$4.3 Million (formerly $19.4 and $42.5)

UPDATED (12/10):  The numbers were updated after the Gregorius signing.  They reflect his salary and AAV.  I have included TWO additional minor league players (Gamboa and Grullon) to more accurately calculate the Phillies sayary against the tax threshold.  With Robertson and Herrera on the active roster, the Phillies are essentially fielding a 28-man roster.  I’ll drop G and G off if/when the Phillies fill in their remaining two bench spots.

UPDATED (12/4): The numbers were updated after the Wheeler signing.  They reflect his salary and AAV.  I dropped one of the minor league estimated salaries from the 26-man roster to come up with the new calculation under the tax threshold.

Okay, the Phillies non-tendered Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco, and tendered six other arbitration eligible players.  They also agreed to a $710K, one-year deal with Andrew Knapp who was entering his first of four arb years.  In addition, the Phillies claimed RHP Trevor Kelley off waivers.

We now have a pretty good idea of the payroll on the books going forward.  By my estimate, they have $42.5M available to sign free agents.  I have extracted a portion of my spread sheet and pasted it below.  It contains the name, position, remaining options, truncated contract information, 2020 salary (bold for actual, italics for estimates), 2020 AAV (same bold and italics), and estimated future salaries from MLBTR/CBA.

Among the 38 players on the 40-man roster below, I excluded 12 so that a payroll for a 26-man roster cost could calculated.  (Those excluded are irrelevant for this discussion, so don’t get hung up on the players.)

Don’t get your panties in an uproar over the Knapp signing.  Instead, consider all the position player signings I’ve seen in the comments section the past couple weeks and explain how those can be accomplished AND the starting pitching upgraded with just the $42.5M the Phillies have available.

Keep in mind that the Phillies have NEVER exceeded the tax threshold AND have never approached the tax ceiling prior to the beginning of any season.

I posted a comment last week that you all may not have seen.  It addressed a scenario that may diminish the likelihood that the Phillies will blow past the tax threshold.  It had to do with Realmuto’s extension.  I think the Realmuto tender is consistent with this possible outcome.  The comment –

It’s not the $ and it’s not the length. It’s the timing. Phillies want to keep his arb year AAV down, so they have $ and flexibility this season. They want to come to an agreement with Realmuto that will keep the AAV low for the 2020 season, and then, give him the big “extension” in 2021.

There is a provision in the CBA (Article XXIII, Competive Ballance Tax, Section G. Other Undertakings), where a team can do such. It’s a lot of legalese, but seems to say that the parties can enter into such a deal 1) if a contract is in place (there will be one in place after the arb hearing whether by agreement between the parties or by the decision of the arbiter) and 2) if a new contract is agreed to after opening day of the contract season.

So, for the sake of discussion, JT wants 5/$100M. The Phillies would like to avoid a $20M AAV hit in 2020. If the Phillies and Realmuto agree to a $10M deal (or if the arbiter selects one of the bids that happens to be $10M for this discussion), a contract will be in place. A $10M AAV will be set for 2020. Then if they agree to a new contract after the 2020 season starts whose term begins in 2021 for 4/$90M, then JT gets his 5/$100 over the life of both contracts and the Phillies get the salary relief they need until big contracts drop off after the 2020 season.

Why would the Phillies be trying to legally beat the CBT? I think it indicates that they are not going to exceed the “cap”. If people want to believe that the Phillies are going to exceed the “cap” with nothing to support such a belief, that’s their prerogative. However, I believe this is a strong evidence that they do not at this time plan to exceed the “cap”.

I have also included MLBTR’s estimated contracts for their top 50+ free agents.

Some other things to remember are –

  • Until some action dictates otherwise, Odubel Herrera is still on the roster.
  • Signing a player does not preclude optioning him to Lehigh or even Reading.
  • Robertson can’t go on the 60-IL until the season starts, and his contract still counts against the tax threshold.
  • Quinn might be heading to the IL before spring training ends.
  • And, right now, our projected rotation from the Phillies site is Nola, Arrieta, Eflin, Velasquez, and blank.  They only list a 4-man rotation (and a 12-man bullpen).
  • Oh, when Arrieta’s salary drops off the books in 2021, part of it has always been expected to cover Realmuto’s extension.  So, the whole of it can’t be expected to cover an expensive free agent this season.


Player Pos. Options Contract Information 2020 Salary 2020 AAV Estimates
Harper rf 1 / 3 13 yr/$330M $27,538,462 $25,384,615
Wheeler rhp 5 yr/$118M $23,600,000 $23,600,000
Arrieta rhp 1 / 3 2 yr/$55M $20,000,000 $25,000,000
McCutchen lf 3 / 3 3 yr/$50M $17,000,000 $16,666,667
Segura ss 2 / 3 5 yr/$70M $14,850,000 $14,000,000
Bruce rf 3 / 3 3 yr/$39M $14,000,000 $13,000,000
Gregorius ss 1 yr/$14M $14,000,000 $14,000,000
Robertson rhp 2 / 3 2 yr/$23M $11,000,000 $11,500,000
Nola rhp 3 / 3 4 yr/$45M $8,500,000 $11,250,000
Herrera cf 3 / 3 5 yr/$30.5M $7,350,000 $6,100,000
Kingery 2b 3 / 3 6 yr/$24M $1,750,000 $4,000,000
Realmuto c 2 / 3 Arb 3 of 3 $10,300,000 $10,300,000 $10,300,000
Alvarez lhp 0 / 3 Arb 3 of 3 $3,000,000 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Neris rhp 0 / 3 Arb 2 of 3 $4,700,000 $4,700,000 $4,700,000
Velasquez rhp 2 / 3 Arb 2 of 3 $3,900,000 $3,900,000 $3,900,000
Morgan lhp 0 / 3 Arb 2 of 3 $1,600,000 $1,600,000 $1,600,000
Eflin rhp 1 / 3 Arb 1 of 3 $3,000,000 $3,000,000 $3,000,000
Knapp c 3 / 3 Arb 1 of 4 $710,000 $710,000 $800,000
Pivetta rhp 1 / 3 Pre-arb $607,500 $607,500 $607,500
Hoskins 1b 3 / 3 Pre-arb $584,000 $584,000 $584,000
Williams rf 1 / 3 Pre-arb $584,000 $584,000 $584,000
Arano rhp 3 / 3 Pre-arb $579,000 $579,000 $579,000
Dominguez rhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $573,000 $573,000 $573,000
Quinn of 0 / 3 Pre-arb $568,000 $568,000 $568,000
Stock rhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $568,000 $568,000 $568,000
Davis lhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $574,000 $574,000 $574,000
De Los Santos rhp 1 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Gamboa ss 2 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000 $564,000 $564,000
Garcia rhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Grullon c 3 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000 $564,000 $564,000
Hammer rhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Haseley of 3 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000 $564,000 $564,000
Irvin lhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Medina rhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Suarez lhp 1 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Cleavinger lhp 3 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Kelley rhp 2 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Llovera rhp 3 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Romero lhp 3 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Sanchez lhp 3 / 3 Pre-arb $564,000
Bruce Paid by Seattle ($12,625,000) ($11,625,000)
40-man players-minors $2,250,000
Est. Player Benefits $15,000,000
Projected 40-man CBT Payroll $203,665,782
CB Tax Threshold $208,000,000
Amount under threshold $4,334,218
Running Payroll Total $180,502,962
25-man Opening Day Payroll


Top 50 Free Agents Pos. Age on 6/30/20 Estimated Contract 2020 AAV 2020 Salary
Gerrit Cole RHP-s 29 8 yr/$256M $36M Declined $17.8M QO; signed 9 yr/$324 M w/Yankees
Anthony Rendon 3B 30 7 yr/$235M Declined $17.8M QO
Stephen Strasburg RHP-s 31 6 yr/$180M $35M Declined $17.8M QO; signed 7/yr/$245M w/Nationals
Zack Wheeler RHP-s 30 5 yr/$100M $23.6M Declined $17.8M QO; signed 5 yr/$118M w/Phillies
Josh Donaldson 3B 34 3 yr/$75M Declined $17.8M QO
Madison Bumgarner LHP-s 30 4 yr/$72M Declined $17.8M QO
Yasmani Grandal C 31 4 yr/$68M $18.25M Signed 4 yr/$73M w/White Sox
Nicholas Castellanos RF 28 4 yr/$58M
Hyun Jin Ryu LHP-s 33 3 yr/$54M
Jake Odorizzi RHP-s 30 3 yr/$51M $17.8M Accepted $17.8M QO w/Twins
Marcell Ozuna LF 29 3 yr/$45M Declined $17.8M QO
Didi Gregorius SS 30 3 yr/$42M $14M Signed 1 yr/$14M w/Phillies
Will Smith LHP 30 3 yr/$42M $13.3M Declined $17.8 M QO; signed 3 yr/$40M w/ Braves
Dallas Keuchel LHP-s 32 3 yr/$39M
Cole Hamels LHP-s 36 2 yr/$30M $18M Signed 1 yr/$18M w/Braves
Jose Abreu 1B 33 2 yr/$28M $17.8M Accepted $17.8M QO w/White Sox
Michael Pineda RHP-s 30 2 yr/$22M $10M Signed 2 yr/$20M w/Twins
Mike Moustakas 3B 31 2 yr/$20M $16M Signed 4 yr/$64M w/Reds
Kyle Gibson RHP-s 32 2 yr/$18M $10M Signed 3 yr/$30M w/Rangers
Tanner Roark RHP-s 33 2 yr/$18M
Julio Teheran RHP-s 29 2 yr/$18M
Will Harris RHP 35 2 yr/$18M
Drew Pomeranz LHP 30 2 yr/$16M $8.5M Signed 4 yr/$34M w/Padres
Wade Miley LHP-s 32 2 yr/$16M
Corey Dickerson LF 31 2 yr/$15M
Travis d’Arnaud C 31 2 yr/$14M $8M Signed 2 yr/$16M w/Braves
Chris Martin RHP 33 2 yr/$14M $7M Signed 2 yr/$14M w/Braves
Daniel Hudson RHP 32 2 yr/$12M
Avisail Garcia RF 28 2 yr/$12M
Howie Kendrick 1B 36 2 yr/$12M $6.25M Signed 1 yr/$6.25M w/Nationals
Rick Porcello RHP-s 30 1 yr/$11M
Brett Gardner LF 36 1 yr/$10M
Robinson Chirinos C 35 2 yr/$10M
Jason Castro C 32 2 yr/$10M
Craig Stammen RHP 35 2 yr/$10M
Steve Cishek RHP 33 2 yr/$10M
Yasiel Puig OF 29 1 yr/$8M
Edwin Encarnacion DH 37 1 yr/$8M
Alex Wood LHP-s 28 1 yr/$8M
Adam Wainwright RHP-s 38 1 yr/$8M $5M Signed 1 yr/$5m w/Cardinals
Brock Holt INF/OF 32 2 yr/$8M
Josh Lindblom RHP 32 2 yr/$8M
Dellin Betances RHP 31 1 yr/$7M
Kole Calhoun RF 32 1 yr/$6M
Shogo Akiyama CF 31 2 yr/$6M
Rich Hill LHP-s 39 1 yr/$6M
Michael Wacha RHP-s 28 1 yr/$6M
Ivan Nova RHP-s 32 1 yr/$6M
Pedro Strop RHP 34 1 yr/$5M
Drew Smyly LHP-s 30 1 yr/$3M
Honorable Mentions:
Brett Anderson LHP-s 31
Todd Frazier 3B 33
Brandon Kintzler RHP 35
Martin Perez LHP-s 28
Starlin Castro 2B 29
Jonathan Schoop 2B 28
Ben Zobrist 2B 39
Eric Thames 1B 33
Hunter Pence OF 37
Jordan Lyles RHP-s 29
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo OF 28
Homer Bailey RHP-s 33
Eric Sogard 2B 33
Gio Gonzalez LHP-s 34
Jose Iglesias SS 29
And the Rest:
Alex Avila C 33 $4.25M Signed 1 yr/$4.25M w/Twins
Welington Castillo C 33
Francisco Cervelli C 34
Tim Federowicz C 32
Dustin Garneau C 32 $650K Signed 1 yr/$650K w/Astros
Yan Gomes C 32 $5M Signed 2 yr/$10m w/Nationals
Chris Herrmann C 32
John Hicks C/1B 30
Bryan Holaday C 32
Nick Hundley C 36
Chris Iannetta C 37
Jonathan Lucroy C 34
Martin Maldonado C 33
Russell Martin C 37
Austin Romine C 31
Jesus Sucre C 32
Blake Swihart C/OF 28
Stephen Vogt C 35 $3m Signed 1 yr/$3M w/Diamondbacks
Matt Wieters C 34
Matt Adams 1B 31
Yonder Alonso 1B/DH 33
Tyler Austin 1B/LF 28 Japan
Justin Bour 1B 32 Japan
Lucas Duda 1B/DH 34
Wilmer Flores 1B/2B 28
Logan Forsythe INF 33
Ryon Healy 1B/3B 28
Kendrys Morales 1B 37
Mitch Moreland 1B 34
Gerardo Parra 1B/OF 33 Japan
Steve Pearce 1B 37
Martin Prado 1B/3B 36
Mark Reynolds 1B 36
Pablo Sandoval 1B/3B 33
Justin Smoak 1B/DH 33
Neil Walker INF 34
Ryan Zimmerman 1B 35
Gordon Beckham 2B/SS 33
Asdrubal Cabrera 2B/3B 34
Brian Dozier 2B 33
Scooter Gennett 2B 30
Ryan Goins INF 32 Signed 1 yr/MiLB w/Athletics
Phil Gosselin 2B/SS 31
Josh Harrison 2B 32 Signed 1 yr/MiLB w/Phillies
Adeiny Hechavarria 2B/SS 31
Jason Kipnis 2B 33
Brad Miller INF/OF 30
Nunez, Eduardo 2B/3B 33
Chris Owings 2B/OF 28
Joe Panik 2B 29
Perez, Hernan INF 29
Jace Peterson 2B/OF 30
Yangervis Solarte 2B/3B 32
Devon Travis 2B 29
Jordy Mercer SS 33
Sean Rodriguez SS 35
Jedd Gyorko 3B 31
Jung Ho Kang 3B 33
Spangenberg 3B 29
Aaron Altherr OF 29 Signed 1 yr/$1M w/Korea
Peter Bourjos OF 33
Rajai Davis OF 39
Carlos Gomez OF 34
Carlos Gonzalez OF 34
Alex Gordon LF 36
Curtis Granderson OF 39
Gorkys Hernandez OF 32
Jon Jay OF 35
Matt Joyce OF 35
Matt Kemp OF 35
Cameron Maybin OF 33
Cesar Puello OF 29
Keon Broxton CF 30 Signed 1 yr/MiLB w/Brerwers
Jarrod Dyson OF 35
Billy Hamilton CF 29
Adam Jones OF 34
Juan Lagares CF 31
Leonys Martin CF 32
Charlie Tilson OF 27
Melky Cabrera OF 35
Lonnie Chisenhall RF 31
Kendrys Morales DH 37
Hanley Ramirez DH 36
Mark Trumbo DH 34
Clay Buchholz RHP-s 35
Jhoulys Chacin RHP-s 32
Jerad Eickhoff RHP-s 29
Marco Estrada RHP-s 36
Kendall Graveman RHP-s 29 $1.5M Signed 1 yr/$1.5M w/Mariners
Matt Harvey RHP-s 31
Jeremy Hellickson RHP-s 33
Felix Hernandez RHP-s 34
Derek Holland LHP/s 33
Edwin Jackson RHP/s 36
Shelby Miller RHP-s 29
Matt Moore LHP-s 31
JC Ramirez RHP-s 31
Clayton Richard LHP-s 36
Tyson Ross RHP-s 33
Danny Salazar RHP-s 30
Kohl Stewart RHP-s 25
Dan Straily RHP/s 31
Jason Vargas LHP-s 37
Gabriel Ynoa RHP-s 27
Matt Albers RHP 37
Victor Alcantara RHP 27
Cody Allen RHP 31
Tony Barnette RHP 36
Kyle Barraclough RHP 30
Chad Bettis RHP/s 31
Brad Brach RHP 34 $850K Signed 1 yr/$850K w/Mets
Trevor Cahill RHP/s 32
Andrew Cashner RHP/s 33
Tyler Clippard RHP 35
A.J. Cole RHP 28 Signed 1 yr/MiLB w/Blue Jays
Sam Dyson RHP 32
Carl Edwards Jr. RHP 28 $950K Signed 1 yr/$950K w/Mariners
Luis Garcia RHP 33
Cory Gearrin RHP 34
Luke Gregerson RHP 36
David Hale RHP 32
David Hernandez RHP 35
Yoshihisa Hirano RHP 36
Greg Holland RHP 34
Jared Hughes RHP 34
Tommy Hunter RHP 33
Jay Jackson RHP 32 Japan
Jeremy Jeffress RHP 32
Nate Jones RHP 34
Shawn Kelley RHP 36
Collin McHugh RHP 33
Justin Miller RHP 33 Signed 1 yr/MiLB w/Blue Jays
Shelby Miller RHP 29
Juan Minaya RHP 29
Mike Morin RHP 29
Brandon Morrow RHP 35
Pat Neshek RHP 39
Juan Nicasio RHP 33
Darren O’Day RHP 37 $2.25M Signed 1 yr/$2.25 w/Braves
Dan Otero RHP 35
Blake Parker RHP 35
Wily Peralta RHP 31
David Phelps RHP 33
Erasmo Ramirez RHP 30
Neil Ramirez RHP 31
Edubray Ramos RHP 27
Addison Reed RHP 31
Fernando Rodney RHP 43
Sergio Romo RHP 37
Hector Rondon RHP 32
Trevor Rosenthal RHP 30
Joe Smith RHP 36
Anthony Swarzak RHP 34
Tyler Thornburg RHP 31
Josh Tomlin RHP 35
Nick Vincent RHP 33
Arodys Vizcaino RHP 29
Adam Warren RHP 32
Dan Winkler RHP 30 $563.5K Signed 1 yr/$563.5K w/Cubs
Mike Wright RHP 30 Korea
Luis Avilan LHP 30
Jerry Blevins LHP 36
Buddy Boshers LHP 32
Tony Cingrani LHP 30
Ross Detwiler LHP/s 34
Jake Diekman LHP 33 $3.75M Signed 2 yr/$7.5 w/Athletics
Zach Duke LHP 37
Mike Dunn LHP 35
Robbie Erlin LHP 29
Brian Flynn LHP 30
Matt Grace LHP 31
Blaine Hardy LHP 33 Signed 1 yr/MiLB w/Twins
Wade LeBlanc LHP 35
Francisco Liriano LHP 36
Aaron Loup LHP 32
Tyler Lyons LHP 32
Tommy Milone LHP 33
Tyler Olson LHP 30
Zac Rosscup LHP 32
Chris Rusin LHP 33
Hector Santiago LHP 32
Chasen Shreve LHP 29
Tony Sipp LHP 36
Daniel Stumpf LHP 29
Jonny Venters LHP 35
WeiChung Wang LHP 28
Tyler Flowers C $4M Signed 1 yr/$4M w/Braves
Nick Markakis RF $4M Signed 1 yr/$4M w/Braves
Tyler Anderson LHP-s 30 1 yr/$ unknown w/Giants
Alex Claudio LHP 28 $1.75M Signed 1 yr/$1.75M w/Brewers
Kyle Finnegan RHP 28 Unknown w/Nationals
Koda Glover RHP 27 Retired
Marco Hernandez INF 27 $650K Signed 1 yr/$650K w/Red Sox
Jose Mujica RHP-s 24 $563.5K Signed 1 yr/$563.5K w/Rockies
Josh Osich LHP 31 $850K Signed 1 yr/$850K w/Red Sox
Jose Rondon INF 26 Signed 1 yr/ MiLB w/Orioles
Drew VerHagen RHP 29 Japan
Patrick Wisdom RHP 30 Signed split 1 yr/$750K MLB & 200K MiLB w/Cubs



431 thoughts on “$4.3 Million (formerly $19.4 and $42.5)

  1. It almost seems impossible to NOT go over the cap. But in reality, I can see them go over it for 1 year. Arrieta and Robertson’s AAV hits us hard with $36.5M. What if we signed Hamels to a 1-year also? That could be another potentially $18M one-and-done cap hit.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I believe the team will go over the limit for one year and it should reset in 2021.

  2. Jim’s breakdown does support his reasonable conclusion. The Realmuto extension factor makes sense. However, the $208 million question in my mind is will the Phillies NOT go over the threshold at all costs? What if a potentially (and a much publicly speculated) key acquisition would put them slightly over? Say, $5M-$10M….would they hold off at the risk of being skewered by the media for doing so?

    Or perhaps the equation Jim presents doesn’t account for a trade – some of Jean Segura’s $14M perhaps? This may be a good test of how creative the front office will be OR how much more money Middleton is willing to spend if the opportunity presents itself. Do the Phillies really want to look “cheap” to this fan base again, all in the name of fiscal responsibility? After all, would that be good business?

  3. Can the Phillies decide not to exceed the cap in free agent investments, and still win the division?
    Nats could be hurt with the loss of Rendon…Braves look to be strong again…Mest may be looking at Marte for CF and a few other moves…Marline are also making moves to come, with Villar the latest.
    IMO, Klentak will need to make a key trade or two along the way, beside a big free agent signing, to get this team out of 4th place and contenting for the division lead.

  4. Jimmy this is great reporting. I posted last week that I didn’t understand why JT hasn’t been extended already now I know and understand. You are the best my friend.

  5. Why would the Phillies be trying to legally beat the CBT? I think it indicates that they are not going to exceed the “cap”. — i have a different view on this. This is more of “managing the cap” which gives me an impression that the Phillies are looking to make some moves that will have cap implication.

    And also, I can see some trades coming. Segura is the easiest one, but Vinny, Eflin, Alvarez and Morgan can be trade possibilities to further “manage” the cap.

    1. Klentak needs to move Herrera…and it would be at a low return I assume and a steal for the gaining club….probably just international money….but if I were him I would go to small market club and see if he can get a CB Round A or B pick.

      1. The Phillies do not have leverage on Herrera – it’s basically sunk cost for them. But nonetheless, moving Doobie can provide the needed luxury tax relief which is exactly what the Phillies need.

      2. With a Quick glance, Reds could be a candidate. Their OF doesn’t look overwhelming, and Herrera doesn’t cost much. With signing Mous recently, it could be some nice added value, low commitment that can later be replaced if he doesn’t regain his Allstar form 🙂


  6. jim, you have managed to depress me. If we do not exceed the $208M, I don’t see how we can fill all the holes we have. It means no Cole or Strasburg. So let’s even give us Wheeler. 1 BP arm and an IF. That would leave us really close to spending $42M. And, it won’t be enough. They may keep VV in the Rotation and not get a 2d SP. That isn’t good enough. 1 BP arm is not enough, as I give no value to the 3 BP arms they have picked up for LHV. They are simply lottery tickets. Without 2 SPs, 2 BP arms, and an IF, I don’t see a Playoff team. You may be exactly right, and that is the plan. I am not arguing with your opinion. I just don’t see a good enough team. Maybe the plan is 2 SPs and Josh Harrison as a 3B? Maybe 2 SPs and no BP arm and pray there is enough by cobbling together what is here for the ‘pen? It just doesn’t equate to a good enough team, and certainly, does not equate to a big market team whose time to win is now.

    1. Sportstrac calculation is $47.M cap space available. I’m not sure what’s the exact number is but it should be between those numbers.

      Using JimP’s numbers and without trading (just DFAing the fungible arms to create space) – that $42.5M can give the Phillies 3 needed arms (Wheeler $22AAV, Hamels $16AAV and Smyly $4M AAV). Signing Smyly can make one of Alvarez or Morgan creating space and cap for a bench guy and with Wheeler and Hamels in the rotation it will make Vinny or Eflin (and Neris) expendable creating additional roster and cap space to sign another bullpen arm (Betances or Treinen).

      And of course, there’s the curious case of Doobie where the Phillies just need to cough up $$ to jettison his contract.

  7. O like the legwork Jim. Appreciate it. I agree with the notion that the Phillies won’t exceed the “cap” with 1 asterisk. The asterisk is Come sweepstakes. If they make the moves and Cole is still on the board late into the offseason, think MM/BH timeframe, I can see them approving to add him. This is the type of move he hinted at approving, one that would push them over. You can argue it a few ways, but I think this scenario is a possibility. We shall see, but it would be interesting to hear how far off a serious championship contender Middleton and then his FO think they are off by. I think the gap is larger than most, and I am usually I lean on positive/optimistic side of things working out. The Braves and Nats have stumbled much less Than the Phillies have, with the Mets pushing the Phillies, and arguably May or could soon leapfrog them … and if they continue to stumble, the marlins could start to push them into the cellar. Luckily the offseason can mix all that up, but I’m
    Not optimistic they can leapfrog both the Mets and Nats for a WC berth, let alone jump all 3, while continuing to push the marlins away. Talk me off the ledge, but I just see it taking 2 off seasons and a good trade deadline to make a move into the playoffs. Serious contention is looking like 2022 at the earliest. I’d love to be very wrong though.

  8. Jim, they have a job for you waiting at The Athletic with this type of great analysis. One correction thought, you one bullet says “Quinn could be heading to the IL before spring training ends.” I believe you should have stated that as “Quinn could be heading to the IL before spring training begins.”

  9. Romus, you may be right on. I have the feeling that they are looking at the trade market. The problem is, where do a #2 and a #3 SP come from via trade? You have mentioned Freeland from the Rockies, others like Norris or Robbie Ray. I don’t think any of them moves the needle enough. I don’t think that there was that guy to go get that reminds us of when we got Doc or Cliff Lee. And without that, I don’t move any of our top guys, which means how good of a return do we get? Can we do better than last year’s SR? Sure, but I was looking for more than that.

    1. Ahh, Doc and Lee. Ready for this heresy? Two bad contracts.

      Doc, 3 year/$60M. For his age 34, 35, and 36 seasons (2011-13).
      2011: 19-6 in 32 starts, 2.35 ERA, 8 CG, 233.2 IP, 220 K, 1.3 BB9, 8.5 K9
      2012: 11-8 in 25 starts, 4.49 ERA, 0 CG, 156.1 IP, 132 K, 2.1 BB9, 7.6 K9
      2013: 4-5 in 13 starts, 6.82 ERA, 0 CG, 62.0 IP, 51 K, 5.2 BB9, 7.4 K9

      Lee, 5 year/$120M with option/buyout. For his age 32-37 seasons (2011-16).
      2011: 17-8 in 32 starts, 2.40 ERA, 6 CG, 232.2 IP, 238 K, 1.6 BB9, 9.2 K9
      2012: 6-9 in 30 starts, 3.16 ERA, 0 CG, 211.0 IP, 207 K, 1.2 BB9, 8.8 K9
      2013: 14-8 in 31 starts, 2.87 ERA, 2 CG, 222.2 IP, 222 K, 1.3 BB9, 9.0 K9
      2014: 4-5 in 13 starts, 3.65 ERA, 0 CG, 81.1 IP, 72 K, 1.3 BB9, 8.0 K9
      2015: DNP
      2016: Buyout

      1. Jim…..unfortunately aged-arms/bodies break down after a few thousand innings.
        But baseball clubs are stuck in having to give those type contracts to 29/31 year old pitchers….if a team wants a more competitive edge.

        Nats are forced to over pay for their MVP-WS star pitcher now…but lose their best bat.

  10. If you want to move Segura, who will take his place? Not only that, you will likely have to eat a part of his money. You might as well keep him and hope he rebounds to a 3 WAR season.

    As for Odubel, he has as much trade value as Maikel, and we know what happened to Maikel. Odubel is not even league average the past 2 years, is coming off a DV suspension, and still owed $20M+. Why would anybody trade for that? I give it 50/50 he gets cut before the season starts if he stinks in ST.

    1. Suppose dodgers want a do-over with AJ Pollack. Segura for Pollack would be almost a wash, but save us $2M in AAV. Pollack could platoon with Hasely, until he gets hurt.

      1. All this to save $2M? It was a bad contract given by the Dodgers so why should we take their mistake? And if you’re trading for Pollack, you’re paying him to be a starter not to play 1/3 of the season in a platoon, especially at his salary. Pass.

        1. I treat the rumors as hypotheticals. If the Phillies are targeting Didi and Donaldson, I’d rather have Kingery at second base full time and Pollock platooning in center, rather than Segura at second and Kingery all over the place. I’m willing to argue the team would be stronger with this set up, while also saving a couple million in AAV for the next 3 years.

          It was just off the top of my head, but I can’t imagine many teams lining up for Segura. Solid but unspectacular.

          1. I do think Matt Klentak is counting on Josh Harrison to regain his health and be what he was in 2017 when he was fully healthy.
            Not sure…but it could be a huge boom if Harrison comes back fully healthy and invigorated on a contending team.
            A Howie Kendrick type player may be what they see he could be fro them.

            1. Josh Harrison has only exceeded an OPS+ over 100 in 2 years out of his 9 year career…wouldn’t count on Josh Harrison

            2. Just look at the four years he had 450PAs and more….’14 thru ’17.
              His OPS+ averaged 105 when he played healthy and not as a platoon guy.
              One well below 100 OPS+ year…2016…and 12.6WAR during that period.
              Like I said…if he can regain his full health he could be a very valuable piece for the team….a versatile player

  11. Jim, good article BTW. Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that the Phillies won’t exceed the cap.

    1. I only see them going over if, The FO makes their moves AND … Cole lingers on the market. He is the type of player that will push them over the top. Imho, he will be a year or so early. Can’t assume someone of his caliber will be available in the upcoming offseasons.

      42mil is not a lot in today’s world of FA, and next year we see 37 coming off the Board. That’s roughly 79 million to play with, minus 20ish AAV for Realmuto. So you have 59 mil to work with over the next 2 years to plug holes. This is why I’m not overly optimistic. The young prospects need to come through, or the Phillies will be stuck in the middle of NL East for the foreseeable future.

    1. I wonder if they could convince Hamels to take a 2 year contract with a reasonable vesting option. Three years for a pitcher that old, even one with an okay health track record and good stuff, is very dicey.

    1. Rough, I like his potential to take the next step, but the prices are starting to make the risk too much to roll on. I’d be more comfortable giving then contract to Strasburg at that point, both have injury history but at least Strasburg has done it. The numbers are going to get close together. Time to send Bryce after him.

      Needs to come up with some great trades, seems like more teams are coming to play this offseason. Last year is was basically 100% Phillies, not so this year. Good luck Klentak! Prices are going through the roof

  12. I tend to agree here with Jim. I think the Phils and Middleton are in the mindset of they’ll do something really forward leaning if and when they think it alone is a difference maker and they are not there this offseason. Too many open questions going into this season. However, if things go their way and they are legit world series contenders come July, I think they’ll take a leap and go over the threshold then if the right opportunity presents itself.

  13. The free agent starting pitcher prices were very ridiculous and prohibitive to extract value many years ago, before coming back to reality some the past few years, i.e., Jake Arietta and others. However, after what happened in October 2019, I think these prices, like Wheeler’s, are going to go back north and not be the best options for spending money. This is why the Phillies have said grow the pitching and buy the hitting. Just think about it, would you feel better dishing out a huge contract this off season for Rendon or for Wheeler or Cole? The Phillies failure to grow and develop the arms has really put them in a spot now where they have only two choices – give out bad, long term contracts that hopefully deliver value in the early years or be prudent and take chances on bounceback guys and internal development. Neither of these is likely to lead to long term, sustained success unfortunately.

  14. According to Roster Resource https://www.rosterresource.com/mlb-philadelphia-phillies-info/ , the Phillies’ payroll (for luxury tax purposes) sits at almost 169 million dollars (which is only slightly more than what Jim has). The cap for 2020 is 208 million.
    The question: Can the Phillies add 2 SP’s, an infielder (or 2), and at least one arm to the pen for 40 million dollars?
    The answer: Depends on the quality of the players they bring in.

    If they sign Didi Gregorius (could very well happen) and re-sign Brad Miller (may or may not happen), reunite with Cole Hamels (likely IMO) and sign a tier one or two FA SP (Cole/Stasburg/Wheeler/MadBum) plus add a BP arm like Betances, there is no chance the Phillies stay below the threshold.

    If they go bargain hunting (maybe Gregorius/Hamels/Drew Smyly) they could stay below the threshold. Would bargain hunting get the team to the playoffs/excite the fan base? Probably not.

    I believe Middleton will look to stay below 228 million (the next penalty threshold) in 2020, then (maybe) try to get back under in 2021.

    Matt Gelb did a good job of laying it all out a couple of weeks ago.

    1. @Hinkie – if you believe that the Phillies will excess the luxury tax this year but go back under next year, then I agree with you 100%. Middleton sets something in motion (stupid $$) that he will not stand down anymore. With $45M off the books next year, that’s flexibility that the Phillies will exploit to further improve this team.

      I can the Phillies to be in the $220Mish in 2020 and go down below $210M in 2021.

      2 SPs, a RP and a bat will be the haul this offseason in FA.

  15. Running the numbers, I can see Didi at $14M, Starlin Castro at $4M, Hamels at $15M (2 years plus an option based on starts made), Bettances at $7M, Treinen at $4M, Miller at $1M = $45M so there’s no room for Romine at $2M unless we can get Herrera traded and get to pass on $5M of his salary by including Pivetta. The Marlins might do it.

    1. @Murray – your $45M did not fix the biggest hole — rotation. If Didi is signed, there’s no Starlin Castro. Signing Betances means that some young arms like Neris, Vinny or Eflin might be traded.

      1. Why? I let Castro and Haseley platoon with Kingery swinging. They need a bench IF and Castro would be an upgrade for the bench. Bettances won’t effect young arms, they need a legit arm in the pen. Hamels plus a trade or Cole would fix the rotation. The Phils will go over if they can get a difference maker and Cole is that.

    2. Just don’t get the Didi talk. They already have the same type of player with Segura. Why would they want to add another $14M per year to the payroll for the same type of player. I’d rather they had tendered Cesar and pay him $11M to play 2b for one more season…

      The money they have needs to be spent to improve the rotation/bullpen, not to marginally improve the line-up.

      1. 3up….LHB in the middle of the lineup would seem to be the most plausible reason for a Didi sign..

          1. And Didi, post Achilles is a better option? If Kingery is the better SS then play him at SS and move Segura to 2b/3b.

            Again, In that scenario, just tender CeHe for 2020 and save the $$ and extra years on another over 30 player..

            1. Well Didi has never hit 30 in his career but feasting on the short RF porch in Yankee stadium does not help elsewhere

    3. I agree that a trade of Odubel (along with most of his salary) and Pivetta to Miami for a combo of intl money and a comp pick might help open space for the Phillies to make additional upgrades.

  16. Good analysis Jim.

    I see the Phillies going right up against the $208 million limit (hence the need to delay the Realmuto AAV hit until 2021). They could add either Wheeler ($20 million AAV) or Bumgarner (~$18 million AAV), and Hamels ($15 million AAV) and still have room for a relief piece like, say, Sergio Romo.

    For 2021 Arrieta and Robertson come off the books, so that frees up $36+ million, which is enough room for the Realmuto AAV increase and another piece for 2021.

  17. Jon Heyman tweeted that Wheeler may have a deal before the winter meetings. Possible if not probable.

  18. And of course for 2022 McCutchen and Herrera come off the books (I’m assuming we’re eating Herrera’s salary, whether or not he’s on the team), freeing up another $23 million.

  19. I’m not sure what the fascination is with signing Didi. The Phillies should go after Wheeler or Cole first and that’s it. The Phillies can roll with Cutch, Haseley, Harper, Harrison (or another short term fix), Segura, Kingery, Hoskins, Realmuto. It may not be championship caliber but this is what we have. The Phillies need at least 1 starter. They have to get a good one.

    1. Aside from the Girardi connection, Didi would only be a luxury addition which we neither need bad enough or can afford unless Segura is being traded, and for what?

      Let’s sign the arms first. A starting position player should be the last move IF there’s any money left. Offer Wheeler 6/$120M ($20 AAV) and we still have over $20M to maneuver….sign Hamels @2/$25 with a vested option. And then the bullpen and bench.

        1. You are going to be surprised at what Wheeler is going to get. 5 years, $100M is the floor. I think he’ll get 5 years, $125M from somebody.

  20. I am not adverse to the Phillies exceeding the tax threshold. I am just using existing evidence to prepare myself (and others) for possible disappointment this off season.

    I can see the possibility that the Phillies do exceed the tax threshold. They opened that window themselves in their own words last season when they explained why they didn’t chase players at the trade deadline to try for a wild card berth. The implication was that they would open their purse strings for a real game changer. So, there is hope.

    Just as many of you, I think the Phillies need rotation help. I think Cole and Strasburg represent the game changing starting pitchers on the open market. I just don’t see how the dollars and years needed to sign one of these guys fits into their plan since the addition of one of these guys would still require additional expense to fill out a championship contending roster.

    Wheeler was a nice alternative until his projections rose above 5/$100M. I have heard rumblings that the Phillies might wait until 2020 and see if the market changes in the way it did for Arrieta when we picked him up for three years rather than the six years he was projected to want. In the interim, they’ll look to sign some other guys. Moustakas was on their radar until the dollars and years forced them out of his market.

    I don’t like what I’ve heard, but it looks like the Phillies are very much interested in all of Donaldson, Gregorious, and Bumgarner. The MLBTR estimates would put the Phillies over the tax threshold, but it appears that is not a consideration in the pursuit of these three. (Note, that it is believed that the Donaldson estimate is high.) The three could command a collective $50M AAV. This would settle the infield and add an arm to the rotation. With the recent additions of Stock, Sanchez, and Feeley plus the existing 12 arms in the bullpen and possible contributions from guys like Jones and Brogdon, the Phillies seem willing to let the bullpen stand. They expect Price to have a positive effect on the ‘pen. We’ll see.

    Donaldson appears to block Bohm, but the latter’s participation in the Olympics is a positive in his development. Plus, it buys the Phillies as much as a year in decision making. He has really only played one year of professional ball if you don’t place too much emphasis on his injury plagued draft year. A year of international ball and International League ball postpones his major league arrival until 2021. The Phillies won’t have to cross the bridge of who gets the at bats at first and third until then.

    So, the 2020 line up could look like this – C Realmuto, 1B Hoskins, 2B Segura, SS Gregorious, 3B Donaldson, LF McCutchen, CF Kingery, RF Harper.

    Since, these acquisitions exceed the tax threshold, Hamels remains a possibility. That would put them in area between the threshold and the first tax level. The rotation could look like – Arrieta, Bumgarner, Hamels, Arrieta, and Eflin.

    The bullpen, without any FA dollars invested, would be eight of the following – Neris, Alvarez, Arano, Suarez, Davis, Dominguez, Morgan, Suarez, Garcia, Irvin, Pivetta, De Los Santos, Cleavinger, Romero, Sanchez, Hammer, Kelley, Llovera, Stock, Velasquez, and a couple of wild cards like Jones, Brogdon, and even Big Jake. But, if they do exceed the threshold, then what’s another few dollars for Betances and/or Treinen.

    The 5-man bench – Knapp, Haseley, Bruce, plus two. Looks like Josh Harrison has a shot. I’m assuming Quinn will be injured.

    Come late January, if Cole, Strasburg, or Wheeler are still on the market, the Phillies might just blow further past the threshold if they can get a reasonable contract in dollars and length.

    In the above scenario, Herrera would have been moved to a Detroit-like team for a Low A wild card with no financial assistance from the Phillies due to his team-friendly contract.

    Without a Cole/Strasburg/Wheeler miracle in January or February, I think this puts the Phillies in the $208M-$228M bracket that Hinkie has proposed. The players are different. I’m not sure I like either proposal, but at least there would be some movement toward improvement.

    1. I wonder what Odubel could bring back in terms of international dollars ilo of a low-A prospect.
      There really is not a comp for a guy with his MLB experience and friendly contract/age in those regards.
      Most of those deals in the past involved Triple A or MLB ready players who are in their early to mid 20s….and many pitchers.
      If Matt K. could get $750K or a million, they could put it down on a very talented, bit long-shot, 16-year old.

      1. Romus … guess what I’m going to respond with? Odubel Herrera will bring the Phillies back nothing because he has negative trade value. Despite only carrying a modest 6 million AAV cap hit, his contract is far from team friendly at this point. He’s owed 21+million dollars over the next two seasons. In case anyone has missed it, Odubel has accumulated negative WAR over the previous two seasons combined, and he is coming off a 80+ game suspension for domestic abuse.
        The Phillies will most likely have to give him away to a good home and eat most of his money. If they want to lose his 6 million dollar cap hit, Klentak is going to have to send a decent prospect to the team willing to take Herrera.

    2. I don’t see the Phillies breaking the $208M threshold without a top FA in tow — most likely Zach Wheeler.

      The scenario you laid out is close to mine with Donaldson and MadBum (I expect Wheeler) as the main exception. I can see the Phillies trusting Haseley to man the CF with Kingery/Segura DP combo in the middle. Didi can be an option in the INF with the Bamboo Bambino as the bench INF although I don’t see the Phillies jumping on Didi right away – they’ll probably wait until Feb 2020.

      I agree that the bullpen is deeper than expected although the Phillies will need a couple of veteran pen arms to stabilize the bullpen — bounce back candidates in Betances and Treinen fits this role which will also bump out some of the excess pen arms which will be traded.

      I trust that the Phillies will learn from the blunder they made last year —- ignoring the rotation and trusting they can fill this hole internally. Which to me it means that Middleton will sign a couple of SPs which includes one of Cole, Stras, Wheeler and MadBum.

      1. Do not see Wheeler but Madison Bumgarner wearing red pinstripes next season.
        Joe G likes to have his LHPs in the rotation..

    3. Wow! Both Bumgarner and Donaldson will cost them a 2nd and 3rd round pick…again. I’m not following the apparent incongruity between whether they are all in or carefully guarding there internal resources. If they are targeting certain free agents and them alone, then it boils down to whether they outbid their competitors. But under Jim’s scenario above, it doesn’t appear that any trade (other than moving dead salary like Odubel’s) will factor much into the construct of the 2020 roster.

  21. Cole and Stras’ reps meeting with Yankees tomorrow
    It’s really feeling like phillies wont sign any big names

    Wheeler is getting priced out of their range
    Hamels is getting 3 year offers
    Cole and Stras will be too pricey Im sure
    Moose of the books with larger than expected deal so JD will get more dollars than Phillies wanted to spend.

    yes, be positive….but it is getting harder and harder

  22. MLB’s Jon Morosi tweeted late last night that the Phillies maintain contact with reps for Donaldson and Gregorius. Which jives with what Jim laid out above. We shall see….

  23. Prices of all free agents seem to be getting firmer and going higher – Deikman on a 3 year deal with A’s ? for 7.5 M when he earned 2M and change for only one last year ??? Wheeler being offered multiple 9 figure deals – wouldn’t be surprised to see 5 years at 112 ++ M. What is the difference between this year and last ? Union commotion ? More buyers ? The water ?
    This is not looking good unless Phils can wait-out most teams who will spend their cash up front ?

  24. I’m with the commenters who believe get the arms locked in first then pick up the position player bargains a month from now… The Phillies desperately need pitching…

  25. I am of the opinion, that the phillies are waiting on a top pitcher, or they would have made a move I believe, They must think, contrary to what we have seen in the media, They must be in on Cole or Wheeler, if they can sign one of them then they know how much is left to go after bullpen help

    1. rocco…..you could be right about that.
      They have been very quite, which seems to be how they like it to be…then make their splash.

        1. Romus m8 what senior citizen center do you attend, I would like to donate cans of soup for Christmas. I know you lost your teeth, let me know m8

          1. rocco…thanks for the offer. …dentures holding up well.
            However, since it appears you are in the spirit, try donating to Food For The Poor.

  26. Buster Olney accurately called the Harper signing long before the market opened up last year. The national media are usually the outlets for the agents while the teams tend to channel their “feeds” through the local beat reporters. My guess is that there is something to the Wheeler rumors but I’ll wait until Salisbury and/or Zolecki put it out there.

    1. This is a concern…the length being offered….I think the Phillies like last year with Corbin will offer just the five years to start.

      “….It remains to be seen if the Wheeler bidding will play out the way that it did for left-hander Patrick Corbin last winter. Some teams, including the Yankees, expressed a willingness to offer deals of five years, but were reluctant to offer a sixth year — and Washington separated itself from the pack by dangling a six-year, $140 million contract. There seems to be a group of teams prepared to offer Wheeler a five-year deal.”

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Phillies bow out over years. They have so much potential in the minors that can afford to take a risk on not signing a top arm lol oh wait…

        Take the risk of signing an extra to get your guy!!

      2. I do believe at this point Wheeler is going to get 6/$120 I think there are a bunch of teams that would be in on 5/$100

        1. DMAR, that’s what I suggested yesterday but somebody said no way on 6 years. The Phillies don’t have the luxury of doing a Corbin this time around. Get it done so we can take care of other urgent business.

          1. 8mark … I can see Middleton/Klentak going 6 years at a lower AAV to help the luxury tax threshold hit. They did the same thing last winter with Harper’s contract. Maybe they go 111 million over 6 years (18.5 million AAV).

          2. Well then we agree 8mark. I also wouldn’t complain if we got Bumgarner too or in lieu of…

            I was luke warm on Hamels so us not getting him is no big deal to me.

            1. DMAR…agree.
              Cole is not the same guy from 2015
              But Braves will have him as a 3-5, so he may be worth the money for them….he will ….need to get to a 2.3WAR for them.

  27. Great reporting Jim!

    I don’t want them exceeding the cap this year. They can’t buy enough parts to seriously contend. Let the money come off the books next year. If the roster and front office are showing signs of life in 2021 then by all means spend, but keep the powder dry until there is proof this franchise can actually put it to good use.

    1. Oh, stop it! Hamels was a sentimental favorite and a fan target. He was never an organization target at $18M AAV. That money can be better spent elsewhere.

    2. Troll: please find another site to excessively bemoan the Phillies. You did this nearly every day during the offseason last year as well and it was honestly insufferable to read. I’m not sure what you get out of this behavior, but its obnoxious to all the readers of the site.

      1. You are incorrect. I have also provided good information. I don’t need to explain myself to you.
        I’m not the only complaining about lack of moves so i wish you wouldn’t attack me.

    1. MadBum is making more and more sense for the Phillies. I never had the sense that Klentak or Girardi were big Hamels guys. I’m neither disappointed nor surprised so long as they have another lefty in their sites….Bumgarner I presume.

    2. MLB Trade rumors story indicated that Hamels preferred a 1-year deal over the multi-year offers. Guess at this point in his career, he’s looking for best fit to be on a playoff contender and right now, that is the Braves more than it’s the Phillies..

      1. More I think about what Jim said, that money can be better spent elsewhere
        Perhaps on Donaldson etc
        I’m ok with it

  28. MLBTR as per Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies are “looking at” Strasburg. That may be a Boras ploy to simply up the ante. But it’s lots of fun to follow. Been a great hot stove kind of day.

  29. Why do I get this strange sense that all we are going to end up with are pitchers like Porcello and Lyles.

  30. The division is within reach with a few key moves. I keep telling myself you didn’t pull the plug on Kapler to land Girardi and have him try and succeed with 2nd rate players.

    1. DMAR…..that is why I think Klentak pulls off a major trade, along with the perfunctory free agent signings.

      rocco…’perfunctory’…. action is a formality: you do it because you have to,

      1. Apparently close to $120mil
        Get most of his good years and I feel like he has some untapped potential left.

      1. …and who said nobody wants to come to Philly. Women do💞that’s why they call it the City of Sisterly Love.

  31. Kudos to this signing! Zach Wheeler is a great way to start this off! Can’t say anything but good job Matt Klentak.

  32. When does Howard join the rotation? This summer can be quite interesting
    Arrieta if healthy
    Lefty pitcher? MadBum?

  33. Good for the Phillies that Wheeler’s wife is a Jersey Girl!

  34. Forgot where I saw it but I saw a stat that Wheeler has thrown an exponentially larger amount of 97mph pitches than the Phillies pitchers have in the last few years

      1. I’m with you, Roc. If we sign Didi, fine…but I’d rather trade Segura for need and allow my boy Jetpax to man 2b. Seems he’s played everywhere but, and so many insiders say he’s a gold glove caliber 2b. And let’s not forget about Josh Donaldson.

      2. He’s already on the market, everyone is for the right deal.

        But, he has a no trade clause. Where he’s willing to go and what the return is has to match up.

  35. So roughly $16mil to stay under cap.
    What moves do you think are made?
    I think if Bohm flashes greatness in ST, you bring him to play 3rd
    move segura to 2nd and sign didi?
    That leaves an OF of Cutch, Harper, and Kingery?

      1. Lol was just coming to correct this after your other post. Domino effect.
        A little bit more to play with

    1. “So roughly $16mil to stay under cap”…..?
      I thought it would be somewhere around $25/30M

  36. That’s a 23.6 million AAV. Gotta’ believe the Phillies are going over the cap in 2020.
    Still going to sign Didi or Donaldson.
    Still going to sign another SP. I’m assuming it will be a LH’er. Could they spend stooopid money, and look to land Bumgarner? Do they move Kingery to CF fulltime, and trade Haseley (in a package) for a someone like Robbie Ray or Matthew Boyd?

    Happy to see things moving much more quickly than last winter!

    1. Hinkie, my crystal ball says….
      Bumgarner, Didi, trade Segura for pen help, stick with Haseley in CF at least to start the season, Treinen….add a bench piece or 2 on the cheap….and I’m good.

            1. Yes, Jim – I have a tee shirt with the whole Who’s On First routine on the back and the comedy team’s images on the front. Classic entertainment. Plus I’m a baseball degenerate, bro….

        1. For you youngsters that never saw this skit its worth the watch. I’ve seen it a 100 times and its always funny

  37. Question regarding Jay Bruce. It’s noted above that he counts $13MM vs. the cap but Seattle is basically paying his salary so does his money really count towards the Phillies cap or Seattle’s?

    If is does count towards the Phillies, then he is a prime trade candidate where they trading team takes on almost no money and the Phillies gain $13mm is cap space.

    1. Never mind. I missed the subtraction of Bruce’s contract in Jim’s write-up at the top. Makes sense now. 🙂

  38. I updated the calculations above, adding Wheeler and subtracting one of the minimum salaries to keep the roster at 26 players. Looks like around $19.4M available under the tax threshold.

  39. So the 4 pitchers are set: Nola, Wheeler, Arrieta, Eflin. It’s possible that they can roll the dice with VV until Howard is ready. Or the Phillies can sign another pitcher and leave Howard at Lehigh for most of the year.

    1. I’d look at possibly Wade Miley on the cheaper side. Dellin Betances on a heavy one year deal. Then Donaldson on a 3 year deal.

      Arrieta, Robertson, and Betances off the books after 2020, which could be about $45M. Then back under the tax limit for 2021.

    2. I would think that is it right now….but IMO, not come March…if you go by what Girardi has said in the past as the Yankee manager….he like to have a LHP or two in the rotation for balance.

      1. Wheeler turn down more money from white sox, cause his wife wanted to be near new jersey. Women rule

    1. You raised the matter of Segura’s no trade clause. Not sure how warm and fuzzy he feels about Philadelphia. (We know how the fan base feels about him, to some degree. ) Maybe he’s agreeable to enough destinations for Klentak to swing a deal, add a 2nd tier prospect (do we even have any?) like Medina….there ya go, Kuko😉…. and voila! Bullpen help from say, Cincinnati? They still need a SS. Freddy is your classic utility guy. The Reds can’t possibly be serious about winning the central division without a first division SS, right?

      So I propose, once we’ve signed Didi:

      Reds get Jean Segura and Adonis Medina and $10M cash.
      Phillies get either Michael Lorenzen or Amir Garrett plus international bonus pool money OR a competitive balance pick.

        1. Not really. We need a 2B and 3B, so we can posture (or actually follow through with) moving one to 2B so Kingery handles the corner.

          Which brings up the question… what DO we do about 2B/3B for those proposing a trade of Segura? Jetpax is fast, but not fast enough to cover both positions at once. And if your answer is Donaldson, he’s gonna have a higher AAV than Segura. So why not just hold onto him in that scenario? JD offers more lumber, but he’s also significantly older. And Segura isn’t that far removed from being an All Star himself.

      1. Thank you. I’m encouraged by the signing and having a solid pitching coach. Surely the PC was considered when signing

  40. Let’s forget Didi and go after Donaldson. Didi makes us a little weaker at second, and a little weaker at third. And Didi himself is no slam dunk.

    Donaldson is a huge upgrade over Franco or Kingery. Kingery can finally be where he belongs. Segura, in a down year, was still worth 1.7 bWAR. And again, the shifting may have hurt his defensive value.

    Suck it up, pay Donaldson, Betances, and maybe Wade Miley and we should be in good shape.

    Or get Didi, and go hard after Cole or Strasburg.

      1. Donaldson turns 34 this week. He’s going to command (at least) a three year contract at 25 million per season. It’s safe to assume he’ll be very good/excellent in 2020, but what’s he going to look like after that? It’s probably reasonable to expect Donaldson to be more average/slightly above average in his age 35 and 36 seasons.
        Gregorius, OTOH, is still just 29 YO (until February), and will most likely carry a 13-15 million AAV. He more fits the Phillies core (Harper 27, Hoskins 27 in March, Kingery 26 in April, Realmuto 29 in March, Nola 26, Wheeler 29). Gregorius is also LH, and more versatile defensively.
        When you throw in the “Alec Bohm is just about ready for prime time” factor, Didi probably makes more sense IMO.

        1. I hear you on the age factor. two thoughts:
          1. Just because Donaldson commands a 3 year deal doesn’t mean that the market is willing to go there. I would go 2 years on Donaldson. And if Bohm comes up and is a stud, then you trade Donaldson next year.

          2. I guess it depends on what you think that the team needs. IMO the team needs high impact hitters. IMO Didi is only a good hitter relative to his position as a MIF. Even if the argument is ignore his 2019 season (which I don’t know why you would, but let’s just go with that), Didi only had an OPS+ of over 100 twice in his career. He is a career .313 OB% guy. That is not an impact bat IMO. Donaldson, on the other hand, has a career OPS+ of 136 and has been well over 100 every year of his career since his rookie year. He also has a career OB% of .372 and a career OPS of .878 (Didi’s .742). Donaldson is light years better of a hitter than Didi. and, IMO, if we are going to compete against the Braves and Nats, we need big time impact hitters. Our lineup just is not that good. or at least it wasn’t last year. Didi, even if he comes back to his lifetime stat line, doesn’t improve our lineup that much.

          Didi’s career stat line: .264/.313/.429 = .742 OPS
          Jean Segura’s 2019 line: .280/.323/.420 = .743 OPS

          So if he gets back to his career line, then Didi is the same as adding another Segura to our lineup. I just don’t see that as having a big impact.

        2. Hinkie, the key to Donaldson (similar to a guy like Howie Kendrick) is health. If he can stay on the field, he’s gold. Donaldson and Kendrick can flat rake. They are professional hitters. Defense may be another issue but I would not be concerned about his bat.

          Acquiring Didi, who I generally like, is like getting the mirror image of Segura. One’s a lefty bat, the other righty. Pick one. If we sign Didi, then trade Segura. I don’t want Kingery playing anywhere but 2b. And I want more pop at 3b than Segura provides. So…..

          McCutchen lf
          Realmuto c
          Harper rf
          Donaldson 3b
          Gregorius ss
          Hoskins 1b
          Haseley cf
          Kingery 2b

          ….and as I proposed elsewhere, trade Segura, Medina and cash to Cincinnati for either Lorenzen or Garrett plus their competitive balance pick and/or international bonus pool money. It looks like the Phillies will be exceeding the cap. So let’s spend it rightly. We don’t want to be losing a lot of low scoring games because we don’t have the offensive firepower.

          1. Donaldson is waiting for the Rendon mic to drop IMO. The Nats are said to be in heavy communication with him and don’t rule the Braves out for bringing him back on another 1 year deal. Also the Rangers if they can’t close on Rendon.

            It was admirable that he bet on himself in that way last season but once you do that at his age it tends to be how teams role cast you going forward (Big Papi) finished his career on a series of 1 year deals.

            I’m sure there is a multi year deal out there for him but not sure its at the same AAV he got on a 1 year deal at 33. 3/$25 seems way rich. He was on intentional talk last night and they had asked him about the Hamels signing and whether or not he was in touch with the Braves.

            He’s a very astute fellow and was elusive when asked the question.

            Not to mention it would block Bohm for this season. Doesn’t make sense to me.

            1. DMAR…tough call between Donaldson or Didi….both have their warts.
              I do believe it will come down on what Klentak and Co. determine Bohm’s projection to man third and at what point.
              My guess is their plan is to see him there starting in June thru the season….and Donaldson then would be a deterrence to that strategy.

              Didi, otoh, is Joe’s boy…his metrics do not measure up to Donaldson, but if Joe wants him then he comes on board.

          2. 8mark…unfortunately, a team cannot trade for a Comp Bal picks before the season begins so it would have to be for international credit dollars..

          3. Cinci is trying to go for it not sure why they would do that deal. They have Freddy and a pretty decent LU everywhere else…

            If Votto bounces back they could be sneaky good.

            1. DMAR….I may have jumped the gun on the WSox and Bumgarner…..I thought they would be all in on MadBum after Wheeler signed with the Phillies….looks like they have yet started to negotiate, perhaps they may now.

            2. To respond to all of you in one post …

              * Josh Donaldson on a two year deal would be great. Gerrit Cole on a four year agreement would be super, also. Unfortunately. neither is going to happen. Donaldson is getting a three year contract. I’ve seen some reports suggesting four years isn’t out of the question (though, that’s kinda’ nuts to me).

              * I don’t see Didi as the mirror image of Jean Segura. Gregorius is not only a LH bat, he’s also a much better defender and adds juice/power to the lineup.

              * Everyone (including the player, himself) would love to see Scott Kingery play 2B full time. He would probably win a Gold Glove there, and see his offensive numbers increase. However, (fair or not) Kingery’s greatest value to the Phillies is his ability to play all over the diamond. I don’t see the team changing their usage of him.

              * While I would love to see Amir Garrett throwing out of the Phillies BP, the Reds aren’t going to deal him. He’s a beast, and under team control for the next five seasons.

              * Something happened in MLB where teams were suddenly allowed to trade competitive balance draft picks last offseason. Before that, clubs had to wait until the start of the season to deal those selections. And … I’ll take back all the bad things I’ve ever said about Matt Klentak if he finally pulls in another team’s competitive balance pick in a deal anytime before next June. The Wheeler signing is going to cost the Phils their 2nd highest pick (again).

            3. MadBum has got to be loving this. All signs now point to him getting at least $100 million I’m sure at the start of this he was thinking $80 million max.

              I happen to think we are OPS deprived but if we’re not going to step up and get a legit bat in here push your chips all in on pitching and lock him up to a nice 5/$100.

  41. I agree, also. I don’t want Kingery at 3B. Donaldson adds a lot, and I would go get Smyly or Miley or Alex Wood, And a BP arm. I know we are taking a shot with Haseley as our CF, but he showed me he deserves a shot. Didi helps, but not as much as Donaldson and Kingery gets to be at has best position.

  42. Here’s the thing, the Phils already decided that they want a better defensive SS than Segura. I think the plan is to put Segura at 2b. They are trying hard to sign Didi for SS. I don’t think they want to block Bohm so if they sign Didi, I think they’ll swing Kingery from CF to 3b and use either Harrison or someone like Starlin Castro in a platoon with Haseley. I think Miley, Wood, or Keuchel, three lefties, could be signed or a trade for Ray or the lefty on the Marlins, Smith(?). I think Bettances has a good chance to get signed for the pen. As Jim says, there’s not much money available after that. They’ll need some payroll relief though so some trades will happen. Vinnie makes $3.9M so he could go. They have to figure out how to remove most of Odubel’s salary by pairing him with Pivetta and maybe a prospect. Lots to still do!

  43. Damn .. take my eye off this team for one day, and they slip in a wheeler signing! I wish the AAV was lower but it’s the going rate. I like his potential, and have gone back and forth on him in this offseason. He is possibly “baby Cole” ,
    Will see. With Girardi and price, hopefully they can unlock some more talent from him, and call me
    Crazy, push Pivetta or Vv over the hump.

    Looking to see what dominos fall next. My money is on a Girardi Didi reunion. From there, either they go all bullpen with the remaining cap space.

    Becareful on trading Segura, he was an MVP
    Finalist not to long ago, but I can see him being dealt. Didi in for Segura makes them weaker imo though.

    FWIW – Hamels to the Braves is the after shock from the Nats WS win 🤮 Say it ain’t so Cole… wish he signed with the dodgers or Astros

    1. Maybe getting Cutch back makes Segura a better player. He seems to have slipped after Cutch went down.

      1. I’m expecting a better year out of Segura this year, much closer to his season in Seattle. When Cutch was healthy he and Segura were a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the line up.

          1. This is the only explanation that even makes a little sense, but here’s the problem. What happens to Segura and his contract that runs through 2022?

            I mean, Didi is almost certainly the better player (although not by that much), but unless you can move Segura now or next off season, couldn’t the money better be spent elsewhere? It’s a little puzzling to me given their current situation.

            1. It’s a little less puzzling if Kingery becomes the centerfielder but I think the consensus is that Kingery’s highest and best use is as the team’s second baseman. You let Cesar go to free up that position for Kingery and now you’re going to put someone else there? It doesn’t make that much sense to me given the current situation.

            2. Maybe Bohm will tear it up in ST and we keep him on big team.

              Or; Bohn, Segura and Pivetta for Bryant.

            3. Trading all of our most valuable assets for another expensive but very good player sounds nice but it will put us back into a boom or bust cycle with short windows for success. We need the farm system to be good and stay good – we cannot dump our best young players year after year without bracing ourselves for yet another long rebuild. We should avoid that at all costs.

  44. Wishful thinking, since the Phillies may now be out of the running for their services, but like to see Cole, Strasburg and Bumgarner all sign with AL teams.

    1. I really believe the next move is a trade, I wonder if the phillies could move Herrera to Miami in a trade for alcantara I like that kid,

    1. Some very real criticism in here, even if it falls on the negative tone side. Can’t deny it’s a risk, but that’s what happens when you don’t develop top tier pitching and or trade away it away.

      I’m going to start to ponder if Strasburg is also in the FO sights, as what will push them over The edge for a legit ws contender (assuming they make other moves first to sure up holes)
      If they can trade Herrera, eating 25% of his salary, I think it becomes a real possibility.

      Next year you have Arrietta and Robertson off the books, and you likely trade Segura or McCutchen to be replaced by the corresponding youth.

    2. Romus, I like Baumann and follow him on Twitter for his unique commentary. But, his statement in his Ringer article that “the Wheeler deal leaves the Phillies somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million to $50 million under the competitive balance tax threshold” is so wrong that I wonder about the opinions he offers in the context of the article that relies on this incorrect statement.

      If his figure were accurate that would mean that the Phillies had $63M-$73M available before the Wheeler signing. If that were true, they most certainly would have been active players in the Cole/Strasburg sweepstakes.

      But, they didn’t. have that much available. In fact, a more recent Gelb article from the Athletic indicates that the Phillies are actually working under orders from the ownership to stay UNDER the threshold.

  45. I think we see two more moves this week, RP and DiDi.
    From there i think it gets quiet for a bit.
    Beginning to wonder if the LHP will come via trade or Smyly

  46. Also I think if they get their LHP, it moves Vinny to the BP


    When does Howard come up?
    That’s a fairly competitive rotation

    BP still a question mark but slowly filling out

  47. I think that jim mentioned that Bohm’s part in the Olympic team buys them another year for him to develop, and they may not be looking for him in the Majors next year. That gives them the ability to sign Donaldson for a 2 year deal. I think he playing 3B and Kingery at 2b makes us a better team. However, I don’t think they do that. I think they have already made up their minds to move Segura to 2B. Todd Zolecki, who is pretty well wired in to the team, thinks thier target is Didi, plus Joe G loves him. Now, does that make Kingery or Segura the 3B? Or, do we sign Travis Shaw and hope he is recovered from the wrist injury and Kingery plays CF? We definitely need a LHSP, and I am not opposed to Smyly coming back. WE still need another BP arm, if not 2, so there is still work to be done. Plus, Klentak loves to make trades, so it should be a very busy next week or so.

    1. matt13…I do hope Klentak does make a trade for a lefty…from all past off-seasons he does make trades, and big ones at that…..and perhaps target a Tigers’ team between either Boyd or Norris.

      BTW…..Wheeler last year put together a 4.7fWAR season tied for 14th with Cards’ Jack Flaherty. If he can he can reach 4.5WAR in 2020, I think I’d be happy with that….I doubt I would ever see a 7plusWAR year from him in the area of a Cole, DeGrom or Scherzer….but who knows.

      1. If he’s a 4.5 WAR player for the first four years of his deal, it will be worth it – that would make him a solid #2 and a very valuable pitcher behind Nola, who I expect to make a huge comeback this year.

  48. It is far more likely that the Phillies sign Didi rather than Donaldson for two reasons: Didi at a $12M – $15M AAV leaves them under the $208M threshold, as opposed to Donaldson’s possible $22M – $25M AAV; and Girardi has a strong preference for Didi.

    1. Jim also mentioned that the MLBTR projections on Donaldson are a bit high. At his age and with his tenuous back issues, I think most clubs are wary of extending him beyond 2 years. He may wait out the Rendon situation to get his best offer. If I’m the Phillies, I offer him 2/$36M and see if it’s enough. If not, I don’t break the bank for him. Didi @3/$40M is fair. Either way, my sense is that they will trade for a reasonably cheap LHP to round out the rotation….one who misses bats, like Robbie Ray.

    2. They are not saying anything to the public, but I’m guessing they are trying to move Segura. If you did that, Kingery slides in at second, Did plays short and they can still go out and get a nice third base rental. Paying Didi and Segura makes very little sense to me no matter how you slice it. Why would you want Kingery at third if he could be much more valuable as your second baseman? Of course you wouldn’t.

  49. I just read KLaw’s article on the Wheeler signing, and in that article, this sentence stood out, “Eflin seems like a solid third starter but was hurt by the Happy Fun Ball and some strange choices in his pitch mix last year.”

    1. “….strange choices in his pitch mix last year.”…direct reference to Eflin deciding to go back to his old and tried way of pitching that got him to the majors…the 2Smr
      Unfortunately the change was not made until the last week in August.

      1. Seen him the last Saturday of the season against the Marlins but still his stuff was nasty that day…

        I made some pretty outlandish comments back in the summer about DLS projecting better than Eflin but that of course has not come to fruition and Eflin while inconsistent has shown flashes of brilliance.

  50. When planning how to spend the Phillies money, you’ll need to know that Wheeler is likely the biggest expense of the Phillies off season.

    In fact, according to Matt Gelb, the FO is under orders to remain below the tax threshold. His estimate of about $20M remaining under the cap is very close to my $19.4M.

    Check out his article. It looks like all of the big ticket guys are off the Phillies radar.

    1. That’s (Klentak not allowed to go over the threshold) is disappointing. It’s doubtful this roster is good enough to compete with the Braves.

      With only ~20 million dollars left to spend, and a potential Didi Gregorius signing to come … I would be looking to bring back Drew Smyly as a LHSP and Sergio Romo to the BP.

      I think the team could shed 4 million from it’s cap by dealing VV if they’re that allergic to the luxury tax.

      1. I think they need to think outside the box on Vinny. I think there’s room these days for a whole new type of relief pitcher. A guy who comes in every second or third day and gives you 2+ good innings in a game where your starter is out before the 6th inning starts. I am not talking about a standard middle reliever. I am talking about almost a second starter – a guy with dominant starter stuff who gives value and added length. I’m telling you – with pitchers rarely finishing more than 5 or 6 innings, this role is going to evolve and Vinny is perfect for such a role.

        1. Why not use Vinny as an ‘opener’ every fourth day for two innings each time?
          Maybe exclusive of when when Nola. Wheeler or Arrieta are due to start, unless they are on short rest…but use him primarily for the 4th or 5th guy in the rotation.

          1. You could use him as the opener for 3 innings for each fifth spot rotation turn and make him available for an inning or two for the #2 or 3 spots in the rotation – this way he would always have a day off before and after each start. I think it could work.

            1. Tampa Bay’s Cash seems to have a system down these last two years, that has been successful.
              Perhaps it would behoove other managers/pitching coaches to study his method and see if it would work for them.
              Copy-cat technology.

          2. Maybe Vinny would be better as a lefty. He’s ambidextrous. Why not try a Pat Vendetti career move….I’m half kidding. But with some creativity, he could become a secret weapon on a roster that will need every competitive edge it can get.

      2. I tend to believe that Klentak will be maneuvering/trading off the 40man roster. If Didi signs, Segura goes. Perhaps they trade the likes of Pivetta and Velasquez, especially the latter who makes more money. We might see Cole Irvin make the 26man squad as a very cheap long man. And yes, Knapp remains the backup. But somehow the FO will need to trim the existing payroll in order to field a competitive team in 2020.

        1. I will never understand how anyone who watched Cole Irivin thinks he can help this team, maybe as a batting practice pitcher, he has nothing nice kid but isn’t a major league pitcher

        2. Segura isn’t going anywhere. He’s playing 2B next season. You can’t trade him after a down year. I think he’ll bounce back next year. There will be some trades though. I’ll bet the house that Irvin is not on the 26 to start the year. No way. Too many better options, if most are healthy.

            1. Kingery anywhere but 3b boils my butter. I know they love the whole Swiss army knife thing about him. But man, the kid is your prototypical 2b and he’s played there all of what, parts of 2 games? Don’t get it.

            2. Kingery although I think he could play some CF also if they find someone else to play 3b and bat RH to split time with Haseley. They are also planning on Bohm contributing next season.

            3. I think blaming Kapler for Kingery’s positional history is revisionist history. The Phillies started Kingery at at positions other than second base in 6 of 59 starts after he reached Lehigh Valley (before Kapler was with the organization). Then the following off season Kingery was offered and accepted a multi-year contract AND made the 25-man roster.

              The opening day line up included 1B Santana, 2B, Hernandez, SS Crawford, and 3B Franco with Hoskins, Williams, and Altherr in the outfield. Kingery’s first start was game 2 at third base. Kapler got him 116 starts, mostly at SS because, well Crawford sucked eggs when he wasn’t on the DL. He made 101 starts at SS, 8 at third, 2 at second, and 5 in corner OF.

              Kingery got 115 starts in 2019. Only 6 were at second. He made 37 at third, 12 at SS, 3 in LF, and 57 in CF.

              As long as second base-only Hernandez was on the team, Kapler did well to get Kingery at bats.

              I think it is more accurate to say that playing Kingery at multiple positions was an organizational decision that persists post-Kapler.

      3. What is this constant love for Smyly? He stinks. He won’t get a major league deal from anyone. We can do better and we will. It could be a trade too.

        1. LOL says the guy who loves the 97 OPS+ of Gregorious and how we shouldn’t judge him based on his awful 2019 because he was coming off an injury.

          Look Smyly isn’t great but you do realize he is only 30, didn’t pitch at all in 17 or 18 his 12 starts for us were pretty decent 1.32 WHIP 9.8 K/9 slots in at 5 until Howard can come up. You could do worse.

          I know I know….I’ve become the official Didi hater and thats ok but just because Joe likes him doesn’t mean he’s good.

          And I’ll gladly take all the ribbing that comes my way if we get him and he turns out a nice year.

        2. Disagree with Murray. Bring back Smyly. He has a lot in common with Mike Minor. He’s worth re-signing.

      4. @Hinkie – I some some of the pen arms will be traded once the Phillies decide to sign FAs. Signing Wheeler and potentially another SP FA will push Pivetta and Vinny out of the rotation to pen, signing 1-2 RPs and Neris, Alvarez and Morgan have no more options — this will squeeze the roster since the Phillies can only carry 7-8 arms in the pen — so arms will be traded will can provide some salary relief. The Phillies have good depth in LHP (Davis, Irvin, Suarez, Jojo, Dohy, Jones, Jake, etc) so one of Alvarez or Morgan can be traded and one of delos Santos, Vinny and Pivetta can be traded too.

        I agree with you that it is most likely that the Phillies will operate around $220M when 2020 season starts in Spring.

        1. KuKo… IMO .the two getting traded will be Pivetta and/or Velasquez…they are the only arms other GMs can salivate on with unseen potential
          They seem to like Eflin as their 5th

  51. Don’t know if true, but I heard the Phillies were only willing to go to 10 million dollars on Hamels.

    1. Of all the moves that the Phillies won’t make this off season, I’m not going to let that one keep me awake at night.

      1. Agreed. Hamels was my favorite non-Utley player of that era and I really wanted him back but they needed a more long term pitching solution. As a fan of the player Atlanta really was the best fit for him on a short term deal.

  52. 2020 Rotation-


    6th starter Howard

    2021 Rotation-


    6th starter LHP Miller

    1. Arrieta is not coming back in 2021. Nola + Wheeler + Howard are the only locks in 2021 + FA if the Phillies sign an SP that stays in 2021. The 2021 5th SP is still up for grabs — Eflin has the inside track and but others like Medina, Jones, Seabold can be a possibility too.

    2. Geez, you must think Jake is gonna turn in a great year, worthy of his option getting picked up?

    1. I saw Burnett almost his entire career and never felt like he had the command or stuff that Wheeler has. By my eye test these are very different pitchers with very different ceilings. It’s an inexact science to be sure (and one player’s career is over, so we know how that played out), but that’s how I feel about these guys.

      1. Yes…..I remember AJ is being very up and down, though have to admit and surprised me also, that he had a 30WAR career.
        I suppose the concern is the elbow with Wheeler. I would think the last two years would have erased that …. but it has poked its head up again with $118M on the line..

  53. I’ve read in a number of places that Girardi likes LHP’s in his line-up… If we don’t get Bumgardner he’ll put the heat on Klentak to either trade for one or look within… That’s why I put Miller in there..My guess Miller starts Hi-A and finishes at AA this year.

    1. Girardi liked LHP with the Yanks because of the short RF fence. Teams use right handed hitters against them. Our stadium is neutral to righty/lefty

      1. The latest version of the old-time Yankee Stadium has close but slightly different dimensions…..higher fences…..and their own unique unusual Gulf Stream. wind effect in the dog days of summer.
        The old days that short RF porch played an important role in pitching strategy…now not so sure.

        “At one point in right-center, in fact, there is a point in the fence 9 feet shallower than at that same point at the old Yankee Stadium, a significant difference.”


        Perhaps Joe wanted the lefties based on the old time thinking.

  54. 8mark:
    “The Brewers look to have found their replacement for Yasmani Grandal, as they’ve reportedly struck a trade to acquire Omar Narvaez from the Mariners in exchange for minor league right-hander Adam Hill and a Competitive Balance draft pick. The Brewers’ pick this year lands in Round B this year and is currently slotted in at No. 71 overall”

    What is significant about this trade….a Comp Bal pick was traded…I had read an old rules book that said that was not suppose to happen until after the season begins…..MLB continues to make changes with the times.

    1. Brewers traded their Comp A pick last year in December for lefty reliever Alex Claudio, who they non tendered recently.

  55. Agree that we need a LHSP. That also answers the question above about Smyly. I don’t love him but I also don’t think he stinks. And another year away from injury and he could be valuable. The others are Miley and Alex Wood. Then Norris, or more expensively, Ray, and even more expensively Boyd. I think we are out of the MadBum chase considering he wants anything close to Wheeler. I can’t think of sny other options.

    1. I say sign both Smyly and Wood on relatively cheap one or two year deals and see how it plays out. I’ll guess at least one guy has a good year and that’s all we need and it’s possible both stay in the rotation and that’s fine too.

    2. @matt13 – i agree with what you said but I want to stay away from that “expensively Boyd”. Boyd is prone to long balls and flyballs – he will get crushed in CBP.

  56. Guys, come on.

    1. Howard has proven nothing at the MLB level. Not even triple-A. Let’s stop falling in love with what opinions of his future performance is going to be.

    2. Drew Smyly? Alex Wood? They are junk and not better than what we currently have.

    His team is geared towards winning. We came in 4th place and the crappy team up the road just got a $10 Billion dollar owner looking to win, asap.

    It’s time to shoot big.

    1. get off the yahoo fantasy account. the Phillies have deep pockets but it is not bottomless. all them superstars are once prospects — someone who has prove nothing in MLB yet until they were given the chance to perform at the big league level.

      without you laying out your master plan, it is easy to say just get the best players available and they’ll sign with the Phillies. Even the great Mike Trout knows that when the Phillies signed Harper, there are no $$ and cap space available for him to be a Phillie.

      1. Lol, fantasy sports? Ok. I get that all superstars were once prospects, and I’m not saying that Howard won’t become one. But for a team looking to win immediately, you cannot just automatically assume he is going to come up in July and dominate through October. Field a solid team and make him force his way on it.

        We wasted 5 years of just giving 3rd base to Maikel Franco when we could’ve gotten someone better. Yes, there are limits to spending, but instead of having 5 years of crap, we should’ve been collecting building blocks… Since we failed and the Braves have swooped by us along with the Nationals, it’s time to make it up. How do you do that? Money.

        Master plan? Why do I need a master plan? Why do you have to see it? Maybe it’s you who has the yahoo fantasy sports account. This is the real world. Our owner is a billionaire who is getting $100M from Comcast a year before even selling one ticket. He wants his f-ing trophy back and might even spend some stupid money to do it. Let’s stop acting like the luxury cap is some kind of limiting factor here.

        1. You need a friggin master plan because if you don’t have a master plan or a long-range plan, you just spend and trade and you wake up and it’s 2012 (where the team was about to go fully south and was at the salary cap) and your team doesn’t finish above .500 again for at least 8 years. Seriously? Give me a break.

          And as for your desire that the owner continue to spend above the cap IT ISN’T GOING TO HAPPEN FREQUENTLY AND IT MIGHT NOT HAPPEN AT ALL. And by the way, he is one of the bigger MLB spenders around, so suggesting he is cheap or unreasonable is both untrue and unfair. He is ready and able and desiring to be a top 5 spender.

          And no, money isn’t the only thing that separates this team from other teams. What separates the great organizations is the ability to draft, find and devlop talent. This, not the desire to spend, is what has kept us behind the 8 ball. Our farm has been mediocre, we have been HORRIBLE at finding bargain big leaguers and improving them (the Dodgers and Yankees are superb at doing this), and our coaching at the big league level was atrocious last year – about as bad as it gets.

          So no, I pretty much disagree with everything you’ve said.

      2. I guess I’ll also throw in that if we do indeed sign Anthony Rendon, it will probably rival what Mike Trout makes a year AAV, $35.5M.

        So……so much for Trout reading the writing on the wall about how much Philly had to spend. But I guess pretending to know what Trout is thinking falls in line with your theme of Fantasy.

  57. Trouble is…you don’t have enough money left to shoot big without going over the luxury tax.

    Unless some of these young players are able to improve enough this year to be those players.

  58. I think an added benefit of the Wheeler signing is how it could enhance the development of Spencer Howard. The Phillies signed a pitcher in Wheeler that Howard is similar to in that they both can reach upper 90s on the fastball and they both have 3 other reliable pitches. If I am the Phillies, I give Howard a big league invite to ST and put him with Wheeler all spring to work together.

  59. Last night, the Padres traded OF Hunter Renfroe to Tampa for OF Tommy Pham, who was eventually going to cost the Rays some big bucks which they don’t spend. Watch Renfroe become a star under Tampa’s excellent coaching and development staff. He’s hit with some power the last few years but hasn’t established himself as the big leaguer he was originally projected to be in San Diego’s system.

    We won’t yet know how well the Girardi-Price-Dixon staff will do, but along the way, they will have to unlock the talent within a few of the younger players. Eflin, Hoskins and Kingery (for example) have displayed major league skills but consistency has eluded them so far. Teams like the Dodgers, Yankees, Rays, A’s, Braves and Astros have proven what a strong learning environment can produce. Let’s hope the Phillies have finally struck a vein with reputable people in a department which has been poorly staffed until now.

    1. Interesting…Tampa has won 186 games over the last two season…..with primarily a positional players lineup without any of their own prospects…almost all coming via trades.
      I guess there are many ways to skin a cat.

  60. Nats are reportedly close to re-signing Howie Kendrick. A professional bat, even an aging one, is never a bad acquisition.

  61. Appears Starling Marte is officially on Pittsburgh’s trading block. He’ll make $11.5M in ’20 with a team option for slightly more in ’21.

    Would Velasquez, Medina and Oduble plus cash to eat some salary? And might that be enough to request a supplemental pick in return as well?

    1. Let me amend that offer….I would replace Odubel with Haseley (or simply add Haseley and demand a supplemental pick and/or international money) and lower the cash amount we would send.

      Acquiring Marte would leave Kingery as primarily an infielder.

      1. Anyone have a prediction on the Phillies roster/system players one week from today? This takes consideration from trades, FA signings and Rule 5 additions/subtraction.

      2. This is not even close to what it would take. Think Haseley, Morales and Romero or Pivetta or something like that. Medina has no trade value after two bad years other than as a throw in. This deal could require Morales and Stott. Marte is good, they don’t want our trash for two years of him at a reasonable price.

    2. Nix that if the Pirates are, as just reported, asking for a top catching prospect in a package for Marte. Marchan may not be close enough to the majors….or would Pittsburgh simply draft him in the rule 5 next week? Hmmm….

    1. Please stop posting every brain fart from Twitter or where ever you get this stuff.

      Read my update above. Read Todd Zolecki on the Phillies site. Read Matt Gelb’s article on the Athletic or my comment that includes the link. As reported, the Phillies aren’t going over the tax threshold. Therefore any report that they are targeting free agents who command an AAV above $15M is a lie.

      Nightengale and his ilk don’t report facts. He (and they) are pimps for the agents. Please don’t pander for them on this site.

      1. On an unrelated subject, Trollu asked me to point out that the guy posting under Kat Mlentak is not Trollu or related to Trollu. This is true. Katt Mlentak is a guy who was banned for his comments last year but allowed back on when I “forgave” everyone on the banned list after last off season. Katt Mlentak is a lilwayne fan who posted under the aliases such as Samuel (San Fran), Mont, Tim, Burrellfan, 08Phils, T, and now Katt Mlentak. Don’t know why someone using the alias lilwaynefan needs an alias, but he is NOT Trollu.

        1. Thank you, Jim. Perhaps I could change my name soon to something related to baseball. If so, I will alert everyone so there is no confusion. (no sarcasm).

          I didnt realize Bob wasn’t reliable. I will take his stuff with a grain of salt.
          The downside, he has now caused MLTBR to report.

          1. Had to be cleared up because you kept wrongfully accusing me.
            I’ve begun to agree with you on a number of matters so not sure why you continue to hold a grudge.
            We are both here to contribute to the Phillies phan community.

        2. I am in shock, it Bewildered me that people would do something to get banned. I Try to be nice to everyone

      2. This was actually put out by the Phils to remind Mr Didi G that there are other options and to encourage him to sign the deal the Phils have offered. I expect the deal to be closed by Monday.

        1. Monday? ……..a possibility.
          The front office guys are probably getting final thoughts together and getting ready to leave on Sunday for Monday’s first day of winter meetings in San Diego.

          So they probably will need to get the handshakes down and done tonight or tomorrow for Didi’s deal.

        1. viagain….you probably overlooked Jim’s post above on Bob Nightengale….and this subject of the article.

      3. Why be rude with your response? It’s been reported on several outlets that they are kicking the tires on Rendon. Why can’t this be true? He’s exactly the type of player that you’d go over the salary cap to get. It would also allow you to use Bohm in a trade for another starter to help the pitching out. Gelb isn’t the end all be all.

      4. So the Phillies have said they aren’t going over the tax threshold…

        Didn’t just a few weeks ago Klentak talk about how the Phillies have to not “forfeit draft picks” as compensation for FA’s? and then their first major FA move was to forfeit a draft pick for Wheeler?

        1. What bothers me about Matt Kentak’s comment on ‘forfeiting 2nd/3rd round picks for free agents and then look at Kingery/Howard and Seabold’,
          …..is the simple fact, he had opportunities to trade for Comp Balance picks over these last two/three years utilizing a very good farm system, with players with potential….but instead held onto the prospects and now may have to let them go due to surplus positioning or in other business terms, ‘excess inventory’.

          1. I’m in total agreement, Romus. While Klentak is savvy in making certain moves, he seems to have a blind spot with regard to redeeming “excess” value within the organization.

            As for the luxury tax line, whatever the plan and decision as to yay or nay on exceeding it, should the Phillies fail to make the playoffs again in 2020 while staying under the threshold, there will be a public firestorm aimed mainly at Middleton. How they plan to compete and stay under the luxury tax is utterly beyond my comprehension (which isn’t say much, but I’m just saying…)

  62. Moffo is chillin’ because his Uncle Cesar was cut loose. I’d like to see the team bring him back for half of his projected arb amount. I know a lot of members of this site are glad that he is gone, but he still a quality player.

    1. I dunno how that would work since he’s basically a one position player however he should be applauded and the org should get credit for Hernandez. He wasn’t a highly touted prospect but he was homegrown and he did develop into a solid MLB 2B . . . def a feather in the cap of the Phillies development team but not many people see it that way. Hope he is signed by a good team and sees success.

    2. I’m happy yo see Cesar back with half of the arb price. However, one of my main issue with Cesar ever since is his lack of positional flexibility. Cesar is a 2B only – a position that both Segura and Kingery can handle better defensively.

      With that being said, I rather use the $$ to be paid to Cesar to fill the more important holes —- SP, RP and 3B.

  63. There is an awful lot of leaking of false rumors to fit different agendas, and Agents have their favorites that they place stories with, agreed, but I am with v1. It is sure fun to dream or fantasize about Rendon. He is exactly what we need. He is that difference maker that Middleton talked about. Bohm for a controllable SP, assuming we can get the right one, then puts us in a position to really compete. Not just for the 2d WC. And let’s not forget one thing. Whether or not we exceed the LT is a choice. Middleton et al are perfectly able to afford anything they choose to do. The financial position of the team is as strong as any and we as fans have a right to complain if they don’t spend whatever is needed and fail to win.

    1. Is there any possibility that Arrieta can be traded to any team?

      Maybe we can throw in some high prospects and cash considerations for middle prospects and utility infielder.

      Then we can get Cole.

  64. We should not ignore the scenario in which we sign Rendon and package Bohm + Arrieta (plus others) for a pitcher like Boyd. We shouldn’t assume that we can’t sign Rendon because he would push us over the salary cap. A good GM leaves all options on the table.

    Personally, I would absolutely trade Rendon and Boyd for Bohm, Arrieta and any other prospect not named Spencer Howard.

    1. Mad if they wouldn’t take Bohm + Arrieta + a good prospect for Boyd then maybe Bohm + Cutch + prospects for Boyd. Either gets us under the cap and can be replaced.

  65. Yes to v1.

    Here’s a question: If the Phillies are going to spend 330 million dollars on Bryce Harper, 118 million dollars on Zack Wheeler, plus Sixto Sanchez and a ~100 million dollar extension on JT Realmuto .. why would they then hit the brakes at the luxury tax threshold?
    The team has attempted to open their window of contention with these moves. Their core (Harper/Realmuto/Hoskins/Kingery/Nola/Wheeler) are all in their mid to late 20’s. Every year counts. Does anyone really believe this Phillies team (even if they add Didi Gregorius) can beat the Braves or Dodgers in 2020?

    Outside of Nola and Wheeler, can Middleton/Klentak truly count on any other starter? Can Arrieta be better after having the bone spurs removed from his right elbow? Maybe. Can Bryan Price help Zach Eflin, Nick Pivetta, and/or Vince Velasquez reach their potentials? Maybe. Is Spencer Howard going to be the real deal? Maybe.

    What about the BP? What do they have after Hector Nerris? Are Ser Ant’ny, Adam Morgan, and Victor Arano going to be healthy? IDK. Will any of their youngsters (Edwin Garcia/JoJo Romero/Kyle Dohy/Damon Jones/Robert Stock/jaKe the caKe) be able to help? Maybe.

    Too many “maybes” to believe the Phillies aren’t wasting another year of their core’s prime.
    Spend more money and/or prospects to finish off what they’ve started.

    1. 100% agree. Only untradeable player for me is Howard. Too hard to produce top SP prospects. But I have no problem flipping Bohm and Stott for 27/28/29 yo SPs who are an upgrade like Boyd.

      And attaching them to Arrieta to free up space for Rendon makes a lot of sense to me.

    2. Hinkie, while I don’t like trading. BOhm, but to replace him with Rendon, (through trades), I would sign off on that. It would hurt, but … yeah. Doing that, I’d have to understand that i am tightening up the window because I’m trading for the “now” finished product vs the cost controlled possible future star.



      With Howard expected to bump one in the future.

      I’d also trade back for Ken Giles.

  66. Fair warning : salary cap space rant:

    Robertson and his 11 mill AAV is a real drag this offseason. IMO, a scenarios like this, shouldn’t count against the 2020 payroll. For 1, he is not signed passed 2020, if even if he was, I wish MLB would allow a team to use that AAV salary on another player for that time the player is unable to be on the field … for the entire season. It would allow a scenario for a team to sign a Cole hamels for 1 year or a josh Donaldson. Various scenarios could happen, but I don’t see why a player that is never expected to play for the team again gets to occupy 11mil of its AAV due to injury. Sure The player needs to be paid, but the team should also be able to use that AAV on a replacement player if they choose. I guess there is some “competitive balance” issues with this complaint, but so be it, build a better franchise and it’s less of an concern.

    End rant.

    1. Tac3…though it will not help much with the threshold concern …and just a small consolation, but they will place the 60IL on him after that first game of the season…so at least a 40 position opens up.

      BTW….Robertson is technically signed for 2021…club option however, but with a $2M buyout

  67. That may be an issue for the next CBA, but they can structure it so there is a limit to the amount. Maybe, if a player is going to miss an entire year, there can be a $6-8M allotment for a replacement that doesn’t affect the LT. In our case, I agree with Hinkie. It makes no sense to spend what they have spent and then stop and pretend we are good enough. I reserve the right to believe the self imposed spending limit is for negotiation purposes and continue to believe that Middleton will do whatever it takes.

    1. i dont want to spend the money on rendon, i know he is great player but rather have harrison play the start of season at third, see how bohm is doing, At some point we need to have young talent with low salary, If we are going to spend money now bullpen help, and left hand pitcher is my top priority

  68. Spending our long term big money on a third baseman who will end up being crazy overpaid (by that, I mean I doubt he will produce close to the value of the contract he will receive), when our best position prospect is a third baseman, our pitching is still mediocre and there are rental third basemen available would be a big mistake in my view.

    Furthermore, everyone here seems to want to gut our farm system of its best prospects. Why? Do you not see that the teams who are most successful and stay successful do their best to promote, and not trade, their best prospects? If we ignore what is going on, we are doomed to be back in rebuilding mode before too long.

    I want us to be the Dodgers or the Yankees or even the Cardinals. Paying a lot of money to free agents but regularly promoting our best prospects and finding valuable young players on the trade market and developing them.

    1. finishing the thought:

      Paying a lot of money to free agents but also regularly promoting our best prospects and finding valuable young players on the trade market and developing them will be the key to us getting good and staying good.

        1. Looks like the Phillies will not even get close to Rendon as the Rangers are entirely focused on him now.

          Pitching should still be a Phillies objective…..specifically a starting LHP.
          I still see a major trade on the horizon.
          Tigers seem to be a team trying to get hitters and have a stable of young pitchers in their system. Matt K. will be negligent in not doing his due diligence with their GM and see if they can agree on some type of an exchange.

    2. I keep reading things like the below which makes me feel like Bohm’s future is first base

      “To get to the big leagues, Bohm will need to continue refining his defense at the hot corner. He has enough arm strength for the position, but his range is fringy and he lacks consistency. He made a wide throw on a seventh-inning grounder Sunday, his third error in six AFL games in the field after making 12 miscues in 83 regular-season contests.”


  69. I still think, as Jim does, that the Rendon interest is fabricated. The Phils don’t talk so the news is not from them. I think they are firmly after Didi, as Girardi wants. I think they will either use Harrison in a platoon with Haseley, with Kingery bouncing, or sign Starlin Castro if he’d rather be on a winner for less money. I think they’ll still chase Bettances and either trade for a lefty, like Caleb Smith of the Marlins or Robbie Ray, it sign one of the lefties line Miley, Keuchel, or Ryu. I’m positive that Bohm won’t be traded, they need his cheap salary to make things fit.

  70. .

    Marc Carig and Andy McCullough rank the Phillies #2 on the “Got to get something done at the Winter Meetings” list. Only the LAA’s are listed as a team in more urgent need of getting something done this week/winter.

    @ catch … in a perfect world, the Phillies could remain patient, and work on rebuilding their farm system while they compete/win at the MLB level. Unfortunately, Klentak, MacPhail, and the development staff have done a lousy job of building/taking care of the farm. The Phillies have now reached the level of the Angels. They have a superstar in his prime (and making a lot of money) and need to win NOW. In the Phillies case, their entire core (Harper/Realmuto/Hoskins/Kingery/Nola/Wheeler) is in their prime (mid to late 20’s). They don’t have the luxury of waiting. They need to be “all in” right now.
    I’m not endorsing any particular move. I’m just saying they have to be open to everything that helps them win over the next three years. Allowing the luxury tax threshold to be an impediment to improving the club is ridiculous.

    1. I agree totally. The variables entering the winter meetings and the balance of the off season are too numerous to track. However, his Phillies are not in the position to plod along, even if that is the reasonable path….

      Signing Didi appears to be the likeliest addition at the moment. I’m not thrilled with the idea of Segura shifting to 2b because Kingery should be given the opportunity to nail it down as his, but whatever….

      Should the Phillies need to trade for a true impact starting pitcher, any of the following should be considered as possible trade candidates:

      Bohm or Hoskins – the latter would be a sell low situation so I actually think Bohm is a greater possibility. I tend to think neither will be traded before the deadline, however. Segura and Haseley are two more we might be moved.

      Again, I agree that contending for a playoff berth, let alone being a championship caliber ball club, isn’t anywhere near a realistic expectation if Middleton and Klentak don’t have their sites on needle moving talent – which invariably involves breaking the luxury tax line. Period.

      1. Why all the money for DIdi? I don’t get it unless segura is being moved, I really am not a Hoskins fan, not cause of his hitting ,But the terrible way he fields at third and left field,

        1. roccco….”But the terrible way he fields at third …..”
          You crossing a Bohm with a Hoskins?

  71. Heard a trade proposal….after signing Didi, trade Segura and Bohm to the Cubs for Bryant. Cubs are trying to cut payroll. You might need to throw in some cash to cover part of Segura’s salary.

    1. I sure don’t expect this to happen (if it did, a young pitcher would have to be included as well), I don’t think Klentak has the guts to make this move. However, it would certainly be an exciting move to make.

      1. You’re probably right about having to add a pitcher. Not a top flight arm….maybe Jojo Romero.

    1. As long as he stays in the AL,
      then I am fine between either the Yankees or Angels.
      Not the Bums.

    1. I really believe the Phillies front office is under directive to stay under the luxury tax.


      Cole, Strasburg, and Rendon are Middleton decisions and if Boras approaches him with terms he finds acceptable I can 100% see Middleton splurging if he thinks Stras or Rendon is the difference making piece. I don’t think it’s realistic they get any of the 3 but it’s not impossible. Rendon being the most likely as he seems to have a more limited market.

      1. As I said above, signing Rendon does not necessarily mean that they enter the 2020 season over the salary cap. they can attach Bohm to Arietta in a trade for a SP to get under the cap.

        1. Going over the luxury tax for one year really isnt an issue if you get under it the following, and with Arrietta just a 1 year hit on the cap, trading your best hitting prospect to dump Arrietta doesnt seem to make any sense, or am i missing something?

  72. I would think Bryant’s grievance on service time manipulation would need to be resolved before any team would trade for him. If he wins, he would likely be a free agent next year and that certainly would impact what goes in a trade.

  73. Yes to Rendon! Another thing they could do is attach a prospect to Herrera and get a team with payroll flexibility to take him. That would save $6.1 million in AAV. Even better do that with Robertson and the $11.5 million AAV saved is probably enough to get Rendon, with the $19.4 million the Phillies currently have available.

    Regarding Didi, why oh why would the Phillies want to get a guy who makes outs in about 79% of his plate appearances across his career?

    1. Sounds like a plan to me, creative thinking on your part. Now if Klentak can execute 🙂 … The FO maybe on strict orders to not go over the cap, but obviously nothing against reconfiguring the current roster under the cap.

      Will see
      Herrera + Ortiz
      Arrietta + Bohm (not excited to trade him, hopefully it can take less of a prospect)

      Bohm may not be able to play 3rd, but the DH is a real possibility coming up, at least imo, having bohm or Stott early on could pay dividends for a team up against the cap.

    2. “Regarding Didi, why oh why would the Phillies want to get a guy who makes outs in about 79% of his plate appearances across his career?”……very fair and valid point, but probably two reasons they may want him ……….one, only four infielders on the 40 and the second and main reason…..Joe G probably wants him.
      He could not say enough good things about him last week.

    3. I’m a definite no in the Didi camp but he’s a little better than making outs in 79% of his plate appearances. His career .OBP sits at .313 which would put him around 70%…

      1. Gregorius…from 2016 thru 2018 he averaged a BA of .277…with a .791 OPS. 24 HRs…27 doubles and 81 RBIs .
        Last season the post TJ surgery had to have some effect on him in his half season….slashing only 238/.276/.718..but with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 324 ABs
        But they seem to want a proven LHB in the middle of the lineup to go along with Harper.

        1. Girardi had Didi batting 3rd, in the 2017 ALCS, with the WS appearance on the line. I’d say Giradi wants him at minimum, just my gut after hearing some local beat writers speak on this. Of course, I’m darn sure he’d also want rendon if payroll can be shifted to make room for him

    1. Good, I’m glad they signed him and he got the big bucks, as I believe it will be a diminishing return type of contract. Seven years is a long time for a surgically repaired shoulder with a lot of mileage.

      1. …and at his age, MadMax’s back isn’t going to allow him to make even 25 starts a season for the rest of his contract.

      2. The Nationals struck gold with the Scherzer contract, but he showed no signs of regression before he signed. Strasburg not only has the injury history, his velocity has been deteriorating and he’s fairly old for this lengthy of a contract even if he didn’t already have those other red flags, which he does. I think this could end up being a truly terrible contract – as bad as the Price fiasco perhaps.

    2. wow, makes Wheeler’s contract look cheap by comparison- this is the positive fallout for the Phils from the Nats championship run i guess, with Nats taking on this contract and losing Rendon.

          1. Interesting part is the Nationals still owe him $30m in deferred money from the previous contract. $10m per season in 2024, 2025, and 2026…

  74. Assuming if the marching order to stay under the threshold is true and using JimP’s $19.4M numbers as the “budget” to complete the roster and the Phillies cannot find a partner to absorb’s Seguara and Doobie’s contracts, here’s scenario I can see…

    Sign the follow FAs (4 roster spots)

    SP Wood $9M AAV
    LHP Smyly $3M
    RHP Treinen $7M
    INF Miller $2.5M

    Trade (2 roster spots) for prospects

    LHP Morgan ($1.6M) – expendable with Smyly signing
    OF Williams ($584K) – no opportunity with Bruce or Quinn as bench OF

    DFA one of Cristopher Sanchez, Trevor Kelley or Garret Cleavinger

    The above will make the roster full at 40-man (before subsequent 60-DL designation) and put the salary around $700K below threshold. The 26-man roster will look like….

    SP (5) – Nola, Wheeler, Arrieta, Wood and Eflin
    RP (8) – Smyly (LH), Alvarez (LH), Neris (RH), Treinen (RH), Vinny (RH), Stock (RH), healthy Seranthony (RH) and possibly Pivetta (RH) or Arano (RH)

    Starters (8) – JTR (C), Rhys (1B), Segura (2B), Miller (3B), Kingery (SS), Cutch (LF), Haseley (CF) and Harper (RF)

    Bench (3) – Bruce (OF), Quinn (OF), Knapp (C)

    This is only 24 of 26 so the Phillies – but Robertson is expected to be moved to 60-DL to create a roster spot for a bench INF (Josh Harrison). And the Phillies to make another trade or DFA to create roster spot for another INF.

    I think the Phillies will still break the threshold and operate close to $220M to complete a more competent team in 2020.

      1. I agree, that’s why I still believe that Middleton will break the CBT Threshold contrary to what has been reported that the Phillies will stay under the threshold.

        The Bamboo Bambino Brad Miller belongs to the bench and the Phillies cannot move Segura without paying significant portion, thus, keeping the cap hit.

        Also, I don’t expect the Phillies to sign >5 mid to high range FAs. Wheeler is probably the high end FA so I expect the Phillies to sign a couple of mid level (SP and RP) and one low level (bench INF).

        The Phillies cannot possibly construct a team better than ATL and WAS without going way above the $208M threshold so it is imperative for the 2nd tier players like Rhys, Kingery, Eflin, Pivetta, Vinny, Haseley, Seranthony to really step up and perform to their level to make the Phillies team a playoff contending team.

        1. If we make the playoffs I think one or both of Bohm and Howard will be the difference. They are both very legit prospects and I don’t think the prospect world has an accurate idea of how good Bohm could be.

          1. “I don’t think the prospect world has an accurate idea of how good Bohm could be.”…..and yet many want to throw him (Bohm) into trades of many magnitudes.

            The Astros, Red Sox, Yankees, Nats…….prefer to hang onto their prime positional prospects.
            Cannot understand the thought of moving a Bohm or even a Haseley at this point.

          2. Good post Catch! Let those two play for the phillies this year instead of trading them.
            All of the talk of trading these two for proven players, if you do that and have all expensive players on the team while you are above the luxury tax…if you have bad luck with injuries on those expensive players, the team would be SUNK for awhile.

      2. That’s what I think too. Barring a surprise trade, I think this is an 85 win team. If everything broke our way, they could get to 90 wins. If we have a major injury or two, this could easily be a below .500 team.

  75. Not saying players don’t try to do their best no matter what contract year they are in, but with Didi trying to up his stock to reenter next years FA class (which includes some good SS) we can be sure he’s going to want to put up a career year. I like the signing because of the upside and I believe it could mean another possible move (trade).

  76. Is an infield of Kingery, Didi, Jean, and Hoskins good enough to even contend in the NL East? Legit question. I don’t think it is especially if Hoskins has another down year. The only way i see this working is if they trade Jean and are able to sign Donaldson. Or trade Jean and hope Alec Bohm tears it up. A Donaldson/Bohm 3B – Didi SS – Kingery 2B – Hoskins 1B doesn’t sound too bad but a infield of Kingery 3B – Didi SS – Jean 2B – Hoskins 1B throw in Haseley at CF and I don’t know if that’s good enough. I am no expert at the money part I know we are very tight against the luxury tax so I don’t know if it’s even possible now to sign a Donaldson or trade for a Bryant.

    1. Bohm is expected to be up by June. They’re not signing a 3b, that was never the plan. They’ll sign two IFs for the bench, maybe Miller. They need to sign or trade for a SP and they’ll sign a reliever, or I could see Vinnie and Pivetta traded along with Williams and a prospect for pitching.

    2. I agree. I don’t think that infield is scaring anyone offensively. They are banking on a lot of turnarounds. Hoping that Seguara had a down year. Hoping that Didi had a down year. Hoping that Kingery’s second half and Hoskin’s second half were not their real selves. They need to be right on all 4 players to contend. Or hope that Bohm comes up and has a Alonso type breakout.

  77. I just read KLaw’s piece for ESPN+ on the DiDi signing. He thinks it was a steal for the Phillies. He went on to say that if Kingery is at 2B, the Phillies will have the best defensive middle-infield combo in baseball. He also stated that Segura at 3B makes sense since his limitation at SS is his ability to move laterally, which obviously is much less of an issue at the corner. He also thought that DiDi should be good for 15 HRs and be a 3-win player for the Phillies and he qualified that by saying that that is not an optimistic scenario. Has anyone heard if there is an option year?

    1. 15 homers? I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t hit at least 20 in our park. Last year, a down year filled with injury recovery, he hit 16 in less than 400 at bats. He’ll bat 6th after JT and provide some pop, very good for a SS.

      1. I believe that KLaw was pointing out the fact that Didi is a left-handed hitter in Yankees Stadium, which is about as favorable a park factor as you get. Plus, the point he was making in the article is that is was a very good signing for the Phillies even with modest expectations of Didi’s performance..

    2. Segura has played over 1400 pro games….nay one at third…..360 plus at 2nd and 1102 at shortstop. over the last 12 years.
      He even played a couple games in RF in the minors.
      Now KLaw thinks the Phillies will turn Segura into a third basemen in March!
      I will be interested in seeing how that turns out.

      1. I expect Segura at 2b, a position he has played before. Kingery will play 3b and CF depending on how Haseley does and who wins the IF bench jobs (Harrison? Miller?). Also, forgotten man Quinn will absolutely play, when healthy. If only…

      2. In the article, KLaw stated that Kingery doesn’t have the arm for 3B but, as we know, he brings a plus glove to 2B. He thought that Segura could play a passable 3B.

  78. Baring a major trade which includes prospects, I think this is basically your 2020 Phillies. I don’t see a major FA deal coming in. A few more smaller pieces but nothing major.

    My assessment is that the Phillies are banking big time on a lot of players performing much better in 2020 than they did in 2019. It is a very, very risky roster construction.
    – Haseley is likely to get a lot of playing time at CF. The hope is that he isn’t a .720 OPS player.
    – they are banking that Cutch comes back and is the same player
    – they are banking that Hoskins’ second half and Kingery’s second half are not who they are going forward
    – they are banking on rebound years from both Didi and Segura.
    – the bullpen has not changed yet so they are banking on improvements from those guys too.
    – they are banking on Arrieta not being washed up and having a rebound year. And hopefully one of Vinny or Privetta being productive. Or Howard coming up and being lights out.

    It is a very risky roster. As a reminder last year the two highest OPS players were Brad Miller and Corey Dickerson. A bench player and a guy not on the roster. Then their was Harper and then Cutch who is coming back from injury.

    They need a lot of things to break their way to contend for the wild card spot.

    1. “…banking on Hoskins…”
      RISP with 199 PAs (out of 705 total PAs)…..slash-219/.374/705….19%BB….20%K.
      He needs to put his bat on the ball.

    2. Here’s the other thing about this Didi move…it signals the end of Segura, which seems odd to me because I didn’t see him as the biggest problem last year.

      Segura is a career .733 OPS. His OPS last year was .743 His OPS in 2018 was .755. Taking into account the juiced ball last year, .743 is not great, but it isn’t truly awful if he is at Shortstop. But his bat doesn’t play at 3rd base at all. And that is a lot of money to pay a weak hitting second baseman. So signaling that at 29 years old that he can no longer be a shortstop, really diminishes his value. The Didi contract is only a year, so not sure what the plan at Short is for 2021. I guess it is to move Kingery there or pay up in FA market again.

      But Segura was one of our big deals last offseason. It just seems odd to me that they moved on from him at Short so quickly. And that they picked him as the weakest link in the lineup to be upgraded.

      For what it’s worth,
      – Segura’s 2019 line: .280/.323/.420
      – Cesar’s 2019 line: .279/.333/.408

      They basically replaced Cesar with Segura. I guess that is a significant defensive upgrade. so that is good. but I had higher hopes for Segura when the deal went down last year.

        1. Romus, 2 guys I am very high on are Bryson Stott and Erik Miller. Hopefully by 2022, they are contributing at the major league level in Philadelphia.

          As for my Minor proposal, I didn’t have my coffee yet. Those graciously opposed, I understand. I’m in full trade mode after it looks like we’re done fishing in the deep water. But Segura has another uniform in his future, at least that’s my sense.

          1. 8mark…Minor’s issue…he is just a one year guy….so how much you wiling to give up for him and what would Daniels accept….would be the questions facing Klentak and Daniels.
            His age33 season he becomes a free agent and he probably wants to test the market and see his first big pay out.

          1. If he hits in the minors will be the question.
            And I guess you could call it a gamble that teams like the Sox did with Benintendi…Nats with Soto….Stros’ with Bregman , Cubs with Bryant et al………if he hits in the minors he deserves his chance…..after all they did draft him as their first pick.

            1. I’m with you there Romus. Sure Stott may flame out or just simply be ok but I invested a lot of money in him as a College draftee I have to for now project him with optimism.

              Why not. A 100 PAs at LKW another 100 or so at CLW then Reading….follow the Bohm track.

              At least that is my expectation when you draft supposed elite college hitters. You mentioned a few but there is also Keston Hiura, Madrigal will be another, Bohm likely, Haseley didn’t embarrass himself and so on.

            2. DMAR….college guys have that first three years of experience….equivalent of A ball IMO, and most GMs are aware of this…..Stott alone has 300 games and close to 1400 PAs now under his belt at A level ball behind him.
              His rise should be fairly quick to Reading.

      1. No, they replaced 1 year of Cesar with 1 year of Didi. Not sure why people think signing Gregorius for 1 year means that Segura is gone. The signing gives them insurance in the event Bohm doesn’t immediately start hitting and needs more time in the minors.

        If he’s ready by June or July, they can then make moves to open the spot for him..

        1. Signing Didi means that Segura is relegated to second base. He doesn’t hit enough to be a 3rd baseman. So he will be a good role player, but not a real impact player imo.

  79. Quinn, Hererra, Haseley, McCutchen, Harper, Bruce make up the outfield. Can only keep five. Who goes and why?

    1. Bruce is horrible in the OF limited to just LF and really he wasn’t all that good of a hitter. he probably belongs in the AL and with only $2 million in AAV attached to him I think you try and trade him.

      Quinn is the same old same old. Excellent if you knew he could stay on the field but that has never been the case so why would you count on it for 2020.

      Herrera has the best upside IMO. Yeah last year was a disaster but the talent is still there I mean just 2 seasons ago he was an All-Star. I think you have to at least see if he can reclaim some of that value for you.

      Until you know what you have in Cutch and Haseley he offers excellent insurance at both positions.

      1. Bruce represents great value on the bench. He can play LF and 1b and will be our top pinch hitter. He’s cheap and will not be going anywhere.

        1. Agree Murray, with the rosters expanding to 26 guys like Bruce are perfect players to fill that spot. The era of the designated pinch-hitters like Greg Gross will start returning to the game..

    2. No way Herrera is back. He’ll be included in a salary dump deal like for Happ or someone like that

    3. Odubel is not going to be on the team. His on field performance has been below league average in 2018 and 2019 … and … then there’s that domestic violence incident. BTW … for these reasons Herrera will get the Phillies absolutely nothing in a trade. He’ll be playing for another club in 2020, but the Phillies will be paying most/all of his salary.

  80. To me the team needs another layer. Next offseason the team can likely shed 58.5 million (Arrietta, Robertson, Bruce,Segura, & Herrera). To push it farther would be to Efflin,VV for roughly 7mil, and McCutchen as the only other realistic salary trade/Dump. This is of
    Course if the young guys push the old out, or want to shift money & positions around

    Add in Realmutos likely extension, the Phillies will have roughly 48mil to improve next year in FA. SS will be in the market. If Howard can replace Arrietta, Huge savings there. If Bohm can push Segura out, again huge savings.
    There isn’t enough time to fix this time this offseason. The team will have to Perform
    Well, play to the top of projects. Hopefully the new coaches can unlock some
    More potentional, other than that … The main play to get to the next tier is to trade Segura or Mccutchen, likely Segura, and sign Donaldson or Rendon. Bryant is an option as well, but will cost
    Those cheap prospects.

    So I’m my view, this team is just about set until the last big push next year. Time for the players to pony up.

  81. I agree with v1 on the Phillies roster.

    It’s nice to have Wheeler and Didi, but this is basically the same team that disappointed last year and the Phillies seem to be counting on a lot of bounce backs and old guys like Arietta rejuvenating, just like last year they counted on the young starters to step up and older relievers to stay healthy.

    Hope is not a plan.

    Likewise, it’s nice to have Girardi as manager rather than Kapler, but a manager is worth just a few wins at best.

    I don’t know if the Phillies should bust the luxury tax limit or trade away a salary or two, like Segura, or both, but they probably need at least one more starting pitcher to assure there’s more than Nola, Wheeler and Hope in the rotation.

    BTW note: I’m a Zach Eflin fan and think an added starter might give us four reliable pitchers in the rotation.

    Finally, I’ve seen Bohm play a number of times and like him, but suggesting he, and maybe Spencer Howard, are solid mid-season contributors might fall into the same hope, rather than plan, pattern.

    1. Excellent post, SWFL Frank! I’m weary of the, “well if this guy and that guy rebound….and if that kid and this kid turn out to be what we expect….a wing and a prayer” approach.

      This team in this division is not constructed to contend for the division, let alone the National League title. I’m sure they will patch up a roster spot or two before the spring. But underwhelming is the word until they convince me they are acting with any sense of urgency. And if they aren’t there yet, fine. But stop selling us on how the time to win is now.

      1. Yeah, banking on players rebounding is as dangerous as including overtime when determining how much house to buy. But, …

        I’ve seen a lot of comments stating that one of Kapler’s negative issues was the lack of development by players on the 25-man roster, and that many regressed. In fact, he was blamed for the poor performances of many.

        So, shouldn’t fans expect most players to improve or rebound this season under Girardi? If they don’t, then maybe it was the players’ fault and not the manager’s?

        1. Don’t agree with the underlying premise that they are depending on a bunch of players to rebound or reach numbers they are not capable of..

          JTR was very good in 2019 and should be very good in 2020

          Hoskins had a terrible 2nd half of the season hitting .180 but overall still had an OPS+ of 110. Is it a gamble to expect him to hit better than .180?

          Segura will probably move to 2b. His average season is slightly better than his 2019 season but not significantly better.

          Gregorius played 1/2 a season in 2019 coming off injury. Assuming he plays a full season his numbers will be slightly better than Cehe’s 2019 season.

          Kingery at 3b was a 100 OPS+ player in 2019 and should be about the same in 2020

          McCutchen is returning from his season ending injury. He had an OPS+ of 115 before the injury and should return to that level which is actually under his previous few seasons. That performance would better than LF was in 2019.

          CF was mostly Kingery in 2019 but the combination of Odubel/Haseley/Quinn in that spot in 2020 couldn’t be much worse than what they got from Franco at 3b while Kingery was playing center.

          Harper in RF has a solid average season for him and should repeat in 2020..

          The rotation has added Wheeler which is a major upgrade over Pivetta
          Arrietta minus the bone spurs in the elbow should be at least as good as he was in 2019
          Nola was solid in 2019 and should be similar in 2020
          Eflin was inconsistent in 2019 and should post similar results in 2020.
          The 5th spot in the rotation last year was shaky and will probably be that way again.

          The bullpen in 2019 was a parade of bad and injured and it appears that will also be the case this season.

          The bench in 2019 wasn’t very good and probably won’t be very good in 2020 as it currently stands.

          A return to health and career norms for Didi and McCutchen, plus the upgrade in the rotation of Wheeler moves this team from an 81-81 team to 86-87 wins and a fringe playoff team. They are still behind Atlanta and Washington but the gap is closer pending further moves.

  82. I have come to believe that when their is smoke from the national media there is usually fire. When Buster talks about a player and a team a lot, it usually happens. And he keeps linking Bryant to Phils, which would be really cool. Buster suggests that the market for Bryant might not be as high as we think due to his salary. The Cubs do need a Shortstop so maybe they would take Segura as part of the package. And maybe we can get Bryant and keep Bohm and Howard. That would be awesome.


    1. I agree about Olney. He called the Harper to Phillies deal 12 months before it happened. Remember, he bet his family farm? Once the service time grievance is settled, I would keep an eye on it.

    2. The Cubs have Javier Baez at SS.
      If Donaldson signs with Washington or LAD’s or LAA’s, the Braves would probably also be in the Bryant market. That means the Phillies would (in all likelihood) have to include Bohm of Howard. According to Mr. H, the Cubs really liked Spencer Howard before the draft (they had him in to Wrigley for a workout), but I don’t think the Phillies would give up their top pitching prospect in that deal (top shelf arms have become a hot commodity lately). Bryant would make Bohm expendable.
      You have to ask yourself would you give up 6 (or seven) years of Alec Bohm for two (or one, depending on how the arbitrator rules) years of Chris Bryant.

      1. Bryant’s defense at third last season took a hit…according to SABR-SDI
        Just in the NL alone he was near the bottom.
        Nolan Arenado 13.1
        Josh Donaldson 7.9
        Evan Longoria 5.0
        Brian Anderson 4.9
        Anthony Rendon 4.2
        Eduardo EscobarI 3.0
        Todd Frazier 2.6
        Mike Moustakas 2.3
        Manny Machado 2.2
        Eugenio SuarezN -0.6
        Matt Carpenter -1.0
        Kris Bryant -4.1******
        Justin Turner -5.4
        Maikel Franco -7.2
        Colin Moran -14.4

          1. The Rockies are a mess. They like to think they are 1 of the big boys and dole out large contracts here and there but they can never get enough good pitching to overcome the Coors effect.

        1. According to people on mlb he played center right first and third, and was good playing those positons,

          1. Have you ever heard any analyst on the MLB Network say a player was bad at anything?
            Chris Russo is one who says it the way it is.
            Normally however they will say coat a player as having a negative defensive WAR or UZR.
            Kris Bryant has had a negative bdWAR over the last two years.

      2. Cubs are also looking to shed payroll so there would be no reason they would want Segura’s contract and it doesn’t help the Phillies Luxury tax issues by eating much of Segura’s deal either. Agree that getting Bryant would take at least Bohm in any deal.

        To your question, no, I don’t trade 6+ years of Bohm for 2 years of Bryant, especially when you figure those 2 years are going to cost significant $$$ as well.

          1. That’s why I think any Cubs-Phillies trade for Bryant includes Phillies LHP Erik Miller for when Lester is gone. He’s a 2021-2022 MLB pitcher.

            1. If Miller is as good as some of us hope he is, they should not trade him. Good starting pitchers are worth their wait in gold. Miller and Morales are the only arms with that possible degree of talent. The other arms are all a notch or two below and some are future relievers.

  83. From a roster building perspective, and after reading Gelb’s latest piece in the Athletic I think at this point I’m least concerned about the bullpen.

    Right now I see it shaking out with Neris as the closer and Dominguez and Arano as the primary set up guys. Possibly Morgan in that role as well. That’s really not an awful back end especially compared to the majority of the NL. There aren’t a lot of really strong bullpens there.

    Middle relief primarily you’re probably looking at Morgan, Alvarez, Suarez, Velasquez, and I’d assume Robert Stock unless he’s waived.

    It’s probably a middle of the pack bullpen but what intrigues me is Adonis Medina & Damon Jones. I really think those two could be multi-inning/high leverage pen arms ala Seranthony in 2018. Combined with Velasquez you could have 3 arms that can give you length with power stuff.

    1. The Phillies cannot afford to have Neris as the closer if they want to stand toe to toe with the top teams in the MLB. The Phillies has some good high leverage arms but none of them resembles a closer. This is the reason why I like to see Vinny or Pivetta pitch from the pen. I like Vinny’s mindset in the mound although he struggles with pitch efficiency — but if Vinny is asked to pitched in 1 inning, maybe he can harness his command and focus on his power arm to get 3 outs. The same also applies to Pivetta.

      If Pivetta, Vinny or Seranthony cannot do it, the Phillies need to trade for one but they cannot rely on Neris to be their closer.

      1. Putting VV and Pivetta in the bullpen is tempting because of their stuff.

        But they also have been career-long head cases, and with Pivetta it appears to be confidence to go after hitters. They might not have the mental make up of closers or other high-leverage relief roles.

      2. Agree , Neris is not good enough to close out top tier offenses. He can handle 2/3 the league, but I get those “Mitch Williams” vibes when he’s up against the best offenses. Sometimes he got the save, but … you all know, you saw it too

        1. Vividly remember his hand patting the chest, glove pointing up to the heavens moments afterward, like a brain surgeon coming out of the operating room after nearly losing a patient saying, “I still can’t believe they use me in these situations.” He was ideal as a setup man a few years ago before Klentak decided that aging arms and AAAA relievers would be sufficient, and Gabe didn’t assign roles for the bullpen. So here we are….still no legitimate closer.

    2. Dohy should be there this season….just not before the all-star break…unless there are numerous injuries like last season.

  84. hadnt noticed before that Wheeler had a 6.83 ERA in 5 starts against Washington last year (they worked 14 walks in 27.2 IP), and a 6.26 in 4 starts vs Atlanta (34 hits in 23ip). He did dominate the Marlins in his 3 starts.

  85. Just saw that the Yankees re-signed Brett Gardner to a 1-year $12.5 million contract with $21m option next year. Very impressive and also he has a 12+ year career in CF with the same team. Mickey Moniak type, good fielder .265 hitter and average 12 homers a year. Might not be a bad signing after all is said and done.

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