Open Discussion: Week of September 16th

Two out of four against the Braves wasn’t bad, I guess.  But dropping both games to the Red Sox hurt the Phillies chances of overtaking the Cubs or Brewers, both of whom had winning records last week.

You can’t expect to coast into a wild card berth playing .500 ball or below.  The standings are –

  1. WAS:   82-66   —
  2. CHC:   81-68   —
  3. MLW:  80-69  1.0
  4. NYM:  77-72  4.0
  5. PHL:   76-72  4.5
  6. ARZ:   76-74  5.5

I think Arizona has effectively cratered with 74 losses.  The Mets played well enough to catch and pass the Phillies.  Wouldn’t it really stink if both the Nationals and Mets qualified for the playoffs?

The Phillies’ final 14 games are as follows – @ATL (3), @CLE (3), @WAS (5), and v.MIA (3).  I think they have to win them all.

  • Chicago (13) – v.CIN (3), v.STL (4), @PIT (3), @STL (3)
  • Arizona (12) – v.MIA (3), @SD (3), v.STL (3), v.SD (3)
  • Milwaukee (13) – v.SD (4), v.PIT (3), @CIN (3), @COL (3)
  • New York (13) – @COL (3), @CIN (3), v.MIA (4), v.ATL (3)

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 15th … 398 players in the org


914 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of September 16th

  1. If only it were a matter of merely adding better arms to the pitching staff…

    Unfortunately, there are bigger and broader issues facing the Phillies. The NL East may be the toughest division in MLB over the next 5 years. And to assume we finish higher than 3rd place in any one of those seasons would be foolish. 4th place is the most realistic outlook at this point. Optimism says third if the Mets continue in their ineptitude in the front office.

    Before the pitching is addressed comes a wider swath by Middleton. Who stays and who goes from within the executive suites and field staff? That is the greatest challenge he faces. Not the president or GM. The owner alone has by far the hardest decisions he’s faced since taking the controls. And it’s only partly about actual baseball skills. It’s mainly about philosophy and culture. Both need some serious tweaking if we’ve anything to look forward to in the near future.

    Sadly, with football season underway, not many people have even taken notice of the fact of the Phillies off days Friday and today. 39K plus were in attendance yesterday. Were even half of them Phillies fans? That’s Middleton’s first question to respond to.

  2. Where I live, I get all of the Mets, Yankees, and Red Sox games. I’ve watched many of Porcella’s starts. Even when he wins, he gives up 4-5 runs. The Phillies made him look like Cy Young.

    I’m concerned with Kingery. Maybe he is only a utility player. He is trying to pull every pitch to LF and is striking out a ton. He can play six positions on the field but he can’t hit like Moffo’s Uncle Cesar.

    1. He’s been told he has to hit homers and swing up. He’s constantly chasing high fastballs he can’t hit and he still chases off speed pitches trying to pull them. He needs to get back to what he should be, a line drive up the middle hitter. It’s a system philosophy that must change.

      1. I agree that Kingery may benefit most from the ouster of this manager, unless the company line remains “swing up, swing hard” (as in, let’s pull every pitch) once the new skipper is named. How much Uncle Charlie has to say about it remains to be seen.

  3. Friday Sept 20th Spencer Howard is due to make his initial start for the Scottsdale Scorpions against the Glendale Desert Dogs……featuring prospects from the Dodgers, Brewers, Cardinals, Reds and WSox organizations..

  4. Ken Rosenthal was on MLB Network last night as was Girardi. They put Girardi in a sound proof room so they could talk about potential manager changes. They went division by division. Bochy is obviously retirning and Green from the Padres is likely out.

    Ken felt 3 managers from the NL East were in jeopardy of being replaced. Calloway Mattingly (because he is getting $2.5 million) and Kapler.

    He also felt the marriage between Madden and the Cubs is over.

    The big question as he put is manager salary and managers as puppets (my words) because clubs have gone the opposite direction of paying managers $2.5 Plus million

    If he had a guess he thought either Madden or Girardi end up in a Phillies uniform next year.

    But again the lipstick on a pig analogy still applies. Our 25 man is not that good nor is there much to point to in the farm right now as immediate or near immediate help. So just changing the manager isn’t going to improve us all that much.

    1. DMAR…on the other hand….if the Phillies played the Marlins like the rest of the division things would be different today.
      Phils vs Marlins……7-9
      Braves vs Marlins..15-4
      Nats vs Marlins……13-3
      Mets vs Marlins……11-4

      1. I beat this drum in the offseason, and it’s pretty frustrating to see the Phillies results vs the marlins compared to the rest of the NL East. With as atrocious as the Pitching has been at times, imho, they should be in the lead for the 2nd WC, and things likely playout differently with a lead, vs trailing. Anyways , I’d like to see the WC contenders vs the marlins, it will be less games but I bet it will explain a good portion of that “games back” totals. You can’t hand the marlins 20% of win totals and expect to make the playoffs

        For those looking to fire Kapler, this is the position to stand from. I’d give him another half season unless the clubhouse wants him gone. Carlos Santana stat lines are also an indicator, bullpen warm up/readiness, and why Rodriguez has gotten so much playing time. Personally I think he handles the media correctly, to protect/cover for his players, so I’m sure they appreciate that.

      2. Romus I say re-play the tape. On last weeks thread a few are saying Klentak had a great offseason. I say otherwise. Start with Harper as it is pretty clear to me the Phillies were bidding against themselves. Not entirely Klentaks fault (Middleton). When an owner falls in love with a player its usually not good. It won’t be good for the Angels either just watch. Their only claim to fame will be to say “hey we have the best player in baseball come out and watch us lose with him”

        Harper is a really good player I don’t want to take anything away from him or beat the dead horse but he and his contract are examples of a team desperate to draw fans instead of winning. Hype over substance.

        Segura trade they get no credit. He’s an ok player and sure he improved the production at the position but let’s face it it was necessitated by the bad move to sign Santana the year prior.

        Realmuto-Forget that he is the best catcher in baseball. You had to give up your #1 pitching prospect to get him. The production again is good but its not MVP production. And you’re going to have to pay big to keep him. A great trade was the Brewers getting Yelich.

        The rest of his moves were moves a 5th grader could make.

        1. Klentak overvalued/banked on Velasquez, Eflin, and Pivetta plus Eickhoff’s return from injury with substandard velocity to begin with. This whole scenario was IMO his greatest miscalculation. One or maybe two, I can see. But all of them? Uh-uh. And all because of FIP peripherals. That’s one thing if they’re established bonafide major league starting pitchers. Klentak wasn’t even close here.

          The JTR trade was and still is in my estimation a sound move. Too many shadows surrounding Sixto for my comfort.

          I agree about the Segura deal. A necessity born of the ill conceived Santana signing 2 off seasons ago. Segura gives you a reliable slash line, meaning his production is fairly predictable. He’s trade bait once Stott is ready.

          I don’t think anyone can blame anyone for signing Harper, whatever the contract. Let’s face it. Had they not signed him or Machado (who we agree wasn’t a fit here) the public relations implications would have been off the charts in this town.

          They overpaid for Cutch. Yet the loss of both his presence and production had the 2nd biggest impact on the 2019 Phillies.

          1. I remember watching Dan O’Dowd in the offseason when the talk of signing a big FA was non-stop and it was assumed the Phillies should or were going to nab one of Harper or Machado.

            He was one of the few that suggested they not and that they spend that money in aggregate over the likes of a Brantley, Corbin, Ottavino, Moustakas Marwin Gonzalez and a few others.

            I believe they showed on the screen his scenario in which less than $300 million could be spent on shorter term packages and still leave flexibility for the 2020 class or some MiLB players to come up and further improve the club.

            Not saying I agreed as I know I was of the mindset that we either needed both MM and BH or don’t bother because just 1 wasn’t going to fix the problems of 2018.

        2. John Middleton fell in love with Jake Arrieta. If Klentak valued Kuechel at 6mil/ year, then you know Middleton wanted Jake signed(25mil/ year AAV). And that is an issue. John Middleton wants to be known as the Steinbrenner of the NL East, and I am afraid that means having an oversized say in personnel decisions.

      3. Tac3/DMAR… make valid points and for the most part based on the current team’s record, they are correct.
        Kapler, as Ken Rosenthal states may be on the hot seat, along with another 5/6 managers.
        Klentak’s off-season moves…have to admit, the four seem to have worked well for each’s individual stats…Cutch was on his way to at least a 3 or even maybe 3.5fWAR season, assuming in the second half he would have slowed a bit..
        Pitching….well that was the real sore spot..starters and the health of the bullpen arms.
        I am hoping Middleton falls in love with Gerrit Cole as he did Harper…at least that is a start if it comes about.

  5. Just going to present some data on an interesting comp between two top 10 Phillies prospects who were both very good defensive Center Fielders in their age 21 season in Reading. I am just presenting data. You make your own conclusions.

    Phils Prospect A: (age 21 season): .307/.362/.760 (OPS), 13.9% K rate, 6.1% BB rate
    Phils Prospect B: (age 21 season): .252/.303/.741 (OPS), 22% K rate, 6.5% BB rate

    Phils Prospect A (away from Reading): .287/.338/.689 (OPS) 15.8% K rate, 5.3% BB rate
    Phils Prospect B (away from Reading): .229/.287/.706 (OPS) 23.1% K rate, 7.5% BB rate

    A (vs opposite handed pitchers): .307/.361/.773 (OPS) 15.2% K rate, 5.2% BB rate
    B (vs opposite handed pitchers): .252/.277/.699 (OPS) 27.7% K rate, 3.5% BB rate

    Again, just presenting data. You make your own conclusions.

    Phils Prospect A: Carlos Tocci
    Phils Prospect B: Mickey Moniak

    1. sorry, typo in the above…”vs opposite handed pitchers” should say “vs same sided pitchers” meaning it is Tocci vs. RHP and Moniak vs LHP. Sorry for the typo. I noticed it after I hit Post. i don’t think that it changes the comp, but I wanted to clarify.

      1. I truly believe Left Handed hitters are going to be evaluated much differently than RH batters going forward if shifts continue to be allowed.

        7/10 OPS leaders are RH or Switch Hitters…14/20 average leaders are RH or Switch.

        Lefty on Lefty crime is always going to be skewed because they still don’t see as much LHP as they do RHP. And again you don’t ever see a SS out in shallow LF on a shift against a RHB.

        You say make your own conclusion but clearly you are being coy by presenting the data. What is your conclusion? Comparing MM to Tocci is apples and oranges IMO.

          1. One difference bewteen the two CFers… ISO….Tocci’s was .071 (including his age22 and 23 seasons in the minors)…..Moniak’s is currently .134…..triples alone MOniak has more 22-20 in almost half the minor league games.
            The power is with Moniak…the contact ability probably is with Tocci.

          2. I could be wrong but I think because they are two very different hit tool players starting with side of the plate and strength and size…

            1. They are both 6’2″. Moniak is stronger than Tocci, who still is listed at 160 unbelievably. But Moniak is not built like a tank. He is unlikely to be 235 like Trout (who is also 6’2″). But i have never read something that suggests side of the plate impacts hit tool. Or that LH hitters have a better chance at a hit tool than RH hitters. Contact rates matter. Walks matter. But agreed, strength matters and Moniak is stronger and weighs more than Tocci. That said, look at the hit tool metrics of the two at the same age and same level.

            2. V1 maybe you’re right. I’m no analyst or math wiz. Someone who is might start to look at how shifts are effecting LHB production.

              The most natural swing for any batter in general is to pull but we know there are anomalies that exist in the league. Both right and left. But I don’t think that I am that far off the mark when I say shifts have a more profound effect on LHB than RHB.

              When I saw Moniak this year at Trenton I was really surprised at the shifts they were putting on him and Haseley over the 3 games I saw.

              Moniak made good hard contact in that series however I noticed there isn’t a lot of loft in his swing. You and I probably grew up watching a lot of LHB’s getting hits through the hole with a man on 1st. That is no more.

  6. Career
    97 just saying Not bad for a guy everyone hates

  7. I know we talk a lot about how close the Phillies are to being legit contenders. I’ve been a proponent of firing Kapler, keeping Klenak, and indifferent to MacPhail. After re-looking at the big picture, I’m not sure there’s a way to spin it that justifies keeping any of them. I’m also not sure the best path forward is pushing all the chips to the center of the table. I’m not talking about what I think Middleton will do, but rather what he should do. Let’s take a look:

    – In 2018, the Braves finished 10 games ahead of the Phillies, Washington 2 games ahead, and the Mets 3 behind. In 2019, the Braves advantage has increased to 15.5 games, Washington to 6 games, and the Mets are ahead by a half game. Data/results prove we’ve lost ground in 2019.

    – When you look at the young (<25) star power of the 4 teams, the Braves are getting 19 WAR this year from 6 players (Acuna, Albies, Swanson, Riley, Fried, Soroka). The Nats are getting 8.7 from Robles and Soto. The Mets are getting 6.2 from Alonso, Diaz, Geiselmen, and Rosario. The Phils are getting 4.1 from Kingery, Haseley, Williams, Eflin, Suarez, Garcia, Irvin, and Dominguez.

    – Farm system rankings (roughly): Marlins 4th, Braves 7th, Nationals 21st, Phillies 25th, Mets 26th.

    – In 2018, 11 teams (including TB and Oak) finished 10+ games better than the Phillies. 6 teams finished 15+ games better. The WS Champs finished 28 games ahead. The Phils were not close.

    – In 2019, there remain 8 teams (Yes, TB and Oak remain on that list) 10+ games ahead of the Phils. They are 21+ games behind the big 3 of Hou, NYY, and LAD. The Phils are not close.

    I’m not sure the Phils are anywhere close to being more than a wildcard contender over the next 3-5 years. The gap between the Braves and Phils is significant, and growing in the wrong direction. The outlook is bleak – 2020 success is questionable at best.

    1. The advantage that the Phils have over the Braves is their budget. If they are smart, they can add MLB talent to overcome their poor drafting.

      1. Agreed, it’s our only advantage and we need to push it. We have no Acuna coming up do we had to buy Harper. And we traded for JT. We now need to spend on pitching. Our system should finally help mid season next year but not enough. Spend! The fans will come back when they feel like the team is exciting and winning games.

      2. Remember that the Braves can not sign any Latin American players for more than $10,000 as penalty for breaking the rules. Not sure if that is for this year only or not. The Nationals may be the team to watch.

      3. In theory yes, but good luck with that – they are almost tapped out. That was an incremental advantage (and a big one) that has been blown because almost no matter how big the payroll is, it is virtually impossible to rebuild with free agents and that’s EXACTLY what they tried to do this off season.

        1. Well not entirely with free agents….Segura and JTR were the two trades.
          Harper, Robertson and Cutch were the big FA signings.

          Quite a bit of frustration on the board, and that is understandable.

          If Bohm comes around next season as the third baseman, and Haseley appears to be the solid MLB CFer that they could use…then it comes down to that one TOR….and Cole needs to be priority one on their list.
          Whether or not it gets them past the Braves/Nats and Mets remains to be seen.
          But that one big free agent pitcher signing is imperative.

          1. Yes, BUT, both were mid-career players. One being paid like a FA (Segura) and one that had few cost-controlled years left and then would have to be paid like a FA. These deals were like FA deals in a way, but worse because we also gave up valuable player assets so it was actually even worse in terms of assets being surrendered to keep these players.

            1. And that is the cost of business.
              Segura is a place holder for SDtott it loks to be now.
              JTR is the best catcher in baseball…what team wouldn;t want him!

              As to the valuable player assets….JPC really trended badly in the second half…but I still like his potential, but he is mid-twenties now so time to turn it around for him..
              Alf…..he still is a K machine and a PB/WP catcher.
              Sixto….the only one with the ‘it’ factor that could be special.

              If they can nail the Boras/Cole team this off-season…I like their chances in 2020…..AND also replace the manager.

            2. Yes, it’s the cost of business, but that’s not the point. The point is that this current version of the Phillies’ team has been built in a way that is flawed and insufficient because the team did not do a good enough job rebuilding with young and cheap players and has had to pay a steep price for good players in the form of big time cash or young talent or both – they are burning the asset candle at both ends. They can still salvage this, but to do so, they are going to need a farm system that routinely churns out first division players and they are going to have to get creative with acquiring cheaper, younger players with upside. People think they have done a horrible job. I don’t agree with that. They’ve done an okay job, which is why the team is only okay. But okay doesn’t get it done in sports.

  8. v1again – I know how they can save an additional 6mill. Don’t retain Alice Cooper Vargas for his 8mill and buy him out for 2mill. They can put that money toward Hernandez’ final year of arbitration pay.

    1. I don’t think it’s a bad move, if they can sign Cole. I’d go to war with Cole, Nola, Howard, Arrietta, and Smyly. Count in healthy bullpen, and that should get them into the WC contention. Add A new pitiching and hitting coach, I’ll good to go with Kapler for 6 months. I think he’d agree that’s a fair enough evaluation time.

      The key is to get Cole for a somewhat reasonable total, and pray that the parts fit.

      Cole, Nola, Arrietta, Howard, Smyly
      Pivetta,VV, DLS, Sir Anthony, Neris in the pen + FA/trade help

      From the positional players, the hard choices come in the OF. Dickerson looks like a keeper, from when I’ve watched, but at least one of Dickerson,Bruce, & McCutchen are a luxury. Need to move 1, but which one? As cheap Bruce is…

      Cehe, Maikel, Herrera – at least 1 is gone, though klentak may need to ask Rocco’s permission first! Need to move on from 2 most likely.

      Switching to Hoskins, I’m interested to see his 2020 campaign. We may have to temper expectations on him, and if so, he may no longer be untouchable with Bohm and Stott progressing through the system. Hope that’s not the case, and I’m not saying I’d do it, but I’m at least kicking The tires mentally vs before it was an easy “No”

  9. I have a hard time advocating the firing of Kapler, when the philosophies, pitching and hitting wise, that I have the big problem with, come from Mac/Klentak. Are they now going to hire a Manager like Joe Girardi? I don’t think so. They want a Manager who does what they tell him to. That leaves out Madden, also. And, if Middleton hires a Manager himself, why have Mac/Klentak around? I, for one, am happy with Harper. I like the way he plays, I find he plays hard and hustles, his D has been very good, and I do that deal over again. The same with JTR. He is the best C in Baseball, and for all we know, Sixto may be just as good as Kyle Drabek. You have to make that trade. Segura is hitting 30 points lower than I thought, and Cutch was a big plus. So, I can’t argue with those Klentak moves. But, the Pitching evaluations and decisions were awful. Young for Kranitz was a failure. Not getting Keuchel was a major fail. And, unless Middleton forces a change, we will lose out on SP this off season if MacPhail is allowed to dictate terms. So, before anything happens Manager wise, there has to be a clear direction set by Middleton. He needs to make it clear that this coming year, “if we win we win, if we don’t, you are all fired.”

    1. The fate of Gabe Kapler shouldn’t be tied to the mistakes of Matt Klentak. I believe he should be fired based on the evidence of our own eyes, his mismanagement of the roster, his affection for certain players unworthy of the playing time they get, the utter lack of discipline and accountability, and as the one person who daily speaks for the ball club, offers nothing but empty platitudes, false hope and lame explanations, his LA personality doesn’t resonate with the locals.

      Now, Klentak is a mixed bag. As trader he has only shown a capacity to bargain for prime rib when he’s only paying for the meatloaf. But when it comes to spending money on free agents (notwithstanding the Harper deal of course), he tends to overpay, ie Santana and McCutchen or go market price for midlevel talent, especially pitching. What he hasn’t done so far is move outside the box in a way that remotely rattles his saber like the Luhnows and Cashmans of the world.

      As for MacPhail, I have no idea what he does beyond picking paint colors to the executive suites and serve as a wet blanket to any sense of urgency.

      1. Actually the Phillies love Cesar for some unfathomable reason. Klentak refused to move him. Kapler had to have his arm twisted to discipline his lack of hustle and even then Cesar didn’t know he was being benched. Cesar is like fly paper to me. I can’t get him off my hands.

        As for Nick Williams, Kapler decided he wasn’t worth playing from day one. Now his value like many young players in this organization has gone to pot.

        But don’t worry, Rocco. They’ll find a way to keep your boy around next season. I can feel it.

        1. I don’t think Williams ever accepted being a bench player, he thought it was beneath him. Kapler has a career as a bench player. I’ll bet the two of them clashed. Williams will be gone. Kapler? Not sure…

          1. 100% and 50% respectively. Hinkie doesn’t agree with me, but I have not heard the endorsement that often comes this time of year for an embattled manager. That coupled with the Rosenthal/Geraldi/Madden discussions of late, suggests that pot is still being stirred. Two weeks to go, I’d say!

        2. 8mark…I sensed that Gabe pegged Nick Williams and JPC together and decided he rather move on from both of them.
          Just a feeling..

          1. rocco…if Cesar played the field like his buddy Freddy Galvis….it is a no brainer he stays and becomes…. a Benny Zobristo player.
            I think one of the knocks on Cesar… his lack of flexibility on defense.
            Which also makes it that much more difficult for Klentak to get what he wants for Cesar in a return trade.

          2. Anybody with an OPS below .750 had better be bringing more to the party besides average defense (at best) at only one position, little if any baserunning instincts, and very occasional power from only the left side of the plate. Why he even bothers batting right handed is puzzling.

            1. 8mark…his fWAR is currently 6th on the team for position players….but other than Maikel, most of all the others, are back-up or utility guys.
              J.T. Realmuto 5.7
              Bryce Harper 3.8
              Rhys Hoskins 2.7
              Jean Segura 2.6
              Scott Kingery 2.4
              Cesar Hernandez 1.9

            2. This is the reason the team stinks. SEGURA HAS LOWER OPS. I Have a friend, who is in Atlanta ,He previous worked for the phillies. Said the scouts are so mad at the way Klentak works a scouting report, its all angles, third time around all stats, The same way people on here judge a player. So if Cesar goes what about the short stop? ..You have to look at all the things to judge a player. Amazing ,don’t use scouts, just read sabers, As long as Klentak is here this team will be bad, but you get rid of cesar it is the answer to all the problems by the way his war is 2.6 this year

            3. You said that. Not me. I have never implied that Cesar is even a bad player, Roc. He’s probably the least of all the problems with this entire baseball operation. But his expiration date is coming fast. He’s merely a decent player whose value is negligible due to his lack of versatility and he’s replaceable. The Cubs may need a second baseman in 2020. I can see him as a fit in their lineup at a cheaper price than what the Phillies would have to pay in either arbitration or even negotiating down. At his age, he can still be quietly productive while the rest of the talent around him makes the noise in Wrigley.

    1. I’m not sure how good a player Nick Williams would have become. He seemed to be making strides at the plate with Matt Stairs. But again, like many young players, the new math entered the picture and on top of that, the Phillies don’t seem to have a knack for developing talent. They’re current project is trying to ruin Scott Kingery.

      1. Regarding Nick I might also add that not only did they not develop him further but they devalued him as a possible trade asset. Granted he was not going to net us anything in the Top 100 but still a young controllable athletic type player should get you something.

  10. Good Post Buddy! Bottom Line, the re-build didn’t go well at all. Now they’re stuck with trying to spend their way out..Doesn’t look like McFail,Klentax,etc are very sharp.

    Since that is very clear by now, if I’m the owner, (Middleton) I would be getting good advice outside of the organization, and based on that and if he really has the desire to have a strong organization that competes year after year, I think that he needs to clean house..

    I would hire people from the gold standard teams and bite the bullet and start over.

  11. The first show has dropped. Some minor league staff have been fired including the Lakewood manager, after only one year. I’m sure more moves are still to come.

    1. When I’m weeding my garden and feeling lazy and simply what the aesthetic appearance that I have weeded my garden I pull the parts you can see and don’t go through the trouble of digging out the roots.

      That said I’m never surprised when 2 weeks later the weeds are back…

    2. What worries me is what party/parties are doing the “weeding out” and whether the proverbial “look in the mirror” applies to the weeder.

  12. Note: this is speculation on my part, more for general
    Conversation, so I’m Going to throw this out there:

    how much of this season’s disappointment is on Middleton? I’m saying this, as I absolutely love him as an owner (lol at least right now :). Anyways, I get the sense that Middleton pushed through MacPhail&Klentaks plan a season or two faster than was in their game plan. He wanted faster results, and In turn threw a wrench into the FO game plan. I can see McPhail and Klentak being onboard with Harper, the rest could be up for discussion. Something tells me they wanted to slow play the rebuild another 2 years, ideally for them, but Middleton turned up the heat.

    Again speculation on my part. The only potential evidence I have is the “signing Harper” documentary.

    Regardless if this hunch is right, pretty sure the temperature is turned up on all the FO, we just don’t know how hot yet.

    1. Middleton’s reputation is at stake here. Whatever action he takes (or doesn’t) will have to be justified publicly and be consistent with his own principles of business leadership and vision. How much patience will he employ following the 4th year of this front office which has seen the farm becoming steadily barren without at least the commensurate rise in either major league wins or the division standings? My guess is that we’ll find out two weeks from today.

  13. Adam Haseley needs to start next year in CF. At age 23, he’s holding his own as a hitter (.740 OPS, 90 OPS+) in 53 games. But the stunner is that he’s already elite as a defender with 1 dWAR. To put that into context, noted defender Jackie Bradley Jr. had his best defensive year at age 24 with 2 dWAR. Kevin Pillar had a career best 2.8 dWar at age 26. Haseley is having a better rookie year at age 23 than Brett Gardner had at age 24.

    1. He really has come on defensively and been a real revelation.

      Now is that dWAR just his play in CF (29)….or is it all three positions he has played combined?……LF-18….RF-9

      1. For a different perspective (as in, a different stat), his UZR/150 in CF puts him firmly in the second tier of defensive centerfielders. At 8.4 he’s tied for 11th (with Lorenzo Cain) among CFers with 220+ defensive innings. Notably, number 10 is well-regarded defensive wiz Kiermaier.

        What’s also worth mentioning is he has been RIDICULOUS in left. His 31.6 UZR/150 in left field not only places him first among all LFers with 130+ innings, but only one player (Detroit’s Victor Reyes at 25.1) is even within 10 of him. Number 3 on the board is CarGo at 21.5 and then there’s no one else above 19. That’s partly a product of the typical bat-first LF stereotype, but it’s also just because… well, he’s pretty good.

        Now these stats come with a SSS warning more important than most (defensive stats take notoriously long to get a clear picture). But you can only work with what you’ve got, and so far he’s been a great defender.

        His RF UZR/150 is 15.6, 17th among RFers with 60+ innings, for those curious.

  14. Ric Ocasek of the Cars gone at 75. Yeesh, didn’t realize he was that old. Early to mid-80’s were my pop music glory days. Let the good times roll!

    1. 80s music is the best. The 80s on 8 channel on Sirius is my first choice.

      What I can’t believe is Ocasek had Paulina Porizkova as his wife. It’s good to be a rock star.

      1. Hah….the lead singers…Gene Simmons….Ozzy Osbourne……Jeff Lynne….Mick.
        All with the beauties.
        The gals like their voices I suppose.

      2. 1st Wave is where I usually go on Sirius. I was too young to catch that stuff the first time around but much respect to Ric. He also produced one of the best albums of the 90s, Weezer’s debut.

      3. I remember as a kid not knowing any of the coaches on baseball teams and starting feeling older when I started to recognize the names.

        Now my son just said the same thing to me, he is recognizing the coaches and feeling older.

        I.e. Peanuts Lowrey.

    2. The Cars were great. One of my top 3 bands of all time (Talking Heads and Roxy Music are the other two). I preferred Benjamin Orr led songs, but no doubt, Ric Ocasek had a unique sound. I was also surprised to find out he was 75 YO.
      Also sorry to see Eddie Money die a few days earlier.

      This is probably my favorite Cars song.


      Back to baseball … I still expect Chris Young to be fired and Gabe Kapler back. Klentak is a lock to return (even though I called him out for his lack of “out of the box” moves over the weekend). Hopefully Klentak and Kapler learn from this season and grow as GM and manager.

      1. Well if we’re talking about the Cars – I’ve always loved this song. The Cars were always my guilty pleasure band but not that guilty.

        1. Poriskova is still one of the most beautiful women you’ll ever see… Google her SI swimsuit shoot earlier this year and prepare to be floored at what a 53 year old woman can look like.. WOW…

      2. I’m older than most of you and everyone seems to seek music of their generation, but Barry Manilow (I know, I know, schlocky to the max.) has a legitimate question: What happened to melody?

        For me, it’s the Great American Songbook, Ella and Frank, the young Philadelphia rockers of the late 50s, and a strong dose of 60s folk and hard-drinking’ messed-up lives country and western.

    3. 75 is so young when you get to be Romus age, Romus told me he saw Babe Ruth in new York in 1933 at Nathan hot Dogs. I wish I could have meet the babe. did meet Mickey Mantle but I was still in diapers in the sixties.

  15. Two weeks from today, the decision must be made by the owner to:

    A) Keep MacPhail and give him full authority to decide the fate of K&K

    B) Fire MacPhail, and hire a new president to decide the fate of K&K

    C) Fire MacPhail and Klentak, and allow your new president to hire a new GM and decide on Kapler

    D) Fire all 3 and start over.

    E) Keep MacPhail but mandate he fires both K&K

    F) Keep MacPhail but mandates he fire Kapler

    I suspect he will do F, but I would go with D.

    Funny that I believe Klentak is the longest tenured GM in Philly?

  16. I see that the Phillies are starting to let go some of their minor league coaches. There needs to be more done. Too many players regressed, especially the pitchers( Adonis Medina, Jo Jo Romero), three of their soft tossing lefties either missed the entire year( Nick Fanti), or missed most of the year( Kyle Young and Bailey Falter). I understand that injuries happen. But are these injuries and regressions a result of either overuse or hitters adapting to the pitching, or the result of the altering of mechanics in order to add a couple MPH to the fastball?

    1. I’d like to know who hired the minor league coaches that they’re now letting go. Maybe he needs to go if he hasn’t already. Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens dominated at Reading back in 2016. What Phillies prospects have dominated at any level since, or before for that matter? Maybe Aaron Nola in 2015? Dom Brown in 2010-11…maybe? Hasn’t been a pretty picture.

      1. Going to Driveline is still in its infancy in the organization…less than a year.
        So, have to bear with them.

      2. What prospect has dominated at any level?
        2018 Luis Garcia in the GCL .369/.433/.488. I think he was voted the top prospect in the league.

  17. I vote D, time to clean house and start over with new management. Just because you start over with new management,does NOT mean that it will take longer to become a gold standard organization, truth be told, I think it expedites it!

    At this point, what do you have to lose? Again,we are far away,maybe 15 to 20 games or so.

  18. I don’t know how many of you work in “corporate America”, but MacPhail strikes me as the big shot VP at work that is a year or two away from retirement who spends 20% of his day at work sleeping and the other 80% kissing the $&@#& of his boss so he can hang on for that last year or two. But when something good happens, he’s always suddenly front and center for the photo opp.

    The only thing this organization can really say they did successfully over the past 5 years was inject the franchise with analytics capability. I’m sorry to say though that it’s the equivalent of saying in 2001 “we signed up for the internet”. Great, the Phils signed up for analytics. That’s great but at the end of the day, no player goes home after a game and says “thank god I had those analytics to make me successful”. Players are people too and they want to feel valued, treated fairly, and like their manager and coaches. When is the last time anyone has seen Gabe and one of his players talking in the dugout, sharing a laugh? When’s the last time you heard a Phillie in an interview, say something good unsolicited about Kapler, Klentak, or MacPhail?

    Somebody yesterday responded to my post saying the Phils advantage is money and their going to use it. That means we are the Marlins with money – rather than being lousy, we can buy our way to mediocre. The exact inverse of Tampa and Oakland – broke teams that are so brilliant they don’t even need money. They’re so smart they can’t even be average. We can’t just accept the money argument is going to solve everything. The money, should also be what buys the Phillies a better president, a better GM, a better manager, a better coaching staff, a better minor league development team, a better scouting department, better facilities, better analytics, better everything. Worst of all, as Hinkie and others have stated, during this rebuild they have not done ANYTHING creative to exploit the resources they possess that so many of their competitors lack.

    I hate to say it my good friends, but this is no longer a rebuild, this is the new normal, until the owner decides he wants something better.

    1. Wow, you nailed it, Buddy B. That might be the post of the year. And Middleton may have been more prophetic than we thought when he spoke of stupid money. Only not in a good way.

    2. A lot of fair points from where I’m standing. The money should be what puts the Phillies over the top, not hovering between average and contending, but rather contending and WS favorites. Sooo basically the Dodgers.

      On the flip side, money can also be negative, you can bury a teams Movement up the ladder. Look at how Howard’s contract impacted 2012 and beyond. I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole on this, we all lived it, still love the big guy for the good years.

      Its a work in progress, so will see. In the corporate world, this season is a lot like a yearly sales plan … sooner or later the results needs to be there, were running out track.
      How many missed sales plans do you get? Lol … some of us know this answer, and Macphail will know soon enough.

      I think expectations need to be tempered, even with signing Cole, next year’s goal is to get into the playoffs, but i wouldn’t expect to make hay. They need 2 more solid off seasons, prospects to develop and get big league time, and beef up the bullpen again. 2021 for me, but I’ll certainly take it earlier!

  19. Buddy, great post! I can’t really argue. I am one of those who thinks Middleton spending this off season gets us into contention. But, I may be engaging in wishful thinking. I want the Playoffs next year, heck I wanted them this year, and I am willing to buy our way there. The evaluations of talent and development practices of our team are below par. The Dodgers are a big money team, and they have an excellent developmental program. There is no reason any team in the league should be better than we are at building and sustaining a franchise. The only excuse is Front Office ineptness.

    1. matt13…finishing 4th as it stands right now, and possibly losing 8 or 9 of the next 11 games to the Braves, Indians and Nats, will dictate that Middleton will make the necessary changes immediately post-season.
      I am assuming Kapler will be relieved of his duties along with some portion of his staff.

      As for talent evaluations……I still see the talent in the lower minors that have solid MLB potential. It is the development that will need to be tightened up….and maybe this latest Driveline philosophy is the key.
      Bonifay has seen it in action from the past, and seems to be on board with it and its beneficial results in other orgs….will see.

  20. Buddy, Awesome Post!
    On your earlier one,I vote D. I believe starting over actually EXPEDITES the path to being a playoff contender.

  21. For me I can’t help but think or pay attention to what a team like the Astro’s has done. It really is quite remarkable and it started with Jim Crane identifying a guy no one had ever heard of in normal circles Jeff Luhnow.

    They haven’t been perfect either during their rebuild phase. They missed on Appel and that one other pitcher I can’t remember but heck this Yordan Alvarez Kid looks pretty darn good again for next to nothing. They basically stole Gerrit Cole and their ability or persistence to land Verlander was outstanding.

    They will likely lose Springer but they have Tucker waiting in the wings and Whitley if they lose Cole.

    They went against the grain of their own clubhouse to get Osuna but it was one problem child for another and as bad a dude he might have been in Toronto you haven’t heard a bad thing about him since.

    I could go on and on but the point is how can you sit here and think that McPhail and Klentak are on par with those guys? I mean do you really need another year to come to that conclusion. I don’t…

    It’s why I’m not even calling for Kapler or Young to be fired any longer.

  22. So, let’s say Middleton comes to the realization spelled out so well by Buddy B. What then might be an obstacle to his taking drastic measures? Loyalty? A sense of invested trust in his circle of counsel that he’s not inclined to turn away from. Or the fear of the unknown in starting from scratch?

    Let’s hope he rather acts from his passion to win, and nothing else.

  23. If I’m Middleton…how can he trust McFail/ Klentax enough to spend more and go over the luxury tax with the current results? And if he looks around and sees teams with a FAR lower payroll be so successful? Plus if he consults with people outside of the organization and they verify what we’re seeing?

    Therein is your answer!

    1. I forget. Barf were you the one that one or two weeks ago said you were banning yourself until the manager was fired, or was it some one else? If you were it is good that you don’t let that limit you if you have something worth posting.

  24. I still think Klentak gets another year. I believe Middleton tells him to apply what he did this past off season to boost the offense, to the Pitching this off season. Don’t forget, he just was rewarded with a 3 year extension. This is not what I would do. I would say sayonara to MacPhail today, and let the new President makes his picks. But, I don’t think that is what happens. On a brighter note, I know very little about Ethan Lindow, but Josh Bonifay just called him a “special Pitcher.” I sure hope so. Bohm, Stott, Howard and Lindow, and a few others give us some hope.

  25. I don’t think Middleton will fire Mcphail or Klentak. He stood up there in spring training saying what a great offseason they had. The moves to pick up Bruce and Dickerson were good ones. Unfortunately they overvalued the young starters’ potential, as did many others who picked Pivetta as s break out star. We all knew they needed a veteran starter who was good and they stopped trying after Happ signed. It’s hard to fault them for the Herrera situation or all of the bullpen injuries. They decided to not spend assets on getting pen arms and went to the reject pile instead. When you hear that it would have cost Moniak for a few months of an arm, you can understand that decision. That just have to be able to do a better job of development in the minors. Of interest, the LHV pitching coach was let go. How many arms improved in AAA this year?? The Driveline process needs another full year to evaluate it. One positive is that the big club’s base running and defense was better. It doh did silly but JT has been helped by much improved tagging methods at 2b. That has been an improved skill by Cesar this year. Our 1b coach is a keeper. Will they keep Kapler? I hope not but I think they will unless Charlie reports back that he should go.

  26. Whatever it takes to “steal” some personnel from LAD, NYY, or HOU, Middleton should explore those avenues. Bonifay from the Astros is already in the fold. To what extent his fingerprints are on what’s been going on (or not) recently – good or bad – I would assume he’ll get more time to establish his mark.

    As much as I don’t want to reboot and wait, I agree with Buddy as well that a clean sweep of the front office may very well bring about a quicker turn around than if Middleton plodded with incremental changes from year to year and we suffer the same results. Let’s hope Johnny Cigars is listening to people who know better…outside the organization.

    1. The Rays are idiot savants when it comes to drafting. Crazy good and have been now for over a decade…

  27. Not baseball related but congrats to my sisters good friend Sarah Thomas on being the first person to swim the English Channel four times. My brother in law is an endurance swimmer (they are not normal humans!). Headed to Arizona tomorrow for some fall ball…

    1. All this achievement makes me sick to my stomach – lol – just kidding. Congrats on Spencer’s AFL debut and to your family and friends. I’ve got 5 of my own, including an Army officer and a med school student, so it’s fun to watch them go off and succeed.

      1. The plan was for Spencer to come in to my company and take over for me so I can retire…I guess he has other plans!!

        1. Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. Do you have any other kids? Nephews? Nieces? Acquaintances who might be interested in taking over the company?

          1. My daughter has no interest but my two nephews are already here. It’s a family business called Howard Products. Wood care products etc. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace all carry it…

            1. I guess as a dad. I would love my kid to take over my business. But to have a son this close to the majors. I think is better, Good Luck ,I think Sworks romus used you wood products to try to grow hair.. I Don’t know the results.

            2. rocco/8mark…I will have you know my doc who did my hair …Dr Carnabucci of Phila….was the doctor who also did Frank Sinatra’s bodyguards…and the bamboo just grows wild! 🙂

    2. Yes!!!! Unbelievable accomplishment, Almost unimaginable!! How can anyone swim for more than two days straight in those type of cold, strong-tide waters?

  28. As I’ve stated a number of times already … Gabe Kapler is not the biggest reason for this season of mediocrity. I would only replace him if John Middleton was completely cleaning house (starting with Andy MacPhail). MacPhail has set the tone. He is waaaay too lax/disconnected/unaggressive. MacPhail, in turn, went out and hired a GM who is very much like him. Matt Klentak is very vanilla, cautious, and lacks imagination. For me, the only “out of the box” move he’s ever made was hiring Gabe Kapler, despite not having any real managerial experience.
    IMO John Middleton should cut bait (make him an advisor if it makes you feel better) with MacPhail and chase Chaim Bloom this offseason like he hunted Bryce Harper last winter. Bloom would be an absolute Grand Slam (!) hire. He’s currently VP of Baseball Operations in Tampa. Middleton could offer him MacPhail’s old title of Team President/GM. Bloom is the opposite of MacPhail. He is young (36 YO), aggressive, wins w/o big market resources, and is from Philadelphia. He is a student of analytics, but also has a background in scouting and development. It would be like replacing Howard Cunningham with Fonzie (for all you Happy Days fans).
    The ironic part of this scenario is MacPhail passed on Bloom in favor of his mini-me (Klentak) four years ago. Hire Bloom and let him decide what to do with Klentak and Kapler.

    1. Hinkie, I am on board with your Bloom idea.

      Now where we differ – as I have also posted several times, I don’t hold Kapler responsible for the less than satisfying season. However, his inadequacies as a manager stand alone, apart from the deficiencies of his roster, which Klentak stands accountable. In any case, Bloom would likely hire a GM who gets to pick his own manager. So Kapler’s fate would likely be to get swept away with Klentak and MacPhail. MacPhail will probably be shifted to an advisory role as a soft landing.

    2. This sounds like a good plan. They will probably kick Andy Macphail somewhere else in the organization. I don’t care so long as he steps out of the immediate chain of command above the general manager. They have been too conservative in terms of their unwillingness to think out of the box. The overall strategy has been fine, but they have been pretty mediocre on the details such as identifying and developing talent. A good plan with mediocre execution typically doesn’t turn out that well.

    3. Hinkie,,,,you want to go from a Dartmouth guy to a Yale guy………sheeesh! 🙂

      But there is one big plus….Bloom has his roots in Philly…. and a one time Jewish day school kid from Philadelphia who loves to eat gefilte fish.

  29. Hinkie, I am with you. Great post, and Bloom would be a terrific hire. Very similar move, if Middleton does this, to when Lurie fired Chip Kelly. He admitted he was wrong, saw the problems, didn’t keep him because he had just made him the personnel czar and would be embarrassed to fire him so fast, and just did it because it was the right move, He was rewarded with a Super Bowl. Yes, Middleton praised the FO for the off season, but they, clearly, screwed up on evaluating Pitching, had another chance to alleviate some of the mistakes by signing Keuchel, went dumpster diving for BP help when injuries decimated the BP, and missed a great opportunity to make the Playoffs. Middleton can point to a lot changing since the season started and make a great move.

    1. Yes. The move would be similar to the LAD’s hiring 37 YO Andrew Friedman from the Rays in 2014 as President of Baseball Operations. Look what he’s done in Los Angeles. I think Bloom could have similar success in Philadelphia.
      Just look at some of what Bloom has accomplished in Tampa. He’s put together a team that competes for a playoff spot in a division where they have to play the NYY’s and BoSox 36 (?) times per season. He does that while working on a shoestring budget. While there, Tampa has developed some outstanding young arms (Blake Snell and Jose Alvarado are/have been two of my favorite pitchers in MLB). Bloom has also done well in trades. He fleeced Neal Huntington last summer when he sent Pittsburgh Chris Archer for Austin Meadows, Tyler Glassnow, and Shane Baz [“Are you kidding me?”]).
      Like I said above … Chaim Bloom would be a Grand Slam hire for the Phillies!

      1. Also … while Klentak passed on Charlie Morton this winter, Bloom was all over him. He guaranteed Morton 30 million over two seasons. In all fairness to Klentak though, he may have been hamstrung in his pursuit of Morton by the 75 million dollars he had already promised Jake Arrieta the previous winter. 🙂

    1. Wow…glad that prospective trade never came to fruition. Really sobering how messed up some of these kids are, no matter how talented on the field.

      1. I’m thinking Neal Huntington’s days as Pirates GM are numbered. At last summer’s trade deadline, he gave up the farm for Chris Archer. This summer he wouldn’t accept Keibert Ruiz (and at least one young arm) for Vazquez. If he holds on to his job, GM’s are going to be circling like vultures to make a deal with him.

        1. Would appear Huntington may be on thin ice….but the Pirates do believe in stability to a fault.
          Clint Hurdle has been there almost a decade now.

      2. He better have saved some money, because he’s gonna have trouble finding ANY job now.

        I believe in giving people second chances if they’ve paid their dues to society, but I admit stuff along these lines I’m biased and can never actually let go of it.

        1. I too believe in second chances but not when you’re a predator taking advantage of innocent kids. Nothing gets me more riled up than violence/exploitation against kids and babies.

        2. All of a sudden Kyle Crick has become a hero in Pittsburgh, and to think this off-season they probably were going to move him out……and its only been two weeks since the Vasquez fight

    2. Vazquez is toast. He’s going to go away for a long time. If for some reason he gets cleared of all charges, he’s going to get cut and he will never wear a baseball uniform again. He’s not getting a second chance after this.

      1. Yes. Second chances are still subject to judicial process and time. In Vazquez’s case, between now and then will be a very long time, probably after he’d be effective any longer as a pitcher. It’s not even worth speculating. He’s thrown his last pitch in a major league uniform.

        1. Luke Heimlich, former Oregon pitcher, a probably a first rounder last year, has had to relocate. MLB teams do not want to touch him

  30. Interesting speculation from Bob Nightengale….

    Might Gabe Kapler be Bruce Bochy’s successor based on his association with Zaidi from their LAD days?

    David Ross will presumably replace Joe Madden, who in turn may wind up here or with the Mets.

    Don Mattingly to San Diego?

    Mike Matheny to KC?

    Potentially 10 managerial openings, including Bochy’s.

      1. In my ideal front office, the GM should not have hiring responsibility for manager and coaching staff. Both GM and MGR should report directly to team president (or VP of baseball ops, whatever the title). I understand that more clubs are preferring their field skippers be in lock step with upper management, but when the GM has leverage over the manager, I think it doesn’t bode well for the checks and balances of power. That’s just my opinion….

        1. Of course the GM and manager need to be in regular communication but when it comes to the decision making process, 3 heads are better than 2 heads banging.

    1. Wow, Romus….so much so that guess who he’s got starting at 3b and LF? That’s right – Sean Rodriguez and Jose Pirela, both over Adam Haseley. Yep, Gabe’s all in.

    2. All kidding aside, I can’t wait for the end of the Sean Kapler Experience. And while I realize Todd Zolecki has to write something, can’t he post something other than Gabe’s thoughts on how we’re going to see the Phillies “at their best” down the stretch. First of all, it’s about 2 weeks too late. Secondly, he’s insulting the intelligence of any fan with the brains of a gnat. Thirdly, not playing Haseley is managerial malpractice and a practical contradiction to being all in, no matter how minuscule their playoff chances. Even playing Rodriguez over Franco is an utter disgrace. Defending Kapler on any front is nonsense. His analytics has become nothing but a front for his personal biases against certain players.

  31. Love the comments on hiring Bloom,etc. great posts on this subject..Now we’re on the right track!! I would have far more confidence on someone like him to right this ship ,instead of somewhat sticking to the status quo.

    We are now speaking the same language!!

  32. Hinkie, I don’t believe, at all, that the Harper signing in any way stopped Middleton from approving a contract for Charlie Morton. That was the result of Klentak and MacPhail deciding that only Corbin was better than what we had, and they nixed the term that Corbin got. And, I know there are some who would argue that Corbin was overpaid by that last year by the Nats, and they loaded, as they often do, a lot of money on that last year. I disagree, and would have signed him regardless, but there is at least an argument. There was no argument to failing to get Morton, or any one else. And, then they doubled down on their mistake, and passed on Keuchel in June. Coupled with MacPhail’s comments, that equate to Chip Kelly dissing the Christmas party, Middleton has ample reason to move on. Then the next guy, Chaim Bloom, hires an exec to be GM and they hire a Manager, and Kapler is not scapegoated for what was mostly the fault of those above him.

  33. Checking in on ex-Phils, career year for Carlos Santana: .280/.398/.527 34 HR 4.4 WAR

    Among Phillies position players, only Realmuto has more WAR this year, and just barely (4.5)

    1. And the Phillies, with their advanced analytics, knew he was due for a rebound, as he had a career-low BABIP in 2018 of .231, and it rebounded this year to .288

      In terms of value, $60 million for three years of Santana will have turned out not to be an over-pay (he’s at 6.1 WAR so far through almost two years, likely ends up with 9 or more total for the three years). Now, whether Klentak should have done it with Hoskins waiting in the wings is another story . . .

        1. It was a lost season and they traded the contract so little harm on the money front. But surrendering the pick and other picks will have a definite cost over time.

    1. …which begs the question – with his injury history, is CD now too great of a health risk to command even 3/$30M? That may work in the Phillies favor if they like him as a platoon player.

      1. 8mark…I question the money that he will command on the open market. wherein the Phillies have surplus OFers and he will need tp be squeezed into a part-time role .
        BTW….he has played in over 425 games in the three years prior to this season… he is not as much of a health risk as most players….well no where near Roman Q.

      2. All you need is 1 team to think Dickerson can start, and he’s gone.

        Not only that, Cutch didn’t sign with the Phillies to be in a platoon. He was playing well before he got hurt. This isn’t fantasy baseball. Cutch (and his agent) will be pissed and the Phillies will have to deal with the ramifications of that considering that he’s still owed $40M for the next 2 years. This is not the same as platooning a rookie or a player still in arbitration. You can screw over those guys as much as you want. But when you screw over a veteran FA, other players (and prospective FAs) notice.

    2. My prediction is that if Klentak stays in power, they won’t sign Corey Dickerson, but they should. He will become the latest example of the Phillies’ problems with scouting their own players. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt they sign him and I suspect he will hit like gangbusters next year and we’ll be having discussions about him next July and August as one who got away. Another one.

      1. He’s a good player, but the Phillies OF is crowded and he’s going somewhere else. Much like when the Indians let Michael Brantley walk because he got expensive. This will NOT be the last time that the Phillies will have to make a hard choice. Every team goes through this and that’s the nature of baseball.

        1. Yes, the problem is they so frequently make the wrong choice when presented with a set of hard choices. That’s when heads roll.

  34. Keuchel looks really sharp again tonight. Struck out Bryce on 2 Change ups he didn’t come close to hitting. I hope Middleton is watching, and he is as p’d as I am that Keuchel hasn’t been here. Yep, he wasn’t any better than what we had! What a monumental misjudgment. We were 33-27 when Cutch got hurt. That was, I think, about June 3. I am not sure when Keuchel signed with Atlanta, but not much longer after that. We have gone 43-45 since Cutch’s injury, under .500, if my math holds up. If we had gotten Keuchel, we would be in the first WC spot, not an also ran in 4th place in our own Division. I would fire the whole crew just for that.

    1. This post did not age well.

      Not that the overall point (we should have signed Keuchel after his draft pick compensation was removed) isn’t valid, just funny how a pitcher can look good for most of the game, but get rocked in one inning and suddenly his entire outing looks bad.

      1. Good morning Dan, I thought I had posted a message that I was not responding or disagreeing with your post. I was posting before I had a chance to read yours. I must not have it send or done something else. I still wanted Keuchel despite that bad inning, and I think that we made a huge mistake not signing him.

        1. Yeah, that’s still a valid opinion. He’s had a good (half) year for the Braves and would be an upgrade over pretty much everyone in our rotation. Even Nola has some bad outings (more this year than last, for some reason…). Just funny how fickle baseball can be.

  35. It doesn’t matter that we got him for 5 runs. My opinion remains the same. Keuchel pitched 17 games with an ERA well under 4. Much better than anyone we have not named Nola.

  36. Let’s add a legit closer to our wish list this Christmas. Hector got the save tonight but nearly gave up the lead…again. He’s not a closer.

  37. Just watched a 3 minute video interview with Chaim (I believe it’s pronounced Ha-yim?) Bloom. Very impressive 36 year old who seems very comfortable in his own skin and down to earth. As per Hinkie’s suggestion, Middleton would do well to snag a guy with his resume and pedigree with a top 5 MLB organization in Tampa. The Mets interviewed him before they hired BVW – another typical Mets mistake. Woo him to come here before a club like the Red Sox do. The financial resources are here for him to be more aggressive than what he’s got with the Rays, naturally. If Middleton wants to offer MacPhail a gratis advisory position, fine. Bloom as a club president who is already very well versed in analytics may be agreeable to keep (and work well in tandem with) Klentak as a GM who needs to be seasoned by someone with the chops to get things done.

    Make the move, Johnny!

  38. Catching up to all this great commentary:

    On Bloom, I love the idea Hinkie and totally agree with what others have said.

    On MacPhail, I think the Phillies problem is when they hired him they asked him to take the organization forward to where other good teams were in 2014. The problem is now we’re in 2014 and it’s 2019. MacPhail skated to where the puck was rather than where it was going.

    On pitching, the Phils had a plan to have a great September / October rotation:
    1 Nola – coming off 2018, he would be a 20 game winner.
    2 Pivetta OR Velasquez OR Eflin – with a great new pitching coach leading the way, one of these high potential young arms would surge forward as a legit #2.
    3 – With all the success of the farm system, the Phils would acquire a young, controllable ToR arm at the deadline.
    4 – Arrieta – a rock solid year of 200+ innings – the staff workhorse and mentor to young pitchers
    5 – Out of the other 2 young arms under #2 above plus the 6 arms at AAA (Anderson, Eickhoff, Suarez, Romero, DeLosSantos, Irvin), one of the 8 would emerge as a strong 5th starter.

    So what happened? Pretty much none of this.

    On Hinkie’s defense of Captain Participation Trophy, I know you keep saying that he wasn’t the biggest reason for the Phils failures this year and you think the team will bring him back. But do you really believe they should? If it was your decision, would you? If so, what exactly has he done to warrant that 3rd chance?

    1. I’ve read and heard comments regarding Kapler, that this team could/should be worse off but that he’s kept them in it. Granted, key injuries and poor performance particularly by the young arms set the team back. But when you consider:

      1) the mediocrity of the National League after LAD and ATL,

      2) all the players who in fact did NOT develop or improve from last season (who did?),

      3) the apparent lack of discipline, accountability, and sense of urgency displayed by Kapler and his players,

      4) the roughly 20 very winnable games which the Phillies painfully lost, half of which would have them already in the playoffs, and

      5) all the ingame moves he’s made which even the TV and radio guys questioned.

      This may not be an exhaustive list but how has Gabe Kapler kept this team in it. A marginally better manager would have the Phillies in the playoffs. All his fault? Of course not. There’s plenty of blame to share. But why should he be brought back in 2020?

      1. 8mark, totally agree. In addition, the DBacks traded away Greinke, the Brewers lost Yelich, the Mets who knows what they’re thinking, the Giants were sellers at the deadline, this was a golden opportunity for the Phils to sneak in as a second WC with some savvy leadership, save Nola for games 1 and 5 against LAD, use someone else to try and sneak through the WC game, and maybe a hot Nola leads to an upset of LAD, and then who knows.

        I’ll add #6 to your list (agree with your 5 completely) – the lack of defined roles in the bullpen. Now some might say how can he with all the injuries? BS, you can at least try. After Neris, nobody else has had a defined role (how about Nick Vincent in high leverage roles?). Pick a LHP and a RHP to be your late inning setup guys and stick to it and build their confidence. Even when he put Pivetta and VV in the pen, one night they are 8th inning setup guys then they are 4 inning mop up long relievers. Just ridiculous.

        Ok and 7, the roster management, how many freaking times did Irvin and Suarez and García and Nick and others go up and down and up and down and up and down to AAA? Yes you can do that very easily on your fantasy football team but these are real humans with real emotions and real families and real friends. Getting sent down can be humiliating, disheartening, embarrassing, and discouraging for the individual. Yes sometimes it’s necessary due to injury or trade or performance, but it shouldn’t be a strategy to manage your bullpen or bench. You already have 8 relievers, start using them properly so this roster shuffling isn’t necessary.

      2. Former GM, MLB commentator Dan O’Dowd agrees with you on largely point 3.
        Thus…thinks Phillies will go in another managerial direction for next season.

      3. The biggest mistake the Phillies can make – and they sort of made it this year – is focusing too much on a playoff spot – sacrificing long-term gains for short term competitiveness. That’s a race to the middle and will leave you like the Rockies or Brewers. They need to be focused on how they can become an elite team.

        1. I’m pretty sure people were extremely happy when the Phillies were rolling early in the season. And I’ve mentioned this before, once you turn into a contending team, it’s all about wins and less about development. This happened when Dom Brown was there and it’s happening again. And it will happen again in the future.

          The Brewers and Rockies are not flush with cash. They felt their window was open now, and they went for it. I can’t fault them for that. Waiting for them to be “elite” can take forever.

            1. The Braves’ last title was in 1995, and they haven’t won a playoff series since 2001. From 2014-2017, they finished under .500. So they were due to get better since baseball operates in cycles. They got good because Acuna and Albies became elite, and Donaldson staying healthy was a complete surprise.

              But all good teams will have some young talent as part of the core. I’m sure back in 2007, other teams were complaining about Rollins/Utley/Howard/Hamels. When the Braves get bad again (and they will), talk to me about their young talent then.

    2. Buddy … I would not make Gabe Kapler the scapegoat (keep MacKlentak and fire Kapler). Yes, Gabe has made mistakes. While I don’t always agree with his moves, they are almost always well thought out/data driven. You also have to take into account, the pieces he’s managing. Klentak (who I feel is the most culpable for this mediocre season) dealt Gabe an “ace” (Nola) and four jokers (Arrieta/Pivetta/VV/Eflin) to win with. I understand the BP was supposed to bolster this shaky staff. However, when nearly everyone went down with arm issues (not blaming anyone for that), Klentak brought in a group 88-91 MPH throwing DFA’ed substitutions. No manager was going to win with this group.
      For me, the #1 option (as I posted above) would be to replace MacPhail with Chaim Bloom, and let Bloom go from there (decide Klentak and Kapler’s fates). If Middleton is queasy about doing that, then I’d hold on to Kapler. He’s a smart guy. He’ll learn from his mistakes. He (like all managers) will also be much better at his job next season if the team gives him some actual MLB arms to work with.

      BTW … Gabe gets an “A” for the job he did last night. How he got that dumpster fire of a bullpen through four innings against that Braves lineup is beyond me. He also caught flack for starting SeaRod and Jose Pirela. Rodriguez had a key hit in the 5-run fourth inning, and Pirela followed that with his 2-run homer. That said … the team should just tell Gabe he’s back next season so he can finally focus on developing the younger players. As I’ve stated in the past, Adam Haseley needs to be playing every night (vs both RHP’s and LHP’s).

      1. Hinkie, a “scapegoat” is when blame is isolated on one individual. I don’t think anyone here is suggesting Gabe is the lone culprit. First off, I credit JTR with getting these AAAA arms through the late innings. Gabe is merely standing on the top step of the dugout. Anyway, Kapler’s deficiencies stand apart from the ragtag pitching staff. We disagree that he handles the bullpen well, but aside from that, his shortcomings are numerous. No manager is perfect….yadayadayada, I get it. We’ve gone back and forth here. The blame for the underwhelming 2019 Phillies isn’t mutually exclusive. Klentak gets as much, if not much more than Gabe. MacPhail is the guy who nobody knows how much he is to blame except for his tone, because who knows what he actually does or decides.

        Kapler doesn’t fit this team or this town. His off the wall lineups and ingame decisions have been at times horrific, not just questionable. And you can’t have someone in his position of leadership who commands such little respect because by his words and actions, he demands little respect. The boss simply can’t be buddies with his employees.

        1. I’m not saying Gabe handles the BP well. That has obviously been the dent in his resume. I am saying Kapler is working with the weakest BP of any playoff contender. I am giving him credit for his moves last night. I don’t know what to tell you if you want to blame Gabe any time he calls for a reliever who fails/blows a game. Yet, you want to give the credit to Realmuto when the BP succeeds. There is no avenue where Gabe wins in your logic.
          You keep drinking that Angelo Cataldi Kool-Aid LOL. 🙂

          1. There need be no avenues he either wins or loses because his hiring (which wasn’t his mistake – hey! There you go…maybe he’d be a dynamite GM😆) was Klentak’s misjudgment.

            Cataldi?!?! I may be an idiot but I’ve forgotten more about baseball than that ninny will ever understand. But hey, I can take a shot.

            1. It’s all good, Hinkie. You and I tend to think alike much more often than we don’t. The Gabe debate is a rare instance where we don’t. But I won’t compare you with Gabe’s biggest apologist, Joe Giglio. HA!

          2. He has a bullpen full of bums and one okay reliever in Hector Neris and maybe also Alvarez. It’s a miracle they’ve won as many games as they have.

            1. I’m not sure why Hector Neris is another whipping boy, but he’s better than just an ok reliever in this era of the juiced ball. Neris is making 1.8M with 1.6 WAR. As a comparison, check out these supposedly top relievers:

              Kenley Jansen 0.2 WAR 19.3M salary
              Craig Kimbrel -0.2 WAR 10M salary
              Aroldis Chapman 1.4 WAR, 17.2M salary
              Sean Doolittle 0.9 WAR 6M salary

            2. I liked Neris a lot as the 8th inning setup man. He’s out of his niche as a closer, by necessity I understand. It would be great if they could adequately fill the closer role (hell, they need to HAVE a closer role first). But that’s another discussion.

      2. Eflin’s era is down to 4.00 and he has been worth 1.7 war so far this year. I wouldn’t call him a joker.

        1. If by midseason 2020, our rotation is G. Cole, Nola, Arrieta, Howard and Eflin, with Smyly starting the season before Spencer arrives, I would be satisfied. Eflin has had a better idea of how to pitch than Pivetta or Velasquez, who should be either moved to the bullpen or traded.

          1. 8mark…..”Eflin has had a better idea of how to pitch than Pivetta or Velasquez, who should be either moved to the bullpen or traded”.:…because Eflin has been doing it since the Padres drafted him. His aim has been to get into 7th innings or further. Only Bieber and Giolito from the AL have more complete games @ 3 each.

  39. Another great post-Buddy…especially skated to where the puck was instead of where it was going.

    Your last sentence is Gold! What EXACTLY has he done to warrant his 3rd chance?

    One thing that we need to realize, just because Middleton fires everyone and starts over does NOT mean the team will now be 5 years away, remember “a tiger doesn’t lose his strips” and depends on who they do hire, will probably expedite the rest of this rebuild.

    If any GM can accomplish what the As and the Rays GMs do year after year with a VERY limited budget, imagine what they could do with the big market teams budget!

    So what if McFail and Klentax go somewhere else and crush it, if they stay here, instead of truly moving forward they are stuck in mediocrity.Is that what anyone wants??

  40. If we go with the “Can’t see the forest through the trees” approach, the team batting was dead middle of the NL teams. Atlanta, Washington and even the Mets were better in almost every category. This year was the year of hitting upgrade. Based on the results, it makes a lot of sense that the hitting instructor is gone. What else could or should be done to fix that?

    Pitching was pretty terrible on a team basis. This year has to be the year of the pitcher. Once you see where that goes, I think you can piss and moan all you want. Sign the hitters you need to sign and go get some pitching. If everything goes to crap next year, the entire front office including the bathroom cleaning staff has to go.

    1. Pitching:
      Not having the below six guys in the bullpen for the entire season probably cost 4 or 5 wins this season.
      Their total innings pitched of 90 was just too low.

      Dominguez…..25 innings pitched.
      Total…………..90 innings

    2. Big dreamer here, but what happens if we win out get the playoff win, win only one more game than our opponents in the next 3 series and are the World Champions. Fairy book story but it would be great to hear management afterwards and read the posts.

      1. Denny, the only dream sequence I can imagine, after they kept reeling us back all season, is that they would play the last game at home vs the Marlins, needing only to win to make the wild card….and lose. More like a nightmare, but certainly not the first we have suffered this season.

        1. …oh, and lest I forget – Sean Rodriguez would again figure prominently in the train wreck. And Hector would need 30 minutes to warm up. And Cesar would forget how many outs there were and be doubled off second base. (Sorry, Rocco)

  41. All of you make excellent points. I, personally, am tired of hearing Kapler laud the “gritty” efforts when we lose. That game vs. San Diego put m over the edge. We lost, and Yates struck out the side, and the amount of pitches they saw meant zero. It was an important game when we were still in it. His remarks were just meaningless. My view on the whole situation is that all 3 should go. Just firing Kapler does not address the big problem, and simply forces another Manager to work under 2 guys with no urgency to win. I don’t forget, in addition to MacPhail’s stupid comment, the arrogance he portrayed in applauding how far we have come during this rebuild. when, in fact, the gap with the Braves is still huge, and we have not come very far at all.

    1. natt13…agree on Gabe.
      Also this infuriates me with the manager…his assessment of Nick Williams.
      A youngster who needed to be moved prior to the season if there was not going to eb any room for him on a full-time bases.

      Do you think Nick Williams has a future in this organization?
      Kapler’s answer went like this:
      “Um, I think he has the talent. He’s a gifted athlete from every perspective….
      …….I think he’s put in a lot of work and people have put in a lot of work thinking about him……I don’t know. I think he’s struggled with some things this season.”

      Kapler favored journeymen players like Sean Rod. over the likes of young players Williams or Franco, or for that matter last year JPC.

      1. JPC has slowed down a lot in Seattle. He’s still only 24, but he’s had only 1 WAR in Seattle in about half a season. And Seattle is not a hitter’s paradise that’s for sure.

  42. This mess isn’t nearly entirely Kapler’s doing. His relief corps is decimated, he never had a good group of starters and the one he had that was okay is out for the year, and the hitting is alright but not great and also has been set back by injuries. The GM and President are mostly to blame in my view. I think they get another chance to right the ship (I’m not saying they should, just telling you what I think Middleton) will do, but if it doesn’t go well next year, there will be broad changes at the upper levels and this off season there will be other hiring and firing of coaches and scouts as the management group is going to have to show Middleton some appearance of forward progress. But, on the whole, this rebuild, while fairly well conceived at first, has not been executed that well and the organization is paying a price for trying to spend and trade its way out of mediocrity given the limited assets coming from the farm. If I had to grade the rebuild thus far, I’d probably give it a C or a C+ – not horrible but certainly not a ringing endorsement.

  43. Exactly Romus, and what about Franco? The team President said maybe Franco’s next team will unlock his potential but they never moved him. We didn’t do anything with him either. Simply let their value plummet further. Well. plummet may not be the right word, there wasn’t far to drop. Maybe dwindle further is better. Anyway, one of the headlines locally today is “Phillies’ downfall followed Club President Andy MacPhail’s mid-season complacency.” Last week, Ken Rosenthal wrote about the same thing. Maybe, Middlleton is reading? He has to address the media after this season ends. He expressed expectations for this year that are the same as ours. It will be very interesting to see what approach he takes.

  44. Today, Matt Gelb writes a piece on Vinny Velasquez. Gabe Kapler said that after 4 years and 90 starts since joining the Phillies in 2015, “I don’t think he’s done developing by any stretch.” Geez, I’m not really sure how to interpret that statement. It’s an indictment of the Phillies, Kapler’s pitching coaches and VV himself. Holy smokes! How much time are we allowing for his development? And last night was only another case in point. Talented? Undoubtedly. Swiss army knife? Perhaps. But at what point along the way have we seen any convergence in his career. And I suggest another failure by the front office to redeem his value, whatever it might be.

    1. Vince Velasquez, Maikel Franco, JP Crawford, Nick Williams, Jhailyn Ortiz, Luis Garcia (at least currently), Mickey Moniak (?), Dom Brown…all talents highly touted at one point by most baseball insiders. Their common denominator? The Phillies organization, and player development in particular. Crawford is with Seattle now and not necessarily thriving there either, but the M’s aren’t exactly a top echelon organization either.

      1. I’m 100% certain that if you ask any fan of another team to name 5 “failed” prospects in the last 5 years, they will be able to do it. For example, Blake Swihart with the Red Sox, Mark Appel with the Astros,

        1. One prospect the Phillies wanted and the other they got, then he retired.

          They aren’t good at judging other teams’ prospects either.

          1. Mark Appel was a change of scenery prospect. He was not the center piece of that deal.

            Blake Swihart was a top 25 prospect. He was big time, but he failed big time for the Red Sox. The Phillies clearly dodged a bullet here.

    2. All this talk about “redeeming somebody’s value” is again hindsight talk. You’re only talking about this because you don’t want him anymore. But you need to understand that if you don’t want him there, the other teams know that also. So you’re only to get pennies on the dollar. And if you’re only getting that, why trade him? Imagine if he gets traded and he flourishes elsewhere. The GM is on the hot seat. But if you let him walk into FA and he gets better elsewhere, at least you can say we gave that player all the time in the world here and it just didn’t work out. The result is the same (the player is better elsewhere) but the GM has an excuse that could save his job. So that’s why I feel VV/Eflin/Pivetta will be around in 2020.

      1. No, it’s holding on to a player too long out of fear that you won’t get what YOU think he’s worth in return, that by the time you realize he’s no longer in your future plans, he’s worth a bag of balls. Pitchers might be different from position players in this regard because their development typically isn’t linear. But nobody will criticize the Phillies because they got rid of a guy who turns out better with another team. They will criticize them for not being able to bring him along while he was here. A good GM will discern the difference and proceed accordingly. Klentak is frozen in indecision and ambivalence, slow to act, a day late and a few dollars short.

        1. You just mentioned that development isn’t linear and then you go and criticize the Phillies for NOT developing somebody? So if a player is a late developer, we blame the Phillies for not developing him sooner? How does that make sense?

          What you should be doing is blaming the player at least equal amounts. It’s NOT only the Phillies fault if a prospect fails. Prospects fail all the time. Blaming ONLY the Phillies when somebody fails is crazy. I’ll give you a tip. More Phillies prospects will fail in 2020, 2021, and beyond. That is the nature of the game. Just because Nick Williams fails doesn’t mean the Phillies can’t develop players. The Phillies have their share of homegrown players on the team, which does include Cesar Hernandez. Maybe Nick Williams can’t adjust at the major league level. And perhaps him being on the Phillies/Astros/Braves won’t ever change that.

    3. Charlie Morton’s ERA+ his age 24-31 seasons:

      Charlie Morton’s ERA+ age 32-35 seasons:

      Sometimes it takes pitchers with elite stuff a long time to figure out how to pitch.

  45. I was thinking. and don’t think a lot. If kapler isn’t fired. The high light of the offseason might be Romus annual Christmas Party at Oregon Diner, and its a byo party. so please fire Gabe and make the offseason fun.

    1. rocco……I changed the venue this year…its upscale now….at the Penrose Diner. Then I will run a shuttle holiday lights bus tour of Packer Park. 🙂

  46. Excellent article today by Kevin Cooney of Philly Voice. Will Middleton essentially admit that he made a mistake?

  47. Noticed how mow similar the tracks are between Chip and Gabe.

    Chip started out great….10 wins first year and playoffs…then all went south the next two years until Lurie pulled the plug..
    Gabe…first 110 or so games in 2018, great….then last 200 games, not so much… 94-106
    I believe Middleton will want to do something similar.

  48. It’s amazing how fast everyone here is willing to throw everyone under the bus.

    Here is my evaluation.

    Phils offseason – They made several big moves including Harper (3.8 war), Realmuto (5.7 war!), Segura (2.5 war) , Mccutchen (1.5 war), Robertson (-0.2).

    Realmuto has turned into a superstar, Harper has performed as hoped, Segura has been solid, Mccutchen was a borderline all-star before he got hurt. Robertson is a huge dud but at the time it seemed like a reasonable contract and he had a great track record of health. We only guaranteed 2 years where a bad gm would have gone 3 (or traded for Diaz+Cano).

    Overall it was a great off-season and I agree with every move that we made.

    As for the moves we didn’t make – We didn’t go 6 years on Corbin and he has certainly helped the Nationals this year but only time will tell if it was worth it. My guess is we decided we would have a better alternative this offseason. While some big starters got extended we still have a shot at Cole and possibly Strasburg. I was a believer in Charlie Morton and that was one move I bet they wished they had back but I can see the logic of seeing what you have and addressing the next off-season.

    As for Keuchel everyone who is complaining about not signing him aren’t praising Klentak for not giving a big contract to Kimbrel. Keuchel also hasn’t pitched as well he looks and his underlying metrics haven’t been good.

    As for prospects MLB pipeline just did an updated top 100 today and they added added Howard and Stott to the top 100 along with Bohm. When you factor in we traded Sixto and Medina fell out that’s pretty solid expecially when you factor in a decent amount of players recently graduated and or were traded.

    Lastly as for out of the box thinking they hired Jason Ochart from Driveline. That was definitely an out of the box move that I think could pay huge dividends down the road.

    I think if you look at everything that was done the team has made reasonable moves from top to bottom. Things didn’t work out pitcher wise this year but we also avoided making Terrible mistakes like trading for Diaz or signing some pitchers to terrible contracts like the cubs recently have. The front office made the decision that we weren’t good enough to win a title this year again buzz saws like the Dodger, Yankees, and astros and protected the farm. In the long run this will only help. We just need to accept this year was a growing year and not a contending year as painful as it is to watch.

    1. Appreciate your optimism Bosss but couldn’t disagree more. The ineptitude of this FO has never been more apparent

      Let me say it again this is year 5

      1. DMAR…..that length of 6 years really looms big, and I think Middleton will seriously take that into account on any decisions he will make in a few weeks.

        1. Healthy we are a playoff team. Length of rebuild and a playoff run derailed by injuries are two different things.

    2. Jason Ochart and Driveline….does anyone have his/their track record of success with other teams? Pro levels? Sincerely curious, in all fairness. (Romus, this sounds like a question for you)

      1. 8mark….Driveline’s value in player development is getting close to universal acceptance. What you have to remember….it is individually driven….each he a pitcher or position player….gets access to the measuring tools, guided instructions, specific exercises, and it is up to the player to achieve what he wants.
        For example, Corey Kluber uses a weighted baseball in the off-season, which is one part of the pitcher’s program…..and the first MLB player to work with Driveline was former Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer,
        As to what MLB teams are using it….the ones I am aware of are the Dodgers, Indians and Astros ..they have introduced it to their players
        However, specific equipment and tracking devices fro monitoring players, may be used by a majorityo f the teams now.

      2. As I understand the driveline hitting program developed later than their pitching program, and they really don’t have much success to brag on with regards to big leaguers. The methods and technology they use aren’t uncommon though among progressive teams.

    3. I think a lot of us agree that, viewed as a whole, Klentak’s moves last off season and during the season this year, were pretty good to very good. The problem is that, even with those good moves, this team does not have enough good young talent and especially good young pitching talent. If Spencer Howard can quickly become a 3 and they acquire a top flight FA arm, things can change quickly, but so far, the rebuild has been merely okay, not great. They needs a farm system that pumps out more good players and they need to identify and acquire young players through trades – they have underperformed in those areas by quite a bit.

      1. And by the way, the team did itself no favors when it went for quantity over quality when it made some its big trades. Time and again teams get burned when they try to solve too many problems in a single trade . Rather than insisting on two A level prospects in the Hamels trade, they got 5 B, C and D level prospects. The Giles trade was a little better at the time (we can slam him now, but Velasquez was an A- type prospect), but ended up just as bad. But when the Braves made trades they demanded A level prospects and are now reaping the benefits. Meanwhile, in the years when the prospects from the Hamels and Giles trades should be putting us over the top, we have a single 4th starter to show for them. Fools.

        1. Catch, can’t see how you keep praising Matt Klentak after the pitching fiascos of Pivetta Vasquez and the veteran relievers? Was Segura a great deal as he was traded four times in five years? Zack Eflin finally looks like a keeper so one pitcher worked out this season. Alfaro was one of the keys in getting JT Realmuto. Jake Thompson and Nick Williams were highly regarded prospects in Texas but were mishandled by this Phillies Front Office as was Vince Velasquez.

          1. It’s funny you’re reading my comments to be praise for Matt Klentak. I’m pretty much ready to write him off because he didn’t do the most important things well – namely, draft and develop enough players. And, nope, you won’t get me to change my mind about the guys they got in the Hamels and Giles trades – all B level prospects or lower and it shows. Jake Thompson was never that good nor was Nick Williams. There was no Dansby Swanson level prospect in the group, let alone another Gleyber Torres, who the Yankees got for a half season they didn’t need of Aroldis Chapman and then got Chapman back again the next year for no draft pick compensation. Now THAT is a trade.

      2. I agree with Howard. In retrospect, I think it’s fair to question the Realmuto trade. How would Nola,Arrietta,Howard, Sixto, and Pick your 5th, look next year with Alfaro or Grullon manning the plate?

        The FO should be judged on this, and the payroll difference between those moves. My saving grace would be if Realmuto was bound for the Braves and it blocked him from
        Going there. All said, it may not be fair but … time is going to tell.

        Signing Cole is the counter argument with Realmuto. Either way, fair to judge imo

        1. No thanks on banking on a healthy Arrieta or presuming Sixto is the real deal. Small framed pitchers who throw fire are worrisome. And Alfaro and Grullon behind the plate? More mediocrity at perhaps the most important position on the field? No thanks there, too.

          I’m perfectly fine with JTR at the cost we paid, especially when we lock him up this fall.

          1. ….when I ask myself which fate I would prefer between 2 extreme scenarios (naturally anything in between is possible and probably more likely)….

            Either (A) Sixto traded to another team and going on to become a HOF pitcher and JTR as a potential HOF catcher here for 5 years….

            Or (B) we keep Sixto and muddle through with Alfaro and Grullon, only to see Sixto struggle to sustain both his health and performance throughout his tenure as a Phillie.

            I’ll pick (A).

            1. I think that’s a false choice. The Phillies would have kept Sixto and probably acquired a FA catcher in this or next offseason and that player might have been JT Realmuto.

            2. Look, Realmuto has been great and it was a really good trade I believe, but I’m just saying there are many other possible outcomes than those you outlined.

            3. Or (C) we keep Sixto, sign Yasmani Grandal who was a FA and signed a 1 year deal and has had a 4.9 WAR season (on pace for his 3rd 5+ WAR season) and flip Alfaro for a Bullpen arm or a better SP.

              If we have the benefit of hindsight, I’ll take C.

  49. All I know is what I see and that’s rebuilds should no longer take longer than 5 years if you’re a big money club with a gifted FO. You should at least be making the playoffs.

    Properly run organizations do it on the fly…

    it’s unacceptable to me that we won’t nab at least a WC this season.

    1. DMAR – I agree with you that properly run organizations don’t take 5 years to rebuild. However we weren’t properly run and were a dumpster fire when he took over that waited a couple years too long to start their rebuild. Detroit is probably the closest example of a team that waited too long and I guarantee they aren’t making the playoffs in the next 3-4 years.
      I’m confident that we will be contending this time next year.

      1. I type this in a very non-contentious way. Was it really a dumpster fire?


        Are some highlights and that’s not to say all these guys are stud MLBers. It’s to say when the mandate was lifted to try and stay in the window with aging sentimental favorites and with $0 budget towards analytics they made moves in the right direction and had/added some talent on the books.

        So Monty moves out Middleton moves in and all of the sudden there is $$$ for analytics, hires from Google and a new mandate to become more analytically driven. Great let’s roll. My point is not to say we should have stuck with the old regime or the old way.

        My point is to realize that this group is out of their league before it gets any worse. They are not the best and brightest of what’s out there and in staying with them any longer hoping they catch up is or will be an exercise in futility. You can give me 10 years to train for the 100 meter Usain Bolt is still going to beat the britches off of me every time.

        Guys like Luhnow, Friedman, Cashman, Bloom, Zaidi, Hazen aren’t going anywhere. if anything they will spawn even more GM’s better than what we have.

        IMO of course.

        And to sit here and cite injuries you have a bunch of teams about to win 100+ games that have had just as many injuries to deal with if not more. Look at the number of players the Yankees, Dodgers and Astro’s have missed to IR.

        1. I’m not sure what Tampa is currently paying Bloom, but I can’t imagine it’s THAT much that “Stupid Money” Middleton couldn’t top it significantly AND offer a higher title. Bloom interviewed for the Mets GM job and got passed by. I would assume he’s just like every other American businessman….money talks. MLB clubs won’t keep an executive from pursuing upward mobility.

  50. So basically Bosss, as the year unfolded and it became apparent that the SP still wasn’t good enough, and Keuchel was available for only $, no prospects, players or drat picks, it is ok that we didn’t get him? And a WC spot wasn’t worth getting decent BP help instead of dumpster diving, because there is no value in making the playoffs because we cannot beat LA? I disagree. And I hope you are right that their plan is to put a Playoff team together this off season, but I don’t get wasting this year.

  51. If any pitching coach tells Eflin to change his style, Eflin should tell him to take a hike. He looked great today.

  52. Mr. H … Matt Klentak took questions tonight, and your son came up.

    Question: Will top pitching prospect Spencer Howard crack the opening day rotation next season?

    Answer: “I think probably he’s going to need more time in the minor leagues. He had such an abbreviated season this year (because of a minor shoulder injury), as impressive as it was, we’re sending him to the Arizona Fall League to capture some of those innings that he missed when he was on the injured list this year to build up his workload in such a way that he can have a full season or even an extended season workload next year. One of the big challenges in baseball right now is the difference in the ball itself. I think it’s going to be important for him to get comfortable with the major league ball, whether that’s spring training or at the Triple A level, before we have confidence that he’s ready for the next step and that he has the confidence that he’s ready for the next step. None of that should diminish our confidence in him to be a very good pitcher at the major league level and hopefully in short order. We do think he has a very bright future ahead of him, but we also need to make sure we do the right thing for him developmentally and we’re hopeful that his positive progression will continue in the fall.”

    1. Regarding Kapler, Klentak said nothing in the same media session to dispel the possibility that Gabe’s return in 2020 is at best uncertain. It sounded like if it were up to him, Gabe would be back. But whether that decision will be the GM’s or not remains to be seen.

      From what Klentak was quoted about JTR, it sounds like working on extending his contract will be their first order of business.

  53. I only got to see one inning last night. When we had bases loaded and three straight hitters, couldn’t get a run in with o outs. I know it must have been talked about. so sorry if I am repeating this. but all the love by Hinkie for Gabe, makes me wonder why? The story on effin is that he wanted to throw 2 seam fastball, which he was more comfortable doing. and Young told him to throw the 4 seam, and high in the zone, if I am not mistaken. Which to me is crazy if you pitching well with a 2 seam. If this is the case, Why didn’t Gabe step in and tell Young to let him throw what he was comfortable throwing, and had some success with it? Sorry but his and the fact he doesn’t know how to handle his starting pitchers drives me nuts. Gabe is at fault for a lot of the failures of this team. I know he didn’t have a great bullpen. but the way he handles starters who are pitching well and pulls them. to go to a bad bullpen is bad, so he is one of the reason we are not a playoff team. Along with the G.M who in my option is terrible. ,All stats and no common sense.

    1. rocco….they are finally letting Eflin pitch- to- contact as he did in the minors.
      His sinker misses barrels regularly …of course, when it is on.
      Last 5 starts …WHIP of 1.01 over 29 innings…and an average Game Score of 59.

  54. If you haven’t already, either listen to Klentak on yesterday’s podcast with Jon Heyman, or just read Salisbury’s transcript of the GM’s state of the Phillies address with the beat reporters. You’ll have to ask yourself, “Is Klentak watching the same team we are?” His answer to the JTR situation was the only part that made sense. I know we should take much of what these guys say with a grain of salt but this guy is way out of touch with reality. MacPhail is a wet blanket but at least he’s honest. Klentak is living in a dream world if he really believes most of the drool he spewed yesterday.

    1. Klentak basically gave Realmuto an open check book with his comments. Paraphrasing – “We regarding him as the best catcher in baseball coming into the year, and he exceeded those expectations”

      Dude … just grab your ankles now. Talk about driving the price up. Sure it was already going to be high, but … if it isn’t already a handshake agreement, that’s a 20 million dollar bump for Realmuto. Nice job klentak

      1. I say 5/$110M is a lock with possibly an additional vested option year. Vested as in games or innings behind the plate in final 1 or 2 yrs of his term. I wouldn’t even blink.

  55. will someone explain to me why organized baseball is using two different balls. the need for a pitcher to learn to use the mlb and 3a ball after developing in the lower minors with a different balls is something new and seems to defy common sense.

    1. My guess, is mlb is Experimenting with real life results, and in part is a result of the impact that the shift has on batting stats. The new ball has put hr totals through the roof, which is one of the few ways a pull hitter can be the shift. Also, basically steriod era results without the performance enhancment backlash, if one believes steriods are significantly out of the game.

      I’m hoping they have enough data to pick one ball, whichever one it is. Personally I’m hoping for older style baseball. More ball action for the pitcher. I’m somewhat curious what ball Arrietta was throwing in one of his last spring training games … it had some of the nastiest downward spinning motion I’ve seen, ever.

      1. Tac3…baseball has traditionally. from its very inception. tinkered with their balls.
        There was the Dead ball era over a 100 years ago…then they decided to liven it up a little….in fact so much….check out the stats for 1930.
        Hack Wilson had 191 RBIs in 155 games.

        So they will probably make more changes for next season…..pitchers like Verlander will use the play-offs and WS to make their point more vocal.

  56. Early in the system, his jorney, but looking to see thoughts on Ethan Lindow’s position in the organization. Is he being forecasted to be a talent above a Medina, on par with Howard? Haven’t seen video, or scouting reports on him as of yet but obviously he had a year to get excited about. SO/BB ratio

    Klentak may not be looking towards 2020, but I am 🙂

    1. Lindow just got promoted to Clearwater so he’s going to start 2020 there. I don’t think he’s part of the plans yet. He’s young, and still pretty far from the big leagues. If he forces himself to be part of the plans, then great. But right now, it’s probably a wait and see approach. He’ll need to have a monstrous year for him to sniff the big leagues in 2020. Think 2021 at the earliest.

  57. Bossss makes a lot of valid points. I have previously given Matt Klentak credit for a good offseason last winter. In last week’s Open Thread, I admitted the Realmuto and Segura trades were excellent. He probably overpaid (slightly) for McCutchen, but that was another good move. He also gets credit for the leg work on Harper, but Middleton was the driving force and closer on that deal.
    In season, he gets mixed reviews. The Dickerson trade was larceny. His additions of Vargas and Smyly were helpful. However, he gets an “F” for the disaster that is the Phillies bullpen. That pen was down Robertson, Ser-Ant’ny, Hunter, Neshek, and Morgan. His decision to supplement with bargain bin additions/freebies/other teams’ castoffs has put Kapler in an impossible position.

    Your point on Driveline being an “out of the box” move is valid, and I have failed to mention it. I will point out however, player development (both hitters and pitchers) has not exactly taken off after the Driveline hire. I guess (one of) my biggest complaint(s) with Matt Klentak is his abysmal record on procuring young talent. He hasn’t done enough to maintain the farm system. Over the last five drafts, no franchise has made fewer top three round picks than the Phillies (I’m re-posting the #’s I first listed last week … see below). He wasted two high picks on (1 year of) Carlos Santana and the bloated overpay of Jake Arrieta. At the same time, while he was sitting on one of the most meager payrolls in MLB, Klentak never thought to eat another team’s bad money/contracts for a draft pick (or two) or prospects. That’ to me is either lack of aggressiveness or lack of “out of the box” thinking.
    To make the dearth of top draft picks situation even worse … Klentak let another chance for an “out of the box” move go by the wayside last winter when he passed on signing Garrett Richards (who was not carrying a QO) to a TJ rehab deal. How nice would it be to have a healthy Richards penciled in for the 2020 rotation? Now, it looks like Klentak is going to have to sign another FA starter this winter. All the good ones are going to be tagged, meaning the Phillies will lose another 2nd round pick next June. BTW … the 2020 draft is already being graded as one of best in the past 10 years.
    Most people think I’m kidding when I bring up the Hinkie plan to hire Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto as the clubs Director Of Clubhouse Food Services. But … why not? If it can even give the team a slight edge in luring top Japanese FA’s here, wouldn’t it be worth the Morimoto salary? The lack of interest in this idea falls more on Andy MacPhail, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, if you catch my drift.
    IMO … Klentak (and the entire organization) just hasn’t been forward thinking enough.

    … and here is the stat I mentioned above:
    Top 3 Round Draft Picks over the last 5 years:

    Phillies ONLY 12
    DBacks 23
    Braves 19
    Orioles 19
    Red Sox 14
    Cubs 15
    White Sox 14
    Reds 19
    Indians 19
    Rockies 20
    Tigers 14
    Astros 19
    Royals 20
    Angels 15
    Dodgers 18
    Marlins 17
    Brewers 18
    Twins 18
    Mets 15
    Yankees 17
    A’s 18
    Pirates 21
    Padres 20
    Giants 15
    Mariners 16
    Cardinals 18
    Rays 22
    Rangers 17
    Blue Jays 16
    Nationals 15

    1. You make some interesting points, but just because the Phillies don’t follow your points, doesn’t mean that they’re not thinking out of the box or anything like that. And if you feel so greatly that you’re right (and the Phillies are wrong) then perhaps you should send your resume to the Phillies and see what happens.

      My point being is that we all love the Phillies, but no team is going to make all the right decisions. Constantly bemoaning the fact that the Phillies are not following your suggestions will not make them come true.

    2. Hinkie……you should have labeled the small market teams that get the CB picks…there are 15 of them…..and therein is their five additional picks for those teams over the five year period..
      However, there was nothing stopping Klentak from trading some minor league prospect or two for a CB pick, especially in the years he had to forfeit their 2nd or 3rd round picks due to the FA signings….which he decided not to do..

      1. To be clear … I am not “bemoaning the fact that the Phillies are not following my suggestions”. I am just supporting my claim that Matt Klentak hasn’t been aggressive enough/done enough “out of the box” maneuvering to keep the prospect pipeline flowing.

        Consider this … over the past five and a half years, the Braves have acquired 4 competitive balance draft picks. They also picked up Touki Toussant a year after he was selected at 1-16 in the draft just for eating bad money (Bronson Arroyo’s contract). The Phillies don’t have to hire me to point them in the right direction. These moves are being made around baseball (within their own division). Their FO is just late to the party.

        1. Talking about competitive balance picks was not the only issue in your post. If it was, I would not have responded.

          1. I apologize if I haven’t made this clear enough for you. Trading for draft picks, signing rehabbing pitchers to team friendly contracts, and hiring Japanese employees into your organization to help lure Japan’s top players are all ideas to help the club get a hold of young talent. These are ideas being used by other teams (Padres hired Shohei Ohtani’s trainer months before he made his way to MLB). We’re still waiting for MacKlentak to catch up with these tactics. While we wait, the Phillies farm continues to be bypassed by most of the league. This will catch up with the Phillies in the near future.
            If you don’t agree with this, that’s fine. We can agree to disagree.

        2. Totally agree. Klentak is simply too conservative. Again, the guy who shows up at a gun fight with a box cutter.

      2. So the Yankees had 17, Dodgers 18 and the Astro’s 19. Are the Astro’s considered small market or do they get CB picks?

        Moot point I guess if you don’t draft well.

        1. DMAR…how it shaped up recently for the 14 small market teams and slot money
          Yankees traded for the 38th pick…something Hinkie and I harp on continually for Klentak to start doing….DBacks and Hazen also traded for an additional pick, along with the Rays..

          Competitive Balance Round A (after first round)
          35 CBA Marlins $2,095,800
          36 CBA Rays $2,045,400
          37 ………….COMP…….Pirates
          38 CBA Yankees $1,952,300
          39 CBA Twins $1,906,800
          40 CBA Rays $1,856,700
          41 CBA Rangers $1,813,500
          Round B:
          70 CBB Royals $906,800
          71 CBB Orioles $884,200
          72 CBB Pirates $870,700
          73 CBB Padres $857,400
          74 CBB Diamondbacks $844,200
          75 CBB Diamondbacks $831,100
          76 CBB Mariners $818,200
          77 CBB Rockies $805,600

    3. Somewhat repeating what Romus said, circumstances were really stacked against the Phillies to get extra picks. In fact, at the beginning of the 2015 season the Phillies would’ve been strong favorites to have the fewest picks over the next 5 years. Beyond not being eligible for the CB picks, they had no one on their roster after the 2014 season and beyond (besides Hamels) who would’ve warranted a QO offer.

      I think it’s forgotten how hopeless the organization’s talent pool was coming out of the 2014/15 offseason. Literally no one from their starting lineup or rotation (except Hamels) is in organized baseball anymore and the minor league system was bottom 5-10.

    4. Also, Garret Richards is fine as a lottery ticket, but the guy is going to be 32 next year and has pitched a grand total of 142 over the last 4 seasons. You can’t really count on him being healthy enough to even get to 80-100 IPs next year.

  58. I can’t get over all the called 3rd strikes these hitters take. Soroka is a good pitcher but how does someone not swing at anything close with 2 strikes? Hoskins and Miller today in the 4th back to back. That’s not scratching and clawing, Gabe.

    1. 8mark……I have questioned Rhy’s batting approach at particular times.
      He sees a lot of pitches, but seems to guess too often…at least it seems that way when guys let third strikes go by with their bat on their shoulders.
      And in Rhys’ case….he usually has 2 or 3 balls on him also….which makes it more infuriating since the pitchers do not want to walk him in certain situations.
      Now this is opposite Kinegry….who flails a lot on pitches O-zone with two strikes.

  59. Read the JTR story in the inquirer today about wanting to be a Phillie for life. Please tell me how many times he mentions his manager in that discussion.

      1. …sorry, that was Zolecki’s piece on Phillies/MLB web site. No mention of the manager. Just about looking for new hitting coach.

  60. Let’s have a little fun with numbers…

    The Phils are 78-72
    The Braves are 93-60

    The Phils vs. the Marlins this year are 7-9
    The Braves vs. the Marlins this year are 15-4

    Let’s say, the Phils had the Braves record against the worst team in the NL and vice versa.

    The Phils would be 86-67
    The Braves would be 85-65

    So then you would say, well…the Braves have a better Manager and thus beat the worst team in baseball…ok, well, the Phils won the head to head matchups vs the Braves this year. So wouldn’t a better manager win head to head?

    What’s my point? Baseball can be flukey…Sometimes a good team plays poorly against a terrible team. It doesn’t mean that the Phillies manager sucks and the Braves manager is great. It’s baseball…it happens.

    Kapler did a very good job this year given the rash of injuries and poor performance from his starting staff. Was he perfect? No. Is any manager in baseball perfect? No! But he did a good job. This team is close. It needs a few more pitchers and an upgrade at 3b and it will be right there with the Braves.

        1. Well, that’s partly what we do here. Project what lies ahead and scrutinize the past. We’ve been talking about Kapler’s warts for months now. What’s changed?

    1. Great post, v1. I’d also bet anything Gabe Kapler looks a whole lot better next season with a stronger starting rotation and a healthier bullpen.

      1. Hinkie, yes a stronger rotation next year. But with the new rules restricting bullpen usage, he may have a nervous breakdown.

        1. 8mark….new rules for 2020…. active roster will increase from 25 to 26 players, and that all pitchers must pitch to a minimum of THREE batters OR….the end of a half-inning before being relieved

    2. My biggest issue with Gabe was the bullpen usage. He was talking about not having set roles, and mixing and matching relievers based on the match ups. Pitchers like set roles. It makes them comfortable. Gabe learned that quickly. Also, the relievers were being used way too much. Yes, in a perfect world, my lefty reliever gets out your lefty hitter. But when that doesn’t happen, he’s burning another reliever. So that’s still a work in progress.

      I agree that the team is close. If 1 of Robertson/Hunter/Dominguez were healthy, I think it would have made a world of difference.

      The upgrade at 3B should come from Bohm. Brad Miller could hold down the fort when Bohm is ready.

      Assuming the Phllies re-sign Smyly for nothing crazy, Cole or Wheeler should be the pitcher the Phillies should look at. We need stability in the rotation.

      1. Guru…next season the new reliever rules go into effect.
        So that will dictate different usage patterns.

        1. I’ve been watching baseball a long time, and I got tired of all the mid-inning pitching changes. It prolongs the game, and kills the pace. Now, a premium will be on relievers who can get both sides out. And the lineups should have more of a right/left balance to take advantage of these new rules.

        2. Romus I wish I could be nice, but how in Gods name can anyone who thinks they know baseball. Say kape did a good job. OMG. today he doesn’t walk freeman, stupid stupid move. If people think this guy is a good manager, then i just cant understand what the hell they are watching. John Middleton cant keep this moron, if he does, the same people who are praising him. Will be in hiding next year if he stays. Stop looking at only stats and watch the game.

          1. rocco….understand your frustration.
            My take on what Klentak said yesterday is that Kapler is on the fence… extension offers so far going into his last year and mentioned he wants to see how the last dozen games go….not really ringing endorsements on Gabe’s assured return.
            As he said:
            “I highlighted a few areas where I think our manager and coaching staff have done a terrific job. Whether those contributions are enough to get us in the playoffs or not remains to be seen. We have 13 more games. But I think there have been a lot of positives.”

            1. Romus, interpretation – “If it’s up to me, Gabe and the coaching staff will return. But the owner told me not to say anything definitive because I’m not positive I’ll be back.”

      2. whom exactly earned a set role with his consistency? i didn’t see any reliever that was good enough to lock down a set role besides Neris. but besides him, whom in your estimation deserved to be locked in as the 8th inning guy or the 7th inning guy? i saw a bunch of dreg. so gabe did the best that he could and play the matchups.

        1. At least he tried to do it with Morgan and Morin as the setup guy. It obviously didn’t work out.

          1. Exactly. The plan was Robertson for 7th and Seranthony for 8th. They got hurt. They tried Morgan. Didn’t hold the position. Not Gabe’s fault.

    3. Since we are imagining things and delving into the hypothetical, let’s say Maddon, Geraldi or Showalter had this team for the year. Where would we be today?

        1. Then they should do away with the manager position. Send all the pregame instructions via text to the bench coach. Oh…wait….

        1. So boiling the comparison of Kapler and Snitker down to 19 games instead of 162 tells us anything? All I hear from Gabe’s apologists is, “it’s not his fault”. What has he done strategically to foster a few wins? His lineups are chronically inane. Many of his double switch moves have been illogical. He regularly allows leadoff baserunners stranded at 1b without attempting to move them into scoring position. And those in scoring position stay there because he has his hitters approach every AB the same as if situations are irrelevant. He might as well pick names out of a hat if what he does is of no consequence. Joe Giglio should host all of our Kapler supporters on the radio for a Gabefest.

          1. I am not boiling the comparison down to 19 games. Of course it matters more how a team performs over 162. That was not my point. My point is, the narrative that Gabe sucks is lazy. I am sure that you disagreed with some of his in-game moves, but I guarantee you they were backed up by giving his team the highest statistical probability to make the play. ultimately it is on the players to make the plays and a lot of the Phillies players did not perform.

            People complain about his bullpen management…but look at who he has. Whom on that roster is a shut down reliever besides Neris? Whom? Name someone that should be the go to 8th inning guy.

            Do you honestly believe that he isn’t trying to advance leadoff baserunners? Would it surprise you to learn that the Phillies are 5th in all of baseball in UBR? That reality kinda messes up your talking point.

            Here is what I think…everyone loves to blame losses on the manager. It is lazy analysis imo. At the end of the day, the player is on the mound. He has to throw strikes. And the hitter is in the box, he has to hit line drives or take walks. The manager’s job is to put them in the position to best do that and I have not seen any real, data driven analysis that shows Gabe didn’t do that.

            1. So I should just disregard what I see with my own eyes and realize it’s all an illusion because the numbers tell a different story than what the actual results suggest. Got it.

              Again, Gabe Kapler isn’t alone in the blame game. His roster is inadequate. I got it. That doesn’t preclude him from making poor tactical decisions. Over and over again. Keeping him as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies won’t increase their chances of winning in 2020. Period.

            2. Yes, you should disregard what you see with your own eyes because your own eyes are jaded by bias as all of our eyes are. the stats don’t lie.

            3. IMO, still one too many when Franco was still on the 25.
              Unless Franco was nursing an ailment then fine.

        2. Atlanta does not have far better talent, they have a manager and coaching staff far superior to the Phils and the results show accordingly. As for Gabe’s in game decision making, if you need someone to highlight all the shortcomings for you, you’ll need to go take Baseball 101 first.

          1. “Buddy” – let’s cut it with the personal insults and stick to baseball.

            Atlanta is better at every position except Catcher. We can call SS a wash or a slight edge to Philly. But every other position Atlanta is better:
            – Acuna > Harper
            – Markakis >>> the dreg that we have put out in the other corner OF spot.
            – Freeman is far better than Rhys
            – Donaldson is far, far better than the dreg that has been our 3b
            – Albies is better than Cesar by .100 OPS
            – Their 3rd OF spot has performed far better than ours has this year
            – pitching…the Braves starting staff has a .36 point lower ERA.

            If you think a few mis-managed switches or the wrong bullpen decision in a few games really changes any of that then we can just respectfully agree to disagree.

            1. The metrics spell it out.
              The only saving grace for the Phillies is their average age at the starting
              8 positions may be younger.
              Acuna and Albies would be the standout exceptions.

  61. Nola appears to be pretty much shot for the season. Pitching every 5th day was noble of Gabe to try, but the ace’s history of doing that doesn’t support the decision.

    1. 2019 Nola on 4 days rest: 3.78 ERA
      2019 Nola on 5 days rest: 3.58 ERA

      So he was a little better with more rest, but not much.

      1. I don’t have it handy but his career numbers since ’15 show a greater disparity. Of course, he’s probably growing stronger, I would suppose.

  62. Pitching Nola every fifth day was noble of Gabe to try,( or Klentax) if he comes down with arm trouble this year or early next year?

    This shows how desperate this crew is, just to save face and trying to get close to making the playoffs. Did anyone truly expect them to be relevant in the play-offs this year if they squeaked in?

    And to increase the risk of injury to your only real good starting pitcher? I wonder how Aaron feels about that?

    Haseley having another good game today,should’ve been switched with Miller in the lineup.

    1. You make it sound like pitching every 5th day is not the normal course of action. A starting pitcher’s job is to pitch every 5th day. Now does Nola deserve an extra day of rest here or there? Of course. But if the Phillies can’t rely on Nola down the stretch, who can we rely on? Is he not the ace?

      1. You’re absolutely right. He’s the ace (currently). The ace should be able to handle that load. Scherzer, Verlander, guys like that are built for that use. As outstanding as Nola is in many outings, I think his constitution is limited. Gerrit Cole would look better in that role. We’ll see what the brass does with that….

        1. Can’t fault Gabe for this. I’d expect Nola to improve on this numbers, and really it doesn’t bold well for future playoff series if he can’t! Hamel’s, Lee, Halladay were all called on with less… Nola is going to need to find a way

  63. Nola’s lifetime numbers on four days rest and five days rest.
    As of two weeks ago… it may be a little worse.
    Four days — 23-22,,,, 4.52 ERA,,…., in 56 starts.
    Five days — 28-8,,…., 2.60 ERA,,,,,,,,in 58 starts.

  64. Four or five times, or how many, there are days where no game is played. That gives every pitcher in the rotation an extra day. Sometimes, there are rain outs and the pitchers get two extra days. Leave it like that. I reiterate: Mauch did it with Bunning, Short, and Mahaffey the last two weeks in 1964 and where did that get him? These guys need that extra day occasionally.

    1. Yes remember that 1964 season…Gene Mauch pitched Jim Bunning between Sept 20 and Oct 4th…..5 of the last 13 games.

  65. Of the 4 RH relievers the Phillies picked up off of the scrap heap, Nick Vincent seems one they might want to invite to spring training. Other than the game they threw him into with the bases loaded when he walked in the winning run, he’s been really efficient. Morin has an advantage only being 29 years old, but overall Vincent has easily done the best job of the 4.

  66. My problem is with MacPhail and Klentak. Firing Kapler doesn’t help much at all. And, every time either of them speaks, I am less inclined to want them back.. Klentak talked about how easy it is to 2d guess, and they go back, and even if there was a bad decision, as long as the thought process is good, they are satisfied. Well, the thought process was not good. Regardless of what FiP said, counting on all 4 of the Pitchers to succeed was foolish. No one is second guessing. There are a ton of people who wanted Hamels last trade deadline, wanted upgrades this past off season, and wanted Keuchel in June. Not second guessing, opinions expressed as the situation presented itself. He could have gotten better BP help at the deadline without trading top prospects. He loves to use that argument as if that was the only way to improve. He dumpster dove instead. What top prospect did Atlanta give up for Melancon? None, they ate $. For the last time, the young SPs failed down the stretch last year. Klentak did not add a single SP to add to what he had. They failed again to start this season. He failed to add Keuchel for free. And before anyone jumps on me, free from prospects or players. I do not care about the $13Million extra this year. It stops us from doing zero going forward. And, for the record, Kelntak did think we needed SP help. That is why he offered a lot of $ to Corbin. He just didn’t offer enough to close the deal. It doesn’t change the need, he simply chose not to fill the need by bidding more. He then thought no one was better than what we had. Another fallacy, and if the underlying information that you are analyzing is poor, like no one was better than what we had, then the result of the analysis is poor.

    1. rocco could not have put it any better. 🙂
      I suppose in ten days from now. we could see changes at Citizen’s Way..

  67. If anyone watched the game today could tell – did Aaron Nola again pitch backwards this game again, using his breaking pitches to set up his FB? I have an operating theory that a lot of Aaron’s problems this year have been with pitch selection, not his stuff. He is much better when he pitches off the fastball and doesn’t go too heavy on the breaking stuff. I don’t know whose fault this is, but I wonder if Realmuto isn’t necessarily the best at calling a game or if he’s being told to call the wrong pitches. Calling is maybe a cather’s most important function and the one I believe is not captured by modern analytics. It’s why Carlos Ruiz was so great.

    1. All you need to know about today’s game was not giving Freeman the IBB in the 5th. STUPID

      1. Kapler has an explanation for everything. Another exhibit of his utter inability to feel the moment. Nola didn’t have his best stuff and hasn’t been effective in 3 of his last 4 starts. Yet Gabe continues to defy logic and allowed the opposition’s (and one of the league’s) most experienced clutch hitter to beat them when he had the opportunity to bypass the inevitable. It was more than stupid. It was unnecessarily reckless, yet I don’t have enough fingers on both hands count the inexplicable moments of this manager’s disregard for sound reasoning. This isn’t a matter of being imperfect. Imperfect means there’s isolated incidents of misjudgment. This is a matter of chronically bad situational baseball game decision making. And it doesn’t stop. At least not until September 29.

        But that’s not Gabe’s fault. It’s Klentak’s.

        1. Yes 8mark and don’t you realize if he had healthier relievers and a better rotation, Freeman would not have gotten that hit? Ha.

  68. Bottom line, 2020 to me is another rebuild year. Too many pieces needs to be add, too many things need to go right, and what did go right needs to stay right for 2020 to make it happen. Replacing Gabe, not sure that fixes it either, the batting and pitching coaches I’d be more interested in. If they sign Cole I’ll change my tune, but … not counting on it. Many think will be in the running, but he’ll go elsewhere. Jayson Stark doesn’t even think they’ll get 1 of the top 3 FA pitchers. Howard and Bohm are going to need some seasoning. 2021 for me.

    1. Zolecki tweeted the following for those of you that are drinking the Kapler Accountability KoolAid (or lack thereof):

      MLB top 5, impact on teams from injured players and IL (Lost-WAR metric)

      1 NYY 15.54 WAR lost
      2 HOU 8.52
      3 LAD 8.01
      4 MIN 5.89
      5 PHI 5.47

      The poor Phillies suffered so many injuries how could anyone possibly overcome these odds. Poor Gabe, our brilliant tactician, it’s like Matty K asked him to play chess but gave him all pawns and a king. How could he possibly win any games?

      1. I agree with you “immensely”. (That’s Gabe’s word for how much he trusted Nola in the Freeman debacle. He convinced me…not. Too bad Cesar didn’t handle the double play ball right before that. It wouldn’t have come to that.)

      2. I’m not an apologist for Gabe, but these numbers don’t show the entire pitcher. For instance, the Yankees lost key players for periods of time all across the diamond and the pitching staff. The Phillies in turn lost 6/7 of their entire major league bullpen. They overcame mccutchen, or at least could’ve, but losing 6 of 7 bullpen guys … not the same thing imo. The Yankees lost mainly bats and a SP, but the bullpen was filled with major leaguers there to help win those close games. On top of that, the yankees were already a playoff team .

        1. That sounds more like an indictment on Matt Klentak than Gabe Kapler. See my post(s) earlier in this thread about the Phillies farm system under Matt Klentak’s watch. Klentak also chose to basically do nothing at the trade deadline to bolster a bullpen that was missing nearly all of the arms that were originally being counted on to help bolster a weak starting rotation.

      3. Such lazy analysis….To conclude that this is a result of the manager, then you would have to conclude that there is no talent difference between any of the top 4 teams and the Phillies, which is really silly.

        Look at the replacement players. look at the depth on those teams and their minor league teams.

        Those four teams area ranked 1-4 in offensive WAR this year…the Phillies, 14th

        Those four teams all have better pitching staffs than the Phillies.

        And those four teams all have better minor leagues than the Phillies. The Phillies lose their starting CF and have to replace him with Jay Bruce. Meanwhile, the Astros are calling up players like Yordan Alvarez who has a 1.090 OPS. Haseley shows promise, but only has a .743 OPS. Swap Alvarez for Haseley and see how smart Gabe becomes overnight.

    2. Wait I was told by at least one of our good posters that we were no longer in rebuild mode….

      It looks like I missed quite the spirited debate yesterday on whether or not this is Kaplers fault. It’s neither here nor there IMO. Nothing is going to change if all they do is replace the manager. that’s not to say I think he is a good manager, I don’t. There are way better choices out there (again my opinion). Kapler didn’t hire himself it’s on this FO trying to be slick.

      Sure minus a few injuries they are 5 maybe 10 games better but who cares they are still so far behind and talent deficient of the best teams in baseball with no real signs this staff knows how to evaluate talent at the margins, knows how to be creative to acquire talent and so on.

      It’s all one big package that needs to go as it is at best just a mediocre package and mediocre won’t bring sustainable winning.

  69. Not giving Freeman the Ibb yesterday, did he forget to check with analytics? Apparently when he makes out the lineup card and insists on Haseley batting 8th, is that what analytics tells him?

    Seems like he cherry-picks….. And the War numbers on injured players, interesting!

  70. Instead of “relying on your eyes”….let’s let the players speak about the quality of the manager. Do you think Boras would let Harper lock in a 13 year deal with the Phillies if they had questions on Kapler? Do you think Realmuto would want to be a Philly for life if he thought Kapler was bad? Do you see anyone jumping ship? Complaining about the manager?

    When a manager is bad, the players “leak” negative talk to the press…that isn’t happening here. on the contrary, players love playing for Gabe.

    Maybe, just maybe, the team is exactly where it should be based on the talent and as disappointed as you are with the outcome, the blame is not the manager’s fault.

    By the way, did you know that the Phillies were the 4th best defense in baseball? Does that count for good management? or no?

    1. Whether its his fault or not it doesn’t bode well for somebody if Zolecki the Phillies talking head is putting out articles about WAR lost to IL

      that’s your classic preemptive strike or defensive mechanism for something about to go down.

      And to say let’s let the players speak you are kidding me with that right. Did you hear Dickerson’s quote the other day? He mentioned liking everything about Philly except for the manager.

      Sometimes its as much about what they don’t say as what they do say.

      Harper seriously with that? He had nothing from any other club, he was getting 13 years $330 he wouldn’t care if you were the manager he was signing anyway. besides he’s seen his share of managers he knows better than anyone they come and they go.

      And Middleton lead those face to face discussions so I’m sure after last seasons end and Middleton’s comments last year about the manager knew he was a stop gap anyway.

    2. Valid points but just the one when it comes to the agent and the player,

      “Boras would let Harper lock in a 13 year deal with the Phillies if they had questions on Kapler?”
      …seriously yes….the money talked more over the 13 years , than another year of Kapler.

    3. Uncle!
      Most of us lazy analyzers, including me, are not as hardworking or intelligent as you are so let’s concede the Kapler debate. All detractors, stand down because a better GM will make Gabe Kapler look like Tony LaRussa and Joe Maddon had a kid.

      1. Just so I understand, it doesn’t matter to you that the Phils are #4 in MLB in defense or #6 in base running, have had poor performance from 4 of the 5 SPs who started the season, have lost 3 of their top 4 relief pitchers and have basically no impact players from the minor leagues coming up to help the team? That doesn’t matter to you because you saw what you deemed bad coaching plays and so it is the manager’s fault that our team missed the playoffs…is that your point?

        1. No. My point is that he is not a good manager – tactically, leadership style, standing alone from the inadequate talent at his disposal which many people question to what extent he is to blame for the lack of improvement by most under his watch.

          1. Valid points. I think he should still get to next year later mid way point, then reevaluate from there, twice before season’s end.

            I like his handling of the press, protecting his players. I respect his pitching matchups he goes for, though boring as heck to watch. I dislike at the same time how that style seems to wear the pen out. I don’t like the coaches he picked, and their philosophies. I’m looking to cement who’s decision the batting plan was this year, the pitching I can over look for now. On the batting side, no excuse to not have a top 5 NL offense. That needs to be held accountable.

  71. Gabe is not above replacement for me I don’t like his managing of the bullpen, but I get it, for matchups. For me, the biggest question I have is who is infusing the batting approach? Is that the coaching or the FO? Imo it’s the coaching. Same with the pitching? Whoever those are, need to go. Players go through a gauntlet to get to the mlb, you need to trust them to do their jobs. Mandating a team approach, needs to stop, and I think it has with Charlie onboard.

    The FO, has surprised and disappointed me. Props for Realmuto. The drafting on the otherhand, while it looks to have improved recently is still leaving me wanting more. Fair to say, It can improve, let’s hope is does ASAP.

    I give Kapler to mid season of 2020, but I think klentak and mcphail are gone at the end of the year, which also is highly probably Gabe goes too, if not, they are all on the hot seat by mid season of next year. There is a lot of chatter by those in the know, and Jayson Stark is really tempering expectations for a nice offseason, not looking good for those guys fromnwhere I’m sitting

    We will learn Of Middleton’s patience this offseason. I wouldn’t want to be anyone of those 3 on the last day of the season.

    1. As of this morning…OPS 2018/2019
      – JTR: .825/.815
      – Harper: .889/.870
      – Cesar: .718/.748
      – Rhys: .850/.855
      – Segura: .755/.756
      – Kingery: .605/.795

      The biggest drop-off was from Harper…if you really want to blame the Phils coaching for his OPS drop ok, but I don’t buy it. If anything, Harper changed his swing mid-season and improved his stats second half considerably. JTR’s OPS went down a little, But Cesar and Kingery went up a lot and Rhys and Segura are the same as last year.

      Net, net, they are the same group of hitters as last year, with the exception of Kingery. So explain to me how that is bad coaching?

      1. I honestly and respectfully think we’ve hit a wall here. I can’t and won’t continue to debate you

        1. Sure. Just show me some data to support your claim. Any data. Anything. Find any data to suggest that this team underperformed because of the manager. that is how you debate me. i am convinced by data. not by a fan’s eyes. if you have data that shows that i am wrong, i will readily admit it.

          1. Why don’t you V1 explain what he’s done that justifies another year? I’ll give you the defense has improved as a result of Dickerson and baserunning due to Paco. So if Gabe gets the credit for those, does he take the blame for Young and Mallee since the pitching and hitting have underperformed across the board? And why don’t you look at OPS+ with your analysis, or look back on mine about a month ago, so you can see data that shows what terrible performance he’s delivered.

            I know you want only data driven arguments, but seriously man, isn’t that why we are here? Because the Chip Kapler and Gabe Kelly experiments have shown it’s not just about having some data. If we had a decent manager, we’d be talking about who should be pitching Game 1 of the NLDS if we win the wildcard game since we already would’ve clinched. We’d be debating who’s going to be on the playoff roster. And as Joel Embiid called that guy for the Nets, Sean “Mr Nobody” Rodriguez would be a name none of us ever heard of.

            1. Well, you asked me like 6 questions in that post. That is a rhetorical tactic people use when they don’t really want to have a debate, they just want to overwhelm the other side with a word salad.

              I think your main question was, What has Kapler done to justify another year? That is a fair question. Here is my answer.

              – They are above their expected win total based on both Run differential and Pythagorean (which I don’t fully understand but some people prescribe to).
              – The players like him and they play hard
              – Continuity is good for teams. Scapegoating people who are not the problem is not good for teams.
              – As I have said above, their defense and base running have improved. Those are directly coachable skills. Defensive positioning matters.
              – As this article nicely points out, despite losing 6 opening day bullpen pitchers, the bullpen had an ERA better than league average
              – The Phils have had a team record 55 players this year. It is no easy feat to manage all of those players.
              – I don’t blame him for the #2 starter getting hurt or the #3, #4 and #5 starters pitching terribly.

              That’s my rationale.

      2. I think it is fair to critique these numbers, but it doesn’t make a case for the coaching staff/hitting philosophy. On the surface, the #’s look OK, but then you have to compare the results against the expectations. JTR, nice year … now if I told you that he’d have a slightly lower OPS hitting in CBP for half his games than the marlins stadium, I think it’s safe to say, you’d of expected a blip up, close or into the .900 elite range. As for Harper and Hoskins, those number comparisons don’t tell me enough. You’d think Hoskins had a good year, not the case. I feel he has regressed. Harper, had to fight like hell to match his as well. Using analytics to take meatballs down the middle of plate imo, has hurt both these guys, luckily they’ve worked through it. Segura has been who I thought he’d be, minus the power, surprised his numbers weren’t up in the 20 range, closer to his MVP campaign with ARZ Kingery, is bad for Gabe’s pro argument, because my understanding is he abandoned the coaching approach, which is a very large factor in his turned around. Lol, I’m not touching Cehe, Rocco will flip 🙂

        Then, compare the results vs other teams player in a year where hr totals have spiked. I think it’s fair to say, you’d expect the team to have better stats compared to where they are ranked offensively.

        All in all, asking your hitters to work the count seemed more counterproductive to this group of hitters, than letting them be aggressive in their approach. Wherever that hitting approach is coming from, needs to be scrapped. It’s not the right application for this group of hitters. You pay Harper what he’s getting, you trust him to do his thing, or you bring Charlie in. If your going to pay Realmuto, same thing.

        I’m still not for blaming Gabe 100%, but the overall club philosophy needs reworked vs trying to make the players fit it. Doesn’t work that way. I fear The Phillies FO has a CHIP Kelly 2.0 mindset, needs to change going forward.

      3. Hoskins OPS+ last 3 years 162-125-119 it should have gone up not down hitting in front of Harper

        Realmuto-112-126-106 again why didn’t it go up if only for park factor

        Segura-111-111-93 again park factor alone should have seen an improvement



        Franco-79-106-80 why couldn’t he build on such a marked improvement the year before?

        Herrera-104-93-64 maybe not fair to include him because of the DV incident but still they were counting on him going into the season.

        Kingery not really enough data but a marked improvement over last year for sure

        1. Good points. Thanks for researching the data and sharing facts. I didn’t look at OPS+,.

          But looking at it now, how could Rhys and Cesar have an OPS higher this year and have played in the same park and have a lower OPS+? Do you know how that could happen?

          1. Because hitting as a whole has improved dramatically this year. So, in context, although the player’s raw OPS has improved, he’s actually lost ground relative to his peers.

        2. I had a post, stating this, without the actual OPS+!numbes, not sure it will make it to the thread.

          I think it is fair to ask, or at least look into the “why” of these numbers are declining. These are some the games top hitters to get a fair evaluation from. In addition, besides the ballpark factor, this year the league has seen more offense than the last too, so you’d also expect a bump.

          To me, the major reason for the dip is the batting approach being implemented. That’s is looking at either Kapler and his crew, or is being mandated by the FO. That has to change, it doesn’t work well enough to compete against the best of the NL.

  72. As for the bullpen, let’s not pretend that we lost Rollie Fingers, Mariano Rivera and Dennis Eckersley. They were certainly major league pitchers, but not exactly irreplaceable. Which of course is on the GM. Gabe isn’t to blame for the AAAA dreck he was left with but only the slapdash manner in which he used them.

    1. I don’t get this argument. He took a bunch of bullpen bums and somehow got them to keep them in and win some ballgames. I view his management of the bullpen to be impressive, not bad. And, sure the starting pitching was horrible, but unless the manager is a former pitching coach, I don’t blame that on him directly in any way. They need a new pitching coach and philosophy. The starting pitching on this team is so bad that I view it as something close to a miracle that they are still in the vicinity of WC spot this late in the season. I just don’t see the primary failings of this team to be Gabe’s fault – it’s a GM/President issue as far as I can tell.

        1. Maddon is 66 and formerly the manager of the excellent but financially limited Tampa Bay Rays organization. Chaim Bloom is currently VP of their baseball operations. Hopefully there are people from within TB’s ranks with whom John Middleton has pursued feedback regarding what may be his most challenging period as controlling partner of the Philadelphia Phillies.

    2. I’d rather lose a starting positional player, SP, Bench player,and a bullpen piece (closer) than to lose 6/7 of my bullpen weapons.

      I think the team with the injuries spread across the team vs the team with concentrated injuries in the same area, as the pen, will have a better record, and an easier time correcting/weathering. What major league team has a deep Major bullpen and depth in the minor leagues? It’s a crap hand. I’d hate to have a performance based job and have to go to battle with a AAAA bullpen to counter the worlds best hitters. Ain’t going to end well.

    1. LOL! (sorry, 8mark)
      Honest to God … it just seems like too many people take Angelo Cataldi’s words as gospel. Cataldi/Eskin get paid handsomely not for their knowledge of sports, but for their ability to take and spin the most extreme opinions. By doing that, they attract more callers/listeners/ratings. They’re entertainers, not sports reporters. DO NOT take them seriously.

      1. Yeah, Hinkie. FWIW, I can’t stand either Howard Foreskin or the obnoxious carnival barker in the morning. It just seems some people have no room for opinions that don’t spew data. I don’t mind the ball busting from guys like you who actually contribute something and know how I roll. Just getting weary of all the love for the Happy Cyborg and his Ivy League boss. They all need to go. And firing Klentak alone leaves Kapler with a bigger bullseye on his back, and vice versa. Their joined at the brain, as far as I’m concerned. How can they be separated?

        1. I will agree that Kapler only goes if it’s a total overhaul. MacPhail is replaced by Chaim Bloom, who picks his own GM (or assistant GM) and manager.
          Kapler shouldn’t be the fall guy for this season.

      2. Just because we don’t agree with you, doesn’t mean we listen to Eskin or Cataldi. That’s like saying because we’re Eagles fans, we throw snowballs at Santa. Makes for an easy punchline. I’ve shared data that comprehensively shows a lack of improvement across the board under Kapler, im waiting for comprehensive data that tells another story than blaming injuries. And I do agree with you on ousting MacPhail and hiring Bloom, a great idea.

  73. The biggest disappointment in the starting lineup is Rhys Hoskins. So often, in crucial situations he fails to deliver. For a few games he gets his swing back and then loses it again. The team needs a big bat in the lineup to complement Harper. Given the lack of depth in the farm system, management is going to have to spend big bucks. Dickerson and JT need to be retained and a solid SP or two must be found. Management might also consider signing Rendon and putting Bohm at 1B in late 2020, if Hoskins continues as he has.

    1. Regardless of whether you keep Hoskins long term, if Bohm can handle third, being there is his highest and best use. You can always buy a slugging first baseman – but good hitting third basemen don’t grow on trees.

    2. Rob…I would not give up on Rhys just yet and the Phillies will not either.
      As I posted before, his situation is akin to Pat Burrell’s 15 years ago.
      Both have similar batting traits and approaches at the plate.
      Hoskins needs to make the adjustment……whatever that may be.
      Burrell’s lasted a season plus if I recall….I believe Hoskins will make the correction.

      As to signing Rendon…..I doubt Klentak will go in that direction…he already has JTR in his cross-hairs for the next big signing, then I expect a TOR.
      And Bohm has been working hard at third….I think they will give him a leash of at least two years before moving him off third.

  74. I am a Rhys fan, and to me, he is 10 HRs and 20 RBIs off what I expect. I believe it is due to his taking too many FBs. I would take the increased production at the cost of 20 less BBs. v1, you like Kapler, I understand. Where do you think the team needs to go to make the Playoffs next year? A new GM, Gerrit Cole, both, or not possible?

  75. Here is my bottom line on 2019…we bet big on three young SPs and all of them failed. All of the other stuff is noise IMO. Our record when we get a QS is awesome. It just happened too few times.

    In our 78 wins, our ERA was 2.21. In our 73 losses, our ERA was 8.37. Compare that to the Dodgers. In their 98 wins, they had a 1.80 ERA. In their 55 losses, their ERA was 8.37.

    It was a calculated bet, but it didn’t work out. Vinny, Eflin and Pivetta have all under performed. I don’t blame Klentak for making that bet because if they perform, then we have 3 young, controllable SPs. If 2 of them perform, then he probably sells the farm at the deadline to get another SP. but realizing none of them performed, he decided to upgrade in the FA market.

    1. The decision to bank on those three was not made in a vacuum.
      I heard Gabe actually say that based on their ’18 FIP, he was confidant they would take the next step up in 2019. And he also said FIP was one of the better tools for determining pitcher projection.
      Now he may have been chiming the company line as dictated by Matt Klentak….but I do not think that was the case.
      If Gabe was not comfortable with that, IMO, Klentak would have moved after another starter in the off-season.
      I think Gabe was on board with the three returning.

      But young pitchers can be so unpredictable, ie Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Kyle Freeland, Mike Folty to start this year….and there are more but I cannot recall everyone right now.

    2. I hear you and I don’t mind that they kept all three pitchers and gave them a try. What I do mind is their not hedging that bet with at least one or two other experienced guys who would compete for those roles and in not picking up Keuchel while it was clear the experiment was failing. Those were the big mistakes.

    3. I had no problem starting the season with Eflin/VV/Pivetta in the rotation. I was less certain of Pivetta, but I was willing to give him 1 more shot. Also, I felt the Phillies had the pitching depth to absorb any injuries/ineffectiveness in the rotation. But the worst case scenario happened. All 3 struggled, the depth struggled, and Arrieta got hurt. So I don’t blame management at all for starting with the season with VV/Eflin/Pivetta. I will blame them if Pivetta is in the rotation next season. As for signing Keuchel, the Phillies should have done it especially on a prorated 1 year deal. On half a season,the Phillies should have rolled the dice with Keuchel instead of trading for Vargas.

    4. Can’t fault them for this. I advocated for tis, and at the time, I’d make the same bet. I’d do it again too. Hitting approach is another story for me.

  76. Tonight Phillies face a budding ace of the Indians, Shane Beiber.
    A 4th round pick by the Tribe in 2016.
    Little fact….as one of D1’s better starters in 2016, he got pummeled by Spencer Howard’s Mustang club three years ago. They lit him up.
    If there is any pitcher I think Spencer Howard can progress into next year or 2021… would be someone similar to Bieber.
    Howard has better velo right now and seems to have more swing and miss….and Bieber has that wipe out slider going for him.

  77. catch, 100%, I agree with you. Expecting, and counting on, all 3 to progress was the bad bet. No one advocated replacing all of the them. Let all 3 compete for 2 jobs. But, that didn’t happen. I will never understand not getting Morton. Then, after they all started poorly, we had a chance to add Keuchel. Another pass. With all the other issues, BP, RISP failures, injuries, we would still be in the Playoffs with another SP.

    1. Agreed it was foolish and puzzling missed opportunity for an organization pulling out all stops to get to the playoffs. It was just about spending a little more money and nothing else. It made no sense.

      1. I would hope, this off season, that they finally learn the lesson that their own experiences have taught them time and time and time again – STOP ACQUIRING OLD RELIEF PITCHERS ON BIG DOLLAR CONTRACTS!!! STOP! NOW! DON’T DO IT!

        1. As i have mentioned previously, old relief pitchers (30+) are the only ones available in FA. If you don’t agree, you should tell us who you want. If you do find a relief pitcher under 30, odds are his career effectiveness is not that great, that’s why they are available. As an example, look at Ranger Suarez. He’s currently 24, and pitched well in relief. If he’s effective for the rest of his arbitration years, he enters FA at age 29, turning 30 in August 2025. Hector Neris has been effective for the Phillies 3 out of the last 4 years. He’ll be a FA when he’s 32. And guaranteed, barring injury, somebody is going to pick him up.

          There’s no such thing as a young good FA reliever.

          1. They are going to have to figure something else out because filling the bullpen with old top dollar FA pitchers who are not elite is a recipe for disaster. I’d rather go with young arms and reclamation projects, but putting your money into this class of pitcher just seems like a complete waste. But the moral of the story is that you better develop your own bp arms, no? Yet another FO issue.

            1. Yes, the best bet to get a controllable young reliever is to develop your own. However, you will have to go through the inevitable growing pains.

            2. If they are so inclined and willing to commit, they might want to sit down with Vince Velasquez, envision him to be a potentially lights out high leverage reliever and work with him to develop the mindset. If he still sees himself as a starting pitcher, they may have to lobotomize him into reality. It could work if he understands he could etch quite a career for himself as he approaches his late 20’s-early 30’s seasons.

      2. I think this is partly where the ambivalence about which Ken Rosenthal wrote 2 weeks ago. Go all in throughout the off season and then screech the brakes on genuine pitching improvements in season, and with cash, not prospects. It was a conflicting path. Is this a team contending for playoff relevance? Or a apprehensive front office dipping its toes in the water to see if the temperature is just right? It made no sense. MacPhail didn’t seem supportive of the first and Klentak didn’t seem to be able to navigate the latter. That’s the picture of ambivalence. And where Middleton weighed in and at what points is for now merely left to our speculation.

      3. Here’s the hard part Catch…everyone on this board complains that the Phillies don’t let their young players play and develop. So they did that this year based on FIP as Romus correctly said and they get pummeled for it. I don’t think the issue was money. I think the point they were making was that they wanted to give these kids innings. They already had Nola and Arrieta in the first 2 spots. They had three promising young arms for 3-5. if 2 of them pan out, then they only need a 5th starter. if 1 pans out, then they need a 4th and 5th, which is still easy to get. that all 3 bombed and then Jake broke down killed it all. too much to replace at one trade deadline. They bet big on young players and it didn’t work.

        1. It was my understanding that 2018, not 2019, was the year of testing the 3 amigos. They banked everything on FIP metrics to decide ALL 3 were sufficient for the starting rotation this season. Has FIP been that reliable of a determinant projector for future success? If not, which ones are, or is there conflicting ideas about that? Help me understand….

          1. 8mark….FIP and xFIP have been used by most analytical teams for their pitching staffs.
            Is it reliable?…nothing is 100%. Anomalies occur. But they continue to use it…so I assume it has a certain degree of reliability….you can essentially think about FIP as a pitcher’s ERA if that pitcher had received league average defense and league average luck. In fact, FIP is actually a better predictor of future ERA than current ERA which tells us that the difference between ERA and FIP at a given time is at least partially due to things outside of the pitcher’s control…if that makes any sense to you. In essence…read FIP like ERA….now xFIP is essentially the same but takes into account HRs.
            Bottom line….they took the calculated risk and missed on it.

          2. There is no single stat that predicts future success of any player, let alone a pitcher. It is a combination of stuff, location and certain stats. And of course, there is huge variability. They may have been awful this year and come back and be amazing next year. Just look at Charlie Morton’s career.

            1. I would guess the metrics used by most teams in evaluating pitchers would be, if you’re going to look into stats for pitchers, then it should be at a minimum K%, BB%, HR/9, BABIP, (yes even this for pitchers….around.300 is league average) GB%, FIP, xFIP, and maybe WAR …all of these will giving you a much richer picture

            2. I don’t and can’t blame them for the whole BP except Hector Neris going down – there’s no way to plan around that level of loss and they did the best they could. But relying on 3 young starting pitchers who seemed to regress at the end of 2018 was kind of a foolish strategy in my view. There should have been at least one and probably two experienced arms competing with the inexperienced young guys.

        2. I was in favor of letting the three begin in 2019, where they left off in 2018…all the analytics pointed in that direction. And I was not on board, like some on the site, in going after Patrick Corbin with a large contract.
          So it was a gamble or risk that they missed.

  78. Let’s take what you are saying, v1, as what the thought process was. Forget any argument about using FiP as the determining factor. How do you not add another SP, not 3? That is my complaint, not that they gave the kids a chance. All 3 would have had a chance to earn the remaining 2 jobs. What is the downside? All look great, and one of the 3 has to excel in LHV, until there is an injury, or something else goes wrong? Dial ahead to June where all 3 were, shall we say, less than successful? What is the excuse for no Keuchel?

    1. Going into the year, I don’t do an darn thing different. Nola is coming of a CY type year, Arrietta looked nasty in SP, had surgery that many thought hindered his 2018 compaign, and the all 3 of Pivetta,Efflin,’and VV were slated for a breakout per the FIP numbers. Gambling that 1 would come through, is good oddsz. You had a very solid bullpen on paper, the offense looked ready to pop, so you go into the deadline looking to add a SP for the playoff push. Can’t fault anything here, looked like a very legitimate playoff team, and not pie in the sky chances. Fast forward, biggest reasons why this team is not heading to the playoffs is not taking care of business against the marlins, not signing Keuchel (still smh), and the batting approach. I don’t see how taking a beach ball size fastball down the middle helps you score runs. 2 of those can possibly be pinned on the coaches.

      Unfortunately , I don’t see it ending well next year well either. Cole feels like a pipe dream, but is exactly what this team needs. I can’t expect the FO to rebuild an entire bullpen in 1 offseason, plus fix the SP. it’s too much imho, 2021 it is.

  79. Last night:

    Alec Bohm … 4 for 5 (including a double), 1 R, 2 RBI
    Mickey Moniak … 2 for 6 (including a double), 2 R, 2 RBI
    Connor Seabold … 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 5 K
    JoJo Romero … 1.1 IP, 3 R (1ER), 3 H, 2 BB, 1 K

    1. Alec Bohm is really someone to get excited about. Connor Seabold was below the radar but he’s become very intriguing along with Ethan Lindow.

  80. One other thing about our pitchers – one guy I’m NOT worried about is Aaron Nola. His pitch selection has been odd at times and he’s struggled a bit with command, but my lord, the stuff is all still elite. I believe in him in a big way.

    1. Neither am I concerned about Aaron Nola. I am however concerned about this regime counting on him being the long term lone horse of starting rotation.

    2. If one wants to criticize the manager, it could be the current way he has used Nola over his last six starts……..five days rest is the norm between starts, however Nola has been given the extra day periodically thru the season before August 20th when

      Gabe made his decision on what he planned on doing down the stretch.
      The first two starts Nola was superb vs the Red Sox and Marlins, then the next two vs the Reds and Braves were clunkers, again Boston was exceptional and yesterday vs the Braves below average for him.

      Nola has been average and inconsistent since that first game against the Red Sox last month…the 33 starts are equal to his max….and he is due at least one more.
      Understand Gabe had no choice…since the other starters have not been consistent thru the season….however Eflin , Smyly and now even Vinny have shown more over the last 3/4 weeks.

  81. Agree on Nola, but this off season we also have Arrieta to worry about. Who know what he can do after surgery. To me, I pencil him in as #5, sign Cole and Smyly, Eflin is in my Rotation and Vinny is the long man out of the BP. Pivetta is in LHV with a Sports Psychologist, because I think his issues are mental.Spence will be ready to come up mid-season.

  82. Here’s another round of “would you?” this winter:

    Would you trade Adam Haseley, Nick Pivetta, Adonis Medina, and Deivy Grullon for three years of Matthew Boyd?

    Would you trade Zach Eflin and Nick Williams for one year of Mike Minor (Phillies could hit him with a QO after the one season)?

    1. Are you suggesting both? Or pick one of the two? I like the 2nd trade. I’ve cooled on Boyd since the deadline.

    2. If Grullon is not protected in November, then he becomes a Rule 55 minor league free agent and can go where he wants.
      So another catcher has to be substituted in that trade.

    3. Hinkster – like your second trade but not a big believer in Boyd. Anything received for NIck Williams would be wonderful as the team has diminished his value. Meanwhile, Eflin is the only one of the 3 amigos who can actually pitch effectively – albeit inconsistently. Minor pitched above his norm this year but is still a good mlb pitcher.

  83. Okay. So does anyone have any insight on why Gabe wouldn’t use JTR as the DH tonight? I consider it to be a concession. Realmuto hasn’t been great at the plate lately, but Knapp is already a serious offensive downgrade. He’s spelling JTR behind the dish. That’s fine. Bruce hasn’t gotten into any rhythm offensively since returning from the IL, yet Kapler is batting him cleanup. I don’t know. Tonight’s looks like another one of countless ill conceived lineups, and with the team still “scratching and clawing” with 11 games to go, wouldn’t you bite the bullet and go with a more advantageous lineup. Does it even matter? Gabe insists they aren’t quitting. But his choices at times suggest orherwise.

    1. ….and Brad Miller in the 5 hole….invaluable. God forbid Haseley bats 5th with Miller down further in the lineup.

    2. I guess I should be grateful Sean Rodriguez isn’t in the lineup. I wonder if Kapler and Klentak had a talk, or were “talked to” about that aberration.

      1. Just wait until we’re mathematically eliminated and SRod is starting games. That will be just the best

  84. Another successful night for Phillies prospects in the AFL.

    Nick Maton 3 for 5 (HR), 1 R, 2 RBI.
    Alec Bohm 2 for 3, 1 RBI.
    Josh Stephen 2 for 4
    Spencer Howard 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K’s (95-97 T98)

  85. A very telling stat from Corey Seidman – the Phillies are batting as a team .334 on fastballs down the middle of the plate. Sounds okay but it ranks 25th in MLB. Also, their slugging percentage is 60 points below league average on the same pitches.

    Whatever the hitting approach, it’s gotta be addressed in a dramatic way….

    1. 8mark……two hitters who can change that ‘FB miss-in-the-zone’ going forward are Haseley and Bohm…see v1’s video below
      Their past metrics reveal a very small delta between BB% and K%…which indicates less swing and miss and more contact.
      Two hitters I am surprised with are Hoskins and Kingery…maybe this year is just an outlier for both.

      1. Romus, I would love to know by surveying the Phillies position players, which have bought into or are buying into the present hitting philosophy. Hoskins and Kingery appear to be all in, unfortunately. Harper seems to roll his own with periodic changes to his stance.

        While we’re at it, does anyone find it odd that Klentak and Kapler were conducting exit interviews this past week in Atlanta. Is that something new? Because I’ve always assumed those were done at the end of the regular season, or at least after the team is mathematically eliminated.

        1. 8mark…….good question. Unfortunately guys wo=ill buy in in the cages, but once they get into the box in real live action…they revert back to their habits that got them there. Just happens.
          So hard to say who has changed or modified, or has not.
          All that major change stuff has to be done way back in their minor league days.
          Once there in the majors…I assume it is more or less tweaking here and there.

  86. Seriously guys…I know there are many here who don’t believe the Phillies would or could possibly pursue Anthony Rendon. Nor would I on the surface of the way things stand. But with Bohm’s offensive promise and defensively uncertain future (3b? 1b? LF? if only in the eyes of decision makers), I’m getting the sense that there’s more beyond any speculation. With G. Cole as by far the prize of the free agent market this winter, and the less than likely possibility that the Phillies will sign him, there may be avenues pursued beyond free agency. A trade for a relatively young and controllable TOR may involve Rhys Hoskins. We can argue, why sell low on him? But that’s also to assume his market value will inevitably increase again later. Perhaps it will, but to what extent would anyone bank on it. Just something to monitor as we approach the unknown of the off season.

    1. Unless MLB changes the make-up of the balls again for 2020….cannot, for the life of me, understand why they are not using the current MLB/Triple A balls in the AFL…all these guys are , for the most part, less than year away from making their MLB debuts.
      I can only understand if MLB plans on again altering the balls for next season..

      1. I just had breakfast with four AFL pitchers. The ball is not the minor league ball nor is it the major league ball. It’s somewhere in between. Also it was an automatic strike zone in last nights game…not sure what to think of that.

          1. Thanks for the info, Mr. H. I had no idea they used the auto-zone last night (I’m not a fan). Did you eat with Spencer, Connor Seabold, JoJo Romero, and Zach Warren? Warren is from my hometown.

            Happy to see Spencer (really all of the Phillies prospects) doing well in Arizona.

            1. Spencer, Zach, Erich Uelmen (Cal Poly now Cubs) and Alex Lange. Those four and Seabold are sharing a house. Great kids! Love hearing the stories!

        1. From what I had read a few months ago when Justin Verlander and a few other pitchers began voicing their displeasure with the tight balls……that the KBO League were experimenting with a new ball this year to cut their ‘offense’ down from previous years…..and MLB was monitoring the outcome….and it was successful, the offensive production was cut across the board… OPS went from .783 to ,733 this year for a specific time frame

          Perhaps MLB are experimenting with that ball in the AFL.

  87. We have gone back and forth on Gabe and Klentak moving forward, and while I don’t think firing Kapler without dramatically changing Klentak’s approach will have any positive results, reading the tea leaves seems to make it clear that Kapler is gone. On Spencer, what does it mean that “we can close the book on Spencer Howard”? Is that the only appearance for him in the AFL? And, I am excited about Bohm, and don’t see a pursuit of Rendon at all.

  88. As I wrote before, Nick Maton is a lot like UConn’s Nick Ahmed. Both are solid fielders and could be .275 hitters with pop. Maton has an advantage of being a LH hitter.

    Hoskins looked really bad last night both at bat and on that throw to 2B. He might be pressing because Carlos Santana, who he replaced, is on the other side.

    1. As I have mentioned before, Nick Ahmed is a plus, plus defender. If it wasn’t for Brandon Crawford, Ahmed would have more than 1 gold glove. In fact, Ahmed might win another one this year.

      So Nick Maton would have to be one of the best defenders that the Phillies have in their system.

  89. I am not suggesting that 8mark is wrong, just that I would be shocked if we move Rhys. I think with a better hitting coach and a more aggressive approach, Rhys is a 40 HR 100 RBI guy next year.

    1. Rhys definitely has the eye but it’s too particular. He has to become more aggressive and swing at FB strikes early in the count.

      As for moving an existing bat, perhaps trading McCutchen is a distinct possibility if they were willing to eat salary in order to acquire worthwhile prospects?

  90. Drew Smyly has pitched pretty much to a 3rd of the season for the Phillies. He’s 30, and he would be on pace for 1 WAR for a full season. He’s pitched like a 4 for the Phillies, and in his career, he’s pretty much pitched like a 3-4 (mostly 4). And we want to give this guy a multi year deal and hope he gets way better than he is now at his age? I would rather roll the dice with VV to start the season and if he falters, have Spencer Howard come up in May.

    1. Assuming by midseason 2020 we have Nola, Arrieta, Howard, Eflin and an acquired #1 or #2, I don’t think we need to roll the dice on a guy like Smyly. But a depth starter or two should be in place.

      1. YES! The lack of depth killed us this year and you want a depth starter with some potential upside – for the right price Smyly’s a good gamble.

  91. Can’t ague there, but if we don’t get Cole, where is that TOR coming from? I don’t see MadBum, at all, as an option for us, and then we drop a lot to the next tier. So, back to the trade route. I trade Bohm and Howard even less now than I would have at the deadline, and there was a zero chance I would have traded them then.

    1. IMO, who else to consider who will be out there beside Cole……maybe TOR potential, probably not however. (age)
      Dallas Keuchel (32)
      Wade Miley (33)
      Jake Odorizzi (30)
      Rick Porcello (31)
      Hyun-Jin Ryu (33)
      Michael Wacha (28)
      Adam Wainwright (38)
      Zack Wheeler (30)
      Alex Wood (29)

      …not a very earth-shattering list.

      1. Zach Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner are the two on the next level below Gerrit Cole. They’ll probably get less years (five) than Cole (six). Either of Wheeler or MadBum would be a huge upgrade for the Phillies.

        1. Zach Wheeler has an injury history, but because of it, his mileage is way, way less than Bumgarner. Wheeler has to be the guy if we can’t get Cole.

        2. I think Cole gets 7 years at the very least. You don’t get paid for past performance, right? Well, not exactly – his Cy Young type year will get him a lot more money and more years.

  92. Hinkie, I think the next target after Cole is Wheeler. I just don’t think Bumgarner moves from the West Coast, and if he leaves SF, which is far from certain, I see him with the Angels. No argument about Wheeler being an upgrade, I am just all in on Cole. I think we can outbid a team like the Angels, and I don’t see him in NY or with the Dodgers. I think it costs $200 Million, but I would go get him.

    1. matt13….Middleton will need to go the distance with Cole and Bboras.
      Right now Kershaw and Greinke head the list at approx. $34M AAV…then there is Price at $31M, Verlander at $29M…so they al have different factors with age, but I think with Cole will have to start at 6 years and $3)M AAV and perhaps inch their way up during the negotiations.

  93. I think the Phillies need to be really careful not to “sell low” on too many players if they do in fact change out this manager and coaching staff. I don’t mean the Phillies should necessarily rely on any of Franco, Herrera, Knapp, Williams, Quinn, Pivetta, Eflin, or Velasquez for an important and specific role but I would keep many of them around with one last chance to develop with improved leadership. I think we all agree there is untapped potential in varying degrees with all of them. The talent is there for all of them to be decent or better major leaguers, whether they realize that or not is TBD, but I’d hate to write all of them off and see them succeed elsewhere.

    As for Rhys, I’d again be careful as there is much more offensive potential in there than what Kapler has been able to extract. Same for Kingery.

    I’d also be careful to write off some of our injured arms. While I’ve heard Middleton has tasked the FO to investigate the rash of injuries, the findings are not yet known. However, it can’t be a coincidence that they’ve all transpired and I’m glad to see the Phillies are willing to acknowledge that and seek corrective actions. In addition to a new manager and coaching staff that can work with the training staff to re-evaluate off season and spring training preparation efforts, the Phils should also evaluate their medical and training staffs for any necessary changes. It can’t be coincidence that guys like Cutch, Robertson, Bruce, Arrieta, Hunter, and Neshek who had reasonably good health elsewhere, immediately struggled here. Not to mention the rash of young pitchers, which is not normal for one team – Ramos, Arano, Morgan, Dominguez, Eickhoff, etc

    1. Buddy … you and I may not see eye to eye on Gabe Kapler, but I am solidly behind this line of thinking. No matter If Gabe is back or not, Chris Young will not be. The team needs to replace him with a guy who has a track record of developing young pitchers. In the past, I’ve suggested Dave Righetti, John Farrell, Ray Searage, Kyle Snyder, and Brian Sweeney for the job.
      Recently, I heard Jim Salisbury label Nick Pivetta, Maikel Franco, and Nick Williams as guys in need of a change of scenery. I could see Franco being non-tendered (I think the team has had it with his inability/unwillingness to take instructions – i.e. keeps reverting back to same old bad habits). I think Williams may be out of options (not 100% sure about that) so he’s probably going to have to be dealt. However, I want to see if one of the aforementioned pitching coaches can unlock the mystery that is Nick Pivetta. The Phillies/every team can use arms. I’m not saying the club should be saving a rotation spot for Nick, but I think he should be given one more opportunity (with a new voice tutoring him) to earn the job.

      Also … I’m almost positive Rhys Hoskins isn’t going anywhere. Not only would they be selling low on him, but more importantly, the Phillies love to market their homegrown guys. Hoskins is the primary homegrown player they sell to fans. He’s like family to the team.

      1. I agree some of those names need a change of scenery, but I think a new manager and coaching staff is a change of scenery.

        For the pitchers, I’d keep all 3 and plan for one of them to pitch out of the pen (probably VV) with a role TBD based on success. I’d plan for Pivetta, Eflin, and others to compete for the 5 spot in the rotation and after spring training decide what to do.

        As for Franco, Williams, and Quinn, I don’t believe you could trade any of them for value right now. As a result, I’d keep all 3 but I wouldn’t “plan” for any of them to start, but I’d bring them to camp and see how they do with new leadership. If it means DFA at the end of spring, so be it but I wouldn’t just give them away now for nothing.

  94. For the sake of discussion, let’s say the Phillies decide to pursue Rendon and are successful. Let’s also say that in lieu of spending big money and years on a free agent starting pitcher, instead they trade for a relatively young, controllable TOR. Who might be a few potential targets? (I know Hinkie would begin with Matthew Boyd. But who else?)

    1. 8mark..I told you who I would pursue…Rox Freeland. Phillies drafted him awhile back out of HS….he had one of the worst seasons ever when it comes from where he stood in 2018, Cy Young candidate finishing 4th, to where he ended up in 2019.
      He may be due for a correction…I’d offer Vinny and Cole Irvin and see what the Rox do. It is a risk since Vinny has been turning things around lately, but….

  95. So here’s another piece of data supporting the “against Kkentak” argument. The 5 best free agent relievers on the market this year in some order were Britton, Miller, Kelly, Robertson, and Ottavino. As it would turn out, at least in year one, all but Robertson have made 54+ appearances (54, 64, 69, and 70) and Ottavino and Britton both have WARs of 2+. So independent of how things happen or who is responsible, clearly a missed opportunity there.

    1. and in a similar “against Klentak” argument the year he did sign Charlie Morton, aka the huge “missed opportunity” cited often on PP, Morton started less than 3 games before being out the rest of the year!

    2. Yes. Klentak is an idiot for not being able to predict that a pitcher with no history of arm injury would get hurt. How can he not see the future?!?!? We need a GM who will never sign a pitcher who gets hurt.

      1. So is it the managers fault, the GMs fault, or do you just believe that really awful outcomes happen to the same decision makers over and over and over and it’s just coincidence?

        But then again maybe you’ll make up another alternative fact for us like you did above when you labeled Acuna a RF to make your point that the Braves RF is better than the Phillies. Acuna has played CF far more than RF. But it was convenient

        1. Acuna started 40 games in LF, 90 in CF and 19 in RF. Acuna is Braves best OF and Harper is Phillies. I was comparing impact OF to impact OF. That said it is really irrelevant whether you consider him a LF or CF for any analysis of the Braves vs Phillies lineup because anyone can see that the Braves are far better.

  96. Phillies AFL Saturday Round-Up:
    Sept. 21: Glendale 1, Scottsdale 0
    Mickey Moniak went hitless, 0-for-4, as Scottsdale’s No. 3 hitter on Saturday night. He’s 3-for-15, over his first three games with a pair of RBIs. He did make a fantastic catch, robbing Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson of extra bases as he crashed into the center-field wall. No. 14 prospect Nick Maton ….leading off and playing second base, he went 0-for-3 with a walk and is now 4-for-12 with a walk and six strikeouts in three games. Alec Bohm did not play…so far in his two games, he is 6 -for- 8 and splitting time at third base with Jays’ prospect Kevin Smith.

      1. Nick Maton is in his 3rd year in the Phillies system. He’s currently 22, in AA, and with .660 OPS at Reading. I wouldn’t pencil him in on any future Phillies roster just yet. If he makes it to the bigs, it will likely have to be as an infield utility guy. If he’s lucky, he could hang around on a roster like Freddy Galvis.

      2. Right now an utility guy.
        But Josh Bonifay did say he has that whippy-bug swing that generous a lot of pack for a guy his size. That is why I saw him as a hitter someone close to or in the mold of the Mets’ Jeff McNeill.

  97. Great article link below posted this morning about Nick Williams and the death of his big brother a few months ago. Very touching relationship they had and seems like he has just been through a tough year personally and professionally. He refuses to bash the Phillies in the story and mentions the organization has been good to him throughout the tragedy. But there is one line in there I couldn’t help but share as it’s a small thing but not really.

    “Take as much time as you need.” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has texted him.

    TEXTED? This is where, for me, I think the job of manager is so much more and where this manager just doesn’t get it. Does anyone really think Doug Pederson or Brett Brown wouldn’t call Nick in that situation and have a conversation?

    1. Of all the criticism that I have heard, this one is my favorite. He should be fired because he texted a player instead of calling him. Absolutely brilliant. Take a bow Buddy. Comment of the year.

      1. That’s not why he should be fired, he should be fired because he’s an awful manager. This is just another piece of evidence that his soft skills aren’t good enough to be a manager, but then again the tone and commentary that you’ve demonstrated towards my differing opinion on here the last few months should tell me I shouldn’t expect you to understand soft skills.

        1. Texting a player is not evidence of anything. Also I have built three companies from scratch and sold all three. But please tell me more about how to be a successful manager. Can’t wait to learn from you Buddy.

            1. I dish out views on other’s opinions. I never attack another person’s character. Go back and re-read Buddy’s comments. A lot of personal attacks about me.

              You got data to refute my opinions, let’s hear it. I often change my view when data is presented. But don’t like Buddy’s personal attacks.

  98. V1, I do not blame Klentak for signing Relievers who got hurt. I blame him for not doing better after they were hurt to help after the deadline. And while I believe he was wrong in not adding SP in the off season, the real failure was not signing Keuchel in June. I think we make the Playoffs if we sign him, and I believe making the Playoffs should have been the goal for this year.

    1. matt13……agree with your point on the Keuchel/June signing.
      it certainly could not have been about the money since they are under the ‘cap’.

      I am starting to wonder if it was Scott Boras being Keuchl’s agent….since I cannot come up with any sound reason why they could not sign Keuchel for virtually 20 or less starts and they needed a LHP in the rotation. and also I would have thought with the Phillies and Harper negotiation and final signing , that the Keuchel signing would have been easier with all the comfort relationships already established and in place.

  99. Wow, a microcosm of the Phillies season in one inning against Cleveland. Phillies get runners on 1st and 3rd in the top of the inning, but can’t score after a pop out (Hernandez) and a DP grounder (JTR). Then, in the bottom of the inning, two consecutive error by the Phillies. Velasquez manages to get a couple outs without giving up a run, and gets ahead 0-2 on the next hitter. He then grooves a fastball which gets hit out of the park.

    So typical – squander a great scoring chance due to poor hitting in an RISP situation and then play bad baseball and groove a pitch, basically gifting runs to the opponent. So frustrating.

  100. V1, I count 5 wins plus for signing Keuchel, maybe I am off and we still don’t make the Playoffs.Regardless, it’s over, we are out. I want to make the Playoffs next season. Help me, how do we get there?

    1. A new manager and improved coaching staff will add 10 wins. That would be a good start. A new President / GM would likely help next year but even more so long term with better drafting, development, culture, acquisition of under valued assets, just to name a few.

      1. If my math is correct, projected over the full season for 2019 Keuchel comes in at a maximum of 3.9WAR over 32 starts…that is based on his 18 starts this year, and 2.2bWAR now.

        1. Yeah. Maybe we get an extra 2 wins. People forget that he can be much better than replacement and we still don’t win a game that he starts – bullpen blows it, poor hitting day, etc.

  101. Anyone watching the 7th inning of this game? I’m on a plane so can’t watch, but curious why Gabe brought in a LHP (Irvin) to face Puig a righty with the bases juiced and one out already down 5-1? He then brought in Ramos two batters later to face a righty after Irvin faced a lefty. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Ramos face Puig and then Irvin to face the lefty? What am I missing here?

    1. What you’re not missing is another nationally televised embarrassment that hopefully compels Middleton to clean house. Not that it matters at this point but “no quit” Kapler pinch hit for both JTR and Harper in the 8th. I guess he wants to preserve them for when it really matters. Like, next year when he’s not here?

      1. ….but it sure was nice of Gabe to allow Deivy Grullon have his first big league at bat in a total blowout, cold off the bench after weeks of inactivity. He K’d. But I’m sure Kapler told him that he presented very well.

      2. You can question Kepler for a number of things, but pinch-hitting for JTR and Harper in the 8th inning of a 10-1 blowout isn’t one of them.

  102. A couple of interesting tidbits from earlier today:

    Vince Velasquez has now allowed 16 homeruns on 0-2 counts this season. That of course leads MLB. That alone may cost Chris Young his job.

    When Bryce Harper hits a HR, the Phillies record is 24-7, and it’s 42-17 when he drives in a run. Which means they are 37-57 when he doesn’t. Either Harper needs to become Mike Trout or the Phillies had better find a way to score runs as a team more consistently. Their streamlined hitting philosophy (to which Bryce himself doesn’t subscribe) may need to be replaced or drastically altered.

    1. 16 HRs allowed on an 0-2 count? By one pitcher in one season? That’s astounding. Makes you wonder about pitch selection in that situation,

      And, yes, the Phillies are far too reliant on Harper for offense The other guys in the lineup haven’t done enough, or been consistent enough. There is plenty of blame to go around, but Exhibit A is Rhys Hoskins, who has become WAY too pull happy.

    2. I think I saw in a graphic last night Velasquez throws his FB 69% of the time… So is it safe to assume 11 of those were on FB’s? Or one of his lesser pitches that he can’t command that well? I’m sure that stat is out there but it’s Monday and I’m too lazy to look it up. The kid has great stuff. Needs to be refined..

  103. VV has improved. He hasn’t made a quantum leap but he has improved. His secondary pitches are better. But his command can still be hit or miss. That HR was off a fastball that he couldn’t get above the zone. Including the HR, I counted at least 3 hits on fastballs he couldn’t get above the zone. I still think he’s better suited to be in the rotation.

    1. It’s funny you say that but I also believe has gotten quite a bit better. I think there’s a good chance that he becomes a solid mid-rotation starter in the not to distant future – you can see him get better now almost by the month – there’s a progression. And if he becomes a solid 5 or 6 inning starter, so what? How many starters these days routinely go 7 innings? If he can give us lots of 5/6 inning, 2 run starts, that’s just fine.

      1. His FIP 5 plus indicates he still has a ways to go…but his last 7 starts are encouraging….his value may never be higher.
        If he is indeed scheduled for any trading, the Phillies should ask for something valuable.

          1. That my thinking – he’s probably better now, or projects to being better next year, than his trade value.

            1. I don’t understand why his trade value would necessarily be less than what the Phillies might project him for next year. Wouldn’t it merely take a GM or three who regard his future as highly as them? Or you?

            2. Well, it wouldn’t necessarily be less, I just think it’s not very much but the upside is real. So I hold on the stock.

            3. @8mark, VV’s value should be higher next year, but nobody (including the Phillies) knows how high it will be. So in that case, if I’m a GM trading for VV (who’s already 27), I’m not giving up much. Maybe an A ball lotto ticket?

      2. At this point, I want some measure of consistency. I want to send him out there knowing that there’s a good chance he’s going to give a quality start. I don’t want to plan to have another reliever ready to soak up innings when he can’t get past 4 innings, let alone 5. I want 5-6 innings consistently, and if he gets bombed in some of them, so be it. Everybody will get bombed, including Nola. VV has 2 more years to find a way to be a competent starter.

  104. One week from today the Phillies, with each passing loss as the season closes, more than likely will need to scour the landscape for another manager.
    They will not be alone in that quest….. two NL West teams will be looking also.

  105. Hoskins has come up 190 times this season with RISP…..he is slashing .224/.386/.343.
    That just will not hack it.

    1. Wow, that line for Hoskins with RISP flat out stinks, but I believe it. He has come up small with RISP again and again, particularly since the All Star break. Again, I think he has become much too pull happy. Also, he’s started to swing at pitches out of the strike zone of late, indicating that he may be really pressing. Regardless, he’s been bad at the plate, and his below average fielding sure doesn’t compensate.

  106. I like Gabe. I don’t think that they should fire Gabe. But if they can get Maddon, I will offer to personally drive Gabe to the airport.

    1. Fuel your car for the ride.
      Cubs will be letting Maddon go also next week…David Ross looks to be the one going to Wrigleyville…….but their issues could be worse than the Phillies with that bloated payroll and tax penalties. Theo has his work cut out for him.
      Hard to believe Cards swept them in four at Wrigley….has not been done in ages.
      Cole Hamels will also be available probably at a reasonable cost…..he really struggled after the oblique issue.

      1. Unless John Middleton makes the call, I wouldn’t hold my breath for Joe Maddon. Klentak wants his manager to be malleable. Klentak has had his fingerprints all over Kapler’s coaches, lineups, and strategies. Joe Maddon won’t go for that.

        1. Hinkie, I do believe if left completely to Klentak, Kapler is safe. Any change will have to come from the owner, make no mistake. Hence the placement of Charlie Manuel into the ranks as a recon officer.

          I’m currently dreaming of Bloom as VP of baseball operations, Klentak to continue (in a revised job description) as GM and Maddon as manager. MacPhail takes a side step and agrees to become an advisor/semi-retired at Middleton’s request.

      2. I like Gabe gets me, Cant handle pitchers. His lineups sometimes are nuts. when they aren’t hitting never plays small to try something different. I totally agree, him text over a death is really insensitive. wonder if he would have texted, god forbid one of the better players, Shows he could care less, not to pick up a phone to say so sorry, you need anything let me know. is that so hard to do?

        1. rocco……was Nick playing with the Iron Pigs when his brother passed?
          If so, Gary Jones probably made the call….along with the GM, Matt Klentak.
          If it were me, in Gabe’s position…I would have called him….but I am old generation and the new generation is more impersonal with twitter/text et al.

  107. I will never understand how anyone can like Gabe. Everyone is entitled to there options. But maybe its just me. But he cant handled pitchers. has crazy lineups. People may think its okay. but to text a player and not call him personally in a death of a brother, is it a California thing ?.i guess so insensitive, No respect at all for the player. Wonder if he would have texted , a better player, Owning a company and selling it has nothing to do with being, a caring boss or employer. But I think showing Respect is only for us poor people. Big successful people can shit on there workers.

  108. As we all have our pros and cons with Kapler, the biggest concern I have is the lack of improvement or in many cases, regression of the major league roster. Especially the arms and bats.

    It can be reasonably argued that this has been Bryce Harper’s most productive non-MVP season, overall. Realmuto has largely been what we expected. McCutchen was on pace for a solid 2019 before his injury. Among the 4 major position player acquisitions, only Segura has had a below par season.

    Now while I wouldn’t necessarily say those players were immune to the present coaching philosophies, they are established veteran players who pretty much already know what they’re doing.

    But when you examine the rest of the roster, who has progressed? Kingery has fallen back into bad habits in the second half of the season. Otherwise he might be an exception. Nola has at times been his brilliant self but his 2019 is nowhere close to his 2018. What other pitcher has improved? What other hitter has become more proficient. Jury is out on how Haseley will turn out. But he’s been a pleasant development as a rookie.

    We’ll give Gabe and his staff kudos for better baserunning and defense. But having Realmuto behind the plate and moving Hoskins out of LF were contributing factors, along with Bobby Dickerson’s work with infielders on tags. Throwing errors seem to still be an issue. Harper has most impressed me with his aggressive baserunning, despite a few misjudgments early on. He seemed to set the example for the rest of the team. Double steals, delayed steals, etc were encouraging signs.

    The lack of urgency, discipline and accountability remain my biggest concerns, however. Those are major as we look ahead to 2020.

    1. The injuries are the biggest issue.

      It decimated the bullpen, and we had to play relievers who were not ready. The only bright spot has been Ranger Suarez, who looks very comfortable in his transition to the bullpen. Lately, Cole Irvin has been good in the bullpen so looks like his days as a starter might be over too.

      We all know what happened with the starters so won’t get into that again. The biggest issue is that even with all the ineffectiveness, the AAA starters had their share of issues so only Cole Irvin got starts. But Eflin looks to have turned the corner and he should have a rotation spot next year. I`m hopeful that VV gets another shot.

      For the offense, it`s clear who the scapegoat is and it’s not Cesar. Realmuto, Cutch (before injury), Harper, Cesar have been as advertised. Franco is still Franco (not good), and Kingery has improved (maybe not as much as other people want but he’s improved to the point where he needs to start). Odubel was lost early but Haseley has shown up in limited action which was good. So the 2 biggest disappointments are Hoskins and Segura. With his poor defense, Hoskins needs to rip at 1B and he hasn’t in this juiced ball era. Not sure what has happened with Segura. His defense has slipped a little but it`s still positive, but he just hasn’t ripped as much as he should moving from Seattle to Philadelphia.

      So that’s my analysis. What’s next for the Phillies? I’m not the GM, so we’ll see what happens.

      1. Feel free to pick this apart but FWIW, the Phillies were 5th among all teams who lost WAR value in player injuries in 2019. All 4 of the teams with more are playoff bound. (Somebody posted the top 5 last week.)

        Plus IMO, while we took a significant hit in injuries to the bullpen, with the possible exception of Robertson, I don’t think the staff was terribly strong. Seranthony was definitely missed but is still trying to find his way. Hunter isn’t that much of an improvement over what’s left.

        Starting pitching and RISP were more specifically the 2 Achilles heels of this squad, aside from injuries.

    1. Yes, Matt – thanks for that correction. The way it was tweeted made it sound like all him. But wow, 16 on 0-2 counts as a team is still troubling.

  109. Carlos Santana had a really good series while Hoskins stunk the joint out. Many couldn’t wait to be rid of Santana’s contract and celebrated when they did. But no one was happier than Santana to get away from the “toxic atmosphere of mediocrity”.

    Segura was hammered for years by the guys on MLBTR for his poor play in the field. They wrote that he was better at 2B than SS. Overall, he’s been pretty good for the Phils but last night’s error changed the entire complexion of the game.

    On a positive note, it was really good to see Kingery taking that outside pitch to the right side of 2B. It would be great if he would do it consistently. I also believe that he is just as good, if not better than Segura at SS. Not as flashy but steady.

  110. KC manager Ned Yost has announced he’s retiring at season’s end. Along with SF (Bochy), there’s quite a few vacancies to be filled this fall. Let’s hope the Phillies don’t drag their feet if Kapler is to become one of the unemployed.

    WSH, NYM, PHL, CHC, PIT, SF, SD, KC and SEA.

    I’ve heard 2016 World Series hero David Ross is a virtual lock to replace Joe Maddon in Chicago, although Joe Girardi is reportedly holding out for the job because of his roots in the Windy City. However, I doubt Theo wants an old school guy like him. MLB teams are trending toward managers who profile well analytically and will tow the line. But like all trends, it swings back the other way eventually. If Middleton decides to move on from Gabe, it’ll be interesting to see what type of figure he’s looking for. Madden could be considered a blend of the new math with old school personality. What’s just as important would be who Madden brings along as his bench coach/potential successor, since he’s no spring chicken.

  111. The Phillies have been without an Amateur Scouting Director since the beginning of September. The only thing I’ve read concerning the opening has come from Meghan Montemurro in the Athletic. She said The Phillies will use the opening as a chance to pick some brains. They love to interview, and they will interview a wide selection of candidates. She also named Greg Schilz (the team’s current Assistant Scouting Director) as a guy who could be promoted from within.
    I don’t know anything about Schilz (he could maybe be a great choice), but I do know there are a handful of MLB teams who seem to do better at drafting than the rest of the league. IMO those clubs are the Dodgers, Padres, Astros, and Braves (in that order). I’d be pretty excited for MacKlentak to go mining in those franchices. Some possible candidates:
    * Zach Fitzpatrick (Dodgers Assistant Scouting Director)
    * Sam Ray (Padres Amateur Scouting Manager)
    * Charles Cook (Astros Manager of Amateur Scouting Analysis)
    * Aaron DelGiudice (Astros Scouting Analyst)
    * Brian Bridges (was released by the Braves in January of this year after serving as Atlanta’s Scouting Director since 2014)

    I think Bridges is the most interesting name on this list, and should be the frontrunner for the opening. While leading Atlanta’s drafts, he had a strong record of picking (and stocking the Braves system with) arms. He was responsible for choosing Mike Soroka, Kyle Wright, and Ian Anderson in the first round. He also selected Austin Riley and Drew Waters with picks outside the top 40. Prior to ascending to Scouting Director, Bridges worked as a Braves’ scout and was responsible for finding/scouting/signing Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel, Mike Minor, and Alex Wood.

    And … one last point on Johnny Almaraz. He may be gone, but his 2017 draft class could help the Phillies for years to come. Adam Haseley has the look of the team’s starting CFer beginning next year. Spencer Howard has TOR potential. Connor Seabold, Damon Jones, and David Parkinson are candidates to start (at least some) games for the club. Nick Maton and Austin Listi could be bench players. Any/all of Connor Brogdon, Kyle Dohy, Zach Warren, Jake Hernandez, and Addison Russ may throw out of the Phillies BP. Jake Sheiner was used to obtain Jay Bruce. Lastly, Ben Brown and Jhordany Mezquita are still lottery tickets who could be cashed in one day.

    1. Good stuff, Hinkie. You continue to be a fine resource for information (despite your position on Gabe Kapler🙃).

  112. v1, I was using Keuchel’s ERA over the 18 games, or so, that he pitched for the Braves, and comparing that to what we get from our guys not named Nola. Maybe I am off a game or so, so give us 3-4 more Ws with Keuchel. Add a couple of extra Ws for a decent BP acquisition, better than what Klentak did at the Deadline, and this team, despite all its flaws is in the Playoffs. Those were doable moves, without giving up a top prospect, and frankly, without giving up much of anything. To me, that is on Klentak, not kapler, and I am not very high on Kapler, but I can’t blame him for this lost season.

  113. I know Rhys has not had a good year, and his #s since the All Star break are really bad. But, I want to see him with a Hitting Coach who knows what he is doing. I saw a lot of his ABs this season, and it was noticeable in the extreme how many pitches he took down the middle of the plate. Kingery, also, needs work on laying off the FB over his head, and swinging at balls low and outside. It may not generate more BBs, but will get him better pitches to hit. He can work on pitch recognition, which is really important, and a skill that Kingery and Rhys can improve. There are programs out there that help hitters with that. I have no idea what we use to teach our hitters, but it is not good enough. With new hitting and pitching Coaches, I expect improvement from within. I expect a TOR, and 2 legitimate “high leverage” BP arms. Bohm is the future 3B, so, to me, either we move on from Cesar, and use a stop gap 3B like Brad Miller, or keep Cesar and start the season with Kingery at 3B. Kingery is the future 2B, so why not bite the bullet this off season and move on? Middleton has to crack the whip and sign Cole himself, like he did Bryce, and make it clear that the Playoffs are the bar for next season, and if they fail, they are gone.

      1. Guru.. could that be a .trick question? 🙂
        There certainly ain’t many based on recent performance and age….maybe will Smith and Dellin Betances , if healthy…..but no more questionable arms, if at all possible to predict….Robertson was Mr Durable and he collapsed under the tear of a body part

  114. Will Smith is #1 on my list, Giles, Diekman are familiar guys and I bet there are 10 more that will be available better than what we have.

    1. If the Phillies are willing to give Will Smith at least 2 years $20M, it’ll get done. Giles is under contract with the Blue Jays so you will have to trade for him. Diekman has had a terrible year, and he hasn’t posted a WAR above 1 since 2016. Soon to be 33, you wonder how much Diekman has left.

    1. Yes and Connie Mac-intosh has Pirela batting 5th and playing LF tonight in his lineup. Guess S Rod wasn’t available…

  115. Guru, I would do that deal for Will Smith. The other BP arm will take a little more research. I believe, though, that new hitting and pitching coaches, a TOR and BP upgrades make us a Playoff team next year. I think both Rhys and Kingery have good years, Segura goes up 15 points, minimum, in his BA and the team puts together a better bench than they did this year. Maybe an optimistic view, and getting a TOR and BP upgrades is a little more difficult than me just saying we need them, but we have the $ to get it done, and I believe the Owner has the willingness. And, I would take Joe Madden in a second.

  116. 3 more HRs in 3 innings tonight. Our Pitchers already zoomed past the team record for HRs allowed. And, you can blame the ball, but our offense must not get to hit the same ball.

  117. realize Phils have had a bunch of injuries, but how are the Cards and Brewers doing so well?
    For St. Louis, Goldschmidt has been good but not great, Carpenter has been terrible, Molina and Ozuna missed a month plus, Dejong has power but a .210 hitter since the break, they lost Hicks for the year, Mikolas has disappointed.
    Differences are Flaherty and Hudson took the strides we hoped VV and Pivetta would, and Wainwright has pitched the way we hoped Arrietta might.

    Brewers surging without Yelich, got nothing out of Travis Shaw all year, and were without their best starting pitcher for almost 2 months, trotting out Davies, Gio, Lyles, Anderson and Chacin and in position to be the first wildcard- impressive.

  118. It hurts to see Carlos Santana and Howie Kendrick tearing it up in their post-red pinstripe careers. Just a painful reminder that something is missing here in Philadelphia. They leave, they thrive. Is it the water?

    1. It’s really that simple – a manager and coaches are here to put players in a position to succeed and get the most out of them they can. If Gabe and friends have proved one thing it’s that people come here and get worse, they leave and get better, and they stay and tread water at best. He can be smart, creative, outside the box, and 50 more great traits, but if a manager in any field, in any industry, is defined by that performance track record, nothing else matters.

      1. Two straight Septembers of abysmal, lifeless baseball. All things considered, what can possibly be the upside for 2020 with this cast and crew?

      2. Howie Kendrick player here for 39 games in 2017. Gabe Kapler started managing here in 2018.

        Also Kendrick hit .340/.397/.851 OPS when here. He was traded to give younger players PT.

        Also blaming the manager for a veteran hitter having a down year is silly. It happens everywhere throughout the history of baseball.

        The strongest argument against the management trifecta is what they did to the SPs. They bet on a different system (copied from other successful teams) and it backfired terribly.

    2. To be fair … Howie Kendrick was very good (excellent) in his half season with the Phillies. He slashed .340/.397/.454 while here.

      1. That’s true. Fair enough.

        But let’s think about what’s ahead. Joe Maddon entered 2019 as a lame duck manager in Chicago, knowing it was more than likely he wasn’t returning because the ivy dried up for him at Wrigley. Is Gabe Kapler really going to enter 2020 as a lame duck because Klentak couldn’t persuade John Middleton to extend him? Point being, who enters his final year of his contract without an extension and comes back the following year? Mattingly took a pay cut in order to keep managing the Marlins. And why would Miami bring in a new guy before they’re even close to contention. If there is any urgency on the owner’s part to get this show moving forward, why tread water with the same brand of baseball which has gotten old real fast?

  119. He needs to fire all three and start over. He has given these guys long enough and the results are not there. He needs to treat this as if he has a blank sheet of paper starting from scratch. If that was the case and you could hire anyone you wanted, would you pick Gabe MacKlentak? No, no, and no.

    1. I’m okay with a clean sweep of the front office but I highly doubt it happens. I definitely think something happens, if only for the sake of public unrest, and Kapler would most likely be the one to go, deservedly (alone) or not.

  120. Were in the age of analytics and not expensive managers… I’m not sure the market for Maddon and his $5 mil/yr. asking price is that deep. Not saying he can’t coach, he can. It’s just organizations are discounting “old school” managers for the young cost reduced analytics guys.. So if the Phillies will pay his price Maddon will likely be there..

    1. I don’t believe Maddon is an old school manager. He may be “old” but I think he’s pretty forward in his thinking and is creative.

      1. I’m not sure Maddon is huge analytics guy as say in comparison to Hinch and the Astros.. Yet we agree he can coach and would make an immediate impact in the Phillies W column… Probably a dumb question but is there a WAR metric for coaches?

        1. I’m not aware of it if it does but that’s actually a really good idea. Some type of measure comparing actual to projection.

    2. Agree.
      If Middleton is willing to cough up the money, Maddon will sign on.
      Personally, I think Klentak will not be the deciding guy in the hiring this time.
      Kapler was his hire and Middleton/McPhail gave him the reins….not this time…he will be there in the interviews but that is it.

      1. I agree that Klentak’s humble pie this time around will be in NOT being the man in hiring the new skipper.

        1. I am sure Matt K. will have the opportunity to join in the discussion during the interview process, and provide his input and they will be taken into consideration…..but Midd/MacPhail will probably be the ones to make the call.

          1. Personally I think that a GM unilaterally hiring the manager presents a potential conflict of interest and a lack of checks and balances of power within the front office. Yes, GM and manager need to communicate and collaborate, but if they are in lockstep on most things, it could be a problem. Three heads are better than two. A VP of baseball operations would serve as the kind of tie breaker when GM and manager respectfully disagree over an important matter. Just my opinion.

            1. If Middleton no longer trusts Klentak to hire a manager then he needs to fire him. Where does it end? Is Middleton going to let Klentak spend his money on FA’s? Is he going to let Klentak trade the club’s prospects?

              I’ve already posted Middleton should replace MacPhail with Chaim Bloom, and let Bloom run the baseball operations department. That would leave the fates of Klentak and Kapler in Bloom’s hands.

              Having said all this … I still believe Middleton gives this group one more year.

            2. Hinkie, I couldn’t agree more, if you don’t trust one to make decisions, it’s time to hire someone you do.

            3. We all know how much Middleton thought of Klentak around the time of the Harper signing, proclaiming him to be one of the best GM’s in baseball. I doubt he’s about faced completely. So my guess is there will be a “message” move to shake up the love shack between Klentak and Kapler.

            4. Yeah I’m in the camp of firing all three but I think the likelihood’s of what he’ll actually do are as follows:

              1) Fire only Kapler
              2) Fire Kapler, MacPhail moves to advisory role, and he hires a new President (who likely keeps Klentak)
              3) All three come back via a full vote of confidence
              4) MacPhail fires Klentak and Kapler

            5. Middleton just gave MacPhail and Klentak extensions five months ago….he will not fire either.
              MacPhail could retire, but doubt that will happen since he has a salary noe for three more years.
              Gabe is the one I see going….and he probably already knows his fate, he has been around baseball for 20 plus years and has seen this played many times..
              He is even started growing his beard early for the off-season..

  121. As it stands now, the Phillies will be drafting 15th in next June’s Rule 4 draft.
    Hopefully they will be taking a close scouting look at the 6/7 SEC live arms and Friday night starters this spring…..Hancock, RHP, Georgia ….Asa Lacy, LHP, Tex A&M….. Ginn, RHP, Miss St…. Wilcox, RHP, Georgia……Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, S. Carolina…..Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn.
    Wilcox probably has the best velo……and probably one non-SEC guy to hope drops to 15 is e Reid Detmers, LHP, of Louisville, who could still be there at 15.

      1. Romus … I’m already/have been very excited for the 2020 draft. This upcoming class should be one of the strongest groups available in the past 10 years. It’s going to be very strong on college arms and HS bats, but there are also a handful of college bats who could be in play at 1-15 or 1-16 if the new Scouting Director follows the Johnny Almaraz playbook.
        I mentioned Brian Bridges (above) as a guy who should be front and center in the Phillies pursuit of a new Scouting Director. He (like Johnny A) worked for Atlanta as a scout and then Scouting Director. Bridges has a stellar record on picking pitchers.

        I like Lacy (#16 on Fangraphs BOARD) and Detmers (#32 on the BOARD). I also love DBU’s Burl Carraway (#85).
        Hopefully, Matt Klentak can (finally) deal for a competitive balance draft pick because it looks like the club is going to lose (at least) a second rounder for the third year in a row by signing a TOR pitcher (Cole or Wheeler or Bumgarner) this winter.

        1. Hinkie…..”Hopefully, Matt Klentak can (finally) deal for a competitive balance draft pick…..”…you and me both, but I have grown to doubt his capabilities or foresight to see the benefit in that plan.

  122. a couple of things as we wait for the official end of the season, although we knew we were not a Playoff team a while ago. I pretty much was fed up when we had the SD game that Gabe was so proud of when the side struck out in the 9th vs. Yates. Anyway, MacPhail has already distanced himself from the Gabe hire. He told Klentak to be careful because a GM only gets so many Managers. A move to Madden has to come from Middleton. I would love to see Cahim Bloom here and Middleton clean house, but I fear we have to suffer through another season like this one to get that. Draft wise, I am waiting for Hinkie’s analysis. I hope we get the best available College Pitcher.

    1. Klentak is no dummy. He knows that as the GM with no past successful experience, he has at most 2 manager hires before he gets canned. So when/if Gabe gets canned, he will need to make the right choice or else.

  123. As this general discussion thread rolls over into this week, I’m reminded that Jim probably has much more urgent matters to tend to. Just taking a moment to let you know you and your wife remain on our minds and in our prayers.

    1. I second that. God bless and sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. See you at spring training.Hang in there.

  124. Jim…………you are in our thoughts and prayers throughout the weeks. We wish very much for your wife to be well and wholesome again. May God bless you and strengthen you both.

  125. With the end of the year coming to a close, I’m looking ahead.

    Outside the box thinking, but … I’ve seen this a few times and it is interesting enough to pursue


    Trade Hoskins,Moniak, and Medina in a package for an SP

    Resign Dickerson, and bring in Rendon,extend Realmuto, sign bullpen pieces

    Kingery – 2B
    McCutchen/Haseley- CF
    Harper – RF
    Rendon -3B
    Bohm – 1B
    Realmuto – C
    Segura -SS
    Dickerson – LF

    Franco, Cehe .. do what you’d like with. If they fit on payroll, bench players.

    This is a win now move, that needs a trade for a good SP, with Howard developing. The key is also
    To ramp up the drafting.

    Money wise it will be tough, but should be doable until the young guys can start flowing in – Stott… & …. OK they may need to move mccutchen. Hopefully herrera’s Contract can be voided but I don’t think so

    1. I’m tracking with you, Tac3. Tricky part of dealing Hoskins is whether you’re selling low on him, or simply getting that TOR you are targeting and letting it fly. Bohm is already getting reps at 1b in the AFL.

      If we can’t/don’t sign Cole, then spend some of that money on Rendon which may actually require less years and $$$. As much as I hold out hope for Moniak, I’d be ready to pull the trigger on that type of high impact deal.

      1. As the season ends. How do I get along without Romus, and 8mark remarks,? I hope I can last the winter

        1. Rocco, some trade scenarios for you, to get top tier perching

          Kingery & Moniak headline one trade with Hoskins and Medina headlining another.

          Phillies resign/extend Cehe and Dickerson, bring in Rendon 🙂

      2. I went to Reading a few times this year and follow the Fightin’s on TV and in the boxscores. I’ve seen Bohm at 1B more than a few times. No problem at all. At first people on here said………….they are just getting him abs. I’m not so sure on that anymore. I think when they send someone to the AFL they probably send some instructs on how they want their property used. Maybe they see Bohm as a first basemen, what does the group think? The DH has to come to the NL. If Rhys is still here you have your DH and backup 1B. Yeah, sign Rendon.

        1. This is true, the DH is likely to becoming. If/when this happens, it would give me pause in the overall deal, but for the sake of continuing down this thought/road…

          It may sound pipe dreamish, but I’m not sure Rendon walks away from WAS. That would be two years in a row, lol, and likely the best way to beat the nats going forward.

          I’d hate to trade
          Moniak and Hoskins … it would hurt, but for a sure thing … and a crowded OF, I’d have to pull the trigger if it’s for that TOR we can’t seem to grow faster than once every decade.

  126. Speaking of being BOLD, Gabe going with Brad “the Bamboo Bambino” Miller in that cleanup spot today. He should easily repeat that 2 HR performance from last week, right?

    1. That reminds me of a title for the upcoming 2019 Phillies highlight film – “From Bamboo to Driftwood”.

  127. I wouldn’t read too much into the Bohm at 1B having meaning. I think the Phils new approach just values positional flexibility.

  128. MLB draft rules go with the rare exception that high school bats drop and college one’s rise..Bobby Witt this was the rare exception this year..I’ll be interested in watching the college arms next spring… A friend at USA Baseball gave me some feedback on some of the more prominent college arms that were on this years USA Baseball College team and the comments ranged from interesting to concerning..

  129. I want to give some praise to Bryce Harper as we end this season this week. We are talking about a 26 year old YOUNG man who has in the past 12 months been in the microscope of free agency rumors, moved to a new city, started playing for a new team, with sky high expectations, while being the husband to his pregnant wife, becoming a dad for the first time, all while getting booed in visiting stadiums all across the country, sometimes brutally nasty comments being thrown his way, trying to carry a franchise on his back to the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, all with massive expectations on his individual performance.

    A year ago this time, I have to admit I thought of Bryce (not knowing him) as cocky, self centered, and immature. Today I sit here thinking of him as humble, giving, and mature. The way he handled all of the above at his age can’t really be complimented enough. I sure know at 26 I couldn’t have done it, or anything close to it. He has been a good citizen, a good teammate, respectful to the city and fans, and an all around class act. He and his family should be very proud.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better, BB. He and Realmuto are two excellent guys to have as team leaders going forward.

    2. 100% agree with Buddy.
      For me … Harper, on the diamond this year, gets an “A”.
      Harper, off the field, gets an “A+”.

      1. Agreed – they totally made the right choice over Machado who would already be a villain here. Harper’s good people.

    3. 100% agree Buddy..he gets it. Mature beyond his years for all the pressure expectations and downright nastiness from a lot of fans around the league. I hope his family reads your post! I know when someone says nice things about Mickey it goes Way Beyond the baseball field and means a lot.

      1. Ditto all the positive comments on Harper. He has been superb as a player and ambassador for the Phillies and for baseball.

  130. As frustrating as Hoskns season has been in 2019……thinking about to a recent prior cleanup hitter in Phillies uniform, and with a similar batting approaches,
    Hoskins is still a bit above Pat Burrell’s worst season as a Phillie.

    Pat Burrell:

    Hoskins: up to last 10 games of the season.
    2019….slash-.230/367/.467…PAs -677…OPS+-114…K-25%…BB-17%…ISO-.237…wRC+-116

    No doubt, Hoskins will feel the pressure next season to better these metrics.

    1. If there was ever a player in need of an offseason … it is Rhys Hoskins.
      It’s similar to Cole Hamels (in 2009 when he openly admitted he was looking forward to the season to end).

      1. I believe he’s tying the knot this winter if I’m not mistaken. Maybe that’ll settle him down? (At least for a while?)

    2. Think Hoskins struggled with the expectations that came with the addition of Harper to the line-up. He and Harper were both going to be 40/100 guys in the middle of the line-up and lead the team to the post season.

      As the year continued, he has become more pull happy with more upper-cut in his swing. He’s also been a victim of the overall ML trend to throw fastballs up in the zone. His early numbers showed him to be an extremely good low-ball hitter but he doesn’t see many strikes below the waist anymore. He needs to adjust..

  131. I totally agree with Buddy. I think Harper had a very good year. I think he was excellent defensively and proved to be a terrific teammate and Philly citizen. I think if Cutch did not get hurt, his year would have been even better. I also feel the frustration with Rhys, and his numbers after the All Star break are simply bad. But, I really believe he would benefit from some time off, then time with a good Hitting Coach. I love Charlie, but I don’t think he wants that job going forward. Rhys needs to be more aggressive early in counts, and use the opposite field more. But, I am not giving up on him. I need Bohm to prove he cannot stay at 3B, so I am not investing in Rendon. My money, speaking for Middleton, of course, goes to Gerrit Cole. My approach is, if a Pitcher helps get me to the Playoffs for the next 4-5 years, and I win a WS in one of them, I don’t care about year 6. I do exactly for Cole what I wouldn’t do for Corbin.

    1. IMO, Rhys needs to be more like Alonso aggressive.
      When I look at Alonso’s hitting…he goes out and attacks the ball where it is pitched.
      Granted his K rate is a tick above Rhys’ and his BB rate is 5 points lower.
      Now when it comes to RISP….Rhys’ BA is .221 and Alonso’s BA is .250
      So there are trade-offs from being patient vs being aggressive.

    2. Agree, on the allocation for Cole vs Corbin. Cole is a true Ace, Corbin is a 1B/2A. Cole has taken it to another level, he is the Halladay/Lee of this title window.

      To sign Cole, you need to throw caution into the wind and just do it, if not, some other team definitely will. I can see the Yankees making a big play for him.

  132. Interesting parallel between the ’79 Phillies with newly signed free agent Pete Rose, who had himself a fine season but the team took a step backward, costing manager Danny Ozark his job, before the 1980 world series championship. Flash forward to 2019. Bryce Harper has a very productive first season after signing as a free agent, while the rest of the team lags behind him. Whether it costs the manager’s job this time around remains to be seen.

  133. so the only question left for the season. Do we have a winning record?? I’m predicting a push at 81-81.

    1. I doubt that Middleton is undecided at this point, but if he needs a single straw to break his back, a <=.500 record might do it.

  134. So three contracts worth a billion dollars over their life, are going to be watching the play-offs…..Bryce, Manny and Mike T.

  135. If the boys get swept by the Nationals and drop 2 out of 3 to the Marlins, they will end up with the same record as last year. That would be pretty disgraceful. If that be the case, Kaplan is a goner.

  136. This was a grind, and very disappointing. We went out meekly and weakly, with 18 up and down to end the game against an allegedly poor BP. 8mark, the Phils prior to Pete had some very good years, and just couldn’t get over the hump. We are not there yet, and there seem to be a lot of holes to fill. I can’t wait to hear John Middleton address the media. I hope they leave MacPhail at home.

  137. In his post game comments, Kapler sounds like he’s either been told already that he’s returning with mere rhetoric, or desperately pleading his case to John Middleton via the media.

  138. The Cardinals drafted in the 6th round in 2016 a player from Stanford named Tommy Edman. Switch hitter, could player every infield position except catcher… Made good progress through their farm system but he didn’t skip levels so no over-night sensation. By the time he was called up in July due to player injuries the assessment was he was a good fielder that wouldn’t embarrass the club with his bat. After nearly 200 AB’s he has 11 HR’s and he’s batting .298 with a 3.5 WAR. And he’s played 2nd, SS, 3rd and RF all very, very well. All for the MLB minimum. Please Phillies find these gems in 2020…

    1. Edman….was not even a top 30 prospect in their system last year.
      Phillies could have someone like that in Nick Maton if he gets off next season on a good footing.

  139. From Jeff Skversky, the 2019 Phillies record when trailing:
    After 6 innings, 7-60
    After 7 innings, 3-65
    After 8 innings, 3-64

    Says a lot about how much the really “scratched and clawed” under the manager. Nobody has heard any players throw Gabe under the bus, but has anybody heard any players publicly support him? From where I’ve sat, it didn’t appear they played for him, hustle or no hustle.

  140. Jim Salisbury was just on 97.5, stating that from the “vibe” he’s getting, it seems MacPhail and Klentak are returning while the big question mark hovers over Kapler.

  141. I just can’t listen to Gabe. I really am tired of hearing that his guys give effort and really work at it, today’s added bonus was “maybe they try too hard.” Sorry, Gabe, this is the Majors. They get pad, not for their efforts, but for their results. 8mark showed numbers that indicate we don’t grind and claw, because those teams find a way to win ballgames at a much better rate than 7 out of 60 games trailing after 6 innings. Those teams get commended, not us who failed. You do not get applauded in the Big Leagues for trying hard, you get applauded for winning. Now, I am not blaming Kapler for the way this team was constructed. There are clearly big holes, and that is Klentak’s fault. But, I just can’t stand listening to his Tony Robbins platitudes when this season was an abject failure.