Open Discussion: Week of January 28, 2019

The ‘Hot” Stove Season … I wonder if it was just named after that show on MLB.  Hmm.

The Phillies made 63 roster moves among their top 5 affiliates – Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater, Lakewood, and Williamsport.  I don’t know if/when they will show up on their home pages.  I’ve listed them below, and will update my google sheets ASAP.

Weather permitting, the early reports will return to the Complex tomorrow.  I expect a few more have already reported, and that more will arrive in the coming days.  In addition to those i have already reported as being in Clearwater, you can add Simon Muzziotti, Jesus Alastre, and Malvin Matos.  They, along with Raul Rivas were treated to lunch at a local eaterie last week.

I caught up on the comments section this afternoon.  A few questions were directed toeard me.  I’ll try and answer them here along with a few other observations.

  • Phantasy Camp was interesting, Matt Stairs and Rheal Cormier’s team won the championship.  One of the coaches on another team had to leave early and his place was taken over by none other than Charlie Manuel.  How cool is that?  Brad Lidge was here to conduct a clinic early in the week for campers.  Most of our young minor leaguers have no idea who most of these Phillies’ legends are.
  • The Phillies are just as slow announcing their coaching assignments as they are with everything else.  Clearwater’s Shawn Williams will move up to manage Reading.  It was announced when their winter caravan stopped there.  Interesting that Williams was in Clearwater with the early reports when the announcement was made.  I think the pitching coach (Fultz) is going with him and that the Lakewood manager and pitching coach are moving up to Clearwater.  All assignments have not been announced because they still have a couple openings.
  • The off season is just that, the OFF season.  Baseball owes us nothing during this time.  Dombrosky may lament a time when all business was concluded by the end of the winter meetings.  But, those days are gone.  I can’t imagine the MLBPA would allow any changes that would put limits on free agency.  And as for the poor front office people who have to work during the winter.  To bad.  Most people have to work 52 weeks a year.  Welcome to the club.
  • Yes, 9/360 was offered and Harper against the advice of Boras turned it down to see what the Dodgers, his preferred landing spot, would offer.  Naturally, the offer came off the table, just like Washington’s 10/300 came off.  The reason the Phillies don’t simply offer it again is because they don’t have to.  His market never materialized.  Harper is not likely to get the contract that he and everyone else thought he would.  Why would the Phillies overpay now?  The market just isn’t there.  All the projections of 10-12 years and $400+ contracts were made by media types who need stories to print and and perpetuated by media sycophants who need to see their names constantly attached to the stories.  Whoever signs Harper (and Machado) is going to do so at a much more reasonable figure than those originally reported.
  • The Phillies will sign one, maybe both.  Don’t kid yourself.  If the opportunity arises, and they can sign both for close to their original offer to Harper, it’ll happen.  If they could sign them for contracts of something like 6/210 (35 AAV) for one and 7/190 (27 AAV) for the other don’t you think they would?
  • All readers are encouraged to comment.  Even stupid comments are allowed.  If you don’t like a comment, just pass it by.  Attacking the commenter will get you banned quicker than making stupid comments.  But, we don’t need every freakin’ rumor printed here.
  • Gabe Kapler won’t be batting Harper behind Hoskins or vice versa. Nor will he be batting the pitcher eighth.   Kapler, just as over 50% of his counterparts, does not make out the line ups.
  • The Phillies are way past the structure of a deal.  They have offers on the tables (not my examples above).  They are the best offers during the current phase of the market, but well below the original offers we heard to Harper or the projections by Tim Dierkes and his ilk.
  • Are you guys nuts!  Speaking the name that should not be spoken?  That’s like poking a sleeping bear.  If he comes back because of your comments, …

The 40-man roster stands at 39, the entire organization stands at 357.

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

Key Dates:

  • February 1-20, 2019 – Salary arbitration hearings
  • February 12, 2019 – pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training
  • February 13, 2019 – pitchers and catchers first workout
  • February 17, 2019 – all other players report to Spring Training
  • February 18, 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)
  • February 27, 2019 – 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)
1/25/2019 – Seth McGarry transferred from Lehigh Valley to Reading
1/25/2019 – Nerluis Martinez transferred from Lakewood to Williamsport
1/25/2019 – Francisco Morales transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/25/2019 – Ben Pelletier transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/25/2019 – Edwin Rodriguez transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/25/2019 – Austin Ross transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/25/2019 – Victor Santos transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/25/2019 – Manuel Silva transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/25/2019 – D.J. Stewart transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Aaron Brown transferred from Lehigh Valley to Reading
1/24/2019 – Bailey Falter transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Jonathan Hennigan transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Jakob Hernandez transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Kevin Markham transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Kyle Martin transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – David Parkinson transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Ramon Rosso transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Addison Russ transferred from Clearwater to Reading
1/24/2019 – Ben Aklinski transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Keudy Bocio transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Tyler Carr transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Jonathan Guzman transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Jake Holmes transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Jose Jimenez transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Seth Lancaster transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Ethan Lindow transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Nerluis Martinez transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Robinson Martinez transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Danny Mayer transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/24/2019 – Jhordany Mezquita transferred from Williamsport to Lakewood
1/23/2019 – Gregori Rivero transferred from Lehigh Valley to Lakewood
1/23/2019 – Garrett Cleavinger transferred from Reading to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Jose Gomez transferred from Reading to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Adam Haseley transferred from Reading to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2019 – Will Hibbs transferred from Reading to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Cole Irvin transferred from Reading to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2019 – Blake Quinn transferred from Reading to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Alejandro Requena transferred from Reading to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – JoJo Romero transferred from Reading to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2019 – Jeff Singer transferred from Reading to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2019 – Josh Tols transferred from Reading to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2019 – Connor Brogdon transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Andrew Brown transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Tyler Fallwell transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Colby Fitch transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Julian Garcia transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Dalton Guthrie transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Spencer Howard transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Damon Jones transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Keylan Killgore transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Oscar Marcelino transferred from Lakewood to Williamsport
1/23/2019 – Simon Muzziotti transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Lenin Rodriguez transferred from Lakewood to Williamsport
1/23/2019 – Sandro Rosario transferred from Lakewood to Williamsport
1/23/2019 – Victor Sobil transferred from Lakewood to Williamsport
1/23/2019 – Josh Stephen transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Will Stewart transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Matt Vierling transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Zach Warren transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/23/2019 – Kyle Young transferred from Lakewood to Clearwater
1/21/2019 – Lenin Rodriguez transferred from Lehigh Valley to Lakewood
1/21/2019 – Sandro Rosario transferred from Lehigh Valley to Lakewood
1/21/2019 – Victor Sobil transferred from Lehigh Valley to Lakewood
1/15/2019 – Jesus Alastre transferred from Lehigh Valley to Clearwater
1/15/2019 – Randy Alcantara transferred from Lehigh Valley to Lakewood
1/15/2019 – Jose Antequera transferred from Lehigh Valley to Reading
1/15/2019 – Gustavo Armas transferred from Lehigh Valley to Clearwater
1/15/2019 – Ismael Cabrera transferred from Lehigh Valley to Clearwater
1/15/2019 – Luis Carrasco transferred from Lehigh Valley to Clearwater
1/15/2019 – Luis Cedeno transferred from Lehigh Valley to Clearwater
1/15/2019 – Jesus Henriquez transferred from Lehigh Valley to Lakewood
1/14/19 – Phillies signed FA OF Lane Adams to an MiLB contract
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

570 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 28, 2019

  1. Jim, excellent breakdown of the current pulse here at Phuture Phillies. Appreciate your input and informed perspective. And I will heed your (indirect) advice to separate my heart (emotions, esp. irritability) from my head. I re-commit to biting my proverbial tongue in response to what I personally deem unwelcome or unnecessary posts.

    I do agree, that as this glacial off season painfully morphs before our eyes, yes it is conceivable now more than before and perhaps more so as days turn to weeks that the Phillies may very well be in the peculiar position to sign both Harper and Machado, be it against the love of Trout fishing of many here (including my hero Hinkie and other respected contributors). In the history of Phillies opportunities to make big splash additions, this may be a Haley’s Comet moment.

    It all boils down to who says yes to the stupid money. The other guy may have to scramble for what he can get OR – simply say yes, too.

  2. Can’t wait for my families annual trip to spring training in 3 weeks. Hope to see Bryce and Manny smiling in their Phillies’ uniforms.

      1. TrollU – spring training is the best ! Tiny ballparks – front row action – inexpensive seats but expensive food – chance to really see players up close. They will frequently talk to you etc. and as I recounted one day last week, I even had a chance to stand in the bullpen and watch the Doc warm up. Day games in gentle breezy 75 degree temps – absolutely the best. I go every year and have been since 1997. I am about to pack my sun glasses after I leave the key board ! Don’t miss it !

  3. Do you think that the Phillies will settle with Nola before arbitration? The Phillies offer is way too low in my opinion.

    1. Wawa….I know they are not acknowledging it…but I hope and like to think a LTC could be on the table for Nola… to see 6@120M….buy out the remaining arb years…and add a few more after …until his age31 season.
      It is risky, based on injury….but have to weigh all factors.

    2. I have no “inside” information on this, but yes I do. The Phillies’ offer, while seemingly low, was within the proper parameters for a pitcher with Nola’s time and experience. Nola’s agent’s offer was also correct for his client. Both now look like they’ve played the game correctly for their counterparts – the other owners for the Phillies, and the MLBPA/agents/players for Nola. Now, having toed their respective “party lines” so to speak, they can settle somewhere in between before the arbitration hearing. .Probably closer to Nola’s number, say $6M?

  4. Read somewhere that MLB The Show was announced last year around Super Bowl. Perhaps next Sunday or Monday is a date to target.

    1. First Harper will announce the Phillies as his favorite team and is proud to be a Philadelphian. Then Manny will also announce that he is joining Harper in Philly and can’t wait to be with Hoskins too for multiple championships for his favorite city.

    1. Haseley got ignored.
      Should have been in the 80s at least.
      And Bohm also, little higher than expected… in the 80s or 90s IMO.

    2. San Diego tops the list with 10. Atlanta has 7. CW, HOU, and TB six each. TOR 5. CIN, PIT, and LAD 4. PHI, WAS, OAK, DET, SEA, ARI, BAL, and TEX 3 each.

    3. I trust Fangraphs and BA evaluations more than MLB. But all seem to paint the system as somewhere in the middle of the pack. 15-ish. Strong pitching depth, no sure bets, yet very little in the way of bats.

      Sixto is high risk. Way high.

      Jury is out on Bohm with no clear projection.

      Medina seems to me like a future back end of the pen guy. Could be wrong.

      1. 8mark….’I trust Fangraphs and BA evaluations more than MLB’…I lean the other way….. Mayo and Callis, along Jesse Sanchez, international, have better access to MLB scouts and coaches that the others do not always have or allowed to have
        MLB owns the along with its affiliation with…so they are going to promote their own resources and give them better privy availability to information that BA/BP or Fangraphs just cannot get or allowed to have

        1. Disagree. MLB controls the access channels it provides. Todd Zolecki and the like don’t regularly share their views other than what they are fed. Very little liberty it seems.

          1. We agree to disagree.
            I still believe it comes down to each org scout and who they want to talk to…Fangraph’s Eric Longenhagen already has mentioned they do not always talk freely on prospects and he must be tactful when they do, in what he posts on a specific prospect.
            Mayo and Callis seem to have a better pipeline to information….how they analyze it and how they rate a prospect, can be a different story.

            1. I understand, Romus. But they lose me with Jose Gomez, for example. Scouts can be biased with their opinions.

            2. @8mark – it’s funny that you also use the Jose Gomez hoopla. Prospect ranking is really more subjective than objective — basically, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’m with you that I prefer the FG and BA than MLB when it comes to prospect evaluation. It doesn’t matter if Mayo or Caliis have access to whatever and whenever, it is the their “thought process” that I don’t buy into. I think their evaluation is shallow and lazy considering they have the most access to any prospect assuming what Romus iis saying is correct.

      1. I will hazard an updated guess that Harper will get 8/$284M guaranteed (AAV $35.5M) with two option years, at less than AAV.

        Machado could also get 8 years with early opt out(s) at $32M AAV, total guaranteed $256M, which other prospective suitors may fall short in offering.

  5. Whit Merrifield was extended by KC @4/$16M guaranteed with 5th yr option toward $30M. Wha…?!?!? Best player on the team worth $6M AAV over 5 years? Yo, Matt – call Dayton Moore asap and offer him the farm for that deal and that caliber of talent. 30 yrs old. Plays 2B well, CF well, steals bases like….oh, that’s right. We don’t value stolen bases any more, or any real speed for that matter. Shame.

        1. The rise of the Phillies farm from middle of the pack to Top 5 will depend on the following:

          1) How good Sixto and Gowdy look after the injury
          2) Medina and Howard performance in the upper minors
          3) Continued rise of Luis Garcia
          4) Bohm hitting at his normal phase

          These 6 players have elite tools and high upside and can easily be consensus Top 100 possibly breaking Top 50.

          Haseley, Moniak and Jojo don’t have the same high ceiling so they will not move the needle that much.

  6. Can’t wait for SALLY to start to see these prospects. Hopefully, Luis Garcia and Nic Torres will join them soon. I can see myself spending more time in Lakewood than Reading or Allentown.

    Francisco Morales
    Victor Santos
    Manuel Silva
    Jhordany Mezquita
    Ethan Lindow
    Ben Pelletier
    D.J. Stewart
    Jonathan Guzman
    Jake Holmes

  7. For the “to see is to believe folks” that are not optimistic that the Phillies can sign sign one of (or both) Harper and/or Machado, it is not necessary you’re right or wrong, it is just you view this market half empty than half full. The fact that Harper and Machado are still FAs and no teams are emerging to match the Phillies financial capability — the Phillies are in the driving seat to get one if not both of MacHaper – their agents are just exercising due diligence to ensure that they are taking time to get the most $$.

    I used the same logic to accurate predict that Patrick Corbin will sign with the GNats. Everybody already assumed that Corbin will be a Yankee, but from the time the Yankee did not lock him up during Corbin’s visit, I already know that the $ is not there and Corbin will follow the Benjamins and not the team of his preference.

    Machado can easily be a Yankees and Harper a Cubbies/Dodgers. Why it didn’t happen yet? It is because the $$ are not in those teams and these big market teams acknowledged that the Phillies can overbid them anytime.

    1. Right on the money, Kuko. There is too much made about players not preferring Philadelphia to other cities. It’s the market, or lack thereof, that’s slowed it all down. Expectations of record breaking deals that are likely to be too lofty.

      …and that’s very good timing for the Phillies.

      1. I sparred with a lot of posters here when it comes to trade talks. Some think that I undervalue (overvalue) some players – Cesar is particular when i said he will only worth a couple of low minors if not traded last year. I’ve always say this that the “market” will eventually determine the value of a FA or a player to be traded.

        I can’t blame anybody who predicted 6 months ago that Harper and Machado will worth close to $400M. That was the market 6 months ago and unfortunately for the players. no GMs (particularly the big market GMs) want to spend that much $$ for 1 player so it drives the market down and Middleton is just doing the right approach of being pragmatic in their decision making not to be cheap but to smartly allocate their $$ since they still have other players to pay (Trout, Nola, Hoskins, etc).

        Despite of the snoozefest of a MLB Hot Stove, the Phillies fans should be optimistic because the current FA market falls into the Phillies advantage. The Phillies has the most $$ to spend and every FA is getting cheaper by each day.

        1. I’m not sure who Merrifield’s agent is but he must have his ears to the tracks in future free agency. Even Kingery’s agent may have played it the same way last spring.

  8. KK – I was surprised that Corbin didn’t play the Yankees against the Nationals for a longer period. I guess he got the offer that he wanted, and jumped on it.

    1. I think that Corbin and his agent didn’t try to be greedy. They have a number in mind ($130M is already a good number) so when they got $140M (vs $100M for the NYY), they pulled the trigger. Given how the market panned out (Hello Jake Arrieta), Corbin is probably happy with his decision because that $140M he signed more than a month ago, might be less if he is still a FA as of now.

    2. We don’t know that they didn’t try and play one against the others. In all likelihood, they made a couple phone calls and realized they should take the Nationals’ offer before it was retracted. We all “know” that the Yankees and Phillies were not willing to go the extra year.

  9. Look at this. I can’t vouch for their authenticity. However, it’s being reported on twitter these bats were made for Bryce Harper, and were sitting in the offices of the bat company. Again, it’s the twittersphere. You can choose to buy it or sell it.

    1. NBC Sports Philly also posted an article, citing the likelihood that the order was placed and sent in case Harper signs with PHI. I don’t necessarily see anything out of the ordinary in terms of practicality. Sure, have the bats ready….

      Personally, I believe an agreement has been reached between Boras/Harper and the Phillies. The MLB The Show release and all that has more than likely to do with the timing of any official announcement from either side. I doubt it remains a well kept secret until then, however.

        1. And another thought – if the Phillies were sure Manny wasn’t coming here, I think they would have signed Moose by now. Just saying….

    2. Hink,
      I have a friend who plays in a summer league with a guy who works at Victus.
      Apparently it is just their design guy having fun. I tried to attach the picture of their text


    3. I know the true story, It’s a little convoluted, but here goes.

      The picture was taken by an employee at the bat company (a Phillies fan, BTW) and sent to a friend (another Phillies fan) as a goof. The bats were made and were going to be sent to Harper as an inducement to sign with the Phillies. The Phillies were not involved in this at all.

      The friend who received the “goof” is the son of a friend of mine in Clearwater. He teased his father with the photo to get a rise out of him. The photo was grabbed by a third party (this guy Davis, I guess) and sent out using my friend’s son’s text almost verbatim but without giving him any credit. You know how social media people can be.

      We were at the Complex talking about this when NBCSports rushed out their article. This is how unfounded rumors start.

      This was a harmless tease among a friend and a friend and a father. It is in no way evidence that a deal is pending. Although, that may be true on other fronts.

  10. Not sure if this already has been posted here, but apparently it seems that the Phillies are set to retire #34 for Roy Halladay (Harper’s number of preference). Bryce’s second number of preference that he’d wear is 28, worn currently by Vince Velasquez.

    Vince Velasquez just filed to change his number from 28 to 22.

    Vegas’ over/under for the Phillies total wins has also just changed from 83 to 88.

    Harper will announce he’s a Phillie after the Super Bowl to promote the MLB the Show cover launch.

    1. Cutch will wear 22. Kapler changed to 19. VV changed to 21, not 22. As for Doc’s 34, heard rumblings but he only pitched 3 plus years in Philadelphia. Retiring numbers is usually reserved for longer tenured players. We’ll see. But I can see how they might ask Harper to change his number in light of the uncertainty down the road.

        1. Maybe but CLE and MIN are better rosters still. Sox definitely have the better young talent on the come, perhaps by 2021.

          1. Don’t think Manny wants to wait another 2-3 years and also by that time his brother-in-law and his best friend will not be on Sox anymore.

            1. And don’t forget we have a guy on the coaching staff named Bobby Dickerson. He could be here much longer.😁

            2. If he’s not gonna hustle in some of the biggest games of the year, I doubt winning is THAT high on his list of landing spots.

    1. Wawa……WSox on the cusp, like the Astros’ in 2013/2014…Jimenez does an Acuna/Soto….then look out. Plus that division may be ready for a change of leadership at the top.

  11. All the talk about mystery teams for Machado. Yadadayada….how does it really matter if none of these supposed suitors can match what the Phillies are offering him? Or are they even playoff (SD? CWS?) relevant if that’s even important? Or is this merely a case of a desperate agent fabricating a market. Hopefully we’ll soon find out.

  12. Still no word on what’s happening to the Dodgers and Kapler, I haven’t followed the story that closely but if they were to lose some top prospects do we have the international money to sign any?

    1. Yes. I believe the Phillies will probably sign Taiwanese LHP Lin An-Ko when he graduates college (Culture Univ) this spring. I posted last week I think the team will hold on to a good chunk of their remaining 2018 J2 money in case MLB forces the Dodgers to release some prospects for J2 rules violations. Having Kapler’s first hand knowledge of the Dodgers’ system can’t hurt.

      1. Now if that doesn’t beat all ironies……getting Dodgers’ prospects…mainly because of the Hebrew Hammer back in 2015 as Dodger’s Director of Player Development

  13. Anyone else concerned with the fact that we only have 3 prospects in the top 100? Seems as though with all of the high picks, LA investment, etc that we should have a better showing.

    Not trying to start a war, but what’s everyone’s insight as to why? Lack of development (Gamboa maybe)? Poor drafting (Randolph)? Bad injury luck (Gowdy)?

    1. Most prospect rankings are skewed towards “ceiling” and “tools” so it’s sometimes expected to see a young toolsy prospect rank high despite of the results.

      Early Rd 1 talents normally breaks Top 100 from the time they were drafted. However, Johnny A. tend to prioritize “fundamentals” over “tools” which is other prospect talks called it “safe picks/low ceiling picks”. These low ceiling picks are not sexy names in the prospect rankings unless they suddenly develop a loud tools example of this is Spencer Howard. Howard’s scouting report doesn’t scream Top 100 worthy – but with the uptick in stuff, he jumps in the prospect rankings.

      on the other hand, David Parkinson and Will Stewart played one the best years I remember in the low minors. But they are low ceiling players with average stuff so their meteoric stats in A ball is totally worthless.

      The Phillies just doesn’t have enough prospects with high ceiling so the low number of prospects in the MLB Top 100. However, the Phillies are investing heaving in the LA market so prospects like Jhailyn, Morales, Luis Garcia and now Starlyn Castillo are considered high ceiling prospects — if these developed as projected, these prospects can easily break any Top 100 because of their elite tools – Jhailyn (Power), Morales (plus FB-SL), Garcia (hit, fielding) and Castillo (plus FB).

  14. According to several reports this morning, the Phillies have an agreement in principle with Harper. Their either working out the final details, or waiting until after the Super Bowl, or the arrival of MLB The Show. This brings up the questions. Is Franco here for another year? I’ve preferred him to Moustakas all along. If the Phillies are planning on trading an outfielder, wouldn’t it wise to do it now, rather than after the Harper announcement? When Machado signs with the Sox, will Moustakas be the consolation prize for the Padres? The Phillies will probably move a couple of players to make room for Harpers salary (Hunter, Nicasio, Neshek)? Conceivably, they could even move Hernandez, play Kingery at 2nd base, and go with Florimon as the utility player. Both Kingery and Florimon can play IF or OF.

    1. Wawa…so you want to make a trade with the Braves to get Florimon…but why I ask….he just signed with them in Nov on a minor-league deal….why not wait until June 1st, I assume he the opt-out option on that date if he is not on their 25 by then..

        1. Perhaps he did but…..then how did he pass a Phillies physical and not re-signed to another minor league deal?
          I will go with the latest non-official report….
          “Braves signed INF Pedro Florimon to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Florimon appeared in 50 games with the NL East rival Phillies this past season and owns a weak .211/.270/.319 batting line in the majors. Still, the 31-year-old offers experience and depth going into camp. Mon, Dec 3, 2018 02:33:00 PM Source: Jon Heyman on Twitter

  15. He is only 1 player, but I am still annoyed that the Braves stole Toukki Toussaint by being a salary dumping ground, and we, with much more $ to spend, never exercised that method of obtaining prospects. Aside from that, yes, Randolph did not pan out, and when we had the #1 pick it wasn’t the best year to have it. Moniak may still be a terrific player, but he wasn’t the instant Top 100 player that is there some years. We have a good deal of depth, but we are light on the top of the list talent. But, we had Dom Brown, the #1 prospect in all of baseball, and how did that turn out?

    1. While it sucks to possibly miss on Rd 1 picks, Rd 2 and Day 3 picks seem to be working well for Johnny A. There’s still a good chance Kingery, Gowdy and Howard developed into a reliable MLB player and there a lot of Day 2/3 picks who are climbing up the ladder.

      I agree with that I also admire how the Bravos stock pile powered arms thru smart trades and Rule 4 scouting which force the Phillies to hit on Sixto, Medina, Gowdy, Howard, JoJo and Morales to keep up with the arms race.

  16. I am surprised no one has yet mentioned the Nick Cafardo article from yesterday’s Boston Globe. I couldn’t access the column since I was blocked by the newspaper but did get the jest of it from someone who read it, someone from another Phillies site.

    I think Cafardo is an excellent baseball reporter and he is well connected to big league executives and players. He is not Stark or Gammons but he is certainly better connected than any Phillie reporter not named Salisbury.

    Anyone he wrote that many in the industry believe the Phils financially could sign Harper, Machado, Keuchel and Kimbrel and still have a bit of money left. In fact, he said some in the industry believe this might just happen. I found this staggering but would sure like someone to read the article and indicate just want Cafardo wrote.

    There seems a sense in the industry that everything is going to break right after the Super Bowl and this giant logjam is about to end. The White Sox had their Fan fest this weekend and the ChiSox GM, Rich Hahn sounded awfully confident that he would be getting Machado. Several of the Sox players, Moncada, Abreu and Alonzo, were texting with Machado during the fest, asking him to come on board.

    There does seem to be a growing consensus that Harper is coming to Philadelphia and MM is going to Chicago though I have seen it written several times that the Phils will sign both if the numbers work out.

    If you can read and report on the Cafardo column in yesterday’s Boston Globe it would be greatly appreciated and probably will stir up some interesting takes on this site.

    1. Cal…”Phils financially could sign Harper, Machado, Keuchel and Kimbrel “…also means, more or less, that leaves Phillies home during Trout season.

    2. The price on Keuchel and Kimbrel will need to really tank for the Phillies to sign them both together with MacHarper.

      I predicted a 50% chance to land both MacHarper and 90% to sign at least one. I still stand with the 50% chance since I think Middleton will be opportunistic with Machado and will not hesitate to be stupid if the market falls in their favor.

      Realistically, I can see Middleton do the following:

      1) Sign Harper to a megadeal
      2) Sign Mous – to add balance (lefty hitting) in the line up and use Franco to fill other holes (i.e. LH arm or bench)
      3) Wait out to see if Kimbrel market will tank to a 3-year contract,
      4) Work out a trade possibility involving one of the OF and SP (i.e. Williams, Doobie, Eflin, delos Santos) to acquire a SP.

      The Phillies may roll with Neshek, Hunter and Nicasio in the pen to join Robertson, Morgan, Neris and Seranthony and see who separate themselves to be a very good trade chip to other teams who will need bullpen help.

      1. just to clarify – Robertson and Seranthony will not be traded. Neshek, Hunter and Nicasio will be on top of the ” To Trade” list and Morgan and Neris can be traded if a good deal is available.

        Morgan for a low minor + IFA $$ is a good deal for me.

        1. Kuko, important to remember that 2 lefties – Alvarez (best reliever on LAA in ’18) and Pazos (may be a steal from Segura trade) – should be accounted for this spring.

          1. Plus I am among those who think they trade for either LHP, Strahm or Minor, with Franco as the main chip.

          2. i agree. but if Klentak cannot swing a trade for the Nehsek-Hunter-Nicasio-Neris-Morgan — the lefty’s Pazos, Alvarez and Davis will start in LHV since these 5 players are already out of options. Sure, the Phillies can release any of these players, but it’s better to get something out of them (particularly Neris and Morgan who are both cheap).

  17. Jim,

    My bad on a few fronts, but I have more of a feeling that Kapler bats the pitcher 8th a few times this year. More a hunch, after hearing him explain why you would do such a move. lol if he does I’ll be chiming in!

    On the undeveloping market for BH/MM, the irony is that their timing was supposed to land them these monster deals, even if pay based on future performance, but it seems like they are 2 years to late. If they hit the market 2 years prior, at the same age/etc … they’d probably of gotten their 400 mil deals. The market has changed so much over the last two MC it has deflated their max ceilings.

    I also think Trouts emergence as a Top HOF candidate is playing a small part outside on repressing the overall value of then deals. It has to be in the back of FO minds, what they’d pay Trout vs Bryce. Those hypotheticals probably don’t match up with BH’s camp.

    Anyways, if he signs for anything less than the Jim’s 9/360 numbers from the Phillies, you wonder how that would eat at him, mentally. If he signs for say 300, he basically said ….
    No thanks to 60million extra dollars. O well, I’m sure he’ll make due, just another angle to look at while we wait…

    1. That 9/360M number, if my math is correct is 40M AAV.
      That may have been the early line to Harper in December and I assume it was pulled back once the market slowed….I’d think now it would be in the current Trout range AAV number….9/306M.

      1. It was pulled back the moment he told Boras to “make LA work”. Now the market can’t get back to it. If he signs for 300 it will likely be for less than 10 years, say 8 (37.5 AAV) with early opt outs so he can enter the market again if things look better in 2-3 years.

    2. I did not say that the Phillies wouldn’t bat the pitcher eighth. I said that Kapler wouldn’t be batting the pitcher eighth. I said that Kapler doesn’t make up the game day line up.

  18. Mike, Where did you see a report that there is an agreement in principle with Harper? I haven’t. I am not disputing you, but I would like to see it. And, Romus is right. I just picked on Toussaint, but the Braves did very well in salary dumps, much like Hinkie’s namesake. Failing to capitalize on that avenue has not been the best aspect of the Matt Klentak process.

    1. I can’t make heads or tails from these twitter posts. Too fleeting in their content. Everything is like flashes of nothing but reactions to nothing. In total, a whole lot of nothing.

  19. FWIW MLB The Show tweeted:
    “You’ll want to keep an eye on this account tomorrow…just saying.”
    And it shows Harper….

        1. And Dylan Cozens is coming with a first baseman’s mitt. So he will be working on 4 positions. Might make it interesting for last spit at end of spring training.

          1. Now that is a worthy news item, Denny. Really. Spot starter for Rhys, DH vs RHPs. I can see it. That’s if he hits in ST of course.

            1. Didn’t even think it out to DH. He is like Justin Bourn but can play OF and can run. Think of Cutch, Harper, Hoskins Macada, Cozens and Alfaro back to vack to … in order.

  20. MLB The Show has just retweeted this poll:

    1. Agreed .. it’ll probably be an official release date or some major letdown vs the Harper signing reveal.

      That would be on par with “the decision”

  21. Now we are reduced to interpreting video game tweets. The whole thing has become exhausting, and not much fun. And, we may have another month of this. MLB has to do something to make the “Hot Stove” season something to be excited about. All that’s happening now is endless articles about how the system is broken, and a strike is on the horizon. Not at all good for the game.

  22. The Inquirer beat writer says we don’t know if there’s been an offer made to Harper. But we do. We know the Phillies offered 9/360. Boras recommended he take it. Harper declined, wanting to try the Dodgers, so Phillies pulled the offer and now Harper might end up signing for less.

    How do we know this and the rest of the world, including the mighty Philadelphia Inquirer, doesn’t? Because of Jim Peyton, that’s why.

    I also was tremendously impressed with Jim’s work today giving us insight and perspective not available anywhere else.

    I’ve been an avid PhuturePhillies reader for several years. The site, always the best Phillies site, has continually improved. Right now, it is at an extraordinarily high level.

    The latest example is Jim guarding against manipulation of the Top 30 poll. A masterful act of protecting the purpose and integrity of the poll.

    Finally, one of the key enhancements has been Jim’s recent willingness to contribute more of his observations and opinions. He has gained a masterful knowledge through his experience, first-hand observation and, it appears, trust won from people in the know. All of that redounds to our benefit.

    Jim, great, great, great job. I hope you are enjoying what you have achieved and continue to grow and improve. I certainly do.

    1. Yes, today was an especially banner day on Phuture Phillies. Keep it up, Jim & company! Excellent posts throughout.

      And the mainstream media has nothing on this type of site. They are largely and unfortunately constricted by corporate interests. Their agenda is pre-established until the truth is verifiable and confirmed. Freedom of the press is a misnomer. Now social media on the other hand, a whole different animal at the other end of the spectrum. Good to get fed from the independent yet responsible sources in between.

  23. Frank – This is always my first Phillies site of the Morning, and I check back in several times a day.

  24. Baseball America released its Top 35 catching prospects today. Not one of them a Phillie.

    Maybe we don’t have the catching talent that we think. Or maybe Baseball America is behind the curve, sorta speak.

    Top prospect is Kiebert Ruiz of the Dodgers. Joey Bart next.

    Go Devi, Austin, Edgar, Rafael and Logan. Show ’em what you’ve got.

    1. With lack of many or any high powered position players, we need to sign Harper and Machado to get us through until we can build up farm system again.

    2. Where do we think Alfaro would land on this list if he was in AAA? Curious to see if he was projected higher than the current crop of Prospects

  25. Wawa – I have to echo your sentiments – except I check in more frequently. Jim’s comments today were more than noteworthy as per the remark beforehand – and of course, Hinkie keeps us interminably entertained with his attachments et. al. Simply wonderful site in all regards. Thanks to Jim and all the participants.

  26. Jim, one thing I disagree with. I think Harper would bat 3rd and Hoskins 4th if they sign Harper, with Segura batting 2nd after Cesar. I see Hererra 5th, Cutch 6th, Franco and Alfaro. Who knows. Mous would change things.

    1. Murray,

      Jim merely pointed out that Kapler doesn’t make the everyday lineup, not that certain players wouldn’t hit in certain spots in the order.

  27. Good morning everyone! I’m going to bed now, but when you read this in the morning, we may have an announcement or (more likely) an impending announcement re:the new face of the Phillies. I think the i’s are crossed and the t’s are dotted and we are a physical away from the news that you all want to hear. And, Hinkie will not have to go on hiatus. Win-win. (I hope this doesn’t drag out for a day or two. We’re close to good news.)

      1. Middleton needs to have a pre2019 parade down broad st …. aka in the style of Jack Nicholson’s Joker … throwing out that stupid Money lol, BH and whoever follows him to philly can be on the float

    1. Thank you Jim. Appreciate the heads up. It has been a long ride, and we can all rejoice or exhale based on how this “chase” weighed on you.

      Sounds like all that is left, it to take Bets on the final contract numbers?

  28. Well this a chance to see just how classy the Nats fans are… reading and watching the majority of the fan base reaction when the news officially breaks & the first of many BH to Nats nest in person.

    1. it is a good point … but to play devils advocate, they ask the players all sorts of crap, so they could ask the players about what they think about the BH signing…

      I’m prepared to wait, to me it is the point of Xmas as a teen vs Xmas as a young kid … the teen basically knows what they, just have to wait.

      Exciting, I’m going to consider it a done deal.

  29. Waiting for official announcement before I
    Buy tickets to the
    kC Philly game
    Also need my wife’s buy in. I’ve told her if the Phillies sign Harper that we are going. She looked at my like I was crazy.

  30. Help me to turn my 3 sons around to embrace Bryce Harper. They have hated him so much as a National for so long and they are adamant about not signing him. They are saying they will boo him and will root against him. How do I turn them around now?

    1. Pretty sure once he starts putting his WAR to work for the Phillies benefit vs against them, they’ll come over to the darkside.

      How old are these kids? If young, is work on the oldest, then the other two could follow more easily.

      Last resort is to forbid iPhone & video game privileges if the boo Harper consistently 🙂

    2. We all hated Dykstra as a Met. Man he was an annoying jerk. We loved him as a Phillie. He was our jerk who annoyed other teams. His post career life only went on to prove he was an annoying jerk.

      1. Lol he was my favorite player growing up. His car accident with Daulton was tough seeing as a young fan. Was too young/naive to understand what type of person Nails really was.

        Saying “annoying jerk” is about a nicely as you can put it. I hope for his sake he turns it around.

    3. Denny…….As a younger man, I couldn’t stand Dykstra when he played for the Mets. When he became a Phillie, I loved the guy(Unfortunately, he turned into a real scumbag). Same goes for Pete Rose when I was a 12 year old kid. Winning cures all ills towards opposing players.

  31. Vegas does not waste anytime to get the money-line:
    Odds to win the 2019 World Series (BetOnline):

    NYY +700
    BOS +750
    HOU/LAD +800
    CHC/PHI/STL +1200……*******
    MIL +1400
    ATL/CLE/NYM +1600
    WAS +2000
    COL +2500
    CWS/CIN/LAA/OAK/TB +3300
    ARI/MIN/SEA +5000
    PIT/SD/TOR +6600
    SF/TEX +10000
    DET/KC/MIA +15000
    BAL +25000

    — OddsShark (@OddsShark)
    Philly somewhere between 5th and 7th now….jumping both the Braves, Mets and Nats

      1. I think they may.
        Klentak still is not done, from the reports the beat guys were saying prior to the Manny/Harper negotiations….reading between the lines…..they still wanted to go after pitching.
        And then there is that Franco issue at third base that just hands around..

          1. Looks like Franco will be hanging around a bit. The MM signing will have to be completed before he is moved imo. SD was the likely target but now they are potential a destination for MM. will see

            Other than SD, what are the likely destinations for Franco?

            1. Hinkie mentioned the Rangers are still an option, since Profra has been dealt.
              There are a just a few teams out there now that need a 3rd baseman…maybe the Os or the Royals. The market is not expansive really.

      1. Actually I did it before anyone called me out because i know people are like that around here lol

      2. Troll – Yes you did admit it. You can be excused because the Phillies have screwed things up many times over the years. This front office group seems to be doing pretty darn good (but slowly).

        1. But it feels very likely it’ll happen.
          Either way, I’m hoping for the best.
          I’m prepared to spend some money on a Harper shirt

  32. I can’t help being a conspiracy theorist. I woke up thinking, if this is true, we should start seeing something from our local sportswriters. Until then, I can’t rule out the possibility of an agent’s ploy to stir a stagnant market.

    1. Agree, Jim. Until I hear it from Salisbury, Zolecki, or Seidman I won’t be 100% convinced

    2. Na, I think it’s a done deal. Very quite on BH front since the Phillies meeting. No other droplets even from usually suspects.

      Money talks and the Vegas line has moved, that is enough of a signal to me. It’s a done deal, just going through the schematics now

        1. Howard Eskin and Todd Zolecki saying no news and Vegas site is doing it for “click Bait”.

          1. LOL at Howard Eskin. He’s an absolute black hole for anything Phillies related. I actually heard him make this statement over the weekend: ” The Phillies could sign Harper. They could sign Machado. They could sign both. Or they could sign neither.”
            That’s the kind of inside reporting on the Phillies I have come to expect from Eskin (that Genius).

  33. So let’s assume Harper is a Phillie later today, what’s next?

    1) Go after MM?
    2) Move on to Mous and others?
    3) Where does Nick Williams go?

    1. I still think Moose would already be signed had the Phillies moved on from Manny. Just sayin’…

      1. 8mark, I see your viewpoint. In this case, I don’t think either PHI or CWS show their hand by signing mous first. Notice that even Boras hasn’t leaked any Mous hints. Once one of the stars drop, things will heat up with mous. I don’t think moving on from MM would be wise, in case something happened to Bh at the end, like a mystery team or typical big market team wakes up. The fO probably wants the ability to pivot back to MM if possible.

        Probably depends on who you think signs first, but I can see the Phillies FO not wanted to make a move that eliminates either BH or MM. Mous is a non factor until one drops

    2. Johnny – 1) I think they will continue to be in on Machado, but because Trout is still the end game, I think they’ll put a lid on the amount.
      2) They will wait on where Machado goes, but could conceivably start the year with Franco 3B, Machado SS, and Segura at 2B.
      3) I think they want to keep Williams, but will deal him if they have to.

  34. Some big “tell” signs to me that Harper is just about locked up by the Phillies:

    Very little new information is coming out , if not darn near crickets from the pundits since the face to face Vegas meeting from Middleton

    What news has come out, or opinions, overwhelming say Harper to Phillies

    The consensus thought that both players are cashing money over city preference

    The change in FA spending

    And lastly, what teams are in on BH, PHI can offer the most $$$,$$$,$$$
    The Nats, a possibky suitor have all but waved the white flag. NYY, nope. LAA…. you’d be a pollack to think so, and there are no mystery teams

    It’s Philly, it’s just a matter of when the Phillies and BH decide to make the offical announcement.

          1. I can see, as a go for it move. The team only has a productive Keshaw for so long, and they need the push over the hill … but it would be fiscially irresponsible of them, as they would not be resting the luxury tax. My understanding is they are trying to do so, to reset the pentalties. Don’t see how adding Bryce for 40mil allows them to do so, unless they have trades lineup.

  35. Tac – When this happens, I’ll give a lot of credit to Kapler. But I’ll still be on his case when he screws up.

  36. That Jeff Evans guy who kept reporting Harper and Machado to Phillies finally has his twitter account suspended lol

  37. Mike, I am just waiting for something from Salisbury or Zolecki or Heyman or Jayson Stark. Anything, And as soon as something comes over I will be thrilled and very happy to drown my innate pessimism about our Phillies with a nice bottle of wine. And, happy to admit that Hinkie and you and 8mark and all of you who have been positive were right all along. I have been looking for anything from a site other than the Vegas odds report.

    1. Matt and everyone, I firmly believe that in this case, they may be a tight seal on any source info due to the time sensitivity of the MLB The Show 19 announcement, whether that be today or afterward. However, my sense is that Jim didn’t just post what he did this morning strictly for his health. And Vegas activity (no, not the web site stirring things up) are tremors of the imminent. That’s my take anyway. Naysayers carry on if you must.

  38. Hinkie has me a big Strahm fan. But I’m an even bigger Logan Allen fan. Let’s get MM too and do the deal with the Pads….

  39. The reason I pay for an ESPN Insider account is for Keith Law and the NFL Draft coverage. Law released #51 to #100 on his top 100 this morning. As always, his list differs from the other main lists. Sixto Sanchez will make the top 50 tomorrow. No Medina or Bohm in the top 100. However …

    52. Spencer Howard

    Howard was the Phillies’ second-round pick in 2017, the 45th overall selection, but he has blown past almost everyone in their system to become their No. 2 prospect, even passing their 2017 first-rounder, Adam Haseley. Howard started the year with an average to above-average fastball but by midyear was sitting at 95 to 96 mph and topped out at over 98 mph at the end of the year. And his fastball really plays, because hitters don’t see it well. He has a full arsenal with a plus slider that he calls a cutter as well as a solid-average changeup that he sells well out of his hand.
    He was effective all year but improved as the season went on, with a 35 percent strikeout rate across his last 11 starts, roughly half his season. Howard spent all of last year in Low-A, which is a peculiar decision given how advanced he looked, how well he pitched and his experience as a college pitcher. So, the Phillies might consider bumping him to Double-A quickly, since he’s already 22 and it’s not as if we’re waiting on him to throw harder. I hear a lot of No. 2 starter upside on him, with a high floor, and if he’s throwing that hard that often, he should be able to get to the high minors soon.

    66. JoJo Romero

    The Phillies were aggressive with Romero in 2018, pushing him to Double-A Reading, a very good hitter’s park, after just 10 starts in High-A to end 2017, and he struggled for the first month with command and learning how to put away better hitters. Romero will show three above-average or better pitches, working 89 to 94 mph much of the time but able to reach back for 96 to 97 even deep into starts, while also showing a plus slider, above-average changeup and a curveball that’s adequate but perhaps not needed in his arsenal. He has been a ground ball pitcher at every stop in the minors so far. He is an excellent fielder and controls the running game exceptionally well for a prospect, allowing just three stolen bases all season.
    Romero’s command still lags a little, and he has a tendency to spin off his front heel when he lands, which can pull him off line, even though his delivery gets him right toward the plate. His season ended in late July with a strained oblique muscle, costing him probably six or seven starts, and he’ll likely need the full year in Triple-A before he is ready to come up, but there’s at least No. 3 starter upside here with the chance for him to be truly plus if the command keeps improving.

    69. Luis Garcia

    The Phillies gave Garcia $2.5 million in 2017, and he has joined their pipeline of high-end international talent signed by their longtime international director, Sal Agostinelli, ripping through the Gulf Coast League last year at age 17 with a .369/.433/.488 line. He is a switch-hitting shortstop who projects to hit from both sides of the plate and stay at the position with above-average defense, with a better swing now from the right side and more tendency to chase hitting left-handed.

    In the field, he already has made substantial progress from just a year in a pro system, particularly on being more consistent on routine plays, and even though he is going to end up an average runner, he projects to stay at short with above-average to plus defense. His makeup earns rave reviews from the Phillies’ staff, from his maturity to his aptitude for learning — and between that and the potential for a plus or better hit tool with high on-base skills, he could be a top-20 prospect in a year.

    1. BTW … congratulations,SWorks on Spencer occupying Keith Law’s #2 spot in the Phillies system.

    2. Great to see KLaw’s thinking of JoJo and Howard. Those two plus Sanchez and Medina represent the next wave in 2020. The 4A guys will be passed over.

    3. Great stuff – thanks for posting. I actually have Garcia as the Phillies #1 prospect and Howard # 2 – Sixto # 3. I still think Sixto will need surgery and will push his ETA back. I think Howard arrives sooner and is a true # 2 if he can get the change up to be a plus pitch, with the slider/cutter, and fastball. Behind Nola. And if Romero can be a very good LHP at # 3. The rotation is set for years. And Garcia has the makings for a plus defense SS who is a switch hitter and who hits for average over .300. Possibly better than JRole.

      1. He was my breakout prospect before last season.
        I posted, “Two words … Spencer Howard.”
        It’s not often I get the breakout prospect right so I’ve got to throw that hit on last year’s poll in there every chance I get.

      2. I always liked Howard – but Garcia has been my guy and I think he will be a top 10 MLB overall prospect by 2020.

        1. I also think the Phillies should only draft college players and international players hand picked by Sal!

          1. Dlite14….I like Sal….but do not want to burst your confidence bubble…..but please name the MLB players that have come from the LA market that have had somewhat of an impact with the Phillies or any other team.
            I count maybe a handful….Freddy/Cesar/Carassco/Villar/Santana…..but outside of Carassco not many with consistent 3 or 4WAR production.

            When the Phillies get the next Acuna//Soto/Albies/Torres/Andujar et al then I will get excited.

            1. I will add to your list with some of our top 20 prospects – Sixto, Garcia, Morales, Medina, Ortiz, Gamboa, and Suarez. I know your were asking for MLB level players, but I am looking at the total package when making an evaluation. And Garcia is the next Torres.

            2. Fair enough….will see how many materialize into impact MLB players.
              Hopefully all of them….but we already got a brief, but rather telling glimpse of Ranger Suarez.
              And as for Gamboa…..there was a poster on here many years ago…LarryM….who had a few throeis that seemed very plausible…one was….a players same minor league metrics do not normally improve once they reach the majors…and on those rare instances when this did occur, the player was highly under-aged thru the minor league levels in comparison to his opponents at that specific level.
              I do see Gamboa being an impact MLB player……maybe a Freddy Galvis type player because of his glove.

  40. Thanks Hinkie, great stuff. Did KLaw have a just missed the Top 100 piece? And, isn’t he one of those that was high on Median? Maybe Medina made the top 50? Or, am I wrong?

    1. Law said Howard was Phillies #2 so unless Medina is #1 and Sanchez has fallen of his top 100 list (unlikely)-No.

      1. Medina is not universally thought as highly as many here do. I like him. Don’t love him. Still best name in the organization, however.

    2. Neither Medina or Bohm on his 13 that just missed. I like and respect Keith Law, but to me, he’s way off on Adonis Medina.

  41. I’m repeating this. I love repeating this because I believe it. Spencer Howard will pitch at CBP in 2019 in some capacity. Whether it be a spot start or a late season call up. He is the closest thing we have to Walker Bueller in our system.

    A friend of mine in the White Sox system scouting the SAL loves him.

      1. Mr. Howard … After the season, I was really worried the Phillies might do something stupid and include Spencer in a trade. I’ve heard your son is very much wanted when teams talk to the Phillies. So far … so good. I believe the team really wants/needs to hold on to their top young arms at the upper levels of their system (Sixto/Medina/JoJo/Spencer) to help keep their payroll in check over the next 6-7 years because the Phillies plan to pay Harper and Trout (and eventually Hoskins) lots of money.

    1. I had heard a few months ago that the Phillies were seriously considering starting Howard in Reading this season.
      BTW … I believe Medina will be pitching in CBP at some point this year.

          1. Harper need not be in town for any official announcement. His introduction to the media would probably take place Friday if news broke today.

  42. There is no way that Vegas odds on the Phillies winning the WS go from 18/1 to 12/1 and win totals go from 83 to 88 without information on a major signing being known to oddsmakers. Also, taking down the prop bet on Harper helps connect all the dots. Just my opinion of course, but Vegas is rarely wrong.

    1. Well if this supposed announcement from MLB The Show today is all about nothing but more promotional garbage, there should be an all out boycott on the video game. So there….

  43. tweet from AG Sports Networks kind of echoes Jim
    Deal is just about done but needs to go through league office and finish up details. League offices were only notified yesterday.

    1. My guess is the contract has a complicated structure with voidable years/opt out and unusual bonus/long term element. Boras wants to tout a # as high as possible.

  44. Two things worth mentioning, both involving Boras. Its widely known that Heyman is Boras’s top pitch man, so if Heyman is reporting that Harper will not be signing today, that came directly from Harper’s agent so you can take it to the bank.

    The other thing that struck me, as a long time Boras watcher, all this news about Harper signing with the Phillies has to be music to his ears and even IF Harper was thisclose to agreeing to a contract, Boras would have every reason now to put this off as long as he can since he probably theorizes [not without merit] that every Harper to the Phillies rumor probably adds a few million to the offer.

    Can you imagine the backlash now if the Phils don’t corral Harper? I can and it won’t be pretty. I mean even a Machado signing would seem anti-climactic to me, and probably to a lot of Phillie phans. Its pretty much Harper or Else right now, just look at all the Phillies sites, its pure Harper, Harper, Harper talk.

    I could even imagine that some of these rumors may well have been associated with Boras or one of his minions. The guy is ruthless, I have been saying this for quite some time now and he has to know that Harper may well be his swan song as a looong term, ridiculous amount of money contract, there just is no desire for this anymore.

    Analytics has probably been the death of these deals and Harper may well be the final deal of its kind and Boras realizes it. So he has no reason NOT to string this out and the Phillies are his victims.

    I am one of those people who believes in the Duck Theory…if it walks, quacks and swims like a duck, its likely a duck. I think there was much to believe in these Harper rumors, Las Vegas bettors indicated that. But Boras has probably put the brakes on this, knowing the Phils aren’t going to say anything or turn away in frustration. They really can’t,not now. They will simply have to wait this out and allow Boras to do Boras things.

    1. …or pivot to Machado now, say eee-aaah to Boras and offer Manny what we were offering Harper until now. Then watch what Boras does….crap the bed and rue the day he totally boggled this big time. Historic agent malpractice, no matter how brilliant he’s been over the years. Remember – Harper is NOT the only top dog in this dog and pony show.

      1. ….and he would contaminate his relationship with the Phillies again in regards to other FA clients, including those currently on the Phillies roster.

        1. That would be how I would do it, since he is also a Boras client and may be an easier negotiation process after the Harper scenario played out….but my guess Klentak and Co will go to pitching in Keuchel or Kimbrel.
          Or they may just go for all three ..Harper,,Moustakas and Keuchel

          1. Romus – respectfully, Cal Dreaming has told us that there are no “grooup discounts” with Boras. One deal does not mean you can complete another. Just say’in…

            1. Did not say group deal……the negotiation for Moustakas will be easier …after Harper is signed.

  45. Meanwhile, Todd Zolecki tweeted that Jimmy Rollins has joined the organization in a multi purpose role – ST coach, CBP suite schmoozer, basically a team ambassador.

  46. And it never says Machado is going to the White Sox, doesn’t even mention them.

    1. Really does not need to…..Rick Hahn already seems determine to get him with their version of ‘stupid money’ if the Phillies get Harper.

  47. Bill James:
    Somehow we have developed this large contingent of know-it-all baseball fans who bay like wounded coyotes at any mention of wins, losses, RBI or batting average. I never know whether I should blame myself for this or not.

    LOL I think Bill is onto something.

    1. I like looking at players in terms of homeruns, rbi’s avg, wins, losses and era as a fan but I would definitely use the advanced stats when evaluating a players true value to the team.
      example, I would never say a player has no value because his batting avg was only .265

    2. The FIPS, WHIPS and BABIP types are turning on him and eating him up.
      From 12UP.
      “ … ​Bill James is one of the most unique, sharp, and legendary minds in the history of ​baseball writing. He’s also a curmudgeonly old man, ranting at kids to get off of his lawn. The Godfather of sabermetrics just can’t seem to grasp that “traditional” baseball stats like wins and RBI are falling out of favor with many young baseball writers and fans, who prefer advanced stats like OPS+ and WAR.
      ​​For someone as forward thinking as he used to be, he is still stuck in the past.
      While players like Tim Raines, Larry Walker and Edgar Martinez have either gotten into ​Cooperstown or come close due to stats like WAR helping their case, players are still being elected to this day due to RBI totals.
      You know what happens when we don’t look at advanced stats and go solely by old-school ones? Two words,( from a 22-season, 39bWAR player)….. Harold Baines….”.

      1. I’m not an HOF guy its the equivalent to figure skating or the walking dead. My enjoyment from baseball is simple and romantic. There is a beginning and an end to each game and each season.

        These endless debates about a players greatness bore me frankly. I know it when I see it of course. I know the villians and the heroes of my lifetime and enjoy the stories of the legends and even the old footage Ken Burns put together.

        But beyond that any subjective nonsense has me turning the channel faster than a depends commercial.

        1. Though to all the retiring players after a long career it may be of importance.
          All say it is not important if they do not get selected…if it happens it happens as they say….but once the chosen few are selected, I have not heard of any refusing it yet.

          And those debates on whether or not one is better than another…..that has been a part of baseball, or most all sports, from their beginnings.
          Sure they can be boring….but people participate,whenever they get the opportunity to debate on their favorites.

  48. assuming contact issues balanced out, if you could have 2 of 3:
    mousakis, keuchal and kimbrel, who would you pick?

    1. Can I take none of the above? Don’t particularly want any of the three at this point in their careers.

  49. Opening day? (humor me…)

    2b Cesar Hernandez
    3b Manny Machado
    LF Bryce Harper
    1b Rhys Hoskins
    CF Odubel Herrera
    RF Andrew McCutchen
    ss Jean Segura
    c Jorge Alfaro
    p Aaron Nola

    1. CF Quinn
      SS Segura
      RF Harper
      1B Hoskins
      LF McCutchen
      C Alfaro
      3B Franco
      P Kluber
      2B Kingery

      …. the humor continues

      1. Machado or no Machado, Steve Adams of MLBTR thinks Franco will be the odd man out at 3b either way.

        1. Not that my lineup is official, but I can see this dragging out so long, that it is better to hold onto Franco until the deadline or an injury occurs vs selling very low due to most rosters being configured.

          1. Tac3…that ‘what if’ game..’just in case’..what if another team has an injury at third base.
            Yesterday we talked about what the former Braves GM did… established younger guys like Jason Heyward, Shelby Miller…he took the risk.
            Waiting for Franco’s replacement to be signed at third is playing it safe.
            Strike while the iron stove is hot.
            Offer him to the Padres now…make Preller decide either to take the offer up or not.
            Be procative…not reactive.

            1. It takes two too make a deal. The Padres have little motivation to pay players for Franco while Machado and Mous are still on the market.

            2. Yes obviously….but that does not stop you from making the offer of Franco to them, which i am sure has already been made.
              It should at least be on the table for them to think about .
              Even with Hosmer politicking for Moustakas and Machado still unsigned you cannot let the lines of communication dry up.

            3. This is a dilemma. The Phillies (MacPhail in particular) have made it public that another team might be able to unlock Franco’s skills. But they can’t commit to Moustakas without closing the door on Manny. Hmm. They must have a plan at this stage. If they were certain Machado wasn’t coming, Moustakas is a no-brainer. I’m not debating the merits of Franco vs Moustakas. My assumption here is that the Phillies are in fact moving on from Maikel. Local writers have mentioned it as pretty much a given. So what to do. My preference is to get the Harper deal done and offer Moose an overpay for one year, possibly a 2nd year option.

    2. You forgot Realmuto.
      2b Cesar Hernandez
      3b Manny Machado
      LF Bryce Harper
      1b Rhys Hoskins
      CF Odubel Herrera
      RF Andrew McCutchen
      ss Jean Segura
      c …Realmuto
      p Aaron Nola

      1. And Trout
        2b Cesar Hernandez
        3b Manny Machado
        LF Bryce Harper
        RF Mike Trout
        1b Rhys Hoskins
        CF Odubel Herrera
        SS Sean Segura
        C J.T. Realmuto
        P Aaron Nola

          1. Lol is it possible? What if the team cleared the farm to get Realmuto, and signed both BH & MM?


            Herrera is missing because we sold him for a SP upgrade.

            If Middleton/FO sign off on this …. watch the cash flow in on 82 dollar dog day games!

            Volume = Cash

    3. 1. Hernandez 2B
      2. Segura SS
      3. Machado 3B
      4. Harper RF
      5. Hoskins 1B
      6. McCutchen LF
      7. Herrera
      8. Alfaro

  50. While we are at… I’m going to throw a Hail Mary out on the
    Starting rotation:


    Kluber is one of my fav pitchers not on the Phils… he may have been beat like a dog, so I’d be skeptical, but once Harper signs, a lot of dominoes fall.

    Would you trade Herrera to get Kluber, weaken the offense, but strengthen the SP with a pitcher at a great contract value


    Sign Kuechel and trade Franco for BP help, but fatten the team payroll for a potentially less productive pitcher

  51. Alright. It’s 4:53PM. At 5PM, I officially become pissed off. No announcement. No unofficial word. Just a bunch of half baked speculation from nitweets. Does anybody have anything substantive? Has any of our local beat boys actually asked what’s up? I have no fear we will lose either Harper or Machado, mind you. But my brain hurts.

    1. We got Jim, I’ll take his word. Something got delayed. So will just have to practice more patience.

      I don’t expect word to come of the signing anytime soon. Something tells me it’ll happens. Few more days after the SB.

      I’m just assuming it’s a done deal, and they are waitig for the perfect time to tell us

    1. Jim warmed us that it wouldn’t be today
      More than likely

      I’m assuming he wasn’t duped and has a reliable source

      If Harper is signing, i think it’s announced Sunday or Monday

  52. Middleton has to be frustrated. If he knows there is a deal, and cannot announce it, he is frustrated he can’t start selling tickets and merchandise, and watching his team be the talk of the town. If he knows there isn’t a deal, he has to be going crazy, and only he knows if they are close or not, but he can’t seem over anxious or it costs more. I can’t imagine he ever had a negotiation like this in the tobacco business, even when they sold the company for billions.

  53. Bob Nightengale said this could drag on to March.
    We’ve been duped by twitter and Vegas 😡😡😡

  54. Current lineup until/if Harper signs


    1. Sorry but they love Hererra and he’ll be starting. Quinn will be the 4th OF and he’s perfect for that. So, expect Cehe to lead off again.

      1. Yeah if Harper isn’t signed Quinn probably forms some sort of platoon with Williams which is perfectly fine. I don’t think either of them really is a long term starting outfielder. Ride the hot hand or match up based on whether they want defense/power.

        1. If they fail to sign Harper, trade for Castellanos. Stick him in LF. Young kid with future DH written all over him. We also need to keep in mind that our bat only prospects may be useful within the foreseeable future.

  55. Just listened to Matt Gelb on 94. His best point was that the Phillies biggest leverage is that nobody knows who they really prefer. They are playing it perfectly. Despite my impatience, I can’t argue that. And ultimately they will benefit most in the end.

  56. That Vegas site that called the signing complete blocked me on twitter because I let them know that they were wrong because none of the local beat writers were reporting it lol
    I’m sure they blocked others who did the same. They should just admit they were wrong like Dan Clark lol

    1. I want to add again that I trust Jim because he’s closer to the Phillies org than Vegas is. Knowing Boras he probably saw the hype and said let’s hold up for a few days

  57. Breaking News (sort of). Local news in Las Vegas has reported that Harper is very close to signing, and that the Nationals chances of resigning him are “thin as a razor”.

          1. Yup. Hurry up and wait.

            This pursuit is zapping all the excitement out of the signing. The NFL does it the best imo. You know the player is in town, boom they sign or it’s onto another meeting. NBA and NHL do it better as well. This is just agonizing, as much as it can be for a sports fan. Imo it really is not necessary at all.

            That 9/360 offer must be eating away at Bryce, doing everything he can to inch back closer. He basically shot himself in the foot.

            1. If Middleton has the gonads, he should tell Boras, “Look, you have until Feb 1. Take what’s currently on the table. Or we pivot to Machado. Period.”

  58. It surprised me that the Marlins released Detrich but signed Neil Walker. I’d actually like Detrich for the last spot on our bench. Three spots are set with a catcher (Knapp right now), Quinn, and Kingery and they only carried a 4 man bench last year. That leaves Altherr without a home and assumes Williams and Franco will either start or be traded in the event of a signing. Someone on the bench has to play 1b, which Dietrich can do. I expect Altherr to give it a shot in ST to increase his chances of making the team.

    1. Dylan Cozens is our Dietrich. He will also be available at 1b and all 3 of positions, also cheaper.

        1. Hopefully he has a great ST. If not, he will be given the opportunity to make it back with a great season or first 2 months in LHV.

    2. I like Dietrich…he has the experience….another in the mold of a Ben Zobrist type player or Marvin Gonzo.

    3. I don’t see the point in signing a bench piece just because he can play 1b. Knapp and Franco can do that, too. Actually, pretty much anyone on the team could. In fact, if Kingery is our super sub this year and going forward, he should be learning 1B anyways.

      If anything, I’d be disappointed in signing Dietrich because that’s just saying that they don’t trust Kingery. It’s bad enough they won’t let him play his natural position, but taking away the job they gave him as well is a slap in the face.

      Give the last bench spot to a kid with upside rather than a guy who averages less than 1 WAR per season.

      1. “Give the last bench spot to a kid with upside rather than a guy who averages less than 1 WAR per season.”..last three years 4.2bWAR as basically a utility guy on the Marlins playing LF, 3rd, 2nd and 1B.
        But I would want him if Kingery was slotted into full time service at his natural position at second base, and Cesar is moved.

  59. Probably means nothing but its worth noting that Jimmy Rollins’s agent is non other than Dan Lozano, the agent for Machado. Like I said, probably means nothing but then again the hiring of Rollins came out of nowhere.

    I still believe the Phillies [aka Middleton] favor Harper, as do I, but it doen’t hurt to cover all the bases.

      1. If ever a MLB club had the rare opportunity to snag both of the top FAs in the history of free agency, this is it. I mean the market is SCREAMING – HERE WE ARE! Give us your stupid money! Yet somehow…I just don’t get it. And I know all about the Trout implications. I get it. I just think this is a really prime opportunity to reason away.

        1. Trout is one of the best players in the last 25 years if not more however you don’t set up your team in hopes of signing him in a couple of years. If you can get 2 superstars now, you do it! Someone on here said that they don’t like signing Harper bc he plays balls to the wall and will break down in his early 30’s. I can’t remember who said that but couldn’t you say the exact same thing with Trout? Don’t misunderstand me, I would love to have Trout but I’d rather have Harper and Machado right now, instead of hope for Trout in a few years.

          1. 100% disagree. You sign one of Harper/Machado now, and absolutely leave your team with the financial flexibility to bring the greatest (non PED using) player in the past half century back home in two years if/when he becomes available.
            Harper or Machado are HR signings for the Phillies. Mike Trout is a game winning grand slam in the 7th game of the World Series signing for the Phillies. Think LeBron to Cleveland.

  60. Sixto Sanchez checks in at #35 on Keith Law’s list.

    35. Sixto Sanchez

    Sanchez throws what might be the easiest 100 mph fastball in pro baseball, and he does so from a small, 5-foot-10 frame (despite being officially listed at 6 feet) that makes it hard to believe you saw what you just saw when he does it. He throws it for strikes at will and has had success primarily off that pitch. While his secondary stuff has lagged, the Phillies have worked with him on a new grip and release for his slider that have the pitch up to 91 mph with tighter, sharper break than before, a pitch that could be a difference-maker for him.

    Sanchez was shut down in June with elbow inflammation and never returned; he was at instructional league and was scheduled to go to the Arizona Fall League but suffered a setback and was shut down for the rest of the year. His size, or lack thereof, has always been a concern for his future as a starter. If he stays in the rotation, he’s a potential ace, with a high floor as a huge K-rate reliever in high-leverage work.

      1. It’s not even where he ranks Sixto in the top 50. It’s that he’s our only top 50 prospect that should be of concern.

    1. we are awaiting to see if he is healthy, and that is a big story line for this Franchise. If the team is going to sign FA to monster deals, we need young cheap productive pitchers coming up a specific time frame. Sixto is a big piece of this puzzle. I’m concerned the arm injury is due to his mechanics/throwing 100mph. Law says it’s the easiest 100mph fb he’s seen, so I’m hoping I’m just overly concerned. I am glad they shut him down last year.,let this injury calm down and not developing into something worse. A lot of young kids like to power through pain/lower level injuries but that gunhotude can lead to bigger problems.

      Seeing Sixto healthy is going to be on par with the excitement of signing a Bigger FA, this team needs him to develop

    1. True. But how many of those past occasions had a rival FA and his agent vying for top dog? There should be some serious leverage for the Phillies to play one vs the other and force somebody’s hand. Not the other way around.

  61. Klentak went on with 97.5 morning show today. Wouldn’t confirm if/what/who offers were made. If anyone wants to find the podcast and attach here, by all means….

  62. There is no point for Klentak to even go on the radio. What can he say? You hear him and you just get more frustrated. He can’t say what he knows, and it means nothing to talk about what he has already done, because without one of Harper/Machado, we are the 4th best team in our own division. No discounting the moves at all. I like them, Segura, Cutch and Robertson, and love the Robertson signing. But, we are still not good enough. And, the recent rankings showing us as middle of the pack in prospects doesn’t make anybody feel any better. Our #1 guy still missed the whole year, and our #1 everyday player was underwhelming in his Pro debut. We need, as a fan base, the big signing to get us excited. The FO and the owner know that as well.

    1. Yup, I couldn’t even finish listening to what he had to say. The just is … it doesn’t help their cause to say anything. End of radio segment.

      I see his point, but I’m not listening to 25 minutes of him dancing around the elephant in the room.

      This needs to end. It’s not the only moves to make. In a way, I think it is selfish by the players&agents, and somewhat from the FO to not find agreeable terms. What is the team supposed to do with Franco and the OF. I’m hoping deals are in place and FO are just waiting for news to break.

      Damn this offseason

      1. Actually, I thought Klentak had plenty to say:

        1. Forget about signing both superstars, though not impossible. It’s about managing resources to take advantage of future opportunities. (Trout?)

        2. Herrera. The push for Odubel to get in shape wasn’t just Kapler. The general manager was in on that meeting, too. And it sounds as though it was a pretty stern warning, not just a suggestion.

        3. Jose Pujols has dropped out of discussions here and won’t make the PhuturePhillies Top 30, but he apparently makes the Phillies Top 30. He was one of a dozen players included in the Phillies orientation week “in anticipation” of their making the Big Leagues,

        4. After signing Machado or Harper, the Phillies might pivot to a top of the line pitcher, Klentak hinted.

        1. Good stuff, Frank. Thanks for the summary. Haven’t had a chance to listen. Don’t need to now.

        2. In fairness to Klentak, I cut it off after 5-10 mins of his word dancing, even fast forwarding the last few minutes.

          Good catch. Not sure if the anti-signing both stance is a front or not from the Phils FO, would make sense to also not let anyone know that aspect of their plans, just like not revealing if offers were made, dollars, etc

          Probably more accurate to relate my previous comment to the BH/MM front

          1. I did exactly as you did and turned it off due to same reasons. Klentak should go back into hiding.

            I don’t think either FA will make a decision until ST starts. The clients and agents probably want to announce signing(s) in Clearwater instead of Philadelphia and maybe the games are in session. All hope that many of the discussions about Philly not being the preferred designation, lack of hustle along with other issues are buried in another location and in talk of ST instead.

          2. I mean in all honesty his hands are kind of tied. I understand why the questions are going to be asked but it’s kind of on the interviewer to get worthwhile information out of the GM. It’s a good thing he’s making himself available. There’s plenty to be learned by speaking to the GM about the roster/behind the scenes unrelated to Machado/Harper. That didn’t happen in this interview but Klentak shouldn’t hide himself just because he didn’t sign Harper and Machado yet.

        3. Frank…assume that ‘top of the line pitcher’ he is referring to is Keuchel, or maybe in trade, Robbie Ray from the DBacks.

          1. I’m a bit surprised but the move for the TOR SP, I get it in a way, but it kind of feels like they are abandoning the rebuild process in a way, or at least accelerated… rather hyper accelerated.

            Basically feels like they are going from 50mil Payroll to pushing the max in one season. It can be done, but it mistakes are made, it’s hard to erase them. You can only have so many Santana redos

            Keuchel/Robbie RAy

          2. Romus, that’s certainly speculation on PhuturePhillies.

            He did say “starting” pitcher, just for clarification.

            1. Frank…only referring to starters (Keuchel or Ray or whoever is out there in trade), since in his interview yesterday with Jim Salisbury, he seemed to indicate he was satisfied with the acquisitions of Roberston and as he said…the lefties in the pen …I guess he was referring to Jose A, and Pazos from Seattle.

  63. Just wanted to add my two cents to something I said a couple of days ago in regards to Boras as I saw RU and Romus discussing it recently. Thanks for mentioning, gentlemen, allow me to clarify. RU mentioned that he thought I said Boras doesn’t give “group” discounts. What I said was that Boras doesn’t give “hometown” discounts, heck he was the guy who coined the phrase. He will not take a penny less, even from the team his client currently plays for. But “group” discounts? Not exactly, but what Boras has been known to do is this…suggest that if a team will sign Player A it might make negotiations for Player B go smoother.

    Here is what I mean and might just happen. Boras badly misread the market on Moustakas last year and the talented 3rd baseman had to settle for a 1 year, 6.5 million dollar deal. I would bet apples to oranges that Boras has told Moustakas that he will do everything in his power to make sure this doesn’t happen again and would not be adverse to telling the Phillies…”a 2/$15 deal for Moustakas might make the Harper negotiations more appealing to my mega client.” Now he would never coerce, threaten, or demand this, he could get in serious trouble. But would he suggest it?

    His history with the Phillies suggests he already has in the past. In December of 1997, when then Phillie GM Ed Wade was trying to get JD Drew signed, Boras said he had a 2nd baseman, Mark Lewis, who needed a job. Wade signed Lewis and installed him as the Phils regular 2nd baseman in 1998, hoping and believing this might grease the pavement on a Drew signing.

    Now we come to May 1998 and Drew is still unsigned and Wade is getting antsy. He contacts Boras to talk about Drew and Boras changes the subject and says, “hey, when are you going to call up top pitching prospect, Carlton Loewer [another Boras client], he should be pitching in Philadelphia instead of Triple A?” Wade called Loewer up two days later and Loewer was in the Phillie rotation immediately.

    I have NO doubt that Wade was hoping that by bringing in one Boras client he could get another. I suspect Boras insinuated as much without coming out and saying it directly. I can easily see Boras using Moustakas as a lynch pin to Harper.

    Will it work? Possibly. Let’s put it this way. IF the Phils sign Harper, I will be shocked if either Moustakas or Keuchel don’t come in also, and at terms that look surprising solid for the player. We have seen it done often in Washington where the standard joke was that Boras owned more of the Nats [about 10 players were his clients] than Lerner did.

    Philadelphia could soon become Washington #2.

      1. I agree. Mous maybe better, but not by enough to tie up the payroll like that. I’d rather roll the dice with Franco this year and keep 3B open as an upgrade next year. Also , let’s see how Bohm and Garcia progress, may need to know in terms of how long of a contract to give out.

        1. We can probably get Moustakas on a 1-2 year deal at $20. Short term though more expensive than Franco, yes – BUT Maikel can get us a very useful LHP in return. And future long term 3b options are aplenty. Come 2020-23, Arenado? Rendon? Bohm??? Or how about a guy named Kris Bryant?

          1. Wow!!! Moustakas on a 1 or 2 year deal for 20 dollars. Do it! Okay, I’m being a wise ass, but Arenado could be available at the deadline. I’d start the conversation with Franco, Sixto, and Bohm, and see where it goes.

        2. I’m with the crowd that says keep Franco over Moustakas. Upgrade is minimal in my opinion.

  64. My wishes for the upcoming season…

    1 Sign Harper (yesterday!) and Moustakas and trade for a LHP.

    2 Somehow move Cesar so Kingery can be given 2019 at 2b to show one way or another whether he’s the future, given the contract they gave him last spring. His mishandling last season was my biggest disappointment.

    3 Allow Quinn the opportunity to be the not-so-secret weapon he should be as a 4th OF, starting 60-80 games.

    4 Move VV to the pen (if he isn’t traded).

    5 Aggressively promote the system’s top performers, especially the young arms.

    6 If the Phillies are leading the division at the all star break, give Kapler an extension. (My guess is if he doesn’t make the playoffs, he’s gone.)

    7 Jorge Alfaro becomes a premier catcher/bat in MLB.

    1. 6. Wait until after the season before talking extension. He still has one more year…2020…. on his contract. That is, if he isn’t removed before then by the league.

        1. I am sure the Philies are hoping that is the case.
          Then again whenever a grand jury is involved in an investigation, the agents will work closely with an attorney from the U.S. govt, either from the local U.S. Attorney’s Office or the U.S. DoJ, before making any arrest in order to determine whether a crime was committed and, if so, who is responsible.
          So if no crime is found …under RICO, I assume…or was committed….he and the Dodgers are off the hook.

        2. 8mark, I’m with you in the hunch department. Kapler just talks so straight it would be a surprise and a disappointment if he turned out to have been crooked in this instance.

      1. Romus – I agree with waiting for the end of the season. The final 2 months didn’t go very well last year.

    2. I’m not sure that #6 is accurate in a black and white scenario. If they show vast improvement in a tough division (tough league over all. On paper they’re behind the Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, and Brewers as it stands now. If they fall just short I don’t see them firing the manager. That comes down to roster construction.

      1. It will have to do more with how he handles the personalities in the clubhouse and dugout. Even Jim Peyton says that Gabe doesn’t even make out the lineup. It’s the intangible matters that may determine Kapler’s tenure more than anything. My #6 probably isn’t phrased the way I should have worded it. My hope is that the troops, both veteran and youth, will have bought in to his culture.

        1. CraZy .. i need to get a gig like that. Less and less responsibility it seems for a manager. Odd to me the manager is not making the lineup card. What an age

          1. Yeah, my guess is Rob Thomson gets to assemble the lineup after all the analytical preparation is done. You probably don’t need a human being for that anyway. Hell, maybe they even have a quantifying measure for factoring in biorhythmic tendencies. You know, how a guy feels physically or emotionally on Wednesdays. Day games vs night games. Splits against lefties with big beards vs clean shaven LHPs. The sky is the limit, right?

            I recently read a pretty good article – and for the life of me I don’t recall where – but instead of collusion among owners and GMs, it is really known as group think, a shared overview of how players are now valued and how the game should be played accordingly.

            1. …………….how many cobwebs are still there after 7 rusty nails the night before. The scenario’s are unlimited. Hats off to the old school and Casey Stengel, when he lined the Mets up on the 1st base line and said, “ guys this is a bat and this is a ball…………” I would have loved hearing some of the old timers response to……”you don’t need to fill out the lineup card anymore, we are going to use a computer,😳

            2. It must have been HINKIE.COM ? Were there accompanying attachments, gimmicks, cartoons, et. al. !!! If you have the subscription, send it over, I’d be a lifetime subscriber…..

            3. Oh for the days of Connie Mack and John J McGraw. Or at least Mayo Smith and Gene Mauch.

              Just learned that Miller Huggins was a lawyer. Apparently not all of the old timers were, well…Charley Manuels.

  65. I read one writers prediction of the 25 man roster, and was surprised to see Knapp as the back up catcher. Later I read Salisbury’s interview with Klentak. Klentak kind of dodged the question of “are the Harper, Machado signings holding up other moves”. Of course they are. Depending on which player is signed, other players will be traded. Despite the fact that the Phillies knew of Manny’s preference to play SS, they signed Segura. Segura can play 2B, so if Manny signs, either Franco or Hernandez will be traded.
    If Harper signs, we’ll have Harper, Herrera, McCutchen, Altherr, Williams, Quinn, Cozens, and even Kingery. Cozens could go back to Lehigh, but two of Altherr, Williams, or Quinn could be traded. So Klentak should have been honest and said “Yes” the negotiating for Harper and Machado are holding up other moves.
    I wish that Salisbury would have asked Klentak if he’d had any conversations with the agents of possible backup catchers. Because we’ll only have a four man bench, it’s important for the back up to contribute offensively and defensively.

  66. Watching Jim Salisbury’s interview with Klentak last night, the GM sure appeared relaxed and without a care. Like a guy who owns all the properties in a game of Monopoly. Boras can really do one thing. Wait. He can wait for other parties to show up at the table. But he can’t make them show up. Nor can he make them offer more than the guy with all the properties.

    1. I still think that all parties want to wait until the Team is in Florida to make any announcements. Easier to present Harper and/or Machado in a safe place that will be outside Philadelphia in the “off season”.

      1. All parties can hardly agree on contract points. I doubt they have agreed much else. MLB The Show ’19 will have more to say about the announcement.

    1. You have seem to have run the full gamut of emotions since November…..from great expectations of happiness, to pensive thought , to anxiety in waiting, to concern in the slowness, to anger and its frustration and now back to doubt.
      Lather, rinse repeat…..and again.

  67. Did anyone watch MLB presents Bench last night? My memory of Johnny was circa 77-78 on and my dad explaining to me how he was the best catcher he ever saw play.

    1. Whenever I think of Johnny Bench, I always think about how he torched Steve Carlton. 12 career HRs (3 in one game, 5/9/73), most against any LHP he faced. .305 career vs Lefty who said it didn’t matter if he pitched him 6 inches inside or 6 inches outside, his plate coverage was elite.

        1. Me too. Also remember him hitting a ball for a hit when they were intentionally walking him.

          Also heard a story of his wife getting pissed on their wedding night because he was playing pool with his buddies in the game room in their house instead of being with her.

  68. I hope the MLB never adopts a salary cap. I hope they look to the other 3 sports to see why a salary cap is a KOD with the exception of football.

    The irony is it works in football because contracts are not guaranteed so teams can make a mistake and after a certain point cut said mistake and get a reset.

    1. According to this report he was interested in the DBacks…..before it was the Dodgers.
      I guess they both satisfy his objective…proximity to Vegas.

    2. TrollU: no real need to worry imo, for what it is worth. From This site, he had the opportunity to accept a 9/360 offer, a 40mil AAV. He wanted to play the market, and so far he has gotten burnt. His market hasn’t materialized the way he thought, and the next best offer was likely 10/300mil from the Nats, both offers are now off the table. His main goal is to drum up a market for himself, but it’s not working as well he’d like. The big bidders are out. The Phillies FO is smart to wait. They know both stars want the most money, this report skips over that. Both stars know where the most money will come from, the Phillies. Their goal is to squeeze more out of the Phillies by drumming up a market. Right now the Phillies can probably have him at an AAV less than 40 mil. So already they are getting him at discount than they were prepared to do. Pretty sure the Phillies FO told him to go find out your value, and will top whatever that is. Right now, I don’t think he has proven his value to be above 35mil AAV, so the Phils are sitting back wisely.

      These mystery teams are good for the Phillies, so they can finalize what his worth is. Not one of these mystery teams is going to outbid the Phillies. Not on both, that is for certain.

      It is annoying as faqk, but … will have to keep playing the hurry up and wait game. This thing is going into ST, no doubt in my mind now. Makes more sense for the player to just wait it out at this point, but not so much for the teams

      1. It’s okay for either Machado or Harper to wait it out….unless one of them decides to say ‘yes’ to the stupid money. Then the other one is screwed. It’ll come down to which one is confident enough that waiting longer is okay.

      2. Great insight, Tac.
        Does seem too convenient that the reports come out about Harper signing and now there are new teams in the fold. boras wants more money.

        1. Troll – What can we believe? I read that Boros urged Harper to accept the 9 yr – $360 million offer, and Harper refused (hoping for a similar offer from the Dodgers?). On another front, the Angels were supposed to offer Trout an extension this winter. Are they waiting for Harper to set the bar? Maybe they already made the offer, and are keeping their mouths shut about it. Are they hoping that the Phillies over-spend, thus eliminating themselves from the Trout sweepstakes? It’s an interesting game of chess going on between the owners, and I’m dying to find out who wins.

          1. The chess match is interesting. I believe trout plays a factor in these negotiations, in terms of setting a ceiling for BH and MM. I’m sure the elephant in the room is … these “stars” are not a few rungs below the true star and this is what their value is in comparison.

            A trout is looking at an AAV between 37-45AAV right now. Obviously depends where BH value lands

  69. they will sign 1 of them, just have to sit back and be patient. Nothing happens til after Super Bowl, maybe even post NBA trade deadline.

  70. Mystery teams are very convenient for agents desperate to raise their client’s price when there is virtually NO market. If a team was named, reporters could more readily verify their interest or lack thereof. And we were all born yesterday.

    1. Yup, just replied to TrollU on similar topic. I get the feeling that the Phillies have agreed in principal to a deal with Harper/boras, with a catch though. Harper & Boras want a historic record deal, but the Phillies are bidding against themselves at this point. So they don’t know how much of a historic deal they should give and Harper doesn’t know how much to accept. Only CWS can be used as leverage at this point, possibly SD. At this point for Harper, we know the floor is 10/300. The ceiling is 9/360 .. but the offers are off the table. My guess is that the FO told him to establish a market and will raise our offer above whatever materializes . It makes sense for Harpers camp to wait it out, to get the max deal from the Phillies. Phillies are being amicable by allowing him to establish value. Harper knows his ceiling, he knows he won’t get from anyone anymore but he is trying to get as close as he can to it again. I believe that is the holdup.

      The mystery teams are good for this, to help establish a base value. No mystery team should outbid the Phillies, certainly not on both stars. Once the first one signs, then the second will follow shortly, with a new pack of mystery teams. They teams will have a basis to bid off of. In either case, the Phillies are basically dangling a steak above the lions cage, vs other teams vegetables. No way Phils lose out on both. Just need to keep waiting and waiting.

      The real question is, who has more patience…. Harpers camp to Machado’s camp?

      1. Tac3, my guess is Harper will get > $325M, Stanton’s total record. I think $35M-$36M AAV over 8-10 years will be the final contract. Early outs and post-option yrs are likely as well.

        1. Based on the path of the market, it’s not a bad prediction at all. The market has really taken a hit this year for reasons that are not at all clear to me. I get it with 31 year old pitchers, but with young studs, it doesn’t entirely make sense and the Phillies have sort of lucked out here. They should get a player who is, at least, worth what they are paying.

          1. I think it goes to reason that somewhere between what Jim reported (9/360) and the Stanton deal is a safe bet.

          2. “The market has really taken a hit this year for reasons that are not at all clear to me.”….as the game evolves more and more into the analytical sphere, there are more and more non-former player GMs now……more so than 15/20 years ago.
            The ruben Amaros of the world are being phased out…though the irony of ot all is that Billy Beane and Jery Dipoto, two former players, embraced early the analytical return on a contract.
            Last off-season seem to start the trend toward contracts based entirely on the rate of return on investment for the entire length of the contract. Many shorter length contracts but at a decent AAV.

            Now the players are up in arms and do not want this to happen.
            Have to see what Tony Clark does at the next CBA negotiations when this is discussed.

            1. Actually, it doesn’t make sense to me because I think these two particular players are actually worth the big money. I get why a guy like Arietta gets a smaller deal in the new marketplace. But Harper and Machado are young and should produce extreme value for many years. That being said, new suitors are emerging as the market is depressed and typically out-of-the-money teams sense that prices are too low and a value play may be available for one or both of these guys.

            2. Agree…these two are worth it …and one big reason, is their age as you say..
              If they were both 31 years old…they would be looking at probably 4/5 year contracts max..
              Rendon and Arenado next season will not be getting offers of 8/9 years since they are older than BH and MM.
              The next big one may be Correa in 2/3 years, or someone like Acuna or Soto in 5/6 years..

      2. But my point is that more times than not, mystery teams are a fabrication of the agent. Rival clubs should have little apprehension to let it be known they are interested – even if they aren’t – if only to drive up the price for the favorite to sign the player.

        1. Moreno was really stupefied with his $$$$$y…the Pujol;s deal and Hamilton deals were off the charts at the time for players in the 30ish..

          1. These are the deals that are chilling the market. The Pujols deal is among the 3 or 4 worst in major league history and a cautionary tale if ever there was one. The Hamilton deal was also bad, but much shorter.

            1. IMO, Middelton’s remark a week or so after the WS ended in November, may have sent a shiver thru the other owners.
              I think most are not ready to go back to those early days of 10 year mega deal contracts….even what Jeffrey Loria did with Stanton back in Nov ’14…then Loria bolts baseball a few years later.
              Most owners are in it for life I would think and want to maintain some degree of financial restraint and solvency in order to field a winning team.

            2. Vernon Wells, Prince Fielder the list is long enough to put the players where they are today for sure.

              Even David Wright to some extent but a writer pointed out the other day that many of these deals are insured such was the case I believe for Fielder and Wright.

            3. I didn’t link the two, as this should be an asset to have klentak involved in the negotiations. Good to note for those who have little faith in klentak. Should give him some credibility.

              To reply to 8mark/Romus, agreeing on the safe bet estimates $325-360m. Sounds like Harpers camp is doing his best to squeeze more out of the Phillies. I hope your timeframe is correct. lol.. like really hope.

              As for the mystery team, yes they are convenient for sure, but in this offseason, they’ve never been less powerful. All the mystery teams can stay home, they’ll eventually be topped by the Phillies, and I believe they all know this, which is why the activity for these stars is lower than anticipated. The Phillies are playingbtheir bully hand correctly.

  71. Not sure if anyone posted this but Harper meeting w the Pads in the upcoming days. Trollu might be an insider. Haha

    1. Another city in relatively close proximity to Vegas about a 5 hour or so drive and less than a 90 minute flight.
      I guess not a surprise if that is what he really wants.

      1. If it was me … lol I’d be in SD, but they are a true rebuilding team. They have a nice system, but Philly still wins out imo.

        Harper has to hear the rumblings of Trout, same with MM. I know it’s not official by any means , but when projecting they have to consider playing alongside Trout and how that would change the baseball landscape. It seems like they probably have discussed it on the side … we can make an educated guess in Trout wanting to know the results of their Vegas meetings

    2. Would seem Machado is a fit for the Pads, not so much Harper, but SD FO May be playing same game Phil’s FO is playing Keep each player guessing

      1. Hosmer apparently wants Preller to go after his buddy Moustakas….did not hear anything about Harper until now.

  72. Perhaps its just me, but I find this sudden news that Harper/Boras are meeting with teams is a good thing, not bad. It tells me that Boras has likely rounded 3rd base in regards to Harper and simply wants to insure that if/when the decision is announced he has looked under every rock. And there is NO way Harper is going to SD, just not going to happen.

    For one thing, the Padres mentioned yesterday in regards to Machado that they had no intention of getting into a bidding war so does anyone think Middleton will allow the Phils to get outbid by San Diego? I sure don’t.

    And one more thing worth considering. Boras has been spending most of this off season talking about what a “generational talent” Harper is and it will be very important to place Harper on a team where he has a decent chance of having “generational” numbers.

    If you have been to Petco Park you know that NO hitter is going to put up generational numbers there, its a pitchers park and the Padres intentionally built it that way when they planned it. Harper’s numbers would likely go down in SD, not up.

    Now Citizens Bank Park??? Ah, now we are talking possible “generational” stats. Did you see that chart yesterday about the balls he hit in Washington? 9-10 of them would have been homers in CBP and if so, we are looking at a 26 year old who might just start hitting 40+ homers a year. In San Diego…the numbers drop to mid 20’s. Generational numbers??? Ah, more like Odubel Herrera homer numbers.

    And Boras also knows that this will not be the last contract Harper signs, he will want an “out” in the deal which will allow him to re-enter the market at 29-30 years of age. Would you rather have your client entering the market with 40+ homer numbers or 20+ numbers? Yea, I thought so.

    One last thing. Rosenthal is reporting that some of these recent meetings involve 2nd or 3rd meetings with a team. I would bet all my old Indian nickels that the Phillies are that team. Look, I am not saying that the Phils will get Harper. I don’t know that.

    But I do not believe the Phillies are simply sitting around doing the Macarena with Middleton, McPhail and Klentak. Middleton is involved and I think, based on this latest news about Boras meetings, we might be entering the 8th-9th inning. If Harper is going to join a new team he has to know its important to begin to meet and learn about his new teammates and Spring Training is the time to do it. This is no Jd Martinez or Jake Arrieta, guys who had been with several teams and barely moved the rector scale.

    This is Bryce Harper. Boras is ruthless but he is not dumb. He knows baseball needs to know where Harper is playing sometime in the spring. These latest Harper rumors are Boras’s end game. I have seen it more often that I care to admit.

    1. I always picture San Diego as Team that has young players just in the league or hanger-on veterans. Not the MO for MM or BH.

      1. If their farm system is as good as they say it is..Tatis, Urias Mejia et al…then they may be a team on the cusp ready for contention in the NL-West against their rivals a few hours north.

        1. Phillies had that too with Crawford, Jake Thompson, Ben Lively, Franco, Tommy Joseph, Galvis, Rupp, Nick Williams, etc.

          1. Denny……JPC, Thompson, Franco and Williams…only top 100 prospects.
            Padres have ten players …right now, in the top 100

        2. With or without MM or BH, the Dodgers are head and shoulders the class of the NL west. SD will take 3 years, even with top young talent, to develop into a contender. I don’t think Preller is a good GM (i.e. the Hosmer deal). And not totally above board, either, from his past dealings. AZ is tearing it down. SF is trying to remain relevant when they should have started to tear down. COL is COL. They live and die by Coors Field, the bane of all pitchers.

    2. Ken Rosenthal says the Padres are more interested in Machado. They need a 3B, not an OF. I find it difficult to believe SD will win either BH or MM for the big reason Cal Dream just mentioned. The ball park is where the homerun goes to die. Harper is coming here. Machado? Probably CWS. I agree this last minute (last days) scrambling by Boras is a harbinger that a decision is near. Tedious? No doubt. But again I predict we’ll have something to celebrate by Tuesday.

  73. Supposedly, Boras talked to “:some other teams” in the past few days and Harper is now hosting the Pads in LV. The whole “agreement in principle” narrative is shot. There would be no further negotiating after an agreement in principle. I am not saying we are not getting one. I have no wish to re-visit those dark days, but the waiting has become a nuisance, really putting a damper on enthusiasm about ST opening in 2 weeks. Machado is “not even close” to signing, because he has nothing but a sub $200 Million offer from the WSox.

  74. Nothing has changed.

    * The Padres are just noise. They aren’t going to offer anything close to what the Phillies will/are.

    * The White Sox are hoping Middleton just signs Harper already so they can land Machado at a lesser price.

    * The Nationals have already painted themselves into an almost impossible corner this offseason. Remember this tweet from Jayson Stark:

    It’s more of a matter of when, not if.

    1. Agreed. For whatever mystery team pops up … it’s basically a real like simulation of a boardwalk favorite … wack-a-mole… slowed down. Middleton has the hammer in his hand ready swing, with Klentak and mcphail waiting on the sides cheating in the event he misses.

      This is a dog and pony show. Phillies have it won. Unless you’re going to tell me it’s he Yankees or Dodgers, I’m not going to even pay attention.

  75. Hinkie, as is his wont, touched on an interesting tidbit in his last post in regards to Machado and the White Sox. I think he is correct that the Sox just wish the Phils would sign Harper already so they could probably move on from Machado, right now it looks like the market is basically those two teams.

    But for those who want BOTH players, and there are more than a few Phillie phans who do, its worth noting what a poster [goes by the Shadow] on another site mentioned yesterday. He knows someone who works for the Phillies and apparently has developed lots of credibility over the years on BackSheGoes for his interesting Phillie tips. I can’t vouch for him but he has been correct so far in everything I have read him post and he was the guy on that site who was ramping down the Harper is Signing today noise that abounded a few days ago. He said nothing has changed but he also said this…he has been told that the Phils have never ruled out signing both IF the numbers work and he also said the chances of that happening INCREASE if Machado signs first.

    He said that Middleton so wants Harper that even if Machado signs first his desire to add Harper will only get stronger, not weaker. If however they sign Harper first they seem less inclined to sign Machado and are likely to simply move on to other areas of need unless Machado comes to them.

    He also indicated that having Machado on board would be a terrific elixir to entice Harper to join what would suddenly becoming not just a solid up and coming team but a potential World Series candidate.

    One more note to keep peoples spirits up. There is another poster named 702, also with lots of cred on the site and a guy who apparently lives in Las Vegas and knows Harper. He wrote yesterday that Harper is coming to Philadelphia and would be there already if not for Boras doing Boras things. He is very good friends with Hoskins and understands how well he would hit in Philly.

    Again, I don’t know either poster but BackSheGoes is like this site…very intelligent and thoughtful posters and not prone to suffer fools well. They trust Shadow and 702 and its interesting to see the view from the Phillies side [Shadow] vs the view from Harpers side [702.]

    1. Thanks for sharing.

      I mentioned this before, but I’ll could possibly throw us a line. I had connections years back, and probably be obvious as hell why I came out of the woodwork calling, if this drags into ST, I will reach out. I’m pretty confident it gets done, so I’d rather wait until a more appropriate time and don’t make it look like I’m mooching. Nothing like self serving friends 🙂

    2. That’s quite a mouthful, CD. And very reasonable and believable to me. Not sure how it turns out but I can see the Phillies getting both @$550M. Johnny Cigars is thinking BIG, and perhaps rubbing off on his conservative underling Klentak. MacPhail is probably standing by rolling his eyes. Kapler is salivating like Pavlov’s dog.

  76. By the way, another Boras tactic is to say a team is inquiring about a player when in actuality its another Boras client they are really interested in. I am specifically talking about San Diego right now. Reports here in SoCal are that Hosner and Moustakas are best buddies and Hosner has been pushing the Padres to sign him. Of course both are Boras clients.

    So San Diego sets up a meeting, basically to talk about Moustakas, but in order to court favor with Boras they will ask about Harper in passing. For instance, here is an imaginary, but not completely unlikely, conversation about Harper. Preller: “Hi Scott, how have you been? How are Bryce and the wife doing?” Boras:”Hi AJ, how are you doing and thanks for asking about Bryce, he and his wife are doing well, getting ready to start another season.” Preller:” great, give my regards to him, now lets talk about Moustakas.” Boras: “I thought you would never ask!”

    Its a win-win for the two. Preller stirs up interest among moribund Padre fans with alleged inquiries about Harper, Boras can say the Pads are “interested” in Harper and then they both get down to the real business at hand…negotiating on Moustakas.

  77. Hoping Hinkie is right but the Padres are a team ready to pounce. Not far from Vegas and Harper and his wife got married there…

      1. So signing Harper doesn’t stretch it all that much. It’ll be made up in ticket sales.

        Never say never

  78. …and sure enough, 702 just posted that San Diego is merely Boras doing Boras things. Boras, the Padres and Harper KNOW he is not going there, why on earth would he? And the Padres have more outfielders than I have Hostess Cupcakes in my pantry, and I love Hostess Cupcakes! Look, I can only go by my knowledge of how Boras operates but this sure smells like an endgame move to me.

    My guess is that Harper and his wife are getting antsy and would like to get this thing settled. Also, remember what Boras said a few days ago…its February when things get serious. One more thing to consider. Harper is NOT Boras’s only client yet almost everyone feels as if many of his clients won’t find homes till Harper is settled. I doubt that Keuchel and Moustakas are sitting around saying “hey, no problem Scott, take all the time you need, forget about me and my family, not a problem at all!”

    My guess…we have rounded 3rd base and are heading for home. Of course, the big question remains…in what city will Harper cross home plate?

    1. San Diego is not a big market. Neither is DC but that’s where he grew as a ball player and developed some closeness to the organization. I’m taking off for the moon if he’s heading to SD. What a crock!

      1. Has to be a ruse, this Padre talk.
        They would have to sell really low on at least two of their other OFers….and they have 5/6 young OFers, without Harper out there, who could amount to something if not for hitting in Petco.
        Cancel that moon flight.

  79. I am naturally pessimistic about our Phils, but Harper would, literally, have to take $100 Million less to go to SD, a park where his #s will suffer. I don’t see SD as a Harper landing spot at all.

    1. California Dreamin came through huge today to enlighten a lot of misconceptions of and doubts about the high end market. Thanks again, CD.

  80. Sports writer Jeff Passan was just on ESPN and said he is hearing that BOTH players want this wrapped up so they can get to spring training with their teams. I believe this. Both have basically been with one team their entire careers [save for Machado’s 3 months in LA] and this will be a new experience for them, bonding with their new teams in a likely new area. Passan is pretty well connected and it fits with what I have been mentioning lately…I just do not see this going into March, just don’t see it.

    There are too many interconnecting webs that can’t fully form till each determines their new address. Add to this the pressure MLBPA will put on them to get and take the largest deal they can get, much like they did with Thome.

    I believe we are entering the end game for both.

    1. Everyone thinks both of these contracts will be long term, but I think this could go another way. I could see a dark knight appearing from nowhere to give one of these guys a $40+m one year pillow contract. It’s not likely, but it’s more than possible, especially if it’s a hot team like the Red Sox, Yankees or Dodgers.

      1. Why take a pillow contract? So they can go through this again next year? Nope. Guys want guaranteed money.

        1. Take a pillow contract because there’s a better chance more teams are interested next year. More favorable to Harper.
          That would be why.

          Not saying it’s going to happen.

          Harper has been active on insta liking Hoskins posts. Maybe there’s something to be had of that.

          1. If teams don’t know about Harper and Machado by now, and are basing their contract offers based on 1 bad year…. I’m not buying it. I can’t see a pillow contract.

            The closest thing to a pillow contract would be a guaranteed deal with an opt out after the first year, and several subsequent years.

        1. Well, that’s probably true – it’s probably been very stressful for them and their families.

  81. Boras was asked about this when he was interviewed by Jim Salisbury at the GM meetings. Boras said he was not interested in a short term deal and why should he when he can have his cake and eat it too…long term contract with player outs after maybe 3 and 6 years.

  82. One of my favorite parts of one of my favorite movies, “Money Ball” – it only took Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) roughly 17 seconds to make a trade with another club, especially Ed Wade🙄. That movie was kind of prophetic in several ways but one – how long it now takes for agents, their top tier clients and baseball execs to get something done. Anything.

  83. Corey Seidman says Harper goes back to the Nats and Phillies end up with Machado.
    Not sure how the $$$$ could ever work for the Nats under the luxury tax threshold…plus Rendon probably walks after this season.

    1. Plus I can’t see Middleton letting Harper return to the Nats for whatever they might offer. Boras doesn’t give hometown discounts for one. So Lerner would have to at least match Middleton, which I can’t see happening. I believe the Phillies are locked on signing Harper, with Machado being a variable. Cal Dream’s points above (his Shadow/702 reference) are compelling.

      Harper at 9/$330M ($36.6M AAV) regardless of whether Manny signs.

      Machado at 7/$230M ($32.75M AAV), if MM signs first.

  84. Cal-D – thanks for a great job analyzing Boras and his tactics. You are insightful, thorough, and encouraging. I also think you are spot on with Harper in the Yosemite National Park ballpark in San Diego. I just don’t see Harper in brown and gold…..

  85. I think CD has added a great amount of insight with his posts. I just can’t wait for this to be over. Look, I am not an Agent, and don’t play one on TV. But the examples of Arrieta and JDM waiting until March last year don’t seem to bolster the strategy of waiting. They both got a good deal less than what they were projected to get, or their Agent told them they would get. Machado may get some mystery team to show up but not to the tune of $300 Million. I don’t get the strategy.

    1. I don’t get the strategy either. Machado and Harper are wayyyy better than Arrieta and JDM. There’s a solid chance this bites the Phillies in the butt

    2. Simple strategy. Neither player has the offer they want/expected so there is no reason to jump when they can wait. Maybe another team decides to get involved or maybe one of the teams they are negotiating with gets impatient and ups the offer. Worse case scenario is they eventually take the deal already on the table in March. It’s the same reason Arrieta and JDM didn’t sign until March.

      Teams like the Phillies that have convinced their fanbase they are going to get one of these guys aren’t walking away from the deal just because it’s taking too long.

      1. The FO hasn’t convinced me of anything.
        Would love for Harper to sign because as of right now this team is 4th in its division.

        1. When the majority owner comes out at the start of the FA period and declares they are planning to spend stoopid money then, yes, the expectations have been set, regardless of how convinced you might be.

  86. Padres interest in Harper is sincere
    Per MLBTR
    “11:24pm: Acee has an update on tonight’s meeting, in which Padres general partner Peter Seidler joined GM A.J. Preller and skipper Andy Green to make the pitch. Per the report, the San Diego contingent was “extremely prepared and seemed sincere about wooing” Harper.”

    Phillies have some competition IMO

    1. Look if Harper signs with the Padres…then Klentak needs to waste no time and sign MM, and get Franco and others, out there for Strahm, Hedges and one of their corner OFers…Myers or Reyes…who will be surplus with Harper in RF.

      1. I just said they have competition, I didn’t say they wouldn’t sign him.
        Not sure why everyone is brushing aside the Padres.

        1. TrollU…. ‘I didn’t say they wouldn’t sign him.’….double negatives!

          Like I said…if the Pads do actually , as a slim to none long shot, sign Harper..then Klentak needs to react as soon as possible to get Manny signed and make the moves he needs to make for the teams betterment. .

    2. Hmmm, who could possibly be the source that would tell a reporter that “the San Diego contingent was extremely prepared and seemed sincere”.

      Now who’s interest would that most serve?

      1. That dang Boras…up to his tricks again.
        Middleton should call his bluff….and schedule a trip to his home in Florida , with the management gang as guests, and also put a visit to Manny’s place on the agenda…and let the Philly beat guys know so the word spreads like wildfire.

  87. I think the Phillies will be ok signing one as long as the agents know that in the end, we will beat any other offer. other than maybe harper and the nationals, these guys are going to the highest bidder. SD is not getting a discount because its sunny there

    1. I fully believe the agents know that the Phillies will not be outbid … that is essentially what the “stupid money” comment stated

  88. Things could change in a hurry if Realmuto gets dealt today or over the weekend. The Astros said no mas with Keuchel by signing Miley and now its likely the Brewers get Keuchel and Moustakis.

    I’m still confident we get both players. I maintain just getting one makes us interesting but it really does nothing to move us past the Braves or Nationals.

    If you are telling me I can only get one of these players I would opt for Manny and then go and try to trade for a Stud OF. Castellanos or Mitch Haniger.

    1. I’m on board with both parts of your post, DMAR. However, I doubt it comes down to missing out on Harper. In any case, as Hinkie has vowed to bow out for 6 months should the Phillies miss on both, I will ban myself from Phuture Phillies for 6 months if SD signs Harper.

      1. Going back to watching Klentak talking to Salisbury, he looked like the cat that ate the canary. As each day passes, the chances the Phillies get both Harper and Machado increase. I know what has been stated for public consumption. I get it. But just like the Arrieta market came to the Phillies last year, the climate this time around hasn’t changed much. Just sayin’….

      1. I think there are a couple of things you could do to sway Dipoto and I’d be perfectly comfortable with starting the deal at Sixto and Williams. Howard Bohm and Garcia are my only untouchables right now.

        Haniger is that good. Castellanos to a lesser extent and then you could really tempt him by offering to absorb Felix’s money. I’d take Felix and put him in the BP flip them a little money going back with Hunter or Neshak.

  89. I have not ruled us out on Keuchel. If we could get him on the same deal as Arrieta, I do that. He is an upgrade. I know some of you are happy running with the young guys, but I think Keuchel makes us better. Now, that is a big if, the Arrieta deal, but if that opportunity arises, I go for it. I am not that thrilled about Kimbrel, however.

    1. Matt13…I think Keuchel is in the mix with Klentak and Kapler because they are looking solely for that LHP starter in the rotation….if they miss on him they may go for Gio or a trade for Robbie Ray…which could be costly.
      I use to like Danny Duffy….but he has been inconsistent these last two years with some arm ailments also.

    2. I wonder if Kuechel stats translate to CBP well. He is a lower velocity guy, pitching in a band box. I believe he is a ground ball pitcher, so that could work for him, if it I feel like it is a bad signing,especially when we have a log jam of cheap controllable arms now …. they just need a chance to show they have he “productive” part in there

      I’m on record in believing in Eickhoff. I see his early stats popping back up now that he has the nerve irritation issue in the rearview.

      A lot of us have said Klentak missed the boat on Hamels last deadline … well someone pitched pretty darn close to him for a good while (minus Hamels stretch run there). Save the money and let the kid fly. If he stinks up the joint, pay the price at the deadline. If you sign harper, you’ll have a surplus of OF to give up

  90. Ken Rosenthal, in his article in The Athletic, discusses why the Dodgers haven’t been in on Harper, and didn’t really need to be, and in the blurb “around the horn”, says “how badly do the Phillies need Harper or Machado? Steamers has them 4th in their Division, even after all the work they have done acquiring Segura, McCutchen, Robertson, and others, and projects them to finish 79-83.

  91. I’ll repost what I posted yesterday as doable deals for both players…

    Harper 9/$330 ($36.67M AAV), opt outs after years 3 and 5, front loaded

    Machado 7/$230 (just under $33 AAV), opt outs after years 2 and 4, also front loaded.

    That approx $560M for 2 top players on variable contracts. And I don’t believe this would preclude the Phillies from signing Mike Trout. It’s is reasonable to think one of either MM or BH will exercise an opt out at some point and enter the free agent market again.

    1. I’ve been studying the Stanton Contract and Cashman must be crapping his pants right now.

      First it runs through his age 37 season and there is an option for his age 38 season which is $25 million or a $10 Million Buy Out.

      Next there is an opt out after the 2020. if he doesn’t opt out the Marlins owe the Yankees $30 million.

      My guess has to be that Cashman was hedging on Stanton opting out after that 2020 season because even with the $30 million coming his way they would still be on the hook for roughly $240 million for ages 32-37.

      The market has tanked so I see no chance Stanton decides to opt out. We have 2 premier FA’s at age 26 that are having a hard time getting that kind of dough.

      Also not a good sign is that Stanton OPSd 1.007 the season before in Marlins park with virtually no protection around him. Last season in an extremely deep line-up and a bandbox ball park he only managed an 852 OPS.

      If BH and MM thought they were beating that deal (and why wouldn’t they…I thought they would) they must be shell shocked at where the numbers are today.

      1. i still think Harper beats it… 340 million over 9 years, while Machado gets 260 million for 8 years… i still think there are serious under-the-radar teams, like the Cardinals, who have kept silent so far but are seriously preparing for a shot at BH and MM.

        1. I believe the markets are what they are. Anything that appears beyond that is mostly the machinations of an agent.

          Harper’s market is PHI, WAS and PHI. Machado’s market is PHI, CWS and PHI.

          There is such clamor to create more both by each player’s camp and certain local media outlets, often married together. Not to mention all the Twitter nonsense. SD is serving someone else’s purpose for their own ulterior motives. Big market teams like CHC, BOS, NYY and LAD have demonstrated that they are focused elsewhere. It’s Groundhog Day. Little late in the game to try reconfiguring their rosters and payroll structures, no?

          1. I include WAS in Harper’s market mainly due to the fact that they are his only team. How they would manage his addition after spending what they already have is beyond my comprehension. But I guess you never know…at least Corey Seidman thinks so.

    2. If you are going to sign both, whoever gets the better LTD, that player I believe needs to have the opt out at 4 and 6 years vs 3 and 5. That only gives one season with trout. Need to make it 2 imo.
      The secondary player can opt out at 2 in the even that the money needs to be scrubbed off he books to afford trout.

      I’m starting to like the idea of MM over BH if the FO goes out and gets a youn stud OF like Haniger. If not, just sign BH and get it done with.

    1. I’m really skeptical this was photoshopped, unless one of you guys saw this live.

      You’d have to think this would be announced differently. Whatever was airing they’d probably interrrupt it with a full breaking news announcement vs a ticker update. Just my opinion

      1. Whether it was photoshopped or not, someone was either goofing around or messed up. When Salisbury, Rosenthal, Nightengale, Heyman, et al, put it out there is when it’s real.

  92. Jimmy Rollins on hot stove with Harold and Matt. Can I just say I love that dude. Anyway says he doubts we are getting both but he knows which way we are leaning 🙂

    He didn’t give it away but said MM would make us a little RH heavy and Bryce would give the LU that LH pop it needs.

    1. Doesn’t JRoll know that defense wins championships? 🙂

      I’ll take either at this point, but def prefer BH over MM if the Nats harpers destination. The Nats with Harper back would be really tough to top. I don’t see how they tie their hands for years to come though, I think he is a Phillie

    2. When Todd Zolecki (in his latest Q and A with readers) starts to entertain the possibility that the Phillies could get both, you know the market has gotten unpredictable.

  93. dodgers now entertaining offering Harper a long term contract after seeing the Padres get involved. There is talk that the Padres are prepared to go all in next year especially if they get Realmuto.

    1. I haven’t seen a TrollU post in months that hasn’t cast doubts on the Phillies ability to sign Machado or Harper due to the allure of some other team. Which leads me to ask …

      … are you Scott Boras?

  94. Put my detective’s hat on. My sense is that something went down with Boras/Harper earlier this week. Jim’s post overnight (Tue am) leaves me thinking that, along with Cal Dream’s posts yesterday. The player was getting antsy. Then Boras got SD involved at the last minute, told Bryce to hang tight and that held things up, if only for a few days. I hold to my prediction that by Tue we will get the news.

    Hang tight, gang.

    1. Boras may be trying to simply recover the original offer of 9/360?? Doubt it but Harper should get a range between 8-10 yrs/$325M-$360M.

  95. The best (as in funniest) tweet today comes from a guy named Dan Green…

    “#Phillies gonna take out a 30-second Super Bowl ad to announce the signing of Harper *and* Machado because what’s another $5.1 mil at this point”

    ….and just another snapshot of our sardonic world.

    1. This may come across as crass, but I really don’t see what Kapler did wrong there.

      The story says she claimed she was assaulted by women not in the Dodgers organization. The Dodgers players taped it; which is reprehensible, but not illegal. She didn’t claim sexual assault until after she talked to Kapler.

      The only crime he was aware of was not under his supervision. He’s not responsible for the people in the vicinity of his players. All he can do there is tell them why they were being xxxholes and offer some kind of apology to the girl, which I guessing is what the dinner was about.

      The FBI thing may lead to his departure from baseball, though. We’ll have to see.

    2. Romus, you’re gonna get rid of the Hebrew Hammer if it’s the last thing you do. In this case, I can’t say he’d be held culpable when there were young, immature people involved acting in sophomoric ways. The story seems to indicate he made efforts to smooth things out between the combatants. He was the farm director, not a babysitter. I’d be more interested to hear the findings of the FBI investigation though.

      1. Seems like a DC reporter doing whatever they can do to make sure Harper doesn’t become a Phillie.

        The timing seems suspicious IMO

        Not defending Kapler but seems like the sexual allegations came way after the initial incident and he acted according to club policy.

        If i am reading it correctly…

      2. 8mark…..just reporting what is out there…keeping it real.
        Push comes to shove Commish Manfred and DoJ make the final decisions.

        And when it comes to Harper/Machado, lets face it, their better half may have a little influence in their final destination.
        And if you have been living under a rock for the last 4/5 years….#hashtagme et al movement, all this smoke surrounding the manager, could be detrimental to the Phillies

        1. Should any legal implications come out of these story lines (especially the federal investigation), at least the Phillies have Rob Thomson and Dusty Wathan already in the dugout to assume the helm. It would be a big story but the team is in position currently to move on without Kapler, IMO.

          1. Yes two very good baseball people and managers.
            Maybe one of them were part of the Phillies contingent there in the meeting with the Harpers and Boras in Vegas

            1. Sounds like a like of BS to me. Don’t mean to sound insensitive but eh i’ll Just leave that there.
              Kap will be fine. Bold prediction, he wins manager of the year.

    3. That potentially hurts Harper negotiations because of the supposed bromance he and Kapler had.

      There’s an account on twitter claiming Manny has made a decision and the hint was ✈️ 🐼

      Supposedly espn has called out this account for being fake but it was funny to see how many people believed the account

        1. My apologies. I wasn’t saying it was happening and even mentioned that ESPN called it out for being fake.

          Does anyone have any updates on Vegas’s big report of Harper joining the Phillies?

  96. Corey Seidman wrote today that it looks more likely Harper goes back to Washington. Who knows? His opinion is about a good a guess as anyone else’s. He does think we then get Machado.. It is remarkable that MLB makes trades, a Realmuto trade has been in the home stretch for 4 days, and big FA signings in such a slow, drawn out process vs other leagues. I think MLB does itself a disservice by not addressing this in some fashion.

    1. I heard Harper is going to Tigers and Machado back to Orioles. Whatever, as good a rumor as anything.

  97. As we crawl inexorably to the finish line of the Harper-Boras-Machado-Lozano Texas Two Step I have tried to paint an honest portrait of the Scott Boras I have known and observed over the past 25-30 years [back to the days of Jason Varitek and Andy Benes.] Not to alarm or confuse but to prepare people for the frustrations we were all likely to encounter once we hooked ourselves to the Harper Wagon.

    Now I admit, I am as pro Harper as they come and I try hard to continue to hold onto the Hinkie Theorem…both players want top dollar, Phillies want both players, Phillies will pay top dollar= Phils get one of the two top players. It makes total sense, Hinkie has been intelligent and persuasive in his arguments and we all want to think it will end well.
    And it probably will.

    But in presenting the total Boras picture it is well worth mentioning one more thing about him. Yes, I think he likes and admires Middleton. Yes, I think he believes Harper would do very well in Philadelphia. No, I do not think he feels any loyalty to Washington in regards to Harper, he is as dispassionate an agent as I have ever seen. And yes, I believe that he suspects the Phils potentially can still write the largest check and not have to post date it.

    Still, the one thing Boras has shown over the years is an amazing propensity to ultimately have his high priced client sign with a team that no one had ever even heard was in the mix, he has done this repeatedly. Fielder to Milwaukee, Beltre to Seattle, A-Rod to Texas are three of the more high profile examples that come to mind. There was never a clue that these players were being wooed by those teams…in fact it was the more well known clubs like the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers and Red Sox who were often the rumored landing spots for these players.

    So, while Morosi, Nightengale, Heyman and Co. can wax poetic about how its the Phillies, Nats, ChiSox or Padres who are “in” on Harper, it will not shock me if Harper ends up somewhere else. Boras’s clutches are wide and discreet, in fact I have always believed that no news is better than lots of news when it comes to Boras and his clients.

    One other thing to note. Don’t play that silly game [though I admit I try to play it myself!] of convincing yourself that there is no Harper to Philadelphia news now because of the Super Bowl. Boras probably doesn’t even care who is playing, he is a baseball guy through and through and even that won’t deter him. Remember, it was Boras and A-Rod who announced the star players mega deal with the Yankees on the night of the World Series! Boras and A-Rod were loudly criticized for this but as far as I can tell he couldn’t care less.

    Look, I want this to end well, trust Jim implicitly [in fact I suspect he is lying low because he is convinced his original prediction will still prove prescient] and I want Hinkie’s Theorem to be as relevant as E=MC2.

    But a good dose of Boras Aspirin is worth taking to insure the potential pounding headache becomes too much to bare.

  98. My last post was about Harper/Boras and it was long so I decided to have a separate post in regards to Machado. I have a dream career as a tour director who takes students and adults on tours around the USA, most historical and some simply fun!

    Yesterday [Friday] I took a group of adults for a behind the scenes tour of Dodger Stadium and the tour was equal parts historical, fun…and interesting in regards to Machado [and even Harper to an extent!] The Dodger Stadium guide was an avid Dodger fan and knew much about the players, team and inter workings of the organization and was comfortable sharing them.

    To wit…the Dodgers LOVE Cory Saeger, think he is the best player on the squad [he was there by the way, working out] and had no intention of bringing back Machado, especially as they got to know him better. Basically, while they thought he was a top talent, they felt the more they knew about him the less they liked him personally. Something to consider should the Phils sign him to a long term deal.

    The guide also mentioned that the Dodgers favor versatility, defense and budget freedom and thus wanted Pollack more than they wanted Harper. I didn’t sense that Harper is even in their conversation right now, though I guess that could change if the market collapses.

    I thought these were worth noting since we as Phillie phans are hanging on by our fingernails for any Machado/Harper news now.

    I can also share this with you, a tidbit he didn’t know but I did because it was so painful. He talked at length about Duke Snider, and well he should, the Duke was a great player. But I told him I witnessed Snider’s last two home runs as a major league player, both against Jim Bunning and both in 1964. Snider was playing for the Giants then and I was a Phillie phan living in NorCal in 1964. Snider homered in late May against Bunning at Connie Mack Stadium and then on July 4, 1964 I was at a Phillie-Giants game at Candlestick Park when Snider homered off Bunning again. Those were his last two major league home runs.

    1. CalDreamin…very good post and very interesting read….especially the historical bits. That ’64 recollection brings back loads of memories….Jack Baldschun, Tony G, Ruben Amaro, Wes Cov., Richie Allen then,. and Johnny Callison et al..some nostalgia for sure.

      Concerning this FA off -season market….approx. 100 FAs remain unsigned into February now….one agent at fault for this IMO…Scott Boras
      He represents quite a few of the FAs right now… big guys like Keuchel and Moustakas, who have to wait until Harper gets his choice finalized.
      it is frustrating for the fans and not good for baseball in general for one person to slow down the business.
      A guy who was the highest-paid MLB agent in 2017 earning $108M in commissions from almost $2B worth of player contracts
      I would hope at the next CBA the union and owners address this issue extensively…how one man/company can be so disruptive to a billion dollar business under the guise ‘he is only looking out for the best interests of his client’

  99. CD, your posts are terrific reading, insightful and intelligent. And I am such a pessimist that I fixated on the part where you say, “we all want it to end well and it probably will.” And, I take that as cause for alarm. I admit that when it comes to the Phils I expect the worst. I have long feared Harper goes back to Washington for less $ than we offered, and I have no idea what Machado and his Agent are doing. I hope and still lean to the “we will definitely get one” side, but I am back to being nervous that we don’t. Which then marks the off season as, regardless of what we have done, a failure.

  100. Thoughts on announcing the signing during the SB? Makes sense to me, many people watching, and I’m sure the announcers would talk about it for a blurb or two. No need to be scared of the attention span.
    I’d announce during the SB… but I’m sure will
    Have to waiting longer

    1. Since the Eagles aren’t in the Super Bowl, I can totally see a Macharper announcement made during halftime.

  101. Jim Bowden was just on 670 The Score and reported that Philadelphia’s offer to Harper is 10/300 and Machado will likely get 8 years. Bowden does get info from Boras so this offer may have legs. My guess…Boras is trying to get closer to that 9/360 offer that Jim alluded to early on and the Phils, seeing what Washington offered, figured they didn’t have to go higher…right now.

    There seems to be room to find a spot in the middle IF the Phils and Harper are still interested in a long term relationship. Machado’s 8 year deal also seems legit since Lozano was so angry about rumors of the 7/175 offer. He almost HAS to get 8 years for his client or look a bit foolish for his rantings a few weeks ago.

  102. I don’t know how good Bowden and his sources are, but if we are $300/10, then that is exactly why there is no deal yet. Boras did not take his client through FA to end up at the same # that Washington offered at the end of the season. Not a chance Boras does that. We, at some, point, are going to add $30-$50 Million to the offer, or we are not getting him. You can tell me all you want about Washington’s payroll issues, but I have seen Boras for long enough to know we are not getting him for Washington’s offer.

    1. Bowden is a very good source for all things Boras. He has a relationship with Boras from his days as a GM. Bowden also said he had spoken to someone in the Phillies/Harper LV meeting a day or two after that session in Nevada. At that time, he reported the get together couldn’t have gone any better for Phillies fans. We can be certain Bowden wasn’t getting any info from the non-leaking Phillies.

  103. Trying to keep everyone up to date with the latest and here it is. When this free agency story began Boras reached out to the Cubs [Bryant and Harper are best friends] but the Cubs told Boras they couldn’t commit but to make sure he reached out to them BEFORE any decisions were made. Boras told Epstein he would.

    Well, Cubsinsider, which seems pretty reputable, just put out a lengthy story, filled with names of Cub reporters and employees, reporting that the Boras/Epstein meeting took place yesterday. Boras indicated that his client wants to wrap this up soon [I mentioned that I felt that Harper/Machado would feel a need to get to ST in order to bond with their likely new teammates] and had at least one legitimate offer [probably the Phillies.]

    The Cubs felt that Boras was simply doing his due diligence [same with the Padres meeting] and keeping his word about circling back to the Cubs before a final decision is made. Another reason I found this report credible was that it talked about how the Cubs were not simply going to move Jason Heyward in a deal [there was talk earlier this week of a Heyward to Giants trade] to make room for Harper, they happen to like Heyward very much.

    Long story short…unless Cub ownership gives a thumbs up to significantly increase payroll, this was merely a typical Boras doing his due diligence meeting with a club that he has done business with before. Interesting to note that he also did this last year with Jake Arrieta, as noted in the article. Before Arrieta signed with the Phillies he reached out to the Cubs, told them of the Phillies offer, and asked if they would match/exceed it. Cubs, who had just signed Darvish, indicated they had moved on from Arrieta and he signed a few days later with the Phillies.

    After reading this Cubs report, let me surmise what seems to apparent. One, a Harper decision is coming soon simply because A] Boras was asked to circle back to Chicago BEFORE a final decision was made, B] it specifically said that Harper is pressing Boras to get something done, C] Boras had that very public meeting with the Padres this week about Harper [though I think its as much about Gonzalez, Moustakas, other Boras clients] D] it mentions that both teams and players associated with Boras are getting anxious for Harper to sign so they can move forward. It specifically mentioned Keuchel and said the Phils told Boras if they sign Harper they WON”T sign Keuchel. I took this to mean that they would value Keuchel more if they signed Machado since the former is a ground ball pitcher and the latter is a ground ball eating machine!

    So, there you have it. Add to this the Bowden comments this morning and we may have resolution soon. Oh, one more thing…I am unsure how much this new Kapler/Dodger story will affect the Harper negotiations, but it could. I found it interesting that the Washington Post initiated the story yesterday, could it be that the Nats feel if they can push Harper away from Philadelphia he might return to the Nats?

    Possibly. Keep an eye on that Kapler story, I fear it has legs.

    1. Kapler’s response in a very thorough open letter may serve him in disarming any and all accusations of impropriety on his part. The guy could also be a lawyer, the way he lays out his case. I have very little concern this story becomes an obstacle.

  104. Hinkie…good point about the non-leaking Phillies. Bowden specifically mentioned that all his info has come from “sources” [Boras!] and that the Phillies have NOT revealed one thing to anyone about their offers. He was almost reverential when he said it! In fact, on another Phillies site they refer to Klentak as The Silent Ninja, he is so quiet.

    So I am quite sure that 10/300 offer comment came from Boras and I believe it indicates he is trying to get back to that 9/360 but might settle for something in between.

  105. Wow, sorry to bombard everyone today but the news is coming out fast and furious. Jon Heyman [yet another reporter that gets lots of his news from Boras] just tweeted that the Padres now view Harper as a “business/marketing opportunity and have moved Harper ahead of Machado in their efforts. It also mentions that Machado indicated he didn’t want to move to the west coast, something has been mentioned before.

    Heyman ends with tweet with the question…”can the Padres outbid a team that plans to spend “stupid money?” If this came from Boras, and I think it did [sure didn’t come from the Padres] and added to the Cubs story, methinks Boras is putting on a full court press to Middleton and the Phillies.

    Spring training is in less than two weeks, Harper wants this resolved before ST starts, Phils still seem in the pole position, other teams coming up the rear, news is reaching a crescendo, Boras still doing Boras things.

    Can the finish line be far away?

    1. No need to apologize, CD. This is excellent stuff. I am convinced Boras is scrambling to get a bump up in Middleton’s offer. If he can convince JM that SD is truly serious, it might reach $325-330M, but no more. Also sounds like Manny has become more affordable as well. Keep it coming, brother!

  106. I agree with you both. I think when that number exceeds $325, then Boras makes the deal. Maybe it’s $330 or $350, but it will exceed $325. I think we don’t want to bid against ourselves unless it is the close that seals the deal.

    1. I thin you need to beat Stanton’s total and the top annual salary which I think is Grienke. that way harper and boras can declare a win. so around 10yrs and 335. with some outs

      1. At this point, it looks like the Phillies could put together a front loaded 10 year deal. The offer could allow Harper to opt out half way through the deal, when the salaries begin to 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

        While the total numbers would equal 10yrs @ 310 million, it would guarantee Harper 190 million over 5 years (before the first opt out). 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. If the original offer was 9/369, then with a front loaded contract, my guess is Harper will certainly make $40M AAV at least over the first 3 years, and probably an earlier opt out than 5 years. Total guarantee of $325M+ but not much more. I am still feeling it goes down any day now, no later than Tuesday. After Cal Dream’s insights yesterday, it is imminent.

        2. Year 1 $40m
          Year 2 $40m
          Year 3 $40m (followed by opt out)
          Year 4 $35m
          Year 5 $35m (club opt in for higher AAV for duration of 10 yrs)
          Year 6 $35m (followed by opt out)
          Year 7 $30m
          Year 8 $30m
          Year 9 $30m
          Year 10 $30m

          Total value $345M barring team or player options.

          1. 8mark…that probably should make Boras come to the table with his client and sign.

            Year 5……’club opt in for higher AAV….’…never heard of that.
            They do have bonus clauses attached to quite a few contracts…Cutch has a few in the latest Phillies contract.
            Not sure a MLB team would put themselves in a position to have the possibility to increase the AAV and alter their budget against the structured threshold already in placeat a future date down the road….plus opens the door for the player to go to mediation if he stays, and then feels he deserves the increased AAV based on his production .

            1. Just seeing how closely you were paying attention, Romus. Actually, the “opt in” (or swell opt) is a Boras device to get teams to think they have an option, too. The increase in AAV would be higher than the $30M per annum in the latter stage of the term, NOT more than the $40M.

        3. Hinkie, we don’t always agree, but I think you might be right on the mark here. Putting aside the precise numbers, I agree that a front-loaded deal like this could be very attractive for Boras and Harper. It means he’s probably on the Phillies for only
          4 or 5 years, but so what? Do we want a longer contract anyway? Maybe not.

          1. The other side of that coin…….is the Jason Heyward effect…..starts to have one of his bad seasons at the opt out year and he decides, better stick around until the next opt out so I can get my value up again…..and then he doesn’t because of a myriad of reasons.

  107. Thanks C-D for a terrific update and flow of information – superb on all fronts. To both you and Hinkie – strictly from an observing listener viewpoint, I have never found Jim Bowden to be particularly friendly or warm towards the Phillies. In fact, I don’t think he likes the team – which makes alot of sense as he is a bonafide Dallas Cowboy fanatic – ’nuff said.

    For him to even have something less than negative about FO is unusual as I have heard him rant about the “stupid money” comment over and over.

    1. Kapler handled it correctly. I will say his statement reads exactly as he talks. Felt like I was reading a transcript from one of his interviews.

        1. Professional sports organizations can facilitate all these programs for promising young athletes until they are blue in the face, but much of these issues lay at the front door and behind the walls of their own homes. We expect pro and collegiate sports to provide some kind of remedy to society’s ills when in fact they are merely a microcosm of the whole mess.

  108. Hinkie, you are probably $25 Million short in your proposal. I am sure you are right about the opt outs, but the guarantee will beat Stanton

    1. So if no one offers Harper $326 million, which no one other than the Phillies will, Harper will sit out the season? This is what the FO means about not bidding against itself.

  109. Aron, I don’t think so. I think Harper then takes a 1 year $40 Million deal and goes into FA next year. I believe we sign him before that. I think we have not made our final offer until Boras says “$335 or $340 or whatever it is makes the deal” until the bid that closes the deal we are bidding against ourselves.

      1. ‘What are we all going to talk about when they both sign this week?’,
        ….different variation of Dylan Cozen trades to the DBacks, so once he is out there as a Rattler in the OF,……your boys can get free game tix and soak in the pool out in right center field at Chase.

        1. Nick Williams trade discussions. Dylan Cozens will be 25th man. Plays all 3 OF pisitions, backup 1B, PH, PR, DH against AL and is our Matt Stairs hitting the big one at end of the game.

          1. Hah……Williams may go for sure once Harper signs….and you never know, DC may also get an opportunity with another club looking for a power bat..

            1. I hope we don’t trade DC, of course it’s personal, in 2021 Trout will be in CF, Harper in LF, Cozens splitting RF with Cutch, Quinn injured, Herrera traded and Haseley on bench.

            1. It’s by far his favorite player. I’m always curious to know what he’s seen in cozens to even remotely think he can do anything on a 25man roster but never get anything back.

            2. Cozens is one of my favorite players because he handles the game very professionally and is also a gentleman to the fans. He is one of the guys to all ages.

              DC is not a person that analytics will show that he will he the next Barry Bonds or even Von Hayes but his talents and abilities make you aware that you might have a diamond in the rough.

              He is above average outfielder in left and right, also can play a decent center field. He has a cannon for an arm and a baseball acumen in the field. This off season he has been working at first base to increase his value.

              Also he is an excellent base runner, not steals, even tho those are possible, but heady running like Utley and Schmidt.

              His hitting or lack of contact is the stumbling block. He is comfortable in a stance that is not conducive to contact in the bigs. He could make a living in the minors but cannot bring it up with him. He is working on getting his hands higher and being more aggressive on the pitch. Also with the new philosophy of launch angle and exit velocity, he is a perfect specimen for the Phillies.

              I just remember his connection to Rhys in the minors and hoped that we had our own bash brothers. Which can still happen.

              Finally he could be the next Dom Brown, Darren Ruff, Roger Freed, Joe Lis or he could be the next Stanton or Judge. He such a good guy that we are rooting for the latter. Always there for the little guy even if he is 6′ 6″.

  110. While I think Hinkie’s contract idea is generally good, I would add this much…in order to EVER get a contract agreement with Boras/Harper I believe the Phils will have to somehow make the contract worth MORE than $325, just have to.

    I suspect Boras promised Harper that he would top Stanton’s $325 and I believe this is the issue that is holding up any deal hovering in the $300 million area. It’s also the reason that Boras encouraged Harper to take that 9/360 offer that Jim alluded to a few weeks ago. Harper apparently wanted that, or a similar deal with the Dodgers, and turned it down and it appears that A] the Phils have refused to go back to that offer and B] Boras is trying to get it back.

    Now one important thing to note…there is wiggle room between $325 and $360 and I think this might be where we all end up. But Boras MUST be able to say that he won the negotiation, not embarrassed the team, but WON for his client. In the Phils favor is that Middleton is as much businessman as he is baseball phan and undoubtedly understands Boras’s need to “win” this negotiation. Unlike Wade and Amaro, who were baseball people first, Middleton is first and foremost a business man and is likely to acquiesce to this IF he decides he wants Harper enough.

    So this is probably what we should look for soon…talk of a contract north of $300, the number that Bowden [undoubtedly from Boras] mentioned yesterday. In my mind there are only two teams that will touch that number…the Nats and the Phillies. So if you are of the persuasion that the Nats are pretty much budget maxed out [remember what Stark said about the Nats going into Luxury Tax Hell basically forever if they sign Harper] then you understand why the Phils feel they are sitting in the cat bird’s seat.

    If, however, you think like I do, and never assume a Boras negotiation is over till the ink is dry on the contract and that there always seems to be a team hiding behind Door # 3, then the roller coaster ride may still have a few more twists and turns along the way to Nirvana.

    But in the end, I believe the deal will have to be north of $325 because I believe Boras promised this to Harper and he has to be seen as “winning” this deal.

  111. I think you have it exactly right. I believe when Boras feels ge got to the highest point he could above $325, they make the deal

Comments are closed.