Open Discussion: Week of March 11, 2019

The Phillies made their first spring roster moves over the weekend.  Infielder Arquimedes Gamboa and RHP Adonis Media have been optioned to Reading.  Infielder Malquin Canelo, catcher Deivy Grullon, 1B/OF Austin Listi, outfielder Mickey Moniak, and LHP JoJo Romero have been reassigned to minor league camp.

Sorry for the brevity of this piece and its lateness.  I was very sick over the weekend.  The minor league teams are playing intrasquad games today and tomorrow before they begin their spring training games.  I hope to make tomorrow’s game.

Major league camp has 55 players.  Minor league camp now stands at 187 players.

The 40-man roster stands at 40, the entire organization stands at 366.

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics that are not about some mythical Trout trade or his far off free agency.

Key Dates:

  • March 13, 2019 – Minor League Spring Training games begin
  • March 28, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 season home opener v. Atlanta (3:05)

The rosters and lists are up to date (almost).

Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
3/10/2019 – Phillies optioned SS Arquimedes Gamboa to Reading
3/9/2019 – Phillies optioned RHP Adonis Medina to Reading
3/5/2019 – Phillies signed FA RHP Pedro Beato, assigned to Lehigh Valley
3/4/2019 – Phillies transferred INF Bradley Haslam from Military List to Williamsport
3/3/2019 – Phillies signed FA CF Miguel Tejada to an MiLB contract, assigned to DSL White
3/2/2019 – Phillies signed FA RF Bryce Harper
2/28/2019 – 2B Johnny Weeks assigned to Williamsport
2/27/2019 – C Jonathan Rodriguez assigned to DSL Red
2/27/2019 – RHP Fausto Pediet assigned to DSL Red
2/26/2019 – Phillies signed FA C Jonathan Rodriguez to a minor league contract
2/24/2019 – Phillies signed FA 2B Johnny Weeks to a minor league contract
2/23/2019 – Phillies signed FA RHP Fausto Pediet to a minor league contract
2/21/2019 – Phillies signed FA 3B Trevor Plouffe to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
2/18/2019 – C Drew Butera assigned to Lehigh Valley
2/13/2019 – Harold Garcia released by Reading
2/12/2019 – LHP Christopker Soriano assigned to DSL Phillies Red
2/11/2019 – RHP Ruben Aponte assigned to Williamsport from DSL Red
2/11/2019 – RHP Jeison Blanco assigned to Williamsport from DSL White
2/11/2019 – 1B Maximo De La Rosaassigned to Williamsport from DSL Red
2/11/2019 – 3B Juan Herrera assigned to Williamsport from DSL White
2/11/2019 – LHP Yefferson Mercedes assigned to Williamsport from DSL Red
2/11/2019 – Phillies signed free agent C Drew Butera to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
2/11/2019 – Phillies signed free agent LHP Christopher Soriano to an MiLB contract
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

259 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 11, 2019

      1. rocco….did have his velo going for him…..but how many pitches will he throw in any one outing will always be a mystery.

          1. Sounds plausible. All we need is oyr #3 thru #5 to pitch like their # in rotation nothing more or less. More would be nice.

      2. Man, our relievers are getting torched today. Arano has won himself a spot at LHV and Morgan is close to getting DFA’d. And why is Nacasio here? Remember when we thought we had a terrific deep bullpen? Maybe not…

  1. My favorite thing is the Harper transaction in the middle of a bunch of minor moves; just looks funny hah.

    I am sure they know what they are doing, I personally would have liked to see JoJo face ML hitters a bit more, but nothing to get actually upset over

  2. Once again the BBs are killing the pitchers! Vinny issued 2 BBs and both reached the home plate! It’s only ST and the command should eventually improve but BBs can haunt pitchers like Pivetta, Vinny, Eflin and other pen arms.

    1. Vinny looked like the exact same pitcher as last year. he has 30 command IMO. his balls are not competitive and so he works a lot of deep counts. and then he leaves strikes out over the plate.

      1. Looks like 2019 will make or break Vinny as a SP option. Medina, DLS, JoJo are knocking at the door with Howard getting closer and closer.

      2. Agreed. I caught a glimpse of the game earlier today, VV was pitching, felt like 2018 all over again. He still has time this spring to get it together.

        Does anyone else get the feeling that VV doesn’t look confident on the mound? I feel like he is pitching scared. The best pitch I saw him throw was the the 1st out of 2nd Inning, a riding fastball around the letters to SO the batter. Probably is, it took way too many pitches to get there, and he already had the bases loaded.

        Again he has time, but early indications are that not much has changed.

        I missed Eickhoff, we shall see.

  3. If you want to understand why Kingery struggles, look no further than this image: https://cl.ly/a354f7cf6fc4

    He has a 2-2 count. pitch thrown off the plate. he swings anyway. his body is already open and falling out towards third base so he is reaching for the ball. hits a grounder to short stop and is out.

    1. he should have never swung at the pitch.
    2. if he was swinging, he needs to drive that pitch the opposite way. that is an outside pitch.
    3. his body is out of balance and falling toward third base.

    last year 40% of his swings were on pitches outside of the zone. you simply can not hit mlb pitching if you swing at that many balls. he is a mess right now.

    1. I’m a big Kingery fan but he’s not a major league hitter right now. He needs to play in the minors for a while and fix his problems and why on earth would you make him a regular right now? He was one of the worst hitters in baseball last year.

  4. v1 – Sounds like he’s stepping in the bucket. I used to lay a couple of bats on the ground in that area. After the batter falls on his butt a few times, he learns to step toward the pitcher. It’s simple and effective.

      1. He has all kinds of hitting issues. He swings and misses. He takes strikes. Swings at balls. Has a hard time picking up good breaking pitches. Has a hard time fouling off borderline pitches. I think he’s a lot better than this but he’s seriously struggling for the first time in his life as a ballplayer and he’s pressing something awful. He could use 2 months in AAA for sure.

        1. He needs to adjust and he needs to let the game come to him. He’s trying to force outcomes – a real no, no as a hitter.

  5. I repeat what I said last year. He was done a disservice. I didn’t think he should have been up until half way through the season. He needed more time in the MInors, and he is all out of sync now. Being a platoon, utility guy this year will not help him.

  6. matt – I agree! Versatility is nice, but Kingery needs a permanent position to play. It seems that, even with Hernandez injured, Gabe refuses to give him time at 2nd Base. I beginning to think that another option may be to trade Herrera and make Kingery the every day Center Fielder.

    1. I think my head just exploded. Trade Herdanez, now trade Herrera for a guy who cant hit a fast ball. what am i missing. Is this guy really babe ruth, I said it last year after i saw him play, now you are seeing the things i said, he cant hit a fastball and chases bad pitches. but why dont we put him in right field and let harper go

  7. rocco – When you have an excellent line up, you can afford to have one weak link. I think that Kingery will be more productive playing every day at 2nd Base or CF, and batting 8th. If you’re old enough to remember the “Big Red Machine” a guy named Cesar Geronimo played CF and hit near the Mendoza line until about age thirty.

    1. First thing is Kingery hasnt shown he is a elite Centerfielder. so why do we weaken our lineup for him? Yesterday he should have caught that ball hit to center. Second if i use your example of Geronimo. Cesar had a five yr run of playing every day. his lowest obp was 321, His lowest average was 258 in that run. Kingery is a stirkeout machine. why him over Herrera? i just dont understand your logic or love for Kingery. He hasnt shown anything so far but good speed.,Maybe i am wrong but i cant remember a guy who couldnt hit a fastball like him. who became a good player

        1. I think it’s pretty simple he needs to be sent to a minors camp. They are only compounding his issues at this point. This is a human being who was given quite a bit of money before ever proving himself in the MLB.

          That in and of itself carries a burden. I always likened him to Peter Bourjos who is still in the league by the way with the Angels again. A great kid who can do everything well on the diamond except hit consistently enough to be an every day player.

          1. Agree…..probably needs to be in LHV for about a month or two facing Triple A pitching….get about 150/175 PAs and playing regularly.

      1. Kingery always chases the high fastball and is a sucker for a 12 to 6 curve. Obviously he needs to be more selective, maybe in ST he should not swing until he gets 2 strikes so he gets more pitch recognition. Just a thought.

        1. Denny…..he was always a 15% K rate guy early on…then after tasting Reading and seeing his ISO and SLG increase he ticked up to 18% in 2017 and now in MLB up last year to 26%.
          He needs to adjust.

  8. Observations from a slightly biased Eickhoff phan, aka the Phillies soon to be #5 starter. In what i believe is his first start of ST, he looked behind as expected. I don’t care about the results just yet, but his sllder and curve are on, with decent FB locaton. His slider was avg 85 mph, with his curve coming in at 77. Both looked good, ahead of where I thought i’d see at this point. He was throwing his downward plane FB, and straight as an arrow FB, avg 91-92. We’ve discussed this before, we are hoping that he can regain the 2 mph on his FB to get back to 94mph when needed. If so, I think he takes VV out of the starting rotation a month or 2 into the season. They both have time, but as others have said earlier, VV looks to not have learned much over the offseason. Lets give him time, but his trajectory looks like it is pointed straight for bullpen. At least that is my gut feeling after seeing him today. I would still want to see improvement from him to be given a role for 7th on. I’m pleased more wiht Eickhoffs work today than VV, but both have a little ways to go. That said, its to be expected. I hope one of them can emerge so they phillies don’t have to tap the FA market for a high priced upgrade. At this time I would like to keep our payroll space, and prospect value. First glimpse of VV didnt instill the confidence he will be in the ST all season, and not due to injury

    1. The key to Eickhoff’s long term success will be the development of his SL. The CB is still awesome but Eickhoff repertoire is too CB heavy that batters will catch up into his CB eventually. Eickhoff’s FB lacks velocity and movement that he needs to locate it nicely otherwise it is there to be hit. Although it is nice to see that the FB reached 94. If Eickhoff developed a consistent SL, then he will be a solid #4/#5. I don’t expect too much on the SL, so maybe the Phillies may need to help Eickhoff to develop a high-80s Cutter.

  9. For those who have not watched Bryce’s first two spring games, both teams employed a 4 OF 3 infielders on right side shift on him. I have never seen this before and have been processing it for a few days. My conclusion…if he is smart, and a team first player, this will be great for him and the team. If he is a macho tough guy and tries to hit into it, his value will drop dramatically.

    There are those who will say, “the pitchers want him to slap the ball on the ground the other way.” That is wrong. If the pitchers wanted that, and felt that he could do that, then they would walk him. The pitchers want him to macho up and hit into the shift.

    But I think this can be good for him and the team if he is smart.

    Here is his career splits with the bases empty .267/.361/.504=.865. Which are materially worse than his career numbers with men on base .295/.420/.523=.943. He also strikes out less with men on base 22.4% vs 19.5% and walks a lot more 17.8% vs 12.3%. Simply put, he is a money player who turns it up with men on base. If you look at his OPS by batted ball, all of his damage (no surprise) is done on fly balls and line drives. But that was the past. That scenario is over with a 4 man OF. Over his career, he hit 118 doubles or triples with the bases empty. With a 4 man OF most of those are likely outs. But let’s just say that drops in half, that puts his batting average with bases empty at .235. And his ob% to .328. If he can effectively slap the ball the opposite way he could literally get on base 100% of the time against the 4 OF shift. The probability of scoring a run with a man on first (instead of bases empty) basically doubles https://library.fangraphs.com/misc/re24/. So any scenario that more than doubles his OB% will produce more runs for the Phillies.

    By having zero infielders on the left side, the pitcher is giving him first base. If he takes it, they will go back to a traditional shift where he returns to his normal elite production. Be smart Bryce.

    1. IMO BH has always demonstrated an incredible eye and the ability to hit the ball to all fields. In fact during his first AB yesterday they put up last years hit spray chart it was pretty even with the highest number being to the middle LC-RC.

      I don’t think you can slap 95 on the hands to the left side. Snells sequencing yesterday suggested that early in the count they would try to get him to roll over on something. 1st pitch he buries a Curve Ball to him in the dirt. Clear sign he is going to pitch him backwards.

      When BH got it to 3-2 Snell hits him with gas on the inside corner. I didn’t see anything good by Snell on the outer half is my point. Clearly more data is going to be needed.

      BH will go as the hitters behind him go and if this keeps up at some point I might consider batting him in the lead off spot.

      1. I have defended defensive shifts, but having four outfielders is no longer a shift. It’s a rewriting of the game. We are to have three outfielders. Now, where they want to position themselves is up to them, but the rules don’t say four outfielders.

          1. v1, yes. I’ve since been instructed that the letter of the law does not limit the game to three outfielders. But the spirit of the law is the game is played with three outfielders. So, I say, write it into the rules, though it admittedly would take some deft writing.

        1. @SWFL Frank I mentioned yesterday somewhere (its gone) that if we did ban shifts why would anyone care? After all this shift business is only something that has taken off in the last few years.

          I don’t think its something the players would push back on. I think they hate it as well.

          Most wouldn’t even recognize that it was gone or that it was a rule.

    2. With no opt outs to potentially reset his value, Bryce will work with the coaches to combat against the defensive shifts that will be employed against him. If the batters in front of him starts to get on base, Bryce can also be patient since the pitchers do not want multiple runners in the bases when they pitch to Hoskins, JTR and Doobie who I expect will be batting behind Bryce.

    3. The hitters hate it and the fans don’t like it. Employing a 4 OF shift against Bryce Harper is going to get shifts banned very soon.

  10. As for the shift, I have been a baseball purist for my entire life as a fan, until I realized that my game may never return to its old form in my lifetime. The pendulum seems to swing between favoring pitchers/defense for a while, like recently, or batters back in the ‘rhoid ’90s. I can only assume it will swing back eventually, no pun intended. The shift is kind of like a phenomenon that needs to play itself out until finally some decision makers and profiteers realize it’s not good for the game, as in $$$$$$. For decades I have been against the DH. But more recently it dawned on me that pitchers are no longer expected to contribute anything offensively, nor even try, so what’s the point of wasting a spot in the batting order. So I wave my white flag on that.

    I don’t care for the shift. I think there are reasonable measures to keep it from making a mockery of the game without removing the strategy it’s supposed to provide. My biggest issue is that the rules allow baserunners to actually attempt to steal the next base, and statistically they are successful more than not…as opposed to batters who reach base much less than 40% of the time. And yet the stolen base is becoming a dinosaur. Bunting has virtually already in the grave. But organizations have moved to resign themselves to the disinclination of players – be they lazy or egotistical – to work at these particular skills and merely cater to their tendencies. That to me is what analytics is and why they have taken over the game.

    Baseball is still the greatest game despite these things, and I have no intention of boycotting it in any way. I only hope that the symmetry which makes it so appealing to me is restored sooner than later.

    1. The DH makes a manager useless. Guys pitching a great game tie score. two runners on in 7th inning. Now the manager has to decide do i take him out or let him hit. in american league you dont have to manage. I hate the DH. Really with the dh you can use a computer in stead of a manager. Why dont people see the difference. They will ruin baseball, just like they are trying to do in football. cant touch the QB, so many bad calls on hits to QB the league will become flag football soon.

    2. What I’m waiting to see is when some small market team decides to buck the trend and build a team that is made of up fast, high contact players that play small ball, bunting, stealing bases, etc. Players like these are not expensive and are not in high demand.

      Not only would this type of team eliminate much of the advantage of shifting but it would also take advantage of what is happening in baseball where positions like 3b and the corner OF positions are becoming more offense focused at the expense of defense..

      1. Agree, 3up. The St Louis Cardinals of the early to mid ’80s are the prototype to counter the current trends. Nothing disrupts a pitcher’s level of comfort on the mound, or the defense behind him, than speed, aggressive baserunning, and the possibility that maybe just maybe, the batter may lay down a drag bunt to shrink the infield. But no. Let’s ignore that part of the game and wait around for homers, walks and strikeouts. Sad.

        1. Three True Outcomes (TTO) — home runs, walks, and strikeouts…is the driving force for the players to garner the dollars. Now you have a metric solely dedicated to it….. TTO% = ((HR+BB+SO) / PA) * 100%. Batters now are acclaimed when they don’t put the ball into play.
          And so the good old -fashion bunt does becomes an unintended victim of this new analytical surge.

      2. 3up, Watch Kansas City this year.
        Not only do they have Whit Merrifield but Adalberto Mondesi! He’s one of my favorite young players. He has incredible speed and pretty decent power too. Plus they signed Billy Hamilton in December. Those three could steal 150 bases!
        8mark, they’ll be reminiscent of the ‘80s Cardinals teams, albeit without the same success.

    3. 8mark, I’m with you. I wave the white flag on the DH. For reasons I’ve stated previously, it’s just time. Both leagues should mirror each other for inter league play and the playofFs, to set an equal playing field. Again it’s just time, but I absolutely hate the DH.

      As much as I hate the DH, I hate the shift twice as more. To me, it has ruined the game. It takes a significant amount of drama out of the game IMO. It will eliminate doubles and triples. I believe it increases SO. The shift on Harper, makes the game boring. Why do we want to see a superstar player hit line drive in the gap for an easy out? He should be able to beat it, and he probably will, but not every player can, and i don’t want to be “entertained” by the players that can’t. On the INF shift, I miss the singles being hit back up the middle. I hate the shift for it. If the 4 man OF takes doubles and triples away, I’ll lose it as a fan. I can’t wait for the MLB to ban this, it has gone to far to the extreme, it needs to be reeled back. Ban the shift!

    4. I’m a youngish fan at 31 but I also don’t like the shifting and strategy of most hitters these days. The problem is that the data backs up the notion to play this way. Until the data changes, teams and players won’t change.

      The game is more entertaining with more balls in play, but it’s not the most “correct” way to play it. I’m not for the idea of banning the shift either, but baseball will have to figure something out.

  11. Speaking of bans, Hinkie does know that we signed Harper, right? Hope he hasn’t taken his 6 month sabbatical anyway. We will be lost on draft coverage.

          1. Well my wife acted like it was a titanic re-enactment every night, while trying to sleep. Granted we had some rough seas, but … never again. I got the point that I was hoping it would sink! The room service was nice though, 15 LBS is easily doable on a cruise ship

  12. Jim – hope you’re feeling better. Any more news from minor league camp? Games start tomorrow right? Looking forward to box scores.

  13. Hinkie is working with Johnny A on the draft…..he has done yeoman work on Jim’s blog that discusses the draft and prospects.

  14. League and players move to eliminate August trades. All trades must now be completed by July 31st. That should really hit up the summer hot stove.

    I wonder what else they have been discussing!

    1. Hopefully the elimination of the shift, at least what it has morphed into. You guys know how I feel on it. I can also see them adding the additional roster spot as well, especially since the way FA has shaken out this year, would probably help some guys gets some jobs they might not otherwise.

      1. I’m with you Tac3. Only 2 IF allowed on both sides of 2B. I would allow a 5 man IF in a walk off situation defined as the winning run is on second or third.

        As for pace of play the area I would attack first is replay. It has to be quicker. Then we can move on to automating the strike zone.

        I get so frustrated watching a game where the strike box is up and the pitcher hits said strike box and the ump calls it a ball. Or vice versa. Umps wear an ear piece if the ball hits the box he hears a tone STRIKE.

          1. LOL I don’t remember watching McCovey live but I can appreciate that. I also would NOT eliminate the depth an IF can play.

    2. Shortening of between-inning breaks…they may run some TV ads during the game like soccer does on a split screen or in one corner of the picture..
      What does that mean to the fans……shorter dash times for the pee breaks

  15. I believe that there was half as many trades in August as July. So, teams are going to have to make a Buyer/Seller decision sooner than they did. I doubt the amount of trades will equal previous July/August combinations, but should make July a bit more interesting.

  16. Hard deadline, shift limits, and shorter breaks are all welcome changes for a sport in dire need of simple improvement and fan appeal. It’s a good start to bring back relevance to the game …

    1. I hope for all the true baseball fans. The guys who love this game, and its history they dont ban the shift .There were shifts on certain players in the seventies , you cant be a pure fan and want the changes, like must face three hitters, make the mound farther, limit the defense, If you cant adjust against the shift then your not a team player, just a greedy person looking to build his hr and rbi stats. hit the other way and punish the other team with always having runners on.

      1. Meh I don’t think you’re respecting how hard it is to hit a baseball with the amount of gas guys are throwing today.

        I for one am not for moving mounds back or having a required number of batters rule. I’m not in favor of the DH in the NL.

        So while there were shifts employed in the past (on rare occasion) it was never the blight that it is today. Shooting the ball up the middle or through the hole on the right side is team play.

        Your position is actually counter intuitive to what a team player approach would be and reward.

      2. Rocco: this seems almost like a trolling comment, but I see your viewpoint, I just disagree. The game has skewed too far on pitching/defense. When you limit the possible outcomes of a pitcher/batter duel to a SO,BB,HR, or long single … it hurts the game imo. Also, INT superstars does the same thing. I don’t want to see the options limited on a batter. Heck it would be nice if the player could beat the shift by hitting the ball the opposite way … but players don’t seem to be able to with the way a pitcher can throw inside on them. It’s frustrating to watch, and takes the drama out of the game imo. Imagine if Barry Bonds actually got pitched to when he was roided up? I don’t want baseball to turn into a game without doubles, triples, singles up the middle with 2 strikes, a runner on 2nd coming into score with a throw from CF to have a play at the plate. I takes too much away from the game.

    2. Incentive bonuses are always a motivator. Tell the players union that if they can get the average duration of a 9-inning game under 3 hours for say, a trial period from opening day through the Sunday before the all star break, then they get X% increase above their salary. Then it becomes a collective effort. Perhaps they should also include managers and coaches 😉

  17. I’m not hot on signing Keuchel but something tells me that as each day rolls over to the next, the Phillies will wind up getting him ala Arrieta last year, only for much less. Maybe 2/$45m.

    1. He was a former CY winner correct? I’m getting the same hunch you are, but my position is to roll the dice with what we have internally until the deadline. This offseason, we spent a large portion of our payroll flexibility, and not touching our prospect capital, minus JP Crawford, id prefer to keep open what we have, and use the prospect capital we have built up at the deadline to address if necessary. I can see VV to the pen and either Suarez, eickhoff, Irvin, Anderson, DLS, and possibly Medina being ready by the deadline. Probably not Medina but the others are realistic, and playoff baseball gets crunched to 4 SP anyway. Tell me we aren’t going to roll Nola out on short rest repeatedly in the playoffs? No need to sign Keuchel, IMO, unless he somehow takes a 1 year deal

        1. Lol … I try to block
          It out of my mind. Sixto&Alfaro for Realmuto, I’ll take that. Rest of my point is still valid. Keep the payroll flexibility for now, spend some prospect capital if necessary

  18. JP Crawford was optioned to Tacoma by the Mariners. 5 weeks in AAA will give Seattle another year of control, through 2024.

  19. Being a purist is just for the historians. Sports in general is an entertainment business and the leagues will adjust based on the needs of the paying customers. If the paying customers complain that the game is too boring, then commissioners will make rule changes to satisfy the paying customers because without the paying customers, the leagues will be dead!!!

    If you don’t want to make any rules and retain the purity of sports, just watch the olympics or any international sports competition.

  20. Okay, here’s my take. When even super-avid baseball fans as the posters on this site say the game has become dull and takes too long, it’s time to fix it. Here are my proposals:

    Judgment calls:

    1. Tell the umps to speed up the game and to call balls or strikes if a player takes too long. No more Odubel in and out of the box, or Jorge Alfaro walking around home plate after every pitch. No more pitchers staring motionless, then stepping off only to step back on and stare motionless again.

    2. Don’t ban shifts, but limit them so as not to make a travesty of the game. The game should be played with three outfielders, not four. How those kinds of rules are written would be difficult, but do it.

    3. Speed up instant replay. Some replays simply take way too long.

    4. Limit a relief pitcher’s warm ups on the mound if he has had satisfactory time to warm up in the bullpen.

    Non-judgment changes:

    1. 20-second pitch clock.

    2. Reduce time between innings. TV can make up for lost ad time by charging more like they do in cases outside of baseball.

    1. Good general ideas. They will not reduce time for TV commercials – they want revenue, so you can forget about that, but the other ideas generally work. I would also limit the pitching changes. A relief pitcher should be required to work to a minimum of 3 batters or 30 pitches in an inning, whichever comes first – the idea of having 3 or 4 guys pitch to 3 or 4 batters kills the momentum of a game and makes innings 6 through 9 a painful and boring marathon. Of course, you could take a pitcher out if he is injured, but then he has to go on the 7-day DL – no fake injuries.

      I agree that shifts should be limited. Other sports do things like this – why not baseball? What is and is not a permissible shift can be studied and decided. And those rules may change over time. What’s so bad about that?

      Batters should have to be back in the box within 10 second of the last pitch. No more Andy Knapp adjusting both of his batting gloves between EVERY PITCH (you will curse the moment I told you that, because when comes to bat now, that’s all you’ll notice, he’s like a human rain delay in the box).

      A new pitcher should be required to be ready to pitch within a set time (two and a half minutes?) after the pitching change is declared. This way, action is ready to resume after the commercial break. If he wants to hustle out there and throw 10 pitches that’s fine, if he is slow and throws 3 pitches, that’s his problem. It’s about keeping the pace of the game up.

      Games are taking over 3 hours and the pace is too slow. They should be shooting again for the 2:40 or 2:45 game. It can definitely be done. No question about it.

      1. Catch, We agree on most of your points.

        FYI, MLB apparently has agreed to reduce time between innings. Again, broadcasters are accustomed to setting rates based on availability. They can do it with baseball.

    2. SWFL – it’s an accurate litmus test when avid fans are telling you the game needs to speed up & other changes. I hope baseball is listening. It needs to adapt imo.

      A lot of great ideas thrown out by posters here.

      The goal of the “adaptation” is to speed up the game, keep momentum going, and increase the entertainment factor without straying from the games hx all too much.
      I’d up the roster spots, it’s good for the players and fans. The pitch clock has already been done in the minors, bring it up. I’d do something similar for then batters as it is maddening to watch Alfaro circle around the batters box … as if he doesn’t know what it looks like as a freaking catcher! Then to boot, he would SO a lot.
      I would not allow 4 tradition OF, or even a 4th OF playing shallow RF/LF. If you think a player is going to hit a bloop single, pull in your OF, or have your pitcher Strike him out/ground out to an INF.
      I would limit the INF shift to 3 infielders on the right side with the left playing no further than typical SS position. If you want to shift, fine, but you have to leave 3B open.
      Not sure I’d implement a 3 batter rule for relievers, 2 might be better imo. I would rather go with a set # of “speciality pitchers” you can bring into face 1 batter.
      I would limit the INT walk to 1 per batter per game.
      I don’t want to see Trout have the bat taken out of his hands all game.
      Having only so many times you can have an INT walk, # of relief specialist pitchers can add a new wrinkle to managing the game.
      The one firm deadline a year im not in favor of, but I think it’s good for the players&their families, so I see them getting that.

      Also, I’d bring the DH to the NL. I’ve explained it before. It’s time.

  21. How the DH works for the Phillies. Harper, Realmuto, and Hoskins could all get a day off per week, but we would still have their bat in the lineup. Without the need to PH for starting pitchers, we could go to a seven man bullpen, and a five man bench.
    Unless you’ve played the position, most people don’t realize the beating that catchers take. Going with only two catchers shortens the career of the starter, because the back up is rarely used as a pinch hitter. Baseball should expand the rosters to accommodate a third catcher.

    1. 2020 will be the start of 26 man rosters, with a 13 pitcher maximum. In Sept, it will be only 28 down from 40, and a 14 pitcher maximum. I agree that benches have become difficult to manage since pitching staffs are now used the way they are.

      I would suggest that in the case of 5-man rotations, the four SPs who are between starts should not be roster eligible for that particular day’s game. Why squeeze the bench as an expense of having 4 idle players each game? Lengthen the benches to allow the manager more flexibility with his options to pinch run, pinch hit, and make defensive substitutions. Otherwise, the rosters still seem imbalanced.

      1. ….to clarify, I would propose a 30 man roster throughout the regular season, but only 26 “dressed”, with the 4 SPs in between starts ineligible for each game.

        1. I propose that you disband the Marlins And rays.two teams who shouldnt be in the league. with poor attendance and other teams having to support the marlins. cause they cant draw. then take the 50 players and make the roster 27 players.

          1. rocco..the Rays are there, and will still in place, for awhile, because the SF Giants , were denied the opportunity to move from one Bay to the the other Bay…that is Tampa, in the early 90s. Bob Lurie , who owned the Giants sold the team to a group from Tampa….but the league stepped in along with other interested SF area parties and prevented the move.
            Tampa then was promised their team when the next opportunity came up for expansion in the late 90s…and so there they will stay…unless of course their new ball park plans do not materialize, then who knows what will happen..

          1. SWFL – We’re currently building a stadium for the Raiders, and a minor league Ballpark. Our Property taxes and Rents are going through the roof.

        2. 8mark, Clever suggestion. I hadn’t thought of it but it makes sense to make starters inactive between starts. A lot of sense. Great suggestion!

      2. 8mark, OMG are you crazy!?! Give the manager more options? That will just lengthen the game! Can you imagine a manager stopping a game to insert a pinch runner? The runner will need time to stretch since he was just siting on the bench for several innings. Your suggestion would also take the bat out of MadBum’s hands as a pinch hitter. Just kidding

    2. Mike Fassano, there would still be a 4-man bench with the DH. You don’t gain a player since the DH becomes the 9th man in the line up. With a 9-man line up, a 4-man bench, and a 5-man rotation, bullpens would be reduced to 7-man staffs as you stated. Until next year when the roster is expanded to 26 men.

        1. I addressed that. You didn’t. Check your math. With the DH, there would still be just a 4-man bench with a 7-man bullpen, I’m not going to spell it out again for you, again. Re-read my comment.

  22. My game-shortening ideas – Post 1

    Good general ideas. They will not reduce time for TV commercials – they want revenue, so you can forget about that, but the other ideas generally work. I would also limit the pitching changes. A relief pitcher should be required to work to a minimum of 3 batters or 30 pitches in an inning, whichever comes first – the idea of having 3 or 4 guys pitch to 3 or 4 batters kills the momentum of a game and makes innings 6 through 9 a painful and boring marathon. Of course, you could take a pitcher out if he is injured, but then he has to go on the 7-day DL – no fake injuries.

    I agree that shifts should be limited. Other sports do things like this – why not baseball? What is and is not a permissible shift can be studied and decided. And those rules may change over time. What’s so bad about that?

    1. My game-shortening ideas – Post 2 (the ideas referred to are those posted by SWFL Frank)

      Batters should have to be back in the box within 10 second of the last pitch. No more Andy Knapp adjusting both of his batting gloves between EVERY PITCH (you will curse the moment I told you that, because when comes to bat now, that’s all you’ll notice, he’s like a human rain delay in the box).

      A new pitcher should be required to be ready to pitch within a set time (two and a half minutes?) after the pitching change is declared. This way, action is ready to resume after the commercial break. If he wants to hustle out there and throw 10 pitches that’s fine, if he is slow and throws 3 pitches, that’s his problem. It’s about keeping the pace of the game up.

      Games are taking over 3 hours and the pace is too slow. They should be shooting again for the 2:40 or 2:45 game. It can definitely be done. No question about it.

      1. “They will not reduce time for TV commercials”….don’t bet on that.
        Understand discussions of dual in-screen active time has been proposed.

        1. Romus, there is constant advertising going on while the games are in progress. Hell, almost every pitch has a freakin’ sponsor. The problem is merely the time between innings, pitches, groin scratching, ball rubbing, etc. I agree with your split screen idea or better yet, relegate to below screen scrolling of ads.

          1. Heard former players on MLB Network talk about shortening, not doing away with it, the between innings break and MLBPA are thinking of having it as one of their proposals. I assume that TV ads added like you say as on-air partial screening.
            FIFA has done that..

    2. So its tie game harper is up. two outs ninth inning, i cant bring in a lefthander? To have to say any pitcher has to face a certain number of batters, imo makes no sense. thats not baseball. All your doing is trying to save time. Baseball is the one game where you dont lose because of time. Which i love. In other sports with a minute left and a decent lead you just hold the ball, i guess that is okay?

      1. Of course they’ll bring in a lefty. But if he doesn’t get Harper out then he’ll have to face Hoskins also. No team will have two lefties batting in order like the Braves did last year with Freeman and Markakis. Loogys will have to be able to get righties out. Or maybe they only come into the game with two outs. New strategy will be needed, not the worst thing.

  23. With the Phillies playing two today (Pitt & TB), we should get a good look at Arrieta. In the “B” game Drew Anderson gets the start. Another good start from him should put to rest the talk of acquiring another starter. As of right now, Anderson looks to be almost ready for the Show. I expect another round of cuts today or tomorrow.

  24. A little of tall and rangy LHP reliever Zach Warren from xxx videos:
    He could be a first climber this year.

    You’ll have to stop posting her stuff here. She’s never told me I could use any of her stuff. She’s funny about people using her stuff. She’s already blocked me on twitter. I don’t need any more drama down here. Thank you.

    1. I love prospects like Warren and Dohy. IMO the sign of a good farm system is that it routinely pumps out good relievers. The fact that we have $30m committed to 3 middle relievers really is a waste of resources. They all come off the books this year so hopefully our farm can replace them. really free up budget to spend on big ticket guys.

      1. As of now, Johnny appears to have more success in finding pitching arms than position players — particularly the pen arms. Among the RPs, Keylan Killgore (another LH) is the one I like the most and Waylon Richardson (the Phillies might try him as a SP first) if he returns back intact from injury.

        With a lot of really good pen arms in the farm, RP prospects like Addison Russ, Connor Brogdon, etc are flying under the radar.

  25. Looks like the club is taking a long look at Haseley in spring training. He won’t make the team, but is definitely a guy whom might be the first OF call up in case of an injury.

    1. With no options left, Altherr will likely go north with the big club until Quinn (who also has no options remaining) returns. Then either Altherr must be DFA’d or traded, or Williams will be optioned or traded. Problem is, with Quinn’s tenuous health, which makes more sense? I think Haseley gets a call up in Sept but unless he’s going to start, I can’t see him up here before then.

      1. With Doobie locked up for few more years, Haseley coming up soon and Mike Trout as another possibility in 2 years time (oh yeah, i said it!) …. the Phillies can really gamble on Quinn’s health issues and upside. I like to keep NickyDubs but he has the most value in a trade so Klentak should be open in trading him if Nick brings back a decent trade return. Altherr, Morgan and Neris are the homegrown talents that we might see the last of them in Phillies uniform this year. Klentak will trade them for something.

      2. If Haseley does well early on, and Klentak has an opportunity to trade for a difference making SP, you can almost bet Haseley will have to be included in any package.

        1. if it a SP with year under control, then Haseley is a MUST. But if it is only a rental like MadBum, Klentak will hesitate,

        2. Altherr looking terrible. Can’t even put a ball in play, stuck out twice so far today against Pirates. On a team like the late 60s early 70s Orioles he could be a Paul Blair but not sure we could afford a player like AA on the roster.

  26. If using ST as a cue, the key for the SPs will be the BBs. Once again the BBs screwed the Phillies last night as 3 issued BBs reached the homeplate. Aside from Nola and Arrieta – the 3 projected SPs (Pivetta, Vinny and Eflin) had struggles with their command in the past., I’m more confident in Pivetta and Eflin that not only they will improve their K rate, but also their BB rate. Vinny has a wider pitching repertoire than Pivetta and Eflin as he can throw up to 5 different pitches – but the issue is (as everyone know) — his ability to command all of them.

    Eickhoff has good command but his location of his FB and SL can be spotty. Eickhoff normally managed his BB rate but he gets hits a lot because of his location.

    JoJo and Irvin will be added in the 40-man at some point this year. Irvin is like a LH Eickhoff (ability not stuff) so it makes sense to spend the rest of 2019 in AAA to develop an out pitch. Ranger is OK, but I’m not high on him. I rather trade him for something in return. Enyel is also a good option but he needs to develop a decent breaking ball, otherwise, he will be destined to be a pen arm,

    So I’m down with JoJo and Drew Anderson. I like Anderson because I like pitchers who knows how to pitch (pitchability) and Anderson is a “pitcher” and not “thrower”. The development of a 3rd pitch – high 80s Cutter (or some called it as a power SL) brings Anderson back as a SP option. I still need to see Anderson carry his velocity and command deep in the game not just 3 IPs. As JoJo. I think JoJo has the highest ceiling among the MLB ready arms that can be called up – and he’s LH too!! The current number crunch is probably the main reason we may not see JoJo sooner.

    I think Nola will be Nola and Arrieta will be a solid stabilizing veteran who will have mixed results but we might see an improved Pivetta and Eflin. The Phillies doesn’t have any breakout potential in their position players so the young arms are ripe for a breakout!!

  27. Too bad that the game today vs Pirate is not televised. Can’t wait to see Luis Garcia in LWD!

      1. Very refreshing after years, even decades of overprotectiveness. As if these youngsters will melt from the exposure. If they’re worth their salt, they will learn from the experience. And we’ve been long awaiting a prospect on the fast track. Garcia may not become a star for all we know, but let’s push the needle a little.

  28. Cuts will come soon but they have games on Monday and Tuesday on the east coast of Fla. My guess is that mostly young guys and 4A guys will make the trip (the first in 10 years I’m told). Then they’ll get cut when they get back. As for the 25th man, everyone assumes it will be a 5th OF (Altherr vs Quinn). There’s a chance the team wants to keep another IF especially with Kingery now playing CF frequently and the fact that no one can play 1B. Franco can play it but hasn’t tried it all spring. Kingery hasn’t tried it either. I was expecting Williams and or Altherr to bring out a 1B glove but I haven’t seen it happen yet. There’s several 4A guys in camp who can play multiple IF positions including 1B. Even if it’s only until Quinn comes off the IL. Altherr looks like the odd man out. I hope they can get something for him.

      1. I’ve heard Kingery is In the mix for backup 1B. Surprising to me but that’s from our announcers. Also, Cozens,Franco, and Realmuto were mentioned. They seem to have a slew of options.

      2. I’ve heard Kingery is In the mix for backup 1B. Surprising to me but that’s from our announcers. Also, Cozens,Franco, and Realmuto were mentioned. They seem to have a slew of options.

  29. Similar trend again….

    Batters — too much Ks
    Pitching — issuing BBs that turn into a scored runs and it is not even halfway the game!

    Arano is having a horrible ST!!!

      1. Drew Anderson looks like a pitcher not a thrower. Must ve cerebral when you pitch like him and think your way through the game. P/E/V V are too much “throwers”, need to think it through

        1. Interested in seeing how they do after March 20th…the last half-dozen games of spring training. It will be their last starts before the regular season begins.

          1. it looks like Anderson is lock to start in LHV where he can continue to develop his new Cutter and as I suggested earlier – his CB. The battle will be for the 5th SP between Eflin and Eickhoff.

            With only 16 position players in the 40-man and Gamboa and Walding need time to work on their weaknesses, the position players are almost predictable with the only decision to make is how many bench players to carry. Kingery is the Super Utility, Knapp is the C/1B. Altherr playing all OF positions — the Phillies can afford to carry only 4 bench players so they can carry additional pen arm.

      2. I don’t have the chance to watch the game and I can’t DVR it since it is not on TV. I followed Anderson most than anybody in the site. Anderson still needs to tighten up his CB (still loopy) because that’s his best pitch to get batters out. The Cutter is a new pitch, he commands it well but it is still not an out pitch. My checklist to be a successful SP is always been:

        1) Command of at least 3 pitches
        2) Need an out pitch (pitch that can strike any batters out)
        3) Carry command and velocity past 5 innings

        Nola and Pivetta checked all the 3 boxes. Eflin needs to work on #1 and #2 while Vinny fails #1 and #3. Eickhoff has #2 checked with his CB but need to work on #1 (SL) and #3 (location of his FB-SL).

        Looks like Anderson is checking #1 and is close in checking #2 with either the CB or Cutter. #3 has been my concern for Anderson that’s why I project him to be pen arm who can pitch multiple innings.

      3. Romus m8 take care. just saw that baseball will have the three batter rule in 2020, which is so stupid. I will not be following the game anymore. as i stated. to take away the loogy or to say, you cant bring in a guy to get out a certain player isnt baseball. Take care and hope you enjoy this season.

        1. rocco…assume you bring in a LOOGY for a hitter like Harper….then just walk the middle/second batter intentionally…still counts as one of the batters….then go after the third batter.

          1. I’d say they need to refine this rule, by allowing 1 reliever a game to face 1 batter, the rest must face a minimum of 3 batters unless injured.

      1. Altherr has been a terrible player ever since he joined the 40-man. He’s all tools and he is running out of time to put it all together!

    1. Nicasio gave up 2 free pass (HBPs) that turned into 2 ERs!! Phillies better hope that this trend will not carry into the regular season!!

  30. KuKo, the more I envision VV as the #4 SP, the more interest I have in Keuchel. Nothing in ST has dissuaded me from the position that we need SP help, and yes, we can wait until July, but that will cost prospects, really good prospects, vs. Keuchel who will cost $. I am not talking about a Multi year contract, but 1 year and an option would work for me.

    1. matt13…..Phillies will still lose another high pick and more international money….they are considered prospect slots in the end game.

    2. I have no problems with Klentak signing Keuchel as long as it is a smart signing not just for the heck of it. I’m actually OK with Gio Gonzalez as alternative since Gio can probably be had for 1yr (2 yr tops). As I’m looking at Jake Arrieta now (not good), this is a preview of what we will see at Keuchel in 2-3 years time,

      I think the Phillies have good enough depth in the SPs to be a key contributor in the success of the 2019 season. However, as I been emphasizing in my recent posts — command (BB rate) is one of the key indicators of a future success and most of the young SP arms have command issues in the past!! We focus so much on the players, but maybe, we also need to have Klentak to get the best available pitching coach out there, Because this trend of giving up to many free passes that scored runs will hurt the Phillies in winning a tough NL East!

  31. Can you guys imagine the absolute beast Dylan Cozens would be if he finally put it together? Homered the other way and singled today.

    1. ST is probably not the best gauge, but if Cozens can cause damage in AAA, he can force Klentak’s hand to push him up in the queue. I would love to see the Bash Brothers reunited. Compared to Rhys, Cozen has bigger red flags to overcome. NL East is notoriously dangerous for the hitters with Max, Stras, Corbin, Thor, deGrom, etc pitching against the Phillies multiple times.

  32. Romus, I think Cozens has had a terrific ST, but don’t you think he needs to bat every day, and AAA is the better spot for him? My view on Nick Williams is that his value will keep getting lower as there is not much room for him on the Roster. Sure, he pinch hit well last year, but he doesn’t play defense very well, cannot play CF, so his value as a 4th OF is minimal. Cutch plays most games and Harper should play most, as well. If Herrera and Quinn, with AA as the emergency CF, that leaves Nicky Dubs with no where to go except AAA. If we don’t get Keuchel now, then who do we have to trade to get a top arm in July? And, if we are not looking to trade for a top SP, then we should get Keuchel now. Again, I don’t go more than 2 years. But, the SP is worrying me.

    1. Cozens would benefit from the new 3 pitcher minimum rule. But his value would be maximized in a platoon, facing primarily LHPs. Problem is, with Cutch and Bryce at the corners, who would he share time with? He’s a tough fit for this roster, let’s face it.

      1. In a traditional sense, I’d agree. In the game today with super utlility players, I can see him getting enough st bats, especially with the DH games. Kingery Could spell 1B through 3B, that’s 4 starts a week for him. Possibly dump him in CF like we was apparently in the completion for. Give cozens 3 starts a week, spellnh each OF portion, then the pinch hit at bats, and all the DH games. If he takes off, then you can think about trading herrera

        That can work in today’s game, 15-20 years ago probably not

    2. matt13…agree he would be better in LHV if he wants ABs….but he is 25 years old in a few months….time for him to be in the majors. He has had plenty of Triple A ABs.

  33. Since they have analytics for just about everything these days, curios to hear from those who know about the minor league pitch clock. My understanding is that it has been around for 2 seasons? If so, I’m interested to hear about the number of pitching injures each year, whether increased or decreased. Curios to see how the pitch clock may effect a pitcher’s health. I can see an argument for and against it helping/hurting pitchers. Was there a spike in elbow inflammation, TJ surgeries, bicep tendinitis, etc May not seem significant but added up over the course of the season, it
    Interested to see if any trends started, maybe the avg number of innings pitched from SP went down or up.

    1. Pitchers have no issue with a clock….they want to fire the ball as soon as they can…..hitters have the issue. Should be called a hitters clock.

    2. As a season ticket holder in Reading and Lehigh Valley, I haven’t observed a higher-than-normal injury rate over the past two seasons. It’s important to note that the pitcher can manipulate the clock in two key ways: if the clock is running low, he can simply step off the rubber to stop it. One the other side, he can wait to step into the “dirt circle” until he’s ready. Also important to note there are many times the clock is off—following a foul ball for instance. It’s pretty much a non-factor other than cluttering up the park.

      1. I believe the rule actually reads:
        “If the pitcher feints a pick off or steps off the rubber with runners on base, the timer shall reset and start again immediately.”….so stopping and resetting the clock when he steps off the rubber is allowed, as I interpret it, when runners are only on base.
        I could be wrong on that however.

  34. Jon Heyman just tweeted that the Phillies gauged the market for Williams and Altherr early in the off season in anticipation of acquiring Cutch and Harper. So while it’s been a tough go for veteran OF FAs, he suggests 2 landing spots may be either SF or CLE. Even with Quinn on the shelf for now, I have to think that either Altherr or Nicky Dubs may be moving on before opening day.

    1. @8mark – one of the predictions I posted in the site if the Phillies will be actively engaged with CLE for Williams (or Doobie) + young SP (Eflin, DLS) for one of their SPs (Kluber, Carrasco). I thought Carrasco is a good target until CLE locked him up. SF doesn’t have a farm equity so they might gamble of Altherr’s upside.

      Other than CLE, one of the trade targets I have for Nick is SD who is looking to contend and dump some of their OFs like Myers. TEX is another possibility for Nick who is a local boy. Cole Ragans and Kyle Cody have down year, I trade Nick for those pitchers. AJ Alexy is another target of mine.

  35. 8mark, I don’t think either bring much back, although SF and Cleveland are 2 good landing spots. After Jake’s performance today, and yes, I know it is ST, I am more worried about SP. I believe we will have a strong BP, and if Neris can command his splitter, a really strong BP. SP is an issue though.

  36. Saw the game today in Bradenton and it was nothing short of a major pitching collapse on ALL fronts. The Pirates hit Arrietta hard first – more important his velo was good (92-94) but he threw as many balls as strikes – I think final count was 32 vs.33 BB/K. Altherr had several opportunities to drive in runs and struck out twice and made an out in his last time at bat. He left at least 4 men on base in the first 2 AB’s. Knapp did a good job hitting albeit he was the only one with more than one hit.

    Bullpen was awful. Collectively pitchers threw more balls than strikes, gave up several home runs and namely, Nicasio and Ramos looked especially poor. Morgan didn’t look a whole lot better but did manage to give up a homer but threw more strikes than balls. Hammer looked the best and he seemed to specialize in low 90’s heat (94 high) with a nasty change-up in the low 80’s. Paredes gave up an inherited runner/run but he didn’t look all that bad. From what I saw today I would sign Kimbrel immediately – as the depth and breadth of the pen was not good today. Then look at the other split squad game vs Rays and Arano got lit up yet again.

    Luis Garcia did play and looked very smooth in the field but didn’t handle a ball. He batted once and hung in until he was struck out on a nasty low and outside 96 mph f-ball (full count) by Nick Burdi, the best Pirate pitcher of the day. He looks smaller than his stats but appears to have a certain “flair.”

    This was my 4th Phillies game and it must be Kapler’s dream come true – multiple lineups, players in multiple positions, but sadly for him, not many shifts and defensive alignments. The policy here seems to be – use 4 of the regular players in a game one day then shift to 4 others in the following day’s game. Have not seen Harper, Realmuto, yet.

    The best news – Pivetta does look really good and so does Segura ! Hinkie seen with Johnny A and his clip board.

  37. As I see it, there are 17 locks to be on the opening day roster, and 12 players on the bubble. Assuming that Hunter and Quinn start out on the Injured List, that leaves 10. The players that I’ve listed on the bubble are Drew Anderson, Eflin, Eickhoff, and Velasquez, Anderson and Eflin could be sent down, but Anderson has been their best pitcher thus far. He’ll get 2 more starts to prove that he belongs on the big league roster.
    In the outfield, I have three locks. McCutchen, Herrera, and Harper, but Altherr, Cozens and Williams are on the bubble. The Phillies will keep 5 OF’s , and Kingery can fill in if someone gets injured (short term). Williams can be sent down, but would that be fair? Cozens has played well enough to earn a spot, and with 2 weeks left, he could force his way onto the roster. Altherr plays all 3 positions well, In any event 1 must go, and 2 will stay. If 1 of the 3 isn’t traded by opening day, I expect Cozens to be sent down, but another problem will arise when Quinn becomes healthy. Cozens, Williams, and Quinn should all look attractable to a rebuilding team. If Cozens is sent down and continues to hit, another decision will have to be made in the beginning of May. Expect Klentak to make a deal within the next few days, hopefully to benefit the farm system.
    My locks for the bullpen are Dominguez, Neris, Robertson, Alvarez, and Neshek. That leaves 3 openings. Velasquez is the wild card, as he could end up being a starter or reliever. If Velasquez remains in the rotation, Morgan and Nicasio are safe.

    1. I think 22 (of 25) are deemed locks and Hunter and Quinn will make it 24 (of 25) if they will not start in the DL. The 25 (of 25) will be the 5th starter will be a battle between Eflin vs Eickhoff.

      LOCKS (22)

      SP (4) – Nola, Pivetta, Arrieta, Vinny
      RP (6) – Robertson, Neshek, Nicasio, Neris, Morgan, Seranthony
      C (2) – JTR, Knapp
      INF (5) – Hoskins, Cesar, Segura, Franco, Kingery
      OF (5) – Harper, Doobie, Cutch, Altherr

      Assuming that Klentak will not make any roster moves (and Hunter/Quinn are not DLd), the only decision that needs to be made how many (8 or 7) pen arms they will carry at the beginning of the season. Klentak’s hand is somehow tied up due to some players exhausting their options.

      Starting Hunter and Quinn in the DL, can give Klentak some time to figure out what to do with the log jam.

      Before ST, Anderson appears destined to join LHV’s bullpen with Eflin (or Eckhoff)-Ranger-DLS-JoJo-Irvin-Eshelman most likely will comprise the Pig’s starting rotation. Anderson’s newfound Cutter definitely brings him back in the SP option and possibly push him higher in the queue behind Eflin and Eickhoff and overtaking DLS and Ranger.

      1. K.K. – I don’t care about options, salary, or any other contingencies. I want the best 25 players on the roster. I think you are wrong to assume that Klentak will not make further moves, I still think that Kimbrel is a possibility, and if I were a rebuilding team, I’d be very interested in Williams. The Phillies may start the season with a 4 man rotation (off days and rainouts), but the bullpen will be 8 men strong. Anderson is still a longshot, but he should get 2 more starts before the final cuts. Let’s see what happens.
        This whole discussion could be moot, because Klentak and PHIL may have already made up their minds. Cozens and Anderson are the only players, barring injury, that I expect to see on the Phillies roster at some point this season. It’s ironic to me that Kapler and Klentak are on the hot seat this year, but PHIL has job security.

        1. @Mike – whether you or I care about options or not, GMs deal with this situation (players options) as they decide in constructing their roster. Like what you said, whatever we discuss here is irrelevant (or moot) since Klentak (not us) are making the decisions not us.

          My assumptions might be incorrect, but it is not wrong to make assumptions in making conclusion. Assumptions are part of the decision making process.

          It’s ok whether if you agree or disagree with my opinion. This is what open discussion is all about,

          1. I think the Phillies are unlikely to carry five outfield-only outfielders on their 25-man roster. The fifth outfielder also has to be their sixth infielder.

            I also care about options when I go through roster construction exercises. Since my 4-man bench already includes Knapp (catcher), Kingery (infielder), and an outfield-only Quinn/Williams/Altherr, my 4th bench guy has to be able to play infield and outfield.

            Since Pedro Florimon and Andres Blanco aren’t available, I would strongly consider Romine, Goselin, or Rodriguez in that role. If it means I have to DFA a guy I can’t trade, so be it.

            Now, if someone on the 40-man goes on the 60-day DL, problem solved.

            1. @Jim – I agree with you on the OF. My count is 4 unless Quinn is ready to go to make it 5. Kingery can be an OF option although having Quinn and Altherr really forced Klentak hand since both no longer have any options left.

              If Quinn starts in DL, Klentak’s decision will be to carry Williams as the 5th OF or carry another pen arm particularly a LH.

              Nonetheless, I think the 25-man is almost set in stone with only the following decisions to make:

              1) 5th SP – Eflin vs Eickhoff

              2) 8 RPs/4 Bench vs 7 RPs/5 Bench

              Cozens and Anderson are almost certain to be optioned to LHV. Williams, Pazos and Alvarez will fill the RP/Bench need unless Klentak decides to clear a roster spot for a NRI.

            2. I like Florimon. Against all odds, I think he’s going to have a nice littler 3 or 4 year run here as a very effective utility player. Late bloomer, but he can play.

  38. I know it’s a long shot, but what a payoff it would be: Cozens not only hits his way on to the 25 man roster, but wins a starting position in the OF (LF or CF). Placing him between Franco and Cutch lower in the batting order would give this team one of the most powerful lineups in baseball. Come on, Dylan prove me right.

    1. Rob – Spring is a time for hope. A lot can, and probably will happen with the outfield in the coming weeks. Let’s all hope that Cozens continues to make Klentak’s decision a tough one.

        1. Denny – the rule changes in 2020, are going to help Dylan as much as anything else and if the NL later adds the DH (which I’m pretty sure will happen in the next couple of years), that will help him even more.

  39. As we all consider this roster’s construction, there are two players that I can’t help but think will be traded, perhaps in the same deal: Nick Williams and Vince Velasquez. One team that makes sense is Texas. Mike Minor isn’t a huge name but he’s currently projected to be the Rangers’ opening day starter. The Phillies have already been linked to him earlier in the off season. I’m not sure who else would be involved in the trade.

    Aaron Altherr has this going for him – while he doesn’t hold much trade value nor is he currently a starting major league player on a good team, he is healthy and can play all 3 outfield positions to qualify as a 4th.

    As for Cozens, he may have options left but developmentally, he’s run his course in the minor leagues. Time to see him either sink or swim in the Show.

    On another note, I’m sorry but I just don’t see how Maikel Franco has made any strides. He had a big first game in Grapefruit League action and since has been impotent at the plate. Would be nice to somehow acquire a 3b if it isn’t too late.

    1. The OF is clogged at the MLB and minor league levels. Klentak is exploring trades of Williams and Altherr, per sources. The signing of McCutchen basically makes this a must. It is time to roll the dice on the players with the highest upside, to shake out in the OF. Herrera, has said to be off the block, but I believe Cozens will push him for playing time, and could put Herrera in the right deal. I like Williams, but i don’t see how he fits in this contention window with Herrera, Quinn, and now possibly Cozens. Granted, Cozens is doing well in ST, and so did Kingery last year, so it needs to be considered. Williams is more of the sure bet now, but Cozens has the higher upside, So I say roll the dice on Cozens. If they are wrong on Cozens, Haselely will push him. Then you always need to factor in Quinn’s health, so there should be room for Cozens,Haselely, and Quinn to find a way on this team the next 2-3 years. Moniak will hopefully be pushing them. For now, adios to Williams and Altherr. McCutchen should be trade bait in 2-3. Years at some point as well if all the prospects do as expected. I’m hoping Moniak can push him out near the end of his deal.

      In this contention window, what i hope doesn’t happen, is the “loyalty” resignings or non trades that hurt the last championship run. No getting attached to players. Harper is really the only safe one. The goal is the most championships in the window possible, if it hurts feelings so be it.

      1. They can stand to have at least one LHP in the rotation.
        Nothing like the Cubs for sure…but one would do.
        Maybe Keuchel soon, maybe a trade with the Rangers(Minor), Giants(Bum), Padres (Strahm), Royals (Duffy) or DBacks (Ray).
        But do not see them having faith, YET, in Irvin, Ranger or Romero come August/Sept. when the rubber meets the road.
        They have the trade-chips to make the trades and/or money to sign Keuchel.

        1. Romus, a team in contention doesn’t have the luxury of “hoping” a young unproven arm steps up. Two years ago? Sure. Not now. This rotation needs an upgrade immediately.

          1. Thats why i can see something happening next week.
            He may decide to wait until July, but who knows, by then they may not be in contention

        2. A trade works better right now than signing Keuchel because he won’t be ready until late April at earliest.

          After Nola, we have Arrieta for better or worse, Pivetta is a breakout candidate and I like Eflin as a #5. I’m not feeling VV at all. And the AAA guys are fine in case of an injury. But a move needs to be made to bring stability to the starting rotation.

          1. @8mark – while I agree that the timeline was moved earlier as a result of the offseason moves, Klentak doesn’t need to make a move for a SP as in “right now”. Klentak just need to make a move for the best available option that he has regardless of the player and the method.

            I also have a concern about the rotation, and if Keuchel is the best SP option then Klentak should proceed with that. If Ray or Bauer can be had via trade and Klentak thinks that these options are better, so be it.

      2. I really don’t see how you can keep Williams – there’s no place for him to play and he’s not as dynamic as Quinn. He should be traded in the next few months unless Quinn gets another severe injury (always possible).

  40. it wouldn’t surprise me if both cozens and Williams start the year in LHV. they keep ALtherr as the 4th OF and keep the extra infielder given the fact the kingery can also play OF.
    Williams will clearly be traded at some point barring a significant early season injury to a corner OF
    he’s just not going to get any playing time otherwise
    does he keep more value on the bench or putting up big numbers ( hopefully) in LHV
    I think the opening roster in terms of pitching and bench will be about maintaining depth in organization and using minor league options as compared to putting out necessarily the absolutely best 25 guys

  41. Yesterday was Dylan Cozens’ lucky day. Cozens two biggest hurdles in making it to the big leagues were: (1) not enough roster spots to justify a platoon bat with room taken by expanded bullpens; and (2) inability to pinch hit due to crazy bad platoon splits – basically, under current rules, the existence of LOOGYs make pinch hitting for Cozens a “no go.” But yesterday, MLB issued it’s “problem solved” alert for Dylan Cozens — at least beginning in the 2020 season. Rosters will expand to 26 players – so there will be added room for platoon players. And the three batter rule is a dream come true for Cozens because it means they can make him batter 2 or 3 in an inning and get the platoon advantage if he pinch hits. There may be no hitter in AAA or the majors who received a bigger boost from the rule changes than Cozens. Combine this with the possibility for a DH in the NL in the coming years and I’m sure as heck not cutting Cozens anytime soon.

    1. Regarding the 3 batter minimum, there should be remedies to pitchers feigning injury at the bequest of the manager. Such as a minimum number of games that said pitcher should sit out, though they shouldn’t necessarily have to place him on the IL. But it should hurt his team a little, no pun intended.

      1. 8mark…I believe they changed that also……pitcher on the IR must be out a minimum of 15 days vs 10 days as it is now.
        But feigning injury during a game would be hard to dissect for authenticity right there on the spot. ..ie finger numbs up, but after the game in a few hours it clears up.

        1. There are a number of ways to address that, but if you’re injured and a reliever, you should be required to miss at least 3 or 4 games so that we don’t get a bunch of fake injuries.

  42. Might Cozens presently be our best trade chip among the outfielders? Sell high? MadBum is hitting 93 on the gun this spring. Healthy so far. And hitting well as usual (right, Jim?😉). Velasquez and Cozens for Bumgarner plus a young bat? Even Dylan can hit them far enough in that ballpark.

    1. This is an interesting thought. He has spiked, if the FO truly thinks Cozens will SO too much, now is the time to pull the trigger. I’d like to see them roll the dice on his upside and bet that he figures it out. It will probably take longer than we have, but if the DH is coming, and these other rule changes, let’s hold
      Onto
      Him, take the chance on his upside, if not, we have Haselely and Moniak to fill in.

    2. Come on, Cozens has no trade value just from a good spring training. Cozens and Vinnie won’t get you MadBum, who I would covet. Williams, Vinnie, and Medina and you’ve got a shot.

  43. I think we need to get off to a good start. It is still a very close Division, despite all of our improvements, there is a clear advantage that the Nats and the Mets have in SP. Nola is right there with Scherzer and DeGrom. But there is a steep drop off when we compare Jake to Thor and Corbin, and then the comparison gets worse. I am counting on Pivetta to make a leap, but we need SP. Those Ws in April and May will count as much as August and September, and Keuchel is a clear upgrade over Eflin and VV. I don’t see where Williams headlines a package that nets Kluber or Bauer, and I don’t see that there are many alternatives available. Again, I don’t go more than 2 years, but it is less than 2 weeks to the Season’s opener, and Keuchel is unemployed. The rest of the roster, I believe, will be easier to fill, because I think Quinn and Hunter start on the DL

    1. No, Keuchel is not a clear upgrade over Eflin and VV. He might be a minor upgrade over Eflin and a bigger upgrade over VV but he’s also trending in the wrong direction and costs more than both of those players combined.

      The Phillies made significant upgrades this off season and should now be in playoff race but they will not remain competitive long-term if they are not willing to play and develop some of their own players. Everyone on the roster cannot be making $15m per season.

      They have a number of 4th/5th starter candidates beyond Eflin/VV waiting in the wings and they need to work through those options as necessary before abandoning ship by whipping out the checkbook..

      1. Agree. The team needs to be able to navigate their prospects that can be plugged into the big contracts, to be productive. Normally, I’d be worried about the SP, but not anywhere near as much this year with the our new look offense, improved defense, and bullpen. I think they can take a chance on Eickhoff, Anderson, DLS,Suarez, Irvin, etc for a few months, if they are still leaking water then, but they big prospects together for a real upgrade, not a bandaid, which I see Keuchel as.

        Now of course – 1 year at 20mil, sure

        1. It’s not just one year at $20M. There’s the third round draft pick and $500K in international dollars. Those are a bigger consideration for one year of a player with a QO.

  44. Pivetta has his velo for sure today….thru three sitting at 96-98T99 with 29 FBs.
    Ten FBs @98.
    Though have suspicions the gun at Spectrum is a little hot today.

    1. It may be a little hot, though my recollection was that it was about right or an MPH slow historically. Pivetta has a high ceiling. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can do.

      1. That’s why Pivetta is the sexy pick as a breakout candidate — Pivetta’s pure stuff is through the roof since he can strike anybody out with any of his pitches. However, the harder you throw the harder it gets hit so Pivetta’s command and location is critical since he is still prone to one of those bad innings that bloats his statistics.

      2. Pivetta’s Velo Average:
        1st inn.-97.4 …(9 FBs)
        2nd inn.-97.6….(11 FBs)
        3rd inn.-96.5….(8 FBs)
        4th inn.-95…..(7 FBs)
        5th inn.-95…..(5 FBs)
        …..even if it were a hot gun he ticked downward as his PC rose.
        Also…did not throw one change-up and I did not see one 2SMr..all 4Smrs

        1. @romus – did Pivetta throw his SL and CB? CB has plus potential and the development of the SL is key to keep the batters guessing. Pivetta rarely throws a CU.

            1. All of Pivetta’s pitches are thrown with power!! If Pivetta develop a CU, i guess it will be in the high 80s.

  45. 3upp, I don’t agree. You don’t hurt any of the young Pitchers’ development by adding Keuchel short term, and we simply disagree on how much of an upgrade he is. I still remember VV having an ERA close to 8 from August on. But, when we need a SP come July, and if we don’t, feel free to tell me I was wrong, who are we comfortable trading? It will take Haesley and Bohm and Medina to get one that is not a rental, and I don’t think we have all that many prospects left. Keuchel cost $, which I don’t care about, and a 3rd Rd pick

    1. Friendly reminder that ERA isn’t always an indicator of a pitcher’s success.

      How many people wrote off Hamels after 2009? Who remembers Giants fans claiming Jonathan Sanchez was a star after his 3.07 ERA season (2010)? Better yet, who remembers Jonathan Sanchez?

      VV’s got his warts, and he certainly seemed to slow down a bit as the season went on. But he had a .446 BABIP in Sept/Oct. You gonna blame him for that? Also keep in mind what the Phils’ defense looked like post-trade deadline (because it was somehow even worse than pre-deadline).

      All things considered, he looked like a solid option at the 4 spot in the rotation. If that’s all he is, fine. But he’s also got the upside for more if something clicks. Sounds like a good option for the back of the rotation.

    2. Well of course you hurt someone’s development because Keuchel is taking their major league innings away. You seem to be focused on replacing VV in the rotation but my point is that they have other internal options beyond VV if he’s struggling…

      Keuchel is an expensive rental, not just $$ but draft pick and international $$$ that will also hurt the system. The greatest failure from the Amaro years was how freely they were willing to lose draft picks for marginal improvements..

  46. Honestly .. thank you Ruben, for Pivetta. I bet the nats hate philly even more if he continues to develop. His regime didn’t do everything right, but pivetta looks like a surprise steal.

  47. They had two minor league intrasquad games today, and no I didn’t see Jim. I hope you’re ok Jim. The good hits I saw were from L Garcia, Marchan, and Vierling. Odubel played as well. Short game that started at 11. Good time.

  48. Small thing but anyone notice it looked like Galvis threw his gum at/on Franco as he rounded 3rd on his weak hr? I wonder if was playful or spiteful towards Franco. Btw, I hope McCutchen can jump for that ball in season because that is one he should’ve caught with a full effort imo

  49. Surprised there isn’t more talk on here about Harpers injury. Hopefully he doesn’t try to push himself too much Bc of the contract. Take your time and get to 100%. Sucks that I may miss him for game 3 of the season.

      1. Dan – The fact that he was walking around on it is a good sign. I’ve broken my right foot twice and my left once, and that sure sounded bad. Let’s hope for the best.

        1. All my anecdotes about getting hit by pitches (which was a lot, I had the Utley approach of only moving if it were coming at my head. But not pitches at the speed of an MLB pitcher, obviously) say that the worse it sounds the better it healed for me. Every time someone was concerned about me based on the sound, it was at worst a bruise.

          The ones that lingered no one really thought anything of it until I didn’t take my base.

          That being said, it’ll be a relief when he’s back in game action and it isn’t affecting him.

  50. Who gets the start in RF tomorrow? Nick Williams is Batting .324. He’s the best trade chip on the roster. Dylan Cozens is batting .321, leads the team in HR’s, and has an OPS of 1.174. If the injury to Bryce is long term (a month or longer), I’d go with Williams. However, it appears to be a short term injury, but take it from me, it will be a month before it’s 100%. For both Williams and Cozens, I have to keep telling myself that they’re only spring training numbers, but they are impressive.
    Both outfielders could very well become “Core” players on an rebuilding team. Besides being inexpensive, both are young and athletic. Why isn’t Klentak’s phone ringing off the hook? It’s possible that I’m overvaluing them, as fans tend to do, and maybe Klentak is fielding offers at this moment. Suddenly, Klentak’s job doesn’t look as easy as it did a day ago.

  51. You are absolutely overvaluing Cozens. An org wouldn’t give a middle RP up for him. As for Williams, I have no clue what his value is or even what kinda player he is. Still up in the air. For me at least.

  52. Well, with Harper possibly out for the start of the season (major bummer!), this may make Williams and/or Cozens more valuable to the Phillies. And an opportunity they hadn’t anticipated since it was apparent that Harper was a target acquisition throughout the off season. Let’s see what either one can do with the unexpected extra playing time in Grapefruit League action. Let’s hope at least one of them can seize the opportunity.

      1. 8mark – That is great news.
        Maybe, it’s just me, But Seranthony had problems pitching more the one inning last year. He also had problems pitching on back-to-back days. I understand that is the best case scenario, but I’d like to see Gabe give it a shot before ST is over.

      2. Harper said:
        “If I get hit again in that ankle, it’s kind of like putting money on black.”……what else would you hear from a native of Vegas who knows the board! 🙂

    1. Martin one spring back in 1990 Romus got rejected by two girls who both weight over 330 lbs, he couldnt get a date with those girls the whole spring. poor guy

  53. Eickhoff looked good today. Paxton looks like a real stud. To get to where we all want, we need a partner for Nola. No, this is not another plea for Keuchel. I mean a young stud under control. I don’t see that guy in the system although Medina snd Howard may peove to have that ceiling.

    1. Agreed. I think as of now, he looks better than VV. I have confidence that eockhoff can work through to the 6th consistently, or even longer. It seems like It takes an act of God to get VV into the 5th

      1. Vinny V. can easily get into the 7th or 8th…..if Kapler just uses Seranthony as an opener in Velasquez’ games.

    1. I do think you will see Edgar Garcia before the season is out.
      Arano is probably getting sent down…he has options.
      But you are correct…..things can get dicey, especially if injuries start happening, besides the arms not being too productive.

    2. Im wondering if Anderson goes down to LHV and works well out of the pen for a month, would he be a option. I still see his future in the pen and if that cutter still works well, we may have something. Hes always had potential, just hasn’t worked out in the limited MLB chances he’s gotten.

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