Open Discussion: Week of March 25, 2019

The Phillies made enough roster moves to make their opening day roster apparent.  It looks like the Phillies will go to war with a pitching staff that includes – Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta, Jake Arrieta, Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez as starters and Jose Alvarez, Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Morgan, Hector Neris, Pat Neshek, Juan Nicasio, Edubray Ramos, David Robertson in the bullpen; J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp as catchers; Rhys Hoskins, Cesar Hernandez, Jean Segura, Maikel Franco, Scott Kingery as the infielders; and Andrew McCutchen, Odubel Herrera, Bryce Harper, Aaron Altherr, Nick Williams as the outfielders.

Thirty players are still on the ST roster.  Tommy Hunter and Roman Quinn will likely start the season on the IL.  Rob Brantly and Sean Rodriguez are probably headed to Lehigh Valley.  And, I can’t guess what their plans are for Josh Martin.

By Tuesday there could be as many as 195 players in minor league camp – 109 pitchers, 20 catchers, 41 infielders, and 25 outfielders.  It’s also possible that a few players have already been sent to the Dominican Academy for XST there.

The 40-man roster stands at 40, the entire organization stands at 349.

Major League Baseball announced several changes to the Arizona Fall League.  The two that are of the most interest involving prospects are –

  1. The schedule has been moved forward to more closely match the instructional league schedules.  The 2019 AFL regular season will open on September 17th and end on October 26th. The Fall Stars Game will be played on October 12th and the Championship Game will be held on October 27th.  (The 2018 season started on October 9th and ended on November 15th.  In their press release, MLB expressed the intention “to avoid downtime at the end of their seasons and instead transition directly into the Arizona Fall League schedule.”)
  2. There are no longer any restrictions regarding roster construction.  Any player under contract with a Major League organization will be eligible for nomination to the Arizona Fall League.
  3. The other change had to do with the AFL front office.

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 28, 2019 – Phillies’ 2019 season home opener v. Atlanta (3:05)
  • September 17, 2019 – beginning of the Arizona Fall League
  • October 12, 2019 – Arizona Fall Stars Game
  • October 27, 2019 – Arizona Fall League Championship Game

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

Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
3/26/2019 – OFs Shane Robinson and Lane Adams, and INFs Phil Gosselin, Gift Ngoepe, and Matt McBride reassigned to minor league camp
3/23/2019 – Phillies optioned Jerad Eickhoff to Lehigh Valley
3/22/2019 – Phillies optioned Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, and Jerad Eickhoff to Lehigh Valley
3/22/2019 – Phillies released SS Andrew Romine
3/22/2019 – Phillies released C Drew Butera
3/22/2019 – OF Adam Haseley reassigned to minor-league camp
3/22/2019 – Phillies released SS Andrew Romine
3/22/2019 – Phillies released C Drew Butera
3/21/2019 – Phillies optioned LHP James Pazos to Lehigh Valley
3/21/2019 – Phillies optioned RF Dylan Cozens to Lehigh Valley
3/21/2019 – Phillies optioned RHP Drew Anderson to Lehigh Valley
3/21/2019 – Phillies released LHP Jeremy Bleich
3/21/2019 – Phillies released SS Gregorio Petit
3/21/2019 – Phillies released 3B Trevor Plouffe
3/21/2019 – Phillies released LHP Edward Paredes
3/19/2019 – Reading Fightin Phils released RHP Blake Quinn
3/19/2019 – GCL Phillies East released RHP Justin Miller
3/19/2019 – GCL Phillies West released RHP Alex Garcia
3/19/2019 – GCL Phillies West released 1B Stoney O’Brien
3/19/2019 – GCL Phillies West released RHP Sati Santa Cruz
3/18/2019 – Phillies traded C Lenin Rodriguez to Baltimore for Future Consideration
3/15/2019 – Phillies optioned 3B Mitch Walding to Lehigh Valley
3/13/2019 – Reading released 2B Emmanuel Marrero
3/13/2019 – Clearwater released 1B Quincy Nieporte
3/13/2019 – Lakewood released RHP Victor Sobil
3/13/2019 – Williamsport released 3B Jesus Henriquez
3/13/2019 – Williamsport released 1B Edwin Rodriguez
3/11/2019 – Phillies optioned RHP Enyel De Los Santosto Lehigh Valley
3/11/2019 – Phillies optioned LHP Ranger Suarez to Lehigh Valley
3/11/2019 – Phillies optioned LHP Austin Davis to Lehigh Valley
3/11/2019 – Phillies optioned RHP Edgar Garcia to Lehigh Valley
3/11/2019 – LHP Cole Irvin and Tyler Gilbert have been reassigned to minor league camp.
3/10/2019 – Infielder Malquin Canelo, catcher Deivy Grullon, 1B/OF Austin Listi, outfielder Mickey Moniak, and LHP JoJo Romero have been reassigned to minor league camp.
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

234 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of March 25, 2019

  1. I just cant believe with all the money spent this year, That they wont sign Kimbel. I love to see him get a three year deal two yrs with a option for a third. I just dont trust our starters after nola. and we need a strong bullpen.

    1. You don’t know what Kimbrel is asking for. He could still be holding out for a long term deal. If he was willing to go to 3 years, $50M, I think somebody would have bit by now.

  2. There’s something that will have to be found out about the 2019 Phillies and in particular, Gabe Kapler. There may very well be a few occasions when Harper either gets drilled or faces some chin music. Cole Hamels isn’t around to have his teammates’ back in such situations. Recent Phillies teams (more specifically managers and pitchers) haven’t been inclined to avenge their hitters’ from getting plunked or brushed back. Conversely, I loathe the idea that pitchers aren’t willing to “protect the strike zone more.” I realize that times have changed (meaning on-field personnel have apparently become more passive) in regard to gaining a competitive edge, but there may be no manager in baseball under more pressure to advance his team to a playoff appearance than Kapler. He has more veteran players at his disposal now, more expectations to meet, and much much more to lose. The culture of his clubhouse and dugout is IMO his biggest test, especially after the alleged Fortnite issue last season. Will his players have each other’s back? And will he?

    1. One thing that has always bothered me about the “revenge” aspect as a player is that it puts your own team at a disadvantage (or at least gives up the advantage you were given).

      Context matters some, but assuming the game is winnable/lose-able, I would always tell my pitcher to beat them in the box score. And unless you’re throwing at the person who DECIDED to plunk your player, all you’re really doing is punishing a player for being on their team.

      For those of you who saw “42” (the Jackie Robinson movie), it’s like late in the movie when Robinson got spiked at 1B; his teammates said to hit the next batter, and he said to get him out because, “the game is too important.”

      Nothing hurts more than a loss. Strike them out instead of giving them a chance to score. And then on your way back to the dug out, stare down the offending pitcher.

      1. It’s not about “revenge” but rather about setting and enforcing parameters as to what will and will not be tolerated. If teams feel free to knock down someone like Harper without any concern that they are putting their own teammates in jeopardy then why not.

        The reason for retaliation is not revenge but rather a protection for players on your team that cannot protect themselves. If their only recourse is to charge the mound and then get ejected and suspended, that doesn’t help the team either…

        I do not agree with the concept of plunking a guy because he hits a HR and stares it down too long or other things like that…

  3. That AFL change with roster selection is great…no restriction.
    However, moving up the schedule to mid-Sept means the 6/7/8/ AFL guys selected to go, will not get the benefit of any FIL.

  4. Jim – you’re making a good observation as to the bunt drills and including Parkinson. As you and I know, Parkinson was hoping for a Reading assignment so he should be happy. He seems to be throwing the ball well. Congrats to David. The full assignments should be out in the next two days. It’s always fun to see what they decided. I think that James Smith player himself onto a roster. Good for him.
    Let’s get the games and the boxscores started! We should have strong rotations at every level with legit prospects at every level.

  5. According to Major League Baseball, the Phillies have the 8th best bullpen in the Majors. Kimbrel would be a huge upgrade over Edubray Ramos. Let’s do it.

      1. I don’t know who has the best BP or how they project it given that RPs yo-yo so drastically from season to season.

        What I do think is that our BP is really bad if not just bad. Call me concerned.

        1. Phillies BP ranks by Fangraphs last year:
          T-12th in fWAR
          18th in ERA
          13th in FIP
          8th in xFIP
          10th in K/9
          15th in BB/9
          T-15th in HR/9
          22nd in BABIP

          So in terms of results, they were middle of the pack. In terms of expected results, they’re above-average.

          This year we get full years of Dominguez and Ramos, Neshek is still here, Hunter was much better later in the year, and we’ve added Nicasio (2 straight years of sub-3 FIP) to the MLB pen and have Pazos (2.88 ERA, 3.60 FIP in 2018) in AAA for depth.

          You’re certainly correct that RP are volatile. But we have a handful of potentially very good and a couple potentially great RPs. And we’re working from a base of average or better. I don’t see why we’d tank to the bottom of the league after improving.

          1. Dan K can I just say you always respond with great data 🙂

            I’m looking for reasons to be optimistic about the BP but the optics of it in Spring seemed subpar to me. Many seemed to be pumped about Robertson and I’ve seen him pitch a lot going back to when the White Sox nabbed him for a lot of money.

            There’s a lot to be desired there and while at times he appears to be really good there were always big stretches where is was really inconistent.

            1. Unless he is saving himself, Seranthony’s velo is down 2/3 ticks from last season’s starting point when he was brought up….not a good sign

            2. David Robertson has been amazing consistent from year to year. His numbers with the CWS were very similar to his time with the Yankees and they are significantly better than the RPs his is replacing..

            3. Thanks, I try to cover every angle when I post a message.

              As far as being optimistic about the bullpen, you really don’t need to be. Even if our current ‘pen does implode, relief pitchers are far and away the easiest commodity to replace (outside of the truly elite ones). And they also have fairly small impacts, even if we tend to remember each time they lose us a game.

              Worse comes to worst, we call up people from the minors and/or make some trades and grab some people off waivers. Patchwork bullpens tend to work more often than we think. Even in 2008, our relief pitchers weren’t anything special. In fact, Lidge and Madson were the only regulars that didn’t have career ERAs north of 4.

          2. Thanks Dan and I agree that bullpens are volatile from year to year. My issues stem from taking projected rankings from some source and treating them as if they are anything but guesses.

            I think the Phillies pen will be better in 2019 simply because they’ve upgrading who will be getting the key innings. As with most years, health will be the biggest factor..

            1. Figure that in 2018 the following pitchers combined to pitch a total of 161 innings out of the pen:

              L. Garcia – 46
              Y. Rios – 36
              A. Davis – 34.2
              B. Lively – 23.2
              D. Hutchenson – 21.1
              Leiter Jr – 16.2
              J. Thompson 16.1

              That’s a total of 161.2 innings that will being going to better options in 2019. Add in the other 18 innings that were thrown by position players and other stop-gap options and the bullpen should be improved

  6. The Marlins will decide the winner of the NL East. The Phillies, Nats, Mets, and Braves will probably play .500 ball against each other. The team that has the best record against the Marlins will break the logjam.

    1. I feel this will play a very big part in determining who wins the East. Braves had a large portion of their wins vs the East last year, with the Phils,Nats,and Mutts improving, I see it hard for them to repeat. There should be a lot of meaningful NL East division games this year

  7. Odubel Herrera is an unbelievably good hitter. His bat to ball skill set is fun to watch and the way he can go pole to pole is exciting. Sure he faded down the stretch last year and at times he has the proverbial brain flatulence

    I’ve become a big fan and hope to see him put it altogether this season.

    1. Odubel Herrera has the ability to win an MVP award in any given year. He is that talented. Crazy athletic skills, speed, strength and truly insane eye-hand coordination at the plate. But he’s got to focus and stop being an air head. Having guys like McCutchen and Realmuto and Harper around should help him – they are great role models and probably would speak to him if they don’t like what they see. Look, he’s not a bad guy, he just needs to clean up his act and stay focused.

      1. Doobie is probably the most volatile Phillie since he joined the team — explosive but very unpredictable. Winning, veteran players and role model should be able to help him mature in his game and personality.

        Doobie is no longer the best batter in the team. This should let him focus more on his ability rather than overly trying to carry the team offensive load.

        The presence of top bats like Harper, JTR, Segura and Cutch should benefit players like Doobie and Franco.

    2. I’ve softened on him, and truly hope his bonehead plays are behind him, as they will be much more magnified now that the games mean something “more” in a playoff chase. You can see the talent for sure, but I don’t want to see the avoidable mental errors this year, and especially in the playoffs – ex Cepedes (Mets player). Those type of mental errors will have your teammates turn on you.

      1. Lest we forget Shane Victorino…

        Not everyone on a WS team is Chase Utley or Derek Jeter that would simply be well very boring.

        1. I’m not saying that, but I have legitimate concerns about his focus & or understanding of the game, in a tight pennant race. All that said, he obviously has the talent, still needs that consistency but it is all there and then some talent wise. His last key piece is eliminating those mental errors, as the pennant chase will be much less forgiving than in the rebuild stage.

      2. Bone head plays?! Your a racist dmar!!! Had dare you say something negative about a Latin born player. (Twitter folks might know what I’m talking about)

    3. I have always been a fan of Odubel. He is immensely talented, and to get him in the rule V draft was insane. He had a really poor year last season, but I’m expecting him to rebound in a big way, especially in that lineup.

    4. There are times that Odubel is the best batter in baseball. Unfortunately l,there are other times he is the worst. Sometimes he is that way in the same at bat. I was at the Clearwater game this Sunday. He hit everything hard.

  8. Offseason surprises Pt 1:

    Biggest shock:
    I’ve had time to process it, and I still can’t believe Trout signed an extension. Resigning with LAA was always a possibility i just thought he’d at least make it until next offseason. Moving on ..

    Biggest surprise:
    The biggest offseason surprise to me … The Phillies trading for Realmuto … amazing, especially since many thought the Phillies didn’t have the ammo. Well I’m pleasantly surprised. This tops Harper because it was pretty assured for 90% of the offseason we’d get either BH or MM.

    Biggest disappointment: having Crawford not reach his ceiling with the phils, to the point he was traded. Really needed him in this rebuild, glad he could be flipped for Segura.

    Going into the season, my 2019 season prediction:

    Herrera will be back. This team
    Will hit more doubles than any team in the mlb, and finishing between top 6-top 3 in total hrs.

    1. The Phillies had the ammo to trade for Realmuto, The question was if the Phillies were going to do it AND if the Marlins would be willing to trade him in division. I’m very happy to see that both answers were yes. JT can seriously hit. It’s going to be fun watching him mash.

      1. They did have the talent in the end, but matched up against other farms that were interested, im very surprised the Phillies wete able to land him. Truly though ATL was going to pony up, and or HOU. Very glad they didn’t. Now let’s get after that extension!

  9. The area, besides keeping his head in the game, where I want to see improvement is his D. With his skills and athletic ability, he should be a much better defender. It requires effort, paying attention, that again!, and knowing what is going on throughout the game. Doobie needs to play better defensively.

  10. Obviously this is all well and good (the roster projection) but I do hope that Velasquez is on a short leash. This team has too much potential to give him another year to try to find himself. Either he hits the ground running, or he should be replaced early, whether it be with Drew Anderson or somebody they get from another team. Heck, they could maybe even experiment with using openers.

    1. Using “openers” is an unproven approach. I’m Vinny or any player does does not perform, just replace them with better players.

      The Phillies has the $$ and the farm to acquire a MLB talent. No need to experiment with any radical approach. Kapler tinkered too much on employing unusual approach last year and it cost the Phillies games and player development.

        1. @romus – i don’t think that there’s a direct correlation between the 92 wins and the use of the “Opener”. TB won 90+ wins before and even goo deep in the playoffs without the use of the “Opener”.

          What is more certain is, if you have a very good starter, that starter can go thru the line up 3rd or 4th times with no issue.

          If a team has no good option at SP and no $$ to acquire one like TB or OAK, then they can do whatever they want to do with they they have call it “Opener” or Bullpen game or whatever.

          The Phillies has good depth in the SP rotation with young arms that need MLB time to develop and they still have that stupid $$ to use.

      1. It’s the future man. Embrace it or end up a dinosaur. I am not saying that the future has no starters, but openers are a very good way to make up for a weak back of the rotation. Don’t be afraid of change.

        1. @Dan – you said “very good way to make up for a weak back of the rotation” …. so do you believe or are you saying that the Phillies have a weak back of the rotation?

          That’s exactly my point, the Phillies do not have a weak back of the rotation, in fact, they have depth in the back end of the rotation so why mess around with “Openers”.

          Also, it is not for me to embrace the change because i don’t have the power to make the decision. But I’m very open to changes (whether i like it or not) if the league, teams and players agree to it.

            1. @8mark – i don’t even want to think about it. I’m still in the opinion that pen arms are used towards the end of the game either to hold their lead or avoid the other team to score. The advantage of the bullpen is that it gives a skipper 6-8 arms to choose to match up the batters. So once you use your best pen arm to start a game, you just took out one of the best weapons you have late in the game.

              Also the mentality pitching from the pen and starting the game are entirely different. IMO, the “Opener” is a band aid approach of trying to make up for the lack of SP depth. The Phillies have SP depth and they have deep pockets too. Make Seranthony available late in the game!

          1. Fangraphs ranks the Phillies’ roation as third in the NL-East (behind Nats and Mets) and 12th overall in MLB.
            IMO, if they sign Kimbrel….then use Seranthoy as the opener a dozen or so times thru the season for whoever is struggling to go beyond the 5th inning, between Vinny/Eflin/Pivetta

            1. If a pitcher is regularly struggling to go beyond the 5th inning, the team should take him out of the rotation and move him in the bullpen.

            2. Does it make much difference if Seranthony pitches the 1st inning or the 6th inning?

              The idea of an opener is just a new term for what has always been referred to a bullpen game. The supposed starter is really just the long-man in the pen. why not just say that you are going with a staff with 3 starters and 10 relievers because we don’t have any pitchers good enough to be starters.

              Maybe with the evolution of bullpens the concept of having starting pitchers goes away but lets not pretend it was anything more than an understanding by the Rays that they didn’t have pitchers who could get through a line-up more than once.

  11. Quinn is back playing in a minor league today. He was back last weekend but only bunting and not running much. Quinn shouldn’t be too far away. Altherr bidding should be going on as we see if we can get something for him.

  12. How does everyone feel about the Phils sending eight 4 A players to LHV. Two OFs, four IFs, plus two catchers were sent to LHV to play with Listi, Walding, Haseley, Grullon, and Cozens. It’s crazy but I think just the five of them will be there.

    1. How to feel about it? Nobody else has earned a promotion to AAA. As long as the younger guys play regularly, what difference does it make?

      Deivy Grullon may open in AA; as of now, it looks like Bossart is the only other catcher at that level. If that’s the case, then again, nobody else is being held back.

      Now, sorting out the pitchers… that will be interesting.

    2. The AAAA may not be there for long. I expect some of them will have an opt out option if not added to the MLB team. Also, the 40-man only have Walding, Gamboa, Cozens as reinforcements so these AAAA might be needed.

      1. Gamboa seems to be ticketed for Reading…..I do not think he will reach LHV this season. His bat may not even play at Reading.

  13. Jim – I meant to ask you but forgot. Is there a way for you to make this so that we don’t all have to retype our name and email address with every posting? We didn’t need to do it previously and it’s annoying to do constantly (for the frequent posters). Thanks very much

  14. WE are in a tough Division, and not only do we have to beat up on the Marlins, we need to find ways to beat the Mets. They have had our number for a while. Every win will be important. Won’t we regret not signing Keuchel or Kimbrel if we get to July and need exactly what they represent, and instead of losing a Draft pick, we have to spend good prospects? We tried to get Diaz as part of the Segura deal, so Klentak can’t be totally opposed to a closer. I see the Brewers as a real rival for a WC spot, and I would hate to see then get Kimbrel. I am now leaning much more to him than Keuchel. Am I just being negative?

  15. After Justin Verlander and Chris Sale’s extensions/FA contracts are added up….> $1.5B have been given out to almost 2 dozen players this off season….possibly still to come Rendon, deGrom and maybe even JT Realmuto.
    MLBPA will need to regroup on the their talking points concerning the free agent market at the next CBA.

    1. It’s going to get interesting. DeGrom broke into the league at age 26. Because he broke into the league so late, he won’t be a FA until he’s 32. So the analytics say that you can’t give crazy starter money to somebody in their 30s. But if you think that he can hold up like Max Sherzer, you almost have to give him some money. But thankfully, the Mets are poorly run.

  16. For anyone that gets the Milb.tv package, looks like some great news as Lakewood will now show all their home games. Also good news is that there are now 7 teams in the NY Penn league that will show all their home games including 3 in the Crosscutters division. The only bad news is no new teams in the Florida St league, so the only games will be from Bradenton.

      1. Also by my count there should be 23 Crosscutters games show, I have had the Milb.tv package every year since Franco was in Lakewood and that’s by far the most Crosscutters games, it seems more then double so hopefully they have an interesting roster.

  17. Health is always the X-factor, of course. But I am anticipating the following from the 25man roster:

    C JT Realmuto – with him playing 80% (approximately 130) of the games and getting 500 PAs, I think he can easily pop 25-30 HRs, bat .280-.290 as baseline numbers, especially with CBP as his home field.

    C Andrew Knapp – not sure what numbers he’ll put up, buy as long as he doesn’t cost the team defensively in the 30 some games he plays, he should be fine. I think we’ll see some pleasant “surprises”.

    1b Rhys Hoskins – the power numbers should be there, along with a solid OBP. My concern is whether he can raise his BA above .250 and avoid the long droughts he has suffered since his breakout rookie year.

    2b Cesar Hernandez – nice player toward the bottom of the lineup, which no longer needs him in the leadoff spot. As long as he can continue to get on base and occasionally turn on a pitch, he’ll be fine in his last season in red pinstripes.

    SS Jean Segura – I can’t remember the last time we had a hitter compete for a batting title (as unanalytical as that is these days) but this guy may be our latest hope. Definitely can post a .300-plus, pop 10-15 homers and be a rock near the top of the order.

    3b Maikel Franco – the narrative on him hasn’t changed in my estimation. It’s a matter of picking which 3 months he might hit vs which 3 he flat out won’t. Third base is still unsettled.

    UT Scott Kingery – I am perplexed by the way he’s been “deployed” from Jump Street. He’s needed to be sent down to the minors or given a year at 2b to answer everyone’s questions. Neither has happened. I still hold out hope that he’ll survive and become a quality big league 2b…hopefully here.

    LF Andrew McCutchen – I’m sensing a very strong season is in the offing for Cutch. Remember when Raul Ibanez raked the first half in ’09? Feeling we may get a similar output from another veteran pro.

    CF Odubel Herrera – I am back on board the Doobie train. He has enough veteran presence around him to keep him mentally in tune. A productive season from him at the plate makes this lineup downright scary.

    RF Bryce Harper – we may be in for a mixed bag from him, slash-wise, but there’s no reason we still can’t see 40 homers from him, and walks out the wazoo. With the supporting cast around him, that’ll do.

    OF Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr – we should expect the same from Quinn when he’s healthy. I suspect one of the latter two won’t be here long. Williams gives you a decent bat off the bench while Altherr provides defensive depth as a CF.

    Pitching – after Aaron Nola (who’ll do well to come anywhere close to repeating last year’s performance which he most likely won’t) and Nick Pivetta is certainly a breakout candidate, I have absolutely NO idea what to expect from the starting rotation OR the bullpen, for that matter. Especially the way the entire staff may be used.

    Bottom line: the team needs to put up some crooked numbers, as Uncle Charlie likes to say.

  18. The Braves will start two rookie righthanders Bryse Wilson and Kyle Wright this weekend….not sure that is good news for the Phillies…in the past rookie pitchers have given them trouble.

  19. I agree v1. My faith in Middleton really helped me get through the long off season. He and Klentak did a terrific job. I know there is probably going to be a need to do something in July, and that something is probably Pitching, but they know it also. I would add some more pitching now, but I cannot quarrel with the job they did.

    1. At this point, I would try to sign Kimbrel for as little as he’d take. Then there should be better trade options for a SP come the deadline.

      1. Kimbrel probably will not be ready to pitch until late April or early May sometime now
        They likelihood of signing him at a lower salary and shorter contract increases with each day/week he remains a free agent.

        Also with deGrom now inking an extension….still wondering if the Phillies will offer to do the same with JTR

        1. I agree on JTR, Romus. But regarding Kimbrel, the bullpen should be fine for 6 weeks. A fresh Kimbrel in mid-May should give the staff a boost. And perhaps more depth throughout the rest of the season. I would offer him 2/$45m.

        2. I hope they extend JTR, and soon. Potential FA are dropping like flies, which will start to tip the scales of in JTRs favor, supply and demand. As of now, Betts and JTR are the head of the 2020 class from what I can see

          1. 8mark/Tac3……now that Trout is not a consideration, a JTR extension should not be a real concern under budget constraints. That is one reason why I think Matt Klentak and his crew are working something up. I think the only hang up will be the length becasue of the shelf-life of a catcher….but that has not hurt Molina or Chooch and that could be rational JTR’s agent could use as ammunition..

            And the Sox…..Dave Dombrowski will have no aversion to trading their superstar if he decides he will not negotiate for a LTC and do a Machado/Harper and test free agency.
            It is one thing to say you are bold…it is another to do it…Dombrowski will do it.

  20. I agree with you 8mark. Kimbrel doesn’t need to be ready for a month. 2 years would be perfect for us, and the high AAV would be really good for him. He would really up the level of the BP, take pressure off SerAnthony, and make Robertson and Neshek more valuable. Plus, right now, they are the only 3 RPs I really have faith in.

    1. 2 year, even 3 would be a dream scenario for the Phillies. Not sure how Kimbrel feels about it, but he is going to have to lower his asking price, years, or both. CraZy he is unsigned at this pointn. I guess will see his tune when he misses that first paycheck

    2. matt – I believe that Keuchel will sign with the Braves. I can’t believe how cheap they’re being. I also believe that the Phillies will sign Kimbrel.

  21. I’m not suggesting this would ever happen 😉, but with Boras having spent so much time with Klentak and Middleton this winter, perhaps it’s possible, just possible, that they discussed Gerrit Cole in advance of next off season? It’s been reported as unlikely that he re-ups with HOU, especially now with Verlander in the fold. Again, I would never suggest….oh, never mind.

  22. Going into the season, I know we need good years from the star players. Who do you see as the next tier of player, after Harper and Rhys and Nola and Segura that needs to really jump up. I think Pivetta. A big year from him, pitching like a really good #3 and maybe a #2, would be a huge boost. And, I don’t think that is completely far fetched.

    1. Tier 1 – Harper,Hoskins,Realmuto
      Tier 2 – Herrera, Segura, McCutchen
      Tier 3 – Franco, Cehe,Kingery

      Herrera has a good chance to bounce back. If so, i expect him and Segura to battle for the top spot in that tier 2 group. You can also make an argument to swap one out for Realmuto. That’s just how I see it playing out

      SP
      Nola – 1B (expecting a slight regression after last year, but hope not)
      Pivetta #2
      Arrietta #2 – i counted him out this year, highest I’d give him was a #3, but his knee issues seems cleared; I got high expectations again for him, two very solid halfs … it just one
      EFFLIN -#4
      Vasquez – -#??? True wildcard. Will see. Others are chomping at the bit to take his spot

      Bullpen – ??? It always is a surprise to me every year, someone will step forward for a surprise year, it’s basicsllh guaranteed

      1. Tac – Both Herrera and Segura, can alternate in the order, depending if the pitcher is a lefty or righty. Both players are also capable of leading the team in BA.
        I’m an optimist, and I have more faith in the starters than most fans. Eflin and Velasquez will be pushed hard by the Lehigh pitching staff.
        I think that the Bullpen needs one more arm (Kimbrel).

    2. At least 1 of Pivetta, Eflin, VV. We need somebody to step up and show that they can be a legit starting pitcher. Time is running out for them since we have some replacements at Lehigh.

      Second is Odubel. He needs to be a 3 WAR player.

  23. Too bad for Souza JR and the D-Backs. Ray? Excited for the season to start. Most excited because as a baseball fan we will get to see some exciting young players break camp with their clubs as opposed to the proverbial service time manipulation: Tatis JR, Eloy Jimenez

    Saw the topic again from a Chicago sports writer on the season starting the earliest it ever has. The writer went on a rant as to why with so many games getting canceled for inclement weather.

    The common sense solution is to not try and start so many games in the northern areas in stadiums without roofs. I am pretty sure there are enough teams in warmer climates and teams with roofs that MLB could offset the earlier start on the calendar with games in those cities.

    1. DMAR…commissioner addressed that concern last year…..he said it was unfair to northern tier fans to have to wait until the second or third week in April to have their first home opener.
      IMO, doesn’t bother me if the Phillies were on the road for the first two weeks of the season down south somewhere or in a dome stadium.

      1. Agree Romus that is just a dumb statement. No one who buys tickets to see a game wants to sit in inclement weather or worse run the risk of having that game canceled or postponed.

        At a minimum the first 6 games sheesh. What purpose does it serve to get fans all hyped about the season only to find out its canceled for a snow storm.

        I counted 11 teams that have favorable weather or a roof. 2 of those teams are what you would consider northern Toronto and Milwaukee.

        1. The commissioner has had plenty of ideas that seem a bit out there.

          MLB has plenty of money….maybe he ought to have one idea that may be worth while……any team interested in a ball park with a retractable roof…..put their names in a queue and have MLB schedule them for construction….with MLB paying the majority of the cost.

  24. With tomorrow being the real opening day here are some predictions . . . (Also slow day at the work place)

    Surprise Player(s):
    Franco and Eflin (I think you’ll see Eflin get close to 175ip w an ERA somewhere around 3.25-3.75. And Franco hitting .275-.285 w 25-30 HR)

    Breakout(s): Hoskins and Eflin. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Hoskins make the all star team. Elfin (See above).

    Disappointing player(s): Kingery and Pivetta. If he stays with the club and isn’t sent down for reg ABs I don’t think you see Kingery’s average get over .240. Since we traded for Pivetta I had him as my breakout player for prospects every year . . . I’ve soured, not on the stuff but on the inconsistency which I think continues. He reminds me so much of Gavin Floyd, think he’ll put it together eventually but elsewhere.

    MVP: Segura. I have a feeling he has a year similar to Rollins MVP year where he does a little bit of everything. I can see a few BIG hits from him as well.

    Cy Young: Nola. Just can’t talk myself into anyone else pitching better.

    Record: 91-71 (2nd place, Wildcard)

    Batting Average: Segura .327
    Homeruns: Harper 43 (Vegas has him at 36.5)
    RBI: Hoskins 111
    Wins: Nola 18

    1. I’m actually optimistic about the team this season. The FO’s success in the offseason will carryover to the clubhouse and make the players perform better.

      Last year when I mentioned that Nola will be a perennial CY Young contender, it was not received well because Nola just had a poor 2017 season due to injuries. If Nola is healthy he will be a Top 10 SP in NL and possibly in MLB.

      Most of the people I know who likes Eflin doesn’t like Pivetta (and vice versa) and I don’t know why. I think there’s no other way for both Eflin and Pivetta but to go up, that’s why I said before that Pivetta and Eflin can be the 2nd and 3rd best SP in the team.

      MVP – to me is JTR who can help on both the offensive and defensive side.

      Breakout – Pivetta is a sexy answer but I’ll give this to Yacksel Rios and Austin Davis. 2 unheralded pen arms who will be tapped to cover for vets who can’t deliver.

      Disappointment – Bryce was burden with undue expectation that his numbers (while good) will not be enough to meet the high expectations because of the hype. But for the the potential disappointment is the veteran bullpen arms — at least 2 or 3 of Neshek, Hunter, Nicasio, Robertson, Neris and Morgan will be garbage and Klentak will tap on the LHV arms to fill the void.

      Surprise – Kapler will surprise me by not trying to be cool and smart. Kapler will let the feel of the game help him make decisions.

  25. Eric D, I would love if you are right about Franco and Eflin. However, I would be very disappointed if you are right about Kingery and Pivetta. I think Pivetta is very good and will show it. I have Harper at plus 40 HRs, and Rhys at 120 RBIs. I think Segura battles for the Batting Title, and I believe Realmuto, Harper, Segura and Nola make the All Star team. I think we have a lot of debate over Rhys not making it, not because I don’t believe in Rhys, but because I think that voters have Freeman, Votto and Goldschmidt already penciled in.

  26. With all due respect to Harper whom I believe will have a productive season as a product of the lineup around him and the ball park.

    However, the best player on this squad is Realmuto. I also predict that as a fine crop of young catchers rise up the ranks, he will become a 1b/corner OF/DH within the next 5 years, due mainly to his bat. Which is another reason why the front office must be aggressive to lock him up sooner than later.

  27. I think the team makes a big mid-season trade and finishes with 91 wins and makes the playoffs. Not ready to say that they win the NL East as I think the Nats and the Braves improved. But I think that they get into the playoffs. If they can add a top SP, then they can make a serious run.

    1. If Madison Bumgarner is pitching well, the Giants, who are desperate for outfielders, match up well with Phillies. Having his postseason experience and success would be a huge plus.

    1. Even if Odubel is not the most likable guy, giving him 5 years, $30.5M is a no brainer when he’s coming off 2 consecutive 4 WAR seasons. You’ll take your chances all day long.

      1. I think Doobie is very likable by the players…..just too much of a goofball/.clown I suppose.
        And that can be annoying to some who want to concentrate on their performance in that game.
        Chase and Doobie are probably separated by 180 degrees when it comes to attitude…

    2. This is unfortunate, the club does not need this, nor does baseball and it’s fans. I’m not going to go much into the racial aspect of Craig C’s interpretation of a scouts critic of Herrera, but It sounds more to me that it’s more of a new school person (notice how I didn’t jsay guy,so not to offend) not understanding an old school person, and vice versa. I didn’t see the racism in the comment, but I also understand how old school and new school people think and interpret differently. Has Craig watched Odubel play the last few years? I’m wondering, because you can’t argue with the overall message when you take out any aspect of race from the harsh critic. Playing the game the way Odubel has done in the past,will win you games, but it will also lose you games, and that is what the old school way of thinking will harp on. Losing games that you shouldn’t for not playing hard for a full game every game, and your less than 110% effort is the reason why the team lost. Not sure how that thought process got twisted into a race topic, than it just being a miscommunciation between generations. Play ball!

      1. Thank you, there was nothing racist about the comments and all the snowflakes were out on twitter calling the guy a racist. The word “racist” is thrown around so loosely these days and in my opinion it’s disrespectful for those who actually had to deal with racism.
        Btw this was what I was referring to with my comment to your previous post.

    1. Fake news, Romus. Harper’s an easy target, and the classic villain for any rival market/team/fanbase. He is overrated perhaps, but MOST overrated? There are lots of dogs in the game who don’t measure up to their hype. Besides, this is a player poll and those guys aren’t in touch with their jealousy, I suppose.

    2. Well will get a front row seat to the near unanimous pick. Getting a taste of how he is pitched, I can see why he “underachieves”. Pitchers and teams game plan for Harper, which makes it harder for him or any such player to reach those expectations. I’ve said it before, but I really dislike when the games best pitching/batter matchups end with pitch arounds/IBB. Hurts the game imo, and lowers batting stats. Good luck to Harper if they incorporate the 4 man OF against him, his numbers take a hit, and be a shoe in again next year for most overrated. Which I’m sure will be overlooked

    1. Romus … this new “No Tweeting” rule is absolutely ridiculous. Between this and Jim’s news about the club limiting information in Clearwater, the Phillies are becoming anti fan friendly. What is this … North Korea?

  28. NBC Sports’ Craig Calcatera posted an article citing an anonymous scout who blasted Odubel and said that there was internal controversy about signing him to the extension he got, but that Klentak liked him. I’m personally on board the Doobie reboot. He could thrive in this renewed environment but it’s on him if he doesn’t. The tools are there.

  29. Luis Garcia has recently been playing 2b in minor league camp. Just wondering if they have other plans for Kingery long term should they aggressively move Garcia up the ranks (ETA 2021?).

    Kingery finished camp looking more relaxed and having better ABs. Bigger barrel bat, better contact. Kapler said he’ll be getting reps at 3b and cf, which puts more pressure on Franco and Doobie to make this season count.

    1. I would imagine they’re just trying to get him reps there to see what he can do (and what others can do at SS). If he plays a single game off SS in Lakewood, I’d be surprised.

      Franco should certainly be wary of Kingery’s looming presence. Odubel? Not so much. If anyone is a threat to Odubel, it’s Roman Quinn, although his injury history makes that less likely.

    2. Franco hits anywhere near last yr. Kingery wont get the job. He cant hit. unless a miracle happens and he finds something. we havent seen yet , Still with the kingery taking people jobs.25 yrs old 226 avg with a 267 obp and he is a threat. 8mark you never had post like this before,. what do you see that i dont?

      1. roc….you have to be a visionary.with unnatural prescient talents..
        Surely your intuitive abilities can recognize the potential that lies within the player.

      2. Roc I do expect Franco to have a decent season batting down in the order 20-25 HR’s should be in order 250-270 avg mediocre OBP 300-330. I Don’t agree with him hitting 8 I would hit him 7.

        I haven’t totally given up on Kingery but I do think they are doing him a disservice not letting him find it in AAA.

        He’s a great kid and a great defensive player but you gotta hit in the MLB.

    1. As the debate over analytics rages on, and as the game of baseball continues to evolve, things in this world have a way of coming full circle, just like fashion.

      My contention with analytics has never been its use as a strategic tool. The problem as I see it, is that the prevailing wind of new minds in applying the information is the resignation to the tendency of players who can’t or won’t adjust their game. In other words, since players can’t or won’t bunt, or steal bases, or hit and run, then we will base our game plan around the collective negligence of a game which has rules that permit baserunners to attempt to steal bases, bunt, etc.

      My argument is that the game should first be taught and played according to the rules and spirit it was designed. THEN we can knock ourselves out with all the analytical approaches we want.

            1. yep…that would be us….even the Rocco Meister
              I think Jim Peyton will also like it once he sees Donnie Baker in action.

      1. I understand your reasoning and your argument. But to take an extreme example, baseball was designed and intended to be played by only white men. Meaning any other ethnicity and women aren’t allowed to play.

        Sports are a reflection of society. They need to evolve with the society or they no longer serve their purpose. I personally HATE the concept of the DH. But if I’m one of only a few and society as a whole likes it, then baseball should adopt the DH.

        As for advanced statistics and their impact on the game, a lot of people have been claiming that it’s killing baseball or making it boring. No it isn’t. The game is evolving. In fact, advanced statistics get us more involved in the game than we’ve ever been. It’s given us more to talk about. All the old topics still exist, so we’ve just added some.

        And the shift in strategy isn’t about whether a player can or cannot do anything. It’s about whether it’s worth doing. You cited bunting and base stealing. Advanced statistics don’t suggest not stealing a base. It DOES suggest that it’s not worth stealing a base unless you’re successful a certain amount of the time, which makes a lot of sense. You wouldn’t tell a guy with a 10% success rate to run with impunity.

        Likewise with bunting, nothing in statistics suggests you should never bunt. It does say giving up free outs is bad; and it also gives us the expected runs increase from a running at 1st versus at 2nd with any number of outs respectively.

        Really, they’re just playing the odds. If a player wants to train to become so good at a niche skill that it’s worth utilizing, that’s fine. But niche skills don’t get paid as well as universal skills.

      2. One of the radio guys made a great point about analytics . . . 2 of the most analytic driven teams just happened to play in the WS last year, not to mention the one team being there several times recently. The difference its talked about more here.

  30. Let’s go Mondo! (That’s Harper’s nickname which I just read in Bob Brookover’s piece in the Phillies preview section today.)

  31. Jayson Stark data on MLB shifts:
    Here’s a breakdown of the last seven season of shifts on balls in play….. by just a right-handed hitter.

    2011: 84
    2012: 787
    2013: 1,260
    2014: 3,673
    2015: 4,162
    2016: 8,698
    2017: 8,133
    2018: 11,573

    The jump was equally as jarring for lefties, perhaps even more so.
    Lefties were shifted against 2,266 times in 2011.
    The number bumped up to 23,098 in 2018.

  32. Watching DeGrom, Scherzer and Nola all in one day wow…these cats can all deal. The NL East has to be one of the most exciting divisions in all of baseball (I am biased) but that’s 3 Cy Young Candidates

    Then add youngsters: Peter Alonso, Acuna, Soto, Robles*, Albies

    Best Catcher in baseball JT Realmuto

    MVP Candidates: Harper, Freeman, Rendon, Cano

    AS Caliber: Hoskins, Herrera, Segura, Donaldson

    It’s going to be a smash mouth season.

    1. Disagree on Cano and Donaldson. The NL East will be a battle of arms (rotation) and young guns (Hoskins, Soto, Turner, Acuna, Albies, Conforto). The Phillies is behind in the young position players unless Kingery, Quinn, Williams and Cozens enter the scene but they Phillies covered it up with its deep pockets/farm to acquire Harper, JTR, Segura and Cutch.

      1. I mean no…no Marlins. Maybe Brinson turns into something but right now I don’t see any true impact players on that roster.

  33. Watching the game on line. It sure seems like a lot of the called Balls that Nola is getting are right inside that little Strike Zone diagram. Anyone else noticing that?

      1. 8Mark go back three yrs. and see my post about franco. He would be awesome if he just could stay, off that dam breaking ball out of the zone

  34. Neshek, Robertson, SerAnthony, why did we go to Neris there? Just close out the game with our best. Neris scares me every time he pitches. He misses with his Splitter a couple of times, goes to the FB and boom!

    1. You don’t use your best relievers in EVERY situation.

      Up by 5 is the perfect time to use one of the lesser guys.

  35. JP for Segura was an absolute steal. JP didn’t make the opening day roster. To get an all star caliber Shortstop for a guy who looks completely overmatched at the mlb level is a massive theft.

    1. This was a great trade on many levels. Klentak basically traded Crawford’s “potential” for the achieved skills of Segura, which are on par or arguably above Crawford’s ceiling. The catch is, if Crawford developed at the mlb level, he’d be cheap and productive. Segura is productive, but not cheap. I’ll take that swap. With Middleton’s mandate to speed up the rebuild, klentak did just that, turned potential into more of a sure thing. To boot, he also cleared a positional logjam

  36. I get so annoyed that we wait all this time for the season to start and then have to sit out a day for more of it.

    That said Comcast does give free for a week the baseball package so I can watch a great number of games across the league.

  37. Alfaro off to his typical hot start, went deep, on an easy looking swing. Opposite field. Bwhahah I’ll take Realmuto anyday though. He’ll start his annual dropping batting average soon enough

    1. Haha Tac I was wondering how others feel after we a trade player. I personally still root for them even in another uniform to do well. Just not against us of course.

      Carlos Carrasco for instance is a guy I’ve enjoyed seeing having success with the Indians and maybe we’ll see him back in Red one day.

      1. I’m an Alfaro fan, he has raw power, if ever puts it together will be a beast at the plate. No reason to root against him, other than his weird NASCAR like circling the batters box between EVERY pitch and when playing the Phillies.

        I’m thinking Realmuto will make many forget about Alfaro, Sixto maybe another story, and the other pitcher… GL to him, to long of a dev. Time for a team looking to win now.

  38. I havent really seen a lot of Realmuto. Yesterday i thought he did a great job, on framing the pitch. He got Nola some outside pitches called strikes.

    1. Players do win almost 60% of the time…..and many are happy when they do not even get to arbitration since most of players and their agents happily accept the club’s offering before the process begins.

      Of course the optics do not look good…..but like to hear the rational behind this ‘award’. other than .’an informal recognition of those club’s salary arbitration departments that did the best……. able to achieve the goals set by the industry.”

      1. That’s a flat out, hands down, BAD public relations decision. I have not been the least bit impressed by Manfred. He’s almost as big an empty suit as Roger Goodell. They should not be titled as commissioner but plainly CEO. Let’s call them what they are.

    1. I wonder by how much our people will outnumber theirs on Tuesday. DC is clearly one of the 5 worst markets in baseball, behind only Miami, Tampa, Pittsburgh, and maybe San Diego.

          1. roc…..it is the scoring system they use I think that is used for determination…and the TV market comes into play

            REVENUE SHARING MARKET SCORE
            * Phased in over four years (2017–2020) at 25% per year, per Article
            XXIV(A)(12).
            RANK …CLUB… SCORE… DQ%
            1 NYY 235 100%
            1 NYM 235 100%
            3 LAD 178 100%
            3 LAA 178 100%
            5 CHI 124 100%
            5 CWS 124 100%
            7 TOR 119 100%
            8 WSH 113 100%
            9 PHI 111 100%
            10 OAK 108 100%*
            10 SF 108 100%
            12 BOS 101 100%
            12 TEX 101 100%
            14 ATL 96 0%
            15 HOU 93 0%

            16 SEA 81 0%
            17 MIN 76 0%
            18 DET 74 0%
            19 ARI 72 0%
            19 TB 72 0%
            21 BAL 70 0%
            21 COL 70 0%
            23 MIA 69 0%
            24 CLE 64 0%
            25 SD 60 0%
            26 STL 57 0%
            27 PIT 56 0%
            28 KC 53 0%
            29 MIL 52 0%
            30 CIN 51 0%

        1. Wow, MIA didn’t even draw 1m fans. As they shouldn’t, what they did to that team is a travesty… but I’m glad we could benefit!

  39. FWIW Factoid:
    “Out of 882 players on active rosters, the injured list and the restricted list, 251 were born outside of the United States. Among those, 102 were from the Dominican Republic.
    That’s the first time there have been more than 100 players from a single country other than the US in MLB history. Due to the larger number of players counted, however, that falls just short of the highest percentage of Dominican-born players. This year it was 11.6 percent. In 2007, 99 of 849 players were from the Dominican Republic, putting the figure at 11.7 percent.

    The total of international players is the third highest behind 2017, when there were 259 players from outside the U.S., and last year, when there were 254. The 28.5 percent figure is down from 29 percent last year and is the fifth highest ever. The record was set in 2018 with 29.8 percent.”

  40. According to Matt Breen via Twitter, Reading’s starting OF will be Haseley (’17 1st rd pick), Moniak (’16 1st rd pick) and Randolph (’15 1st rd pick). My money is on Mickey Mo, although Haseley could turn out to be a nice big league player. I think Moniak’s upside is higher.

  41. Did you notice? After the grand slam, Hoskins leaped in the air with Harper, linked their arms together, and celebrated. First of all, I hate choreographed celebrations, and second, wasn’t that the same shoulder that was injured 10 days ago.

  42. Lakewood roster has 9 starting pitchers. I wonder if they’ll have certain guys share games with 4/5 innings each. Bohm at Lakewood and Haseley and Listi at Reading are very conservative placements. I’m thinking it’s because none of them looked great in spring training. With a late push Guzman took the Lakewood job away from Gonzalez. Lakewood roster is very young and it looks like Ortiz must have gotten into Clearwater. That official roster hasn’t been listed yet.

    1. Ban the shift … yesterday

      Baseball needs position limits on how far a player can “shift” … let the pitchers control and arsenal handle the rest. If it results in more hits … o well. If not, they ought to let batters go up there in full body gear to crowd the plate so they get some type of even playing field

      1. At minimum if 3 infielders are on either side of 2B they should all have to play on the actually INF, not in shallow RF.

        1. ErciD…my suggestion……move the dirt out an extra 5 feet out from the foul lines around the diamond…all infidels have to have one foot on the dirt when the pitcher delivers the pitch.

  43. In the past, the Phillies have looked horrible against rookie pitchers, but this is a different team. Having said that, the Phillies are 1.5 run underdogs today.

      1. Romus – I read it somewhere this morning, but I can’t remember where. I didn’t check the Vegas odds, but saw it in a preview of today’s game.

  44. I haven’t weighed in on the comments about Herrera the other day, so here’s my take. Professional baseball players are not dogs! They are human beings like you and me. They have families and friends who know them a lot better that this anonymous scout. Not all players show their emotions on the field, Schmidt and Abreu are good examples. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurting inside. Odubel likes to have fun, so do I. Does that make me a clown also? Maybe, rather than calling him a F***ing dog, he could have accused him of “stealing the money”. I’ve been following the Phillies since 1955 and the only player that I can believe really stole the money was Greg Jeffries. Perhaps you remember more.

        1. Wawa…Gillick trade of Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzo to the WSox for Big Freddy Garcia.
          Over payment on the contract and the return.

    1. Wawa, I see your point, but I think this was more of a scout giving a harsh critic of Herrera, and that he isn’t an old school type of player, which cAn cause issues in the clubhouse. The viewpoint is harsh, and the scout was trying to shed light/whistle blow. I believe the scouts point was that Herrera got paid, wasn’t hustling, giving a 110% effort the past years .. and before all this stupid money Middleton handed out, it caused guys who were giving 110% effort potential clubhouse issues. Now no one can really give it 110% all year, but you get the point.

      You need to take it from a scouts perspective too, they see players in the minor leagues daily, busting hump, doing all the “extra” work and can’t catch a break into the show for a variety of reasons, one of which is maybe some guys contract makes making a move not make sense financially. I can see how a scout could have been fustrated over the last few seasons with Herrera.

      All said, I’ve busted on Herrera, looking to trade in his value for a more all in player everyday, but he is there. He has his opportunity, I hope he doesn’t take it for granted, fun loving or not. It’s a pretty extraordinary opportunity to complete an offensive lineup. For the record, I believe he will.

      Lastly, if the scout said “he’s stealing money”, personally I think that is worse, but the previous author who started the racial flames would still have twist the old school viewpoint. See my previous point, imho, no racist comments, just miscommunication between generations

    1. I cannot disagree here. He’s pretty much the same guy from last season. He can’t locate his fastball, hung his curve (luckily it didn’t hurt him), and pitched to avoid contact with no confidence.

  45. Eric – At times this past winter, I felt like the only person in Philly fandom who didn’t want to trade Franco. Sometimes the best trades are the ones that you don’t make.

    1. Wawa i been on this kid and C. H, for three yrs.I just keep saying it if Franco can stay off that low and away breaking ball, he would be a stud. I dont really know much about Robertson but he hasnt look good, when i have seen him all spring and yesterday

  46. Pivetta still having trouble with lelfies. I seen the Change in Franco starting last yr, if he can put it all together wow what a lineup.

  47. I have been trumpeting the Pivetta break out season all Winter, and I am not giving up after one game. But, he was not good, and more than anything, what I found most troubling was his body language. Maybe he was mad at himself or the Umpire or both, but he won’t have success without managing his emotions. Robertson has been less than stellar and I am a big fan of his, and I expect him to find his groove.

  48. matt – As long as they get the W, don’t worry. Both Nola and Pivetta didn’t have their best stuff, and we won because the offense picked them up. Last year, it seemed like the offense and defense never helped the pitcher out. The Phillies won’t average 9 runs per game, but the pitching WILL get better.

  49. Arrietta, battles, looks like he will be on track for a bigger season this year.

    Lock up Realmuto, ASAP, overpay, don’t care at this point, ain’t nobody to spend it on Anyways!

    Herrera … could’ve injured our 330million dollar man. Going to try to let it go, but stuff like that should not be happening at this level/pennant race

    1. I would like Kimbel now. makes our bullpen really good. and takes some pressure off the starters, 6 innings and the bullpen will take it home.

      1. roccom – I agree 100%. Over the course of the season, Relievers are hot and cold. The more arms you have, the better the opportunity to ride the “hot hand”. I’d overpay for two years max.

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