Open Discussion: Week of January 14, 2019

The ‘Hot” Stove Season remained on the back burner with some administrative bookkeeping and deadline moves this week.  Fortunately, the Eagles’ game took some of our minds off baseball last week.  Nick Foles probably got more ink and air time in Philadelphia than Machado and Harper this past week.  That ended tonight.  No more smokescreen for baseball in Philadelphia.

The Phillies added a couple more free agents to their Lehigh Valley roster, infielders Mpho’ Gift Ngoepe and Andrew Romine.  Both received non-roster invitations to Phillies spring training.

The 28-year-old Ngoepe has logged most of his time at SS with some time at 2B and even a little at 3B.  He has 72 days of MLB service time with Pittsburgh (2017) and Toronto (2018). He was signed by the Pirates as an international free agent out of South Africa in 2008.  He remained with the organization until he was traded to Toronto in November of 2017.  He was released in August of 2018.

The 33-year-old Romine has extensive major league experience (6 years and 49 days of MLB service time) and has played all positions in his career, playing all positions but catcher for the Mariners last season.  He was drafted out of high school by the Phillies in the 36th round of the 2004 draft but chose college and went to Arizona State.  He was drafted by the Angels in the 5th round of the 2007 draft.  He stayed with the organization until he was traded to Detroit in March of 2014; he was claimed off waivers by Seattle in November of 2017; and reached free agency this past October.

The Phillies have agreed to terms with 8 of their 9 arbitration eligible players.

They beat Friday’s 1:00 PM deadline by signing RHP Hector Neris, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Vince Velasquez, LHP Jose Alvarez, LHP Adam Morgan, 2B Cesar Hernandez, 3B Maikel Franco, and OF Aaron Altherr.

They did not reach agreement with staff ace Aaron Nola, who remains unsigned and arbitration eligible.  They can negotiate up until the hearing in February, but are $2.25M apart.  The Phillies offered $4.5M and Nola’s camp asked for $6.75M.

The owner has talked about spending stupid money chasing a couple of free agents.  Maybe he should cast some stupid money in the direction of his best pitcher.  After the insult of their offer, maybe $6.5M will get it done.  Or lock him up with a multi-year extension if his camp is still open to the idea.

The Phillies extended invations to eight non-roster players to attend major league spring training – INF Malquin Canelo, LHP Tyler Gilbert, C Deivi Grullón, OF Adam Haseley, LHP Cole Irvin, INF/OF Austin Listi, OF Mickey Moniak and LHP JoJo Romero.

Four players from the Phillies’ 40-man roster attended the Rookie Career Development Program in Miami this week – RHP Seranthony Dominguez, LHP Austin Davis, RHP Enyel De Los Santos, and OF Dylan CozensMLB’s RCDP link

The Phillies have hired former Oriole’s third base coach Bobby Dickerson to be their infield coach. Dickerson was a mentor to Manny Machado during his time in Baltimore.

The Phillies hired another minor league hitting instructor from Driveline Baseball.  Joel McKeithan will join recently hired Jason Ochart (the Director of Hitting at Driveline Baseball) on the staff.

McKeithan was drafted out of high school in the 39th round in 2010.  He turned down that opportunity and opted to play college ball for Vanderbilt (2011-13) and NC State (2015).  He went undrafted after 2010 and played a couple years of Indy ball (2017-18).  In addition to being a hitting instructor at Driveline, he he was a Director of Skill Development at PEAK Baseball.

Free agent Will Middlebrooks announced his retirement.  Middlebrooks elected free agency in November.  He had suffered a leg injury during spring training and spent most of the season attempting to rehab at the Complex.

Edwin Soto was hired as a minor league administrator.

And, nine prospects were invited to CBP for prospect orientation this week.  The Phillies haven’t released the names (big secret, I guess), but here’s a guess at a group from which nine players might be invited – Edgar Garcia, Arquimedes Gamboa, Adonis Medina, Mickey Moniak, Austin Listi, Adam Haseley, Cornelius Randolph, Mauricio LloveraSixto Sanchez, Jeff Singer, Malquin Canelo, Tyler Gilbert, and Deivi Grullon. I don’t have any intel.  I’m just guessing based on 40-man, rule 5 approaching, and proximity to the majors.  I probably could have included a couple more pitchers. (I verified that several of the pitchers in my initial, pre-edit guess had participated last season.)

Saturday, the Phillies flew to Las Vegas for a one-on-one with Harper and Boras.  The Phillies contingent included Managing Partner John Middleton, President Andy MacPhail, VP and GM Matt Klentak, Assistant GM Bryan Minniti, Assistant GM Ned Rice, Senior Advisor to the GM Charlie Manuel, Manager Gabe Kapler, and Hitting Coach John Mallee.

The 40-man roster stands at 39, the entire organization stands at 356.

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

Key Dates:

  • 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)
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster C Deivi Grullon to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster  LHP JoJo Romero to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster non-roster OF Mickey Moniak to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster SS Malquin Canelo to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Tyler Gilbert to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster OF Adam Haseley to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Cole Irvin to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies invited non-roster OF Austin Listi to spring training
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with OF Aaron Altherr ($1.35M)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with LHP José Álvarez ($1.925M)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with RHP Jerad Eickhoff ($975K)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with 3B Maikel Franco ($5.2M)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with 2B César Hernández ($7.75M)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with LHP Adam Morgan ($1.1M)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with RHP Hector Néris ($1.8M)
1/11/19 – Phillies reached 2019 contract agreement with RHP Vince Velasquez ($2.249M)
1/11/19 – Phillies signed FA INF Gift Ngoepe assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/11/19 – Phillies signed FA INF Andrew Romine assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/11/19 – Phillies signed FA LHP Edward Paredes assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/11/19 – Phillies signed FA INF Gift Ngoepe to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/11/19 – Phillies signed FA INF Andrew Romine to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/11/19 – Lehigh Valley assigned RHP Gilmael Troya to Lakewood
1/11/19 – Phillies signed FA LHP Edward Paredes to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/3/19 – Phillies signed free agent RHP David Robertson
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

445 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 14, 2019

      1. Agreed and part of me feels like this Vegas meeting was a ploy by Boras and camp to get the Nationals to up offer or Dodgers to make an offer

  1. Looking more like Harper to the Phillies and MM to the CWS.

      1. Yeah, I think the supposed reported bump up in Manny’s offer may have been created by his agent, and gets reported on the day AFTER Harper’s meeting with the Phillies? C’mon….

  2. Jim Bowden spoke to someone in Saturday’s meeting between the Phillies and Bryce Harper. Bowden reports that Harper was “extremely impressed” with both the team and their pitch to him.
    According to Bowden, Harper and team officials felt a mutual, strong connection from the get-go. He said the team was “very aggressive” in their interest in Harper.
    Bowden said that the front office is indeed optimistic about their chances of landing Harper. In addition, he said Harper left the meeting with “serious interest” in becoming a Phillie. Bowden said the meeting “could not have gone better” if you are a Phillies fan.
    https://thatballsouttahere.com/2019/01/13/phillies-bryce-harper-impressed/

      1. I still want Manny, though… he is a more consistent hitter and plays a premium defensive position at a high level, two things that Harper has struggled with in recent years. Funny that both guys have played almost the exact same number of games to this point (926, 927). Harper’s got the marketability aspect working in his favor and has the OPS over Manny, but despite Machado’s infamous post-season and hustle comments, I think his overall approach to hitting lends itself to a longer period of sustained success. I want to like Harper more, but I just don’t think he is the better player here.

        1. Your assessment of Machado vs Harper as individual players may be accurate. However, it isn’t necessarily the better player at issue but the better overall fit for the Phillies, meaning who else they acquire in the balance of the off season (31 days to pitchers and catchers!) to fill out the roster, along with the makeup of the clubhouse. Also sounds like Harper, despite what has been put out there in cyber space, is much more amenable to playing and living in Philadelphia 7 months of the year than we have been led to believe. Which makes him even more marketable.

  3. I read that the Nationals aren’t totally out of this.
    There’s a real chance Phillies don’t get Harper and don’t get Manny.

    1. Actually, there’s not a real chance the Phillies don’t get one of MM or BH. Please explain your rationale for this opinion you’re constantly trying to promote.

      1. Yeah after this weekend I really have a hard time seeing them walk away without one. Throughout the offseason I thought it was more unlikely than we’d initially thought but now I can’t see them getting out bid for Harper.

        1. 8mark – you remind me of a keyboard warrior

          Anyways, Hinkie, my rationale has always been explained. Harper wants to be a Dodger or National. Boras has him take the Philly meeting and make the Phillies think they have a legit chance. Phillies make large offer and Dodgers or Nationals freak out and make an even bigger offer and get their guy.
          As for Manny, the Phillies are dragging their feet and Manny will want to play with his pals in Chicago.
          Boom, rationale explained.
          All I’ve heard from you is that the Phillies have the most money so they’ll have to sign one.

          1. TrollU…..If Manny signs with the WSox…..there are no guarantee Harper signs with the Phillies, since Boras could play the Dodgers less year /high AAV against the Phillies or the Nats…..and Lerner’s and Boras already have bonded on many players in the past.. ….if the Phillies sign Manny…..Harper probably goes back to the Nats or out to the Dodgers for sure..
            IMO, Phillies should offer Manny 9/$290M…with the standard opt-outs….but only after the 4th and 5th years, this may put the WSox out of the picture.

          2. Troll … For quite some time now, I’ve promised to ban myself for six months if the Phillies don’t sign one of Harper or Machado. That’s how certain I’ve been. It’s more than just the fact the Phillies have the most money to spend. They are desperate spenders. They need a “face of the franchise” player. They’ve been manipulating their payrolls for three years now to attack this FA class.
            Are you willing to ban yourself for six months (even weeks) if the Phillies fail to land one of MM or BH ?

            1. Brock Stassi…..if that were to ever occur….I will make a motion, with the PP court’s approval of course, for a temporary one-month recess between May 15 and June 15….that is draft time. 🙂

          3. Just want to chime in everybody knows Harper turned down the 10 year 300 million from the Nationals before the off-season. Clearly making the most money is more important to him than being a National.

    2. Oh my god, you found something negative to say? How do you keep doing that? Great investigative journalistic work TrollU, your contributions continue to enhance the quality of discussion on this site. Thank you so much!!!!!!

      1. John Doe – I give opinions just like everyone else. I also give my reasons on why I have my POV. I think Hinkie banning himself is wrong because he contributes a lot and it’s dumb to say I’ll ban myself if I am wrong. People are wrong all of the time. It’s part of life.

  4. I am going to make the argument that Rafael Marchan should be a top 10 prospect on our list. (Note, I need to break up my post due to size)

    1. Marchan’s performance at 19 was very very good for a catcher.
    – Great contact rates – only an 8.6% k rate
    – Sprays the ball all over the field – 39.1 % pull, 22.9 % center; 38.0 % oppo
    – 30% caught stealing rate defensively. which for low A is really good because young pitchers are not always great at keeping runners on.
    – he has a really, really good approach at the plate. does not swing at bad pitches. watch the at bats in this game. they are really very good for a young hitter. takes a lot of pitches. even takes a strike. isn’t in a hurry. he hits two the opposite way. he even lays down a bunt for a hit. the scouting reports say that he has good speed. https://2080baseball.com/draft-prospect-video/rafael-marchan/

    1. 2. His scouting reports are really good!
      – “Cannon arm, loudest tool, really stands out. Quick release and transfer, serious strength and carry through targets. Under-the-radar young catcher who could break out in the coming years.” https://2080baseball.com/spotlight/rafael-marchan-instructs-notes/

      – “Comments: Unique profile: switch-hitting CA with extreme-contact tendencies and projectable pop. Advanced hand/eye coordination, a short swing and an ability to find the barrel. For career, just 26 K in 280 short-season AB. Classic build to stick behind the plate. Rocket arm, good receiver and nabs high marks for pitch-calling and game management. Upside.

      Development Path: The early returns are quite good; his mix of offense and defense at the short-season level. He’s likely to head to full-season Lakewood, and if this performance continues over 140 Low-A games, he will rocket up prospect lists.”
      https://www.baseballhq.com/organization-reports-details?org=PHI&year=2019

    2. 3. Catchers are extremely valuable. A catcher with a realistic chance to be an everyday player who already is great defensively is extremely valuable and hard to find.

      Catchers always fill out and get stronger with age. He will add pop. He has a very good swing with great bat speed, elite bat to ball skills and is not pull heavy. those qualities are very hard to find in a 19 year old prospect. add in his “rocket arm” and reports of good receiving skills and this is an exceptional prospect. Definitely a top 10 prospect.

      Vote Marchan!

        1. @DMAR, i agree. I have Marchan currently at #13. There’s going to be at least 8 prospects as a consensus lock at Top 10 so Marchan will be competing against Moniak, Morales, Ortiz, Irvin to break Top 10. I hope that Marchan will start in LWD so I can see him often and get a better feel. I’m not that worried yet with Jhailyn’s subpar performance in 2018. The poor pitch recognition will improve with age.

      1. The two young Latin catchers I seem to keep getting mixed up on in the lower A levels are Rafael and Rodlofo….one with a better overall hit tool (Marchan) and the other with more power.(Duran)

      2. v1 – Right or wrong, I have a hard time voting for teenagers in top ten polls. They tend to have one thing on their minds, and it isn’t baseball. Having said all that, the next ten prospects will have several teenagers.

        1. Gowdy made my top 10. Seems like he is the forgotten prospect. Reminds me in a way how Morgan/Pettibone became an afterthough from their injuries.
          If he can bounce back from his injury, the Phillies will have an embarrassment of riches in the SP prospects (yes their might not be such a thing as too many SP prospects)
          His stuff is good. Will see shortly, I give it 2 months before he is back on the majority of our radars.

          Sixto,Medina,Howard,JoJo, Del Santos, Morales, Suarez, and Gowdy … I like our chances

          1. Serious question…are you related to Gowdy or a close friend?

            If so, don’t clutter this intelligent discussion with your relationship based bias.

            If not, then that is an insane point of view. The kid hasn’t pitched in 3 years. he has serious injury issues and has zero track record beyond high school. no chance he is anywhere near our top 50.

            1. V1, that’s a little much. MLB.com had him 25th last year. You can bet on upside a little. I wouldn’t put him that high but trashing someone’s opinion isn’t cool

            2. v1 – I am in now way related to Gowdy. He was considered a top prospect before the injuries. What is wrong with me saying that he could be a dark horse?

            3. Dark horse is perfectly reasonable. #10 overall prospect is what I was commenting on. No chance he should be that high after not pitching for 3 years.

            4. I know you’re trying to make your point, but that was a harsh way to do it.

              As for top 50, he should be in there. Gowdy was still a high pick even if hasn’t pitched in a while. And fact is, once you get past 30 (or even 20 for that matter), we’re talking organizational filler. Just on potential alone, Gowdy should be better than some of those guys.

          2. @Tac3 – i really like Gowdy a lot and expect a really good and possibly a break out year from him. Gowdy breaking Top 10 by June, I can see that as a possibility. But without seeing him pitch after the injury, he is still behind Sixto, Medina, Jojo, Howard and Enyel in the pitching prospect ladder. Top 15 is the best case I can see for Gowdy, but like I said, this can chance 2 months from now.

            1. @hinkie – i updated my rankings and Gowdy is my #14 and IMO, that’s already generous. Without seeing him pitch for a year really make it hard for me to jump him over Marchan (one of the fast risers), Morales (who will be a lock Top 50 Rule IV prospect if he is joining the Rule IV draft), Moniak (trending up after making adjustments in his stance) and Jhailyn (still have the same high upside despite of a sub par year. IMO, there’s a lot of parity in my Top Top 9-15 that these prospects are totally interchangeable in the rankings.

              1. Sixto Sanchez
              2. Adonis Medina
              3. Luis Garcia
              4. Adam Haseley
              5. Alec Bohm
              6. Jojo Romero
              7. Spencer Howard
              8. Francisco Morales
              9. Enyel delos Santos
              10. Cole Irvin
              11. Jhailyn Ortiz
              12. Mickey Moniak
              13. Rafael Marchan
              14. Kevin Gowdy
              15. Arquimedes Gamboa

            2. *** i should say — there’s NOT a lot of parity in my Top Top 9-15 …. the NOT word is missing in my post above…

          3. Right now, there’s no way he should be top 10. He hasn’t pitched in a long time. You can’t slot him ahead of guys who have been pitching even if Gowdy is the second coming of Thor. He needs to be healthy.

            1. Well, the same is true of Sixto, who has had repetitive injuries and ended last season (surprisingly) unable to pitch in AFL because of health. His condition was treated only by resting him, which is why the new injury in the Fall is so concerning. Gowdy also has a lot more size. I’m optimistic on Gowdy, because currently the success rate on TJS is so high. The counter to that is he should have been back by now. I still have hope for him, but won’t rate him top 15. The big problem he is going to have is that he’ll need to be protected from Rule 5 before he leaves low-A in all likelihood. I can’t vote Gowdy this high, just as I couldn’t vote Sixto #1. The top prospect in an organization shouldn’t be a guy with confusing health issues.

          1. Old video to remind the folks …

            I wouldn’t bet against that 12-6. I also wouldn’t bet against a youngster that talented who has had the game taken away from him. His mind is most likely sharper than those without his experience.

            We all have our opinions, based on analytics,eye test, and gut feelings. These rankings are about potential, likelyhood of reaching that ceiling & floor. This kid has a few intangibles going for him. If he was a bottom tier prospect before, I’d wait on being bullish on him, but he wasn’t. It’s reasonable to believe he can comeback. Won’t be the first, and won’t be the last.

            There was a time when a lot of us where very excited to have Gowdy in the 2nd rd, many thought it was a steal of a pick. What has changed since then? Injuries… injuries that now have a track record of being overcome. His “stuff” can still be there, and if it is, he is in the top 10 for me. We haven’t gotten word that he is toast, so I’m proceeding on by his perceived potential.

            If someone is way high on Gowdy at 10, then 50 would be considered the opposite. Will get to look back on this list soon enough, I’m sure many of us will be right and wrong about our picks.m, whatever the reason was based on.

            1. I apologize for my overly aggressive comment. I was uncalled for. I do however, deeply disagree with your rankings. But I should have been more cordial in my comment. I am sorry.

          2. No worries, My day job prepares me well for “passionate” responses 🙂 Appreciate the apologie. We agree to disagree, never any issues with that. I do see where you and others are coming from. I bumped him into my top 10 because i believe he’ll be there before we do the mid season rankings, it’s a stretch now, but not for long based off his talent level from my view.
            I place a large value on pitchers, just because to me they are the key to sustaining a teams championship window.

  5. I’m generally cautious about prospects until I see them reach and excel at Clearwater because the flame out rate is so high in single A

  6. Can someone explain to me why, if the FO favored Machado, and the only offer we have heard, whether if it is real or not, is 7 or 8 years from the WSox, at about $30 per year, we can’t blow that offer out of the water? I don’t understand this process. The Yankees clearly don’t want him. Why haven’t we been recruiting him hard, offering a big “take it or leave it” offer that dwarfs the WSox offer? I have seen players recruited before from HS to the Pros. Except for this Saturday meeting, where no #s were given, this does not resemble any type of recruiting.

    1. Matt13…push come to shove…maybe the Phillies and Middleton trust Harper’s character more than Manny’s.
      After the face of the franchsie could also be at stake here….until the big Fish arrives anyway.

        1. Wawa….I think Middleton sees character players winning championships, like across the street and what happened a decade ago for the Phillies..
          Also listen to what they said about the two meetings of the couples, and meeting the spouses……believe it or not the Phillies gang wanted to hear from the wives.
          A little surprised or maybe taken aback, how they publicly seem to overly praised Mrs Harper the other night.

          1. Personally, I think that is a good sales tactic from Mr Middleton, to praise the wives. Also speaks to the “family” aspect of the organization. It’s a good idea to Make them feel they are apart of the process. It can only help, if BH needs a push towards Philly. Much like they say that the spouse of The military serve as well, I can see a similar thought process for the wives of players. Not saying it’s the “same” but you get the idea. Keeping them happy can make the chance of signing easier. I’d imagine a player could struggle if the wife has some issues on the home front, whatever they maybe. He probably wanted to make sure BH didn’t choose a bat 💩 crazy wife, that could cause issues for them next 10+ years.

            1. Tac3…yes. A good selling point for sure.
              Plus the Phillies management were ecstatic with Utley, Hamels and Howard’s wives as they ran their each specific charity events for community causes.
              The goodwill it created along with getting the teammates all involved sort of bonded them stronger as a ‘ family unit’.
              Not that the Phillies are unique in that regards with charitable functions..all the teams do something in their communities….but I am sure th Phillies ownership like to have more of that, than less of it.
              Will see how it all shakes out.

    2. with all the reports and then contrary reports and all the team and agent posturing, its really hard to know who has been offered and at what point.
      probably just going to have to wait and see where people sign and the final numbers

    3. I would like to know why Dickerson was hired. Merely his relationship with the front office from their Baltimore days? Machado connection? Why would that hire be made at all? Or is Bobby D simply a very good infield coach? Anyone have insight?

      1. Good infield coach and the Phillies infield coach (Jose Flores) was just hired away by the Orioles and their new manager who worked with Flores in the Cubs system. The other stuff probably doesn’t hurt, but he was a good coach at a position of need.

        1. If CWS offer to Manny is truly @8/$250, the Phillies could offer 8/$280M ($35M AAV) and still be in position to sign, seal and deliver Harper as well, say 10/$360M.

          1. man…I want to believe that this situation could actually happen, but the glacial pace of the offseason has (I think) tricked us into believing that there isn’t a strong market for these two and has conjured up thoughts of MM and BH hitting back-to-back at the Bank for years together. Financially, yes it can happen–but will the rest of the league actually allow this to happen? The market cannot possibly be weak enough for both to sign in Philly. I HAVE to believe that MANNY MACHADO and BRYCE HARPER, two guys that teams were supposed to have been planning for for years, two guys destined to bring positive change to a franchise, HAVE to have more serious suiters than the Phils, White Sox, Dodgers, Yankees…A team like the Cardinals 100% owes it to their fans to say, “hell yea we tried to get Harper. He fits our need and we have money and we are trying to stay competitive in a very tough division.” Or the Twins could make a similar argument (minus the tough division part). Neither would likely choose Minnesota but at least it shows the fans that the FO is at least trying to improve the team, rather than doing nothing. I honestly think there are at least 6 “mystery” teams at play here because I refuse to believe that the market for these two is between 3-4 teams, with only maybe 2 (PHL, CHW) with SERIOUS interest.

  7. I agree 8mark, I just think the purported WSox offer is so low, it is easy for us to beat. Making me believe that Middleton wants Harper more.

  8. Watched highlights of a 2007 Phils/Mets day game yesterday for chuckles. Game was last of 4 game set – swept by the upstart Phillies when Utley hit a single in the 11th inning. Before, the game was tied after Jason Werth walked, stold second and then third. It was in front of a sellout crowd who was going absolutely bonkers – he scored to tie it at 10-10 on So Iguchi’s single. Utley won the game with a single.

    It reminded me of several things — Werth was one really good player and he was totally into winning that game (shown in the dugout after etc.). He was obviously invigorated by the crowd. It was electrifying to watch this and remember how into the team the crowd was. I simply can’t imagine Werth not telling Harper what it is really like to play in Philly and how motivating the crowd became – despite the taunts and boos he heard after he left. My point, it has always been apparent that Harper wants to play before fans who are rabid, fill the stands, and his demeanor as a player is warrior like – and he wears that on his sleeve. Of the two free agents – he seems to me to be more Philly’s type of player / despite all arguments about his defense or hitting.

    1. One of the most entertaining comebacks I’ve ever seen. One of my all time fav Phillies games. I lost it on the double steal from Werth. Made extra sweet that it was against Wagner as well. I believe he trashed the city after leaving.

      On the topic of comebacks, the Phils,Dodgers game of the early 90s was a nice one too. I believe it was in 91 or 92 going off memory. A 9th inning surprise comeback in the mist of the all that losing. Glad I stayed tuned for that one!

      1. Tac3 – 7/15/91 game- down 6-1, scored 8 to win in the middle innings. Searcy (1-0) won it ; Mitchie Poo saved it…..in a 9-8 Phillies win at home. ???????? Is this the game ? Check The Baseball Almanac – though it doesn’t give you the details.

            1. Sorry guys, the game was further back than i though … 1990.

              The game sticks out in my mind, admist all those L’s from my early fan hood. Lol I remember arguing with my parents to leave it on/begging to extend my bedtime. I argued/pleaded my way to keep watching. Will just say they didn’t have the faith I did.

              Amazing how im a Phillies phan… the first coherent taste I got was 85-92 … of horrendous ball. Thank God for steroids and 93 🙂 … then back to crap 🙂

    2. One of my favorite personal Phillies stories from that time, may have even been that year (or 2008). A group of 8 of us would go to 3-4 Phillies/Mets games a year, 4 Phillies fans 4 Mets fans. Prior to each game we threw in $20 and picked a “Player of the game”. This game I didn’t bother to look at the starting line up and picked Chris Coste, get in the game and see that he’s not starting. $20 down the drain (some may remember where this is going) . . . Coste comes in the game in like the 6th or 7th, goes 4-4 with the game winning hit. Improbable win for the Phillies and myself. That team produced so many great memories for so many people.

  9. something tells me Machado is better suited for the scottie pippen role as a strong sidekick rather than the face of the franchise/leader role. that way he can just play and not have all the scrutiny that the leader gets.

  10. I see the offseason in three phases. In phase one Klentak upgraded our Offense, defense, and bullpen. Phase two will probably end in the next couple of days with announcements from Harper and Machado. In Phase three Klentak will need to acquire a back up catcher, if only to compete with Knapp. Depending on who the Phillies sign, there will be subtractions. If it’s Harper, Williams, Altherr, and to a lesser degree Herrera could be dealt. If it’s Machado, Franco is history. If the Phillies sign both, the fans who said “Blow it up” at the end of the season, can say “I told you so”. In that scenario, the Phillies will have added four new bats to their lineup (McCutchen, Segura, Harper, and Machado).
    A new era is being born in Philly, enjoy it.

  11. Mike, We still have to sign one of them. Despite the good moves Klentak made with Cutch and Segura and Robertson, we need 1 of the 2 bats. Nothing is signed yet, and I will worry until I see the news conference. Hinkie’s guarantee only calms me slightly, I have to actually see it to stop worrying. Because without 1 of them, it was not a good enough off season. And, yes, Back up C is important. Knapp’s D was worse than Alfaro’s. I also see some kind of trade, with one of the OFs and one of the RPs.

  12. Jake seems to be throwing down the gauntlet https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/phillies-jake-arrieta-warns-players-coming-up-on-new-contracts-youre-next/ar-BBS9t6y

    This is going to be the largest issue for the next collective bargaining agreement and I would put the odds slightly in favor of producing the next work stoppage.

    Owners are not going to get away with taking the lions share of revenues, they are not going to get away with controlling young players for as long as they do whilst suppressing their salaries

    and also suppressing veteran players earnings once they become FA’s. You can’t have it both ways without a mutiny IMO.

    1. Players don’t want to face the reality that their skills fade quickly. Arrieta was underpaid for his great years in Chicago but overpaid by the Phillies. He obviously doesn’t feel like he ever was paid for his great years and he’s probably right. The owners are now refusing to pay for prior results and the analytics predict future results. Manny/Harper being FAs at 26 is quite unusual. However we’ll see the same thing in 5/6 more years as the Braves and Nats brought up a 20 year old and 19 year old star last year. And Toronto will this year too.

    2. DMAR…personally I am on the fence.
      For example, one particular issue bugs me…..the opt-out clause.
      All player benefit….and usually the top tier players who are paid the most.
      If the players and union forego that option, there may be some leverage for them during any negotiation.
      Also…why not throw a larger bone to Triple A and Double A players who are basically 4A players……they are mostly in their 20s and can see the writing on the wall.

      1. For me the answer is a pretty easy one from the MLBPA side and that is shorten the length of team control and provide a shorter path to FA. Drafting teams of course get the right to match a players first FA contract if they don’t they get draft pick compensation. No more arbitration which is a stupid antiquated process and no more QO.

        And/Or Raise MiLB salaries to include players on the 40 man receive the MLB league minimum.

        1. Yes…..and make all contracts quasi-similar to the NFL…no guarantees.
          Production for every year.
          Both sides are happy then.

  13. I wanted Manny for his positional fit plus his unbelievable defense at 3b. But now I’ve shifted back to wanting Harper because we could use his attitude and I think he and Philly would be a match made in heaven. Get it done Phils!! Moves after that would be to sign Moustakas, trade Franco, trade Williams and Vinnie with Medina (might need a 4th piece) to Indians for Kluber, trade Hunter or Neshak, trade Nicasio, and then in an unbelievable move, sign Kimbrel to a 4 year deal. That would make us a legit playoff contending team.

    1. Nola, Kluber, Arrieta, Eickhoff, Pivetta or Eflin with a pen of Kimbrel, Robertson, Dominguez, Neris, Hunter or Neshak, and 3 of Ramos, Arano, Morgan, Alvarez, and Pazos would be great.
      A lineup of Cesar/Kingery, Segura, Harper, Hoskins, Moustakas, McCutchen, Hererra/Quinn, Alfaro/Knapp would be outstanding. It’s a playoff contender if healthy.

  14. Murray, I honestly feel there is a much better chance that we sign Keuchel than Kimbrel. Kapler does not want to designate a Closer, and I don’t see them interested in Kimbrel at all.

    1. I think you’re probably right but Keuchel doesn’t get me excited while Kluber may have faded late but is really good. The market for Kimbrel has been very quiet because of his stupid demands. Our pen with him would look dominant

  15. If Middleton was serious about spending “stupid money”, then at least 1 of Machado or Harper would be signed already. So now it’s more about spending a lot of money within reason. I don’t think the Phillies want to give 10 year contracts. I’m not even sure they want to give 8 year contracts.

    And Jim was right, why are we going to arbitration with Nola? Just split the difference and move on. If we have money to burn, we can’t give Nola an extra million? Do we really want to go into the season having Nola think that we are cheapskates?

    1. The FO is playing this perfectly not to mention they’re seeing (and prob a little surprised) that it’s not going to take as much stupid money as originally thought. I’m back on the, “getting one of them” train . . . Still think this is a perfect situation to go after both.

      1. I agree, Eric D. Whether we actually get both remains to be seen, but the Phillies are in an ideal position to allow the market to come to them. If 8/$250 is the Chisox offer to Machado, and Harper is looking to get 9/$340ish, the Phillies are within striking range of both.

  16. news from TWITTER: Word from Machado’s camp is that he’s signing with the highest bidder and there are LEGIT mystery teams involved.

    1. In case anybody is still questioning whether or not MLB FA’s put anything (favorite team, favorite city, weather, wants to play with his buddies, etc.) in front of the almighty dollar when deciding where to sign.

      1. It makes even more sense for both BH and MM to take the highest bid than it did at the beginning of the offseason. From the viewpoint of Arrietta, baseball economics are changing, and it’s too great of a risk to chance taking a high AAV now vs a bloated LT deal. Take the money while it’s there, or risk it in the new landscape.

    1. if they wouldn’t have made that bone-headed move to get Hosmer last year, they would definitely be ALL OVER Machado and probably even outbid the Phillies… kinda glad Boras tricked them into committing to Hosmer…

  17. Troll…so where are you hearing this???? San Diego is as far way from Machado’s beloved East Coast as can be, I simply do not believe it. And for the record, when I first heard last night about the reported 8/250 offer made to MM from the White Sox I immediately felt that message was directed squarely at the Phillies and White Sox fans.

    IF, and this is a big IF, the White Sox fail to sign MM they have to at least have appeared to go the extra mile in order to satisfy a fan base that has been expecting a Machado signing since the day they traded for his brother-in-law and then signed his best friend. And, truth be told, I could see MM signing with the White Sox.

    But if he goes elsewhere [see Phillies here] it will be important for the Sox fans to feel they did all they could to bring him in. Not only that, if he is strongly considering joining the Phillies, this report is A] giving the Phils at least some idea of what it will take to sign him, at least 8 years and north of $250 million and B] reminding the Phils immediately after their positive meeting on Saturday with Harper that MM is still out there and isn’t a player to be taken for granted.

    Look, I am unsure what will transpire. I can make a case for the Phils signing both [lets face it, I have to believe the players would certainly welcome the opportunity to join the same team], I am holding on to Hinkie’s guarantee of the Phils getting one of them [and his arguments are valid and persuasive] and as a survivor of 1964, Black Friday and Playoff Cliff Lee blowing a 4 run lead in what I still believe was the key game of the entire 2011 playoffs I can’t help but be prepared for the team getting neither.

    But I am absolutely convinced that the rumored 8/250 announcement last night was directly made as a shot across the bow and was meant directly for the Phillies. And we should know very soon how the Phils respond to this shot.

    1. Twitter. I am sure that will be bashed, but the handle on there hasnt been totally off yet.

      The tweet just said Padres had checked in several weeks ago. That was the first I read about it.

      1. TrollU…I think AJ Preller really wants to make his mark in this free agency theater.
        Maybe he doesn’t have a shot with either, but he certainly would like to have his name and the Padres name out there and become relevant.Losing out last year on Ohtani was disappointing for the Padres, but their system is loaded with young prospects and they do have an OF glut right now so the Manny talk would seem to be expected.

    2. The Phillies FO is playing this very well. Regardless of what happens, we should all feel that Klentak and the FO are at least competent in their positions. This should no longer be questioned imo.

      I believe the rumored 30mi AAV is not true. I believe it is being floated to push the Phillies offer up, to bid against themselves. Same for the Whitesoxs. They can sit there and say “no we didnt”, but if the Phillies think we did, maybe we should raise it. Crazy game, and glad it’s not my money. I’d of left to live off grid after entering into the second month of this chase.

      I think the Phillies and Whitesoxs call the bluff from MMs camp. If they lose out, no worrries, they have Harper ready to sign.

      The Phillies FO is sitting with best hand at the table, no doubt in my mind. Even the most negative negadelphian can’t see the Phillies Coming out of this process with at least 1 of them. The case for both is more of a “should we” vs “we can’t”

      1. Tac3…..what message does it send ,by signing both Manny and Harper, to Mike Trout and Landis, his agent?
        Perhaps his hometown team is not in play now?
        March marks the 5 year anniversary he signed that extension with the Angels….there can be another offer coming in two months again.
        Phillies signing both , Manny and Bryce, may push him to accept the Moreno offer, since he may assume the Phillies will not be able to offer him in two years..

        1. This is true. For me, I hope and expect that our FO is smart enough to maneuver the back channels to let Trout know of their intensions to sign him, with either of these potential signings. Sure tampering exists, but easy enough for the FO to get around it with sitting at the Eagles stadium for 8 games a yeAr.

          You can argue they could afford all of them with their young talent being plugged in. The other factor is when the club options, can be exercised. We are all going to have to hurry up and wait, just like we are for the teams prospect development.

          I’m all for the greater good of the team vs any singular player, But it seems like Trout fits the bill for both. Will just have to wait and see.

          Wildcard: Does it matter if the Eagles pick Foles over Wentz, in Trouts decision?
          Lol I hope not.

          EIther way they should come out with a serious WS contender going either route, the question is what team is better suited for multiple runs at the title? The player that does that, That’s the player or combo of players I want

          1. Tac3…..to tell you the truth, i think they would hesitate on trying to sign both Manny and Harper.
            And as for affording the three of them plus Nola and Hoskins …that is a conservative $150M between them in three years. That may be too much for them to stomach, since they will probably break the luxury tax at that point.

            1. Will see which way they go, but I think they are in the drivers seat, so whatever the outcome is their choice. I feel it is 1 as well, but I won’t be surprised if it is both. If it is both, I hope the opt outs point to Trout being Philly bound. That to me is the key is they do sign both now. Trout to Philly seems to fairytaleish not to happen. I think, at bare minimum, the Phillies get a crack at signing him, just like we are experiencing with BH and MM. I can’t see trout passing up FA, it’s pretty rare when players do.

            2. Another aspect of signing both is thinking about the locker room if both sign. Harper is most likely going to command > $300 million whereas Machado is not likely to get that $300 according to numbers floating around. How would Machado feel in that locker room being second fiddle to Harper in a sense. I know it’s still a lot of money but just something else to consider.

            3. Maybe, Jason, but their respective contracts could be negotiated drastically different in terms of length, opt out clauses, AAV, etc. Harper may command 9/$340M (nearly $38M AAV) while Manny finally accepts 8/$280M ($35M AAV) but with varying opt outs and weighted differently, added value perks and the like.

  18. I think Corey Seidman on line at csn philly wrote a piece on “mystery teams” and mentioned the Padres for Machado. He also still had the Yankees as a mystery team for him. I don’t know if that is where TrollU saw it or someone also tweeted it, but in his defense, there is a story. CD, I agree with you completely! I loved Cliff lee, but blowing that game was the key in 2011, and I am still not over it.

  19. Logan O’Hoppe just cited by Baseball America as Number 5 among its list of 10 sleepers from late rounds in the 2018 draft.

    Just another of the many catchers in the system. He’s Number 30 on my prospect list and will rank higher if he continues to shine against more experienced competition.

    1. Logan O’Hoppe is my #33 and #2 catching prospect behind Marchan. I talked highly of Logan from the time he was drafted. The hit surprised me a lot, but if Logan can keep up decent batting average, decent BB and K rate he will shoot up real fast. Canon arm with very good defensive instinct!

  20. As soon as Middleton got their superstar signing, I hope they go back to the table and sign Aaron Nola to a long term deal and try to avoid the pain of the arbitration process.

    Tom Eshelman (my #49 prospect) fell so hard that he was not even invited to the Spring Training!! I love to see the LH battle between Gilbert, Singer and Tols. Gilbert might get the 1st crack if he pitch well early in the season.

    1. Kurt… Eschelman has not been invited to SP? I take that is a good sign for the org, but man … what a kick in the 🥜 for our control specialist. Always thought he’d find a way with his walk ratio so low. He must’ve regressed hard. Who can’t use a cheap mop up arm that throws strikes? Hopefully he can bounce back, but he is getting passed by.

  21. In terms of mystery teams, I’m not concerned. The FO has played this perfectly as well. Both players know where the money is, both want the most they can get. Telling everyone you have “stupid money” to spend …. imo will give the Phillies the last call before a deal is signed. In other years id be concerned, but not under these market conditions the Phillies find themselves in, it is the damn near The perfect storm. They will get who they want.

    One negative from the stupid money comment is the Aaron Nola arbitration. Nola knows they have stupid money, so hopefully a lt deal gets done before a case, which I expect, if not hopefully it is a friendly trial to let the league determined value.

  22. On Trout, I don’t think they lose a chance to sign him no matter who they sign before or how much it costs. And, I think they have Rhys tell Wentz who tells Trout that we are all in on him should he be a FA. So, I sign anyone I can to make this team a winner and more appealing to Mike Trout.

    1. There really should be a lot of creative avenues for the Phillies to afford all 3, if they decided that is they way they want to go. It’s certainly possibly, but not likely. I see 2 of the 3 being signed. I think it’s BH and Trout. Hinkie has touted that, and I just believe that since it looks like they have their Choice between MM and BH, that it will be BH they pick/sign. LT deals are risky, and having a players personality match the city’s will go over a lot smoother in the lean years. Can’t see MM aging well in Philly. In year 7, the team could change significant … but the boo birds will be right there to remind them how much money they are making to help the team lose. It doesn’t play well anywhere, but it certainly won’t here. I think this pushes them towards BH, & if his wife is the charity type… it leans even more so to BH imo.

      Hopefully we finally freaking know by Wednesday.

      1. Tac, Another thought: Machado is already slow and getting heavy. He doesn’t look like a guy who will age well. Harper, on the other hand, might retain his athleticism to a much longer age.

    2. Mike Trout is well aware that the Phillies and their fans want him. He hears it/reads it every day. The Phillies are not going to sign both Harper and Machado because that would, for all intents and purposes, prevent them from bringing Trout to Philly after 2020.
      Even while all the reporting that Matt Klentak wanted Manny Machado was going on, I’ve always felt a Trout-Harper-Hoskins threesome is/has been John Middleton’s ultimate goal.

      1. I agree. BH because of attitude over MM, and Trout in 2 years. If trout somehow resigns with LAA, the stupid money goes to Fill another hole.

        I have an old friend who is an inside source, but I haven’t spoken to him in awhile. Once this BH/MM is settled, I’ll reach out to him, see if he’ll throw me a bone on trout.

        It seems as if you planned for MM/BH FA signing, you’d plan for Trout’s FA. It is setting up nicely, for him to get paid, come home and push his hometown team over the hump.

  23. Tim Dierkes of MLBTR thinks both Machado and Harper will exceed Stanton’s $325M. I disagree in light of the trend toward shorter term deals. Not necessarily AAV for the top tier players, but we are seeing (and will continue to see) fewer years. MM and BH may get 8 or 9 years each (possibly 10 for BH) and Trout more perhaps when his turn comes around. All mortal players from here on will do well to get 6-8. That is, unless the next CBA brings forth changes to enable true young talent to get paid earlier, which would require the arbitration process to dramatically change, as in shorten in length of years.

    1. Sounds like the system needs to change. Reward teams who homegrow their players, to offer higher AAV & years with less of a pentalty towards the cap. I’d can’t imagine losing the players earlier than you already can. That to me is nonnegotiable, but beefing up their salaries should be, with less of a weight against the luxury tax. The first 5-6 years of a rookies Salary can be weighted on an escalating scale. Maybe allow the team who developed the player to have an advantage of resigning the player up to a certain number of Playing years, then the advantage Falls off and equal playing field for all FOs to bid.

      There are a lot of things that can be done, but baseball always seems very reluctant to change.

      1. If we’re trying to encourage home grown talent, why not just have all pre-FA players count the same towards the cap. You could have rookies be the league minimum, then increase it a bit each year until they hit FA.

        That would allow teams to pay their home grown players whatever they want and engender some loyalty, which may lead to needing less money on their FA contract. Owners certainly care about over spending on players, but most of the hedging when it comes to arb players is about staying below the threshold. Take that out of the equation and I bet you see much more generous offers to young players performing well.

        1. That sounds like it could work as well. Having a preFA cap for young talent with FA cap number. The CBA isn’t for a few years, but it sounds like the current system is doomed, or rather outdated for how the league now wants to compensate for performance. I’d imagine the teams want to eliminate the Ryan Howard type contracts & Pujols deals

          As of now, no way the current system survives.

  24. I wish that we could stop with the Trout talk, and collective bargaining agreement talk. That’s in the distant future, Now is the time to discuss 2019. We will sign Harper or Machado, but the other pieces to the puzzle will determine Klentak’s and Kapler’s futures. Does Klentak believe that the Phillies of April – July were real? Obviously not, because he added McCutchen, Segura, Robertson, and is feverishly chasing Harper and Machado. As much as I enjoyed the first four months, In my heart I knew it was a mirage. Are the Phillies as bad as the final two months? Klentak doesn’t think so because the starting pitching remains the same. He has addressed the inconsistencies of the bullpen, and the type of hitters that he’s added will help avoid a team-wide slump that we saw at the end of the season. Admittedly, I had many doubts about Kapler last year. In retrospect, he just didn’t have the bullets to get the job done. Many of the moves that he made (but not all) were the right moves, but the players didn’t deliver. To his credit, Gabe is a perfectionist, and a great communicator, he will improve. The team is still one of the youngest teams in baseball, but has added veteran leadership, and has the experience of August – Sept. behind them. Now is the time to “Be Bold”, and not punt with the possibility of getting Trout in two more years.

    1. Best thing I can say that bolds well for the 2019 Phillies, is the majority of their wins came outside the division. With most the of NL teams beefing up, that should help the Phillies catch the pack, if they themselves can win more divisional games. The Braves on the other hand lost a lot of their non division games. With the division beefing up, those wins should come harder for them now. Could see a regression from them. The Nats are the clear favorite to me as of now. If they Phillies can win more divisional games this year, and relatively match last years non divisional games, it should be a fun year.

      The east is tight, lower win totals should help win it

  25. I think the results from April through July were SP generated, and I thought it was a mistake to think that it would hold up through August and September and not bring in a reinforcement. They obviously think that this year they will see the young guys pitch well throughout the entire season, so bolstered the BP. I think it was clear all year that upgrades were needed in the everyday player department. My only disagreement with the Trout talk is when it seems someone advocates not needing to get better now and waiting for Trout as a plan. I would love to get him, but I don’t think Moreno ever trades him, and I would like to win before he gets here.

  26. Romus, that, and too many Ks were the biggest “things that needed fixing.” I think Alfaro gets better, although I am not sure how much. If we are keeping Herrera, he has to get better. Segura bolsters SS, moving Rhys to 1B improves LF. I don’t think Cesar had a good DRS, but I know he was minus 1 in DWAR. Franco was also a minus. We still need some work. Better defense helps the Pitching as much as another year’s growth will.

  27. I just clicked on Fangraphs that you posted Romus. Franco and Cesar were minus 12 and Nick minus 14. I did not think the numbers were that bad. We won’t even mention Rhys, He is already out of LF. Herrera got a 0, and I thought that he was worse.

    1. Matt13……their last 50 games…..16-34…I do not know what the defensive metrics were then, but for the whole season…it was horrific.
      In 2019 it has to be better.
      Alf’s DRS was a push zero….not a negative…..but he was still lower than most all catchers.

      1. slightly off-topic but if I remember correctly, Romus, you as well as I historically lamented the void created when Davey Lopes was not retained as baserunning and defensive outfield alignment coach…. do you have any thoughts on how last year’s Phillies coaches have done, for example Paco Figueroa, in their contribution to enhancing the Phils defensive play?

        1. I9Hearrt)PP……have not saw or read anything on that….though what i am trying to find is how the Phillies shifts related to the rest of MLB’s teams shifts.
          I am thinking the odd shifts they employed….especially with Franco, Kingery and Cesar, may have adversely affected their defensive play.
          And yes….there seem to be a void with Lopes departure a few years ago and has to been adequately filled. On the other hand…..Lopes had some great talent to work with in Rollins, Vic, Utley and Werth…on the bases and in the field.

  28. Todd Zolecki on WIP with Joe Giglio. Zolecki mentions what I’ve been posting for a while now: Klentak and his staff may have analytically preferred Machado, but Middleton likes Harper because of his star power.
    According to Zolecki, if the Phillies ink Machado, Franco could go to the Rangers for Mike Minor. I’d prefer Franco to the Padres for Matt Strahm, but it’s the same line of thinking (swap Franco for a LH swing man).

    1. The Phillies are playing this out wisely. Yes, it’s been beyond ridiculous how long the market has dragged on but I am confident that it’ll work out well. Machado’s market is not as flush as he would like, thanks to himself, and I am more annoyed by the “mystery team” nonsense, as if an unknown club is going to drive up his price that much at this stage. Plus ESPN reported that 8th year added to the offer from the White Sox, which was bogus. The Phillies could offer him 8/$250M today and jump to the lead for him. Not that they will or have to at this point. Let’s wrap up the Harper deal already and see what happens….

      1. agreed
        get Harper signed and then go back to manny see what the market looks like. you’ve got to figure if the numbers are close, we would be very appealing with a lineup of harper, MM and Hoskins
        that being said, I’m very happy with just harper and a few subsequent moves.
        I would assume if we sign harper but not MM, then Mouse is still in play as a 3rd basemen with a trade of franco to texas or SD

      2. 8mark – I’ve receached my limit for now. If one of them doesn’t sign by the end of tomorrow, I’m going to lay low for a good while. Not much can change until one of them is signed at this point. I’ve said just about all I can on it without a deal taking place.

        On the The mystery team stuff… its all nonsense, as far as A Phillies phan is concerned. Some late entry horse is just coming to raise the price on the Phillies? No mystery team is going to out spend the Phillies in the end. Not this year at least, all final deals will have to get by Middleton first, that ain’t happening at this point. For the rest of the teams, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to drive up BH/MM price when it will effectively raise all their players salaries & FA they want to sign, since BH&MM are resetting the market.

        Lastly, BH & MM need to pick, as well as Middleton/FO. Once that’s done, sounds like we can finally move forward.

        1. btw
          I think your point about how mystery teams driving up the price is not good long term industry business and unlikely to happen ( since, in the end, these are highly successful business men) is a great point.
          If nationals drove up the price on harper, it just means they have to pay more for rendon

      3. If Machado’s market truly is in the 225–250MM range, then I bet there is actually a mystery team or two in the fray. A team like the Padres could have just been waiting to see where this market ends up and jump in at the last minute…happens quite frequently, so why not this time? (again, I only believe this if his market truly is in that lower-to-mid 200million range–if/when the bidding gets higher, then this mystery team talk might fade out…)

    1. @sr – my limit is tomorrow evening. One of them needs to sign by then or I’m just going to start following the Olympic summer games for awhile 🙂 … more action there now than the baseball offseason.

      1. agreed
        baseball really misses the boat on the offseason
        there are so many player signings and trades waiting on MM and harper.
        the long dragged out process sucks the life out of the excitement even out of diehard fans
        not sure how you would do it, but a shorter, high impact signing period would add to the excitement

  29. There’s a pic floating on twitter of a flight going from philly to Vegas. Netjets. Apparently it’s got some link to the Phillies.

          1. Ahhh it’s Vegas…. from Philly, I think it’s coincidence.

            Would we expect the Phillies to fly out to Vegas vs BH flying into Philly to sign? I can’t recall when the player didn’t come in to the city he was signing with. Heck … just just off the old fax machine.

            I’d say it is more likely a team physician? Than Our FO heading out there again.

            1. Troll, no one is required to provide information on this site. It’s a forum for sharing ideas and opinions. Whatever accurate information we do get is appreciated. But when it gets saturated with hearsay and whispers from a dark alley, it becomes less enjoyable for readers. And when someone posts something that others take issue with, he/she will get feedback. It’s not personal. I don’t know you any more than you know me. Let’s leave it that way.

            2. No but you always call my info garbage and attack it. More so than anyone else.
              Trust me, I don’t want to know you, keyboard warrior.

  30. I know this is the least of their concerns right now but there really isn’t a backup first basemen on this roster (unless you count Knapp) There are a lot of players still unsigned and as spring training gets closer they could get one of these guys cheap. It would be a nice bat off the bench and occasional start to give Hoskins a rest. I like the guys that play multiple positions as well. Any interested in any of these guys cheap as a bench bat?

    Matt Davidson 1B / 3B
    Derek Dietrich 1B / LF / 2B / 3B
    Lucas Duda DH / 1B
    Wilmer Flores 1B / 2B / 3B
    Marwin Gonzalez 1B / LF / 2B / SS / 3B
    Brad Miller 1B / 2B
    Logan Morrison 1B
    Hanley Ramirez DH / 1B
    Mark Reynolds 1B
    Danny Valencia 1B / RF / 3B
    Neil Walker 1B / RF / 2B / 3B

    1. Listi has been invited to spring training. Keep an eye on him. Not saying he’s the next Max Muncy but a similar profile for a guy with a real hit tool who isn’t getting any younger. They may want to give him an opportunity.

      1. I like Listi but he’ll rarely play. Unlike last year, there won’t be a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. Harper (when he signs) Hoskins, Segura, McCutchen are going to play just about everyday. You also have Hererra/Quinn in CF and the catcher. So that leaves 2B and 3B as possible playing time for Kingery and the backup first basemen.

        I like Walker, Dietrich, Flores, Valencia and even Davidson if any of them would sign here and accept that role. Neil Walker is a switch hitter and proven vet. He’d be my first choice.

        1. I like walker or dietrich
          veterans, versatility, can get them on 1 yr deals
          obviously love gonzalez but his contract will be quite large and we can spend that on pitching or obviously toward position players if we try to sign MM and harper

    2. They have Dylan Cozens in the 40-man. Cozens can spell Hoskins batting from the left side. I’m not overly concern about the lack of back up 1B — this is probably the easiest bench position to fill.

      1. KK – When the Phillies sign Harper, Williams will probably be the odd man out. I also like Cozens as the 5th outfielder, back up 1B. If Williams can’t be packaged in a deal for a back up catcher, I’d rather see Klentak reload the farm system.

        1. I agree. Nicky Dubs possibly has the best trade value amongst the young OF — under team control for a while and a potential 5-tool (if everything clicks) despite of the high K rate.

          A package of Eflin and Williams can fetch a solid MLB player or a good stable of prospects.

      2. KK, Cozens has added a first baseman’s mitt to his equipment bag. I expect him to report early and take balls at first. Note that Phantasy Week starts next week, a week later than last year. i think more would be in early if it weren’t for this disruption.

        1. @JP – thanks!! The old Bash Brothers can be platoon brothers in the majors. Just like Quinn, I really like to see Cozens get more ABs up in the majors. Both Quinn (speed) and Cozens (Power) got some game changing tools that can be fun to watch!

      1. I thought about Cozens but he has never played 1B before. I know it is easy but still has never done it. If we are just putting OF at 1B then we are fine. Williams or Altherr could do it. I’d still like to see them add a veteran bat for the bench like a Walker.

        Bench could be (after signing Harper)
        Wiliiams – L
        Quinn -S
        Walker -S
        Kingery – R
        Catcher

        Altherr – R
        Cozens – L
        could be in the mix if they deal an outfielder…after signing Harper.

          1. Marwin Gonzalez is going to want to play, he won’t come here. I’m looking at the backup first-basemen as the 25th man on the roster. Walker is better than Cozens (as of now), Florimon, Walding and a bunch of those other ineffective hitters they trotted out there last year. I like the idea of a veteran sitting on the bench than a young umproven guy. Where is Ross Gload when you need him. He’d be perfect, lol

  31. As of today Jan 15, Machado’s best offer is from the White Sox for 7/$200-$210M. To those who insist the Phillies will miss out on BOTH Harper or Machado, there is absolutely no way they don’t sign one and probably Harper/Boras already have a framework for a deal in place with all the legalese being hammered out this week. I predict he gets 10 yrs/$$350. If Machado doesn’t draw another offer from any other team exceeding 8/$250, he will take that offer as highest bid from the Phillies as well, perhaps front loaded with generous opt out provisions. But again, there is ZERO percent chance that the Phillies miss out. The more reputable reports say that Manny will not take a discount to play for a “preferred” team.

  32. bmark, I know exactly how sr feels. I have always thought the negadelphia stuff was for those who are never happy with whatever the coaches/FO do. sr and I are more of the nervous type. We want them to succeed and to win, but we have just been disappointed so many times that we are a bit shell shocked. I don’t know what you would call that. I want both, really believe we will get one, but will worry until I actually see the signing.

  33. And on another topic. There was an Alfaro story in the Athletic. I really have to root for him. We forget, sometimes, how hard it is, and I try not to bash the players too much. I don’t have the same restraint when I think any FO has failed us, but I root for all of our players. Can’t help but root for Alf, and, although I certainly see the flaws in his game, I was reminded of how young he is in Starting Catcher terms. So, I am looking for great strides from him this year. And, you have to love that he seems to really want to be good.

    1. the best thing about Alfaro is that he is under team control for 5 more years!! As long as Alfaro is not a liability defensively, batting 7th or 8th with power potential is valuable.

  34. Matt – I agree. From the first game of last season to the final game, Alfaro was markedly better defensively. Offensively, he needs to be more patient, to wait for better pitches to hit, but the ball jumps off his bat.

    1. Yes! While we evaluate each position to determine which needs upgrading, I have always been bullish on El Gatto. He’s raw in many parts of his game but there is so much to dream on over his next 5 years. Tape measure homerun power, cannon arm, framing pitches (even now), and intangibles. Future leader like Chooch, despite the language barrier.

  35. agreed. I like Alfaro and think his game will continue to get better. Love to see a veteran backup catcher that can work with him on the finer points of the position

  36. Someone (an eyewitness I would presume) just tweeted that among those on the 40 man roster, the first to be just seen throwing long tosses on the Clearwater outfield turf? Odubel Herrera. I have been among his biggest detractors. I have enough grey hair. BUT if the brass sees fit to give him a fresh start, so can I. I will root for him. Jim mentioned an issue that set him back last year, and it is no longer an impediment. Sincerely wish Doobie well! GO PHILLIES!!!

    1. I was that eyewitness. I tweeted it out this morning. He was here Monday, the first player from the 40-man roster to report. It was 50 degrees this morning at the Complex.

      Among the 15 on hand are – first, Alec Bohm; then Seth McGarry, Tyler McKay, Ben Brown, Kyle Young, Jake Kinney, Adam Cox, Carlos De La Cruz, Nick Matera; Sandro Rosario; this Monday Odubel Herrera and Jose Alvarez; and today (I think) Colby Fitch, Gregorio Petit, and Ali Castillo.

    1. I tired and got Pujols, Grullon, Llovera, Medina, Mickey Mo, C and Dohy.

      Here are the names of the prospects as per Phillies….

      José Pujols, Deivy Grullón, Tyler Gilbert, Mauricio Llovera, Adonis Medina, Édgar García, Mickey Moniak, Austin Listi, Cornelius Randolph, Adam Haseley, Connor Seabold, Kyle Dohy

    2. Looking forward to the kid 5th from left to blossom into a stud SP for the Phillies maybe as early as this season. DO NOT TRADE HIM !!!

      1. @hinkie – I’m glad that 8mark is not the GM, otherwise, Medina is no longer a Phillie. I agree that Medina will be a really good SP arm.

          1. In fairness, Medina maybe our top arm/prospect. Sixto health is a concern. His injury was dealt with rest, hopefully that is enough. If it wasn’t, it’s going to be disappointing. I can potentially see why the organization would want to see if rest could clear it up, and leave his precious arm untouched. It will just result in a lot of lost time. Not to mention, there were rumblings/whispers about Sixto as a high leverage bullpen arm from smarter baseball people than me. (Don’t shoot the messenger)

            Trading Medina would need to involve something very significant for me, a true #2 or above, or a player at a position of need, Allstar level, if not, you need to treat Medina as the teams top pitching prospect until Sixto proves his health.

  37. From Ken Rosenthal’s notes (published this morning) in the Athletic:

    “Moustakas also remains a possibility for the Padres, and he could appeal to the Phillies if they land Bryce Harper rather than Manny Machado. The Phils likely have a trade lined up for third baseman Maikel Franco, possibly to the Padres, that they could execute either way.”

    I’ve been trumpeting a Franco for Matt Strahm deal for weeks/months now.
    BTW … if Strahm isn’t available, I’ve always loved Cal Quantrill (wanted to draft him at a discount with 1-1 pick in 2016) and Tirso Ornelas.

    1. The Padres have an excess of OFs, that’s what they would want to move for Franco. Renfroe’s numbers are similar to Franco’s. He would look very good in Cleveland as part of a 3 way deal.

    2. @hinkie – i also like the names you mentioned but I don’t think Preller will trade Strahm or Quantrill for Franco straight up. The Padres FO expressed interest with Nick Dubs in the past. Maybe a Franco, Nick plus of the LH pen arm (Pazos, Alvarez or Davis) and David Parkinson for Strahm and Quantrill might interest Preller.

      1. KuKo … I think you may be underselling Maikel Franco, or at least over complicating things. I believe Klentak would most like a LHP in exchange for his current 3Bman. I’ve always felt Franco for Strahm is a fair exchange. Todd Zolecki brought up a possible deal with Texas that would flip Franco for Mike Minor.

        IMO, Quantrill alone isn’t enough. That’s why I’ve thrown in Ornelas.

        1. @hinkie – not really. Most posters also think that I’m undervaluing Cesar more than a year ago (everybody believes that Cesar is worth a controllable solid SP arm).

          I don’t value players in a trade or FA. I read the market and let the market established the market value for the players. As long as Mous is available in FA, Franco’s trade value will not be maximized. Also, if Franco for Strahm is deemed a fair deal, it should be done a done deal in Day 1 of the offseason given the Phillies need for a LH pen arm and Klentak/Kapler intent to move on from Franco.

          Franco for Minor is I think a fair deal.

            1. Mous would be solid for sure

              I know people say Franco is younger and cheaper but I feel like Mous is more consistent

          1. Padres have a lot of rumblings going on for 3B upgrades.

            If MM does sign with the Phillies, I’d imagine Klentaks leverage goes down a decent amount. I can see them easily being Low balled and basically taking it to clear salary & 40 man roster spots. Franco should return a decent piece, but the way the offseason has unfolded, I wouldn’t be surprised you are selling Franco at .25-.50 on the dollar. If Senzel winds up on the padres, would they still want Franco? There are rumblings of a 3 team trade that could effect Franco

            Would be nice if MM or BH could find a pen ….

            1. Reading this Manny and harper thing can linger into Feb. interested to see what happens with Franco and Moustakas

  38. In that picture, Mickey Mo looks so young, we forget how young he is. I still think he has a fairly higher ceiling. Good hit, excellent D, CF. He is another prospect I am looking forward to seeing a big year from.

  39. While we wait for the Phillies to sign either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, I wanted to look ahead to this summer’s draft (never too early). For the first time in six years, the Phillies won’t be picking in the top ten. That makes predicting a possible Phillies choice (at 1-14) more difficult.
    We can look at recent drafts to determine that this area of the draft is a sweet spot for top (sometimes sliding) prep players. Over the last three years, guys like Jason Groome, Joshua Lowe, Will Benson, Alex Kirilloff, Forrest Whitley, Blake Rutherford, Shane Baz, Trevor Rogers, Nick Pratto, Jordan Groshans, Connor Scott, and Mathew Liberatore have all been picked between 1-12 and 1-18. In addition, Nolan Gorman and Brice Turang were chosen at 1-19 and 1-21 last June. Those two were considered top five (if not top three) picks the winter before the draft.
    Here are a couple of HS stars who could join the long list above who may (or may not) slide to the Phillies at 1-14.

    * Bobby Witt Jr is a possibility for the Orioles at 1-1. He’s a SS who has been staring in summer showcases for the last two years. The thing to remember is Brice Turang (last year) and Blake Rutherford (in 2016) were also thought to be possible 1-1’s six months out from their drafts. Like Turang and Rutherford, Witt is an over-aged prep player. He’ll be 18 years and 11 months when drafted. That will be held against him by most teams.

    * Spencer Jones is a tall (6’7″) and lanky (200 lbs) two way player. When Jones isn’t excelling as a power hitting LH hitting 1Bman, he’s on the mound as an intimidating LHSP. Jones has a lot of projection. The sky’s the limit. The other thing to know is Jones plays at the same HS Mickey Moniak played at (La Costa Canyon) in Southern California.

    1. Two other (non HS) players the Phillies could/should have an interest in are:

      * Carter Stewart was drafted by the Braves last summer at 1-8. However, Atlanta low balled him after discovering ligament damage in his right (throwing) wrist. Stewart was a HS senior last year and was up to 96 MPH, and had some of the craziest spin rates/one of the best CB’s in recent drafts. He’ll throw for a JUCO this season, and be available again this June.

      * Logan Davidson is a swith-hitting college SS. Johnny Almaraz drafted Davidson on day three (30th round) of the Phillies famous 2016 draft. Davidson always intended to play for Clemson (his father also played there), and didn’t sign with the Phillies. He has only been average in college so far (.289/.398/.509 27 HR’s in two seasons). In addition, he has showed miserably on the Cape in the summers of 2017 and 2018. Still, Davidson has the tools to put it all together this season and climb back up draft boards.

      1. Hey Hinkie! If you want I will start a separate, weekly draft page so we can keep all draft talk separate. It would be nice to have all comments, scouting reports, and video in an easily found spot. Let me know what y’all think.

  40. Stark, Gelb and Rosenthal all hear that the Harper/Machado situation may linger into February. IMO, that may be to the Phillies benefit. None of us want this to go on indefinitely. But patience may pay off like it did with the Arrieta situation (on a much smaller scale, of course). I think Franco will be traded on the heels of the Phillies signing either Machado or Moustakas. The risk of trading Maikel sooner is being left to overpay for either FA 3B. So….we wait.

    1. The other side of the coin…..waiting until February to trade Maikel, you may have a slim market since almost all the clubs will have finalized their off-season moves, and have to sell low.
      I say take the risk now and move him.
      Padres are probably one of only a few teams needing to fill the third base position.
      Preller will not wait around…now he is talking Senzel of the Reds.

        1. Yeah…I am sure they are.
          And if things do happen to change without notice, in the third base market, by unexpected trades involving other teams, they will adapt and move on..

        2. I would think that Boras (Moose’s agent) and Klentak are keeping each other up to speed on his market temperature. Under the circumstances, I believe it reasonable to think that Boras knows the math. No Machado means Moose gets a small share of the stupid money, but more than say SD would offer? Or CWS? Harper and Moustakas could be considered a package deal without undue coersion on the latter, of course.

          1. I am all for Moustakas and Harper together……but my issue….Franco is a low sale if ti drags into February. That market for him will be all but dried up, especially if and when Preller pulls the trigger and moves one of his surplus OFers for a third baseman…..so there goes the one main team that could bring back needed assets for Franco.
            Looking around the league…..third base openings are few and far between…most teams have theirs already in place. Maybe the Rays or Royals, not sure who else.

            1. Texas looks like a perfect fit; there was talk about the Phils’ interest in Mike Minor (which I’m not super excited about…), but there could be some level of trade interest there…

    2. Matt Gelb also says in today’s Athletic piece that the Phillies have made it clear in negotiations that they will NOT sign both Harper and Machado. So, with that I will refrain from such speculation in any future posts. (You’re all welcome 😉)

      1. I believe Jim Salisbury also alluded to that in December right after the winter meetings.,,,highly unlikely that the Phillies sign both, or something to that extent..

        1. I believe Hinkie has also let it be known for quite a while the Phillies would not be signing both Harper and Machado. “Aggressive but not reckless” this winter. The game plan is pick up superstar #1 now and save room for superstar #2 after 2020.

          Middleton’s dream scenario: Trout-Harper-Hoskins !!! That scenario is coming more into focus.

          1. Okay, this is out-of-the-box thinking possibly bordering on sacrilege, but if they were able to sign Machado why not do it. Trout-Harper-Machado (in whatever order) is certainly appealing too. By the 2021 season, Harper may be ready to move to first base. Or Alec Bohm. Or any free agent. I don’t think the Phillies have to stay “married” to Hoskins, he could become expendable and traded.

            1. Jim, you’ve made reference to Hoskins before as a player whom the Phillies could eventually move or to whom they might not be committed. Is that your idea or have you heard rumblings to that effect?

            2. Just my observation. Had the Phillies succeeded in their attempt to acquire Paul Goldschmidt (the deal was looking good until the Phillies insisted on including Santana), Hoskins would have been a player without a position. If they were willing to make that deal, I don’t believe they are that committed to Hoskins. They couldn’t reach agreement with him last year on an extension. He’s not arb eligible until 2021, and doesn’t reach free agency until 2024. They can ride his affordable, projectable salary over the next five years or trade him as a player with an attractive contractive at any point during the next five years. Or not, depending on how the FA contracts are constructed with opt outs, etc. My point is, unless he is/becomes Goldschmidt/Freeman/Votto/Rizzo/Abreu there’s no need to consider him untouchable. And, while first base is his “natural” position, he is barely an average first baseman. Everyone overlooks that aspect for the Santana signing. Santana was a big upgrade defensively over Hoskins. All of this is me being bored with the Machado/Harper stuff and and just making an absurd observation and trying to justify it.

            3. @JP – I agree with your observation. With the way the market looks, Middleton both Machado and Harper can be had less than initially market projection — this is my basis why I predict a 50-50 chance to sign both. Middleton needs to be opportunistic. Having both Machado and Harper is really a good fallback option in case LAA successfully lock up Mike Trout long term.

              Also, it looks like both Machado and Harper are looking for most financial security. The Phillies just need to structure the contract where Machado and Harper are guaranteed to stay as Phillies until Mike Trout hits open market and get flexibility in the form of options, opt outs and trade kickers in case they need to move one of them.

            4. With Boras now representing Rhys, entertaining any extensions may not be applicable.
              So he could be a trade commodity in a few years….opening the door for Darick Hall at that point. 🙂

            5. Let me add this – I would not hesitate to offer Hoskins and Sixto as a foundation for a package for the next two years of Trout, hedging the probability he would be most agreeable to re-sign after 2020. Hoskins is a good major league hitter but not so unique in his skill set. Sixto is high risk and worth the risk for acquiring two more prime years of the best player in the world.

      2. There are a lot of good reasons that the Phillies should not sign both players, and, truth be told, while there was hope among some of the faithful, there was never a likelihood that this could happen. However, there is no good reason to leak that they would only sign one other than to apply pressure to both to accept a deal before the high bidder drops out of the bidding for one of them. I would watch and let things unfold- we really don’t know what the front office is thinking, nor do we know either their strategic or tactical plans.

  41. By the way there seems to be a certain amount of unhappiness at Gelb’s report today that the Phils have indicated to the agents of Harper and Machado that they will only be signing one of them. My first reaction…of course that is what they will tell them, this gives them a certain amount of financial power since they are the only team announcing they might be spending “stupid money” this winter.

    Look, I suspect this is probably true. Hinkie has insisted [and I completely get it] that with the end game being Trout the Phils will do nothing to hamstring their future efforts to bring him in by spending over $600 million this winter on both MM and Harper. And it does at least have to give the agents for the two players pause given that the Phils are the linchpin that keeps their desires for $300 million dollar deals alive and once the Phils sign 1 of them [big assumption for sure but it looks like they are the only team in on both of them] the competition for them might just go down.

    My gut tells me this…Klentak and McPhail want MM, Middleton wants Harper and should they sign one of them, I could still see the other side say “hey, why not try for the other player?” Its a fascinating, and oft times, maddening game of chicken and despite the reports that this could go into February my sense is that one of them signs this month.

    History tells us it won’t be Harper because Boras always goes at his own pace but I also sense that many of his other clients [Moustakas, Keuchel, Gonzalez] won’t be signing till Harper does and this could place some internal pressure on Boras to get the Harper deal done. Lozano is not really representing any other top client this off season than Machado so it seems he might not feel the pressure to get a deal done.

    That said, I still believe Machado gets signed first.

    1. Cal, Dream – that is a very thoughtful and reasonable take on the market. I like that the agents and players will now feel more pressure to take the money sooner than later, whenever that is.

  42. As has been mentioned by others – I still think that if only one of the 2 big fish are signed, the Phils will go after Keuchel and / or Mous – depending upon if Harper signs first under Gelb’s hypothesis. Either way it is spreading the money around to fill additional needs and most likely with shorter term contracts so as to not inhibit future FA signings. Kind of a compromise between Owner/FO, vs. MacPhail’s point of not signing everybody but to save for the future too.

    1. It is a safer bet, the bold bet would be to sign both and tell Trout to look elsewhere.

      Having 2 contracts go bad would be crippling. I can see why it makes more sense to spread the money, and bet your prospects develop to help your title window.

      I can live with one, especially if player is talent enough to avoid spiking the 1st basemen!

      1. Are far as signing both, imho, if you can; which means it doesn’t hamstring your future, and I don’t mean the future of offering the biggest contract in baseball history to Trout. I’m talking smaller to med size upgrades, or signing Nola to an extension. At this juncture it doesn’t seem like signing both would hamper the future.

        You than can move the following players: Franco, Hernandez (or Kingery), Williams, Quinn, Herrera, Neshek (or Hunter), Bohm (would they have to wait?)
        Moving those (depending on the guys moved) would free up money AND bring in talent or prospects. Theoretically you could move Kingery, Franco, Hunter and Herrera and save close to 20-25m (you’d prob have to send some money)?

        2019 Line Up

        Hernández
        Segura
        Machado
        Harper
        Hoskins
        McCutchen
        Alfaro
        Pitcher
        Quinn (Herrera if he wasn’t moved)

        This will be the last post talking about both on my end. I do realize that’s not going to happen.

  43. Read unsubstantiated report where the new GM of the Mets, Brodie Van Wagenen , wants to get in on the game and make his splash….as the mystery team. Whether he can convince the Wilpons and Katzs is another thing.

  44. I think that Harper signs first … with the Phillies. After last weekends meeting, I believe that they’re working out the details right now. It’s a different team from last year where we still had a lot of question marks. Harper and Segura are huge upgrades in the field and at the plate. McCutchen is a huge upgrade defensively and will replace Santana’s offense. We have six capable starting pitchers. Barring injury, Eflin is most likely to be dealt or start the year in Lehigh. We’ve got our #1 catcher in Alfaro, but need a solid back up. I still like A J Ellis, but I trust Klentak’s choice. Personally, I like the infield, but if the Phillies have decided to move on from Franco, I’d rather see them trade for a replacement. I just don’t like Moustakas. The bullpen is overcrowded, but Dominguez, Robertson, Arano, Neris, and Ramos are locks for opening day. That leaves Alvarez, Hunter, Morgan, Neshek, Nicasio, and Pazos to fight it out for the remaining two spots. Alvarez are Morgan have the edge with Pazos starting the year in Lehigh.

      1. I agree. Essentially the same pitcher though I give Arano the edge at this point. If one was a lefty, different story. But Alvarez and Pazos have the inside track to 2 LHP spots.

    1. I guess it is not the first time he has disagreed with a beat guy.
      He seems to think the Phillies want to sign both and cannot.
      Just more fodder on this whole situation.

  45. This is one reason why I wasn’t a big fan of the McCutchen signing . . . Let me ask this, if they didn’t sign him, would it be more likely they could get both? I’d argue if they didn’t sign McCutchen they WOULD sign both (or at least attempt to). You’d have his money plus the savings on Franco after trading him to go after Harper. Now that the market isn’t as high money wise as originally thought, they may be kicking themselves in the rear. I’m grasping I know, I just thought we might be surprised w both signing bc of how things have shaken out.

    1. Wrong, they don’t want both. They want one star for crazy high money, not two. Cutch will be a great fit on and off the field.

      1. yea, and if signing BOTH now means no pursuit of Trout, then don’t do it now. One star player (either MM or BH) may not be enough to propel this team to the postseason automatically, but it will greatly improve the team and leave an opening for Trout. I’m not saying plan everything around the prospect of Trout coming here, but the Phils shouldn’t take themselves out of the Trout sweepstakes by signing both MM and BH now. Phils are good with one right now.

    2. I liken Cutch’s arrival here to that of Raul Ibanez back in ’09 (although Raul was joining a championship club with a veteran core). I think he could tear this ball park up and be that steady run producer, and that genuine leader the club needs while Harper (we can at least now suppose) is the face. Hoskins should not have to be the front man on this squad like last year, which is a good thing. Just let him settle into his big league career at 1B and play.

    3. Let’s look deeper. McCutchen is making 17mil in AAV I believe? You’re saying McCutchen is preventing them from signing both? I don’t believe that to be the case, here is why. If they shed 17m in AAV then you are saying they could essentially sign both. So say they did, who is on the chopping block when they do? Definitely Franco, Possibky Cehe And Herrera, or just 1 – and you can dump Neshek or Hunter. That’s a fair amount options to shed 17m AAV.

      Personally I think it’s Harper. I just think he goes over better with the fans, potentially weakens the Nats depending if you thing Rendon is less valuable. Machado is too easy to hate due to this past postseason Mc and his heart to heart confession about hustling. I think it’s more likely he is move valuable than BH over the same period of time, but the owner wants Harper for obvious business reasons.

      Put it this way, does it make
      More sense to pay a player who fans with think of closer to a chase utley or closer to a Manny Rameriez? Signing both is delicate, if they both sign LT deals and play below expectations. The franchise would go into Sixers mode.

      Those salaries being traded could allow for both.

  46. I agree on Cutch. I don’t think that influenced the 1 or 2 decision at all. He was brought in for veteran leadership, and because they believe he plays well in CBP. USA reports we want Harper, Keuchel and Kimbrel. The best part of these signings getting done is a break from all the blogs and tweets predicting what is going to happen. We will need a break until the trade deadline. I could see Keuchel signing a contract just like Arrieta, if he lasts that long, but for less $ per year. Kimbrel is a harder one to see us going after unless it is for 2 years.

    1. Why Kimbrel would be my first question.
      Understand Keuchel , on a 3 or 4-year deal, but Kimbrel , with the arms already in the pen…..how does that make any sense?
      What is Kapler now calling the personnel moves? Sounds like his strategic thinking.
      Who knows…maybe Kimbrel becomes the ‘opener’

      1. Why Kimbrel? Look at his career numbers. You can never have too many dominant bullpen pieces. Remember when yanks got Chapman when they already had betances and miller? Same idea.

        1. Yeah, he’s been really good, but he will command 5 years most likely – years 1 and 2 will likely be fine, but after that – ugh, not a good risk at all. Old relievers are like old running backs – pass.

    2. I think you guys are missing my point however I don’t know that I know how to make it make sense. I’ve floated it to others and they see my point but it was verbal. Let me see if I can break it down a little better, give me a few.

  47. Well, it’s official – Jon Heyman tweeted that whoever the Phillies sign this winter, they will make a “big play” for Mike Trout in 2 years. He also says that whispers on an extension with LAA is unlikely. Trout will enter the FA market. Nothing we haven’t surmised ourselves but it’s cool when a national media guy puts it out there.

    1. 8mark … What am I? Chopped liver? Why is only official when John Heyman tweets Phillies are going after Mike Trout in two years. C’mon … I’ve been telling you guys for months now the Phillies want only one superstar now so they can have the financial flexibility to bring Tout home after 2020.
      BTW … I’ve also posted numerous times Mike Trout is not going to consider a LTX with the Angels this winter.

      1. You’re prime rib, Hinkie. How about Bob Nightengale just tweeting minutes ago that the Phillies will have Harper OR Machado OR both in uniform come opening day!

  48. Phillies rumored looking at adding Harper, Kuechel, and Kimbrel …

    Whaaaat? Sounds like just as much money as BH & MM

    I can see BH and Kuechel but I’d assume they were done at BH and then onto trades. If they did get all 3, what becomes of the prospects? So many will be blocked.

    1. At that point maybe they trade Hunter, Nicasio, and Neshek. That’ll clear up $20mil depending on if they eat any money. From there they give NOLA a nice salary bump. They keep their prospects for a nice July trade of Trout 🙂

    2. I like that they want to spend money, but really hope they don’t do so stupidly. They did that last year a little with Santana and were really lucky to be able to dump his contract. I would never sign Kimbrel (because he’s going to command at least 4 years and he’s too old for that type of contract as a reliever) and would only sign Keuchel for a year or two at most. I mean, he’s very much okay (he’s a 3, depending on the year), but I don’t want his salary clogging things up in 2021 and beyond.

  49. Tac3, It is not the money, it is the years. I agree that Kimbrel seems unlikely, but I can see Keuchel on a 3/option yr deal.

    1. By the way, on one level, if the contract is not too long, signing guys like Keuchel and Moustakas is fine. At another level, it is part of a larger issue/problem for this franchise. My view is that when you have to pay big money for guys who are merely okay, you haven’t gotten the proper value from your player development system or the trades you’ve made. You want your big dollars tied up in stars or super competent players like Segura. You really don’t want to be paying $18 m a year to a guy like Keuchel and that’s what a team like the Cardinals does really well – you need to focus on bang for the buck.

  50. The sad part is that I’m sooooooo tired of all these rumors & yet I can’t stop reading them. IMO MM would be a better overall value & player because of his elite defense if he would play 3rd. If he don’t want too then definitely go after BH. I also just think the city can better relate to BH. Either way I hope this is over soon, like everyone else.

    1. I’d much rather the sign Moustakas to a 3 year contract than Kimbrel to a 5 year contract. I’ve looked at his stats and have this sneaking feeling the Moustakas is about to have some really good years where he puts it all together. It would be nice to have him knocking in runs as the 5th or 6th batter in a line-up and he plays good D. Depending on the deal, he’s an attractive guy to have.

      1. Agree….plus he brings veteran leadership , along with play-off and WS experience.
        Intangibles that pay dividends after Labor Day.

          1. It’s not that – it’s the idea not only of paying a relief pitcher big money, but giving this money to a reliever who will soon be in his mid-30s – it’s a very risky proposition.

          2. These prospective signings totally depend on years. Keuchel for 3 plus a mutual option yr is fine. Kimbrel the same. Let’s remember that bullpens are constructed and utilized differently now, especially under Kapler. Moustakas for 2 yrs plus a mutual option yr.

      2. Agreed, and Bohm could potentially be a cheap productive replacement in the future. I still rather just roll the dice on Franco’s potential to put it together. Kimbrel … 5 years is to long unless it has 2 team option years

  51. A reader on another Phillies blog reported that Doobie was spotted recently and appears to have shed mucho pounds and looks more defined in the arms.
    He may have taken to heart Kapler’s advice on off-season conditioning.
    Of course, I heard that in the past about players shedding weight…Ryan Howard….Maikel Franco last year…so have to see if it is true.

    1. Hererra was fat last year, no doubt. He absolutely needs to get in better shape. He’s still a young guy with lots of talent. I expect him to be our CF this year with Quinn as the 4th OF.

    2. If they feel they are not set in the BP the best RP out there “bang for the buck” is Adam Ottavino dude had a crazy 13K/9 in CO none the less.

      That cat does crazy sh!t with a baseball and equalizes lefties very well

  52. As for the Phils possibly chasing Moustakas, Keuchel, and Kimbrel, it reminds me of a fantasy baseball draft with money bids and only one team has money left. If the Phils can get discount deals, sign these guys by all means. If they can get the two pitchers on 3 year deals and Moose on a 2 year deal, why not.

    1. Keuchel and Kimbrel will not sign short term contracts. If the Phillies foregoes the possibility of signing both Harper and Machado to have the payroll flexibility to go after Mike Trout, they will also not going to sign both Keuchel and Kimbrel since it will big $$ commitment to the payroll preceding Mike Trout’s free agency.

      I can see the Phillies improving the rotation but it will be via trade route — with Nicky Dubs, Eflin, Gamboa and prospects like Morales, Parkinsons can be involved too.

      1. Phillies could get Keuchel on a 4-year deal if they wait long enough.
        Not sure about 3 years….maybe a mutual opt at 4 could do it.
        He wants 5, but like Arrieta, after awhile they want to get into a camp and may settle for something shorter than their original wish.

  53. Herrera cf
    Segura ss
    Harper lf
    Hoskins 1b
    Moustakas 3b
    McCutchen rf
    Hernandez 2b
    Alfaro c

    ….even Kapler couldn’t tinker much with that lineup.

    1. thank god if this happens
      the constant lineup changes drove me crazy
      interesting that you have Herrera first and hernandez further down
      I like it but not sure what kapler does
      Herrera is at his best when focus is getting on base not hitting for power and pulling everything
      he might also go with hernandez is 9th spot

    2. 8mark, lol honestly I see Kapler batting the P 9th, Kingery/Cehe probably hit 9th. Not saying I agree, I just believe that after hearing Kapler explain the explaination for Why you would do that unorthodox batting lineup … that he for sure will do it. Let’s say he’ll run a lineup like that out 20% of the games, when he feels it gives them the best chance to win.

    3. I guess it is a question of where and how often Kingery plays. I still think he would benefit playing everyday in AAA and working on his approach/pitch recognition but at his salary I doubt that will happen. Even with Hernandez supposedly having a broken foot he still played 153 games and Kingery only got 23 innings at 2nd.

  54. if they sign Harper, I’m most interested in Mouse and keuchel because I think they fill holes and are doable in term of contract length
    love to have all 3 just but kimbrel is 3rd on my list
    that leaves franco and nick Williams available to trade
    mouse can be back up 1st base
    kingery as superutlity IF
    Quinn as superutility OF

    1. If they sign all these players, I wonder what that does to the psych of the prospects. They are probably thinking , damn i should’ve got there last year. A few years ago the rebuild felt like it would be heavily homegrown, but now the prospects climb just got harder with the Phils, they can be bumped for a FA or trade. Yes it was always a possibility, but now it is a much higher percentage.

  55. I don’t see Harper, and Keuchel, or even Kimbrel affecting any of our prospects. Maybe a SP has to spend some extra time in LHV and the same for potential BP arms. The only real prospect Harper displaces is Williams, but there has been so much talk about Harper, Nicky Dubs has gotten the message already. He may be the 4th OF. If it is Machado, well Franco has had his chance. He just didn’t succeed with it. I think the better prospects are Pitchers, and they will all have shots to show what they can do.

    1. agreed
      as for prospects
      Alfaro is catcher
      Hoskins at 1st
      kingery will soon by at 2nd
      Quinn will get every opportunity if Herrera falters.

      Williams is displaced by harper which is a no brainer

      pitching
      2 spots would still go to young pitchers ( if assume pivetta and efflin or VV)
      arrieta might be gone after 2019
      long term rotation with be homegrown

      the bullpen will be mixture of young ( seranthony, arano) and experienced

      there will be a bit of a AAA longjam but that tends to sort itself out

      what prospects no longer will have is opportunity to struggle and stay in rotation

      if the above happens, we are beyond endless opportunities

      1. Sounded like Haseley and Medina would be close to possibly getting a call up in the second half if performing well. Doesn’t seem like that be the case If all these fa are signed. Good thing is that they should be in contention it this the case. That’s my take.

  56. I’ll never get the Moustakas talk . . . and the playoff experience, does it matter that it’s terrible playoff experience? I wanna say he’s hit like .220/.280/.350 in his playoff career. Or close to that. If you don’t get Manny, keep Franco for another year and see if he can get more consistent, last year really wasn’t bad. If not hit the 3B market in the off season or imho Bohm is going to be ready in 2020 (Predicting a monster year for him across several levels). If you sign Moustakas to a 3 year deal, you/re pushing Bohms ETA back until he’s 25.

    1. EricD…you want Harper, correct?
      Check his play-off metrics….abysmal.
      But that experience going down the stretch in Aug and Sept. is critical….maybe you do not see it that way……but last year’s Phillies final 50 games accentuates that belief..
      Boith Moustakas and Harper have been there and done it.

      1. Well to be fair they brought in Cabrera and said that one of the reason was he was a vet who has that experience. Didn’t help much. Nor did the playoff experience of Ramos, Neshek, Hunter, Arrieta and again Cabrera (Can’t remember if Joey Bats has playoff experience). I think that’s overrated, what does another players experience have to do with someone with none? Remember how they kept making a big deal that’s Roy Halladay didn’t have any playoff experience? Should that have been overlooked bc the whole team around him had experience? I’m just saying I think that’s vastly overrated.

  57. MattWinks just started his Top 50 (I normally follow his annual prospect ranking) and released the 41-50 in PMT which includes Falter and C (both Rule 5 eligible in 2019). C at PMT #50 (C is my #30) is at the brink of being forgotten. Both will probably start in REA and I hope for a great year to both of them.

    Eshelman is my #49 and I don’t expect him to break MattWinks Top 50. MattWinks noted that 49 of his Top 50 are “homegrown” which is a good sign of a really good job by the scouting team.

    1. I hope for the best for C but even when he finished the season hot he had a .120 ISO. If you are LF only you have to have at least plus plus power or plus plus speed and defense.

  58. Worth noting that Heyman has always been known as a Boras mouthpiece so if he is reporting that Harper and Kapler really hit it off well, that info likely came from the agent.

    If this is true [big if, but still…] it indicates to me that Boras wants to insure that the Phils don’t sign MM before doing all they can to sign Harper first. So much intrigue going on right now, Machado’s side has been quiet for a few days now.

    Calm before the storm???

    1. Mr. Dreamer … the two reporters who seem to be the “most inside” with Scott Boras are Bob Nightengale and Jim Bowden. In fact, Bowden actually said on Monday he spoke with someone in the Phillies-Harper meeting. I’m certain he wasn’t in touch from anyone with the Phillies so It seems to me he hears directly from Boras.
      BTW … Bowden reported the meeting couldn’t have gone better if you’re a Phillies fan. Now, I’m sure some of that is Boras wanting to keep the Phillies involved, and laying down the gauntlet for the Nationals to make a more aggressive offer.

      1. And … speaking of Bob Nightengale … he was on the radio today, and says the Nats are currently not in the Harper race. Maybe that is why Boras leaked how well Harper’s meeting went with Middleton.

  59. Kinda bored today so I’m gonna take a shot at Harper’s deal:
    Year 1 $45M (includes $5M signing bonus)
    Year 2 $40M
    Year 3 $37.5M
    Year 4 $37.5M (followed by opt out, $160M)
    Year 5 $35M
    Year 6 $35M
    Year 7 $35M
    Year 8 $35M
    Year 9 $30M

    Total value 9/$330M (AAV $36.67M)

    (Year 10 vested option for $25M)
    Total potential value $355M

  60. I have a question for the experts on here that have good knowledge on this. Let’s just say the Phils sign Harper to an 8-10 year contract, in the $300M plus range, with either no opt outs or an opt out 4-6 years out. If the Phils end game is Harper plus Trout in 2 years, why not try to get Machado on a long term deal that looks big (allowing him to save face) but bake in an opt out after 2 years that he would almost certainly exercise. If the Phils get Trout, you let Machado walk after 2 years – benefit is you get him for 26-28 age years at maybe $35M+ per year. If Trout for some reason doesn’t work out, you have the ability to either keep Machado or use that salary flexibility to chase a player not named Trout.

    I would think Machado would accept an opt out after 2 years in a heartbeat and I understand the Phils would be taking on some risk, but I think its VERY unlikely that in 2 years Machado could become so tainted or bad or injured that it wouldn’t make sense for him to opt out. The deal could be 6 years total, $220M (or whatever # gives him a higher AAV than Harper so he can claim success), front load the 2 years to minimize what is left after that to encourage him to opt out. So maybe $40M per year in years 1 and 2, and then years 3-6 you have $140M left. A 28 year old free agent would with his pedigree would likely eclipse $140M easily.

    I just think it would be best to have Harper for the next 8 years, Trout for the last 6 of those years, but let’s get Machado for the first 2 years…..

    1. John Doe … in theory, this works. However, Machado should get a better (more guaranteed money) offer from another team (probably the White Sox).

    2. @john – I’ve also emphasize that multiple times in this site. In theory, the Phillies can structure the contract that gives them some out to go after Mike Trout. However, there’s also other teams who can possibly do the same.

      I’ve also mentioned here that Middleton needs to be opportunistic. Machado and Harper are not that expensive as it was originally forecasted. So if the price tag to have both is not prohibitive that it will not create long term chaos in the payroll, then Middleton should consider signing both with or without the contract options .

  61. The Weather Channel has named the winter storm heading for the northeast this weekend, “Winter Storm Harper”. Coincidental in any way?

      1. Kuko, talk about the perfect storm! It’s all falling into place. The Gelb piece (I believe) while genuine in its position was strategic to the Phillies plans. Let it out that we only need and want ONE star player. First come first served. Meanwhile, the agents posture to ensure they don’t miss out. Lozano MUST touch back with the Phillies to solicit their best offer, at least….and soon! Boras gushes over Kapler/Harper bromance, keeping the home fires burning. In the balance of our lifetimes and those of these execs, when will we ever have this opportunity again? Ever? Doubt it! GET IT DONE!!

  62. With offers this low, it is understandable the Phillies continue to be patient and not get caught up bidding against themselves.

    Sounds like they could land Machado with an 8 year/240 million dollar offer.

    1. The Phillies could realistically sign both for well under $600M. Harper 9/$330 + Manny 8/$240M? Plenty of room for more….

      1. Harper plus Machado:
        $67M AAV…..Lux tax rate $208M in 2020…two players taking up 35% of the 40 man payroll…do not see MacPhail and Middleton letting that happen.
        They better get the two stars together on a lower salary AAV scale.

        1. Jim Salisbury thinks the Phillies are set up, in view of Chi Sox offer to get MM. If MM can be had for about 100 million less than BH, would you not go that direction

          1. Then Klentak must call Boras, tell him the Phillies are offering MM the highest bid, and if he and Harper want their highest bid AS WELL, you better take this week’s offer. PERIOD.

          2. Sdchpl….yes that would be the best alternative. The added savings in the AAV could go to other pieces for the club.
            Signing both Harper and Machado will never happen…..I will ban myself for 6 hours if that were ever to occur. 🙂

            1. I wonder if the Phillies have actually made an offer to Machado I know they seem to be good at keeping things close to the vest, but never a word about “the Phillies offer”

        2. But that’s what’s gonna happen if all the “end game” is true wont it? 1 of these 2 plus Trout on what might be the highest contract ever. Then Nola comes up. 3 players will take up a ton of the payroll themselves.

  63. IF this White Sox offer is true [and someone leaked it and I doubt it was the Sox] then count me as one who is NOT praising the Phils for their patience but instead CRITICIZING them for not getting this done already. Not because they will lose him to Chicago [though they could] but because every day that this amount sits out there is one day closer to the Yankees saying “hey, we can afford that!] and sign him quicker than we can say MattKlentakblew this!

    My sense from reading more Phillie boards than I care to admit is that the Phils are in for a major backlash if its perceived that they blew this with their supposed “patience.”
    I know this much.,.they are guaranteed NOTHING, despite what the Nightengales, Heymans or Bowdens say.

    I am fully willing to acknowledge I could be wrong but from this view on the Left Coast it sure seems to me like they can get both with a bit of a push. I hope the Phillies realize what an economic boom this will be if they do sign both…this Phillie team might soon be as popular as the 2007-2011 group was.

    Look, I still believe they were penny wise and pound foolish when they A] traded Lee within hours of trading for Halladay and then B] allowed Jayson Werth to leave after the 2010 season. This supposed cost effective moves cost them A] more money to re-sign Lee as a free agent, B] cost them Happ when they had to get an expensive Roy Oswalt and C] cost them money and prospects to bring in Hunter Pence in 2011.

    They will never ever have this chance again, never. I hope Middleton and Co. realize this and get things done before the Yankees and Dodgers decide they want to get involved again.

  64. I think the Phils should try to get Harper under contract and make him the long term solution, either no opt out or not until after 5 or 6 years. Then go see what is up with Machado’s market and with the low $175M offer from Chicago right now, it’s possible the Phils could get him for $200M over 7 years, front load it and give him an opt out after 2 years to go after Trout. Move some salary now for this year and next – ie Hunter, Neshek, and Franco.

    On the pitching front, I would not go after Kuechel. I would go into the year with Nola, Arrietta, and then 3 of Pivetta, Eickhoff, Velasquez, Eflin, and someone like Minor (from a Franco trade) and keep the prospects now and let them develop and then go after a ToR arm at the deadline with some of our young pitching prospects headlining the deal.

  65. The Athletic via Matt Gelb outlines some potential risks of the Phillies playing the waiting game

    1. Manny signs first with Sox or mystery team. Boras puts Philly and Wash in a bidding war or mystery team.
    2. Manny and Bryce decide to take less money and play elsehwere
    3. Yankees unload players and make a run at one or the other
    4. Mystery team signs Manny and then Sox make a play for Harper or Dodgers enter the bidding

  66. Precisely what I said a few minutes ago. Get this thing done already, there are season tickets to sell, advertising space to market, trades to be made. I can’t stress enough the box the Phils have placed themselves in. If they appear to have blown this, their leadership credibility is gone, I doubt Klentak/McPhail can ever get it back and can you imagine the pressure they will be under if/when Trout does become a free agent?

    I am trying oh so hard to be patient and positive but this is the Phillies afterall and their track record is full of face plats right near the finish line…

    1. Signing both would provide a level of excitement that should lead to 24/7 money printing machine. I’d imagine Comcast executives would be doing repeated backflips against their glass windows over at the tower.

      From other articles, or sounded like the Phillies payroll was at 154 million and would then be maxed if So. Sure they get to make trades, but full salary dumps would be pretty hard imo with neshek,Hunter, niasco. Franco and Cehe should be doable. Then going out And signing Kuechel and Kimbrel would eat that.

      We all hope the fo is smart about this. Just seems to good to be true to buy alll these players, that they gel and fit within the luxury tax. As skeptical as I am, I can see a roadmap for signing both Bh & mm or some combo of Bh, kimbrel, kueche,
      And mous.

      Don’t know what to think anymore. I was just about to believe that the fo wouldn’t sign both … but that could easily be a smokescreen to get each player to jump at signing … since they both want historic deals.

      Ahhh really looking forward to opening day, don’t even care what the lineup is anymore.

  67. Moustakas gets a 2 year deal, not 3, and you are disregarding Franco’s Defense which is not very good, to be polite. Moustakas is an upgrade, and it is not a very close call. Maybe Bohm is ready in 2020, but, so far, he has not done a single thing other than be drafted. He still has to hit, and he still has to show he can actually play 3B. Even if he has a really good year, and I hope he does, that doesn’t make him MLB ready for 2020. In the meantime, Moustakas helps us win this year and next, and if Bohm is the real deal, 2021 is a good year for him to debut.

    1. Matt13…spot on.
      Bohm will probably have two full seasons at third to see if he can handle it.
      He can fall into that Nick Castellanos category….good enough to get by in the minors but a real liability at the major league level.
      Having just 29 games and 9 errors is very telling , since he just finished playing third base for the Shockers for three years and over 150 games.
      Will see.

  68. CD, I can’t agree with you more. The chance that the Yankees say, “hey, right where we want to be”, and get him for 8/$240 is real. There are ticket sales and merchandise sales that have to be a part of the thinking that even entertains making offers like this. Salisbury, who is usually good at knowing what is going on internally, maintains that Machado is the first choice still. So, go make it happen. 7/$175 Million is really minimal and no problem for us to beat. Patience only works if we are the preferred destination for the player, like that Yankees supposedly are with Machado. We are neither players preferred destination.

  69. And, CD, your thoughts regarding the massive screw up when we dumped Cliff Lee and lost Werth are exactly correct. That was on the Bill Giles regime. This is the dawning of the new day!

  70. My main concern is that the Phillies dilly dally too long and compromise their ability to trade and sign where necessary, with under a month before spring training. The notion that the “first one to blink in this staring contest loses” doesn’t apply when the biggest player on the market can pick and choose who they want. If the Phillies really want Manny more, then go get him and let the rest of the market fall as it will. The White Sox offer is laughable and can’t possibly be the best he can do. The Phillies can easily add a year and $5M per over Chicago’s. Would the Yankees? We will find out but why would they wait this long and let the price increase that much higher?

  71. Another thing to consider is the perception of the player in regards to the team. We have heard almost since McPhail came onboard of their undying love for Machado. And I am sure MM heard this also. Perhaps its true but if it is, then show him that love by offering him an amount that will make sure he understands they are not merely trying to save a few million dollars.

    Right now, if reports are true, Machado has to feel like no one wants him that much and regardless of his foolish playoff comments, this is a truly unique and great player. I was just talking to a Dodger fan [big one, so big he actually sat through ALL 18 innings of the Dodgers on WS win] and I asked him about Machado. His reply…”awesome, great player.”

    And this from a guy who didn’t even witness MM’s “A” game most of the time, he was better in Baltimore. Look, I want Harper, maybe more than Machado. But I still believe all roads to Harper go through Machado, he has to get signed first. Otherwise, Boras has all the cards in his hand and it becomes an absolute nightmare top get Harper signed.

    And if this dilly dallying leads Harper back to Washington, while MM signs with the Sox, this Phillie leadership is toast. The phans will not forgive and forget, they simply won’t believe a word coming out of the front office. Add to this the seeming Nola slight and people will forget the comments Middleton made about “stupid money” and simply say “stupid!”

    It won’t be pretty.

  72. Philly fans crack me up. Now everyone is working themselves up into a frenzy over a bunch of BS internet rumors and are preparing to be pissed when the Phillies don’t sign both guys. The Phillies have never given any indication they want to sign both guys and tie up 40%-50% of payroll on 2 players in a 40-man roster.

    The issue is the long-term salary cap implications, regardless of how much money the team can make by getting these guys. When you see teams like the Dodgers and Yankees making serious efforts to get/stay below that cap number for at least 1 season so they can reset the clock it should tell you that the pain is real and it’s not simply about spending money.

    Sure the Phillies can afford to go over the threshold for a couple of years without much issue but they need to be able to field good players beyond Harper/Machado in future years if they want to actually win championships because neither Harper or Machado have managed to win one by themselves so far..

    1. Ahh…the voice (or post) of sound reasoning in this free agency wilderness!
      Not even sure how it all started with both free agents being signed.
      Last month it was reported the Phillies were interested in only the one…Manny to be specific …as reported by the beat guys.

      1. And I agree that they have set themselves up to be legitimately criticized if they don’t get one of the two signed but prefer to wait until it actually happens before looking for the nearest bridge..

  73. Romus…fair enough but quicker than you can say “opp” the New York Post headline is about the Yankees jumping back into the MM sweepstakes. We can call these “internet” rumors if we wish [and they may be} but someone is leaking them and we know its not the Phillies, White Sox or Yankees. Right now this is a game of musical chairs and despite the Phils seeming confidence that they will get one, there is still no guarantee that they will not be the team left standing when the two chairs are taken.

    Logic tells me there is a price [and I believe the Phils know this price] that will get this done and the Phils have yet to go there…probably in the 8/240 range for Machado. If the Phils really truly want MM like they say they do, they should get this done. So many other moves are predicated on this…moving Franco, determining their outfield, deciding if/when they can move Hernandez.

    Machado met with the Phils on Dec 21…almost a month ago. I doubt anyone thought it would go on this long, especially the Yankees. If they get him, the Phils will likely have no one to blame but themselves. And then watch the turtle like pace of the Harper negotiations and Boras will KNOW that the Phils can’t afford to turn their backs and walk away…which they can if they sign MM.

    1. Well, this pace is painful but the off season suspense is unprecedented. It’s like playing the board game “Risk”. Looking for allies with no one to trust.

    2. CalDreamin….yes, understand those implications.
      Actually that range of 8/240M would seem to do it….but to surely prevent the Yankees from jumping in I’d bump it up to $256M over 8.($32M AAV)
      If Machado is their main man, and not Harper, then why not up the ante a little.
      The Machado camp would be fools to walk away from that offer, and have to assume the Yankees will not match it with o Stanton’s $25 million AAV, Masahiro Tanaka’s $22 million AAV, Jacoby Ellsbury’s $21.1 million AAV and Aroldis Chapman’s $15 million AAV…..then here comes da Judge!

  74. About all the freaking out that this process is taking too long, and that the Phillies could blow it: You gotta’ remember it’s the Phillies (with their stupid money) who are the most important factor in both the MM and BH equations. Neither Boras or Lozano are going to allow their clients to sign a contract with another team before giving John Middleton one last chance to beat it.
    I think eventually Middleton and MacKlentak go to Harper and Boras and tell them, “We need a decision within the next 24 hours. Otherwise, we’re giving Manny Machado our best offer this time tomorrow.”

    In the end, I believe they’ll front load a 10 year offer to Harper. That offer will allow Harper to opt out half way through the deal, when the salaries decline. It would look something like this (and this is just my guess):

    year 1 … 38 million
    year 2 … 38 million
    year 3 … 38 million
    year 4 … 38 million
    year 5 … 38 million
    opt out
    year 6 … 30 million
    year 7 … 30 million
    opt out
    year 8 … 20 million
    year 9 … 20 million
    year 10 . 20 million

    This would guarantee Harper 190 million over 5 years. Boras would claim a record breaking 38 million AAV. The lower yearly salaries over the second half of the offer would allow the Phillies to keep the cap hit to 31 million AAV against the luxury tax threshold. That would leave plenty of cap space to fit Mike Trout if/when he becomes available.

    1. Just a reminder of Hinkie’s powers to see into the future. This is literally a sentence from him just three months ago:

      “I’ve already predicted John Middleton will offer Machado as much as 450 million over 12 years.”

      1. And we’re a coin flip from getting MM even though it’s been credibly reported that the max offer he’s received is 7/$175M. What happened to 12/$450M?

        1. Otero … The statement read John Middleton would offer as much as 450 million over 12 years. The key phrase there is “as much as”. I’ve posted this ad nauseum: The Phillies had been manipulating their payroll for the past three seasons in preparation for this FA class. This team was going to sign their superstar “face of the franchise” FA at all cost. I had heard (and read) that Manny Machado was their top target for more than a year. Some time near the end of the season, I spoke to someone with second hand knowledge (they have a relationship with someone with first hand knowledge) who told me Machado’s “Johnny Hustle” comments didn’t go over well with some inside the organization, and some preferred to sign Bryce Harper. At that time, I was also told that the club would be aggressive but not reckless this winter because Mike Trout was the Phillies end game. In other words, the team would sign only one of BH/MM to leave the financial flexibility to for Trout in two years.
          Just because the team won’t have to spend 400 million on Machado or Harper, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have if that’s what it took. John Middleton entered this free agency season ready to spend stupid money. As it became clear, it wasn’t going to take 400+million, the Phillies starting using some of their stupid money on Andrew McCutchen and David Robertson.
          I’ve been adamant the Phillies would sign one of MM/BH. I’ve guaranteed it. I’ve gone so far as to promise to ban myself if the team strikes out on both. I stand by that. If you want to come after me if that happens, feel free.

          BTW … did you bother to post a different opinion to my “as much as 450 million over 12 years” original statement. Or did you just sit back and wait for three months to try and prove you are smart ? Feel free to throw in an opinion of your own every now and then.

          1. I had no idea whether they were going to sign Machado or Harper. It was obviously a decent chance they signed one of the two, but I didn’t have anything to add to the conversation. And I did chime in a few times that MM wasn’t a done deal.

            The thing is, you have been pretty arrogantly telling people for some time now that they’d sign MM. And then at some point that changed to them signing either Harper or Machado (which, yeah, no s**t). Your argument for MM was that they were going to blow any offer out of the water. I mean, I can show you multiple times where you you flat out said Middleton wouldn’t be outbid for MM. At some point you changed your tune to MM or Harper, and then you further changed your stance to them only wanting either Harper or MM because they have grand plans for Trout.

            I don’t care whether people post stuff that’s wrong on here because we’re all wrong alot (especially about getting the prospect stuff right), but you were 100% certain earlier this year that MM was signing here and were dismissive of some pretty rational arguments to the contrary.

            1. Otero … I have explained the change from MM to either MM or BH dozens of times (including the post above yours). I even spelled out the info was from someone with second hand knowledge, and specifically noted, “you could buy it or sell it”. However, I’m sensing the simple act of sounding out letters to form words is so rigorous for you that me asking you to actually comprehend those words might just be a mountain too high for you to climb.
              You state you have chimed in “a few times” with regard to Machado, and that you don’t care if people post stuff that’s wrong. I’m not going to waste my time back tracking through previous threads to examine what you’ve posted (although, I’m flattered that you did that for me). However, I just quickly checked this thread. After ~350 posts from other contributors, you finally hit the keyboards. You didn’t post any opinion on the Phillies, free agency, Manny Machado, or Bryce Harper. Instead, you posted three different times that I was wrong on my prediction. Again, if you had bothered to read and comprehend the original post, you would have noticed the words “as much as”. Bottom line is … John Middleton was prepared to spend stupid money to not be outbid for Machado or Harper. Be happy the Phillies probably won’t have to spend as much stupid money they originally were planning to in order to come away with their superstar FA.
              I look forward to reading your next opinion of something of any significance.

            2. Also … I apologize to Jim for trying to get this straightened out with Otero. I’ll just try to ignore him from now on.

  75. Someone leaked the WSox offer. It is a very light one, so can’t be the Agent. Why the WSox would is also puzzling. So, I don’t get the rationale. Whispers of a “mystery team” I get. but Machado’s only offer being terrible makes no sense. 3up, I never expected us to sign both, and will certainly not be pissed if they don’t. I will be, however, if they don’t get one. Not looking for a bride, but until I see the news conference, I will worry.

    1. No, someone leaked what they claim is the WSox offer. The WSox haven’t confirmed that was the offer and Machado’s agent denied it. So yes, it’s a BS Internet rumor based on no real evidence.

  76. Why not go offer Manny Machado 7 years, $200M right now and say we have other things to go do, you have 24 hours, yes or no? If no, we will circle back with you later on if things fall a certain way, but you are our #1, we are making you the highest offer, we need an answer. He almost has to say yes at this point.

  77. Matt13 – I believe MM’s agent has all the reason in the world to leak the low offer from WSox. He wants other teams to jump in and start a bidding frenzy. Nobody besides the agent would have any reason to leak that info. My fear (seems all of ours) is that a real mystery team will now wake up, join in, and beat us out. I always fall back on the fact that we can outbid, but you never know.

    1. Jon Heyman tweeted just minutes ago that the 7/$175 to Machado is “way off”, saying it more than likely begins with a ‘2’. It’s highly probable that Olney’s source is different from Heyman’s.

      1. I agree with this. This reported offer seems Realistically low. I can easily see the agent leaking this “offer” to get more teams involved. I MEAN,everyone loves a deal!

        For the mystery team, I’ve said if before, normally you can be “scared/worries” about the mystery team, but not a chance in this scenario. Everyone knows the last offer has to get by Middleton. Both agents know this, both players, and all 30 MLB FOs know this. The Phillies literally have money to burn. With the addition of Robertson, they can trade,cut, exile one of Hunter,neshak, Niascio without blinking an eye. The last offer will have to go through Middleton, and I’m 110% confident that no contract with his preferred star will have their signature on it, without his on it.

        I’m extremely confident Middleton gets this done. No way 1 of them is not a Phillie. I’ll put it this way, to help easy the doubters minds, or corncerned ones… there is a poster we all know, that is very convinced that the said owner is a crook … stealing our money … we all know him thorough message boards. As convinced as he was that the said Phillies owner is a crook… I’m just as sure that the said owner will sign 1 of these stars. I also won’t rule out signing both of them if the price is righy, when rumors are of the phillies going after a Big 3.

        How is that for confidence? It’s a new era in Phillies baseball. For at least 1 year, we get to make the Yankees feel like a small market team. Enjoy it.

    1. In this case, I respect and agree with Lozano’s statement as a rebuttal to the myriad of various, conflicting rumors and reports that have marred this off season. Having said that, dude – get on with your business! The same goes for Boras and the teams involved. It’s a disgrace that on January 16, we have next to nothing in terms of what our respective rosters might look like less than a month from now. We’re the customers, no? All because a bunch of lawyers and hybrid baseball executives are trying to stare each other down? MLB had better solve the matter before they get virtually no better than back page coverage on what used to be called the hot stove league.

      1. Not sure how it is a “disgrace” that, in mid-January, we (i.e., fans) have a lot of questions about roster makeup a month from now. Is that really a problem (gasp)? Also don’t agree that fans are somehow entitled to information about these negotiations. My plan is to let it play out and see what happens, while not stressing about lack of information or lack of activity.

  78. About Lozano’s statement … IMO, one of two things is happening here:

    1. The reports of low offers are actually accurate, and Lozano is lying to try to drum up higher offers.

    2. Someone from the players union is leaking the low offers to try and build a possible case for collusion.

    1. Hinkie – I think this is all self serving….I take no. 1. The agent has to support his client.

      Meanwhile, if the contract is near that level, I would think there are many more secret admirers for that kind of $$. Therefore, I don’t give alot of credence to it. The mystery is – why is it really that no one has interest in these 2 players – my guess is —the money period ?????? If the contract is low enough, everybody has interest -and we are in a whole ‘nother auction. 10 yrs. vs. 7 yrs etc….ad infininatum…..

      As to leaks – there have been daily leaks ….who knows what they mean other than more $$$$$ ? Or an intention to envelope more $$$.

  79. Here’s some reporting from Jeff Passan. His source is from an official from a team other than the Phillies or Yankees.

    BTW … I did hear yesterday (and I forget where) that the Phillies don’t believe the NYY’s are out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes.

    1. My take is that in fact NYY won’t pass on the opportunity to snag Machado at the bargain he appears to be available for. Lozano’s public berating of Olney and Nightengale tells me he and Manny are at a crossroads in their market. Otherwise, keep quiet and get about business. And that is assuming the Phillies remain on track in signing Harper. As for mystery teams, who would still be lying in the weeds in mid-January when one team will determine who goes where. Because I do agree that the Phillies will get who they want. Because they can.

      1. 8mark….agree.
        Lozano and Machado appear to be at a crossroads.
        Only Phillies and Wsox seem to be the only ones seriously pining for Machado…and Manny probably is not thrilled by either destination….and Lozano wants the best monetary deal.
        IMO, I rather have Harper, but not disappointed in Manny.

          1. Yes….Harper does have that certain gravitas…..home town fans love and cheer on, and away fans love to hate and boo.
            Like when Sydney comes into town with the Pens.
            Manny’s seems to be accepted from home fans and also away fans

            1. One thing strikes me about the meetings with both players. Harper got it out there how well things went. Lozano was crickets. Tells me two things: Boras knows where the biggest and best deal is, and will eventually be. Lozano’s style is different, of course. But he doesn’t use the media the way Boras does. And so, gets pissed when things are tight like they are now. His client did him no favors as well. Boras+Harper are smarter than Lozano+Machado.

            2. Yes….Machado’s antics and proclamations in October did not help Lozano.
              So more explaining, than selling.

  80. The MLBPA must be beleaguered at this moment. I mean imagine their glee when Giancarlo signed his deal they must have thought hey we can only go up from here right.

    Labor strife is coming fellas. When does this current CBA expire?

    1. There is a meeting between union and MLB scheduled for Monday @ rule changes. That may be the start of talks on a larger scale.

  81. The sounds of silence. Dead quiet in the cold winter woods of the off season. The quietest day so far….

    Tom Verducci has a good piece today on the Phillies plans to get either Harper or Machado and then Trout in two years. Nothing newsworthy around here but it’s becoming a national story. And there will be more scrutiny over what Arte Moreno and the Angels do over the next 18 months. Gonna be very interesting…

    1. 8mark … thanks for the heads up on that Tom Verducci story. Here it is https://www.si.com/mlb/2019/01/16/bryce-harper-philadelphia-phillies-free-agency-mike-trout

      The first two paragraphs pretty much spells out the same thing I was told when the season ended:

      “The Phillies may have “stupid money” to spend on this free agent market, as owner John Middleton put it, but it won’t be so stupid as to close the door on potentially signing Mike Trout after the 2020 season.

      Philadelphia began this offseason keeping Trout in mind. According to a baseball source with direct knowledge of their shopping plans, the Phillies have enough spending money to sign both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, but would like to sign just one of them to leave room in the budget in case Trout reaches free agency in two years. In one dream scenario, the Phillies would field an all-MVP outfield in 2021: Trout, Harper and Andrew McCutchen.”

      1. A dream within reach….

        2021 – Alfaro/Marchan, Hoskins, Kingery, Garcia, Arenado(?), Harper, Trout, Moniak or Haseley. (As much as I like and respect Cutch, by then he may be moved in a deadline deal.)

  82. I would take Harper over Manny. Manny displaces Franco or possibly Moose. Harper displaces Williams. In that case Harper is the better upgrade. The only power hitter coming up through the system is Listi, whose prospects are problematical; Haseley appears to have some gap power at best. Harper, Hoskins, and Franco/Moose could give the Phillies serious power in the middle of the line-up.

    1. “The only power hitter coming up through the system is …..”…seriously.
      The guy that hasthe most power of any of the 300 plus players in the org is Darick Hall. ..a HR every 17.42 ABs so far….and an ISO of .239 in 1259 PAs…..no one is even close..
      Hoskins at the MLB level is right there with him….and in the minors Rhys was at a HR every 17.65 ABs…and an ISO of .245 in 1904 PAs.

      1. Big yr for Hall to see if he can put together all aspects of ingame power and OBP to be a major league option given his position limitations.
        in a world of short benches, if you cant start and cant play multiple positions defensively, your options are limited

        1. sr….agree.
          Hall unfortunately is limited in the field to just first base.
          So it is incumbent on him to produce more so at the plate.

    2. @Rob – if you’re talking about “power” while hitting for average, Listi best fit that bill for the upper minors prospects. But if you just isolate “power” tool (no consideration to plate discipline) – Hall and Pujols are up there with Listi.

  83. As soon as the dust clears from the big signing(s), look for both Franco and Williams to be dealt. Even if the Phillies sign Keuchel, I think they may be still aggressive in trying to acquire another lefty like Mike Minor or Matt Strahm or somebody else.

      1. I remember when Franco was being comped as a poor man’s Miggy. I always thought Williams could be a poor man’s Junior Griffey. Not sure who comes closer to his ceiling. But by the time we find out, we’re better off moving forward without them in trying to win sooner.

        1. it would also help both of them if they were excellent defensively but both are analytically rated as below average defenders
          I would say stick with franco if he was a good defensive 3rd baseman

  84. That’s it… I’m officially checking out. This hunt has gotten stale. I know they will sign one of the two, no doubt in my mind. The most frustrating part is that i don’t see a darn thing changing between now and when they actually sign. This reminds me of the “hand on the car longest” contest.

    The signing impacts the Phillies in multiple levels, but nothing can happen until then. After it’ll be floodgates.

    I’ll thibk about our prospects until then, but I’m going to start preparing for trade valuation vs project who is apart of the future core. With all the rumored FA signings, a decent number of roster spots will be filled outside via trade or FA.

    Thanks Harper & Machado for sucking the joy out of this experience 🙂 …. like being forced to stare at your Xmas gift pile for 3 months before opening

    1. ‘like being forced to stare at your Xmas gift pile for 3 months before opening’..hah.
      But you can still shake the boxes and try to guess what is in it…thats fun.

    2. Well said, Tac3. Being a baseball fan 12 months a year isn’t what it once was. Used to be January was all about fantasizing about the lineup for the upcoming season with anticipation of the horse hide pounding the catcher’s mitt and the birds chirping over the Carpenter Complex.

  85. Sorry I can’t attach material like Hinkie but there is another great piece by Tom Verducci out today on why Harper would shine even bright at CBP if he signed with the Phillies. Broken down beautifully by comparing stadium HR rankings, adjustments Harper made in 2nd half of ’18, etc. Well worth the time to read. Just Google Bryce Harper and the link should be listed at the top….hopefully the Phillies used this argument to persuade him at their meeting.

      1. Nice work, Romus. Thanks….can anybody give me a tip on how to attach articles from my Galaxy S8 android? I’m so behind the curve….

        1. I just copy and paste the address into the text box. Or you might be able to copy and paste link into “website” field in your info section.

          Apologies if this is elementary for you, but to copy & paste link just hold your finger over the text you want to highlight, follow pop ups, then repeat in the blank space in a new comment text box, select the “paste” pop up

        2. 8mark – I agree with you / the way Romus and Hinkie attach stuff to this site – I have no freaking clue ???? I would need a 9 year old at my hip all day long to do what they do in a minute !!!! Thanks to both of them !

  86. In regard to the response to my earlier post, I confess to have neglected Hall and Pujols as potential power hitters. However, hitting for power and having decent average in the MLB is a rare talent. We don’t know if Listi, Hall, or Pujols can do it. We do know that Franco and Moose have done it. I certainly wouldn’t give up on those three young players, but I wouldn’t bet the future of them when you might have, as I mentioned, Harper, Hoskins and Franco/Moose.

  87. This really has to be the worst MLB offseason for free agency. Manny and Bryce are holding everything else up. Fake report after fake report. Meanwhile there are a lot of top players still unsigned because no one wants to divvy out the dollars and the players ego can’t handle getting less than whatever magic number they’re looking for.

    1. What ‘lot of top players’ are still unsigned and being impacted? It wasn’t a great off-season after a few top free agents and other than Dallas Keuchel & Craig Kimbrel I don’t think there are any free agents out there who are huge impact guys.

      Moustakas, AJ Pollock, Marwin Gonzalez, etc… they’re all right around maybe a tiny bit better than league average at this point.

  88. 26 days till pitchers and catchers.

    I’m not down with signing Kimbrel personally but I think it’s possible that the Phillies may be looking to load up the bullpen, go with the inhouse SPs to start the season, and opt for monitoring the deadline trade market for one as they gauge their need for another starter to augment their push toward the playoffs. This would allow them to further evaluate whether the young arms (Pivetta, Velasquez, Eflin, with Eickhoff also in the rotation mix) have made strides by then without punting the season. It’s becoming a bullpen game anyway. If Kimbrel weren’t to sustain success in the backend, they’ve still other options in Seranthony and Hector. And with Medina, Sixto and Howard within sight of the majors, the leverage to make necessary trades at the deadline is that much less dicey if they went after a veteran arm on the last year of his contract – MadBum, Hamels, G.Cole (though doubtful that HOU isn’t contending), Sale (if Boston somehow falls out of contention), Wheeler.

    1. in theory, not a bad strategy
      the strength of our system is SPing with a lot of depth
      santos and Irvin are ready for opportunities in 2019 on top of VV, efflin etc
      if we can keep a young relatively inexpensive starting pitching staff, it allows us to not have to overspend in FA and focus on position upgrades .
      kimbrel comes down to years as much as anything else

      a bullpen of seranthony, Robertson, kimbrel with a high end lefty in a franco trade would be interesting

  89. Mark Appel is still listed (restricted) on the Ironpigs roster. I know that he quit, but I’m wondering what he’s up to. Does anybody know? Also, Matt Imhoff, who lost an eye. Their careers were over before they got started.

    1. Poor Matt Imhoff – that’s just one of the more tragic sports stories I can remember. I hope he is leading a good life now doing whatever else he is suited for. It makes me sick just thinking about this.

    1. i may be in the minority but i’m a big fan of elimination/ reducing of the shifting.
      I don’t want to see every left handed hitter swinging for the fences all the time because you cant hit a single to right nor do I want to see the great left handed powerhitters spending their time learning how to “poke” the ball to left to beat the shift

      1. TTO has taken over the game…as the problem I see.
        Eliminating or modifying the rules on defensive shifts will not solve that problem.
        It comes down to the increase salary with more production and believe it or not analytics….where, one swing HRs are more of a game changer than stringing together multiple singles.

      2. I’m 100% on board with eliminating the shift. If raises the boredum meter for me. I just really hate seeing your typical “single up the middle” play being taken away. It is also pretty infuriating watching players not be able to place a weak hit ball towards the part of the field not begining covered. To me it is ruining the game. The heavy pull, lift swings are to part of the reason. I’d really like to see change in this.
        I’d ok with allowing the shift once a game or so, but not at the rate it is currently done.

        Also, I’m for the DH in the NL, after years of kicking and screaming, I’m giving in. It’s time. With inter league play, cost of pitchers salaries, and fact that bunting is dead, they might as well. Maybe someone can talk me off that ledge, but it is time.

        Get rid of shift, give pitchers and batters clocks, and get the DH in the NL.

        1. The shift has been around since Ted Williams was playing for the Sox…it isn’t the shift…its the players who believe now in primarily TTO….which is driven in part by analytics.
          More players bow want to hit the HR.

        2. I don’t think it needs to be any more complicated than ruling that there can only be four of the seven fielders behind the pitcher allowed on either side of the 2B bag. If the defense wishes to place 3 infielders on the right side of 2b, then only their RF can be on the right side. The CF would have to stay on the other side of the home plate-2B bag plane.

          ….and What’s on third.

    2. Interesting. I’m reading an old book, The Glory of Their Times, in which dead ball era players talk about their careers. One guy, Smoky Joe Woods, I believe, obviously speaking in the 1960s, bemoaned how slow the game had become and how many strike-outs there were compared to his era. Pitchers got the ball and threw it in his time. Games were over in an hour and a half. One game he pitched ended in 58 minutes. An incentive was darkness. Games started at 4 p.m. in New York so Wall Street guys could attend, which didn’t leave a lot of time before sunset.

      As a fan, I’d like to see an end to the stalling of both pitchers and hitters. As for balls in play, that shouldn’t be controlled, just like shifts should not be banned. Players have got to hit the best way they can and defenders have to defend the best way they can. But they can get a move on, already.

      1. I’m with you, Frank. However, reality is that as long as their are promotional and advertising opportunities for corporate sponsors, those days are a whisp of a faint memory. Sad but true.

  90. TrollU, The owner of the Cubs was just on their local radio talking about how they were not spending more. Not that things don’t change, but if the team that wasn’t going to spend gets the player/s that the “stupid money” owner doesn’t get, I can’t calculate the level embarrassment factor that Middleton would feel. I can’t see that happening. Of course, my trust in Middleton may be misplaced, but I sure hope not.

    1. And Maddon also said publicly that it ain’t happening. I’m certain he was informed by the FO. Enough with the Cubs rumors until they actually do something, please. 🤪

  91. I can’t understand the Angels. They are in danger of losing, in 2 years, the best player in Baseball. They want to build a team that contends as an inducement to keep him. Yet, they continue to shop at the dented can aisle. I would be out of my mind if I was an Angels fan, not that I am a sane Phillies fan, but they also have a rich owner. A stubborn, rich owner, who may, very well, not trade Trout, and end up losing him for nothing.

    1. Matt, today I begin my TRADE FOR TROUT campaign. Why not pursue a deal for two more PRIME years of one of baseball’s all time great players. Yes we could wait until he’s entering his age 29 season and hope he’s physically intact and at the top of his game. He may very well be by then. But definitely? For a package of Hoskins, Sixto, Odubel, either Haseley or Moniak, and another top pitching prospect (any suggestions, Kuko?). We are also talking about TWO (2) years only of Trout, and hedging the probability of him re-signing to perhaps a lifetime deal, including a special services contract for when his playing days are over. Merchandise sales alone will pay for him over the long haul. TRADE FOR TROUT ’19!

  92. Jim Salisbury was on WIP last night. He “get’s the vibe” that the Phillies are still mostly focused on Machado, but would be very comfortable pivoting to Harper if Machado picks another team. Now, I believe Salisbury is as clued in to the Phillies as much as any reporter, but in this case I tend to get a different “vibe”. I understand Matt Klentak probably prefers Machado for the baseball fit. However, I firmly believe John Middleton wants Bryce Harper. Harper would just bring a much greater “Wow!” factor to the Phillies, and would sell more tickets, and generate higher TV ratings. Middleton’s dream scenario: Trout-Harper-Hoskins lineup in 2021.

  93. Dodgers have made an offer to Machado. Interesting.
    This isn’t ideal. Why? If White Sox miss on Manny, they may throw some more money at Harper.
    Or Dodgers realize how low White Sox offer was and figured they’d give it a shot.

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