of Phillie wisdom!

  68. CD, I enjoyed your insights and feel that you are right on point with what is going on. Scott Boras has become the best in the business, a tough business to boot. He would, certainly, try to manipulate the market, be used as a “source”, and generally do whatever he could to maximize his clients’ contracts. We just have to wait and see how it plays out and hope for the best.

  69. Sounds like the market for Manny isn’t all that robust. MLBTR just thumb sketched from Rosenthal that the Chisox offer is closer to $200M than $300M, while Heyman calls them a long shot. Meanwhile, the Yankees play indifferent. And for good reason. Machado will have to take a serious discount to join NYY. Otherwise, the stupid money awaits🤑🤑🤑

    1. ‘Chisox offer is closer to $200M’ ….length…5-6-7 years I heard from one of the MLB Network analyst
      So their plan…short but high AAV.

      1. No surprise. Manny is Lozano’s worst nightmare come true haha. He’s on the biggest stage with a storied franchise and acts the clown then doubles down with some really poor comments that reflect badly on him and precedes all of this by making it known his preference is to be a Yankee.

        All that plays into our hands and i would love for nothing more than to have both he and Harper fall into our laps.

        It could happen and there you would have your stupid money!

        1. As Ruben liked to say – it’s a fluid situation. Trout is 2 years away. I certainly say yes and amen to signing him if at all possible, but unlikely as it may be to nab both Harper and Machado, a good plan today is better than the “perfect” plan tomorrow….or two years from now, all the more.

  70. So let’s lay it down this way: should Manny sign with the Phillies, Boras and Harper take plan b, save face and take Lerner’s best offer. Let’s call it “historical” for all intents and purposes.

    Should Manny sign with NYY, Middleton’s mandate still stands to sign Harper at virtually all costs without any real financial competition from rival suitors, or rather a lack thereof.

    1. I’m not sure the latest Nats contract offer passes the common sense test. The Nats current payroll is at 192. Signing Harper pushes them pretty far over the threshold. Lerner could do it, because the “price” of losing their prodigal son to another team, let alone a division rival, might COST them way more than it is to resign him. Whatever totals are being floated out there, you’ll need to add 5mil on to the AAV to account for the luxury tax. Boston does it, does, I know Philly could do it, but can WAS play that game? On top of it, who is the smarter piece to keep? Harper or Rendon? Or does Lerner continue to push past the luxuruy tax?

      Personally, I think the Phils FO is navigating this chase correctly. I don’t believe the LAD are serious about Harper, nor are the NYY going to even slightly overpay for Manny. Middleton’s comments have helped fend off would be bidders. It is a fruitless endeavor to be in a race with the Phillies financial power this offseason. To follow up on CD’s comments, i I believe the plan was to offer the players the same deal, but MM comments lowered his offer, and now the lack
      Of developing markets is suppressing the offers.

      I think we are stating to see the sources behind these rumors are the agents.

      Remember from early in the offseason, the Phillies were said to be “bidding against themselves” … this could be the most accurate rumor to date.

      For MM it’s Chi vs Phi, with NYY saying will take you but for as low as possible

      For BH, it’s PHI vs WAS,CHI, and LAD. With the biggest threat being a bluffing WAS owner, and 2 half hearted offer attempts

      The Phillies are in a great position to land who they want, without having to go to the 10/400 & 10/450 amount offers that we’re guessed before the offseason.

      The agents/players are stalling, hoping for a market to develop… but the Phillies are starting to play some cards now … the meeting with Harper is telling MM to poo, while Harper knows he’s already lost money by procrastinating. First one to sign, likely gets the best deal at this point.

  71. While I realize its all conjecture on our parts right now I would prefer to call these “educated guesses” because so much of what many on this site are conjecturing has the ring of truth to it…and would fit precisely into what Hinkie has been saying all along.

    If I can add two more potential points of conjecture [or educated guesses!] based on what we have been reading, it was mentioned on the day that the Yankees signed Tulowitzki that they had informed MM of this event and had kept him abreast of the situation. Perhaps that’s true…or maybe, just maybe, they had given MM a deadline of “first of the year” signing or they were going to sign Tulo. When Machado didn’t jump at the Yankees offer this week the Yanks did what they said they would do, which was to sign Tulo and stress that he would be their shortstop.

    Remember one of the things that made the Yankees such a favorite to sign MM was not only that they were the Yankees BUT that he could play SS for them, unlike the Phillies who have insisted all along they would pay top dollar to MM, but to play 3rd base. So MM can still go to the Yankees if he wishes…but for less money than he would get from Philadelphia and to play the same position he would play in the City of Brotherly Love.

    The other point of conjecture here that may end up being true is that instead of the last player signing getting the largest contract, it may end up being the first guy to sign who reaps the benefit of the most dough. Let’s face it, Middleton’s “stupid money” comments were called Fool’s Gold by his critics but if he ends up signing one of the two because his comments scared off much of the competition then I wager he will end up being called The Fool On the Hill, who watched the world spin around while all the while knew exactly what he was doing.

    Frankly I just cannot see this going into February. The Phils seem to be in the catbirds seat and it behooves either MM or Harper to take seat next to the cat before he gets up and leaves his seat.

    Then again, what I am suggesting now may end up being nothing but Foolish Nonsense!

    1. Cal Dream, reasonable points and well taken, even if only educated speculation. It certainly seems that at the moment, BH and MM are essentially playing musical chair (singular), Johnny Cigars’ lap.

  72. There was a whole article about Tulo betting on himself as a SS since College. I don’t think he would have signed without a guarantee to play there.

  73. Wow, looking at Phillies projected payroll ($150s)…I really didnt think it would be that high but adding Segura, Robertson, Cutch, etc.
    But for 2020 it should drop (depending on moves)
    Neshek’s $8m AAV
    Hunter’s $9mil AAV
    Nicasio $9mil AAV
    I am sure I missing some

    1. Arrietta comes of the books, but you can basically reserve that salary as a place holder for Nola’s extension.

        1. 2020 is a player option, 2021&2022 are club options. With the surplus of arms advancing, I’d take advantage of that club option if I could. Arrietta would have to be pitching awesome the next 2 years for me not to. I don’t worry about boras on that. Arrietta could really regress, or enough to easily put Sixto,Medina, or Howard in that spot full time.

    2. Hernandez will be gone and Franco most likely as well after 2019 – they will make sure they have money for Trout after the 2020 season. Might have to go over the soft cap in 2021, but that is it. That’s if everything plays out as planned.

          1. Just don’t know what to think in the machado sweepstakes. Don’t think Moose is upgrade to what we currently have. So I’m confused.

            1. Denny…Moose is an upgrade.
              Better defense to begin with…..experience in playoff situations and a power hitter, be it from the opposite of Franco side of the plate however.
              But also….having Moose means, Franco can be traded for a much needed asset…be it a pitcher or position player.

  74. I cannot see Boras letting Harper sign with the Phils without first getting a wink-wink agreement from the team that they will honor Arrieta’s contract if he wishes to continue with the team, at least for a year or so. Boras does this kind of stuff all the time…because it works. Besides, Arrieta has said he is recruiting Harper, it would seem awfully short-sighted on the Phillies side to let a player go who has just been instrumental in bringing in a top talent who shares the same agent.

    1. Boras may also push for Moustakas to become a Phillie along with Harper, if Harper decides Philly is his next home.
      Boras is looking at a big pay day commission….he does after all, have to feed the family!.

  75. I’m just imagining the sultry breeze of the summer evenings inside Citizens Bank Park, standing room only, with that familiar buzz throughout the crowd, absent for far too long, anticipating the next big hit, called third strike, or defensive gem each and every inning. Ashburn Alley crammed beyond one’s ability to weave through the bodies. The aroma of crab fries and hot dogs wafting along the concourse of every level. The enlarged pictures of our red pinstriped favorites hanging from section to section behind the lower level. It’s not a dream, but a real thing coming….

    SUMMER 2019.

    1. See here is where we differ.
      I see long lines at the mens room…waiting in long lines at the beer station….parking a mess…getting out after the games a nightmare.
      The last 5 years it has been heavenly…now Middleton will go ahead and spoil it all. 🙂

      1. Romus… you don’t like a speed walk race? To your car against all the other fans? Or getting the corner bumper of your car inbetween the Line of cars for the exit? … just enough to cause a fender bender …. all the while “pretending” not to see the person who are squeezing out! Screaming at your wife “Do NOT make eye contact!!!”

        I literally run to the car, yelling at my family to keep up. Remote start has helped starve off my edge, but now I’m fat and slow, so it’s a wash.

        1. this is awesome. im glad im not judged by my actions leaving sporting events, though a co-worker brings up the time i was driving the wrong way on a way street leaving that horrendous game 5 loss to the Cards in 2011.

          1. I would not judge. Getting out of their for a sellout crowd, you do what you gotta do lol, by any means necessary.

            If you can pull it off, to attend a game, and beat everyone out of the stadium… what a rush! Lol

  76. I still think making a serious effort to acquire Realmoto is necessary to give the lineup both offensive and defensive stability. Should the Phillies acquire Harper then Williams can be packaged with Alfaro and CeHe. Should the Phillies acquire Machado, then it can be Franco and Alfaro. If no Machado then get Moose and make the same deal.

  77. Here we are, 6ish weeks from spring training, and two superstars with limited markets still haven’t signed. Honest question – when the players union and MLB step in? The whole market is held up. I enjoy the rumors and such but at some point it’s tiring. They’re either coming or not (likely outcome).

  78. At the very least – one has to wonder after all the hype about the 2– 26 year old free agent superstar talents finally being available – winter of 2019 – how really limited their respective markets appear to be ??? And as C-D might conjecture above, either there are so many teams not having the $$, or in some phase of build/rebuild, or committed elsewhere to big contracts —-that the agents need some last minute shining knight to come out of the woodwork to save the day ? This is truly a historical (or hysterical) circumstance !

    1. Maybe it’s simply that almost every team knows it’s way too risky to give out 10 yr massive contracts. They rarely work out well. Teams have analytics that scream of the risk. Phillies just happen to be one of the few teams whose owner and fans are acting as if they’re desperate enough to have to. I’ve disagreed from day one. I love what the FO has done so far. I hope they remain savvy for the right deals, and trust in the coming improvements of the young guys!

  79. Wouldn’t signing Harper take nationals payroll to about 230 million with Reardon a free agent next yr? Is that really possible?

    1. Sr….’Wouldn’t signing Harper take nationals payroll to about 230 million…?’….in short yes….but Rizzo does deferral contracts lately, banking on the fact the lux tax will increase every year and 5/10 years down the road the impact is not felt as bad.
      And probably also, he might realize he mat not be around to worry about it…..however, his successor (s) will have to pay at some point.

  80. Boras and Harper must be desperate enough to “sit down with Lerner for 5 hrs” and ask him to collude in driving up the price while also forcing a division rival to spend more and essentially bid against themselves. What a ruse! Do the math. Why is this so puzzling to the national media? And it’s an insult to anyone with half a brain.

  81. our payroll is a little misleading with very few long term deals and 25+ million on middle relievers not counting Robertson who wont be back in 2020
    payroll is not really limiting

  82. Why would anyone believe that if we fail to sign either one this year, that it is ok, because there is Rendon and Arenado next year? If we lose out on Machado and Harper, the whole ” at the end of the day, they will choose the highest bidder” argument goes down the drain. There is an even better chance that Rendon re-signs, and Arenado is more of a California guy than Machado is a Yankees fan, and Harper just wanted Boras to “make LA happen.” Not signing one would still be a big failure, and future FA years guarantee us nothing.

    1. Each FA is a separate transaction, they are not related to me. One of them will take the most money, the odds show that as well as a long hx of players grabbing the money.

      Rendon is an interesting case. If Harper resigns with Nats, it’s highly probably he won’t be resigned, if Harper signs somewhere else, resigning Rendon is one of the last significant moves WAS can make is the salary game, much like LAD & CHI. Sure they can with pentalties but assuming they want to avoid the pentalty. They’ll have to win it all with what they have

      1. Rendon’s market value for 2020 is $25M AAV for 4./5 years.
        And some see more value in him as a plus defender and plus bat than Harper who is a below average defender and roller coaster bat if yuo go by first generation metrics, ie BA.
        Signing Harper….even with a deferral contract, would seriously hamper the Nats in bringing Rendon back for 2020 and beyond.

  83. Just heard Reggie Jackson – his radio show on Sirus. He was asked about MM, the NYY interest, and what would they do with Andujar. As part of the management team his comments were thought provoking if not revealing, to wit: Andujar is considered a star hitter who is athletic and he will learn how to play 3B in the eyes of management ; Andujar, if he was traded, would have to be traded for a major big time pitcher ; Andujar is considered a young Adrian Beltre by NYY ; Tulo – just acquired – will play SS and will be the starter ; NYY are not interested in giving ANY player a 10 year contract – more like half of that ; Andujar will be a good 3B over time, after all he is only 23, and this was his first full year. Seems to Reggie that Phillies are the only team willing to offer a 10 year deal.

    Say what you want – I’m not sure Lozano liked those comments…..just sayin’…..

    1. Apparently, the Phillies are the only team to offer both the ‘stupid money’ and the longevity……only a fool would turn that down.

  84. I agree Romus, but fools are born every day. I know we have exhausted this whole issue, but as a player, I prefer Machado the 3B. Defense wins the day, his is much superior to Harper. Machado, the SS, has much less value, and swings the debate to Harper. I think Harper is more suited to be the “main guy” on the team, and criticism and the burden of a big contract seem like they would affect him much less. Machado would not be that “main guy” in NY. So, I see Harper/Boras being less inclined to forego the highest offer than Machado. Of course, my reasoning could be nonsense, but I need to think it all through to stop from going crazy waiting.

  85. As I continue to read those tea leaves, it is worth noting that Jon Heyman tweeted today that if MM has similar offers of between $200-$250 from Phillies, Yankees and White Sox most in the industry believe he will be a Yankee.

    Why am I mentioning this? Because it is well known in the baseball industry that Heyman almost never breaks a story but reports info that he is fed from agents…and none more than Scott Boras, who will always use Heyman as a tool to put out info he wants people [teams] to read.

    This sounds to me like something Boras fed to Heyman so the Phils would give more attention to his client, Bryce Harper, since it is unlikely they will get MM. This, after the info yesterday that Harper is talking to the Nats again and “most in the industry” believe he will return to Washington.

    Now I fully acknowledge that all of the above info is fully factual and when the dust settles MM will wear Yankee pinstripes and Harper will once again play at our nation’s capitol. In fact, a betting man might just run with those two scenarios.

    But it sure seems like Boras is trying to get the Phillies to once again put that 9/360 offer back on the table and considers this weeks face to face meeting between the Phillies and Harper as a big one.

    One more interesting observation. There sure seems to be a lot of talk in the past couple of days suggesting its time for these two players to make decisions already. There comes a point where interest and anticipation become boredom and apathy and if these guys wait till February to make a decision that likely could be made by the middle of January the baseball industry may see this happen.

    1. I do agree that most is the comments “from the industry” are things put out by agents and guesses by sports writers that other writers quote. I think MM is waiting to see if the Yanks raise their offer closer to the Phils’ bid. Phils still have a chance. I definitely think the news on Harper to Nats is from Boras to get Phils to raise their bid. That one has to play out but Boras knows he loses leverage if MM picks the Phils. Interesting times….

  86. C-D — good point. I would suggest that the players’ association is going to begin to put pressure on the agents because their delaying tactics are holding up another 50 signings or so….moreover it is critical what these 2 get as it will weigh on future payments to the big FA of the next 2 years. Pressure will be brought to bear.

  87. Britton to NYY with contract that operates like Arrieta’s. It’s a 3 year base contract. At the end of the 2nd year, Yankees can guarantee a 4th year for $14M. If Yankees decline, Britton can void the 3rd year and become a free agent. So it’s a 2, 3 or 4 year contract for $26M, $39M or $53M, respectively.

      1. but it’s not a material difference to the Phillies or the Yankees really. I like the Robertson signing, but while Britton is younger, but riskier, would have liked the lefty closer option Britton would have been.

        1. It sounds like the Phils went with Robertson over other FAs because he doesn’t care about when he pitches, and I can’t argue with that logic. I’ve been frustrated for years by our managers refusing to use our best RP in situations that called for them just because the inning wasn’t a number above 7 or 8. But in addition to managers being willing to make that call, the pitchers need to be on board as well.

          Plus it doesn’t hurt that Robertson immediately pledged 1% of his salary to charity upon signing (over $100K per year for those who dislike math).

  88. Joel Sherman suggests that Boras may have the model idea to move Harper and Machado along in this plodding off season – the Kikuchi contract. Load up the first 3 years, offer an option for additional year or opt out, or the team could exercise its option for additional guaranteed years after 3. Not sure if that would be to the Phillies advantage or not. It certainly wouldn’t get Harper his record breaking deal. But it’s an interesting idea….

    1. I think Sheman must have jumped on the Dodger plan that was rumored from them to Harper starting back from the winter meetings.
      I believe…4 or 5 years at a high AAV.

  89. Dan Federico
    @DanJFederico
    He continued: “Harper has always wanted the Yankees, but without moving Stanton, I don’t think New York budges there. Jayson Werth has a big part in Harper not liking Philly.”
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    Now that is a comical tweet.
    Who is this guy tweeting this?

    https://www.12up.com/posts/6263305-rumor-70-percent-chance-bryce-harper-heads-back-to-nationals

    1. Romus … C’mon, It’s Dan Federico. Are you really going to question this nugget of Bryce Harper info from the Sports Information Director at The College of Mount Saint Vincent? 🙂

      Also … any of you (I know you don’t, Romus) who are relying on Bleacher Report for credible reporting on BH and MM are out of your minds.

    1. I hope Denny is aware that not DC is a future Flyer, but that he’s also pared down to 6’3″ 176. Bean pole.

    2. Hah, now would n;t that be something else if he does go to the Flyers,
      ….though I am counting on Hughes with the numero uno..

  90. Denny, I know you are a big Cozens fan. Do you know what he’s working on this off season to cut down on his Ks? Unless he does, I am afraid he will not be a factor. He has power and is a really good athlete but can’t play with that K rate.

    1. As a kid we used to play wiffle ball all summer along. We would name each of our houses a different stadiums; used to use the skinny yellow bats with the white plastic chair set up as the strike zone. You were allowed to use the red bat once a game, the red bats were the ones that are super oversized and made the loud “whomp!” when you hit the ball. Well I read on twitter that over the off season Cozens has been trying to petition the international league to allow those but in wood. I guess that’s how he’s working on cutting down the K’s? Stay turned for any updates on this story.

  91. 2013 season, playoff wild card game, we took 24-23 lead on Foles to Ertz TD. Sproles runs back big KO to give them great field position, and they hit FG to win. We got Sproles that off season. We were almost seeing the same thing but luckily we won this time!

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