Open Discussion: Week of September 2nd

Condolences to Jean Segura whose grandmother passed over the weekend.  Segura is my favorite Phillies’ hitter to watch.  His ability to put balls in play from his expanded strike zone reminds me of those Pirates from my youth – Roberto Clemente, Manny Sanguillen, Richie Hebner, Al Oliver, …

Scott Kingery kept the Phillies close in the wild card race with his bases clearing double yesterday.  The Phillies are 2.5 games behind the Cubs for the final playoff spot.

The last spot will likely be filled from among Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Arizona, or New York.  The teams with losing records have too many games to make up and too many teams to pass.

The Phillies have a tough schedule remaining – @CIN (4), @NY (3), v.ATL (4), v.BOS (2), @ATL (3), @CLE (3), @WAS (5), and v.MIA (3).

All the teams have tough schedules, but Arizona’s might be the least tough.  They are finished with their division except for 9 games with the Padres.  They have 6 with the Reds, 4 with the Mets, 3 with the Marlins, and 3 with the Cardinals at home.  They are a game behind the Phillies.

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

Key Dates:

  • September 8, 2019 – Coaches and players report for Instructs
  • September 9, 2019 – Instructs’ workouts begin
  • September 18, 2019 – beginning of the Arizona Fall League
  • October 12, 2019 – Arizona Fall Stars Game
  • October 26, 2019 – Arizona Fall League Championship Game
  • February 22, 2020 – First spring training game at Tigers
  • February 23, 2020 – First ST home game v. Pirates
  • March 23, 2020 – Final ST home game v. Rays
  • March 26, 2020 – Opening Day at Miami
  • April 2, 2020 – Home opener v. Milwaukee

The rosters and lists are up to date as of September 1st … 399 players in the org

9/1/19 – Phillies selected the contract of INF Phil Gosselin from Lehigh Valley
9/1/19 – Phillies selected the contract of C Deivy Grullon from Lehigh Valley
9/1/19 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Nick Vincent from Lehigh Valley
9/1/19 – Phillies recalled LHP Cole Irvin from Lehigh Valley
9/1/19 – Phillies activated OF Jay Bruce from the 10-day IL
9/1/19 – Phillies transferred LHP Adam Morgan from the 10- to the 60-day IL
9/1/19 – Phillies placed RHP Jerad Eickhoff on the 60-day IL, finger
9/1/19 – Phillies designated RHP Drew Anderson for assignment
9/1/19 – Lehigh Valley activated LHP Kyle Dohy from the TIL
9/1/19 – Lehigh Valley activated C Matt McBride from the 7-day IL
9/1/19 – SS Raul Rivas assigned to Lehigh Valley from Clearwater
9/1/19 – Jose Antequera assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
8/31/19 – RHP Seth McGarry assigned to Lehigh Valley from Clearwater
8/30/19 – Philadelphia sent OF Jay Bruce on a rehab assignment to Reading
8/30/19 – Lehigh Valley released C Nick Hundley.
8/30/19 – Lehigh Valley activated RHP Jose Taveras from the TIL
8/30/19 – Lehigh Valley activated RHP Fernando Salas from the 7-day IL
8/30/19 – Lehigh Valley placed LHP JoJo Romero on the TIL
8/30/19 – RHP Tyler Carr assigned to Reading from Clearwater
8/29/19 – Lehigh Valley placed LHP Kyle Dohy on the TIL
8/29/19 – Lehigh Valley activated Maikel Franco
8/29/19 – Reading sent OF Jose Pujols on a rehab assignment to GCL West
8/29/19 – Lakewood sent RHP Jonas De La Cruz on a rehab assignment to GCL West
8/28/19 – Reading sent OF Jose Pujols on a rehab assignment to GCL East
8/28/19 – Clearwater placed C Willie Estrada on the 7-day IL
8/27/19 – RHP Seth McGarry assigned to Clearwater from Lehigh Valley
8/27/19 – Lehigh Valley activated LHP Damon Jones from the TIL
8/27/19 – LHP Nick Lackney assigned to GCL West from GCL East
8/27/19 – SS Jamari Baylor assigned to GCL East from GCL West
8/27/19 – RHP Cristian Hernandez assigned to GCL West from GCL East
8/27/19 – RHP Robinson Martinez assigned to GCL East from GCL West
8/27/19 – RHP Chi-Ling Hsu assigned to GCL East from GCL West
8/27/19 – Willie Estrada assigned to Clearwater from GCL East
8/26/19 – Phillies activated RF Bryce Harper from the paternity list
8/26/19 – Phillies sent RHP Edubray Ramos on a rehab assignment to Clearwater
8/26/19 – Phillies optioned 3B Maikel Franco to Lehigh Valley
8/26/19 – Lehigh Valley placed RHP Jose Taveras on the TIL
8/26/19 – RHP Seth McGarry assigned to Lehigh Valley from Clearwater
8/26/19 – RHP Rafi Gonell assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
8/26/19 – Lakewood placed RHP Dominic Pipkin on the 7-day IL retro to 8/22, shoulder inflammation
8/26/19 – Lehigh Valley activated Nick Williams from the TIL
8/26/19 – Clearwater activated Omar Maldonado

327 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of September 2nd

  1. This was a series that reinforced people’s belief that Gabe Kapler is not the right manager to move this team forward. Yesterday, Jason Vargas is clearly laboring, couldn’t throw strikes on a consistent basis, and was pushing 100 pitches in the 5th inning, yet Kapler keeps him in the game. What was a close game goes by the wayside. Tonight, Zach Efflin is actually pitching a great game, goes 7 innings with 84 pitches, and Kapler takes him out because the analytics book says so. I usually don’t pay attention to the ESPN game crew, but Alex Rodriguez was complaining that Kapler has to watch the game instead of looking at the books, because he would have seen Efflin was still dominating the Mets. Kapler takes him out, Mets tie the game.

    1. I hate listening to ARod but in the 2 games he broadcasted with the Phillies, he proved to be a better strategist than Kapler.

  2. If I had to give a title to the Phillies 2019 season to this point, it would be called “Missed Opportunities”. While much has been made of injuries to Cutch and the bullpen, this club has had more than their share of blown chances to seize the day, losing series to teams they clearly should have and could have beaten with or without the fallen. Klentak used the injuries to defend the Phillies position in the standings while stating that “they” will be aggressive this off season.

    My guess is he will return as GM, but Kapler’s fate rests entirely on whether the Phillies earn that 2nd wild card. I’m tempted to root for them to finish below .500 in order to secure that he and most of his staff be replaced over the winter. As this team continues to tread water (mercy!) I hang in for better or worse as a fan, but not as an advocate. He’s simply not a good manager and certainly doesn’t instill anything substantive in his players but rather warm fuzzies.

    1. The Cubs remaining schedule includes 4 games at Milwaukee this weekend, with 7 games against St Louis, the final 3 in ‘baseball heaven’ on the final weekend. Unfortunately, the Phillies can’t afford to lose a single series from here on, beginning with 4 in Cincinnati today. Less than 3 of 4 vs the Reds? Get out the fork….

    2. ….also want to wish all my American hard working, Phuture Phillies phriends a very happy Labor Day. Thanks isn’t enough to Jim Peyton whose labor of love in overseeing this site provides us with a daily dose of baseball sanctuary, despite the occasional knucklehead.

      ….oh, before I forget….JETPAX!

    3. Klentak needs to go and so does MacFail. We need better leadership that understands “real baseball ” not philosophies that they feel would be baseball.

  3. I’m definitely on the side that they lose enough so that Gabe and the staff gets fired. I’m actually worn out about thinking and stating about his mistakes as a manager.

    And there is an additional bonus to that,just improving the draft pick by 3 to 5 picks could enable them to get a better prospect.

    Being aggressive over the winter sounds a little like cover up to be coming from Klentax.As a GM they should always be aggressive even if they don’t sign free agents to big contracts.It’s the little things a GM does that keeps the needle moving in the right direction, even if it means signing players then flipping them at the trade dealine,etc.

    Hard to believe that the minor league season has come to the end already.I believe our top 30 will have more potential than the 2019 group,but by how much? And,that is based on some of the Williamsport players,Simmons,Rojas,etc. But,they are two levels below Double A,so they could flame out too.

  4. Middleton extended MacPhail and Klentak in March…unbeknownst to the media and public until July… they will return in 2020.
    They did not extend Kapler so far (at least that is what has been reported to the public) who’s last year is next season on his three year contract, which btw has no option clauses.
    So assume failing to make the play-offs may be a negative detractor for him.

    I think Middleton can read the public perception well…..and bringing back Kapler for 2020 could be a real issue with the fans, and some media types, which will probably reflect itself in pre-season ticket sales.

    1. Agree. Any post season statements that Middleton makes will only be weighed by his actions. I find it difficult to envision his sitting before the gathered media and using injuries as an excuse for falling short of a playoff berth. The lack of development/improvement by most on the major roster leaves Kapler in his dimmest light. Middleton may allow Klentak to finish this roster by restocking the pitching staff for 2020, but he and MacPhail may sit down with the GM and in so many admonishing words, tell him that he gets to hire another manager, only with their input.

  5. Phillies need to go at least 18-9 to finish the season. Will get them to 88 wins which is probably the minimum win total needed .

    Think they can do that?

    1. Objectively, no.

      Unless they go on a run of say, winning 12 of 15, and soon, the Cubs and Cardinals have a lock on the NL central/#2 wild card. The Mets are projected by Fangraphs to have a considerably higher percentage of making the playoffs than the Phillies do, and I don’t see NYM overcoming Chicago or St Louis. Much stranger things have happened, and I keep reminding myself that the Phillies are at least playing meaningful baseball in September. But never has it been this unsatisfying. It’s like a battle to be the tallest midget.

  6. Assume the aggressiveness Klentak is mentioning is in starting pitchers’ since he lists the ‘core’ guys all in their 20s and all position players.
    I would think one or two of these pitchers will be high on their shopping and wish list.
    With the top half selection…. priority of this list.

    Gerrit Cole (29)
    Zack Wheeler (30)
    Alex Wood (29)
    Cole Hamels (36)
    Wade Miley (33)
    Kyle Gibson (32)
    Hyun-Jin Ryu (33)
    Drew Smyly (29)
    Jason Vargas (37) — $8M club option with a $2MM buyout
    Jake Odorizzi (30)
    Rick Porcello (31)
    Tanner Roark (33)
    Dallas Keuchel (32)
    Derek Holland (33)
    Jhoulys Chacin (32)
    Drew Pomeranz (31)

    1. I like Wheeler as a #3. But we need a TOR, be it a 1 or 1A.

      I also like Alex Wood but only with the potential to be a #2, more likely a 3/4.

      As much as I like Hamels as a solid #3 and a stabilizing influence to the rest of the staff, I seriously doubt that this regime will bring him back for posterity’s sake. Klentak doesn’t strike me as a sentimental type and prefers to build his roster devoid of harkening the good old glory days of a decade ago.

      Ryu would certainly be a good get buy I doubt
      a) he’ll choose to sign with a club in a city which doesn’t resonate with Asian players, and
      b) as a 33 yr old, the Phillies won’t pay him what he’s looking for.

      That leaves Gerrit Cole. My guess is that the Phillies will go full court press because hey, it’s so obvious that starting pitching is clearly the biggest need by a country mile. They have to at least make it publicly perceived that they are all in on him. I hope they do but their chances are much less than they were in pursuing Harper.

      So, it may come down to making a trade for TOR on a non-contending, rebuilding team. I’m not sure who would be available. Anyone want to hazard an educated guess?

      1. I agree with you on Cole.
        Assume the Yankees will be one of their main competitors for him.
        But they will still have their monetary restraints with Stanton and Ellsbury on their books….and they wil need to make a move on Judge for sure this off-season….they cannot afford to let him go into his first arb year at age28 without a substantial bump up in his salary.
        Klentak did mention he is not sure they will go into that ‘$330M contract range’ loke last off-season….but the Corbin area with a 5 to 10 % hike, would seem reasonable and they could afford to do it, even with the Realmuto offering coming.

  7. For me, despite winning last night, it’s time (it’s actually past time) to write this season off (there is/has been no path to the playoffs), and start preparing for the 2020 season.

    * Give Nick Pivetta (who should be recalled in the next couple of days) four or five starts this month. He may no longer be stretched out. So, just let him go out and throw (with no pressure) for as long as he can. Could be two or three innings at first. Maybe he works his way up to five or six innings by the end of September. I still want to believe he could maybe be a part of the Phillies rotation with the help of an older/more experienced/better pitching coach.

    * Adam Haseley starts every game the rest of the season Let him play vs RHP’s and LHP’s. He can play both CF and LF (when/if Roman Quinn returns).

    Pivetta and Haseley need both the reps and (more importantly) some confidence. The 2020 Phillies could really use positive contributions from each of the two … or … it’s always possible both could be used in a package to bring back a starting pitcher with some team control (I still think Klentak will make a run at Matthew Boyd) in the offseason.

    * Also have to get your young relievers as much work as possible this month to get a better feel for whether they can or can’t help next year. The Phillies 2020 BP looks like it is going to be wiiiiide open. They have Hector Neris, Jose Alvarez (who is due for regression), keep your fingers crossed for Adam Morgan’s health, and a bunch of question marks.

    Focus on player development instead of wins and losses in September. It doesn’t mater if the team finishes third in the wild card race or sixth (other than drafting higher, and having a bigger bonus pool next June).

    1. Hinkie……if it comes to trading for a pitcher, I’d go after Rox Kyle Freeland.
      He may be ready for a fresh start out of his hometown and the Rox may be willing to move on.
      His metrics were horrific this season, but his raw talents are still there and he can be due for a correction in a new city.
      Philies have plenty of arms, on the 40 and in the system, to offer in return for him.

      1. Romus … yeah, Freeland’s FIP nearly doubled from 2018. Interestingly, his K and BB per 9 didn’t change much. The Phillies drafted Freeland once (although that was the last regime). Yes, I’d look into him if be became available. However, the Rockies may just ride it out with Freeland instead of selling low.
        I think the Tigers are nowhere near competing, and Boyd’s value may never be higher.

  8. On Kapler, I don’t believe he gets fired. I think they did not have winning this year on their schedule, so they will see this season as a positive, despite how the fans feel, as long as the record is over .500. MacPhail stated that a GM only gets so many Manager picks. Klentak will get 1 more, but that will come after they add some arms this off season and give Kapler a couple of months or so to see what happens next year. MacPhail was serious when he said they are ahead of the projected turn around time frame, and as much as I cannot stand hearing him, I believe it was how they look at things. I find it hard to believe that Middleton tolerates this, but I believe that Kapler is back with another coaching change or 2.

    1. Looking at Kapler as a manager:

      1 His lineup structures are slap-dashed, faux cutting edge, but without Cutch in the leadoff spot, he doesn’t have another legit option. I would prefer Kingery if his approach was improved over swing hard style but I put that on Gabe.

      2 His management of the pitching staff is at best, questionable. He has virtually no feel for the moment when it comes to his ingame decision making.

      3 His all or nothing style of only going for the big inning, 3 run homer splash with little thought to moving runners, bunting to sacrifice or drag for a single. It is so narrow minded despite all the analytical information.

      4 He and his coaching staff have developed or helped which player with improving or developing his skills? Kingery? Maybe?

      5 And speaking of Kingery, he’s dead set on playing players out of position or best suited role. I am so past Cesar. Somebody….IL BRUTE!

      6 I thought Mackanin was bad with favoring veteran journeyman players over the youth, but OMG! Kapler and Rodriguez may go down as the most infamous couple in Philadelphia sports history.

      7 And perhaps most importantly, his communication style. I’m beginning to think Tony Robbins takes his cues from Gabe. It is so painfully hollow, superficial and worst of all, insulting to both fans and media.

      I sincerely wanted Gabe Kapler to succeed as manager of the Phillies going back to last season’s collapse. Give the rookie skipper a little slack. And now we have. It certainly hasn’t been all his fault. But he’s done nothing to reverse the sentence that the vast majority of us have come to. He’s not the man to lead this team to relevant playoff contention. Period.

      1. 8mark … I’m pretty sure Gabe will be back with a new pitching and hitting coach for 2020. The fans may not like him, but I think the players support him (in addition to the GM). I predict Middleton tacks on another year (or two) to Kapler’s contract after the season.

        1. 8 Hinkie, I forgot to mention that Gabe has apparently been unable to generally motivate his players based on their lack of energy and confidence both on the field and in front of a microphone. I don’t get any sense whatsoever that, beyond lip service, they have bought into what Kapler is selling.

        2. I also have no opinion on whether Gabe stays or goes. I only wonder what John Middleton will say and do in the aftermath of another underwhelming season of baseball at a ballpark where the empty seats are screaming at him.

          1. 8mark … Phillies attendance is up by ~7,000 patrons per game in a year when almost all other clubs have suffered a decrease in attendance. TV ratings for Phillies games are also up 23% from last season. The club is fiscally very healthy.
            I believe Middleton exceeds the luxury tax threshold in 2020.

        3. Agree with hinkie on this – Kapler gets the start of next season, with new hitting and pitching coaches. Now if he 3 peats on the post all star break … that’s when the hot seat comes … or a terrible start I don’t see gmhim going

      2. Kapler ,IMO Has no feel for the game. He is all stats, Pitchers like nola have the heart of a lion, and when he takes him out of games for 3 time around drives me nuts. You have to see how a game unfolds and manage that, you cant just use stats, some guys are better when they are pushed then others I don’t care about pitch counts when the guys stuff is still good. If he is back it will be another bad year, I really don’t know how anyone can say the players like him. not the way he handles the game and players. Not when they see his play sean playing, knowing he isn’t a asset on the field or at bat. They see it,

      3. “faux cutting edge” — brilliant description of Kapler’s lineup construction. Because he only has to make two decisions per day, one being how to misuse his SP/bullpen and his other being how to set the lineup, he over-compensates for this lack of activity by erroneously “thinking outside the box” and trying to be cute with Rhys leading off. At this point, most of the Phillies wins have probably happened in spite of Kapler’s decisions rather than as a result of them.

  9. i am not arguing with you at all 8mark, I am only saying what I believe the team will do. Also, I read a good story on Deivy Grullon. It was in the Athletic. He expresses his gratitude to the organization for teaching him to read and write, and numerous other things that they have done for him outside of baseball. It makes me root for him even more. I want the team to hire Chooch as an instructor. I think he could do wonders with Grullon.

    1. matt … thanks for the heads up on the Deivy Grullon story in the Athletic. There’s a lot to like about him both on and off the field. BTW … Meghan Montemurro is a helluva writer.

  10. Scott Kingery…….can only imagine what he would have done had he not missed over 30 games this season.
    His WAR could have been over 3 for sure, maybe up to 4

    1. Romus, I am not trying to ignite another Cesar debate, I would move on even if it means non-tendering him. But, if Kingery played 2B all year, or does going forward, how much would that impact his WAR overall? I bet it is significant because I consider him to be a potential Gold Glove winner at 2B.

  11. Realmuto certainly stunk up the joint this past weekend. Gets up a couple of times with none out and a runner on second and whiffs and pop out. He’s a really good player but do you pay him twenty mill a year?

    And please, please don’t pick up the two mill option on Alice Cooper.
    His 85 mph fastball isn’t going to do it. Between him and the real Drew Smily, I think the team can find some better options.

  12. While the Phillies have had no luck landing any top Japanese pitchers, they have made a concerted effort to become a major player in Taiwan. Over the past couple of years they have inked Lin Hsin-Chieh and Hsu Chi-Ling. They were a top contender for Lin An-Ko before he decided to stay home and became a first round pick in the CBL draft a couple of months ago.
    The Taiwanese kids don’t usually sign until they’re 18 YO (or older), but keep this kid in mind over the next couple of years. Lin Yu-Min is his country’s top young LHP. He was one of the three youngest players to compete in the U18 Baseball World Cup that ended over the weekend. In two games, Lin totaled 7.2 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 5 BB, 9 K.

    There may or may not be an international draft before Lin Yu-Min makes himself available to sign with the Phillies/any MLB club, but I’ll keep monitoring him.

    Also wanted to post this. It’s another positive sign that the Phillies are leaving a footprint in Asia (Korea, in this case).

  13. Players supporting Gabe?? Do you really believe that?

    My opinion is..yes probably the players that don’t HAVE to win,Franco,etc.

    I would think that the “smart” players that truly want to win and go to the playoffs,are smart enough to see what has been discussed about his lineups,handling the pitching staff,etc..

    Listen, I wanted Gabe to succeed as much or more than anyone, but this Insanity of doing the same thing over and over as expecting different results,is just PURE INSANITY!

    The comments on here about him using analytics,and forgetting about the “human” side of players,is his downfall.

    1. Listen … when this season ends, John Middleton will speak with team leaders (Harper/Hoskins/Realmuto/McCutchen/Nola/Arrieta). That will go a long way in deciding Gabe’s fate. If he’s let go, I’ll be the first guy to come on here and admit I was wrong. I just don’t think that’s going to happen. Gabe Kapler is the ultimate “player’s manager”. He takes the heat for the club. You don’t think the players appreciate that?
      Gabe makes mistakes, but IMO no manager was taking this club to the playoffs with this pitching staff. He has ateam with a -14 run differential 5 games over .500. Everybody whined when this club wasn’t keeping up in the analytics race. The Phillies went out and hired a guy who is extremely well versed in the numbers. Too many people fall in line with/take their cue from Angelo Cataldi. He’s in the business of ratings. He takes the most extreme view as possible to coax callers and listeners. He wanted Charlie Manuel and Terry Francoa fired, too. Give Kapler better pitching options, and he’ll suddenly become a better a better manager.

      1. Hinkie, there’s a huge difference between a “players’ manager” and a respected manager. One is liked by his players. The other has players who play for him.

  14. I placed a bet that the Phillies would win 86 games this season. I’m thinking I might be a game or two below that mark at the end of the season. Wouldn’t that be par for this season.

    I want to go back to the Sean Rodriquez controversy as well as the “benching” of C. Hernandez.

    What really irked me was when Rodriquez hit the double and puts on a machco show out there. Then the next picture was of the dugout where it seemed the entire team was up on the top step or railing cheering wildly. I took it as “them against us”. The team gave the middle finger to the fans. As a friend told me recently, this is the most un-likeable team in more than a decade.

    Cesar doesn’t hustle. Gabe decides to sit him but the great communicator evidently didn’t leave the impression it was punishment. So Cesar tells the media when asked that he has the day off. Gabe hears about it. Gets peeved and calls in Cesar to have another conversation This time Cesar gets the message.

    It amazes me that with what 6-7-8 times this year that players don’t hustle Gabe decides to address the team (for 5 minutes) in August for the first time not in April or May.

    Finally, I have said this before that Hoskins has rabbit years with the fans. Did it several times when he was in LF but rarely reported. What bugs me is since moving to !B, Hoskins seems to fancy himself as Freddie Freeman. Yak Yak Yak. Problem is he is NOT Freeman.

    1. Wow, talk about some thin skin.

      Rodriguez was trying to support a teammate who was getting booed. He used a poor choice of words and deserved some heat from the fans for doing so. However, to rip the rest of the team for supporting Rodriguez is over the top. The guys were just supporting their teammate; to interpret that behavior as a middle finger to the fans is nuts IMO looking for something that just isn’t there.

      1. Your entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine.

        In the era when the manager and front office don’t want to upset the players the fans do their work. You don’t hustle. You make bonehead plays. You don’t make adjustments on the mound or at the plate these fans will let you know. It’s called accountability.

  15. Phillies will need a minimum 2 and most likely 3 new starters for next season. It’s a tough task for Klentak but if they try and roll back the Pivetta/Eflin/Vinnie trio you’re staring at another lost season.

    1. Eflin has now had 2 good starts after going to back to using his sinker more. He has what 5 more starts? If he performs well, I think you need to pencil him into the rotation next season. You need pitchers who are making peanuts to offset Arrieta’s contract. So Nola, Arrieta are locks for next year. I think Eflin will get a spot. Vargas hasn’t been setting the world on fire, and neither has VV. I think one of the spots will go down between those 2. And the last spot will be a FA.

      Spencer Howard, when ready, will get his chance. But one thing is for sure, he won’t start the year with the Phillies no matter how good he looks in ST.

      Pivetta should be done as a starter. So it’s up to Pivetta if he wants to be starter at Lehigh or a reliever at the MLB level. His choice.

      1. “Spencer Howard….won’t start the year with the Phillies no matter how good he looks in ST” ….you say that because of service time/control implications? If so, I would agree. Otherwise they may be hard pressed not to bring him north out of camp.

        1. If Vlad Jr and Bo Bichette weren’t ready, then Spencer Howard is certainly not ready. And yes, it’s about service time.

        2. No, he won’t start with the team no matter how good he is unless they signing him to a long term contract in advance. His service time clock is too important to screw up, even for a team flush with money like the Phillies.

      2. I had been planning to post something on the 2020 Phillies rotation (and bullpen) since last week. Guru’s post has given me the impetus to finally put fingers to keys.

        * Aaron Nola is obviously the one guy who can be counted on.
        * Jake Arrieta is forced to be one of the five because he’s owed 20 million.
        * Drew Smyly (IMO) is a slam dunk to bring back. I like his stuff, the fact that he’s LH, and the fact that he’s still just 29 YO. This is his first year back on the mound after a two year hiatus recovering from TJ. I expect him to be even better in 2020. He shouldn’t cost a whole lot. Smyly is a low risk – high reward signing this winter.
        * A big name/big money FA. Everybody wants Gerrit Cole. I’d love to have him, but I think he may demand more years than the Phillies will want to hand out. I think Madison Bumgarner or Zack Wheeler are more realistic.
        * A trade. Would you trade three years of Zach Eflin and Nick Williams for one year of Mike Minor?
        * VV, Nick Pivetta, Spencer Howard would add depth.

        1. I agree on Smyly – on, say, a $4-7 m deal, he’s a nice little addition who could be helpful. Definitely worth the risk as the stuff can be very good and the upside is real. They also need to do whatever they can to sign Cole – anyone who thinks he’ll only get like $25-26 m AAV is out of their minds. The contract will look much more like the Scherzer deal than it will anything else. I’m not saying he will get Scherzer money (although he might), but he’s going to be in that ballpark I believe.

          1. Zack Wheeler is a really good plan “B.” He will probably only get in the range of $12-16 m AAV, but he has upside and will be affordable. I also want to see them re-sign Dickerson for the reasons I’ve explained previously.

            1. Wheeler is an interesting case. He has the stuff but really only put it together for 1 year. I consider him to be a solid #3 pitcher. He should get something along the lines of 4 years, $60M. I can easily see the Mets giving him a QO though.

          2. Oh yeah, I think VV has turned a corner of sorts. I’d keep him around next year for sure. He’d be an acceptable 3/4.

            1. For some reason, the NYY are adverse to signing marquis TOR’s. Not sure if they’ll shell out that much in years and dollars instead of trading for one from the depths of their system.

              Houston may be maxed out to consider re-signing Cole.

              The Angels may be his desired destination but they’ve major issues with their payroll already.

              At first, I didn’t see the Phillies as favorites to land him but now I’m not so sure. Big Balls Klentak says that the Phillies will be aggressive this off season so we’ll see.

            2. Phillies should go $198M/6yrs…..and upfront more in the first 2/3 years.
              Make the other big boys pony up…Yankees want him…..but Stanton and Ellsbury contracts, along with something they will need to give to Judge in his first arb year may dictate them going lower.

            3. Here’s how I see money being spent on pitchers this winter:

              * Gerrit Cole 6 years @ 156 million
              * Madison Bumgarner 5 years @ 110 million
              * Zack Wheeler 5 years @ 100 million
              * Cole Hamels 2 years @ 36 million
              * Jake Odorizzi 3 years @ 33 million
              * Dallas Keuchel 2 years @ 20 million
              * Drew Smyly 2 years @ 15 million

              The first five above will be wearing the scarlet letters (QO).

        2. The one thing about Smyly that makes him an attractive future signing….Theo and the Cubs, in Dec 2017 signed him to a two-year, $10 million deal
          Theo went ahead and signed him after the TJ with the hope when recovered he would be back they way he was prior to the TJ……to the Phillies favor he came back slower than anticipated after even Texas and the Brewers took a chance with him.
          Some pitchers come back slower and take longer than others post-TJ.

  16. Like everyone here, I can only speculate on Kapler’s fate, but I think it might come down to how they play out the season. Win their share of games and lose only when the other team plays well, and Kap might stay. Have a few more gut-punching losses and maybe an incident or two non-hustling and he might be gone.

    Klentak has a plan for off-season. McPhail has his comfortable pace to improvement. But Middleton is another case. He wants to win and he wants happy, excited fans. If he is impatient, Kapler might go. If he’s impatient and losing confidence that Klentak is the right strategist, and he might go, too.

  17. Former Phillies’ farmhand Chace Numata passed away from head injuries sustained in a skateboarding accident.

      1. That is very sad to hear. I saw Chase numerous times with the Threshers. He always seemed like a really good guy. RIP.

      1. Inconsistency. and poor performance.
        The new ball may have given him some trouble early on….too many walks.
        Then he disappeared off the radar in July and August…maybe a lingering injury.

    1. I was thinking about Phillies that had to retire or go to bench roles at ages younger than Justin Verlander and what it might have been for at least 5years; Doc, Lee, Oswalt, Lidge, Rollins, Howard, Utley. We could have held on to Werth, Victorino, Hamels, Chooch, Blanton etc.

      Just dreamin’.

      1. The difference between Verlander’s longevity and the others…..Kate Upton.
        It must have given him new life. 🙂

    2. He was rated to have the best arm in the system a few years ago, a sleeper pick. Teams wanted him even on the disabled list if I recall correctly, nuts that he cleared/ released. Hindsight 20/20, but shame the Phillies couldn’t of cashed in on the hype, real or not.

  18. Since mid-June, the Phillies have reached 6 games over .500 11 times(!), each time they’ve followed with an L(!). The 2 most recent occasions were with Aaron Nola on the mound (and on his game, no less – shame on those bats). Tonight they try again with Vinny Nibbles vs a very hittable righty by the name of Lucas Sims. What gives?

  19. Baseball America’s final Top 100 update:

    Bohm at 33, up from 35 mid-season and 65 pre-season
    Howard, 57, up from 66 mid-season and unrated pre-season
    Luis Garcia, dropped from the list. Was 88 pre-season.

    Top overall prospect: shortstop Wander Franco of the Rays

    1. Sounds about like what I’d expect. I wouldn’t take the Bohm or Howard ratings too seriously. Often good, but slightly older hitters are underrated (check out Pete Alonso from last year or even Chase Utley from years past – and it happens every year). Howard would have gotten more buzz had he not been injured. They are both near elite prospects. Garcia being dropped is not a surprise. Whether you think there’s a valid explanation for his performance or not, he certainly did nothing to justify the ranking. His was about as disappointing of a big prospect performance as I can remember. I know, he’s 18 and could still develop into quite a player, but still, he was terrible.

  20. While it seems more than likely that Klentak and Co will remain in office after the season, my hope is that John Middleton will at least lay down the gauntlet and specify what he wants to see from the GM this off season. No more free reins. Set attainable goals and no more “well, we looked under every stone but didn’t find what we were looking for” crap.

    1. IMO, just pull all the stops out on Gerrit Cole, and try to avoid the cat and mouse negotiations with Boras again…

  21. Johnny Almaraz steps down, for personal reasons, and will take another job with the organization. A new Scouting Director is going to step in. Can we send Hinkie’s resume to John Middleton?

    1. Sorry to see him step down. Johnny A took a lot of abuse around here, but I always felt he did a pretty good job. He missed on the Cornelius Randolph pick. The Mickey Mo selection is still TBD. The careers of Scott Kingery, Adam Haseley, Spencer Howard, Alec Bohm, and Bryson Stott will be his legacy. You also have to take into account the fact that he was w/o a second round pick the past two seasons, and was a down a third round selection in 2018. Finally, Almaraz gets high marks for his work on day three. The names are too numerous to mention.

      It will be very interesting to see if the Phillies promote from within, or if they go outside the organization to replace Johnny. If they look outside the Phils current staffers, you gotta’ figure they’ll reach into either the Astros or Dodgers staffs to make their new hire.

      1. I suspect that one of Johnny’s personal reasons for stepping down was that he was told to. I also think that he hasn’t been the problem but identified as expendable for the appearance that changes are happening.

      2. I have been hard on Almaraz. I am not a fan. But to be fair to him, I am starting to think that the bigger issue is the development program/staff.

        Look at our top 30 coming into this year. Go down the list and ask, has this player materially improved? Not improved a little…I mean materially taken a jump to the point where you can seriously say, this guy will be a really good major leaguer. The only major success story that I can point to is Spencer Howard (and Sixto before he was traded). Maybe Damon Jones, but jury is out on him.

        Too many players with real tools simply do not develop in our system. Medina has a really good arm…but took a step backward. Luis Garcia had great scouting reports…awful year. JoJo, EDLS, Jhailyn. on and on. If you look at the top farm systems, they routinely develop stud prospects, without the benefit of drafting in the top 10 picks.

        Kingery was a great pick by Johnny. He looks like an absolute stud player. But great farm systems crank out stud prospects every year. Kingery is the exception. And Johnny had the benefit of drafting in the top 10 four times. Our system should be stacked!

        I expect to see more people on the minor league staff “voluntarily leave for personal reasons” in the off season. The open question in my mind is, does Klentak know what he is doing? Does he know how to build a real farm system?

        1. Josh Bonifay is the fairly new appointed (Nov 2018) director of player development .
          Also, along with his arrival, the org has implemented the latest in technical advancement…ie Driveline, Trackman, Rapsodo and Edgertronics.

          It probably serves to everyone’s benefit to give him and the new tech changes some time.

        2. V1, regarding “I expect to see more people on the minor league staff “voluntarily leave for personal reasons” in the off season.” Doesn’t have to be for personal reasons. Several contracts are up this off season. I think this year several of the pitching coach’s contracts are up.

          1. I was told one time that the captain will let all tge lieutenants fall on their swords before they take any responsibility. For failures.

      3. Where are the great day three picks.. that are too numerous to mention. Hinkie I just don’t get your statement.

  22. He imo didn’t do a good job, hope his personal reasons arent serious health issue, Nice guy but not the right guy for the job,

  23. It’s unreal how fast Joey Votto has declined. Only 2 years ago, Votto had 7.5 WAR. Now he has 1.5 WAR and looking worse by the game. He’s turning 36 next week. But it gets even worse for the Reds since they owe him a whopping $107M for the next 4 years! Nobody is taking that contract off their hands.

  24. Hey, before the clock strikes midnight, let’s shout out a happy birthday to Dom Brown who turned 32 today. Not sure if the Mexican League is still in action but he’s had a fine season – .295 BA, 25 HRs, 75 RBIs, .936 OPS.

    My heart goes out to the Mets (NOT!) who were were leading the Nats tonight, 5-4 after 8 innings behind deGrom. They tacked on 5 more in the 9th to lead 10-4. Then the Nats stormed back with 7 runs in the bottom of the 9th, capped by a 3 run walk off homer by Phillie killer Kurt Suzuki. Glad someone else got to suffer a painful loss, but more so the NY Mess. They’re toast! And we also miss deGrom this weekend. Let’s add to their misery.

    1. ….oh, and the best trade which Klentak didn’t make was with Seattle for Edwin Diaz. Man, what a bust!

      1. I watched the last half inning of that game where Washington scored 7 runs to win. Diaz actually had pretty nasty stuff. He made a mistake to Zimmerman, his first batter, getting a pitch up and on the outer half of the plate, and Zimmerman hit it hard to right field for a double. And Suzuki, the next hitter, simply had a great at-bat. He laid off a couple close pitches to work a 3-2 count. He then fouled off a couple fastballs (99 and 100 mph) on the outside corner, two really good pitches. Suzuki then got a low fastball down Broadway and crushed it. Just an excellent at-bat. I guess you can question Diaz throwing three straight fastballs, but I give more credit to Suzuki than blame to Diaz.

        1. I didn’t see the sequence of those at bats. He does have electric stuff but Diaz’s ERA tells me it hasn’t gone well this season. Even against the Phillies.

          1. Pivetta- like in production…..great stuff but doesn’t translate into outs.
            Now Diaz xFIP of 3.1 is exceptional vs the league…17th among all MLB relievers..
            So this season could be an anomaly/outlier of sorts for him.

  25. I qas just watching a YouTube video with Ruth and Gehrig taking batting practice back in 1931. Looks like the pitcher was throwing almost like game situation, I’m sure only like 75% or so, and they had a catcher. Now a days they have a pitcher throw lollipops inti the batter without a catcher. Could there be a correlation on better hitting then to now?

    1. Today’s hitters are better. Today’s pitchers are light years ahead. The difference is there’s only so much you can do with a bat, while people keep figuring out how to add speed and spin to a pitch. Also changes to the baseball and the mound have contributed. And changes to the defense (better defenders, shifts, etc.).

      But if you send an average hitter of today back to pre-integration, he’d change the record books.

      1. Well, maybe. I tend to think that if Babe Ruth were around today, he’d still be the best player (along with Mike Trout). He would have all that God given talent plus he’d have the training and other tools that would allow him to be even better. Similarly, Ted Williams would still be the best pure hitter in baseball if he played today – there’s no doubt in my mind about it. And a top-of-his-game Satchel Paige would still be virtually unhittable as would Lefty Grove, Bob Gibson, Bob Feller and Tom Seaver.

        More than any other sport I think, at some level, you can really compare baseball players across generations. That’s a big part of what makes the game timeless and infinitely interesting.

        1. I didn’t mean that as a slight to the all-time greats; they’re great regardless of the era (though I don’t think they’d hit/pitch QUITE as well in the current era. They’d still be HOF players).

          But the average hitter of today would tee off on the average pitcher of back then. Most of them were throwing the equivalent of a pitching machine batting practice of today. And the average pitcher of today would carve up most every hitter of just about any era. Pitchers nowadays are nuts. Imagine Pedro Martinez or Kershaw just laughing their way to a possibly sub-1 ERA in the pre-integration days…

          1. It cuts both ways in that the equipment being used is also vastly better today than it was in previous eras. I doubt that the baseball being used in the 1930’s was a hard as the ones in use today? Batting gloves, etc.

            I do agree that players today are much better conditioned.

            1. When you mentioned batting gloves, I saw The Babe shaking his hands every once in a while after hitting a ball. Just think about his stats with gloves and Steroids, lol.

      2. It was late and I was tired. Not much research done on my part. Just a quick thought of comparables.

        Your analysis is good.

        1. No stupid questions. And part of what makes baseball great is it’s illustrious history. So it’s always fun to consider the similarities and differences of eras.

    1. I wasn’t a Keuchel advocate but yes, he provides veteran stability and quality starts consistently. Klentak dropped the ball here, and it turned out to be a wrecking ball.

      Having said that, blame for the misadventures of the 2019 Phillies isn’t mutually exclusive. Klentak does get the greater blame for hamstringing his manager with a one man rotation and a bench of never was’s. My criticism of Kapler is based on the evidence against him that stands alone, regardless of the inadequate pitching staff he was given. I don’t blame him for the Phillies being behind the 8 ball in early September. I watch and plainly seen with my own eyes that as a MLB manager, he is in way over his head.

      1. 8mark….your point on Klentak hamstringing Kapler with the rotation is a fair point.
        However, Gabe is well aware of the analytics….and he was the one, as I heard him say last off-season, one reliable metric on the predictable and projectable nature of a young pitcher is their FIP results and the recent past trend….all three of the youngsters had very good FIP and as a result he was confident in their optimistic projections for 2019 and beyond.
        So I do not lay the entire 100% rotation collapse at the feet of Klentak.
        He must share it with his manager…now he may have a larger portion.

        1. Which means, even the new stats are not infallible… That’s what makes baseball great or frustrating! It doesn’t occur in a vacuum. I wonder what the ’93 Phillies projection would have been @ the beginning of the season, with all the new stats!

          1. The initial introduction of all the now available metrics was a way of gaining a strategic advantage. But since everyone is using it, how advantageous is it all unless it’s used effectively AND the talent/personnel to apply it is in the house.

            Is that an oversimplification?

      2. I think and hope Klentak learned the following lesson from this year – don’t count your pitchers before they’ve hatched. Seriously, he relied on way too many guys to be effective starting pitchers who had no real track record of success. That’s fine in years 1 and 2 of a rebuild, but when you’re looking to go to the playoffs, it’s a horrible idea. Another lesson is that a decent starting pitcher who can pitch deep into games has a lot of value especially if you have a good hitting team. The 2008 team really had Cole Hamels and a bunch of other generic starters who were roughly average and a good bullpen and they were able to get it done because the starters gave them innings, the relievers saved the day and the hitting was excellent. But when your starters are getting hammered, you’re sort of cooked. Keuchel would have been a big upgrade over what they had and he was there for the taking. It was pretty arrogant and stupid not to sign him and hopefully it’s the type of mistake Klentak won’t make that mistake again. In addition to re-signing Smyly (or keeping Vargas), they need to sign probably two starters in the off season.

        1. In defense of klentak’s approach, not that it planned out … but … I believe he was thinking he had Nola & Arrietta as the top 2. Hoped one of Pivetta, Efflin, or VV would emerge. That’s 3 to go with their offense and strength of overloaded bullpen. Then add the needed SP improvement at the deadline. Hey maybe 2 of pivetta,Efflin, and VV emerge .. or a minor leaguer. Lol, then the season happened

          I don’t think it was a bad gamble. If that bullpen is healthy, I think we are in the WC spot. Same for mccutchen. Now it didn’t happen, but I believe it could’ve. Still, my belief is just that. My point is klentak had a plan, I believe it was sound, but unfortunately it didn’t hold up to the injury list. If you want burn him at the cross for that, then that’s fine, You can make that argument, though it’s on a very high expectation level. I think klentak did very well regarding the circumstances. Pretty hard to put a WS contender together in an offseason. I bet Middleton mandates the moves beyond Harper, and Andy and Matt tried to talk him out of it, saying the team wasn’t ready.

          Either way, it’s wait till next year barring a miracle. I’ll increase expectations for next year

        2. I blame Kapler more than Klentak because of a couple variables:

          1) Middleton may have forced Klentak’s hand to make a lot of moves that have made the team more offensively productive like signing Harper and trading JPC/Alfaro for Segura/JTR, but he also may have put pressure on Klentak to sign guys like Arrieta, who most likely only got 3 years due to Klentak’s mentality when it comes to signing pitchers (that contract could have been a lot worse).

          2) As mentioned previously, I have no doubt that Kapler told Klentak he was comfortable with the young guys on the pitching staff. Worst case scenario ended up happening pretty much and even the guys who Klentak assumed would develop and could be ready to step in i.e. Enyel, Medina, etc. regressed and that’s not really on Klentak either.

          3) It’s easy to say “Klentak should’ve went after Keuchel” in hindsight, but I have vivid memories of many claiming that Keuchel would be Arrieta 2.0.

          4) The bullpen was addressed in the offseason and the pieces that were brought in essentially all got hurt.

          Not saying that none of the blame should be attributed towards him, but for aforementioned reasons, Kapler has shown that his in-game decisions and communication skills (arguably the two most important attributes for a skipper) have been proven to be inadequate.

          1. Max,
            I lean toward your way of reasoning.
            I believe Gabe tells Klentak what he wants , and Klentak goes out and gets it.
            Last year…all those desperation moves in July and August….failures.
            This year….getting Bruce, Dickerson , Smyly and Vargas……tremendously better moves.
            Lets hope it pans into a WC play-off seating.
            And one more illustration of Kapler’s influence….keeping Sean Rodrigues around since April
            Signs him a week before camp to a minor league contract…gets a ST invite…plays a dozen games at LHV…then put on the 25/40.
            And we have seen the results….sans the walk-off HR.
            Maybe Rodriguez isn’t an integral cause or part of the Philies inconsistent offense so far,
            but just being on the team due to some rumor past friendship and allegiance between him and Kapler is concerning.

    2. Last night reminded me of how the world series games were played in the old days. Starter could be pulled early to get runs or not to give up more than 1or 2 so the game doesn’t get out of hand. Probably be this way until we don’t have a chance anymore.

      1. Agree. He and Matt Gelb seem to consistently have their finger on the pulse of what’s underlying the Phillies ebbs and flows.

  26. Harper is come up so far this season in 47 games, 56 PAs, with 2-outs and RISP and has slashed .378/.500/.689.
    Total RISP…2, 1 or no outs…89 games , 141 PAs…..362/.461/.655
    To say he could be carrying the team at this point is an understatement.

    1. I have no issues, misconceptions or unmet expectations of Harper. He’s been solid on all fronts – on field production, teammate, accessibility and relatability to the fans. He gets hot and cold like all sluggers. He strikes out like all sluggers. At the end of the day, he’s clutch. If we get 8 productive years out of his thirteen year tenure, I won’t complain when it’s all over.

      Now, IF the brass can get a steady stream of viable arms pumped into this operation, we’ll be contending for the next decade.

      1. Agree…Harper has met my expectations..on and off the field.
        And yes.. another arm or arms of a TOR/BP is imperative.
        I hope they paint Gerrit Cole as their number one target.

      2. I love Harper and his enthusiasm. I cannot understand his hitting approach. It seems like when he sets his feet he hits and when he has happy feet he does not. Why is his approach different at times?

        1. Maybe since he is such a violent swinger.
          He will never change I suppose at this point, so have to accept that fact he seems a little off-balance at times.

        2. I tend to think his more awkward at bats have more to do with his seeing the ball, pitch identification, guessing wrong. Some pitchers will simply fool him if they have a decent third offering. Plus the fact that he’ll often sell out on a pitch, violently.

        3. He appears to be a significant guess hitter, or at least he goes into at-bats looking to hit specific pitches. When he gets those pitches, his swing is balanced and when he’s wrong, he’s caught off balance..

  27. Whatever legitimate hope we have down the stretch, I’m genuinely excited about the core of this squad going forward – Harper, JTR, Hoskins, Jetpax and No-No-No-No Nola (as in the Kinks’ song “Lola”). We get a couple starting pitchers to solidify the staff and we’re truly relevant in the National League.

  28. On the issue of Klentak and responsibility. It starts with MacPhail, and John Middleton had to have bought in, or, at least, let that philosophy rule the day. And, that is the notion that this year was ahead of schedule, and there was not a need to go the extra mile on Corbin, and to let the analytics, namely FIP, play out for one more year, and see what the young SPs really were. It doesn’t matter that we knew they were wrong, that the idea that all of them would succeed, or that any of them would become a viable #2 SP was far fetched. They looked at Morton and Miley and Keuchel, and made the determination that what we had was just as good, if not better. A monumental mistake in judgment and evaluation. Klentak is already talking about aggressiveness next year. I think that comes from the top. I may be foolish, but I believe that Middleton wants to win as much as I do, and he has set the agenda for the off season. So, I expect everyone, except for a coaching change or 2, to be back, with the understanding that next year we will be expected to make the Playoffs and do some damage. I don’t know that we get Cole, but I believe there will be Pitching upgrades, with a really good SP added, as well as BP help. I just hope I am not talking myself into this.

    1. Good summation, Matt. I think you’ve captured the narrative pretty accurately. I also think they will all return with this season as an unspoken “mulligan” for Klentak’s mishandling of the pitching staff, injuries or not. I also get the sense from Kapler’s demeanor that he’s been assured 2020 is his to begin. Perhaps he’s even (quietly) given a 1 year extension based on, say number of wins by the all star break. I also agree that as I mentioned yesterday, Middleton sets down landscape for what is expected, playoff-wise. Given that, heads will roll following next season should the team fall short.

  29. Just supposing….I don’t claim any favorite between the Mets or the Nats. At the moment, NYM 4 WSH 1 after 5 innings this afternoon. The Nats play a 4 game series in Atlanta this weekend. What if the Phillies keep winning while the Nats lose today and 3 of 4 to the Braves. Whoa, Nelly!! In any case, even if we play the Nats in the wild card game in their ballpark, beating them would be that much sweeter. This is baseball – right, Cliff? Stranger things have happened and will before this crazy season is finished.

    1. 8mark mark Sep 23rd thru Sept 26 on your calendar….Philles sweep five games from the Nats…in DC! 🙂

      1. Romus, I’ll take 3 out of 5. We can sneak to within a game of them by then. But lookout as Nats have crept back into the game today vs Mets horrible bullpen.

        1. One of those 2 losses will be the 25th because I’ll be at that game and the Phillies refuse to win games with me in attendance.

  30. Bleacher Reports’ Top 10 Prospects..this must be a few months old since Hasely at 199 PAs is now not considered a prospect anymore..

    1. Alec Bohm…. .Top 25
    2. Spencer Howard…..Top 100
    3. Adonis Medina……….2
    4. Bryson Stott…………..2
    5. Adam Haseley………….2
    6. Francisco Morales…….3
    7. Luis Garcia…………….3
    8. Rafael Marchan……… 3
    9. Damon Jones………..3
    10. Erik Miller ……………3

  31. Let’s see who we might catch….

    Nats remaining schedule:
    4 @ Atlanta
    3 @ Minnesota
    3 vs Atlanta
    3 @ St Louis
    3 @ Miami (their only <.500 opponent)
    5 vs Philadelphia
    3 vs Cleveland

    Cubs remaining schedule:
    4 @ Milwaukee
    4 @ San Diego
    3 vs Pittsburgh
    3 vs Cincinnati
    4 vs St Louis
    3 @ Pittsburgh
    3 @ St Louis
    ….and the Cubs have been a bad road team.

    Gonna be very interesting as long as we don't shoot ourselves in the foot.

    1. In case of a tie, we’ve won the season series against the Cubs, while it’s more than likely the Nats will have won the season series vs the Phillies, who I would say need to win a minimum of 16 of their final 25 games to be there on the last day. Either the Nats and/or Cubs should finish with between 87-90 wins.

      Yeah, I know….just spit ballin’ here.

    1. Roman….right groin strain…August 17…now almost three weeks.
      History says no return soon….but hopefully he will surprise.

  32. I realize that we all (including Gabe) expect Nola to go deep into games even when he’s not his sharpest. But when you keep throwing reliever after reliever (and Gabe admitted to Scott Franske that he enjoys managing games like last night when he gets to use a lot of pitchers, because he loves to tinker) over a short span of 2 or 3 days, it catches up to you and it did tonight. The quality of arms just isn’t there to overuse the bullpen like he does. All across MLB, the bullpens generally suck. And this one is no better. Yet Kapler carries on like he’s got pitchers to burn. And so he does. And they get burnt.

    1. Says a lot about whether your a ML manager or not when you are tinkering and experimenting during a pennant race with a wild card at stake. Bench was good tonight and Haseley sure had a nice catch.

      1. Okay, this drives me nuts a little bit. Gabe is tinkering and experimenting with his bullpen because virtually all of his planned relievers were hurt and he now has to juggle a bunch of bums who were released or discarded by other teams. All things considered, I think he’s done a pretty nice job with this team. They have less talent than the Mets and they lead them in the standings. They’ve allowed more runs than they’ve scored and yet they are several games over .500 – I give the manager some of the credit for that too.

        1. Yes to catch. The wave of abuse Gabe is taking is developing into a tsunami. The guy is smart. He makes moves with some reasoning. Fans wanted the club to enter the analytics age. Gabe is well versed in the numbers. He’s been managing with one armed tied behind his back for most of the season. Take a minute to read the names of the guys he’s got working out of the Phillies BP. It’s September, he’s trying anything/everything to coax maximum efficiency out of that expanded (yet extremely mediocre) pen.

          1. Who among the healthy on the roster have improved? (Note: Bryce Harper himself publicly mentioned that he pays little mind to all the numbers that Kapler & Co. provide.)

            I count 18 to 20 gut wrenching losses this season. If the Phillies managed to win half of them, we’d be talking about division contention, not merely wild card.

            The man overmanages. Granted many of the pitchers he has aren’t major league caliber. I don’t hold him wholly responsible but I agree that he has Klentak’s ear regarding player personnel. The front office is impressed by how smart Gabe is. The problem is they fail to recognize that player development precedes on field success. IMO, they are cramming so much information down their throats that many young players are forgetting what got them to this point of their careers. That’s all I’m saying.

            No, Gabe is not solely responsible. But his voice and decision making have little regard to a feel for the game.

          2. I played high school baseball from ’78-’81 under John Mooney at St James Catholic HS for Boys in Chester PA. I recall when he had all of us sit in a classroom prior to practices studying the game’s strategic aspects as well as its history. He loved the game of baseball. He wanted us to love the game as well and coaches accordingly.

            Now, I’m not comparing eras and certainly not high school ball with pro ball. But when Bryce Harper said he pays little mind to the numbers that Gabe and Co are shoving down the throats of the young developing players, that tells me volumes about the importance of their methods. Apply what you know. Stick with what has worked and adjust accordingly. Trying to cram loads of information in the heads of young kids like you’re teaching them a new language is counter productive IMO. Some may pick it up, but one swing doesn’t fit all and one paradigm for every conceivable scenario doesn’t work. Communication and leadership are the most important traits of any manager. Making the game like solving a Rubix Cube don’t serve players or the fans. Kapler is nothing if not a champion of the new religion that analytics has become. Analytics isn’t the problem and more than a science book is. Those who interpret and force change because they get a rush from being “smart” is the epitome of arrogance and pride.

            1. 8mark……a Bulldog, eh?
              Been to the Doghouse in Eddystone lately?
              Understand Ray Didi had a good Q and A there in the spring.

            2. I also went to St James, would have been the last class to graduate ever but opted to go finish in public school after 10 years of private school.

          3. Most smart guys have no common sense. Hinkie I just don’t get your picking up for this guy he cant adjust to the talent he has He manages like he has four aces, and a great bullpen. he doesn’t and good mangers adjust, If this guy ever becomes a winning manager I eat your hat, he would screw up the 1927 yankess..

    2. I attended Wednesday’s game and had very nice seats in a sparse crowd behind the Phillies/visitor’s dugout. i.e. to the side of 3rd base. As such it wasn’t possible to see much of pitcher’s location side to side but Nola did not look sharp at all with control(which is probably obvious when the Reds pitcher is walked on 5 pitches and Nola has a pitch count over 40 after the 2nd inning) , Though from the swing’s and misses maybe had good movement. I had to leave for work after the 7th inning so I didn’t get to see Haseley’s catch in the 8th, or Bruce’s HR, or the Red’s two answering HRs, but Haseley definitely converted a ball I think Quinn would have caught in the 4th(when the Red’s scored 4 runs off Nola) from a double into a triple by misplaying the ball badly off of the bottom of the wall. Other than that, it looked like both teams played well. Harper allowed a runner to advance into scoring position by throwing home instead of to the cutoff man, but though memory may be failing me I don’t think the Reds capitalized. Anecdotally, the fans around me were very impressed with that “Cole Irvin” and how he manages to throw so many strikes.

  33. Howard … on fire tonight. Good outing for the kid, the Phillies, and their phans. Sure didn’t make it an easy call to leave him down in AA

  34. Have to like Haseley’s 8th inning over-the -wall catch on the fly.
    He should be a plus defender out there.

  35. Saw this picture from August 20, 2013….Roy and Chase Numata on the bench discussing baseball during Roy’s one pitching rehab assignment game that year.

    1. Romus, don’t make me sad. What a loss of two great guys. Wouldst that we could get them back.

  36. After a spectacular debut, Aaron Sanchez has fallen down to earth and is now scheduled for season ending shoulder surgery.

        1. Courtesy of my parents. They own a business that does printing and promotional products. I’m not sure what the material is, but it’s ideal for this. Light weight, doesn’t wrinkle, and easy to write on with a sharpie.

      1. 3.5 months of traveling, and one week of games from home. Lots of distance covered so far and a couple (thousand) more miles to go.

        1. Go the distance….you have the energy….if they build the ballpark…you will show.
          Good luck on the rest of the journey.

          PS…….hope all the cuisine from around the country was satisfying.

          1. Funny you should say that, because I’ve been trying to figure out if I can get a ticket to the Field of Dreams game next year, hah. Thanks.

            And mostly it’s been very good, although some of it was not worth what they charge for it. Also, Dodger dogs are good, but not so much better than every other hotdog that I really got the hype for it.

      1. It was either the top of the 5th or top of the sixth. Dan made his appearance at the very start of the inning.

  37. Excuse me but does anyone know why Gabe pinch hit with Bruce for Haseley against the right Iglesias? Now we go extra innings with one less legit bat off the bench when Haseley could have doubled and scored on a hit. Maddening. All or nothing. Well, he got it since Bruce K’d instead of homering. This freaking guy is absolutely killing me.

    1. Nick Vincent over DLS? No brainer.

      Now we can listen to Gabe talk about how they scratched and clawed the whole game.

    2. Hinkie…….it is Gabe’s decision who he needs and wants.
      Unless DLS is nursing an injury, assume he isn’t confident with him in a relief role, as opposed to DLS in a starter’s role.

  38. 8 relievers over 4.2 innings. 2 are major leaguers. But we were fine at the trade deadline, right?

    1. 8mark,

      Klentak said he will be aggressive in the off-season. My question: why wasn’t he aggressive in-season, especially after his plan for one or two of the young starters to emerge failed? Meanwhile, he picks up pitchers from the scrap heap. Maybe one or two will be real finds. Certainly Smiley and Vargas are encouraging so far. But the fact is Klentak had all the reason in the world to be aggressive this summer, and he wasn’t.

      His comments strike me as false, as though he’s talking to Middleton trying to save his job rather than us.

      1. He was pretty aggressive. The talent pool is just slimmer during the season; there are fewer (and less talented) free agents to pick from, and most contending teams will not trade away MLB contributors during the season. They will, however, trade them in the offseason (because that gives them a chance to fill the void elsewhere without losing any production).

        His assurance of being aggressive doesn’t mean he’s any more willing to trade away our top talent.

  39. Think of where the Phils would be if they had Neshek, Robertson, Morgan, Hunter and Dominquez instead of Vincent, Morin, Hughes, and Parker. Oh, well!

  40. DLS..Because he sucks…Just kidding,I wondered that too. But seriously,he didn’t have a good year,either in Triple A or the bigs..

    Sounds like Gabe is doing Kapler things again, if he wouldn’t think that he’s so smart he wouldn’t make these head scratching moves.

    Like they say,what you see is what you get….a tiger doesn’t lose his strips.

  41. We have failed to hit consistently with RISP all season. Yes, Klentak screwed up by not adding a SP. And, yes, the BP is not filled with “high leverage” arms. But, I am disappointed in our run producing ability the most. And, JTR is the best C in Baseball. He should be signed to a LTC, and next year, we have to hope that Cutch is healthy. Because, #1 on our needs for the offense is someone to bat leadoff. After he went down, out production has been terrible from the leadoff spot.

    1. The issue of hitters poor with RISP is an on-field problem, which means it’s a Gabe problem. Guys leading off and getting on base only to be stranded 3 outs later has been chronic all season. Why? Because the hit-and-run, stealing and bunting make Kapler kringe. Hell, I wonder if Bryce stole 2x on his own today. Gabe might have to talk to Harper about his “thought process” there. “Can’t you wait for somebody to pop one out?” Again, the guy is all about the long ball. Chicks might love it but it’s not working in Philadelphia. These guys aren’t capable of hitting enough HRs to counter the ill effects Kapler is having with his narrow minded approach. And what’s so complex and cutting edge about it anyway? Swing hard, upper cut…and hopefully the ball will go far. If you strike out, that’s ok. And if you work the count enough to force the rag arm opposing pitcher to raise his pitch count, all the better. A win would be nice but man, I’m proud of the way you guys battle.

  42. Rewind to the 6th. Vargas was dominant (Gabe used that word) when he was removed after the hiccup homer before Kapler yanks him immediately in favor of the “better option” Jared Hughes-gotta-be-kidding-me! Why! Let Vargas finish that inning, at least. Instead….

      1. I was at the game (I was the guy with the sign, again. I’m told the broadcast talked about me again and remembered me from Miami). Had a good view of Vargas. He definitely had the hitters off-balance, but it was a tight-rope walk. Once he gave up that homerun, I’d have yanked him too. Maybe it was just one bad sequence, but maybe the hitters were finally adjusting to him. He’s sitting mid-80s with a 68 MPH curve. Once the hitters have him timed, they’re gonna tee off. Better safe than sorry.

        Going to Hughes is certainly a questionable decision, though…

        1. Dan K…yes we saw you…ses Hinkie and my posting above….enjoying the sun and game, until the end I assume
          ….TMac and Ben zeroed in on you and gave you some good compliments. Something to the effect……you have been following them around and when you lifted your ‘scorecard sheet’ Ben said looks like Fenway is on the stop soon.

          1. Cool. Yeah this was Phillies game number 4 for me. Got one more away game (Nationals) and the last game of the year in Philly left. Unfortunately they’re 0-4 with me in attendance on this trip (and even worse if you count the games I went to in Philly before I left for it…).

            But yep, Boston in a couple weeks. Pittsburgh is next (8th), then Toronto (11th), and then Boston (18th).

  43. Scott Lauber tweeted out this quote from JTR (who was least to blame for these last 2 losses)….

    “After the first 2 games of this series, especially with Nola on the mound yesterday, we felt like we had a great chance to win 3 out of 4 and we were thinking of sweeping ’em. It’s definitely frustrating that we didn’t come to play the last couple days.”

    Now if that’s not a wringing indictment of the manager, I don’t know what is. Especially when Gabe says they scratch and claw.

    1. They better get the manager and his crack staff out of here before they get a hold of Bohm and Howard and set them back in their development.

  44. Well, guys Einstein is just tinkering and experimenting with the lineup……. that tsunami is growing, hope it crests on the 30th.

  45. 5.90

    …..These are the ERA’s of the relievers against whom the Phillies could manage only 2 runs and 3 hits over 5 innings today.

  46. So Vincent with a 5.5 ERA and just out of the minors after being released by another Team ptches in 3 of the 4 games in Cin. Did Sean Rodriguez share photos of Gabe with Coconut Oil…….

  47. SURVEY
    Who do you predict will be the next Phillies manager?

    □ Joe Girardi
    □ Raul Ibanez
    □ Joe Madden
    □ Mike Scioscia
    □ Dusty Wathan
    □ other

    1. I really, REALLY like Maddon. But at this point I hope it’s Dusty. Guy has done nothing but pay his dues and be a good coach.

      1. I hope he would be a better manager than a third base coach – he is a truly horrible third base coach. I’d say he’s a -2 WAR third base coach, barely an exaggeration.

  48. Funny story; I was holding up my sign between every half inning (except middle-7 because I don’t hold it up during the stretch). Going into the bottom of the 9th I hadn’t been on the big screen yet. Then they announce Kingery in CF and Rodriguez at 3B and I literally look up to the screen as my arms drop and say (fairly loudly), “why?!”. Just then I see myself on the big screen. So this whole game I’m holding it up and they finally put me up there just in time to briefly see my dejected face after hearing Rodriguez’s name.

    I quickly put my sign back up to block myself, but I thought that was funny. It was also prophetic.

  49. I support Gabe Kapler’s return for 2020. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, Matt Klentak (and injuries) is (are) more to blame for what you’re seeing on the field. Kapler is going to war with a bullpen full of has beens and never was’ers.
    That said … I mentioned earlier this week (near the top of this thread), this club needs to spend September focusing on the 2020 season. They’re not good/healthy enough to make the playoffs this season. Give constant reps/PT to younger guys who could/should be contributors next year (and beyond). Under no circumstances should Gabe pinch hit Jay Bruce for Adam Haseley. Jared Hughes, Mike Morin, and Nick Vincent absolutely should not be getting more work than Nick Pivetta. And … Enyel De Los Santos should be with the team and throwing out of the bullpen.
    It doesn’t mater if the team finishes third in the wild card race or sixth (other than drafting higher, and having a bigger bonus pool next June).

    1. Right now it’s looking like the Phillies will draft between 14-16. Don’t see much fluctuation over the final 3 weeks.

    2. Hinkie I just don’t see him back. He knows he has a bad bullpen, yet he sticks to the not thru the third time rule, he stinks. he is the worst manager we every had, if you cant see he cant adjust, then I cant help you. He doesn’t have a feel for the game. You can defend him all you like but the fact remains he is terrible if you have a bad bullpen then stretch out your starters ,when they are holding you team close, screw the pitch count. Look I just cant see Middleton letting this guy back next year, its only going to get worse, Pitcher see how bad he and the pitching coach are, they wont even come here, He is un defendable imo

      1. rocco…..I think you may hit the nail on the head,
        “…cant see Middleton letting this guy back next year,…”
        Middleton is results oriented and for two consecutive years the team has come up short…unless they go on some miraculous winning streak in these last two dozen games.
        They finish behind the Mets in the 4th spot….Kapler may be headed West in 24 days.
        I do not see any other alternative for Middleton at that point.

  50. Ricky Bo summed it up yesterday. “Who is this team?”

    There isn’t a shred of consistency and hasn’t been going back to last year. And Kapler makes moves ingame that defy logic or rationality. Forget the lack of talent on the pitching staff.

    Okay, I don’t hold him ultimately responsible for the roster as it is constituted but after the Dodgers and Braves, what NL teams really stand out? Injuries, yes. But there’s been but one major injury to the offense this season. Cutch. (Don’t give me Doobie as a debilitating loss.) And the offense has sputtered throughout the year. No sense of urgency, no creativity beyond illogical lineup changes, and with all of the Happy Cyborg’s positive reinforcement, there appears to be little confidence among the players. They can’t put a bad team away. They haven’t yet learned to win, and the fingerprints of Gabe Kapler are primarily the incriminating evidence. He was Klentak’s pick. Middleton can’t allow Kapler to return in 2020, and he can’t allow Klentak to hire the next guy.

  51. my take on kapler is that the manager moonbeam stuff is a complete mismatch in style and personality with down to earth, blue collar philly. if it is my business and i realize that a large majority of my customers dislike a significant part of my product, then i must make a change.

    i don’t like his leadership style, as i have expressed in the past, and some of his tactical decisions are unappealing, but you can say that about any manager’s moves.

    i believe his unpopularity with the fan base should cause his removal. it’s up to mr middleton to call that shot.

    and if i had an employee who chose to pee on my customers as sean rod did i would have a forceful educational session with him.

  52. I can’t disagree with any of your points, yet I believe Kapler is back next year. This was a joint effort. It started with MacPhail, who ushered in the new wave of analytics, and hired Klentak to implement them. Certainly, there are a lot of positives from that, but the over reliance on them is not good. The offensive approach was what Klentak wanted, and Kapler has been following orders. Yes, his over praising in the face of excruciating losses is impossible to take, but the team’s philosophy is what Klentak was hired to instill. I think that philosophy is wrong. The lack of SP is on Klentak, and to a large extent, MacPhail, who was strongly opposed to the numbers that Corbin got. It was not Kapler’s decison to dump Rick Kranitz for Chris Young, another huge mistake. I, as a fan, have not been more insulted by anything they have done than I was with MacPhail’s “if we win we do, if we don’t, we don’t” comment I don’t see Middleton scapegoating Kapler. I think he sees what has happened, will demand SP additions and other changes before next year, like the decision to bring in Charlie. To me, that came from Middleton. Next year is the year for management/manager changes if this year is repeated. I am not backing Kapler, simply voicing how I think Middleton will act.

    1. matt13…so you see Middleton and the Phillies bringing back Kapler if they finish 4th in the division behind the Mets?
      If that happens, that will be a very hard pill to swallow for Phillies fans come next spring.

    2. If anything happens to MacPhail, it will more likely be a step aside, lateral move to an advisory position of honor out of respect for longevity like Gillick. At this point, MacPhail is pretty much irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.

      I tend to think Middleton likes Klentak. Or at least I think he’s got his attention. There will be hard discussions over the coming weeks (if there haven’t been already). Klentak is safe, deserving or not. But I doubt he gets to choose the next manager without Middleton right over his shoulder.

      Kapler’s only chance of survival is a miraculous run to a playoff berth. Or maybe an impressive charge that falls just short. The continuation of the status quo on the field these last 24 games guarantees he’s history.

      1. If they should happen to get swept in NY this weekend, falling two games behind the Mets…..probably seals his fate.

        1. Yes, if the Mets sweep this weekend, I find it difficult to believe the Phillies return Monday with Gabe at the helm.

          1. Well i would not go that far….I would have thought Monday the 30th would be the day of reckoning……but I suppose it still could happen on the 9th if a sweep happens in NY….and Thomson handles it for the remaining three weeks.

            1. An ugly weekend in NY may prompt Middleton to buck tradition and tell Klentak to hold a presser Monday morning to say something to the effect of, “We as an organization decided that it was in the best interests of everyone that we move on from Gabe Kapler and reevaluate the managerial situation at season’s end. Rob Thomson will serve as interim manager until then.”

            2. There has to come a point of relent, both personally to Middleton, as well as the public outcry and disenchantment. Empty seats scream louder to the executive suites than anything else.

            3. You guys are from Mars. There is a zero chance Gabe gets fired this weekend.
              Many of you are going to be sadly disappointed/crushed come the beginning of October when Klentak announces Kapler is returning with (at least) an additional year tacked on to Gabe’s contract, courtesy of Mr. Middleton.
              Let’s see how Gabe looks with an actual MLB starting rotation and a rebuilt/healthier bullpen next year.

            4. The problem is Klentak and the new age baseball philosophy. Kapler is working within the GM’s lines and is a first time manager, no leverage. Also MacFail just wants a paycheck and legacy.

              Need to can GM and then go from there, if it’s Girardi or Torre or another Baseball mind, I would be satisfied.

            5. 8mark … not sure about all these empty seats you keep referring to. I pointed out last week (or maybe it was earlier this week?) that the Phillies attendance is up by ~7,000 fans per game at a time when almost every other club in MLB has seen a decrease. Phillies TV ratings are also up 23% from last season.

            6. Okay, Earthling Hinkie😆

              Nobody is paying or watching to see Gabe manage. Attendance and TV ratings factor in the equation as well. Klentak is responsible for his short falls but his face and voice aren’t what people respond to immediately. Gabe’s is. Fair or not, the eye test alone is enough to tell me not only is he not manager material BUT he and his mindset type are not given to change, talent laden roster or not.

            7. This smashing of analytics is kind of entertaining. If analytics were so horrible, the best teams in baseball wouldn’t be in on the adventure, but if we check the best teams in baseball – Yankees, Dodgers, Astros, Cubs – what do we find? They are all heavy into analytics, so the the problem is analytics it’s that the Phillies aren’t good at analytics or don’t know how to properly marry analytics with more basic instruction. But the analytics scapegoat is ridiculous. Sure, let’s bring someone like Pete Mackanin back – that’ll help.

  53. How many of those seats were sold when Harper signed. I See empty seats when I watch the game. If Gabe comes back I will predict they sell less season tickets no matter who they sign,

    1. Hinkie, I hate to agree with Rocco but the paid attendance vs actual attendance are different. Ratings are fine because it’s the only summer game and people are willing to watch a train wreck out of sheer curiosity and the entertainment of hearing Ricky Bo blast away.

    2. I’ll give you guys a park-by-park comparison of empty seats at the end of the season.

      Although I can already safely say we’re not competing with the Dodgers, Astros, or Cubs this year in that regard. I suspect the same goes for the Yankees, but I’ll know for sure in a couple weeks.

      1. DanK….just remembered….TMac also said when you lifted your visual aid with all the ballpark stops on it, and peered over top of it with your Phillies hat and sunglasses…..”he is like Mr Wilson on Home Improvement looking over the fence”… hah.

            1. Well the Twitter account is on the sign. I know I identified myself as Dan in my interview in Miami, but I’m trying to think of where they got my last name. Maybe just putting together the pieces from when I mentioned my dad (who does use our last name in his twitter handle).

              Either way, he personally isn’t following me. So I’m guessing an intern did a deep(ish) dive on me. Not bad work.

        1. Do think he realizes how much funnier that is when he shares a name with Wilson’s neighbor (Tim)?

          Maybe I’ll tweet a gif of Wilson saying hi to Tim at him, hah.

  54. I Am sitting here think how I defend Cesar, like hinkie tries to defend Kapler, but my guy is hitting 280 and has a 333 obp, and yes does make some bad plays, but I can defend him with the stats he puts up, kape doesn’t have a leg to stand on. in his defense, Middleton wont keep him, knowing he cant manages and isn’t liked by the fans.

    1. Rocco … you’ll probably be the poster most ready to blow a gasket this offseason. The Phillies are not only bring back Kapler, they’re then going to non-tender Cesar. Are you a Mailkel Franco fan, too? Because he gone, also.

      1. Hinkie I realize he is gone, Franco is a lost cause, talent but just doesn’t get it, so he is gone too,

      2. With the likelihood of both Cesar and Franco being non-tendered, 3b becomes a focal point this off season. Klentak said that they will be aggressive this winter, and we assume he’s referring specifically to the starting rotation at least.

        How aggressive might they be with Bohm?

        Or do they look for a stop gap at 3b until he’s (they’re) ready to start his major league clock.

        My guess is that CF will be managed inhouse. If you’re right, Hinkie, that Gabe returns in 2020, I don’t want him to have any “options” with the roster. He’s dangerous when it comes to positional flexibility.

        This off season will set the course for the ’20s. That can’t be understated.

          1. If that dude is back here next year, then the Phillies deserve all the bad mojo that will come with that decision. He needs to be gone.

  55. Romus, I think Middleton does not put the blame fully on Kapler and demands his firing. I think he gets another shot. I don’t agree with that, but I think he sees that the Pitching miscalculations and the BP injuries bear responsibility, as well. And the SP mistakes were Klentak’s/MacPhail’s. And, 8mark, I don’t think MacPhail is irrelevant, at all. He very much acts as Klentak’s boss. And, I would wager that Corbin got signed if it wasn’t for MacPhail. So, I think he has a strong say in things. That is why I dislike him so much. If I thought he was just in charge of building a better scoreboard and going to meetings, I wouldn’t care.

    1. matt13…….the picture will probably be more clear in the next three weeks.
      Since August 1st the Phillies are 16-14….the results of the next 23 games and how the team plays, could have some meaning to Middleton.

  56. I’m going to have to agree with Hinkie here. I know the Phils can be frustrating to watch but I think Gabe is getting an unfair portion of the blame. The bullpen has been decimated by injuries and that is where the manager usually has the most effect on the game. The same people who rip him for bringing in a reliever to replace a starter will criticize him when he leaves in a starter too long. I’ve seen plenty of post on both sides.

    The bottom line here is the Phillies have scored 678 runs and given up 686. We are 72-67 which is 3 games above our expected win loss record. How much better could we possibly be than what we are? I promise you a team with a negative run differential isn’t going to do much better no matter who the manager is. In fact we are the only team with a negative run differential with a winning record in baseball and ahead of teams like that mets and reds who has positive run differentials.

    As for Klentak I think we just need to accept in regards to pitching Klentak was looking for a top of the rotation guy and after missing out on Corbin didn’t want to give a contract to a mid to bottom of the rotation guy. While we missed out on Morton we also managed to avoid giving awful contracts to Happ and Eovaldi. Both have ERA’s north of 5. Same thing for Kimbrel who has a 5.68 era and somehow a worse FIP for the cubs. While the young pitchers haven’t worked out the way we hoped (juiced ball certainly hasn’t helped) we aren’t locked into any bad contracts which means we can right this ship next year. If we end getting Cole or Strasburg next year that will hopefully take the sting off this year and we have money to add a Cole Hamels type as well.

    It’s easy when things are going rough to focus on the bad but don’t forget the positives. We have a positive record, other than the bullpen every move this off season looks solid, Howard and Bohm look like future impact players, and we have plenty of flexibility next year to make several big splashes. Go Phils!

    1. We didn’t pay a ton to be 4th in the 6 team division. bullpens bad you adjust, show me how Kapler has adjusted, He stinks how in gods name people defend him is nuts. What postives? a winning record in a divison with the marlins. Why do I care about Kimbrel ERA what does that have to do with this team? You can always find worse, please don’t make excuses for a bad run team. It insults the little intelligents I have, If people cant see a bad manager and G.M. I Hope to god MIDDLETon can see the problem. I never understood how guys will defend a bad team. by showing a worse team or if say Cesar isn’t hitting they will say well. so and so on the marlins is not hitting and he is suppose to be good. What logic is it to always go after someone worse to try to prove the phillies do nothing wrong. amazes me

      1. rocco…Phillies are close….just need to have a few good tweaking done.
        Gerrit Cole gets on board, maybe a trade for another pitcher, some relief pitchers get healthy and finally move some pieces out.
        if the Nats lose both Strasburg and Rendon they will be in a hurting position….Zimmerman is as good as gone too…and MadMax’s mileage could catch up to him.
        Mets lose Wheeler….but they still are loaded along, with the Braves.
        Phillies need o stay healthy and get that big pitching piece to complement Nola.

      2. Rocco,

        We are 3rd in the Division.

        Considering all the years we went without spending the phils aren’t spending nearly as much as you think.

        Most Divisions have a bad team. Go check out Baltimore and Detroit this year.

        The Phils have a winning record. They aren’t a bad team at all though they are flawed.

        This is year one of hopefully a long era of winning. It’s crazy to expect a full turn around in one year. It hasn’t been perfect but come on now. You make it sound like we have the worst record in baseball.

  57. Bossss, You make some good points. But, we didn’t miss out on Corbin, we dropped out over the years. We can argue whether that is something we should have done or not, but it is relevant, because this off season will require a similar commitment. Cole gets more than Corbin, Strasburg and Wheeler get a lot term wise, and we will either be willing to eat the last couple of years of a LTC, or lose out on those SPs as well. There were other SPs available, and Keuchel after the June draft, so Klentak missed early and often. Yes, there are lot of positives. But this off season will not be successful because we get lucky, but because whoever is calling the shots changes their course from last year, and goes all out on a FA SP

  58. Here’s one guy’s thoughts on the 2020 Phillies: There’s a very good chance John Middleton kicks down the luxury tax threshold door. The max salary number is set for 208 million dollars. Middleton will spend up to 228 million (the next penalty number).

    C – JT Realmuto will be extended (something like 5 years @ 110 million dollars gets it done) this winter.

    1B – Rhys Hoskins

    2B – Scott Kingery finally settles in here. His offense may even take another step forward with the stability of primarily focusing on one defensive position.

    SS – Jean Segura

    3B – Alec Bohm will take this spot early (though not out of spring training) in 2020.

    RF – Bryce Harper

    CF – Adam Haseley … with the caveat that it’s not out of the question Hasely could head a package for a quality starting pitcher with some team control (Matthew Boyd) this winter.

    LF – Andrew McCutchen

    Bench – one of Knapp/Grullon (Knapp will have the inside track because he’s a switch hitter), Roman Quinn, Jay Bruce, David Freese, Brad Miller will probably open the season as the starting 3Bman and then move to the bench after Bohm’s promotion.

    * If Haseley is dealt, Klentak could look to bring back Corey Dickerson. Although, I think this scenerio is a long shot.

    * CeHe, and Maikel Franco will be non tendered if Klentak can’t deal them for anything (J2 dollars?).

    * The team will try to give Odubel away to a good home.

    Starting Rotation –
    * Aaron Nola
    * Jake Arrieta
    * Drew Smyly for me is a no-brainer. I like his stuff. He should be even better/more consistent another year out from TJ. He’s still young, and he shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg [I’m thinking 2 yeras @ 15 million dollars], and that makes him a great low risk-high reward dude.
    * Zack Wheeler as a FA (should command a 5 year/100 million dollar deal)
    * Mike Minor (I’d look to swap 3 years of Zach Eflin and Nick Williams to Texas for one year of Minor).
    Nick Pivetta is given one more chance to be a starter (with a new pitching coach) and compete for a spot.

    Bullpen – This team needs guys coming out of the pen who have the ability to strike batters out. That means no more Jared Hughes. No more Mike Morin. Maybe/maybe not on Blake Parker.
    * Hector Neris
    * Adam Morgan
    * One of Ranger Saurez/Jose Alvarez (who is due for some serious regression)
    * Edgar Garcia
    * Victor Arano (if he’s healthy)
    * Sergio Romo is a veteran who won’t cost a lot. I like him because he’d be so much different from anything else they have coming out of the pen.
    * BIG TICKET ACQUISITION! I think Klentak spends either money or prospects to bring in a GUY. Will Smith is the most likely candidate, but Ken Giles, Aroldis Chapman, and Dellin Betances (if he comes back healthy this month) could be fall back options.

    * David Robertson isn’t pitching in 2020. I’m anticipating Ser-Ant’ny also misses 2020. The team won’t pick up Pat Neshek’s option. I would consider re-signing Tommy Hunter to a dirt cheap contract if he regains his health. I think he could have a bounce back season.

    * Vince Velasquez makes the team as a swiss army knife (starting pitcher/reliever/pinch hitter/pinch runner/emergency OFer)

    * LHV starting rotation/Phillies depth … Spencer Howard (after a stint in EST), JoJo Romero, Adonis Medina, Cole Irvin, Damon Jones

    1. “Ser-Ant’ny also misses 2020″…so far TJ has been ruled out as of the other day….but have to see what happens with his progress come spring.

      Phillies can still pay Realnuto $110M/5 years (AAV- $22M) and make an offer for Cole in a max $200M/6 year range ( AAV -$33M).
      Just a not….doubt Hoskins sees any long term contract offers, since Boras will probably not be receptive

    2. This is a fair assessment. The only thing I don’t see happening is trading Eflin for 1 year of Minor. I would be wary giving Wheeler that much money, but it’s possible he might get that. As long as he stays healthy, it wouldn’t be a huge overpay.

      I don’t think it’s a given that Middleton goes into the luxury tax. He hasn’t done it before, so until he does, I’ll say the odds are that he WON”T pass it.

      1. One thing about “one year of Minor” … the Phillies could slap a QO on Minor after the 2020 season. They could at least recoup a draft pick if they fail/choose not to re-sign him.

    3. I’m on board with everything you proposed, Hinkie, including a new pitching coach who speaks English or Spanish rather than cobalt to these young arms. I like Haseley but not opposed to his inclusion in a package for a controllable, potential TOR.

    4. I read that Hinkie. you must be drinking early. that bullpen would stink, Knapp over my fat guy is a joke, Grullon can hit . Alvarez is terrible, I need a xanux after reading that summary. Romus going to tenth and Oregon to buy some,

      1. rocco…..10th and Oregon..Cookie’s Tavern stone throw away….celebrate the Marines birthday in Nov. with your xanux.

  59. Didn’t think I’d be glad to see that Maikel Franco is starting at 3b vs lefty Matz tonight. And how about Jose Pirela in LF! Maybe get to see some of that pop we’ve been hearing about?

    1. Hold on, Romus. Let me go visit them to cast my vote. That number should tick up to maybe 40% in a minute.

      1. Hah Hinkie….and to think it was in the teens a few weeks ago.
        Come Sunday night….it may be back down there again.

        1. Fangraphs has the Phillies with a 1.9% chance of making the playoffs. I only wish that was the probability of Gabe returning in 2020.

          1. Going to a bachelor party in Baltimore this weekend. Groom is Texas Ranger fan so doing game tomorrow night. Any ideas of fun for guys in Inner Harbor?
            Understand it is a couples or family destination but we got to work with what we have.

            1. Just remember what the Marines always would say.
              If it smells like cologne, leave it alone,
              but if it smells like fish, enjoy the dish.

              So enjoy the Maryland blue crabs.

            2. My brother’s bachelor party was there a few years ago. If you guys like Scotch, there’s a great Scotch bar there (it has every kind of whiskey, but we’re partial to Scotch especially). It’s called “Birds of a Feather”. When you look around (besides the bar itself) it looks like you’re just in someone’s townhouse. But holy hell is that bar stocked.

              We also did Fogo de Chao (the high-end Brazilian steakhouse chain), and otherwise essentially just went bar hopping. You should find plenty to do. Have fun.

            3. Love the Italian Restaurants in Baltimore, I used to drive there yr ago just to have dinner, But don’t wonder too far some really bad neighborhoods

  60. Hinkie………we don’t agree on Kap, but that’s ok, I do love your posts. I have a question for you though, and it is on the coaching staff coming back or not as the case will be.

    What possesses a team to release a proven top of the line pitching coach (Kranitz) in lieu of an unproven guy (Young)? Were they captivated by his line or what? Did his approach mirror their vision? Is that vision now changed or altered?

    The hitting coach has departed, who else is a candidate not to return? Realizing that if Kap is let go, probably the new guy will get some input into the selections, or is the newly developing organizational hitting philosophy now in such a flux that the FO will dictate who the hitting coach is? I know Charlie is there to report his findings, will their philosophy change yet again as a result of his findings?

    1. Jim … believe it or not, the Braves were interested in hiring Chris Young away from the Phillies as their pitching coach. The Phillies had to decide which coach they wanted to hold on to. Kranitz is 60 YO, and really had no history of analytics. Young was 37 YO and a student of analytics (Phillies had hired him out of the Astros organization). The decision to keep Young over Kranitz made sense at the time (at least to me). It hasn’t panned out. Maybe Young needed a little more time honing his craft.
      Bottom line is … Young hasn’t helped to improve any of the Phillies “young” arms. He’s gonna’ have to go.

      As far as their 2020 hitting coach goes … I previously posted a list of candidates (that I’d consider). They include Troy Snitker (Brian’s son). He’s just 31 YO, and currently works as the Astros assistant hitting coach. Shawn Wooten is another guy they could choose. Wooten is currently the assistant hitting coach for the LAA’s, but previously worked in the Dodgers’ minor league system. BTW … I don’t think Cholly would want the job full time in 2020.

      1. No, I don’t think Charlie wants the job either. The thing I wonder about is management’s philosophy on hitting. If it is changing due to the unsuccessful year they have had hitting, what seems like a lot of people left in scoring position and their inability to manufacture runs via “small ball”.

  61. And maybe there is more to a Pitching Coach than studying analytics. A lot is knowing your Pitchers. Why did Eflin stink when they made him switch is approach? A lot is being a psychologist and understanding what makes them tick. Pivetta clearly needs work on the mental approach. Young has done nothing except understand stats. He should already be gone.

    1. Kapler will keep going to him because “he believes in him.” Thanks for your aggressive pursuit of major league pitchers, Matt. This has to be easily the worst staff since the Phillies had Carlton and nothing in the early ’70s.

      1. What was Neris doing out there in the bullpen. At onetime he’s kneeling down doodling in the dirt when he should have been throwing and then they call for him and he has a case of the slows getting ready. Was that intentional on his part?

  62. I am not a Kapler fan, but these games are on the GM. A whole collection of Relief Pitchers who were waived by their teams. Most don’t belong in the Majors. And, it is to the point where I hope Rhys doesn’t come up in a key situation. Unless he takes a Bb, he is providing little in the clutch. Pulls a ground ball with first and third and 1 out, Ks after looking at 2 strikes. And Scotty was just as bad tonight. Meanwhile, 2 games in a row we get key hits against us on first pitch swings.

    1. This organization is cursed and will remain so until Middleton cleans house. Analytics isn’t the problem. All that is is information, and a whole lot of it, although perhaps too much packaged in various conflicting schemes (just read all the arguing over it on this site alone). But it’s the Stepford mentality in place that has to be white washed. Baseball is a game of daily routine. Players are used to routine, especially pitchers. Routines are personal and not all alike. This regime is all about projecting a model, supposedly learned from other successful clubs which has apparently been lost in translation. It’s largely an imposition to players who’ve reached this level of professional ball by doing things differently up until now.

      The strength of the Phillies is their offense which has in part been hamstrung by this hitting approach. Let’s hope Uncle Charlie’s input isn’t for nought when his real mission may be merely to report back to Johnny Cigars on the state of the clubhouse/dugout. The pitching is mostly a matter of a lack of talent, and the talent that is here needs somebody to whisper to them what they need to hear. Nothing more. Pitch to the opposing hitter’s weakness. Study your enemy, not pie charts.

      While I’ve been vehemently calling for Gabe’s dismissal, the problem won’t go away if all the front office wants is some guy to press predetermined buttons on the field. Kapler’s personality and leadership style (for lack of a better term) are what wrankles many of us most. They need someone who’s there to both encourage and challenge the players without trying to be their pal or a tyrant.

      Where would this team be at this point in the season if JT Realmuto wasn’t here? Talk about an impact player! Priority ONE this off season has to be getting him locked up. He’s the best player at his position by far. And he’s also the biggest help to the pitching staff by a country mile.

      Lastly, while I like Hoskins as a complimentary piece in the long run (IMO, Harper, JTR and Kingery are your core position players going forward), Rhys shouldn’t be deemed more than that. If it means acquiring a stud starting pitcher, I wouldn’t hesitate to include him in the package. It’s a matter of trading value from a point of strength (I truly believe Alec Bohm will eventually be our next first baseman) for value in a position of great need. Adam Haseley would also help in that regard, although his overall value at the moment may be uncertain.

      I look forward to 2020….

  63. Hello Everyone – I read this site religiously and have done so for many years, but I average maybe one post per year. I love this site. Anyway, here is my 2 cents on the FO.

    We should forget blaming Kapler. An astute manager might mean two ot three wins over an average manager over the course of a season. (Actually, this is very hard to quantify.) Ah, yes. I can still recall like yesterday the fans screaming for Manuel’s head in 2009 and 2010 and 2011. We can argue where Kapler fits but I believe that is a fruitless discussion. Frankly, I’d like to see Kapler go, but it is a personality thing with me. I respect analytics, but I feel sometimes that Kapler is trying to play three-dimensional chess while sitting at a checkerboard table. No, I believe the finger should to pointed at those above Kapler. I believe the big miscalculation came in early June when they failed to pursue Keuchel (not too mention dozens of smaller miscalculations that have occurred throughout the season).

    I’ve read that from the moment after take-off, all airplanes are off-course 99% of the time, yet pilots make adjustments and land safely at their destinations, and it happens multiple times per day – every day of the year. The Phillies started the season with WS expectations. In fact, you might recall that Vegas oddsmakers had the Phillies at 17 / 2 behind only the Dodgers in the NL, who were at 7 / 1. They had the Phillies and Nationals at 89 wins, tops in the division.

    Although they had a two-game lead in the division, it was clear in late May that they were off-course. VV and Pivetta had not shown that they had taken that hoped-for step forward in their development. In fact, VV was in the pen and Pivetta was sporting a 6.14 ERA, while still in the rotation. Their off-season interest in Corbin clearly showed that upgrading the rotation was on their mind. They also indicated that they were not willing to give up minor league assets at the trade deadline to acquire a TOR arm.

    I give the FO a pass on not signing Corbin (although it would have made them at the time the clear favorites to win the division). Anybody who watches baseball knows that sh*t happens. However, the sign of a very good FO is the ability to assess, react, and adapt to changing conditions.

    So, as I see it, the colossal blunder was in not throwing $$$ at Keuchel. There were two reasons to do so. One, they had the opportunity to bring in a TOR arm (he’s at least a 2 or a 3) and do so for dollars only. And no matter how many dollars they parted with, it would have been an excellent risk. Just how bad can a one-year contract be? The Braves gave up $13MM on a one-year deal. The Phillies could have easily exceeded that and it is mind-numbing that they did not even try. Which brings me to the second reason to do it, and that is, you keep a good arm out of a top rival’s rotation. Forget hindsight, that one move was a no-brainer and it would have significantly changed the complexion of the race. So instead of arguing just how deep into October the Phillies might play, it is another, “wait until next year.”

  64. Looking at the 40man roster, there are 13 names that could be trade chips, even if just for J2 money or lottery ticket prospects, several we need to move on from….

    De Los Santos
    Franco (J2$?)
    CeHe (J2$?)
    Hoskins* (but only for a TOR)
    Haseley* (but only for a TOR)

    1. Could also add Cole Irvin….LHPs with Triple A experience at his age could generate some GM interest.

      1. Yes, thank you. He’s also wild card who may very well attract some GM’s interest. Call Texas to see if they’d like him back, perhaps in a deal for Minor.

    2. Neris, along with Alvarez, was the team’s only reliably healthy and good reliever all year. And he did it in a high leverage role. I’m fine with looking for another closer at this point but I’d be really surprised if Neris wasn’t on the team next season. They need more good relievers and can’t afford to sacrifice one.

  65. 8mark, Bruce is a very good bat off the bench and comes cheap. And, Eflin has looked much better since he went back to his previous style. I want to see Rhys with a good batting coach. I don’t think Charlie comes back. There are opportunities to acquire SP without trading him. I am not giving up on Bohm as the 3B, and he is not ready for the Majors yet. We need a completely rebuilt BP with an actual Closer. We don’t have a CF yet. I still think Haseley needs some more time in AAA. And, money is not an issue. There is about $40 Million in Relievers coming off the books, and next year is the last one for Arrieta. We can pay Cole $30 Million plus a year, build a BP, and still have room to add. The biggest issue is getting the TOR equivalent of JTR.

  66. I’m going to post this again (third time in this thread) … the Phillies need to forget about wins and losses this month. September needs to be about prepping for 2020. We are seeing way too much of Jared Hughes, Mike Morin, and Nick Vincent (c’mon … Nick Vincent?), and not enough of Nick Pivetta and Edgar Garcia. None of the first three are/should be here next season. Pivetta and Garcia should be contributors next year. Adam Haseley should also be in the lineup every day (vs RHP’s and LHP’s). Why do we need to see Jose Pirela? And, for God’s sake … get DLS up here so we can get a better feel for what he can give this team out of the bullpen in 2020 (and beyond).

    … so … in summary … more Haseley, Pivetta, Garcia, De Los Santos, and less Pirela, Hughes, Morin, and Vincent. Sorry for the redundant posts, but this is pretty obvious stuff that this team has just gone oblivious to.

      1. Kap reminds me of the time Herm Edwards said at the middle of another dreadful Jets season with a little less than half the season left and a chance for a higher draft pick if they would go in another direction……’You play to win the game”

        1. HaHa. I loved Herm Edwards. Did I ever tell you about the time I ran into him (was actually standing behind him in line) at the Rite Aid on Lindbergh Blvd & Island Ave. It was either in 1980 or ’81. He had more hair then. All the athletes from the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers (Flyers all lived in S Jersey) lived in the townhouses on Island Ave.
          I (and my HS buddies) also spent about a half hour eating with Nino Espinosa at the Burger King across the intersection from Rite Aid. We went in there to eat one night, and you can’t miss Nino with all that hair sitting alone at a table. We sat at the next table and just started talking with him. Great/friendly guy. Too bad he died so young.

  67. Hinkie, They are not doing what you suggest/ have suggested because they are still waiting for that run to get the WC. It’s coming any second now! I actually never heard of Nick Vincent until he showed up here. I had actually heard of Morin, Parker and Hughes. It is clear that Klentak thought we would just outhit everyone, and we didn’t need quality Pitching. On DLS, he didn’t pitch well enough to earn a call up. I expected much more from him this year.

    1. matt … I have respect for your opinions, and I enjoy reading your posts, but I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that DLS can’t throw for this team in September because he didn’t pitch well enough in LHV. Yet … all of these other guys (Hughes, Morin, Vincent) are playing for the Phillies now because they were released by their previous clubs for not pitching well enough there.
      Enyel De Los Santos is going to be on the Phillies 40 man roster next season, and will have the opportunity to help this club in 2020. Hughes, Morin, and Vincent may get a shot with another MLB team next season or maybe they pitch somewhere in Asia or Mexico or an Independent League … but they should not be with the Phillies after September 29th.

      1. DLS doesn’t impress me a little bit but yes I agree with Hinkie that if these ragamuffin arms are up here then so should he.

  68. Hinkie, You are right. I probably let me distaste for the whole BP situation color my judgment in that “DLS wouldn’t be any better” way, when he is a young guy who will be here next year and should probably have gotten a shot regardless of his season at AAA. He most definitely should have gotten a shot over Vincent. I stand corrected.

  69. Anybody who wants to continue to defend Kapler, please read Megan’s article in The Athletic today. There is no way they can let this JOKER continue to conduct his malpractice in Philadelphia. To compare him to Terry Francona, is just flat out ignorant as Francona on his worst day early on in Philly was nowhere close to making these kinds of basic mistakes. His continued presence in the dugout is flat out insulting to paying customers. END THE CHARADE John Middleton.

    1. He kind of was pretty abrupt in his response to her post-game question last nite.
      A very unemotional no positive spin post-game session, very out-of-character Gabe..i think he senses the inevitability of the season and perhaps his Philadelphia managerial career.

      1. I’ll admit last night was not one of Kapler’s finest moments as Phillies manager. Furthermore, JT Realmuto’s comments after the game were not a positive development for Gabe’s future.
        That said … I still believe Klentak plans on bringing Gabe back, and I doubt Middleton (who calls Klentak one of the best GM’s in MLB) is going to interfere with that. If I’m right, and the club is planning to have him on the bench again in 2020, the organization should just announce it/make it official now. That way, Gabe can stop managing these final 20+ games like he was singing for his supper, and instead, spend the month developing his younger guys who will be counted on next season.

        1. I honestly don’t believe he’d manage any differently even if he knew he’d be back next season. If anything, I think the team needs to be mathematically eliminated before he plays the younger guys.

          Even then, I’m starting to wonder if he wouldn’t just play Sean Rodriguez every game…

  70. Drew Smyly !!!
    It is/has been very obvious he needs to be a Matt Klentak priority this offseason (if not sooner).
    Also happy to see Haseley and Pivetta being used tonight. They both did good things.

  71. Suarez – for awhile, and Irvin, recently, have also done “good things”. IMO had he the horses it would be Kapler’s style to have starters pitch perhaps 6 innings. Unfortunately, he does not have the horses plus he is lucky to have his starter’s last 6 innings.

  72. Took Smyly a little longer coming around post-TJ, but he may be worth a signing after the season going into his age31 season.
    I’d offer two plus a player option of between $30…33M and see if he will accept.
    Not sure what his asking price will be, assume somewhere around $10/12M AAV, but hope Klentak does not pull a Charlie Morton on the Phillies fans and let him walk over a small amount difference.

    1. I’d consider bringing him back too. His fastball velocity is up almost 1 mph with the Phillies compared to the Rangers this year so that’s a good sign that he’s getting stronger post-surgery.

    2. Earlier in this thread, I had Smyly penciled in for a 2 year/15 million dollar deal. His next contract hasn’t been easy for me to nail down. I have been trying to come up with any recent comps for him. It took a while, but I finally came up with Mike Minor. How ironic is it that Matt Klentak has been chasing Minor (through a trade with Texas) for the better part of the last calendar year.
      Anyway … Minor and Smyly have a whole lot in common: LHP’s, day one draft picks who played in the SEC, and both have undergone major surgeries on their throwing limbs.
      Two winters ago, Minor entered the FA market at 30 YO, and coming off shoulder surgery. The surgery kept him off the mound for two seasons. He did log 77 IP (as a reliever) in the months before becoming a FA. Minor signed with the Rangers for 27 million dollars over 3 years.
      This offseason, Smyly enters free agency as a 30 YO. He also missed two seasons (TJ surgery). Smyly has thrown ~100 innings this season as he readies to hit the open market. BTW … each of the two averaged nearly the same bWAR before becoming FA’s (Minor 1.1 per season, Smyly 1.3 per season).

      After digesting all this data, I need to give you credit for your suggested AAV (above post). Looks like Smyly can expect a 3 year/ 30 million dollar deal. Now … let’s get that done, Matt Klentak.

      1. A little history on Smyly…pre-2018 however…..2010, 2nd rd pick Tigers …. career record of 31-27, 3.74 ERA in 85 starts and 71 relief appearances from 2012-16….almost all in the AL
        He is one of 121 pitchers who threw at least 500 innings in that five-year stretch. His 3.74 ERA ranks 42nd among those 121 pitchers while his .243 opponents’ batting average was 32nd lowest. Smyly’s 8.7 Ks/9 was 19th best.
        When healthy, has the ability to command his four pitches, including a FB with a avg velo of 90 mph then ,now may peak higher a notch or two….in his career thru 2018, Smyly has held LHBs to a .202 batting average while RHBs.258 off him.

        Theo took the chance with him hoping for that correction, but Theo also needed Hamels so the buy-out trade of Smyly for Hamels after last season and the $6M had to be done by the Cubs.

        He could be a real sleeper for the Phillies in 2020

        1. Romus … I forgot to mention you by name when giving you props for your AAV estimate on Smyly. I’ve been impressed with him since he first got here this summer. For a team looking to spend some money to upgrade their pitching this winter, Smyly makes a whole lot of sense.
          And how about the similarities to Mike Minor? Like mirror images of each other as free agents.

          1. Hinkie…..that would be a real pleasant surprise if Smyly follows the same track as Minor.
            Phillies need a break in the pitching department….Klentak needs it too.

    3. Romus with the offseason coming, And your retired what are you going to do? Vacation in south of france, Ski the alps. Or Join senior center, you will be bored my8, if you don’t start spending all that money

  73. Road trip! Was at Citi Field yesterday to see Marcus Stroman get roughed up. I must admit, the park is nice. Lots of food options, but obviously expensive and very average to be honest. Took the 7 train which was convenient.

    That catch by Haseley was great. Off the bat, it looked like trouble and a lot of the Mets fans though it had a chance to go out. The fans really like Pete Alonso. Some chants of MVP were scattered around the park when he was hitting. Good first day watching the Mets go down.

  74. Good stuff here from Matt Gelb … including:

    * Johnny Almaraz was NOT demoted.
    * Phillies will hold many interviews to find a new scouting director because they love to pick brains.
    * Greg Schilz, who is the highest-ranking member of the amateur scouting team hired by this front office, could be promoted.
    * Next season’s new 26 man roster could make it easier for a non-competitive club to stash a Rule 5 pick on its roster.
    * JoJo Romero and Mauricio Llovera will likely be protected, and each could be moved to the bullpen next season.
    * Darick Hall could benefit from the 26 man roster, and whether or not he’s protected will be “an interesting call”.
    * The Phillies will have as many as five catchers who could use a 40 man spot. Realmuto is a given. The team really likes Rafael Marchan, and will likely protect him. The club may have to choose between Knapp and Grullon. Rodolfo Duran could be poached. Other teams like their catching depth, and one or more could be traded.

  75. Brad Miller is not a major league 3B. I’d like to see the team resign Smyly but please, do NOT pick up the option on Vargas.

    1. Trout, Harper and Manny will be watching lots of NFL and their favorite teams, starting in three weeks….since baseball will be over for them for the 2019 season.

  76. What did Realmuto say about Kapler? Saw a comment in a previous response about this
    but haven’t seen anything on-line.

    1. It wasn’t directly about Kapler, but about Vincent’s usage.

      “(I) told him not to hang his head because everybody here knows how tough that spot is he just got thrown into,” Realmuto said. “He’d thrown three out of four (games) with being sick in a day. I’m sure he’s a little tired, a little worn out. Everybody in this clubhouse knows that’s a really tough spot he was just put in.”

      So people are basically inferring that JT is saying Kapler didn’t put him in a position to succeed. Which is a fair statement.

  77. Didn’t see his quote either, but interested to know. See the actual video as well, helps as SRods comments were better on video than print

    Please share for those who know

    1. From Meghan Montemurro’s story in the Athletic after Friday night’s loss in NY:
      (JT Realmuto talking about Nick Vincent and Meghan’s comment following the quote)

      “(I) told him not to hang his head because everybody here knows how tough that spot is he just got thrown into,” Realmuto said. “He’d thrown three out of four (games) with being sick in a day. I’m sure he’s a little tired, a little worn out. Everybody in this clubhouse knows that’s a really tough spot he was just put in.”

      Realmuto highlighting Vincent’s recent workload should not be overlooked. When nights like Friday add up over the course of two seasons, it can cost the manager of an underachieving team his job.

  78. Offseason flashback

    Remember when many of us wanted Diaz? That non move turned out pretty well for klentak.

    Damn, also did not see Hoskins BA for awhile, surprised to see it below .240

      1. Romus, I know he has been going through a rough spot, but was still shocked to see him there… I had him pegged as a mini-trout 🙂 Really hope he looks at Kingery, and his success this year to say I’m going to go back to my approach…. or at leasts ..Charlie’s approach

  79. If Nick Vincent blows this, both Gabe Kapler and Matt Klentak should be banned from baseball for life.

  80. Plenty has been said about Gabe in regards to the bullpen. But I’m more worried about Haseley. Poor kid has to be thinking, “what the HELL do I have to do to get reps???”

    I don’t get it. He gets two at-bats against one of the best pitchers in baseball, and HOMERS in one of them to keep his team in the game. And then he gets removed because a reliever with a 5.40 ERA comes into the game??? C’mon man, let him play the freaking game. He’s been great defensively and has been really heating up with the bat (hitting over .300 so far in September).

    1. I suppose the manager is using match-ups to garner every last win he can get before the team faces their elimination.
      Gosselin did produce the Malvern Prep lawn dart to score the run.

      But understand your point…Haseley is the future, why not have him experience critical game situations now.

      1. Why not leave Gosselin in the game for fielding? He has played outfield in LHV many times this year and in RF.

      2. I understand trying to squeeze every last bit of offense you can out of the lineup… but at the same time you also need to consider defense. Especially with HALF OF THE GAME LEFT TO PLAY. Rodriguez is not in Haseley’s league on defense. And he’s not a convincing upgrade on offense, either. If Gosselin stays in, alright. He’s been hitting well. He’s a decent defender. But having him PH and then just having Sean take over? WHAT???

    2. Very good point. What could possibly be the thinking behind this manipulation. Or is it mutilation?

      Anyway we live for another day. Perhaps we catch the Braves coasting toward a division title…??

    3. Many people are looking at Todd Frazier as a replacement for Maikel Franco; why?

      Lool at their comparables, not much difference and Franco is cheaper, younger and more upside.

      1. Denny…..whoever starts at third in April…is basically a place-holder until Bohm comes up…..hoping he pushes the envelope and is up in May or June 2020.
        The logic with the 34-year old Frazier……assume he will be on a one year contract of approx $10M or less, and will be willing to move aside and play back-up and can also play first as Hoskins’ back-up.
        Maikel can do the same ….but may not be happy doing all that.

  81. So, with 20 games to play and 2 games back, should we be on the Spencer Howard watch? Velasquez still isn’t a starting pitcher.

    1. On second thought, VV will be skipped on his next turn in the rotation. Nola tomorrow and Sat vs Sox. Vargas goes Tuesday and probably Sunday. Friday is the weird off day.

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