Open Discussion: Week of February 11, 2019

The first official workout for pitchers and catchers  is this Wednesday (February 13th).  The first full workout is the following Monday (February 18th).

The big Phillies’ news was the trade for J.T. Realmuto.  To acquire the catcher, the Phillies gave up C Jorge Alfaro and pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart.  They also kicked in $250K in international bonus money.

They also signed free agent infielder Sean Rodriguez.  Turns out that when I saw him on the field at the Complex and tweeted that out, the official announcement hadn’t been made yet.  I saw some social media chatter about this later.  They sometimes get their nose out of joint when this occurs.  I’m not considered a real reporter, so I don’t know if I will face any sanctions Monday.

On the eve of spring training, the Phillies finally announced their coaching staffs.  I’m not on their select mailing list, so I’m not going to bother listing them here.  The ARE included in the updated organization rosters below.

ST rosters, work groups, and schedules have been increasingly more difficult to obtain in recent years.  I expect them to be even more difficult to obtain this year as the current regime becomes more entrenched.  It took several days to assemble the groups last year before I was slipped an official copy on the QT.  I’ll do my best this year.

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

Daily participation remained consistent among the early reports in Clearwater.  Alec Bohm was the first player to arrive.  Odubel Herrera and Jesus Alvarez were the first roster guys to report.  We also have position players Andrew McCutchen, Carlos De La Cruz, Raul Rivas, Nick Matera, and Jose Tortolero; and pitchers Drew Anderson, Nick Pivetta, Kyle Young, Ben Brown, Adam Cox, Tyler McKay, Seth McGarry, and Sandro Rosario.  Rivas is taking part in all but BP.  All pitchers have begun throwing from the mound except Rosario who is rehabbing from TJ, but is throwing on flat ground.  A few other guys are in town for rehab, but they report to the Complex in the afternoon and haven’t done any outside work, yet.

New comers last week included Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Jake Eickhoff, Zach Eflin, Rhys Hoskins, Jorge Alfaro (for a day), Mitch Walding, Mauricio Llovera, Simon Muzziotti, JoJo Romero, Mickey Moniak, 20-30 Venezuelan minor leaguers, and reports that Arrieta, Velasquez, and Realmuto were seen either early Friday or on Saturday.

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)
2/8/2019 – Phillies signed FA INF Sean Rodriguez to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
2/7/2019 – Phillies traded C Jorge Alfaro, RHP Sixto Sanchez, LHP Will Stewart and $250K international bonus dollars to Miami for C J.T. Realmuto
2/3/2019 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Jhongel Malaver, assigned to GCL West
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
1/15/2019 –  CF Lane Adams assigned Lehigh Valley
1/14/19 – Phillies signed FA OF Lane Adams to an MiLB contract w/ST invite
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

940 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 11, 2019

  1. Trout and Wentz take in the Sixers game last night, Wentz was with Jeffery but I’m sure they had a chance to talk, hopefully about playing for the phillies in 2 years or less.

    1. Can’t wait for another two years. Mike Trout loves being in Millville/Philly. Most guys are showing up early for ST, and he (and Mrs. Trout) have gotta’ catch one last 76ers game (and how about what Elton Brand has done with that team!!!) before he heads off to Arizona. He feels the love every time he shows up at an Eagles or Sixers game.
      Trout is the main reason the Phillies aren’t bidding against themselves for Harper. For every additional million they give Harper, that’s (likely) a million they can’t give Trout. As I was told, after the season ended. The team will be aggressive, but not reckless because Mike Trout is their end game. By “reckless” I was told they would not sign both Harper and Machado. At that time, nobody knew the price for these guys would be as depressed as it has become. I believe Middleton can/will go much higher if another club steps up their offer. However, they are just not going to fork over an extra 25+ million dollars to allow Boras to wear the “I negotiated the biggest guaranteed money deal in MLB history” badge.

      1. It’s neither here nor there on a Phillies minor league prospect site, but I was at the Sixers game yesterday and have been watching them all season. Once every one gets settled in, this team will easily be better than the 2000-01 version that went to the NBA finals. This is the best Sixers team since the early 80s – I have no doubt about it.

      2. Hinkie – Did I miss something? I thought the Angels were going to make an extended offer to Trout this winter. Are they waiting for Harper to set the bar?

          1. Yeah I think he passes. He has an out to, saying I want to see what the roster config will look like before extending. With all the players out there now, you’d imagine he can’t be pleased. Would grade would he give the Angels offseason? I can’t imagine he’d rate it higher than a”C”, and most likely a D-

            One BH/MM sign, the trout watch will really heat up

        1. Mike … The Angels will probably approach Trout sometime after Harper and Machado sign. However, IMO, it’s very unlikely Trout will want to sign an extension at this time. He already has plenty of money in the bank, the future offers will most likely only increase, and waiting will only put more pressure on Arte Moreno to make upgrades to the Angels.
          The Mike Trout-LAA situation will probably come to a crossroads next winter. Does he sign a LTX then (one year from FA)? If he doesn’t, do the Angels listen to offers for him? And … could Trout (who has a no-trade clause) only accept a trade to the Phillies?

      3. Honestly … how does he not sign with the Phillies? If you’re an Angels fan, how does this not make you nervous as hell? I’m sure it is way worse than Magic tampering with simmons

  2. Oh boy. Another week of a bunch of posters who claim to have knowledge of when someone will sign. Lol. Let’s just all pretend we get neither and when it happens, all act pleasantly surprised.

  3. Think about all the unsigned players being held up by these two and their agents. Do they get upset with them or do they understand it’s business?

    1. From the Boras/Harper perspective, they know (and apparently blew) the original offer from the Phillies for 9/360. That was mainly on Harper who was advised by Boras to take it. Then the Phillies wised up to the revelation that nobody else would come close to that figure, so here we are. The entire industry (including the yet unsigned FAs) perceives that Harper’s take will be significantly north of whatever Manny gets, except perhaps Manny and Lozano. Hence the gridlock. If Harper had embraced the love the Phillies were offering at first, this off season is waaaaay different from what it is now.

      1. 8mark…my guess to get the seal of approval for one or the other…from the Phillies perspective.
        …just do not see any other team offering both the longevity and the extended dollar amount at that level

        1. No….that is not their offer….that is my own preference.
          Know one knows what they offered..initially and what ever thet did to modify it…except the parties involved

          1. Romus,

            Jim reported a while back that 9/360 was the figure he heard, turned away by Harper who told Boras to make it happen with LAD. This may have been in late Nov.

  4. One aspect of the front office that I find confusing is that their stated strategy – “grow the arms, buy the bats” – doesn’t seem to line up with their actions. They continually use first round picks on bats. Their highest dollar value LA signings are bats. And they just traded their #1 pitching prospect for a bat.

    It seems that their strategy on pitchers is – don’t invest a lot in any one pitching prospect. Just get a lot of arms with pitchability and hope they develop can gain velocity with their developmental program that emphasizes using legs more.

    1. v1 … good point. I believe Johnny Almaraz has said as much. He looks for “pichability”/guys who can throw strikes.
      I’d like to see the team draft an arm this summer. The Phillies are picking at a spot (1-14) where top prep players seem to fall every year. I posted some names in last week’s draft thread who I’d be very happy for Johnny Almaraz to take a chance on. In case anyone missed it, they are: Carter Stewart, Spencer Jones, Brennan Malone, and Daniel Espino. JJ Goss is another kid who should rise up draft boards between now and June. And … I’ve recently been hearing the name Jackson Rutledge. He’s a RH JUCO pitcher who throws upper 90’s (T99).
      Probably should have posted this in the draft thread. I’ll post video of Rutledge there.

    2. Doubly strange since they have no first round hitter since Utley who comes close to Nola. And we also drafted Hamels. For some reason our scouts do great at identifying pitches and absolutely stink at identifying 1st round quality OFs.

  5. This has to be fake news from Harper:

    “I’m a big fan of coach [Gabe] Kapler and the roster he’s assembled, but I’d love to see the Phillies make a big move to another city before I commit to playing for them,” said the 2015 National League MVP, adding that he’d even be willing to sign at a lower salary if it would help the team relocate to someplace warm like San Jose or Orlando. “I’m really trying to put myself in the best position and it feels like the Phillies have all the pieces in place, except for the city. Playing with Jake [Arrieta] and Andrew [McCutchen] would be great, but in the end I would still be stuck in Philadelphia. But if they’re able to guarantee they’ll build a new stadium and move the franchise to Omaha, I’ll sign tomorrow.”

    ……if not fake new but real….then MacPhail and Klentak need to convince Middleton to get the obsession with Harper out of his sytem and go get Manny.
    At least Manny can live in Manhattan if he cannot play in the Bronx.

  6. Another day closer Phillies phans …

    Any series against divisional opponents is going to pretty intense, even that Marlins. Whoever can win the season series against could be the deciding factor in who is the NL EAST champ.

    The Braves road to repeat is a lot harder, they racked up most of their wins from the division, of that trend continues it will be hard for them to keep pace, now that the Phils, Mets, And Nats beef’d up .

    Going to be good matchups throughout the season, I hope Nola is ready to repeat his 2018 campaign, Arrietta rights the ship, and Pivetta takes his next step forward.

  7. Jim, not sure who does not consider you a ‘real’ reporter, but I hate to break it to them that, thankfully, is exactly what you are. Can’t beat ‘boots on the ground’!

  8. I know JTR is a “bat” the Phillies bought, but he will just as much to help the pitching staff improve, if not more. This trade was like buying a bat and an arm.

    1. As much as I want Harper, the best player on the Phillies when he signs will still be the Real Deal.

    2. He is a steal imo. Sixto could develop, but Realmuto is already developed and can possibly get better moving to CBP and having projection again.

      Just need to extend him and all is good. Hard to give up on Sixto, but he was no sure thing. It’s really puzzling to me why Stewart was included if other pitchers were offered. One team seems to be way off in their valuation of the Phillies pitchers, let’s hope it is the Marlins. It was reported they believed Stewart to be the Phillies 2nd best pitching prospect… believe I read this as a quote in an article from Mlbtraderumors.

  9. In a couple more days we’ll be talking about the players who ARE in camp, instead of the ones who aren’t.

  10. It seems I post the same thing every new week: “Nothing has changed”. John Middleton is the desperate shopper. All the other clubs with the financial might to sign BH/MM are opportunistic shoppers. The Phillies look to be the only club willing to go long term/most guaranteed money. And … in the end … that’s what all FA’s want.
    Last week, people on television, radio, internet suddenly threw the SFG’s out there as the new team to watch for Haper. The dust has now settled, and it looks like the Giants are no different from the rest of the competition. They were investigating if there’s any chance they can get Harper at a sale price.

    Hang in there.. This is the same path the Red Sox took to get JD Martinez, and the Phillies traveled to land Jake Arrieta last spring.

      1. Yes, Troll. Unless/until another team steps up to the plate and makes Harper a long term/big guaranteed dollars offer, there is no reason not to believe the Phillies won’t sign him for about the price they are offering right now. I don’t know what Middleton has on the table at this moment, but I suspect it’s a front loaded (maybe) 10 year deal that would allow Boras/Harper to claim the highest AAV for the first 5 seasons before he’s given an opt out. The length (10 years) would allow the Phillies to tack on lower yearly rates to the second half of the contract (after Harper can opt out), and that would lower the total AAV (which is what MLB uses to calculate your cap hit) of the pact.

  11. This weekend, I spoke briefly with one of the Atlanta Braves Minor League Coordinators. Our daughters are in school together and are good friends. I don’t know him well but in our few convos we’ve talked about the girls and about the Braves. When I asked him what he thought about the Realmuto trade, his smile immediately turned to a serious expression. He emphatically said, “Well, it definitely isn’t good for us!” Unfortunately someone grabbed him before either of us could say anything else. His expression and tone said enough. The Braves felt this one. They didn’t get JTR and, even worse (for them), the Phillies did.

    Go Klentak! I’ll continue to appreciate that you try to be both patient and opportunistic!

  12. Money is neither stupid nor smart. It’s the people that use it who are. Ten year mega contracts in any sport is the stupid use of money, especially for two ball players who aren’t eager to come here. Mike Trout could be the exception and probably would play his heart out for the Phillies. If the Phillies pay Harper or Machado $30-36m per for 10 years, you can throw half of that out the window.

    1. I think it probably won’t be that bad. I think, as Hinkie has suggested, the contract will be front loaded with money and opt out clauses. In actuality, the contract is more likely to be 4 years than 10. The hard decision, I believe, will be prior to the opt out – and whether the team wants to re-negotiate the balance of the contract term.

    2. The only downside to a Trout contract – and it is significant – is that as we watch him play out the next 2 seasons in his prime, the latter half of his new deal will likely be on a decline. My suggestion was to try and sign him to a lifetime contract where we spread the guaranteed money over say, 30 years, mostly for special services after his playing days are over. With that in mind, I would rather trade for him sooner than later, requiring a (relatively) lesser return on young talent since he’ll have little left on his current contract.

      1. This is the main reason why I say you don’t worry about him and go after BOTH. Yes Trout has been AMAZING and will go down as one of, if not the best I’ve ever seen play (33 yr old) BUT as you said, he’ll be at the end of his prime and baseball players just don’t age like they used to. How many years will he have played at that point? 9-10? And all of them balls to the wall.

  13. I think Phillies should say to Harper take it or leave it by Wednesday. 8 at 300. Bad dressing Ivy leaguer has had a terrific offseason so far. I like this team

    1. No way Boras wouldn’t call that bluff. No one is going to dictate a timeline to him. The only way to give him an ultimatum is to have a strong offer out to Machado (and Harper) and tell him we’re not going to sign both at these rates. If the offer to Machado is good enough that there is a real chance he accepts, that would put pressure on him and Harper to either poop or get off the pot.

      1. agreed
        I think MK is playing this right even though frustrating though remember JD Martinez went thru same thing last yr
        put out the parameters of a deal but have them check back with us as end game.
        BH is coming to philly unless he’s willing to take less money to go somewhere else which is anti-boras and nothing us or MK can do anything about

    2. Other than immediate gratification from telling Boras to stick it, plus the fact that what little patience we have has grown thin, the Phillies have no sound business reason to lay down the gauntlet. If either Machado or Harper showed the least inclination to want to sign here, it might make a difference but the Phillies have no pressure on them until one of them signs with another club.

  14. The minor league teams’ coaches were announced on Friday. Each team has a manager, two coaches, plus a pitching coach. Didn’t the teams all previously have a manager, a pitching coach and one coach? I think the Phils have added a coach to each team which is great news if you believe like I do, and I guess they do, that the development of the position players has been terrible. I was also happy to see lots of coaches get moved up a level with their players. Let’s get spring training started!!

  15. Guys – this could be big news or could be nothing. It echoes CD hearing that this will be wrapped up sooner than later.

    per @russellmania621 (26.4k followers and is out of DC).

    “Decision week for Bryce in Vegas….This could be over by Thursday (Valentine’s Day). Heard no more meetings. 3-4 teams are serious contenders. I assume that still includes #Nats but not 100% sure Heard a week or so ago, they would get final chance to match.”

    Ok so I will assume; Phillies, Giants, Nationals, maybe Padres.

    This will be an interesting few days.

        1. My mind is thinking a thousand things
          Why is he wearing a DC hat? Yes I know, style, but it could also give a hint.
          I don’t feel like the Cubs are 100% out.

          I still feel good for the Phillies but it’ll be a long week

    1. Just saw the same thing, Troll. Apparently, this guy (Chris Russell) is a sports radio guy in Washington. Someone mentions that Russell has been right on with his Harper news to this point so maybe there could be some validity to this report.

  16. I have no doubt that Harper gets more $ than Machado, so I don’t think the strategy of offering the same deal to both has any significance. We just have to wait it out. Boras is well aware that Middleton will be the high bidder. I have no idea how we feel about Machado, or what his Agent is thinking at this point. The good news is, there should be a resolution by Opening Day! That is only another 6 weeks.

  17. Yes, Shadow and 702 both commented on what Chris Warren said, and apparently Warren is very credible and has access to the Nats since he is a Washington sports guy. So Warren doesn’t just throw gum on walls and hope they stick. But I digress…

    Shadow [Phillies connection] said the Phils will have the “highest offer by a significant margin” and this COULD be the week. His only reason for suggesting it may go a bit longer is that “Boras is still Boras.” But he does think the end game is near.

    He also said something else quite interesting…and revealing. He compared the Harper negotiations to what just happened with Realmuto. He said that if we recall, the Phils indicated an interest in Realmuto early [just as they did with Harper] and then went silent [as they really have with Harper] and then at the precise moment they struck swiftly and successfully. He said he believes the Phils will strike on Harper at precisely the right time and that there offer will be the highest by a large margin.

    702 [Harper connection and Las Vegas resident] also chimed in and said something I found very interesting, and probably true. He said Warren likely got his information from the Nats [makes sense] and that the Nats got their information from Boras [also makes a ton of sense.] This does fit with the Boras I know. He will play his Boras games and then when he senses he has corralled as many interested teams as he can he will let them all know its time to make their final and best offer. He undoubtedly told this to the Nats, who passed it on to the Nats, who passed it on to Warren. He also believes that Boras has told the Nats, just like he did the Phillies, that he will give them a chance to match any top offer.

    Boras then has a pow wow with his client, discusses pros and cons about all interested teams and then allows his client to make the final decision. It is worth noting that Boras does not simply sit and let his client make the decision, he will offer his thoughts and opinions…but in the end, its Harper’s Ferry to take. So we shall see.

    702 also made one more interesting comment…he thinks the only competition to the Phillies is not the Giants or Nats, its the Yankees. He thinks they may be lying in the weeds, ready to strike, especially after Steinbrenner got slammed for being cheap last week. Please note that 702 was merely offering his view on the Yankees and this was not something he had heard.

    Alas, in the end, 702 thinks its the Phillies.

    One more point, and this is mine. Yes, Boras doing Boras things is all part of this and he will delay, stall and slow things down as much as he can BUT he is no fool. He understands that he needs Middleton, Lerner, Sabean and Steinbrenner as much as they need him and he has to know they all want this to end soon. Middleton wants to end this because he is determined to win, Lerner needs this over so the Nats can move on before spring training and the other teams need this to end so they can sign guys like Keuchel, Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez and his other 6 clients and this delay is simply not good for baseball.

    So there you have it…

      1. from your mouth to boras and harper’s ears

        funny thing is, this is such a great place for him to play if the team is good.

        cbp is crazy for playoff games. I’ve been there.

        Washington is terrible .

        can you imagine that stadium on opening day with harper and JTR in the lineup?

        1. sr…..logically, everything points to Harper eating post-game cheese steaks in the locker room this summer…just hoping it is the home team locker room.

    1. CD, good read, whether true or not. FWIW, I’ll buy it as credible. It’s a logically conclusion. Let’s connect he dots from the beginning of FA. At one point, the rumor was the Phillies were bidding against themselves. I believe that was said shortly before or after the “stupid money” comment. The fact that the Phillies offer has not truly leaked is strategic. Phillies scare off potentioal suitors, back it up with McCutchen as an example. Show they are going f or it without segura, and Realmuto. She’d payroll in Santana.

      The smart play that we are over looking is that the Phillies are not going to let their best offer flap in the wind. If the Phillies offer was let out at the beginning of FA, it let’s teams like the Nats,Dodgers, and cubs know exactly how much payroll
      They need to move.

      By keeping it quite, it doesn’t allow those teams to make their necessary moves to fit in BH/MM. now, Phillies go in with a high # and continuously raise until the ink is on the paper.

      If teams know the Phillies offer, they can plan, now they have to guess. That is a great strategy against the Yankees for example, and the dodgers.

      I can see it being over Thursday. Mandatory Position plYers report date is soon enough

      1. People…. it’s in the CBA that you are not allowed to negotiate contracts through the media. It’s the rule. Most teams are quiet right up until they sign the player. Remember how quiet the yanks were before grabbing Stanton? 90% of this stuff is kept under lid.

        Phillies aren’t being sneaky and ready to pounce. They’re following the rules.

  18. Vegas odds now have San Fran as even money favorites to land Harper. Then the Padres with next best odds, followed very closely by Phils. Lol.

  19. I guess if he doesn’t sign here, I hope its SF or SD and not the Nats.

    those teams are not playoffs contenders for next few yrs either way

    SD had a great minor league system but still going to take a few yrs to be good unless they all come up like gangbusters as rookies

    1. sr…..if it is the Padres…..doubt it but never know….then i would raid their OF surplus…..three OFers they have would fit nicely in CBP….Myers, Reyes or Renfroe…..they will look to move one or two of them, especially the pricier one, (for them) Myers.

  20. Vegas actually has the Phillies the 4th favorited to sign Harper w San Fran being the betting favorite. I’ll say it again, i’ll Listen to Vegas before most “experts”. Not a good sign. ESP bc imho Machado has ZERO interest in Philly. ZERO.
    Well I’m back on the, I don’t think we get either train. Theres just no reason for it not to have happened already unless they just aren’t interested in Philly. And I’m sorry guys but it really seems like neither are.

    1. Unless San Fran or San Diego can come up with a massive offer I don;t see the union or Boras allowing Harper to take a largely discounted deal due to city preference.

      The union sees the writing on the wall with these past two hot stove seasons. Long term mega deals are becoming very rare. Both BH and MM are great test cases to see where the future of the FA market is going.

      1. agreed
        if harper and MM cant get long term , huge money deals, who can other than trout or betts?
        everyone’s market will be set below there guys

    2. It’s an off shore account and Vegas currently has no odds posted for either of them. This is most likely clickbait. A lot of times with these lines they cap it at say a $50 bet if you can actually make one at all. They are most likely basing this of the last team he visited.

  21. Shadow agrees with Bossss, says there is NO chance Harper signs with Giants, none. Same with Padres, zip, zero, zilch. He thinks Phils only competition is Nats. 702 thinks Yankees. Shadow’s view is what he hears from Phillies, 702’s view is merely his own.

    Both said Phils will have top offer, significantly better. I still say Phils offer will be more than $325. Boras is obsessed with beating Stanton’s number, Middleton understands that and while Hinkie has valid points why he doesn’t necessarily believe Phils will need to top $325, I am basing my view on how Boras operates and the Phils need and desire to build a good working relationship with Boras. Don’t for one moment think this isn’t important or that Middleton doesn’t understand this.

    I guess if I were to categorize this it would that Hinkie views this from Klentak and McPhail’s perspective…don’t pay a penny more than you have to! I base mine on how Middleton is likely to view this….I want Harper, and want to build a relationship with an agent who is likely to have many clients in future years that I value, including my own [Hoskins, Velasquez, Arrieta, Williams.]

    Look, for better or worse, Boras has successfully helped baseball powers in New York, Boston and Washington by steering his clients to those teams and he did it by building relationships with ownership, not GM’s. Middleton gets this, wants Harper, and if it takes adding $25 million on a 10 year deal [ basically 2.5 million a year or the cost of a middle reliever] he will do it. I told you that Shadow said Middleton is obsessed with getting Harper and reminds Klentak/McPhail of this daily.

    I would not want to be in Phillie headquarters the day after Harper signs with another team and Boras says Harper went with the top offer. Heads might roll. Its worth noting that Jimmy Rollins once said that Middleton was the George Steinbrenner of the NL and he knows the owner well.

    1. No offense but these people you are naming know just as much as any of us do. They are hearing things the same way we are. Once again, if he wanted to be here he would be, we have the most money and he knows that. We need to take our blinders off for a min and realize that for whatever reason (even after building up the team a bit) we aren’t attractive right now to him. Or Manny.
      You can talk about the Giants or SD being bad but they are closer to his family and last time I checked we weren’t knocking doors down yet either. All I’m saying it I wouldn’t be shock anymore if we get neither. And I HATE saying that.

      Btw I don’t think you can actually bet where a player signs. I’m pretty sure they just post odds bc that’s what they do, it brings people in. (Could be wrong tho)

      1. And now a bunch of people are posting Harper social media posts where he’s saying a lot of really really nice things about San Fran . . . Be prepared guys. We might be left there with our baseball bat in our hand. Looking more and more like the JRT trade wasn’t to supplement a future get but was the get.
        Praying I’m wrong.

        1. Ehhh … money talks. It hate to believe it, but in terms of professional sports, it has held true for 90% of the FA signings. Of course there are exceptions, but that is more for players chasing a championship in elder days or coming “home” when the money is comparable.

          I don’t think both are in that boat. In fact both parties have come out and said they are basically looking for the most money. I just can’t see them both saying “No” to the money, it would basically be unprecendented … and in the wrong direct for MLBPA. Don’t forget the power of money, it will have the final say in at least one of these players final destination. The Phillies have an owner with tons of cash, willing to spend.

    2. Mr. Dreamer … whther the Phillies have to go as high as 325 million or not (and I have no idea if i will take that much to land Harper), I believe Middleton has already built a strong relationship with Boras. He signed Arrieta. He’ll treat Hoskins well. And, he’ll give Harper more guaranteed money than any other team.
      The next agent Middleton will look to have a great relationship with is Craig Landis. He’s got just one client. He’s the best player in the game, and the real apple of Middleton’s eye.

      1. Hinkie – Generally, I agree with you, and always look forward to your posts. The only person on Earth who has a strong relationship with Boras is Boras. He would stab Middleton in the back for one more nickel in his pocket. Maybe his end game is to get even with Middleton for making him look like a fool last year (Arrieta).

        1. How did Middleton make Boras look like a fool? He gave Arrieta $75 million over three years!

  22. The shoes are Yonder Alonso’s babies shoes and were posted by Machado’s wife. And in the FWIW Dept….my best friend still lives the San Francisco Bay Area and is as big a Giants fan as we are Phillies phans. I just texted him and asked him if he thinks Harper is going to SF and his exact reply was “there is no way in hell Harper would come to SF with the team in its dreadful state of being.” He thinks its Boras doing Boras things as a ploy to get other teams to pony up.

  23. I heard MM was wearing white underwear the other day. does that means he’s signing with the whitesox?
    these guys need to sign before we all lose our minds

    1. This Boras is really upsetting the MLB apple-cart this off season…now some of the players are getting pissed.

      Justin Verlander

      100 or so free agents left unsigned. System is broken. They blame “rebuilding” but that’s BS. You’re telling me you couldn’t sign Bryce or Manny for 10 years and go from there? Seems like a good place to start a rebuild to me. 26-36 is a great performance window too.

      12:38 PM – Feb 11, 2019

  24. I went to drop a big bet on the Phils at +400 and the odds already changed to Phillies +150, giants +225, padres +250. So clearly it was clickbait.

    1. Ok so you can bet on them? For some reason I remember reading an article that didn’t allow betting on FA destinations.

    2. Ok so you can bet on it? For some reason I remember reading somewhere that you can’t bet on FA destinations. 🤷🏼‍♂️

    1. Agree, Romus. MacKlentak had wanted (and I believe had convinced Middleton on) Manny Machado. They had manipulated their payrolls for the last few years in anticipation of adding Manny. Things went sideways after Machado’s “Johnny Hustle” comments. Middleton became worried that Phillies fans were no longer wowed with Manny. In addition (probably more importantly), Middleton knows Bryce Harper is a bigger attraction. I believe, in the end, the PR impact is the reason John Middleton outbids everyone for Harper. Hopefully, it gets done this week, and then we can focus on Mike Trout !!!

    2. The Phillies decision makers have always been split between Harper and Machado. They will sign whom Middleton wants because he gets more votes than there are people in the room.

  25. Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Under Klentak, we have been very quiet about any moves that we make. Cutch came out of the blue, as did the Segura trade and the signing of Robertson. We were completely out on JTR, the Reds were closing in on a deal, then we were in, and hours later we had him. What if they pivot and sign Machado to the $300 Million contract? I find it hard to believe that there has been zero buzz about us and Machado, when before all this started, the relationship with some of our FO and Machado and his Agent was supposed to be a factor. The WSox offer is nothing compared to what we could pay, yet all the rumors are about Harper. All outside rumors, too, nothing from our local guys except Phils expect to sign one.” I am just raising it because I am so tired of waiting and I can’t believe Machado gets $100 Million less than Harper.

    1. Sounds like 3 things are playing out 1) Phillies keeping the highest offer hush hush so they don’t bid against themselves, 2) a possible extension for Arenado, which effects MM the most, and 3) The comments and lack of perceived hustle has shrunk the number of years teams are willing to offer.

      The Phillies are the ones dragging this out imo now. Finish line is in sight and they just need to keep theirs max offer to their chest so they don’t over pay/bid against themselves.

  26. Nats couldn’t win with Harper so if they win this year it would not look good. BH might sign with Phillies so they win with him and Nats cant win without him.

  27. I know that Medina is our next top SP prospect, then Spencer Howard and JoJo and Morales. With Sixto gone, I don’t think we have one with a #1 SP upside, but who has the best stuff? I know we rank them for different reasons, their stuff, proximity to the Majors, upside, etc., but who has the best pure stuff, closest to what Sixto has with his FB/command combo?

    1. From what I’ve seen from game footage,it’s between Medina and Howard. I like Irvin,Morales, and Gowdys stuff as well. I haven’t seen enough of DLS, but when I did, I was more impressed with sixto/Medina/Howard/Irvin/&Gowdy

      I see Howard climbing pretty fast. His stuff plays well. FB sitting at 95-97mph, changeup drops to 82. He pitched a No hitter …. in a playoff game … that he was just promoted to. Very nice feater in his cap. I believe that was do to his stuff. I can see him being in contention for the top prospect in the system at midseason if he continues his arch.

      Right now, I’d say Medina, not a cop out, has what looks like 4 pitches, within some pretty crazy movement, all seem decently developed. I’d put Howard right behind him for now for the reasons above.

      Btw… I remember when this answer used to be Vicente Padilla! Very frustrating talent for sure.

      1. And don’t forget Medina was selected to the Futures game for the World team last summer.
        Perhaps Spencer Howard gets the same selection for the US team this summer.

        1. IMO … Medina has the best “stuff”. I’ve felt his “stuff” was even better than Sixto’s. In fact, to me, Of every arm in the Phillies organization, only Aaron Nola (and maybe Jake Arrieta) make the ball move more than Adonis Medina. When he refines his control, Medina will be a fixture in the Phillies rotation for years.

        1. @WaWa – Just from his “Perfect Game” appearance and other vids. Nothing live, Obviously he has been hurt, but the videos out there and preinjury reports make me bullish on him. My viewpoint on his “stuff” comes from watching this game too many times over the years. Let’s call it a non-professional scouts eye 🙂 Obviously he needs to heal up, but his pitches preinjury just pass the eye test for me at the HS level. Let’s hope he can, he would be a nice boost to the system/team or tradebait. Will find out soon enough.

    2. I think we get a little too hung up on the #1 label. Obviously having more talent is better, but Nola was projected as a #3 and Hamels was projected as a #2.

    3. matt – You, and everybody else seems to forget that De Los Santos, Eshelman, Irvin, and Suarez could all take a step up this year. Irvin, was the pitcher of the year last year in the Int’l league. Forget about stuff and ask yourself “Who has had the most success at the highest levels”? I love the starters at the lower levels, but they’ve proven nothing yet.

  28. FWIW it looks like Harper is taking a flight somewhere….according to his instagram story…..,maybe a late night flight so no one sees him coming in…

    1. TrollU…..interesting, he is taking the late night out from Vegas.
      But doesn’t everybody take a red-eye out of Vegas!

      1. Well, my initial thoughts are that it’s nothing. You’d think if it was for a meeting, they’d send the private jet. The hysteria on the plane would be nuts imo. Imagine a direct flight LAS to PHL … and BH is in first class… or walking through phl int? Yeah …

        Really you’d think Boras could throw him a bone for a flight on a private jet if needed.

        This goes in the flash alarm category for me, but damn I hope I’m wrong.

        1. Well he did it with Jake Arrieta …see pix above…last year into Clearwater.
          Tomorrow is the JTR presser in Clearwater.
          Wednesday maybe Harper! 🙂

          1. I think Howard and Medina are going to make people forget about sixto soon enough. The kicker would be if Gowdy can fully recover, beat the odds, and bring his “stuff” to the big club. Then shipping off sixto won’t be so bad, even if he develops Also, if the FO can pluck a gem out of this draft, it’ll go a long way

            FO and their scouts will be on the hook this year. This is closest we should be getting to such a high pick pick for the foreseeable future, they need to nail the last wave of the “rebuild”

  29. Again, FWIW Dept…Shadow repeating what he has said all along. If/When the Phillies sign one of the two, they will take a peak at the other one and offer a shorter deal [say 5 years with opt outs after 2]. They simply are afraid to go 8-10 years on both of them but have no problem doing it for one. Apparently the Phils have never been opposed
    to signing both but with Trout coming up in 2 years [and our esteemed Hinkie is hearing the same thing as Shadow is] they do not want to completely cramp their salary structure before that, thus the smaller deal with a 2 year out making sense.

    Shadow also decided, based on what he knows, to play the Vegas odds game and here is what he wrote…for Harper, -200 Phillies
    + 200 Nats
    +800 White Sox
    + 800 Padres
    +1000 Giants
    +1400 Dodgers and Yankees

    And for Machado…………………Even money, White Sox
    + 200 Phillies
    +600 Padres
    +800 Yankees
    + 1200 Dodgers

  30. My barber’s divorce attorney has a love child that dresses up as Spider Man on Las Vegas Blvd and apparently one of his buddies overheard Bryce Harper say he is going “to play for a team in pinstripes because it’ll make my butt look good.” I’ll let you know what else I hear as updates pour in.

  31. Nightingale says two team race for Harper; giants and Phillies. Says it’s a toss up on where Harper goes. Take short term deal, 6 for $180mil or take long term deal.

    1. A short-term, 6-year deal would be his last contract. Have you noticed how barren the market is for 32-year old corner outfielders? Or more likely a first baseman? He will never recoup the money he leaves on the table with this type of contract.

      1. I agree. Just relaying Mr Nightengales quotes.

        Harper would be sacrificing wins and stats if he went to SF

  32. Maybe Bryce will pop up from behind the dais as JTR is introduced, helping him put on his jersey. Then a video screen behind them will show an updated trailer of MLB The Show with Harper wearing the P on his red cap. And then, maybe not….

  33. Jim, I mentioned previously here that they post on Backshegoes, a popular Phillie site with many long time Phillie posters, some of whom post here. And, as I said previously, they are considered very credible on a site [like this one] that doesn’t suffer fools lightly. They have been posting updates as they get them and one thing worth noting is that we will all know how correct they are quite soon. I tend to be quite conservative in what I read and who I believe and they have had the ring of credibility and accuracy all along.

    Neither believes the Giants are a threat, and Shadow says the Phillies are only concerned about the Nats. I am always careful to suggest what it is that they report vs what I believe. It is interesting that so much of what they say falls in line with what Hinkie has been saying for months, that they will get one of the two. Shadow says the Phils have never eliminated the possibility of getting both IF the price is right and indicated today that if/when the Phils sign one, they may pursue a short term [5 year] deal with the other one, with an opt out after 2 years.

    My contributions have mostly been about my views on Boras, a guy I have been following since the early 80’s. I have tried to keep my posts timely and informative, to keep the conversation moving forward. Hope this helps.

    1. Now I’ll be refreshing that site for updates. Looks like the last comment is about payroll being at $130mil if I’m following the right forum.

    2. Mr. Dreamer … I don’t think Jim is upset about your posts. It’s probably more of a curiosity thing. Jim can correct me if I’m wrong.
      Personally, I appreciate all the info (and opinions) other posters can contribute.

      On another note … I spent a lot of time in my car tonight. Of course I had the radio on. It is absolutely amazing how many people are freaking out/worried that Middleton will miss out on both Harper and Machado. That just isn’t going to happen.

  34. I posted this on Twitter this morning.

    Somehow it went from my small following to Amy Fadool on CSN Sports and an Instagram account by Branded Sports (liked by BH).
    A friend sent my wife grainy video of the Fadool segmant. It was cool to hear my name and Phuture Phillies on a local Phillies outlet, as well as my Twitter handle and photo caption.

      1. Jim,

        As for your comment of the other day that the Phillies don’t quite consider you a sports writer, they might be right. You’re more than a sportswriter. You are a facilitator in a way no sportswriter can be. You are more important than a sportswriter. I think that’s true for many for the prospects and their families and, I suspect, the Phillies understand, respect and appreciate that. You provide a service that is very important to the Phillies. They can’t provide it on their own given their built-in conflicts of interest. But it sure is in the club’s best interest to have a site like this and I’m sure they know it.

        Most important, we fans LOVE PhuturePhillies because of what you make it.

  35. back in the middle of this thread, RG mentions that he doesn’t think the union or Boras will allow harper to take a discounted amount of money to play in a city he would want to. Good Point. what is free agency really? if harper wanted to play in a certain place, it looks like he can’t. he has to take the most money and is that really him being free to go where he wants to go? He has to please his agent before himself? he and machado will have more money than they will know what to do with. why not let them pick where they want to go. doesn’t seem to free to me. i’d love to have them both and still pulling for it, but it seems their choice is made with the most money. am i way off base here?

    1. Interesting view, when you get down to it… being the best FA in years doesn’t allow you to really be a “free” agent. The exception would be if Harper really want to go to the place that offered the most. Money is power, and so is the MLBPA. They will clear their muscles to make sure harper doesnt take a discount, it affects the rest of the players, as his contract
      Helps reset the market. Another strong reason to believe he is Philly bound. Let the media be the media, spreading rumors. Logic says BH to Philly.

  36. And “free” or not, why would one player (or two) hold up the works for four painstaking months only to settle for much much less money to play for the next best thing. Harper originally wanted LAD (and ideally still does, we presume). Now SF comes along with a far cry consolation package for him to sign for? I don’t think so. Boras would have wasted a lot of time (and quite an opportunity!) while keeping many other free agents waiting, and for what? So Harper can pick a team in need of rebuilding at a pitcher’s ballpark simply because he likes the town better. He could have done that back in December.

    He’s coming to Philadelphia. And if he doesn’t like it now, he will in a matter of months. Here, Bryce – you can use my pen to sign.

    1. John Stolnis pointed this out on twitter
      Harper’s stats in Philadelphia:

      50 games: .930 OPS 14 HRs

      Harper’s stats in San Francisco:

      19 games, .588 OPS 2 HRs

      More reason to come to the Phillies

      1. TrollU – is day that is a pretty convincing argument in PHI vs SF decision, especially if you’re taking a storter term, high AAV deal for 5-6 years. Good luck on your next contract with depressed stats. His agent won’t be able to sell the “marketing/business” side that BH has now for extra dough, that will have faded with the stats too.

        To add on to this, MLB has a great article, ranking top 10 players at each position in baseball. Harper wants – record deal and he is not even in the top 3 for RFs. And if you ranked the top 10 OF, he probably wouldn’t make the list!

        1. Tac3, I guess that’s your way of saying be careful of what we wish for. Agree but signing Harper has more to do with the peripheral impact he will have off the diamond. Dugout, clubhouse, ticket booth, retail stores. A name (or should I say brand?) goes a long way in today’s world.

          1. Yup, just amazing how that works. Seems like the players above him should be developing their brand so to speak. It is what it is.

  37. I don’t understand the view that the Player’s Association has any say in where one of these guys signs. What, exactly, can they do if Harper, for instance, leaves a 9 year $333 Million contract from us on the table to take 10 and $305 from the Nats? I am not starting the negative stuff again, but simply from the MLBPA side, they can’t do a thing. Boras wants to break the record, and Harper may as well. But, there may be valid reasons that a player making that kind of money gives up $25 Million to be in a place he likes more. I have no idea what happens, and I know there are very few times that $ hasn’t ruled, but how many $300 Million contracts have there been that we can go by?

    1. matt13…agree….Tony Clark and MLBPA all they can do is ‘voice their displeasure and their opinion’…..rolls off the back of Boras and agents.
      Maybe send out a letter to all 30 plus team player reps..Hoskins I think is the Phillies this year again…Leiter was it last spring…..and in the letter remind the players to aid the membership by pursuing the highest monetary compensation as possible for the benefit of the rank and file….but thats about it.

    2. Matt, it’s like if you grew up in an affluent family. Mom and dad expect their daughter to marry a doctor. If she doesn’t, she’s still their daughter, but they make sure she feels like she disappointed them. The union can’t do anything, per se. But it’s a bad blood issue. Not sure if Harper cares or not. Most people are affected by the unspoken rule, however, right or wrong.

  38. Harper isnt going to SD or SFG, those are pitcher parks……its all about putting pressure on Phillies(Middleton) to up their offer.

    1. Absolutely agree with Eagleye5. As I mentioned above, I spent a lot of time in my car last night. My head was going to explode listening to sports radio. Everybody was freaking out/worried that the Phillies would miss out on both Harper and Machado. That’s not going to happen.

    2. If Machado and/or Harper sign with us, how long will it be until we only talk baseball abd not contracts or the process that it took?

  39. Put this in the fwiw category and perhaps a hint that Washington is out

    Bryce Harper unfollowed Capitals players on Twitter. Tom Wilson: “I don’t know if that’s writing on the wall or what.”

    1. But I don’t see him following Rhys anymore. He’s just following trout out of the baseball players. Who knows

      1. I would obviously take either. However, I prefer Harper. Would eventually love to see a Phillies lineup featuring Trout-Harper-Hoskins !!! What fun that would be !!!

  40. In a vacuum I prefer Machado. I just think he is a better all around player at a more premium position and at a cheaper price. However, the Phillies lineup has become so RH heavy they really need a middle of the order LH bat.

      1. Lol, let’s just say expecting a rookie who had an OPS+ of 52 and struck out over 50% of his plate appearances to bat in the middle of a veteran lineup is a bit of a talk order.

  41. Interesting article in the NY Post today about the Phillies. A betting corporation in Las Vegas called VSiN said that the Yankees are the sexiest pick right now BUT many bettors are ready to bet on the Phillies in anticipation that they are going to get either Harper or Machado.

    Josh Towers, the former major league hurler, who works for VSiN said that getting Realmuto makes the Phils a very strong club and he suggests that if they get Harper or Machado they could soon become one of the favorites to win the NL. Apparently the company will put out its win predictions on Sunday but said that just on getting Realmuto the Phils have jumped from 84 to 87 wins and Harper/Machado would push them into the 90’s.

    VSiN said that if/when the Phils sign one or the other, and it seems to suggest it will be Harper, they and the Yankees could be the most interesting and fascinating teams to follow this year.

    Maybe its just me but there does seem to be a groundswell shaking that this could be the week that all this drama ends. By the way, I am like Hinkie here…would take either one but I want Harper. He fits the lineup to a tee, would form with Hoskins a great middle of the order, and has that “it” power that the Phils have not had since 2012.

  42. Aron- I agree with you. The left handed bat is much better for balance – albeit, one could argue that MM plays a gold glove 3B – solidifying the defense further – and Nick Williams bat in RF would answer the left sided need. Give up defense/get defense. I believe MM is the better baseball player (all around) but he does have his warts. I would think either player would bat third in a Phillies lineup ?

    How surprising would it be if MM all of a sudden says to Phils – let’s do it ! What does Boras and Harper do then ?

    1. Williams is definitely the alternative at this point but it would be tough to justify batting him (or Herrera) between Machado-Hoskins-Realmuto.

  43. Won’t be hearing anything today in regards to closure of the Harper sweepstakes. This is per the infamous 702.

  44. Now I can’t speak for 702 here but my guess is that the Phils are planning today to be about Realmuto and his press conference. If/when they sign MM or Harper they would want it to be on a day when they are not introducing someone else. Doesn’t mean there won’t be questions that Klentak will have to dodge regarding the two stars.

    1. I bet in MIA’s camp, Alfaro is swing through pitches like that 🙂

      Anyways, great to see. Appreciate the feed. This team
      Is already exciting to me but adding BH
      Or MM takes it to a pretty insane level, coming from where they ended 18’

      1. Tac3…adding BH or MM to the Phillies ..could be like the 2004 Eagles camp with TO…insanity at its peak level.

  45. If the FO doesn’t land anymore players, is this team in WC contention as presently constructed?

    I think we should be fine with Franco over Mous, but not MM
    The OF can improve even without Harper. Altherr or Williams could step up with Haseley potentially knocking on the doors this year. Plus, Cozens or quinn could surprise

    Kingery could take a big step forward that help ignite the offense, making a team minus BH\MM better

    Hoskins could continue to improve, moving closer to being one of the top 1B in the league. Add in Realmuto who I expect to have about a 20% increase in stats, is going to have a hellva year for any player, let alone a Catcher.

    The SP, all 2-5 with another year under their belts, not have second have slumps, if so will have DLS,Irvin, and Eichhoff to replace… possibly Medina in the 2nd half? Again, throw in Realmuto, his game calling should improve the staff stats

    The bullpen should be good to go imo. Bench should be decent as well with Quinn,Kingery,Cozens, and Knapp.

    I still think they get one of the 2, but just seeing where we think the Phillies are vs the East and rest of NL.

    1. You do realize that there’s no way everything goes right, right? If half of what you’ve proposed goes well, that would be a good outcome. And no, I don’t think that’s enough to make the playoffs. The other three teams are all better than us. If we can sign one of the big two, our team would then make it an even fight. We’ll have a chance then depending on our starting pitching.

      1. Adding Cutch, Segura, Harper and Realmuto – overturning half the starting lineup, puts the Phillies in position for playoff contention. Adding Robertson makes an already solid bullpen even deeper. Another SP at the deadline will make us as formidable as any NL club.

      2. Adding Cutch, Segura. Harper and JTR turns half the starting lineup over. Adding Robertson to the bullpen makes it even deeper. Add a SP at the deadline and we are as formidable as any NL club, and playoff bound.

        1. Here goes my stuttering again. Happens when I get excited and also when I’m having problems with my handle and email address not staying saved.

      3. Murray, of course. They will have bumps, but they should have a fighters chance at the WC presently constructed. I think the bullpen can be a real strength this year. What makes me have higher expectations is how the team played against the NL Central,West,&INT playblast year. If they can hold their own against the Nats,Mets,and Braves, they should be in the running. I expect the SP to be more even keeled over the year vs the j&h outcome from last year. Will see, I was bullish on them last year, and they just crapped out the last 2 months. Need to smooth that out and the WC should be achievable.

        1. My concern is that lots of teams improved. I hope our starting pitching will be better but have you looked at the other rotations? We need to hit to win.

          1. I hear you, keep in mind it is a different dynamic this year. 4 of the top NL teams are in the same division. That could play out a few different ways. I see 3 of the teams in the hunt for the WCs. Also, they faced those rotations last year with a weaker lineup, albeit not the new addition of Corbin. The boost in firepower should helps. Even with the Mets SP, the teams went 11-8 for the season. The Mets SP should’nt get the benefit of 2 dead outs in Kingery and the pitcher this year. I could extend that to Alfaro and Herrera at times. They all got better and so did the Phillies. I like their chances

            The players should be pumped for inter division games. They will have the feel of playoff baseball early on imo, can only help for the focus needed outside the division games.

            1. I think the Mets are decent yet overrated and still susceptible to injury to their otherwise impressive rotation.

              The Braves SPs are questionable. A lot of ?s throughout their lineup.

              It’ll be us vs the Nats for top spot should either Harper or Machado sign with PHI. Pitching will be the difference. Our bullpen vs their rotation.

  46. Per Jon Heyman – despite rumored offers/wishes of teams, word is Bryce Harper is not signing – or even considering – short-term deals.

    Guess we put this in the FWIW category but it echoes pretty much what everyone on here and Jim has said.

    Well Giants were short term (and supposedly its down to them and Phillies)…..soooo I guess that leaves Phillies.

    1. Yes. FA’s always want the most guaranteed money. The Phillies will be offering that. I think it’s just a matter of structuring how the money is paid out (contract should be front loaded) and where the opt outs (or opt ins) are given.

  47. And if it came from Heyman, that means he got it from Boras. Despite all the Boras frustrations he is actually doing what he always does. He will wait and wait, talk to owners he has done business with before, put out rumors that he KNOWS the teams won’t deny, and always decide to talk to teams right when the publicity will garner the largest response.

    I do not think it was coincidence that he talked Harper to the Padres and Giants right BEFORE their Fanfests, this was a guaranteed publicity winner. And let’s face it, this was good publicity for the Padres and Giants also, the fans at the FanFest were excited, engaged and more important to the teams, ready to purchase tickets to their teams games.

    In fact, it was reported last week that on that day when it was rumored that the Phils had signed Harper, the Phils got several people purchasing season tickets simply based on the rumor.

    Boras being Boras, he may still have one more trick up his sleeve, wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to engage the Yankees or Dodgers one more time sine he KNOWS these are likely the two teams that Middleton fears the most.

    I believe whats happening now is the determination of just what Boras can get from the Phils. He likely knows that 9/360 is gone but still wants to beat Stanton’s deal. I still believe the Phils will accommodate him in some way that makes Boras look like the winner. Harper and Boras will then sit next to Middleton at a press conference and wax poetic about much they wanted to join the Phillies. Phils win here.

    Its a win-win for both Boras and the Phillies. Am I sure this will happen? No. Do I believe this is very much the way Boras operates? Absolutely.

    1. Good insights CD. Your helping to understand the way snakes travel! Boras is something else, I can’t wait until he final says “it’s time”

      I have a feeling the announcement is Thursday. Just a hunch on my part. I don’t think the big clubs (NYY/LAD) are going to play his game the way they usually would. All FO are probably tired of the shenanigans. Only team left I could see if LAA, trying to drive the price up to make it harder for them to steal Trout away.

      Let it be over soon.

  48. First, as things stand, I don’t think we are a WC team. And, I am very happy with every move we made. Even though I loved the idea of Sixto being the next Pedro, it was a dream, and one years away from happening, if ever. We are much better in our every day lineup. I think our BP is really good, and if Nicasio has anything, and the reports of Pazos being a really nice addition from the Seattle trade, our BP can be a weapon. But, we still need too many other things to break right, and like Murray said, they don’t ever all happen. I think we are going to need another SP, and we still have to have that middle of the lineup bat. I just don’t know about Williams. I don’t trust Herrera, and we can, maybe, win 85 games, certainly better than last year, I think we need one of the two to make the Playoffs.

  49. The thing is that Harper makes the entire lineup better, great power hitters always do! For instance, I can see Franco improving leaps and bounds if he is no longer one of the main offensive threats but instead is no better than the 6th-7th best hitter in the lineup. In fact, if they sign Harper, I hope they keep Franco [unless they miraculously sign MM], he is still only 26 years old and improved appreciably last season.

    If/when they sign Harper they will have added 3 All-Star players to their lineup…Segura, Realmuto and Harper. This is almost unheard of…literally turning over 3/8 of their every day lineup with not just good players [guys like Santana and yes, McCutchen] but VERY good players and guys that will be playing in a ball park tailored entirely for them.

    I read it somewhere [maybe here!!!] that Harper wants to hit 700 home runs and this would seem to eliminate San Francisco and San Diego, who play in parks better fitted for the National Parks Services than the National League. He HAS to know that Philadelphia can do an awful lot for his career, and I suspect our old friend Jayson Werth has told him what winning is like in the City of Brotherly Love.

    I keep referring to the win-win situation and honestly, there is no better win-win situation for Harper than in joining the Phillies. San Francisco or San Diego? Bad ballparks, bad teams, cities that rank sports about 10th on their list of fun things to care about and cities that will cheer for Harper for about a week and then yawn.

    Washington? I could see him going back there perhaps since he knows them and they know him and they are going to be very good. BUT, he knows, and I am sure Boras has reminded him that if he signs with the Nats, they can say good bye to Rendon since the Nats absolutely cannot pay him AND Harper what they will demand. And it appears that Rendon wants to stay in Washington whereas Harper was talking about free agency almost since he reached drinking age. I think I first heard about it in his 3rd year in Washington.

    One more thing worth considering. It has really struck me that Machado has not yet signed with the White Sox, I have found this odd. What if, and this is just me bantering here, what if the Phillies told MM to hang tight until the Harper negotiations are done either way. Phils could easily have told Machado that A] if Harper doesn’t sign with the Phillies they will transfer much of that money to MM and B] if they do sign Harper they would still like an opportunity to at least MATCH the White Sox offer.

    I have read some people suggest that neither of these players would want to play together but I just think adding Realmuto changed the equation. Good Lord, its obvious the Phillies are one of the only teams in baseball determined to improve this year and win. With Realmuto they will win. With Harper or Machado they will compete for a division title.

    With Harper AND Machado? We are looking at the most interesting and one of the most talented teams in baseball. Again, I go back to the win-win situation. If you are Machado and its December, do the Phillies interest you? A bit. But, if you are Machado and the Phillies have added Segura, McCutchen,Realmuto AND Harper do they interest you???

    I thought so. Let’s see how this plays out.

      1. Why would he tell Harper not to come to Philly?

        Like telling him I just can imagine…..’though the Phillies are offering the most money…don’t take it. They booed you every time you came to town with the Nats’

        Phillies also booed a Red’s player named Pete Rose every time he came to town…..but that stopped after 1979.

        1. Not saying that Harper wouldn’t sign – but we all know he wants to be on the west coast in LA if he could. He has being doing his research on every situation….I believe Philly is the best option – fyi.

          1. Yes Harper wants the West Coast….just hope the $$$lure is enough to sway him back East….and not to DC.

  50. Hinkie, hurry – pull up and post Buster Olney’s tweet – today is decision day for Harper. Final offers are IN. Rival GMs believe the Phillies are a lock!

  51. Buster Olney just tweeted that later today Harper’s decision between SF and PHI comes down. Final offers are IN. Rival GMs believe that the Phillies are a lock. Hinkie, can you find that and post it?

      1. 8mark – I see you were duped, it happens. Don’t worry, I won’t jump on you like you have done with me. Not my style.

        I did see a report where Nightengale believes Harper won’t make final decision this week Urgh

  52. Cal-D —- you are batting clean up in my book. Continually good comments and insight. Thanks, again.

  53. Dlite14…please show me where you heard that. I am not saying you are wrong but from what I read when Werth was in Philadelphia recently all he said publicly was that Harper had asked him about Philadelphia and I specifically recall him saying he could not reveal what he told him.

    That said, I do not believe Werth could possibly have bad mouthed Phillies phans for how they treat players while they are in Philadelphia…if they play hard. Harper plays hard. He will be revered in Philadelphia.

    1. Here is one quote – “Jayson Werth has a big part in Harper not liking Philly.” I heard from word of mouth though.

      1. “After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling ‘You deserve it,’ and, ‘That’s what you get,’ I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again,” Werth wrote. Crossing Broad.

        More Evidence – Werth has mixed feelings about Philly. Plus, we didn’t sign him to a large contract.

        Having issues posting…

    2. “After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling ‘You deserve it,’ and, ‘That’s what you get,’ I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again,” Werth wrote. Crossing Broad.

      More evidence….Werth have mixed feelings about Philly.

      1. Yeah I actually thought I heard the same thing. That Werth wasn’t very kind when speaking to Harper about Philly.

        1. I hear how much of a baseball and American history buff Harper is. Especially dead presidents. And the Phillies have more of them than any other team. Along with more than a few Benjamin Franklins. Giving them to whomever wants to sign their John Hancock.

    1. Happy birthday to old Abe, right? Or is it George’s? One is today and I believe the other is Feb 20.

  54. Dlite14…with all due respect, mixed feelings and “do not sign with Philadelphia” are not the same thing. And Werth made it clear when he came back to the reunion and got a HUGE ovation that all the animosity was a thing of the past. I am going to venture a guess that Werth may in fact have been a reason that Boras [who represented Werth] and Harper considered Philadelphia in the first place.

    My guess is that if/when Harper signs and has a press conference he will mention Werth as a guy who spoke of how well players are treated as PHILLIES if they play hard and win.

    1. Yes – Harper will say all the right things. “Werth talked highly of Philly.” And most people will be happy we signed Harper. And Harper will enjoy playing here when he plays well. There is no better city to play hard and do well – the city will love you forever. But we need to be objective and patient. Let things play out. I believe the Phillies are having a great offseason and playing it right to the tee. Please note I am not attacking anyone’s post and spreading any rumors. I was being polite when I said Werth had mixed feelings on Philly. There is no mixed feelings. Some of us have more information on certain players and situations – but do not want to cause any issues. I learned my lesson with my first ever post.

  55. Players always seem to like Philly better after living there; it doesn’t seem very glamorous to visiting players, and word is, Harper also told friends Philly wasn’t his first choice in terms of city. – John Heyman……of course.

  56. Rose was booed, Dykstra was booed………….and then they were loved when signed by the Phils. Werth was booed because he made a sound financial decision that anyone would have made in a heartbeat…………..and then receives a monstrous ovation from the fans at the reunion. The day Harper signs, he will be instantly embraced and loved by the Phillies faithful.

  57. Jim Bowden was just on CBS sports and said he still thinks the Phillies are the best bet to get Harper, not the Giants. And the Giants have been told a short term deal will not do. By the way, a source close to the Giants is reporting that the Giants have not made an offer to Harper, they were simply sending up a trial balloon of 5/150 or 6/180 to see how it would play out.

    Remember, I mentioned that the Giants [as were the Padres] were having their FanFests this past weekend and it was not lost on both the Giants AND Boras that now wouldn’t be a bad time to at least get together and see if there was a fit. Hinkie has been saying [correctly I believe] that most of these teams [Giants, Padres, Yankees, Dodgers] are bargain shopping and would be more than happy to give Harper a short term, high salary deal.

    It appears that only the Phillies and White Sox are not blinking at the 8-10 year deals and perhaps even the Sox are blinking a bit. Look, I have seen enough of Boras to know he never sleeps, always knows how to play teams, and will forever drag things out.

    But one thing he cannot do is force teams to play money they are unwilling to pay. This is the one thing that certainly seems to favor the Phillies. In fact, as much as Middleton has been criticized for his “pay stupid money” comments, IF Harper/Machado eventually sign with the Phillies a good case will be made that Middleton cleared much of the potential field with his comments. Why enter the game if you believe another team is simply going to outscore you regardless of the number of runs you accumulate?

    Precisely what Hinkie has been saying ever since I first visited this site. In fact, the only place where he and I may disagree is that he believes the Phils will only sign one of the two, something in me suggests that Middleton may try and get both of them and worry about Trout when the fishing season starts in two years.

    1. “Middleton may try and get both of them and worry about Trout when the fishing season starts in two years.”…..cannot see it right now.
      Surely Middleton realizes that Nola Hoskins and now add JT Realmuto will be max contracts in 2/3 years.
      Signing both really negates any flexibility with Trout at approx. $38/40M AAV for any length of time on his contract.

      1. Nola long term deal? Yes.
        JTR extension? Yes.

        Hoskins? Not so sure. He’s an excellent young player with a bright future BUT he plays a relatively low value defensive position and is much more easily replaceable by another system generated prospect like Hall or Listi or another cheaper major league bat down the road. So if and when the time comes for payroll to be manipulated to fit a huge bat like Trout? Don’t be surprised to see Rhys on the trading block at some point. With controllability as a power 1b/DH, he would bring a nice return in more controllable young talent. Let’s just keep it in mind….

        1. Lets look at Hoskins.
          —a Boras client to start.
          —controlled thru 2023…his age30 season….FA at 31
          What we know about Boras so far….he prefers his clients to exercise their FA rights…but with Hoskins he is a first baseman and coming out a little older than the optimal age for free agency for a first base only player.

          Boras, I am sure has the foresight to see this…..and may make an exception and try to get the Phillies to get Hoskins extended sometime in arb 2 or 3 thru age 33/35.

          Now trading him will have to occur , with Trout coming in two years…and both Harper and Machado on the books for a total of approx $65/70M combined AAV.
          Nola at $25M AAV plus and JTR @ min $20M AAV…add Trout’s $40M AAV.
          So Hoskins becomes too expensive I assume.

          Now you have to have a demand market to get him moved, from a position like first base….almost what is happening at second base market now..saturation.comes into play. There has to be a need out there……and you are trading him at his prime production years.

          Bottom line…from my initial point….cannot see Middleton signing both Machado and Harper….AND THEN…. also go on to sign Trout.

          1. the only way that happens if its front loaded for 2 yrs , a longer deal but with a 2 yr opt out assuming that machado will probably opt out and try again for the Yankees. a gamble for us and unlikely but not impossible

            1. sr…correct…but it is a gamble.
              The other alternative….is trading one of the two to their favorite location, and eating a percentage of their remaining salary which other teams may find attractive….and in return getting young prospects and players under control.

          2. I think there is a way. I’ve looked the payroll. Nola basically takes Arrietta money and a young arm is promoted, takes league minimums.
            Bohm replaces either Franco or Hoskins, at league minimum. Haslely or Moniak replaces Herrera or mccutchen.

            Phils can drop over 44mil
            From the books on Herrera, Franco, niasco, Hunter, neshek, And hernadez. Probably more than 44x most of those players have replacements potentially in the minors. Now, offer trout some life long deferred contract like the Nats do everyone…. and it can work with a lineup of


            Likely? Who knows, because the phillies could decide to trade or not exercise MM or BH contract in favor or trout. If they can sign both, they should. 1- they may not even need trout at that point to be a perennial contender, basically an embArassmen of riches 2- in sure those smarter than me can find a way to make it work
            3- uncertainly of CBA.
            4- If trout wants to be a Phillie, Middleton isn’t going to prevent him from being one.

            1. Don’t forget besides Nola….2 other high priced starters may have to be added to the mix above….unless the Phillies think they will get a ring with Nola and 3/4 other 2WAR pitchers.

          3. Need to find a luxury cap wiz. The fines are less savage It you’re only 2 time offender. MIDDLETON can float a two year pentalty.. or should I say mini- Steinbrenner.

            It can be done, as the way the current CBA is. Again, if you add BH and MM to this lineup … you don’t need trout, you want him, but you don’t need him. That’s probably hard to acknowledge, but why would you need him at that point… and they all fit under the luxury tax! Will see, but it’s once in a lifetime … well
            Under the current CBA. Talk about “going for it”

            1. I agree with you Tac3. It’s mind numbing that we would forgo getting 2 26 y/o old players on HOF tracks today for Trout in 2 years.

              This expectation that the best player in baseball is still going to be the best player in baseball at age 29 out is risky business. Especially when you don’t know if he would extend.

              Harper and MM are going to sign and Moreno is going to have those numbers to work off of. If he slides an offer of 8/$320 in front of Mike….Mike would have to think long and hard about all the things that could happen between now and 20/21 FA season.

            2. DMAR, it probably makes even more sense now that Realmuto is onboard. They may not be able extend him. Hopefully that is not the case, but it is a possible outcome. The opportunity is there now, with a few years of contention. Adding BH,MM,Realmuto,Segura, And McCutchen to Hoskins, Franco, and Herrera is a offseason for the ages. They should go for it not, and worry about crossing that bridge when you’ve already taken a crack at the WS for 2 years.

              What a transformation that would be, supplemented by the teams best farm system in franchise history. It’s a perfect storm, you need to take your Chance now, especially the way the market has developed. Get Harper, and Machado will follow.

              This feels like the offensive version of right after The previous regime traded for Halladay… and then traded Lee. To sign both would be the offensive equavialent of keeping both hallsdsy and lee.

              If Middleton wants his bleeping trophy back … he’ll OK the deals and let the cards fall where they may. Opportunity is knocking, no doubt.

  58. It’s very odd to me Kimbrel and Keuchel and Moustakas are all still just sitting out there. Are they waiting for the Phils to decide what they want to do? Kimbrel on a 3 year deal would be amazing for us. It would keep him away from other good teams too.

  59. With the craziness that comes with FA signees especially with Boras clients, it is more imperative for the Phillies to hit on their Rule 4 draftees and IFA signees to infuse team controlled talents in the pipeline.

    If Boras played hard ball on Hoskins and Jhailyn developed into a player close to his projection, losing Hoskins (via trade or FA) will not hurt that much.

    Talent infusion from the farms is not the most valued commodity for the GMs since these cost controlled talents are good trade assets and they can help keep the budget in check.

    1. ‘Talent infusion from the farms is not the most valued commodity’….you do mean is NOW and not ‘not’

  60. We have to do a much better job than we did in the ’07 to ’11 years in having cost controlled talent to fill in. I can’t worry about 2023, the threshold for the Luxury Tax could be $250 Million by then. I think Rhys, despite being a Boras client, signs a LTC before his time is up under team control. And, I think that should the availability of Trout really come to be, the $ will be there, regardless of anything else going on. I don’t think we get both Machado and Harper, though we may get Harper and Keuchel. Neshek, Hunter, Nicasio and Cesar account for $34 Million. An easy $34 Million that is replaceable. We haven’t touched the first time Luxury Tax exceeder penalty, so we have a long way to go and a lot of $ to spend, making room for Harper, Trout, Nola’s extension, JTR’s extension, Hoskins’ extension, and anything else that we need. We will see a sold out CBP again, and be back among the big market teams, and actually act like we belong there.

    1. @matt13 – I was onboard for signing one of BH/MM after trying to be fiscally responsible towards the contention window. I believe all that changes with the addition of Realmuto, along with cashing in your potentially best arm chip for that contention window.

      The Phillies could field a starting lineup of all recent/current allstars… how often does that EVER happen? It is there for the taking, “Some me the money”! I gotta believe Klentak sees this, and trusts his scouting/analytic team to draft replacements

  61. Introducing the newest Phillie to wear #10, in the tradition of former team leaders Larry Bowa and the late Dutch Daulton, the best catcher in baseball – JT Realmuto!

  62. Assuming we would sign both BH and MM, how would everyone structure the lineup? I’m thinking…

    1 McCutchen LF
    2 Segura SS
    3 Harper RF
    4 Machado 3B
    5 Hoskins 1B
    6 Herrera CF
    7 Realmuto C
    8 Hernández 2B
    9 Nola P

    1. Johnny – I would go with:
      1) Hernandez – S
      2) Segura – R
      3) Harper – L
      4) Hoskins – R
      5) Machado – R
      6) Herrera – L
      7) Realmuto – R
      8) Nola – R
      9) McCutchen – R

    2. My version will be:

      1) SS Segura – R
      2) 3B Machado – R
      3) RF Harper – L
      4) 1B Hoskins – R
      5) C Realmuto – R
      6) CF Herrera – L
      7) LF McCutchen – R
      8) 2B Kingery/Cesar
      9) SP

      There’s no way the Real Deal will bat 7th or Cutch batting 1st. Load the best bats in the top/heart of the order (best bats should be able to handle LH and RH starter) and balance the bottom of the order.

      1. I would bat my high contact rate/high OBP guys at the top. Segura would bat 1 or 2. If Herrera shows us improved plate discipline in grapefruit league action, he might lead off. Otherwise JTR bats either 2nd after Segura or 5th/6th after Rhys. Harper would definitely bat BEFORE Manny, either 2-3 or 3-4. I am impressed by 2 particular skills: Bryce’s plate discipline/walk rate and Manny’s high % of hard hit balls (I believe he led MLB in ’18). Hoskins would then bat either cleanup or 5th. The bottom of the lineup, consisting of Cutch, Cesar and Herrera if he’s not at the top (more likely he’s not) is less interchangeable, although batting Cesar 9th to turn the lineup over is a good feature as well. Gabe will naturally tinker, but opening day might look like this…

        1 Segura ss
        2 Harper lf
        3 Machado 3b
        4 Hoskins 1b
        5 Realmuto c
        6 Herrera cf
        7 McCutchen rf
        8 Nola p
        9 Hernandez 2b

  63. Realmuto said he was offered numbers 10,38, or 39. Number 10 was listed to the coach Dickerson and nobody has number 11 (JT’s last number as a Marlin). According to the list of retired numbers, 11 is not one of them. Does anyone know anything about it?

    1. Jimmy Rollins wore 11 and while his number may not ever be retired, he is being honored this year. It’s a matter of respect.

  64. Realmuto said at the press conference that he was offered number 10, 38, or 39.

    His last number as a Marlin was 11. The new coach, Dickerson, is listed as #10.

    The Phillies have retired five numbers and 11 is not one of them. I’m curious.

    Does anyone know what is going on in the Phillies organization with the number 11?

    1. I can think of a former MVP who played SS a few years at CBP who wore no. 11. I’d imagine it will be retired soon enough. 🙂

  65. Listening to his press conference, JTR sounds like fine fellow and genuinely pleased to be with the Phillies.

    There is growing sense that Harper and Machedo are looking find some alternative to coming here, money aside. I know adding them to the lineup should make the Phillies an immediate contender. But I share the hope of others that the development of Haseley, Moniak, Listi, Bohm and possibly Trout could do the same. None of those players would feel they are doing Philadelphia a big favor for being here.

  66. Thank you, 8mark, for that info.

    If the same question comes up again, my bad.

    I wasn’t sure if it had gone through the first time.

  67. Part of me feels like the Cubs are lurking with Harper. I know what’s been said, but still have a feeling.

    Probably nothing but still my thoughts. Still feel confident after recent events and CDs sources.

    1. Firstly … IMO, Jim Bowden is the best source for Scott Boras info.

      Secondly … As I’ve posted numerous times, nothing has really changed. The Phillies are still the one serious/desperate team with the financial clout to sign Harper (or Machado) to a long term/big money deal. All the other clubs mentioned for him are bargain hunting.

      Lastly … Nearly every FA in the history of the sport signs for the most guaranteed money offered. Harper/Boras and Machado/Lozano are no different. They all have big egos, and want to set new earnings records. John Middleton needs Bryce Harper to make the Phillies relevant again. Bryce Harper needs John Middleton to make him one of the richest athletes of all time.
      I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I’m more sure tonight than I’ve been since the start of free agency that Bryce Harper will be a Phillie in 2019.

      BTW … there is no chance the Phillies are signing both Harper and Machado. Looks like it will be Harper (IMO) and then we can count down the days until Mike Trout (hopefully) hits the open market.

      1. Maybe Harper announcement will be tomorrow on St. Valentine’s Day.

        He will talk about how much he loves Philadelphia, his new Team and the fans. This was his first choice but other teams kept “jumping” in and it was his obligation to do his complete due diligence before making such a long-term commitment.

        Now “let’s play ball”.

      2. Hinkie – I still side with you. I was just thinking of random mystery teams and someone’s comment about. It negotiating through the media.

        Again, just a random thought and not saying the Cubs will sign him.

        That’s all.

      3. Hopefully Trout will be available in two years. But hopefully is no way to run a baseball team, Hinkie. I want Trout like everyone else. But I can’t cross my fingers and hope for the best baseball player in the world to be here in 2 years.

        ….unless of course someone in a decision making position has tangible knowledge that he has every intention of becoming a free agent with a single desire to play for the Phillies.

  68. I see that Boston is trying to unload one of its catchers for pitching help, either starter or reliever. Sandy Leon would be the best option for the Phillies. Solid defensively. Experienced. Christian Vazquez is the Sox’s number one with Blake Swihart (remember him?) still trying to establish himself as a major leaguer. We have plenty of decent arms to acquire a back up veteran C. I would offer Tommy Hunter and Adam Morgan. Maybe kick in some cash to cover Hunter’s salary.

    1. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have to kick in any cash. But it’s not a perfect world.
      I agree Leon would be a solid back up.
      Does that leave Knapp in the minors or trade bait or released?

    2. For Sandy Leon? Huge overpay. Morgan alone is too much. With Realmuto, I think Knapp will now be fine.

    1. Hinkie, I think they are saying that one of the 3 will likely take a step forward this year. So they lumped them together. My money is on Pivetta. Eflin is a valuable trade chip (maybe to SD in a Franco for Strahm deal?). Velasquez just no longer moves me since he’s no longer Vinny Velo. I certainly hope they begin his transition to the bullpen sooner than later.

    2. Hinkie, I think they lumped the 3 together figuring one was bound to breakout. My money is on Pivetta. Eflin should be a valuable trade chip, perhaps in a Franco to SD deal for Strahm plus. Velasquez has lost his luster in my eyes since he’s no longer Vinny Velo.

        1. It’s a top seven list. Pivetta, Eflin, and VV are listed as three of the seven to break out. Each one got their own write up for why they could/should break out. Maybe it’s just me (and A.), but I see that as three different Phillie SP’s predicted to break out.

    3. Pivetta has been a very sexy pick as Breakout Candidate by national outlets which I tend to agree. A breakout as a legit #3 will be crucial to the Phillies success.

      Eflin can also breakout but not as a top arm but as a reliable back end starter who can start at least 25 games averaging 6-7 IPs.

      I don’t see a very good upside on Vinny as a starter anymore. Vinny’s pitch efficiency is really a problem even as a back end arm. Vinny without his velo is not appealing because he struggles with his pitch count and command.

  69. Throwing a hypothetical out here for you all this morning. Say the Phillies land Harper this week and Middleton turns to Klentak and says I want more, make it happen. After some negotiations, we can either sign Kimbrel (13M aav) and Keuchel (20M aav) for 33M AAV over the next three years or Manny for 33M AAV over the next years. Say in my hypothetical that Manny’s contract is structured so he will most likely opt out after 3 years. Basically ignore the long term and which package makes us a more competitive team to win the WS over the next 3 years – Kimbrel/Keuchel or Manny?

    1. If it were me Manny hands down. I’m for building murderers row. Pitchers are nice you have to have them but they can only help you once every 5th day. A closer is nice you have to have one but you can usually find one or in the new bull penning era play the match-ups.

      1. DMAR….Yankees have the their newest version of Murderers Row these past two years…where did it get them vs Stros and Sox pitchers!
        …..pitching and defense for me.

        1. Red Sox had a team ERA of 3.75 to the Yankee 3.78 and both the Rays and Astros were better.

          Judges time on the IR probably flipped or had an affect on that outcome Romus.

        2. The Red Sox had a team ERA of 3.75 to the Yankees 3.78 and both the Rays and Astros were better.

          It’s more likely that Judges time on the DL flipped or had an affect on that outcome.

    2. Not sure what the WAR would say but on a glance, I would take keuchal and kimbrel
      it balances pitching with the improved offense

    1. sr…I think you are correct….or at least give Knapp the opportunity to play himself out of that role. Kapler must like the idea that Knapp is a switch-hitter and makes things easier for him against opposing managers’ strategies or the match-ups.

      FWIW…Derek Jeter has hired buddy Jorge Posada to tutor Alf down in Miami.

    1. You have to pick one side or the other keuchel/kimbrel vs manny. The hypothetical is also not who they most likely sign because I feel like we have talked about that a ton but rather which choice out of those two options makes us a better WS contender in the next 3 years

      1. Im changing my vote to MM
        over next 3 yrs better chance with him in lineup and trading for pitching /closer than aging keuchal and kimbrel

    2. Gammons had an odd quote that he doesn’t see us signing Kimbrel because Kapler doesn’t like pitchers who only want to pitch a defined inning and or only 1 inning.

    3. Harper and Keuchel both Boras clients, as is Moose. Middleton can write on big check for all. Great sign / agreement with Nola…

  70. v1 – I’m interested in your thoughts about Realmuto’s early years minor league performance as compared to his MLB performance

    1. Good question. I hadn’t looked before. There is nothing remarkable about his offensive stats. He has a good K rate throughout. And a good walk rate. And showed a little pop. But this is all scouting. Nothing in those stats says “best catcher in baseball.” His defensive CS % were also good throughout.

      But the thing with catchers is they develop late. The position is so demanding physically and mentally that it takes time. Far more demanding than any other position.

    1. It’s all coming together. Those 4 years are the window of contention that we have now entered. With MacHarper on the way, this is developing into quite a roster.

    2. Love that the Phillies took care of this before going thru the pain of arbitration. Nola is smart to agree only 4 years, hitting FA when he’s at his peak!!

      Phillies basically bought only 1 year of FA.

      1. There is a fifth year team option for around $16 million with around a $4 million buy out. Unless he gets injured this it’s a great deal for the Phillies.

        1. Compare this to what Homer Bailey got in the 2013/14 off season. 6/$105. Bailey was not nearly as good as Mike. This is a real steal.

        2. This is a very good contract. Buying out two years of FA is huge and these days you really can’t ask for much more than a 5 year window with a player (I’m not sure the Phillies even want more than that).

      2. This is an excellent deal. Nola gets financial security and if he stays healthy, it’s pretty much a 5 year, $56.75M deal that buys out 2 FA years.

        I wonder if the FA slowdown has contributed to this deal. No matter, the Phillies are benefiting big time.

  71. Anyone else having issues posting this AM? For some reason the site isn’t keeping my email and user name stored (i’m in Chrome) and my posts are experiencing delays.

    1. Try closing the tab, and reopening the site in another tab. That usually works for me when I have any problems here.

      Also … Great job by Matt Klentak and the Phillies by inking Nola to that deal. I think it’s might even be a little bit more team friendly than the one I proposed with catch last season.

        1. In August, I proposed a 5 year contract worth 65 million guaranteed dollars (13 million AAV) for Nola. The deal I proposed also would have included two team options at 20 million dollars, so my proposal would have topped out at 7 years/105 million. I came up with those figures based on the contracts signed by Chris Sale and Corey Kluber.
          This contract Nola has agreed to is even more team friendly (4 yrs@45 million guaranteed, with the possibility of 51 million over 5 years). After coming off the season Nola just had, Klentak & Co. did a great job negotiating this deal.
          Who thinks this gets done if Nola uses Scott Boras as his agent?

            1. I was off with my last month projection for Nola’s contract…….thought the Philies would offer 5 plus an option year at $90M,
              The Phillies made out well…..they should be ashamed of themselves, 🙂

            2. Romus, that was my thought too. I get it’s a lot of money and Aaron is set for life, but it seems Phils should be paying him more, especially in the buy-out years!. 2nd one is club option for only $16M! What?!

            3. John K……if he keeps on this same track… 3/5 in Cy Young voting for the next two years, which would have been his last two arb years, …..i would think they would need to modify that contract up or add more incentive clauses.

              Can understand not wanting to set any precedents, but this contract seems so obviously team- friendly one-sided.

              Now I do not know what the medical reports are on him…..he did have PRP two plus years ago and there may be a shelf-life on that procedure so that may have played a role in the negotiation.

          1. My hatred for Scott Boras goes all the way back to JD Drew. If Hoskins still has Boras as his agent, Hoskins is not signing with the Phillies as a FA.

            1. Will know come 2022 arb 2…..Hoskins will be much older (30 )than Nola is now and who knows how productive….Boras normally does not do it….but may have to in this case.
              Hoskins is a FA in 2024 and will be entering into his FA years in his early 30s

  72. It’s not saving my handle or email address. Have to remember to re-enter it each time I post. I use my Galaxy S8.

  73. I’m happy about the Nola contract extension and that some of the “Middleton’s stupid” money stayed in-house ,

    This is where the Phillies excel—retention of their own players, The players who come up through the system remain loyal to the organization—and vice versa .

  74. Even without Machado or Harper, it’s hard to give Klentak anything lower than a A- for this offseason. Every move made a ton of sense and was reasonable, even the Realmuto move that first shocked me, but, ultimately, seemed to fair (if a little scary).

    1. Machado or Harper is not on Klentak, either way. That is Middleton ground. If we don’t get one, he’s on the hot seat. Unless Klentak offended one of them during their visit. But both of them? Na. Johnny Cigars is on it. I give Klentak a straight A on the off season. He’ll get an A+ if he acquires another difference maker via trade.

  75. Hearing Franco has not reported in very good shape. I get hearing that you are constantly in trade talks sux but c’mon man there are 29 other teams out there.

    1. Salisbury disagrees with you vehemently.

      “Maikel Franco is an early arrival in Phillies camp. He is noticeably trimmer and looks strong. Scott Kingery has apparently been in weight room too.”

          1. Even Doobie came in lighter and toned.
            He was 223 lbs by Sep…212 last month.
            BTW…how does a guy gain weight thru a hot summer, and out the end of a long baseball season!

            1. Romus … I can’t speak for Doobie, but lot’s of hamburgers and beers usually accomplishes that feat for me.

            2. Hinkie…..well you still have your sushi right?
              …. a good healthy nutritional alternative to beer and burgers.

    2. DMAR, Franco is noticeably trimmer. He made it across the field to the indoor batting cages before I new who he was and could take a photo. I’ll try and get one tomorrow.

      It’s true about Kingery, too. He looks like he spent the winter in the weight room.

      And, Arrieta. I didn’t realize he had such “guns”. He was showing them off up until today with his sweat shirt sleeve cut off.

      Herrera also looks to be in excellent shape. Moniak no longer looks like a young man, he looks like an adult. Still young in the face, but kinda built like a Yelich. In fact, everyone looks good. Even Grullon looks a little thinner. Plesac on the other hand really fills out his uni.

  76. A few of you have been having website issues apparently, so I’ll see if I can help.

    Login issues:
    If your login info isn’t being saved, it’s likely one of two things.

    1) Your browser settings have been changed. This happens frequently as broswers get updated. Check your settings. If you can’t find where it would be, reply with your browser of choice and I’ll help you out.

    2) Your cache/cookies has been corrupted or is out of date. Hit Ctrl+F5 for a refresh of your cache, and/or go in and clear your cookies in your browser options. After clearing your cookies you’ll need to enter your login info again, but it should save thereafter.

    Multiple posts:
    By far the most likely reason for this is user error. If you hit the “post” button more than once before the screen changes, it counts that as multiple posts (one for each time you hit the button). This will be far more noticeable when the website is running slowly, but can happen even when it’s running at normal speeds. Just give the website 5 seconds when you hit the button (10 if you want to be REALLY safe) and see if that solves the issue.

    If none of this solves the issue or there’s others that I haven’t addressed, just let me know and we can start working down the list.

  77. Here is why I believe happening with these major signings. Ryan Howard. His last contract was a semi-disaster for the last three years and never lived up to it. Grant it, these guys are more mobile in their position, but they couldn’t move him for a bag of balls and still had to pay him 10M. I love Howard but production was not good.

    I also think these contracts are on the minds of management in no particular order

    Cabrera – DET
    Puljos – LAA
    Cano – Mets
    Votto- who you could probably get but that means trading Rhys – interesting though as I am typing this.
    Fielder- a total bust
    Hayward – A total bust for the amount paid
    Stanton- a semi-bust for the amount of money
    Kemp – A total bust for the amount paid
    Ellsbury- A total bust for the amount paid and Boras client.
    Hosmer- Do you think SD would drop this in a heartbeat…yes they would!

    They keep looking at these comps like Realtors do in and they just don’t live up.

    1. Except for Heward and Hosmer (who are not in the same level of Harper and Machado), all of the FAs you mentioned are on the downside of the physical prime. Whoever is signing Harper and Machado will enjoy a 5-year prime performance from an elite talent. I hope people should stop comparing the FA market of Machado/Harper to those of Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, etc. since they are not comparable.

  78. FWIW Dept…702 [Las Vegas resident and connection to Harper there] said “nothing is happening today.” If I can offer a purely personal view on this, here it is…Phils have been prioritizing their ducks in a row due to the financial implications involved. Look, I am not suggesting that Klentak and Co. woke up last week and said, “OK guys, here is how it goes down, first we trade for Realmuto, then get Nola signed to a long term deal, and them, boom, we sign Harper!” If only it were that easy?

    But, I do believe, and thought this from the moment that it was announced that Nola and the Phillies were headed for arbitration, that it would NOT be a good look team wise if they gave all this money to Harper first and then battled one of their own over a couple of million dollars. That was my fear, and I am sure the Phils were concerned about the same thing.

    I guess what I am saying is that in a perfect Philadelphia Phillie world they would have preferred to get Nola [ a loyal and homegrown Phillie] taken care of BEFORE they had to deal with him after throwing all that money at Harper or Machado [ two guys who came up pretty spectacularly with other organizations.] It just would have looked bad, and caused issues in the clubhouse, if they had gone to arbitration with one of their young and home grown stars.

    I also believe the Phils are really going proactive in planning their future financial dealings and this sure gives them lots of financial flexibility. Now, we don’t know if they are going to sign Harper and Trout….but it sure looks to me like they are preparing for it.

    By the way, I also believe that youngsters like Nola are looking at the financial landscape for the future and realizing that free agency may not be the utopia that players always envisioned it before analytics. Thus, I think many of them will be more open to signing deals early and guaranteeing them money instead of becoming free agents during the now dangerous 30 years old area that is now proving a baseball graveyard for many players.

    Just my views as Harper’s Bizarre seems destined to carry on for at least a few more days.

    1. Good thoughts. However, pitchers will always sign extensions for guaranteed big money before position players due to the obvious injury risk to a pitcher. I’m very happy the Nola deal is done and won’t be a distraction going forward. We need one more big deal to be finished, although I think the big deal could cause a few more moves to occur. Kimbrel? Trading Williams? Moustakas?

    2. Totally agree – take care of the current family. I also thinks this indicates that in addition to a Harper / Mercado splash – hoping Harper, that there is a pitcher coming this way. Nola feels comfortable, Jake is paid… and another SP – hopefully a LP is added.

  79. Betonline has just posted these World Series odds:
    NYY 6/1
    BOS 7/1
    HOU 7/1
    LAD 9/1
    PHI 10/1
    CHC 12/1
    ATL 16/1
    WAS 16/1

    That’s telling me to expect Harper or Machado to be here before too long.

    1. Walks to podium … clears throat .. this is your weekly reminder that Vegas odds have nothing to do with an expectation of victory. They are designed on how they expect people to bet so that they get an equal amount of money bet on both/all sides. Vegas makes its money on the vig, not by picking winners. Thank you.

  80. 8mark….you beat me to the punch, I just saw that myself. Sure seems like the bettors know something or are just getting ahead of themselves. Two things jumped out at me immediately. 1] No way the Nats would be 16/1 if they re-signed Harper, they would likely be the NL favorites and 2] Giants [another potential Harper destination] aren’t even mentioned and while they still would likely be a loooooooooong shot to even make the playoffs, it seems to me you only sign a Harper if you are planning on competing for a playoff berth.

    1. hard to know what this means other than the bettors anticipate that we will be signing MM or BH. but we all anticipate that so probably doesn’t make any of us feel more secure

  81. The Phillies will sign one of (if not both) of Harper and Machado — this has been my position (and position my most) since Day 1 of free agency. I understand the frustration since nothing is final until everyone signed the contract — but I will not longer sweat speculating the “ifs” and “buts” — Middleton will get his superstar!! Middleton is just reassessing the market to see if he can reallocate the resources/$$ that they earmarked to further improve the team.

    I think it’s Harper, but will not discount the possibility of 2 big FAs (i.e. Harper + Machado, Harper + Mous, Harper/Machado + Keuchel, etc) if the market falls into the Phillies favor.

    The offseason is shaping up nicely for the Phillies and there’s a legitimate reason to be optimistic for the upcoming 2019 season.

  82. For all those wanting to sign both BH & MM because you doubt Mike Trout will ever hit free agency …. please note …. Mike still hasn’t left for Arizona.

    I understand this is no proof that he will turn down a LTX from the Angels, but (IMO) it does say something that Mike would rather still be in Millville (where the wind chill is in the 20’s today) instead of Tempe, Arizona (partly sunny & 73 degrees).
    Mike has every reason to want to be a Phillie. He’s built a home here on 300 acres. He and his wife (who is also a Millville HS grad) may be planning on starting a family soon (they were just married a year ago). Again, there are no guarantees. However, it just seems like all the stars could be aligning. Mike wants to play in the postseason/win a WS. The Phillies are building a team headed in that direction.

    1. I do believe 100% that Trout wants to go back home and play as a Phillies. It’s no secret that Mike followed the Eagles (who will be good for a while) and recently start spending time at the Wells Fargo to watch the Sixers (who is also expected to be a good for a while). South Philly is starting to be a hot place for athlete’s and celebrities and Mike wants to be part of it.

      And I also believe that Mike is a NE area guy. So for those who believe that south California is the best place in the country, I don’t think Mike Trout agrees with you.

  83. As the debate over who is king of the NL east hill rages, comparing the Phillies and the Nats, it’s worth mentioning that the Phillies bullpen may offset the Nats starting rotation. Pitching staffs are being used much differently these days. Corbin and Scherzer are their two mainstays, no doubt. Strasburg however seems to always be stung by the injury bug. Meanwhile, our deep bullpen (which may not be a finished product just yet) will be a big factor in the success of the Phightins. Assuming Harper lands in red pinstripes, the starting lineups are comparable. It’ll be an interesting division race. I don’t think the Braves did enough to sustain their success from ’18. The Mets undoubtedly have talent but they’ve been historically dysfunctional in recent years. And their arms haven’t been able to stay healthy.

    1. Mets pitching staff, when healthy, will be difficult.
      Wheeler, from last June on, and deGrom could be the real challenge to the Phillies.
      Thor and Matz have to see
      But discount the Mets with that pitching staff coming back fully healthy.

    1. Well that puts to rest, for now anyway,…Cesar getting moved.
      Unless another team’s 2nd baseman goes down…and they want Cesar, he probably breaks camp with the team next month.

    2. This will be a very interesting year for Kingery. We’ve all sort of forgotten about him because his first season was so bad (it was bad at bat – he was actually just fine in the field given he was playing out of position most of the time). Kingery is nothing if not motivated and physically talented. He put on 15 pounds of muscle this offseason. If he figures this out, he could still become a hell of player and what a gift that would be. And it wouldn’t be the first time a guy struggled in his first year or two and then took off. Pete Rose’s second year in the majors was actually really bad. He has a .645 OPS and an 80 OPS+. He kinda stunk. But his talent and hard work paid off and took off the following year and never looked back. Don’t count Scotty out just yet – he could still end up being a big deal and a huge contract bargain.

  84. Those counting on Eickhoff….concerning news:

    Scott Lauber✔

    Another #Phillies injury update: Jerad Eickhoff had some recurring symptoms last month after carpal tunnel syndrome surgery at the end of last season. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session next week. “As of now, he’s not a candidate for surgery,” Kapler said.

    3:05 PM – Feb 13, 2019

    1. Romus: stinks to hear that. Eickhoff complained that he couldn’t feel the ball from then nerve sensation being pinched off. Sounds like something he can pitch through, but it is concerning

      1. Yes not good news…but have to see what the prognosis is….may be still in the healing process..I do not know….maybe scar tissue issues???
        Hopefully it is not any thoracic issues…that is what it was eventually diagnosed with Velásquez after the 2017 season.

      2. It’s not actually something you can pitch through, especially not at the MLB level.

        For one, consider how many pitchers look at the ball in their glove before they throw it: none. They adjust their grip 100% by feel. If they can see the ball, so can someone else. That’s an easy way to tip your pitches.

        But also, a lot of adjustments are made through feel. The ball reacts differently on different days (hot/cold, humidity, etc. all have an impact). Warm up pitches aren’t just to get your muscles stretched, it’s to try getting a feel for how much bite the spin will have and such. If more or less is needed, one thing to try is to adjust your grip slightly until it’s behaving how you want it to.

        In addition to all that, your body has automatic reactions when something isn’t right. If you’re used to feeling the ball leave your hand hundreds of times a night, when you don’t feel it something is likely to happen. One thing could be squeezing your hand trying to find that feeling. Imagine your fingers snapping shut as you let go of a pitch. Not good.

        In my experience, I’d be more able to pitch with my eyes closed than without my sense of touch. It seems like a silly exaggeration, but home plate doesn’t move. Everything else does.

        All that being said, I don’t know exactly how much of his sensation is cut off. So we’ll have to see.

        1. I agree on the sensation aspect. Don’t quote me, but I believe that was taken care of with the pinch nerve, now it sounds as if he is experiencing pain. Will have to wait for more info, but if it is involving his

      3. I’ll tell you right now, if you can’t feel the ball you aren’t pitching through that. Not good news at all, I don’t expect much out of him this year if the issue hasn’t been corrected.

        1. Well let’s not throw him into the trash pile just yet. Philliesnation is describing it as a small setback. Also, I believe it is only one finger vs the entire hand. He may have also said that he could’ve pitched through it before but took the conservative approach because they were already out of race etc, don’t quote me but pretty sure. Will see, hopefully it is just a small flare up

  85. Sure seems like Keuchel becomes the second most interesting Boras client available to the Phillies, if he wasn’t already.

  86. I don’t think we can count on Eickhoff at all. It’s a bonus if he can contribute. Now this news on Arrieta makes me worried. We need another arm. It’s still possible that Williams or Franco gets us a starting pitcher though.

    1. Hopefully this talk of SD being aggressive for Manny is just that. Doesn’t sound like it appeals to him. So if Klentak can move Franco for Strahm before SD signs Moustakas, now we’re talking. Padres don’t need an OF. Texas may like to have Nicky Dubs back if they’re willing to part with Minor who was rumored awhile back.

      I think once Harper signs with the Phillies, NYY swoops in to grab Machado at their price. I think Moustakas will then re-sign with the Brew Crew. Kimbrel? I don’t know. I’m not in faith for whatever the Phillies need to sign him, and I think he’s jumped the shark. Keuchel? I can see the Phillies going after him but secondary to trading for a lefty. I say he also signs with Milwaukee. And there’s always Cole Irvin to keep tabs on this spring.

      1. If the Phillies are trading for a pitcher…assume it is a LHP….could be Robbie Ray of the DBacks….and it can be costly.

    1. Yeah I hate to say it but if you can’t feel the ball you are not going to be successful. Not something you should pitch with/through.

  87. Nola’s incentive clauses::
    Jayson Stark

    Aaron Nola’s new contract includes an escalator clause for the two free-agent years the #Phillies can buy out, sources say.

    His 2022 salary (& ’23 option) would rise by $1 million for each Cy Young won, plus $500,000 each time he finishes 2nd & $250K for each 3rd-thru-5th.

    5:00 PM – Feb 13, 2019

    1. Yeah…probably stop off to pick up Mike Rizzo and Doug Harris in West Palm who are there with the team as ST starts.

          1. I guess…Rizzo is the GM.
            Probably Boras let them know what the Phillies may have offered, and to see if they will counter it….so they flew out there with the owner Lerner…the son, Mark, I assume not the father, Ted, who is in his early 90s now.

          2. Nats beat guy doesn’t say anything about it…..yet.
            Jesse Dougherty‏
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            On the day Nationals pitchers and catchers reported, it was hard not to think (and ask) about Bryce Harper and the cloud this free agent market has hung above baseball:

            12:28 PM – 13 Feb 2019

  88. I clicked on this morning. Went to MLB link and then to Teams and got a big surprise. The AL East has 9 teams listed. Some new ones: Albuquerque null, Detroit Tigers Futures, Nashville Sounds and Nippon Fighters. My first thought was, is this April Fools Day? My next thought was, Oh no, more teams in the Machado and Harper sweepstakes.

  89. I’m sure i’ll be happy if they end up signing BH or MM but this process really does suck the life out of fan excitement and makes it look like players don’t want to play in the various cities.

    1. Would be nice if Wentz and Co have been reaching out to Harper and telling him how great it is. I know Ertz tweeted but that’s all I’ve seen.

      1. It’s only fair to say that Philadelphia is not the preferred destination for either, but saying either is utterly repulsed at the idea isn’t. This isn’t a destination city. But the whole notion that Philly is a leper colony is so overplayed. What’s holding things up is that both players want a number that begins with a 3, whether it’s in red pinstripes or not.

        1. Never said anyone is repulsed by Philly but again it’s fair and obvious that they aren’t busting at the seems to come here. Sorry guys but it’s true. That doesn’t mean that either one does sign here and fall in love with Philly, it’s just not their preferred spot.

  90. Another day closer boys … lol could this go any slower. Unfortunately that answer is a definitive yes.

    Dont like the new slogan, but they are usually on the weak side.

  91. Taking a break from the Harper hopefullness for one minute, anyone else worried that the org is going to ruin Kingery? I don’t get why they don’t just put him at 2b and let Cesar be the super utility? Cesar played some CF when he first came up too. If Kingery is our future core 2b, put him there now, hit him 8th and let’s go

    1. Totally agree. Otherwise there is serious incongruity between what they are saying with their payroll and what they’re doing on the field.

      1. As people have said because Cesar is a good (and better right now than Kingery) and the Phillies have shifted into win now mode. I have laughed at all the projected line-ups that I have seen posted here that have Hernandez batting 8th or 9th. For the two and a half years before playing through injury the second half of last year Hernandez has gotten on base at a consistent nearly 38% far better than Rollins ever did.

      1. He is now for sure. Cesar is a good player and is often a very good player. This team has many problems – but Cesar isn’t one of them. Far from it.

    2. Hernandez is the better player right now . . . he’s actually perfect in this line up for what’s going to be around him and apparently he played through an injury for the majority of the 2nd half. Kingery needs to hear his spot which he hasn’t done.

      1. Garcia has exceptional scouting reports. It working in reverse would mean bad reports but good numbers. And often it does work out that way.

      2. I’ve been working with this young man since he was 8

        He won’t be seeing $1.9 million when he is 16. He’s US born so he’ll have to finish HS first LOL. Funny story about this kid. Dad was his Little League manager and because dad was a SS and pitcher where do you think he always played him.

        I finally said to them both at the end of age 12 he’s a CF (I knew this because I had him shag for my legion team from the time he was 7) and if you want to go to the next level give up coaching him yourself and send him over to a program and let them take over the reigns. The kid looked at me with a smile and said I do like CF better that’s where Mike Trout plays.

        The hit tool picked up some bad habits so we’re going back in the cage starting Friday night to get it corrected. Hopefully before his next Perfect Game.

        We were in Manheim last Saturday saw a Nick Bitsko out of CB East class of 2021 some are projecting him in the 1st round. I had to laugh and feel bad for them at the same time. We all know how much can happen between now and then.

  92. As a fan of the sport not just the Phillies, its frustrating to see so many good players unsigned at the start of training camp
    hard to get excited when you have no idea what the final version of the teams are going to look like at the end given free agency will invariably trigger followup trades

      1. I really don’t get how this situation is a “black eye” for baseball. It’s just different than expectations or what people are used to. One could even argue that the uncertainty of where the top free agents will end up adds intrigue to the off-season.

  93. My take on the latest reports [at least that is what I saw late last night, just now getting to the news this morning on the West Coast] that its now down to the Phillies and Nationals for Harper is that the Giants and Padres have basically dropped out and Boras always HAS to have two teams bidding on his client, or at least give the perception that there is.

    So, when it became apparent that the Giants were not going to get Harper [and the only way they do is if Harper goes against everything we have read and heard and he takes a shorter deal] Boras probably contacted the Nats, may have even set up a meeting in Las Vegas for Harper and the Nats, and floated the rumor that they are now competing with the Phils for his star client.

    This would certainly fall in line with reports we are hearing that a Nats executive was flying out of Las Vegas and heading to Florida. It would also fall in line with reports that Boras promised the Nats one last chance to make a “best” offer to Harper, a promise that he also apparently made to Middleton.

    In my mind, if looked at logically, once it became apparent that the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs were not getting involved, it almost had to come down to the Phillies and Nats. My guess is that Harper’s heart is still in Washington and it would not be the biggest surprise in the world if he went back to the Nats.

    But if he does, he will be A] turning down a bigger offer from the Phillies, B] ending perhaps forever the goal he has stated of getting the richest contract in MLB history and C] giving the Phils all the incentive they need to up the offer for Machado and perhaps make HIM the highest paid player in the game, something Boras and Harper are loathe to accept.

    It will also put the Nats in luxury tax hell for just about forever, they of the future payments to almost everyone in Washington outside of the President and Congress.
    It truly is a fascinating scenario where the team Harper really wants is trying to decide whether or not to sign him whereas the the team that really wants Harper is forced to wait for him to decide how much he wants them.

    By the way, and this is simply me speaking here, those Phillies phans that are suggesting that the Phightins should just give Boras a “take it or leave it” offer are being a bit irrational here. Why should they do this? What would it gain them? We are talking about trying to sign a guy for 8-10 years, not 8-10 months. This is a guy we hope is hitting home runs well into the next decade, not simply the next season.

    Those of you who are feeling impatient, and I admit I sometimes feel that way too, simply need to understand that this is the price you pay for dealing with Boras, its just the way he operates. Nothing new here, Boras is really easy to understand if you take the time to watch how he operates. If he would hold out a Marwin Gonzalez, a guy who truly needs to get signed and get to camp soon, why on earth would he deal differently with perhaps his last super mega 26 year old “generational talent?”

    This will end soon, and soon could be March. It likely will end at precisely the moment we least expect it, and perhaps at a time we least expect [Boras has been known to finish a deal at 1-2 in the morning.] It will end when Boras runs out of teams to “compete” with the Phillies for his services, when it becomes obvious that there is only 1 team left standing. Then Boras will negotiate seriously and when he does that, it usually doesn’t take long.

    Stay strong, Phillie phaithful, I still don’t believe Hinkie will need to take a 6 month self imposed exodus from this site!

    1. To add to this, I Was listening to NYsports radio, and FWIW Cliff Floyd gave his opinion, with what also felt like a bit of inside info.

      He talked out both sides his mouth at one point, but believes the Nats get Harper, and the CWS get Machado. He put the asterisk up “unless the Phillies owner show them the money”. So … personally I felt he was still out in LF on that logic. He didn’t really consider how the Nats would fit Harper on the payroll or consequences for doing so. He was showing concern for players in FA, and love for Middleton becuse of his comments, but is wondering where it is.

      The inside info is more geared towards the Yankees/MM. Floyd gets the impression that the yanks are set with their team, and not sure what value MM would bring to the team. They feel like they have leaped BOS without Kimbrel. He thinks their out on MM, and they love their SS and 3rd players. For that reason he thinks mm goes to cws.

      A different perspective, that doesn’t take into count a pivot from BH to MM from the Phillies if they miss on the 1st signing. Seemed like Cliff doesn’t understand how much stupid money the Phils have

      Also, he doesn’t expect cepedes to play at all this years, and puts the Braves the fav to win NL east

      There ya go, don’t shoot the messenger!

      1. Sorry to clarify, Floyd thinks for the Phillies to get BH, they need to offer 450mil+ Also bring in MM. it’s a package with them or they split to WAS & CWS

        Also, the Yankees are not sure what value MM would bring on a nightly basis over what they have. Not Floyd saying that, so the yanks should be out if that is the case.

    2. C D – It was always between the Phillies and the Nats. Once the Nats started signing expensive FA’s, I thought they were out of the running. I still do! Now, I think that they’re intention is to make the Phillies pay “Stupid Money”. Sign Manny now, and lay the blame on Boras for stringing this out for so long.

  94. CD, thanks for taking the time to share your extensive thoughts. Very encouraging to us Phillies fans. It’s a simple situation when you look at it. The Phillies are holding out the biggest offer to the first player to say yes. This has never been about the Phillies vs rival clubs or mystery teams. It’s very much about Boras/Harper vs Lozano/Machado. The Phillies may prefer one over the other but seem postured to receive either and pay him handsomely. Klentak may prefer Manny whereas Middleton wants Harper. That perception has also served them well in this case.

  95. FWIW Dept…Shadow [Phillies organizational contact] and 702[Las Vegas contact] both chimed in last night and today. Shadow said nothing has changed, the Phils offer is, and will continue to be, the highest. To his credit, Shadow has always said he thought that Washington presented the biggest threat to the Phillies, and that if Harper continues to have as his goal a mega contract, there is only one team that can/will offer it…the Phillies.

    As for 702, he said he still believes 100% that Harper will join the Phillies. He said not today, but that things are going to get serious this weekend.

    Both basically said that things have pretty much remained the same as they always have…Phils are the most motivated, Phils have the highest offer, Phils prepared to go higher.

    1. It seems to me, (i.e. just my opinion) that the Phillies have made the highest offer on Harper but it is not the record breaking offer that Harper wants. So would Boras say make it the record breaker or we sign with Washinton? And would the Phillies call that bluff knowing they have the highest offer?

    2. I agree with Mr. Dreamer about Harper/Boras. The Giants are out. The Padres were never seriously in. The White Sox could get involved if the Phillies (would surprise me, and) sign Machado.
      Boras will give the Nationals (and the Phillies) a last chance to top Harper’s last/best offer. I’ve already explained the difference Harper would cost those two clubs in 2019 if he signed the same 10 year/30 million dollar contract. The Phillies could fit Harper under the luxury tax threshold so he would only cost them 30 million dollars. Even if the Phillies front loaded the deal, they would still pay him no more than the salary promised him for 2019 because the cap is calculated by AAV.
      Harper would total Washington much more because they are right up against the cap already. In 2019, that same 10 year/30 million dollar contract would cost the Nationals ~46 million dollars because of taxes and surtaxes. They would pay Harper just the 30 million. The other ~16 million would go to the league, who allocates it to both player benefits and to the lowest revenue clubs.

      Also … while I agree Harper would be more comfortable remaining in Washington, I believe he would be less comfortable giving a hometown discount. He and Boras want to set/break records. IMO, John Middleton has always been ready to pay stupid money/whatever it takes to sign a superstar “face of the franchise” this winter. If he can get Harper for 300 million, that’s great. If he has to pay more, he’ll do that too.

      1. Hinkie….comes down to a choice for Nats’ Rizzo ..Rendon or Harper….Rendon will command approx min of $22/23M AAV for 5 plus an option……Harper’s contract will be more…together the Nats will be paying the highest penalty for the next decade.

        1. Hinkie – What would the market look like if Boras represented both MM and BH? Would either be signed by opening day, or would things have gone smoother?

          1. Mike … Harper and Machado (every big name FA) will be signed by opening day. If Boras repped both Harper and Machado (and he once did work for MM), the same thing would probably have happened. Boras usually keeps them all out until the last minute anymore.

  96. Didn’t Jim caution the rank and file to not get too carried away with the glowing reports on Luis Garcia?

    If I’m not mistaken, he wrote that, in his opinion, Garcia showed adequate fielding skills as a shortstop.

    Someone help me out here. Does anyone remember that report or am I losing it? I do admit; I am a senior citizen.

    1. I cautioned against pinning our hopes on Garcia being our Acuna. Ignore his GCL slash. As good as it was, I saw a lot of hits that would be outs against the better defenses he will face as he moves up the organizational ladder. I saw a youngster who, if he makes the jump to Lakewood, will have to play a 140 game schedule v. the 43 he played in the GCL. I saw a shortstop who didn’t look quite as good defensively as Crawford when he was in the GCL (granted that’s still pretty good).

      He may become the prospect we all long for. However, I’m cautioning against raising expectations for a 17-year-old. I’ve seen how fans react. If he takes a step backward or doesn’t show the consistent improvement people expect from a top prospect, the same fans who lauded him as a top prospect will turn on him like Philly fans are wont to do.

      I’ve seen and heard the scouting reports on him. A lot of these reports are filed by people who weren’t in Clearwater to see him play. Look, he may become the next Jimmy Rollins. That would be great. But, if he’s just the next Kevin Stocker, that’s not a bad outcome for Garcia. Patience.

      1. Jim – I agree! His age is the reason that I couldn’t vote for him so high in the prospect rankings. Teenagers have one thing on their mind, and baseball is a distant second.

        1. I have to disagree with that. The only thing on all the kids’ minds here is baseball. They all know this is their chance to make it. Especially the LA players who don’t have the college money in their contracts like their American team mates. For some, baseball is their only chance.

  97. Buster Olney was on an ESPN radio show this morning and made a prediction…he is hearing that “very soon, by the end of February at the latest,” either Machado or Harper is going to jump in and take a very large offer from the Philadelphia Phillies. He said that both are using the White Sox as a safety net.

    If I were to read between the line, here is my perception. The Phils probably made an offer to Harper and not a specific one to Machado. But what they told Machado was that if/when he gets serious about negotiating with the Phillies they will have a very good offer for him….probably almost the same amount as they have offered Harper.

    I still believe [and Hinkie has mentioned this also] that there is a division within the Phillies organization about who they value more…Klentak/McPhail favor MM and Middleton favors Harper. Perhaps what may be happening is that they have been giving most of their time and effort to bringing in Harper, something Middleton truly wanted.

    However, as spring training approaches, they may have reached out harder to Machado and suggested that if he gets serious soon with them they might simply pivot to him…and with it the money they were offering Harper.

    Remember, they did bring in Machado’s favorite coach, they wanted Machado wayyy back when Harper wasn’t even a thought and there has been wayyyy more talk publicly of signing Harper than Machado and if Klentak and Co. are anything, its silent about their true desires.

    Again, I am only reporting what Olney said today…but it would not surprise me if Boras is re-engaging with the Nats because the Phils are re-engaging with Machado.

    1. WaPo beat writer for the Nats, Barry Svrluga, said this afternoon looks like Rizzo will try to extend Rendon before the season starts….he is also a Boras client, so who knows there…….but as opposed to Harper, Rendon is older going into his age29 season this summer….so they are hopeful on a LTC for Rendon….which probably puts Harper off the shelf.

    2. I believe the Phillies made their first offer to Machado in the days after their meeting at CBP. I also believe that offer was an opening offer (something they understood Manny wasn’t going to accept). However, they let him know to get back to them before signing anywhere else.
      A month later they met with Harper in Las Vegas. According to Jim Bowden (who said he spoke with someone in that meeting), the visit couldn’t have gone any better for Phillies fans. I took that to mean Harper was impressed with Middleton, MacKlentak, the Phanatic, and especially Gabe Kapler. Since then, the Phillies have given up their top prospect to bring in a guy Harper has publicly shown a lot of love for. At that LV powwow, Harper/Boras probably got the message they would get the most money from the Phillies. I believe the parameters (total money & years) for a deal are already in place. The two sides most likely have to settle how the money will be spread out (should be front loaded), and where the opt outs/opt ins are placed.
      Every indication is Manny Machado is ready to become a CWS, His new gloves are black and white (maybe light grey … I’m half blind anymore), the team has an empty locker between Yonder Alonso (Machado’s brother in law) and John Jay (Machado’s bestie). Why hasn’t he signed there yet? Is he hoping for a NYY miracle? That’s not likely, and I think Manny knows it. IMO … the reason Manny hasn’t yet signed with the White Sox is because he’s still waiting to see how things work out with the Phillies and Harper. If the Phillies have to shift back to Machado, he knows he’ll be in store for a greater payday.
      Again … I don’t know when it’s going to happen … but … sometime soon the Phillies are going to land their superstar “face of the franchise” FA.

  98. I believe that Middleton is waiting for his “best offer” to be the one that closes the deal. He is not going to bid against himself. The Agents are trying to drum up an offer for Middleton to beat, knowing he will not be outbid. I still think Romus’ 9/$333 Million gets it done when Boras says to him it is time and this is what it will take. He isn’t doing that until he is sure that is all the $ he is going to get. I admit that I have no read on Machado. He could very well be the team’s first choice, and they just don’t leak anything, and have no interest in paying $300 Million when Machado’s highest offer is only $250M. But, there is clearly something wrong with this system. Every other sports makes FA an exciting time for the game. What is happening here is simply whatever the opposite of exciting is. Dull doesn’t fully explain it.

      1. They’ll both get more than six guaranteed years. However, they could each end up shorter than six years because of opt outs and opt ins.

    1. “Dull doesn’t fully explain it.”

      Boring? Discouraging? Depressing? Disheartening? Deadening? Tranquilizing? Debilitating?

      … can you tell what I do in (some) of my free time?

  99. matt13…..”What is happening here is simply whatever the opposite of exciting is. Dull doesn’t fully explain it.”…it is only dull for Phillies/WSox/Nats and maybe Giants fans…..because they all have a dog in this fight between BH and MM.
    The rest of the teams are signing their guys now…Twins signed their ss and Kepler today to LTCs.
    This time next year, Phillies will not be pursuing any of the top FA dogs, I assume,, at least until Trout declares after 2020 season…..and it will be normal again.

  100. So much going on, just trying to keep people up to date…Arrieta said today he is optimistic that the Phils will sign either Harper or Machado as did Hoskins. Of course, both are Boras clients and have reached out to Harper. It was also reported that in Nola’s press conference today Matt Klentak seemed very confident he was going to get one of the two.

    By the way, Middleton was at that press conference and didn’t dispute anything MK said. One more thing worth noting…Jeff Passan, ESPN baseball writer, wrote that he feels the Phillies will be the most interesting team in baseball this year. He said that getting Realmuto changed everyone’s perception of the team.

  101. Reading about Trevor Bauer claiming he was subject to ‘Character Assassination’ during his arbitration hearing makes me wonder if the Indians will look into potentially trading him again.

    In the event that that’s a possibility, what do you think it takes to get him?

    1. 1.One of the Three Musketeers…Vive or Eflin or Pivetta
      2. Medina
      3. One of the position prospects (Haseley or Bohm)…..but maybe just Nick Williams

    2. Bauer is a top shelf talent soon to be a free agent. And he’s also an incisive character. He is intriguing but do you invite that instability into a brand new and positive culture?

      Trade wise, I would offer Eflin, Williams and Medina….then I wince.

    3. It’s really not character assassination. It’s the truth. Trevor Bauer is not a good dude. As I’ve posted numerous times, I wouldn’t want him in the Phillies locker room.

      1. Hinkie – I agree completely. Bauer is a problem in the clubhouse and with the media. He may be insightful but he is also abrasive, careless with his mouth, and also all about Bauer. No thanks.

          1. Most of his teammates just stay away from him. Bauer is, for the most part, a loner. Bauer is not an inclusive kind of guy.
            Check out these examples of Bauer being a bad teammate:
            1. Bauer taking a shot at his own teammate (Cy Young winner Corey Kluber). Who does this?

            2. He and his college teammate Gerit Cole hate each other. They haven’t spoken since early in their UCLA careers. Bauer has claimed Cole cheats while on the mound.

            Away from the clubhouse, he has had numerous incidents with people on social media. Like I’ve said many times, Bauer is just not a good dude.

            1. Man, if that’s his real tweet, what a complete freaking jerk. He’s right up there with Zach Greinke (read about how what Greinke did to good guy Pat Neshek who asked him for an autograph – it was so uncalled for and outrageous). One great thing the team has done this offseason has been adding really good guys to the mix like Realmuto and McCutchen. I don’t want a cancerous guy anywhere near this team – airheads like Odubel are frustrating enough.

    4. I would pass on Bauer. He’s a bit of a headcase and the Phillies don’t need that right now, especially on a young team.

  102. Hinkie…I think you nailed it in regards to Machado and I was attempting to suggest pretty much the same thing. Machado seems the mystery here and most believe he is holding out from signing with the ChiSox because he is waiting on the Yankees but I believe [as you do] that its really the Phillies that he is waiting on, not the Yankees.

    To me, this is all part of the chess game stare down…Machado does NOT want to sign with the Sox before he sees what happens with Harper/Phillies because he knows if Harper goes elsewhere the Phils have probably told him that they will then offer him just about they were offering Harper, certainly more than what they are offering MM now.

    Harper does NOT want to sign first because, well, because Boras always wants to be last and wants to make sure his client gets more than Machado. Of course, with each day that passes, Boras does run the risk that Machado will simply decide to tell the Phillies, “make me your best offer and lets see where it leads.”

    I truly believe the Phils would be happy with either player and are prepared for move forward with either and have plans based on either player. Get Machado, trade Franco. Get Harper, trade Williams. Speaking of which, Williams is also represented by Boras and will be affected by a Harper signing. Boras has probably been told by Williams that he sure would like to know where he is going to be playing this so there is lots going on here.

    I still believe Harper meets their needs more and would be absolutely loved in Philadelphia. Machado would instead become of an acquired taste in Philadelphia, a guy you have to watch everyday to truly appreciate him. I watched him here in SoCal after he joined the Dodgers and it was funny, you hardly ever noticed him but he was the one guy in the Dodger lineup that they never platooned, never moved off the 3rd spot in the batting order and played every game, a rarity in Dodgerland.

    Seems the news is getting louder, not surprising now that spring training is upon us. Honestly, I cannot see this going into March given all that is coming out. One of the two is going to “jump” in soon, to use Olney’s words and when one does, the other will have little reason to continue to sit out.

  103. (Brad Doolittle) has been ranking players by position. They are through c, 1B, and 2B so far.

    Catcher … JT Realmuto #2 (behind Buster Posey)
    1B … Rhys Hoskins #5 (behind Goldschmidt, Freeman, Rizzo, and Votto)
    2B … CeHe #12 (behind Altuve, Cano, Baez, Whit Merrifield, Gleyber Torres, Chris Taylor, Ozzie Albies, Dozier, LeMahieu, Schoop, and Jurikson Profar).

    I could make a good argument for Cesar in front of Schoop and Profar.

    1. Not to diminish Posey’s skills, but is he even a fulltime catcher anymore? I think JTR will be THE biggest impact player for the Phillies in 2019, and that’s with Bryce Harper on the team.

  104. We have argued about Cesar for a long time. 2 things I want from him that can be improved by working at it. His defense and his base running. If he is going to bat lead off, and it appears that they like him there, he has to go from 1st to 3rd and 2nd to Home better than he does, unless there are 2 outs. Not so much base stealing as being smart and aggressive on the bases. I don’t think he is very good there. I like Kingery, and I think we should have traded Cesar, but if he is going to be here, I want him to be the best that he can.

    1. matt13…..don;t forget…many peiople think Cesar faded last year…and he did….but remember around the 4th of July, i think in Pittsburgh, he hit himself off the foot or got hit by one of their pitchers….and the next few games could pinch hit…..then it was said the bruised or fractured foot/toe would be around for him the remaining of the season….and his numbers really declined and faded over July August. and Sep hitting under .240 over those 300 PAs.

  105. I’m probably 1 of the few fans to say this but imo we should avoid Harper. Hes obviously an upgrade than our current OFers. However hes highly inconsistent, when on hes HOF type impact, but when hes off hes average at best. I dont think 10 years at max salary on a very inconsistent player with none impact defense should be where the $ goes. Honestly MM at his best is not near Harper at his best, however is much more consistent with plus defense and a harder position to upgrade. From the rumors MM might get less than BH so I say hard pass on Harper….

    1. I have generally agreed with your assessment ask of season, but at this point the Phillies have constructed a roster that Is in need of a middle of the order left-handed bat.

  106. Shadow reporting that he talked to a guy associated with the Phillies [guy named John Clark] today and from what he heard this is really developed into a game of chicken between Boras and Lozano and here is why…Boras used to be Machado’s agent and he is taking this really personally and is determined A] to have the top deal of the two and B] to not have Harper sign first before he knows what Machado makes.

    Apparently neither of the two agents want their client signing first, almost a macho thing. Also, pitcher Shawn Kelly said he talked to Harper a couple of days ago and Harper reported that things are going even slower than is being reported.

    To me, this still appears to be a story of who blinks first.

    1. My small issue with that is supposedly Boras advised Harper to take the Phillies 9/360 offer back in 2018. Machado is not getting $300mil even if Harper signs first. This leads me to believe Harper may not have a very strong offer currently.

    2. Machado left Scottt Boras in Feb 2011 to go to Dan Lozano.
      Boras worked the 2010 initial bonus contract with Andy MacPhail and the Os….but he held Manny out until the very last moment as a 2010 draftee. signing a few minutes before the mid-August deadline….Manny then let him go six months later….but Manny did get over $5M back then…which was a pretty hefty bonus payment.

    3. Mr. Dreamer … John Clark is actually a sports reporter (NBC 10 in Philly). That said, the report of the rivalry between agents has always made sense. Both Boras and Lozano want to win the “I Brokered The Biggest Deal” contest.

      Also … here’s the story on Shawn Kelley:
      This is the reason the Phillies don’t feel any need yet to up their offer. Why should they bid against themselves?

      1. Yes, Clark is no more associated with the Phillies than any newspaper’s features writer. He’s not even a Phillies beat writer. His Twitter info – “Sports Anchor / NBC10 Eagles GameDayFinal, Eagles GamePlan host / Delco raised Temple Made”.

  107. Before the crescendo of the Phillies off season mercifully comes, I have to praise the front office for the way they’ve reconstructed the roster.

    1 trading for Realmuto with the real prospect of him being extended as not just a hope but an apparent plan for the near future, his offensive production should increase with 81 games at CBP,

    2 trading with (or should I say fleecing?) Seattle for not only Segura, who will probably put on a daily clinic on bat to ball skills, but nabbing 2 good relievers in Nicasio and especially Pazos, who may turn out to be the steal of the off season,

    3 signing David Robertson to bring some stability and leadership to the bullpen,

    4 signing Cutch, who may thrive in this ballpark, as well as on this roster,

    5 and acquiring Jose Alvarez from LAA for “the other” Luis Garcia.

    Kudos to Klentak and company!
    Now to secure that LHP, that corner OF bat and to get the 3B situation settled, and we’re good to go.

  108. To Cal-D — I think as you do – the real wild card would be if Lozano said to the Phillies – “give me your best shot,” thus forcing an offer and corresponding response. If that offer was greater than what the Sox made, (most likely and acceptable) that would cause the Phils to swerve into the MM lane. If they signed MM, they then could sign Keuchel, a ground ball machine, with any savings from not signing a “more expensive” Harper ?

    Albeit – as Aron points out above – does MM make more sense as the “more complete player” than the left handed middle of the order bat ? With the lineup construction as it is they may be forced to lean towards Harper.

    1. RU….nothing personal just business, but if the Phillies go ahead and ink Manny because he takes the offer on the current table, immediately…..Boras could get a little vindictive down the road …he does rep about 4/5 other Phillies…Hoskins being one.
      That would leave Harper hanging out there with short term deals or less AAV than he expects.

      1. Romus – i hear you…its always a “when you sleep with the devil” kind of issue with Boras …..not taking away from your point but – the wild card is Lozano – if he had any guts – he would face the dragon and offer MM to the Phillies and call Boras hand. Boras can then do what he would do ??? My point is – don’t piss off Boras, but if Lozano presented his client on a platter – doesn’t that force Boras to play his hand ? Phillies can always go back to Boras and say, “MM wants to join us for $250 mm for 7 years – but we are inclined to do business with the Wizard , what can you offer ?

        Dealing with Boras is always setting yourself up for extortion, because of his clients and the sheer number he represents.

    2. That LHB in the lineup ……did not hurt the Stros/Yanks or Sox…their best hitters were all RHBs….Benintendi was the sole Sox bat with any clout…I do not count JB Jr.
      …Yanks, who?…maybe Torres, not Bird…..Stros…Marwin Gonzo…Reddick or McCann…none strike fear alone.

  109. 8mark, who is the LHP that you want? If Harper comes here, are you going with Franco at 3B? Or, someone else? I agree with everything that you just said. I have read, more than once, that Pazos and Alvarez were 2 really nice pickups by the Phils.

    1. Romus – If the Phillies sign Manny, Boras will have no one to blame except himself. This deal should have been done in January.

  110. Put this in the if you need a laugh category
    A fake insider on twitter is claiming the Mets are very involved with harper sweepstakes.
    Cubs included

    Thought we could all use a laugh

  111. Fangraphs editor Jon Jaffe was discussing the Harper/Machado situation today and he said, based on everything he has heard, is that there are basically two situations left, and both leave the Phillies in the cat birds seat.

    Situation #1…if Machado signs with the Phillies, then Harper either goes back to the Nats or signs with the Padres.
    Situation #2…if Harper signs with the Phillies, Machado either signs with the White Sox or the Padres.

    If Jaffe is correct, and reports certainly suggest he is, I began to think that this talk of negotiations dragging on till March MIGHT just be both agents planting this stuff for fear that IF one of the players does decide to get serious with the Phils and sign a deal, the other not only loses the Phillie option, but is forced to sign a deal with a team for much less than he might get if the Phils are in play.

    Look, I understand that teams wise, I am offering nothing earth shattering but with all this talk in the last couple of days that this could drag into mid March I began to wonder where this talk originated and my guess is its coming from the agents…not because they believe it but because they fear a Phillie preemptive strike with each agents opposing player and want to present a picture that nothing is brewing, just take your time. I know Boras would do something like this, and given Lozano’s reputation, he would do this also.

    If my theory is correct, I am sure the Phillies suspect as much and would explain [as Hinkie has been suggesting] why the Phils have felt no urgency to up their offers. They may even be waiting for either agent to approach them and say “lets make a deal.” This could be why the Phillies have been insisting publicly why they are going to sign only one [though Shadow continues to insist that privately they have NOT ruled out both of them if the prices are right.]

    I also believe that if my theory of the agents putting out notices publicly that there is no rush to sign, one of them is going to break soon and want to reach a deal with the Phillies before its too late and the Phils are no longer involved.

    Now, perhaps I am completely off base here and Harper goes back to the Nats and Machado signs with the ChiSox, but given what Jaffe just said today on his national sports show, it does seem to me as if the narrative of a slow market and mid March signings is more an agent stunt than actual goings on.

    1. Situations 1 and 2 have the Phillies making the first move. Did Jaffe cover situations 3 and 4? What if …

      #3. Harper signs with “not the Phillies”. Then what does Machado do?

      #4. Machado signs with “not the Phillies”. Then what does Harper do?

      Does he assume that they will automatically sign with the Phillies? Does he consider that offers and requests might be altered, maybe even drastically, if either of these were to occur?

      1. I think the assumption is that nobody will sign anywhere until they circled back to the Phillies for one last time. I may be wrong.

  112. I saw what Arrieta had to say and I have to admit that I am looking forward to him having a good year. I am an Arrieta fan, and I believe him about suffering an injury which contributed to his poor second half. I also believe that he is the type of competitor that will re-invent himself, if need be, to succeed. That doesn’t take me out of the Keuchel market. I give him the Arrieta deal if I can. Especially with the uncertainty about Eickhoff. I always felt VV goes to the BP, and I think Pivetta has a bigger upside than Eflin. So Nola, Arrieta, Keuchel, Pivetta and Eflin works for me. And, I am fine with Vinny battling Eflin.

    1. Matt – If Arrieta had a bad second half due to knee problems, Why didn’t he have the surgery sooner than January? I think with better defense and batting order, Arrieta will have a nice bounce-back year.

    2. I had heard as early as last season that Arrieta was pitching through an oblique strain. Whichever is the case, he seems to be okay during drills and pitching. He’s not babying the knee.

  113. Alright gentlemen … I will personally be in a town called Las Vegas next week. When going through the airport I’ll have my eyes peeled. If BH isn’t signed by then, I’ll keep a lookout… not that i can afford his company, but it would be a pretty cool to see a certain star waiting to board a trip to FL, would need to hope it’s for the Phillies. Not sure where Nats or CWS play ST.

    Anyways, maybe we get lucky and know a bit sooner than others.

    I do Think this is agent driven, and Howard made a great point on the radio tonight, how selfish it is towards the other players boras is representing…. say as Nick Willams

    On another note, my old friend/contact is gone a bit rogue, no social media accounts easy to find. I’ll work on it, probably more of an in season source though

    1. Tac – It’s funny that you should mention that. Every time I walk out my front door, I’m looking for Bryce. In previous winters Harper been sighted all over town, but this year it’s like he’s in the witness protection program.

      1. @Murry – good to know.
        @WawaMike – Mybe we get lucky and I get to send an update, but hopefully he is signed before then.

        I have a feeling itll happen next week bc I’ll have limited access to my phone… so I’m sure that is when it finally goes down. I’ll Be there with no idea …

        1. Tac3….”I’ll have limited access to my phone… so I’m sure that is when it finally goes down. I’ll Be there with no idea …”,

          ……don’t you worry, if it happens and you are in Vegas…it will be announced over the city’s Emergency Broadcast System’s loud speakers. 🙂

  114. Cal D & Romus – my point was precisely what C-D mentioned – if Lozano preempts with MM to Phills vs. Boras all hell is going to break loose. Yes, Harper returns to DC, or does he ? given that they broke their piggy bank ? and will forever in the future. No matter how slow everyone reports, Shawn Kelley (per above), reporters, anyone involved – if Lozano calls the hand, everybody has to show their cards. Yes, it favors the high bidder – but who does the high bidder get ?? Moreover, the longer this goes on, the greater the chance Lozano has to play his hand – because the national media is invested in Harper to Nats or Phils. MM to where ? nowhere ? Look for the most surprising outcome !

  115. I’ve never bought the theroy/rumor that both superstar FA’s hate the idea of playing in Philly. Keith Law shot down that theory today in his chat.

    Bobba: Do you think Harper and Machado are reluctant to commit to Philly because each would prefer to play somewhere else if the money is even somewhat similar? Given ownership’s ludicrous statement at the beginning of the process about going “stupid,” it sure seems like the agents could get some pretty good numbers out of Klentak and the Phillies by now. I just don’t think it’s either player’s first choice destination…

    Keith Law: Don’t believe that for a second either. Good city, fans will show up when the team wins, they’re competitive now. What’s not to like?

  116. As California Dreamin’ alluded to, at least one source says that the sweepstakes could drag on until mid-March:

    While I genuinely appreciate all the in-depth knowledge that gets transmitted here, I don’t know if I can take another month of all this competing, back-and-forth speculation. It’s putting a bad taste in my mouth with regard to both players, even though either would provide an instant upgrade to our ball club.

  117. so how many years do they really need to go to in contract offer to either guy? obviously there will be opt outs for the player, but i still dont like taking all the risk for 8, 9, 10 years- can there be some vesting options dependent on games played or not being on the DL for x days?

  118. The Phils have a great shot of getting both. The Phils are going to sign one of the two first for a number lower than most imagine was ever possible. Once that happens, other teams are going to put lowball offers on the table, especially because the Phils are going to message they are done. But they will be working it behind the scenes and swoop in and take the second.

  119. Mr. Dreamer … Here is John Clark reporting on Aaron Nola’s new contract.

    BTW … Ken Rosenthal has a piece in the Athletic that says other agents aren’t happy Nola (and his agent) agreed to such a team friendly deal.

    1. Honestly. I do think Nola’s deal is undervalued. He’s giving up likely big raises in both the arbitration years and then what he’d get on the open market.

      I think for him just signing a deal that bought out his arbitration years (at somewhat of a discount) would have made more sense. it’s a lot easier/safer for a pitcher to go after a big contract when they’re 29 as opposed to 31.

      1. Oops. Sent it early. His deal is
        1st arb year($4m),
        2nd arb year($8m),
        3rd arb year($11.75m),
        1st free agent year($15m),
        2nd free agent year($16m club option) $4.25m buyout

        So it’s guaranteed $43m Which is obviously for any normal person a huge amount of money… but even with a bad year this season Nola would get more than $4m in arbitration. I think $6m-$7m/$10m/$13m-$15m are realistic arbitration numbers which may inflate as salaries go up as well.

        Toss in giving away two free agent years for $31m and pushing his free agency from age 29 to age 31. Phillies definitely got off cheap imo.

        1. There is also a $2 million signing bonus. And incentives to the final year and option year based on CY finishes.

          1. Nola continues on his current track for the next 2/3 years,

            ….he left some change on the table.
            But not sure how long his am will hold out with that past procedure.
            Richards’ did not, Tanaka so far has, along with Nola.
            So the team must have been negotiating that point with Paragon and Nola.

            1. I think this is a great deal for the Phillies. If you just look at the QO (which, I think, is tabulated by the average salary of the top 125 players in MLB), he doesn’t even reach 2017’s QO ($17.2M). Great deal for the Phillies for one of the top pitchers in baseball. Great deal.

        2. It’s one of the better young player extensions ever entered into by a major league team. It reminds me in a lot of respects of the first Chase Utley deal, but it’s even better than that.

          1. You really cannot compare position players to pitchers….Utley to Nola
            Pitchers have more risk associated with their duties.
            Latest stats reveal that 30% of all [pitchers have had TJ surgery…….a lot less percentage have had shoulder issues.
            But whenever these injuries occur there is no production forl a full season or more.
            Position player inquiries normally do not keep them out for an entire year….and how many suffer Achilles heal tears or ACLs ….not 30%.

            IMO….Nola , with his past two seasons performances, could have been compensated 25% more…ilo of $11M AAV for 5…..I would had offer $14/15M AAV for 5…. or even 6 if he would be interested in another year tacked on..

    2. Dear other agents and players – TOO BAD. Aaron Nola can agree to whatever damned contract he likes. When you hold out, you risk something like this happening. Oh well.

  120. Remember this tweet from Washington radio host Chris Russell ?

    Russell was on the air tonight (Thursday), and he apparently is doubling down on his prediction.

    Let’s see what happens today. This guy has supposedly been pretty accurate on his Harper info so far.

    1. Thanks Hinkie – for all your comments….and valued thoughts. One thought i had, and its an emotional but cognitive awareness – why is it that we have had the pleasure of seeing many / Doc Haladay, Cliff Lee, among others, and now, Aaron Nola, accept contract terms that were favorable to team and future success ? Yes—I know there are players who have walked away – but few. This old city and team must be doing something right…..and I think it speaks to the passion and love that the city feels for its team and its players. I think it also speaks to the organization— respectful, kind, forgiving etc. —–but also forceful. Its just like the effort that Jim puts forth to keep this blog going, and its many active participants – how can this not be an attractive place to be as a player given this level of fan commitment ! Fie on those who would say these FA “they don’t want to play in Philly.”

      1. I think it’s mostly the organization and not the fans that are the reason we’ve had a relatively high amount of players sign “team friendly” contracts. By all accounts, the Phils take care of their own. And that extends beyond their playing days.

        Its the Google philosophy. Treat your employees well and they’ll reward you for it.

        But I’m sure some of the stars that have come (looking at you, Utley) through enjoy the fans as well.

      1. In case you weren’t able to listen, here’s what Chris Russell just stated on WIP:

        * Harper, his wife, Boras, and members of Boras’ team have been meeting in Las Vegas since Monday.

        * Yesterday, Harper made his decision, and was in a celebratory mood.

        * It might take a few more days to cross the “t’s” and dot the “i’s”.

        * Thinks Harper picks the Giants unless the Phillies offer is overwhelming because he would feel awkward playing in the same division as the Nationals. He doesn’t want to be perceived as a villain in Washington.

        Now … IMO, I just don’t see Harper/Boras turning down the most money to avoid having to playing the Nats as a division rival. We’ll see. I guess this is why Manny Machado has yet to sign with the ChiSox yet.

        1. To be clear … Russell got his info on the first three points from a source who has been pretty accurate up until now. Russell didn’t say his source told him Harper’s pick was the Giants. Russell, himself, said be believed it would be the Giants because he felt Harper wouldn’t want to be perceived a s a villain in Washington. I still believe Harper/Boras will choose the stupid money and not care too much about Harper’s future trips back to Nationals Park.

  121. I don’t think that either has any problem with playing here. I think they went into FA thinking they could get huge numbers from anywhere they wanted to play. Machado from the Yankees and Harper from the Dodgers. They were disappointed that those teams were not close. This whole “not Philly” thing is just a way to try and get more $. I am the first to take offense at players that I don’t think like it here, but I don’t get that sense. I said from the beginning that if the #s are close, then locale plays a roll as does favorite team growing up East Coast vs West Coast type of lifestyles. But, I don’t think anyone will be close enough to us that it will matter.

  122. I guess my whole problem with this pursuit of Harper is what my problem with him has always been. He is more hype than anything. He is not a generational talent. Trout is the generational talent of this generation. Harper isn’t even the best player at his position. Should a non-generational talent get record money? ARoid was a generational talent (before the steroids) and look what signing him did to the Rangers.

    All that being said he is a very good player, one of the two best in the market and likely a safer bet than the Puljois deal.

    1. ARod was a beast for the Rangers. But it’s baseball and one player can’t get you even close to all the way there – if it could, the Angels would have been in the playoffs the last 5 years and please, please do not tell me that was Mike Trout’s fault.

    2. I kind of agree with you Aron. The only thing that gives me pause is that he is only 26 and I think there may be some maturity growth over the next 6 seasons that will allow him to take off.

      I mean he already has a pretty sick 388 OBP/512 slg/900 OPS. Sure defense is limited but stick him in LF and you should minimize that liability.

    3. Part of the excitement of the chase has blinded some of us in that aspect. Not only is Harper not the top player at his position, but not even a top 5. He is likely that he can’t even crack the top 15 for OF. That said, we are project that his prime years, favoring in CBP, will push him closer. His attitude and marketing help as well. Something you roll the dice on/educated guess

      I think MM fits the team better, minus his lazziefair-tude. Defense improves, and I believe his numbers will be more consistent than BH. When you factor in Haslely,Moniak, and Bohm, personally, I think MM is the better choice player wise, but it’s Middleton’s money.

      I’ll be happy to get 1, both would be insane. I’d accept the 2 year boost if would give the team, and deal with trout when the time comes. Use the back channels to let Trout know they’ll do what is needed to be done to get him here. If not, we’ll you have BH And MM to ride to championships.

      So yeah, all this chasing is creating a dust storm, that once settled may so which player was the better for this championship run window. It’s going to stink if haslely and Moniak develop .. and are blocked by expensive players, or Bohm. I think Klentak sees it that wAy, but Middleton is looking at it from the $$$ side.

      1. I wouldn’t worry about Moniak or Haseley developing. If they do, things will work themselves out. Having good young prospects is not a problem.

  123. The Athletic article has already been posted, so I’ll just say:

    Any contract that pisses off agents is a darn good contract for the ball club. And there is literally zero doubt in my mind that Nola could have held out for more money.

    This seems like a player signing for less than he could get in order to be somewhere he wants to be. He seems legitimately excited to lead THIS team to the playoffs.

  124. And, no one understands the effects of a prior injury, and the value in Nola’s mind of the guaranteed $. It is easy for the Agents, who are hardly objective, to complain, but Nola seemed genuinely happy, his family is happy, the team is happy, I am happy, so that is all that counts.

  125. Jim Bowden is listing his Top 200 prospects for the Athletic. So far he’s listed 200-50. I’m pretty sure no Phillie is making his top 50 now that Sixto has been traded. Here’s what he’s got:

    164. JoJo Romero (projects as a # 3 or 4 starter or possibly a set-up reliever)

    143. Spencer Howard (four-pitch mix allows him to profile as a mid-rotation starter)

    101. Adonis Medina (has some work to do with his command and control and, most importantly, the consistency of all his pitches, but he can miss bats and has high upside)

    61. Adam Haseley (one of the more underrated outfield prospects in baseball and I just can’t understand why since all he’s done is hit since he was drafted. Has slashed .298/.360/.424 in his first 681 plate appearances in the minor leagues. Advanced approach at the plate with consistent sweet-spot contact that leads to line drives from foul pole to foul pole. His game power should start to come around this year as he learns to adjust his launch angle)

    53. Luis Garcia (considered, by several teams, as the best prospect to play in the Gulf Coast League, where he dominated with a .433 on-base percentage. Well-above-average defensive shortstop with range to both sides, soft hands, quick feet, fluid rhythm and an accurate strong arm from the hole. Mechanically sound at the plate, resulting in a quick-to-the-ball smooth swing)

    51. Alec Bohm (No doubt that he has a special bat with above-average power. His stroke is short, has a high contract rate and he isn’t afraid to take a walk. His advanced approach and above-average bat speed should result in a relatively quick route through the Phillies’ farm system. He’s a below-average defender at third base, but the Phillies are confident he’ll be able to stick at the position)

    It’s funny/different that Bowden is higher on the Phillies young bats than he is their arms.

  126. As Hinkie mentioned in an above post, Chris Russell was just on WIP and indicated that Harper has made his decision and is simply crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s. Russell, whose Washington contacts have been good in the past, said that Harper wanted to get this done by Valentines Day so he and his wife could celebrate.

    Russell also said that he believes Harper is going to the Giants because he does not want to face the Nats 18 times and prefers not to look like a traitor. He did note that this was merely his opinion and no one had told him this.

    I am mentioning this because The Shadow [Phillies connection] said he does not believe Harper is even close to a decision and simply cannot see Harper going to SF. He continues to insist that its either going to be the Phillies or Nats.

    So, who knows? If Russell is correct, I cannot imagine that Boras can or will keep this quiet. On the other hand, as Hinkie mentioned, this could be the reason MM has not signed yet with the White Sox and in fact met a few days ago with AJ Preller of the Padres.

    1. The posters were mentioning 702 has gone quiet perhaps he knows Harper isn’t going to go to the Phillies?
      I was getting good vibes but not so much anymore. If this russell guy has good info, it may not be good us Phans. Hope I’m wrong

      1. Thank god…. it sounds like it is finally about done. I couldn’t take anymore …. like 6 weeks ago! If this dude is wrong, on the timeline, I’m going to troll his show

  127. 702 just responded and said his vibe, based on what he had been hearing was that Harper was getting antsy and wanted to begin facing live pitching and he felt a decision would be made this weekend. Shadow said the Phillies have not heard anything and he is skeptical that any decision has been made. It does seem to me that where there is smoke, there is fire.

    I guess what I am saying is that it sure does seem like this is going to end soon, too much noise for it to go on much longer. And if Harper signs, I cannot see MM being on the market much longer and if the Harper to SF news is correct, there sure will be a lot of pressure on the Phillies to get Machado.

  128. If Harper signs with SF, there will be multiple questions about the decision. How much is he willing to have his offensive numbers muted by Oracle Park (or whatever it’s called)? How many more years is he willing to suffer with a losing club that is light years from competing with the Dodgers and the other better positioned division rivals? And why would he leave all that money on the table by walking away from the Phillies offer? Does he feel any loyalty to his union brothers….uh, scratch that one. We know the answer already.

    Well, if it’s the Giants he wants, I guess he’ll be happier living closer to home. Just don’t want to hear about what a competitor he is.

    1. Giants were reported to offer him 6 years…means he comes out again at 32.
      Now do not know what the AAV would be..assume it will be $30M plus….they have the space this year ($173M)…and then they go down each year after, so i could see a 6 yr @$200/210M contract with them

      1. I don’t think the Phillies are going over 8 for either. They’d rather front load the contract, and hope he opts out. We have witnessed the end of the long term contract. Stanton got the last one imo, unless someone in a “super two” status gets locked up very early. Even trout, at his age, won’t get passed 6-8. 6 is fair, and from there they should do 1 yr deals with option year

        1. Agree.
          Macphail said every situation is different…but have to take into consideration the age of the player at the time…these two at 26 can long to a fairly lengthy contract.
          Maybe 8 max.IMO.

    2. The perception that he mostly wants to be a creature comfort rock star over a championship caliber player would be verified. IMO.

  129. I sure hope that the back channels have been open this whole time with Machado because Russell’s info has been good so far. I am not giving up hope yet for Harper, but this wasn’t great news, albeit the choice of team was only Russell’s opinion. Even with Klentak declaring that they ” had an objectively excellent off season” even without Harper or Machado, he’s wrong, and maybe he did fine, but the organization gets “excellent” marks only with the addition of one of them.

    1. matt13…the fan perception will be disappointment and unsuccessful if the Phillies do get one of them
      Even if Machado is the one…..there could be some letdown since apparently the majority of the people want Harper.

  130. If it is the Giants…Sabean was corr ct….no one had them picked to sign Bonds and they came out of the woodwork and signed him…..and if it is Harper, it will be more of the same.

    Phillies will have to make a concerted effort now for Machado if the Giants rumors are correct.

    1. Agree with you sr.
      And will be that way for awhile since they have no pitching and they are aging…Posey and Bum’s best days are behind them.

  131. There is a report that McPhail is having a press conference at 2:30 pm, can anyone confirm this? If so, McPhail is always the guy who tamps down expectations so…..unless the Phils sign Machado, a guy that McPhail loves.

    Again, who knows, as I am here on the Left Coast?

  132. It will only hurt if we don’t get Machado. Machado at 3B is a better fit, except for the need for a left handed batter. Machado’s D tips the scales. Then Franco gets moved for something of value, maybe to SD. And, we get to have Hinkie posting. But, losing out on both would royally hurt.

    1. MacPhail is answering questions from many reporters,
      1……still no answer on FA.
      2. Answering questions on Gabe and his off-season issues….he was fully vetted before he was hired…and they are satisfied with Gabe.
      No self-pity with Gabe at all ….not even as his house burned down to the ground.
      He is full of energy.
      3. FA market situation…..not a lack of a market…he is amazed at all the hooplah…..MLB teams signed FA last year almost to a tune of 1/2 Billion.
      He thinks it is a strategy employed by others ‘in their best interest’…assume he means agents.
      4. Last year’s performance was ‘ too erratic’…Franco, Neris, Williams and Doobie…one year more experience may help
      5. LTC…8, 8 10 years….case by cse situation…26-years old plat=y a factor….depends

  133. I think anyway this falls, the Phillies are going to be a great position. BH and or MM is a welcome addition, but I really believe that the timeline has been sped up, significantly. I’d prefer BH over MM for attitude and upside, but MM is the safer long term player to sign, minus his antics.

    We have a pitching staff and bullpen in place, more reinforcements on the way. If they sure up that defense, MM will help greatly.

    The Phillies scenario could very soon be like the Nats, that they don’t need Harper, they have Robles. Phillies will have Moniak and Haseley knocking on the door soon enough, minus the Massive contract.

    If BH goes to SF (what a bad career move in this fans eyes), MM will simply then be a Phillie. It’s that simple. The addition of Realmuto locks that in for me…. PA is a lot closer to his “home”. yanks are out to me, so we are set for MM then… and of course will have to wait even longer now 😂

    Sit back and enjoy, the end is near

  134. Tac3, I like your optimism, but when Mickey and Haseley become Robles, I think we will all be very happy.

    1. Matt – even watching years of Tom Herr can’t kill my enthusiasm.

      With a middle of the order of Hoskins,Realmuto,Machado and support of Herrera,McCutchen, and on The upside Kingery, Quinn, And Williams. It is good enough to win when you add in a young RF who is better than Williams, followed by a possibly replacement for Herrera to hold us until Trout.

      Get our arms in there, they will be at least wildcard hunting for the next 5 years, with expectations of the FO improving.

      There are many ways for the Phillies to get to the WS & win it. It doesn’t have to go through Harper or MM. you’ll see. Just relax and watch that supposed SP weakness go all year this time.

      If no harper, then I really hope he signs with the Giants, it will make the road the WS that much easier, than him to the Nats l

    2. Moniak or Haseley = BH? Say what? Look, I like Haseley quite a bit and maybe he turns into a good littler player, but he’s not a guy you can rely on being an every day regular right now, let alone a potential superstar. Let’s keep it real here. BH is a world of difference better than the other alternatives. He’s a potential massive upgrade – a potential 3-8 game improvement.

      1. I didn’t say that. Moniak/Haseley do not equal BH, nor does Bohm equal MM.

        The Phillies imo need 1 more big bat. Whether it is BH,MM, or trout, they need 1 to add to their current core offense. You can fill in with Haseley for now, and be ready to go whenever that last offensive bat gets here. It can be FA or trade.

        Let’s not get down if BH&MM go Elsewhere. The Phillies FO has put them into position to pivot if that happens.

        There are many ways to finish this rebuild off. The offense is just about complete, signing MM would top of off for me. That is a WS capable offens to me. If The rest is overkill. Spread the wealth to other areas of the team. Bullpen and bench are basically set to me. It’s one more bat and SP arm, and that “could” be developed from
        The farm, with a few more supporting pieces on the way.

        BH and Mm are not the end all be all

  135. I feel the need to repeat what I posted a little above. I listened to Chris Russell on WIP. He has a source who has been reliable to this point. According to the source:

    * Harper, his wife, Boras, and members of the Boras team have been meeting in LV since Monday.

    * The source also indicates yesterday, Harper made his decision, and was in a celebratory mood.

    * It might take a few more days to cross the “t’s” and dot the “i’s”.

    The prediction of where Harper would sign did not come from the source. Instead, it was Russell’s opinion that if the Phillies offer wasn’t overwhelming, Harper would pick the SFG’s because he felt Harper wouldn’t like the pressure of playing in Philadelphia, and he also thought Harper would feel awkward playing in the same division as the Nationals (“He wouldn’t want to be perceived as a villain in DC”).

    The interview was a little weird TBH. The first 90% of it, Russell seemed to lead the audience into thinking Harper would be a Phillie. Then, he gave his opinion of Harper to the Giants for the reason I stated above at the end of the interview.

    I’m sorry. I just find it very unlikely Harper/Boras would turn down the biggest offer/most guaranteed money because of fear of negative reaction upon Bryce’s return to Nationals Park.

    1. And I take back everything negative I said above about Harper if he signs with us😉

      Get it done, Hinkie! (I feel like you’re on the negotiating team)

    1. BH to SF and MM to PHI
      Here is why:
      Nats radio guy knows BH has signed. I believe him. His opinion is SF, is just that his opinion, but I believe he is correct.

      BH probably doesn’t want to face his old teammates
      BH probably doesn’t want to hurt his relationship with the lerners
      His wife probably wants SF over PHI
      And …
      He is probably pissed off that the Phillies won’t put the 9/360 offer back on the table. Something tells me he won’t be able to mentally get over signing a lesser contracf from the same team. Ego, etc

      Yes … I’m sure he doesn’t want to be a villain in DC either. He could opt out and come back in a few years once they can hit him on the team. LeBroneque

      …but I am feeling MM to PHI, to me it’s a lock if Bh goes to SF. Bad for his stats but good for his heart,mind, and family.

  136. I resolve to not be disappointed. We’re too good a fan base to not have a little luck on our side. Haseley is not BH but I do believe he can be pretty darn good and he could be up sometime this year.

    Bohm could come quick too. If we miss out many will probably bash Johnny cash for the stupid money comment. I won’t be one of them. I appreciate what John was trying to do in the heat of the moment.

    I’m ready for to play some ball!

  137. It’s funny hearing people knock these guys now that it’s not so sure that they want to sign here. It’s a bad look. And to say that Harper isn’t one of the best in the game is laughable.
    Also who knows what the Giants plans are for the future. They’ve been to more WS then we have over the past however many years, no? I’m back on the I don’t think we get either train 😒

    1. EricD…IMO, if you are correct, and the Phillies get neither of BH or MM….then can see them going out and signing DK for their rotation

  138. I won’t be disappointed either way. I told @Sr…over 5,000+ posts ago in October that I didn’t think we would get either one. I must say it has been enlightening from than to now. Hinkie you might want to consider what your taking to Elba.😎

  139. am I missing the post that says we aren’t signing either player? if someone has that information, please let us know. we have one washingon journalist whose personal opinion is SF. do boras clients really turn down biggest offers?

  140. Trevor Bauer speaks on MLB FA solution:
    “…..Trevor Bauer made the Cleveland Indians cringe, the unemployed free-agent class think and the players’ union listen. In addition to airing his grievances about the arbitration process and the “character assassination” he endured, Bauer presented his own radical idea for getting the money he believes he’s worth….As free agents have struggled to land long-term deals over the past two winters, the 28-year-old believes that signing only one-year contracts would make him affordable to all 30 teams, even with an annual price tag of at least $35 million.”

    …Charlie Finley suggested this 40 plus years ago…..all players sign one year contracts…and become free agents every year….supply and demand will balance out the the mass number of unemployed.

    MLB owners rejected the idea.

    1. Marvin Miller also nixed the idea. He wanted a small amount of players reaching free agency each year Low supply, more demand. The pendulum may have swung back in the owners’ favor, but increasing the supply certainly won’t help the players.

  141. Herrera

    Is a pretty high powered offense. I think some are discounting Segura. He can improve coming to CBP as well.
    Add in A big step forward from Kingery, a small step for Franco, and Haseley. I think it’s better than some are thinking it will be

    The bullpen will be near the top of the NL. The bench will be top notch, and the SP is closer than we think. Not homerism either. If Nola can reasonably repeat, we can reasonably expect Arrietta to improve now his knee is healed. Throw in the stats from Hinkies link on Pivetta,Efflin,And VV breaking out … you can see it.

    The bigger area will be to be clutch vs our division rivals. If they do, it is going to be hellva year. Add in MM for more insurance, but the team should be in position from the FO as is to compete for the WC and/or division as is.

  142. I’m reading some unrealistic postings above. Here’s the reality – the Phillies need a legit #3 hitter to contend in the division. If they do not sign one of the two, they will not contend. They may not contend even with one of them if the starting pitching doesn’t step up. The Phillies do not a #3 hitter in their organization. Not a single one. Bohm, Haseley, Moniak, Randolph, and Kingery are all top draft picks but none are potential #3 hitters. Garcia is too young and too faraway to know for sure. Klentak – sign one of the two please!!!

    1. Player 1:
      .265/.344/.455 triple slash, .342 wOBA

      Player 2:
      .270/.340/.484 triple slash, .353 wOBA

      Player 1 is the MLB average #3 hitter in 2018. Player 2 is Realmuto in 2018. Let’s not get too caught up in labels. Our offense is fine with or without one of the big two. Plenty enough to compete. I’d still like one of them to make us even better, but they aren’t a necessity.

      Also, for those concerned about our pitching staff; we ended the year 6th in MLB for fWAR, 7th in FIP, and 6th in xFIP. First in our division in all of those categories. We’ve gotten better. The Nats may challenge us in that regard, but their BP is still suspect. The Mets are a giant injury risk and they haven’t improved as much as we have.

      The team as-is has a great chance to win the division. One of the big two is just icing on the cake at this point (which I expect, because who has cake without icing?).

      1. 7th in FIP, and 6th in xFIP. ….and with Seura at ss, Realmuto behind the plate and anyone but Rhys in LF…….the defense should be shored up even more.
        Now adding Manny for third ensures the icing

      2. Necessity? I don’t care if an impact corner outfielder or third baseman is a necessity. Right freakin’ now is the opportunity to improve the ball club even more so. To sluff it off as, yeah it would be a nice luxury to have one but we’ll be okay without either is total malfeasance if you’re a front office executive of a team with loads of cash to spend, then turn and say, we’re good. C’mon!

        1. Like I said, I expect them to still add one of them. I also want them too. But it’s unfair to say we can’t compete with the team as is. We absolutely can. And if no amount of money will sway either player to put on the right pinstripes (which I severely doubt), then we can still applaud our front office for an offseason of great moves.

      3. Dan the best part is his road split last year was .283/.350/.520 with a .372 wOBA and a career .310/.358/.494 with a .364 oba. Pretty crazy to think about him potentially improving on those numbers.

        1. Everyone would welcome another bat or even 2. I don’t see if being necessary.

          For this year, the road for that playoffs is through the NL East. You can add Corbin, Cano, Realmuto,etc It’s not going to matter if you don’t take care of business against the East. Corbin can pitch 8 shutout innings … and if they bullpen blows it in the 9th, that is really going to hurt this year, more so than others, with how tight race is expected to be. The divisionAl losses will be less forgiving than other years. The best aspect the Phillies can have is to be clutch vs the Mets,Braves,And Nats while pounding the fish.

          Adding another bat isn’t going to mean as much if they go 0-4 vs Degrom. They need to win those games. They can’t go 8-11 vs the Mets this year. I don’t even want to look up their record against the Braves last year cause I know it’s worse.

          This year will be better to be lucky than the stacked team. It’s just a different dynamic that we’ve seen for a long time, with 4 teams in east in the top half of the NL.

          1. Tac3….they were 17-34 last 51,
            ….they go a little over .500 those last 51 games…27-24…and they are there.
            I think they have addressed some of those flaws in the last 51 games.

            1. Romus, agree. See my post below about the Braves numbers vs the NL East & the rest. The Braves can’t get much better against the Marlins but the Phillies can! I’d say all the team minus the Marlins closed that 10 game lead. Whoever wins the division, should only be around a 3 game lead. 5 would be the most I could see

      4. I’d be more curious about what a average playoff team #3 hitter is than a league average. This isn’t basketball or hockey. Average teams do not make the playoffs. Eapecially not in this division this year.

        1. Ask and ye shall receive.

          .271/.354/.473 triple slash, .353 wOBA

          So he stacks up in that regard, as well.

      5. You’re drinking the coolaide. You can’t compare against all #3 hitters, compare against the playoff teams only. We need Manny or Bryce. No question.

  143. I am trying hard to remain optimistic and hold onto Hinkie’s Thesis but if Russell is correct about Harper and the Giants, I figured I would begin to see a few things coming out of the Bay Area from “those in the know” and sure enough, here it was.

    I am a subscriber to The Athletic and because I am and always have been a huge Warriors fan [grew up in the Bay Area] I get the Bay Area news [Warriors, Raiders, 49’ers and Giants] as well as the Philadelphia stuff [only care about the Phillies here.]

    And sure enough, there is a new article up, written by the Giants beat writer.Grant Brisbee, for The Athletic entitled “Don’t worry about the money Bryce Harper will make if the Giants sign him.” Now, at first glance one could surmise from the title that perhaps Brisbee is just trying to convince fans that IF Harper were to sign for outrageous yearly amount he might be worth it.

    But Brisbee goes into great detail about how watching Harper will be so much fun and entertaining and ends the column with this…”buckle up, because we might have an answer before the 2019 season starts. Can’t wait.”

    Now if I am allowed to connect the dots here, from reading the article I suspect [hope I am wrong] that Brisbee has been given some inside information that he is not allowed to print yet BUT if he wants to write about the possibility, feel free. If you read the article it sure sounds like Brisbee knows something…and its not good for the Phillies.

    Given the timeline,it sure would fall in line with the reports that an executive from the Nats was in Las Vegas earlier in the week and then left for West Palm Beach as Chris Russell did say that Boras had promised the Nats one last chance to top any offer and Russell did surmise on the radio that he was pretty convinced Harper wasn’t coming back to Washington.

    I sure hope I am wrong, feeling very deflated right now, but that article sure reads like it was written by someone who is ready to burst at the seams with the info that he knows…and is doing all he can to keep from screaming it out loud.

    And one more thing. McPhail sure looked like a beaten man today, my guess is that he might have been told the news from Boras that Harper was going west. Again, I hope I am wrong…but I have always been an advocate of the Duck Theory…if it walks, quacks and swims like a duck, its probably a duck.

    1. As MacPhaill said in reference to one of the writers question on the free agents at hand….’the Phillies are only one-half of the equation’
      I just hope Andy can do his magic again with Machado as he did in 2010……but that was with Boras as the agent and it happened a few minutes before the deadline for draftees to sign.

    2. Well it’s had hope but I’m not too crushed as I had a feeling all along that the Phillies wouldn’t get Harper.
      It’s fine to make Machado a rich man! Phillies can give him the Harper contract.

  144. Just saw that Harper commented on Hoskins new post on instagram “suhhh kid_”

    Hoskins was saying missed this walk to work with a pine tree in reference to spring training.

      1. No clue but some are taking it as a good sign. All I know is i’m Glad he isn’t posting on any Giants players instas

  145. Braves will have a hard time getting back to 90 wins in 19. They won the NL East going 22 games above .500 at 49-27 for a .644 winning %. They went 8 game last below .500 vs the rest at 38-45 for a .457 win %. I don’t see them playing as good vs the East this year. They went 14-5 vs the Marlins, I can see that repeating, but not the rest. 12-7 vs phils. Phils tighten that up 10-9 and play the Marlins better, it’s a large part the 10 games back they finished back. Of course not all will go so well, but right there is a realistic path to get this team closer to 90 wins. Don’t slack off agains the marlins, and play the Braves more evenly. Should be doable given the uogrades

  146. Anyone notice the 🤘 sign? That’s Rhys deal!

    Also you know that i don’t know but I really know shrug people give? 702 did that when people were discussing Harpers signing happening soon

  147. I still have no doubt the Phillies sign one of BH/MM (my self imposed 6 month ban is still in effect). I also think Harper is the guy the team eventually lands, despite Chris Russell’s opinion. I just find it hard to believe Harper/Boras would settle for less money just to avoid a negative reception when he returns to Nationals Park. That makes no sense.

      1. Hinkie, when is enough enough?

        I’m with you on Harper coming here. Machado has barely been on our radar since his Dec visit to CBP. If Harper’s little social media bites with Hoskins doesn’t lead to his arrival here, he will be hated exponentially from when he wore a Nats uni. It’s one thing to not like Philly, but to “like” Rhys’ Instagram posts is nothing but taunting this fanbase if he opts for SF or WAS.

        1. 8mark – Wow, you’re up early. I can never remember a more boring offseason. It’s been three months of the same articles, opinions, and posts. During the World Series, I predicted that the Yankees would sign Machado within a week. I saw this “dog and pony” show last winter, and thought that Manny wanted no part of it. I should have known better. I had been a part of several union, and individual negotiations, and they always drag out until the final minutes.
          I still am optimistic, and sometimes in life the expectations are worth the wait, but in this case I’ll be devastated if we come up empty-handed..

          1. Good morning, Wawa. Yeah it’s early but Hinkie’s been burning the candle at both ends. And it’s 4am in Vegas, no?

        2. Their friends. He has to stop doing things he would normally do bc it might get fans exited for no reason? That seems kinda kid like . . .

      1. Yesterday, while shopping at Walmart, I was looking for Bryce Harper. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve run into Mike Tyson and former Eagles linebacker Jerry Robinson in the same store.

      2. 8mark – I agree
        It’s less stressful when you’re not getting duped by fake insiders (fake buster olney) and people jumping on you.

        Now that I’ve trusted Hinkie and the trusted media, I am at peace.

        1. Looks like Jon Heyman from last evening….who seems to have a direct line to Boras….is being a little coy and non-committal:

          Jon Heyman‏
          Verified account
          16h16 hours ago

          Think the #SFGiants are doing well with their opportunistic approach this winter. They’ve enhanced their depth at minimal cost. Big question is how aggressive they will be with Harper, but like what they’re doing so far.

          1. On the other hand, Eliot Shorr-Parks mentioned the American flag arm sleeves that Harper wore last season. The Phillies are (coincidentally or not) giving them away this season. So…there’s that😶

  148. Speaking of the Giants, its obvious that they think they have a chance with Harper. Yesterday, their GM Farhan Zaidi, who is a disciple of Friedman and the Dodgers and loves to tinker, admitted that their are several moves he can make but is waiting to see what Harper does. Now, admittedly, Boras always likes to keep teams thinking they are involved, but reports coming out of the Bay Area are that the Giants might go as high as $40 million a year on a short term [3 years] deal.

    Boras has said that he is not interested in a short term deal BUT Boras also wanted Harper to take that reported 9/360 deal earlier in the off season and Harper said no. My point here…Harper may be that rare player who really does tell Boras what to do and not the other way around.

    If Harper took that deal he would be a free agent again at 29 and may believe he could still corral a 5-6 year deal after the next round of negotiations between the MLPA and the owners. I really hope Middleton is taking the Giants seriously because from my vantage point here on the Left Coast, and knowing the Giants well, I think they are serious.

    Remember, they got Barry Bonds when no one thought that was possible, and they can trot out Mays, Cepeda, Marichal and McCovey Cove. The negatives? Seem like a bad team to me, and one that even if they get Harper is probably a 3rd place team in their division. Harper has a career batting average of less than .200 at the Giants park and he will definitely see his home run total dwindle by 10-12 a year, its a Bataan Death March out to right field in that park.

    One more thing worth noting. I think Hinkie is correct that it does seem that the Phils have put almost all their money in the Harper Bazaar, especially if the Gomez report is true that the Phillies are a distant 4th in their offer to Machado, a guy we all know that McPhail and Klentak love.

    This also tells me something else. Machado has probably been told that if the Phils lose out on Harper, they will top any offer MM receives from another team so hang tight. Honestly, this would explain a lot about this seeming stare down between Lozano and Boras. Lozano is trying to keep Machado out their in case the Phils have the money to pounce, and Boras probably knows this and wants to keep Harper out their in hopes that Machado will sign with Chicago and make it easier to get more money from the Phillies.

    Look, we can still take the view that the Phils are seemingly in the cat birds seat but I also think its a dangerous game of musical chairs. I still think that its soon going to be time for the Phillies show all their cards to these guys and may the best may sign.

    Because if one of the Yankee shortstops looks bad, gets hurt or simply doesn’t pan out they could re-enter the market and Boras always believes that injuries in the spring can cause a seemingly disinterested team to enter the fray.

    By the way, it seems that Chris Russell is getting panned on some Phillie sites but he has proven to be wrong yet. Remember, he said that the final contract details were being worked out this weekend, crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s as he put it. I hope this is not the case because it was reported that Howard Eskin saw Middleton in the hallway and asked him about the radio and Middleton said he heard it and was non-committal. My point here? Trust me, if and when the T’s are being crossed and the I’s dotted and it involves the Phillies, Middleton will NOT be wandering any hallways in Clearwater. The fact that he was is a bit disconcerting to me, but who knows if Russell was correct or not?

    1. CD –
      Sounds like no harper then?
      Phillies should now pivot to Machado before they lose out on both as I predicted earlier in offseason.
      I do not want to be right

  149. 8mark…LOL, not meaning to be anything but positive, merely trying to present a balanced view of how Boras sees things. He is a different guy, one that can prove maddeningly frustrating. Still have faith in the Phillies to get this done! Plus you must remember I am here on the West Coast and probably hear and see things that aren’t reported in Philadelphia. Just trying to let Phillies phans know what is being said on the Left Coast, a place where Harper does live.

    1. Forgive me if you read this post from me 50 times before … but … “Nothing has really changed”. As far as I can tell, there is still only one team willing to give Bryce Harper a long term/stoopid money contract (unless the Nationals are ok with going into luxury tax hell, or rid themselves of a group of other key pieces of their club going forward. And, I doubt they do that). According to most reports, It seems the last two teams standing are the Phillies and Giants. If SF is hoping to reel Harper in with this reported 3 year/120 million dollar offer, how is that going to compete with a long term, front loaded deal from the Phillies? Here is the abridged version of the 10 year/310 million dollar deal I’ve been posting Middleton could/should make:

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

      This offer gives Harper 124 million over the first three years. Would it really be worth it for Harper/Boras to take SF’s extra 6 million total over the first three years and pass up the Phillies’ extra guaranteed 196 million dollars ? Harper/Boras (and Machado/Lozano) are going to accept the pact that gives them the most guaranteed money. 310 million > 120 million.

      Also … remember John Middleton entered this winter willing to spend stoopid money. I was under the impression he would shell out 400 million to land his face of the franchise superstar. The market appears to have dried up for that kind of contract for Harper/Machado. Looks like the Phillies now won’t have to go anywhere near that figure, but it just goes to show John Middleton still has a lot more bullets left in his gun to win any shootout with the Giants, Nationals, or any other team.

      I like what the team has done so far, but MacKlentak and Middleton understand this squad still needs that “GUY!” They need Harper to sell out CBP, hike TV ratings, and just make the Phillies entertaining again. This team has been manipulating their payrolls the past three seasons to make sure they’d be well armed to sign Harper/Machado this winter. I don’t know the date, but I’m still certain they’ll get one, and it will most likely be Bryce Harper.

      1. Hinkie – after your well planned laid out contract for Harper – don’t forget the onerous state/local taxes in California. Even though Harper would only play 81 games in California (at home- now add back the Dodger/Padre games) say 100 games altogether, he would have to pay 13% tax on 61% of his $ 40 million per year. And I am only cuffing these numbers since I am not a tax accountant. That means Phillies would have to pay him a whole lot less $$$ to just be even with what he would receive in SF. Now when you make 40 milliion a year that may be irrelevant – but at some point it becomes “real” money. In your example, he would be way far ahead with the Philly money net net.

  150. So, the great offer from the Giants is 3x$40 Million? I can’t believe that gets it done. First, Boras wants the highest contract, not the highest per year. Second, Harper would have to go back on the market after 3 years in SF, a ballpark I enjoy visiting, but one that will deplete his stats. So, we can’t beat that # anyway, and by a lot? I expect one of the two to sign here. I will be very disappointed if that doesn’t happen, and I am not going to delude myself into thinking we are good enough without one of them to make the Playoffs. I don’t think we are. If Harper goes elsewhere, and we don’t blow the WSox out of the water, then that falls on Middleton. And, MacPhail can have a hundred press conference talking about how we are improved, and it is not good enough. Sure, we are improved, but with everything we have done this off season, we are not improved enough.

  151. Macphail needs to stay away from media. Every time he opens his mouth, fans get depressed and cancel season tickets. He’s the anti- PT Barnum showman

    1. Sr,,,LOL…he has been that way a long a Twin and an O.
      I guess it may run in the family.
      i can tell you one thing……if Gabe does not get this team out to a good start with or without BH or MM….and if by May 15 they are something like 15-27….look for Buck Showalter to be coming.

  152. TrollU..I certainly did not mean to imply that I believe the Phils aren’t getting Harper. Logic would seem to indicate they are in the driver’s seat. But I am cautioning Phillies phans that the Giants are serious, and that the Phils should take them seriously. Look, I have made it clear I never was concerned about the Padres and it does seem that a whole bunch of hoops would have to be jumped through for Harper to make his way back to Washington.

    But logic doesn’t always play a part in why someone falls in love with San Francisco and reports here on the West Coast are that Harper’s wife loves the city by the Bay. She has been communicating with Brandon Crawford’s wife and has received a personal invitation from Mrs. Crawford to come to SF and tour the city, an invitation that Mrs. Harper seemed to indicate she might accept.

    My point is not to suggest the Phils won’t still win this game, they probably will. But I also sense that they are playing a waiting game, figuring they can always jump in at the end and in this case, that strategy may be flawed. I sense the Giants are giving him a full court press and Boras does have a good relationship with the Giants.

    I am not being an alarmist, but merely trying to point out that to me San Francisco is a whole different organization that some of the others. The Phillies didn’t take them seriously enough in 2010 and we all know what happened that year. The Phillies have the cards to win this game…but it seems to me that its time to play them before Mrs. Harper gets out there to visit Mrs. Crawford.

    Money talks…but so do wives. And Mrs. Harper has attended every important meeting this off season for a reason. She will have a voice in her husband’s final destination, I am convinced of it.

  153. I suppose what I am suggesting is this…Romus has consistently mentioned 9/333 as a number that would likely get this done…higher than 325 [Stanton’s nyumber] and an AAV of 37 million. Front load the deal with outs after maybe 4 and 6 years.

    The question Phillie phans might ask is “why should the Phillies bid against themselves?” My answer would be..because its worth it to get this done and make sure no late round challenger jumps in. The Phils will more than make up in revenue any money they spend in “overpaying” for Harper, heck the reports were that the day it was rumored that Harper had signed, the ticket box offices were swamped.

    Bryce Harper has the means to win over Philadelphia in a way that Manny Machado never could, not because he isn’t as talented but because of the way they play. Harper says Philadelphia through and through, Machado not so much.

    To me, up to now the Phils have played this well…playing each agent against each other and letting both players know that they will not be outbid. Kudos to the Phillies and I applaud them. Getting Realmuto moved the scales even more, big plus.

    But now its time, in my opinion, to close the game. I believe Russell in at least one area…Harper wants to get to spring training, bond with his teammates, start playing ball again. I believe this. I have maintained all along that the Phils will have to top $325 to get Harper signed, Boras will demand it. I believe Middleton knows this as well and will eventually capitulate.

    If so, why wait? Get Harper signed and into camp so the Phillies can begin receiving all that revenue that is simply waiting to be captured.

    1. Wives!
      Hard to live with them at times….can’t live without them at all.

      Heck Rhea Hughes can give Mrs Harper a tour of Philly…..start at Chickies and Petes, down a few brews and have some crab fries…. and go from there!

    2. One bullet that Boras/Harper can use is to tell Middleton to make it $325M-ish over whatever the number of years, or they will take SF’s 3/$120m. It’s a risk but at least they would help expedite the closure of a deal.

  154. The Washington Post is out with an article [sure Hinkie, who is good at this sort of thing! and thats a compliment] trashing Harper and suggesting the team will be better without him. One player said that Harper was a bad example for the rest of his teammates and then said “print it!” Also said that the Nats have known for months Harper was not coming back.

    This would sure seem to make those Nats official to Las Vegas this week meeting credible, my guess is that Boras told Washington they were not coming back so now the Nats are in post Harper mood.

    Would also somewhat correspond with Russell’s report that he didn’t believe Harper was going back to DC. Here in SoCal the talk is that the Padres offered Machado a huge deal and he is inclined to take it, we shall see.

    Looks to me like its SF or Philly for Harper.

  155. Players are getting disgruntled….talk of collusion in the air more and more:

    “It was stressful and it kinda dragged on forever,” Brad Brach said Friday morning at Cubs camp. “You hear about interest in the first week and then you don’t get offers until late December, January and you’re just kinda wondering what’s going on. Teams say they like you, but they’re not making you any offers. Then you finally get offers and 6 or 7 teams are giving you the same offer.

    “It’s just a weird process and nobody really knows what’s going on right now. Obviously I would’ve liked the experience to have been a little better. I’m just glad to be here now and glad it’s over with for at least this year and hope to pitch well enough to be here again next year.”

  156. CD, I agree with you. I don’t care any more about bidding against ourselves. It is time to get this done, and get the player into camp. There are other moves to be made whichever way it goes. Go in, and close the deal. Middleton time!

    1. If Harper signs with SF, the upside is that the Nationals are weaker. The Phillies can then outbid SD for Manny. It’s a win-win.

  157. Howard Eskin spent a half-hour speaking with Matt Klentak this morning, and pretty much got him to say nothing.
    Who does Klentak prefer? Either Machado or Harper would be great fits.
    Wouldn’t/couldn’t speak about Mike Trout.
    Klentak did have some nice things to say about Cole Irvin.

    1. His comment, when he was asst to Jerry Dipoto, on Jered Weaver signing before free agency and why he signed with the Angels indicates that he is apparently prepared to accept the outcome and move on, whatever Harper and Machado decide to do…. if money is not central to their decision..
      Also tells me the Phillies have the most money to offer to them.

      1. Romus … the difference between the two examples Klentak brought up (Weaver and Nola) is they signed before reaching free agency. The reality is if a guy is willing to risk injury/injuries to finally make it to the open market, they’re looking for one thing: the most guaranteed money.

  158. OK … time to play “Guess The Unnamed Vet”.
    My guess: Stephen Strasburg

    It’s quotes like this that should fuel Bryce Harper to want to return to Nationals Park as often as possible as a Phillie to extract revenge.