Open Discussion: Week of December 16th

Baseball’s winter meetings have ended.  The Phillies acquired free agents RHP Zack Wheeler and SS Didi Gregorius.  They also selected an infielder from the Cubs organization during the Rule 5 draft and flipped him to Oakland for “cash considerations”, maybe just the $24,000 for making the selection or hopefully for some international dollars which are traded in $250K increments.  Even the minimum international allotment would be nice.

Big names have been flying of the board at a refreshing rate this off season.   Fifteen of MLBTR’s top 20 free agents have signed.  They are listed below with MLBTR’s projection and the actual contract outlay/status.

  1. Gerrit Cole – LAA, 8/$256M. Signed with NYY for 9/$324M
  2. Anthony Rendon – WAS, 7/$235M. Signed with LAA for 7/$245M
  3. Stephen Strasburg – WAS, 6/$180M. Signed with WAS for 7/$245M
  4. Zack Wheeler – PHI, 5/$100M. Signed with PHI for 5/$118M
  5. Josh Donaldson – TEX, 3/$75M.
  6. Madison Bumgarner – MIN, 4/$72M. Signed with ARI for 5/$85M
  7. Yasmani Grandal – CIN, 4/$68M. Signed with CWS for 4/$73M
  8. Nicholas Castellanos – CWS, 4/$58M.
  9. HyunJin Ryu – TEX, 3/$54M.
  10. Jake Odorizzi – MIN, 3/$51M. Accepted 1/$17.8M QO from MIN
  11. Marcell Ozuna – SF, 3/$45M.
  12. Didi Gregorius – CIN, 3/$42M. Signed with PHI for 1/$14M
  13. Will Smith – MIN, 3/$42M. Signed with ATL for 3/$40M
  14. Dallas Keuchel – CWS, 3/$39M.
  15. Cole Hamels– ATL, 2/$30M. Signed with ATL for 1/$18M
  16. Jose Abreu – CWS, 2/$28M. Accepted 1/$17.8MM QO from CWS, reworked 3/$50M
  17. Michael Pineda – MIL, 2/$22M. Signed with MIN for 2/$20M
  18. Mike Moustakas – ATL, 2/$20M. Signed with CIN for 4/$64M
  19. Kyle Gibson – CHC, 2/$18M. Signed with TEX for 3/$30M
  20. Tanner Roark – TOR, 2/$18M. Signed with TOR for 2/$24M

Corey Kluber, an attractive trade option, has been taken off the market following his trade to Texas for OF Delino DeShields, RHP Emmanuel Clase, and $500K, half of the $1M allotment bonus Kluber was contracted to receive in the event of a trade.  Why weren’t the Phillies in on Kluber?  They were.  They just couldn’t deliver a package that Cleveland wanted.  I read that the Indians wanted 2 of the Angels top 10 prospects.  (Don’t know who, but they only have one pitcher in their top 10 who has an ETA of 2020, LHP Patrick Sandoval at #8.  Maybe they wanted an OF prospect.  I’m sure #1 Jo Adell is untouchable, but maybe #2 Brandon March out of AA with an ETA of 2020?)  Could the Phillies have provided a similar package as the Rangers?  Well, Nick Williams is a similar comp to DeShields I’m surprised to see.  And he is 2-3 years younger.  But what about the pitcher.  Clase is close, in fact he pitched in the majors last season.  He’s high 90s routinely hitting 100+ as high as 102 mph with a 90 mph slider.  Spencer Howard might have gotten the deal done, but would you do that?  I wouldn’t.  Our other MLB-ready pitchers in the top 10 are Adonis Medina, Enyel De Los Santos, and JoJo Romero.  I think the Indians got the pitcher they targeted and other orgs didn’t pay the overpay to win the deal.

The most disquieting news out of the winter meetings was the the announcements by MiLB and MLB regarding the PBA (Professional Baseball Agreement) scheduled to expire after the 2020 season.  MLB’s stance and MiLB’s reaction have been reported by several sports outlets.  MLB intends to make players lives better by eliminating over 40 affiliated franchises, forcing better facilities, providing better instruction, etc.  MiLB counters that these things can be achieved without deleting franchises.  Money is at the crux of the disagreement.  MLB wants MiLB owners to take on more of the expense.  MiLB wants to hold onto the lucrative development contracts that MLB claims inflate the value of the franchises.  Ultimately, MLB will likely get its way.  They have all the leverage.  They have fought off numerous attacks on their antitrust exemption, and (in spite of some early bluster from some politicians) politicians will ultimately be convinced to back off on anti baseball legislation, as they have in the past.

One thing I don’t understand is the limit on affiliates.  Presently, organizations have a varied number of minor league teams.  The Phillies have nine – AAA Lehigh Valley, AA Reading, A+ Clearwater, A Lakewood, A- Williamsport, 2 rookie teams at the Complex, and 2 teams in the DSL.  The 5 team limit is just for stateside teams.  Contraction would eliminate A- Williamsport and one of the Complex teams.  Organizations would be limited to a AAA, AA, A+, A, and a Complex team.  They will be able to keep their DSL teams.  (This looks like a way to get around the stateside limits to me.)  Thirteen organizations have 9 teams, nine have 8 teams, and eight have 7 teams.  Everyone has a AAA, AA, A-, and A affiliate.  Twenty-two have A- affiliates.  Of the eight teams that don’t have an A- affiliate, all have rookie affiliate other than a Complex team.  Twenty-nine organizations have complex teams (Colorado being the exception), eight have two.  All 30 teams have at least one team in the DSL, 14 have one, 14 have two, and the Indians/Brewers have one each and share another.

What I don’t understand is why the MLB has to sound like they’re holding a gun to MiLB’s head.  They can just as easily shutdown any complex teams  they don’t want, just as they started them without fanfare.  Since player development contracts (PDC) are renewed every two years, they can just not renew the Low A affiliates without all the threats.  And, I don’t understand the limits.  It sounds like the cheaper organizations want to level the playing field by forcing teams to support the fewer number of teams that the cheaper organizations want to support.

Sorry for being so convoluted.  I just don’t see the minor leagues surviving if they get into a pissing contest with MLB.  They can’t compete for players, they signed away the obligation to contract players in 1990 and don’t have the money to complete for the top 600 players if the draft is limited to say 20 rounds.  We’ll see how this unfolds.  Wouldn’t it be funny if MLB wins a drawn out battle with MiLB through the end of the 2020 season and then has to deal with a walkout/lockout following the 2021 season when the CBA expires?

This is the best article I’ve read so far, J.J. Cooper from Baseball America.

The Phillies signed Villanova’s Matt Szczur (pronounced Caesar) to an MiLB contract with an invitation to spring training.  Matt was a wide receiver for the second seeded Wildcats when they won the beat top-seeded and undefeated Montana for the 2009 FCS championship.  He was voted the MVP and gained 159 yards out of the pistol (270 total yards from scrimmage).  About 5 months later (a month before the 2010 June draft), he was a bone marrow donor.  He was drafted by the Cubs as an outfielder in the fifth round but also played catcher in college.  He made his MLB debut in 2014 and has played parts of 5 seasons in the majors.  He spent an injury-plagued 2019 in the minors in the Arizona organization.

Last week, I wrote about Alec Bohm.  I just wanted to clear up that I was not referencing any of the people who comment here.  I was directing my statement toward the media who make statements without seeing a player, in this case the local media and bloggers who cover the Phillies.

V1 posted an article about the top 15 Phillies prospects by Brent Hershey (whom I follow also).  I would like to admit that I agree on his assessment on Bryson Stott.  I hadn’t written anything about him here because I had only seen a very few GCL games and some Instructs action.  I didn’t want to alarm you guys unnecessarily.  Now that the cats out of the bag, I saw a slow release on some throws, a lack of consistent velocity on some, and maybe some slow-footedness.  I wasn’t sure he would remain at SS.  I contacted Mitch Rupert during the season and he allayed my fears about his arm.  But, since Hershey’s scouting report raises similar questions, I’ll watch him closely this spring.

Question:  What do the Upside Grades mean – 9C, 8C, 7 B, 8E, …?

The Tuffy Gosewich article that V1 posted was a good read.  It reminded me of a story I heard that may or may not be true.  Tuffy was drafted by the Phillies out of Arizona State in 2005 and worked his way up to Lehigh Valley by 2012.  The story goes like this.  Tuffy is supposed to have found one of the security guards two-way radios left unattended.  It managed to accompany him to the bullpen before the game.  During the game, security got numerous false alarms of disturbances around the ball park.  When the team was asked about it, Tuffy is supposed to have fessed up and was traded soon thereafter.  Now, I don’t know how much if any of this urban legend is true, but he was traded on August 3rd, 3-4 weeks before the end of the season and before he entered free agency.  Hmm.

I saw a remark questioning if we hadn’t already done a 5-1 trade in Phillies history.  Yes, Von Hayes has popularly been referred to as “5-for-1” thanks to Pete Rose.  But, I think I related a story I got from from Hayes himself here some time ago.  I’ll do it again.

The Phillies acquired Hayes from the Cleveland Indians on December 9. 1982.  They reached agreement to swap 5 players for Hayes and another player.  But, Hayes was the owner’s  wife’s favorite player.  So, the Phillies agreed to announce the trade as a 5-for-1 so she wouldn’t be too angry and the Indians quietly “traded” another player for no compensation the next day.  So, actually, it was a 5-for-2″ trade.  I don’t remember the player’s name, but I checked and there was such a transaction the next day.  The Phillies traded were Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, Jay Baller, Jerry Willard, and Julio Franco.

Oh, and here’s my understanding of the December 2nd cutoff for tax threshold computations.  They calculate on money already spent whether the player is on the team or not.  For instance, you have a guy signed to a 3 year/$12M contract that is configured – $2M, $4M, $6M over the 3 years for a $4M AAV.  You trade the player before December 2nd after his second season.  Since you only paid the first 2 years of his salary, $2M and $4M, then for tax purposes his AAV for his paid salary during those 2 years would $3M for a savings of $1M AAV for that season.  Does that sound right?

In winter ball, Josh Hendrickson picked up his first win in the ABL throwing 5.0 innings of no-hit ball.  He walked one, struck out 10, and threw 50 strikes among 78 pitches.

  • Australian Baseball League 
  • Aklinski – .184/.255/.327/.581, 9-46, 6 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 18 K
  • Stobbe – .145/.222/.182/.404, 7-55, 8 R, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 21 K, 1 SB
  • O’Hoppe – .282/.404/.538/.943, 11-39, 7 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 10 BB, 8 K, 1 SB
  • Edwards – .256/.310/.333/.643, 10-39, 4 R, 3 2B, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K
  • Wingrove – .245/.365/.377/.742, 13-53, 8 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 10 BB, 21 K, 1 SB
  • Glogoski (0-2, 5.27) – 13.2 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 5 HR, 8 BB, 15 K, 1.32 WHIP
  • Hendrickson (1-1, 2.63) – 13.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 23 K, 0.66 WHIP
  • Tols (1-2, 2.00) – 18.0 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 10 BB, 20 K, 1.22 Whip
  • Dominican Winter League
  • Grullon – .143/.143/.143/.286, 2-14, 1 R, 2 RBI, 5 K (last played 10/20)
  • E. Garcia (0-0, 10.80) – 5 G, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
  • C. Sanchez (0-0, 10.13) – 5 G, 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K (last pitched 10/27)
  • Puerto Rican Winter League
  • Singer (3-0, 3.12) – 9 G, 8.2 IP, 11 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 7 BB, 6 K
  • Mexican Winter League
  • Ross (0-0, 9.00) – 2 G, 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

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

Key Dates:

  • October 31, 2019 – (day after the last game of the World Series)
    • trading among teams resumed
    • start of “quiet period”
    • eligible players officially file for major/minor league free agency
  • November TBA – Professional Baseball Agreement negotiations between MLB/MiLB
  • November 2-17, 2019 – Premier 12 opener, 2020 Olympics Qualifier
  • November 2, 2019 – Group A: USA v. Netherlands (9-0 win)
  • November 4, 2019 – (fifth day after the last game of the WS)
    • end of “quiet period”
    • deadline for teams to make qualifying offers
    • deadline to exercise/decline options and opt-outs (unless sooner per individual contract)
  • November 11-14, 2019 – GM Meetings in Scottsdale
  • November 14, 2019 – Deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers (15th day after the last game of the WS)
  • November 15, 2019 – Opener for Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente
  • November 19-21, 2019 – Owners’ Meetings in Arlington
  • November 20, 2019 – Deadline for adding Rule 5 eligible players to the 40-man roster
  • November 21, 2019 – Opener for the Australian Baseball League
  • Nov. TBA – MLBPA executive board meeting (11/26-29 in Irving, TX last year)
  • December 2, 2019 – Last day for teams to offer 2020 contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters
  • December 9-12, 2019 – Winter Meetings in San Diego
  • December 12, 2019 – Rule 5 Draft
  • January TBA – Rookie Career Development Program (1/9-11 in Miami last year)
  • January 10, 2020  – Salary arbitration figures exchanged
  • February 3-21, 2020 – Salary arbitration hearings, Phoenix
  • February 11, 2020 – Voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players
  • February 16, 2020 – Voluntary reporting date for other players
  • February 21, 2020 –  Mandatory reporting date
  • February 22, 2020 – First spring training game at Tigers
  • February 23, 2020 – First spring training home game v. Pirates
  • March 2020 – Americas Qualifier in Arizona (2020 Olympics qualifier)
  • March 23, 2020 – Final spring training home game v. Rays
  • March 26, 2020 – Phillies’ opening day at Miami, active roster reduced to 26 players
  • March/April 2020 – At-Large Qualifier in Taiwan (2020 Olympics qualifier)
  • April 2, 2020 – Phillies’ home opener v. Milwaukee
  • June 10-12, 2021 – Amateur draft in Omaha, NE
  • June 15, 2020 – International amateur signing period closes
  • July 2, 2020 – International amateur signing period opens
  • July 10, 2020 – Deadline for drafted players to sign, except for players who have exhausted college eligibility
  • July 14,2020  – All-Star Game at Los Angeles
  • July 31, 2020 – Last day during the season to trade a player
  • August 31, 2020 – Last day to be contracted to an organization and be eligible for postseason roster
  • September 1, 2020 — Active rosters expand to 28 players

The rosters and lists are up to date as of December 1st … 370 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
12/13/2019 – Phillies signed OF Matt Szczur to a Milb contract with an invite to ST
12/13/2019 – Phillies signed free agent SS Didi Gregorius
12/12/2019 – Phillies traded 2B Vimael Machin to Oakland for cash
12/12/2019 – Phillies claimed 2B Vimael Machin off waivers from Iowa Cubs
12/12/2019 – Phillies to signed INF Phil Goselin to a MiLB contract with an invite to ST
12/09/2019 – Phillies sign FA RHP Zack Wheeler
12/02/2019 – 3B Maikel Franco non-tendered, elected free agency
12/02/2019 – 2B Cesar Hernandez non-tendered, elected free agency
12/02/2019 – Phillies claimed RHP Trevor Kelley off waivers from Boston
11/26/2019 – Phillies signed IF/OF Josh Harrison to a MiLB contract with an invite to ST
11/20/2019 – Tampa Bay traded LHP Cristopher Sanchez to Phillies for 2B Curtis Mead
11/20/2019 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP Garrett Cleavinger from Reading
11/20/2019 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Mauricio Llovera from Reading
11/20/2019 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP Cristopher Sanchez from Reading
11/20/2019 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP JoJo Romero from Lehigh Valley
11/13/2019 – Phillies released RHP Kyle Arjona
11/13/2019 – Phillies released RHP Luis Carrasco
11/13/2019 – Phillies released RHP Juan Escorcia
11/13/2019 – Phillies released 2B Brayan Gonzalez
11/13/2019 – Phillies released RHP Omar Maldonado
11/13/2019 – Phillies released OF Danny Mayer
11/08/2019 – Phillies signed international FA RHP Jaydenn Estanista to an MiLB contract
11/04/2019 – Phillies activated LHP Adam Morgan from the 60-day IL
11/04/2019 – Phillies activated RHP Seranthony Dominguez from the 60-day IL
11/04/2019 – Phillies activated RHP Victor Arano from the 60-day IL
11/04/2019 – Phillies activated RHP David Robertson from the 60-day IL
11/04/2019 – Phillies activated LF Andrew McCutchen from the 60-day IL
11/04/2019 – Phillies activated RHP Jake Arrieta from the 60-day IL
11/04/2019 – RHP Pat Neshek elected free agency
11/04/2019 – LHP Jason Vargas elected free agency
11/04/2019 – RHP Jared Hughes elected free agency
11/04/2019 – Phillies sent RHP Edubray Ramos outright to Lehigh Valley
11/04/2019 – RHP Edubray Ramos elected free agency
11/04/2019 – Phillies sent RHP Mike Morin outright to Lehigh Valley
11/04/2019 – RHP Mike Morin elected free agency
11/04/2019 – Phillies sent RHP Jerad Eickhoff outright to Lehigh Valley
11/04/2019 – RHP Jerad Eickhoff elected free agency
11/04/2019 – Phillies sent RHP Blake Parker outright to Lehigh Valley
11/04/2019 – RHP Blake Parker elected free agency
11/04/2019 – Phillies sent LF Phil Gosselin outright to Lehigh Valley
11/04/2019 – SS Malquin Canelo elected free agency
11/04/2019 – 3B Ali Castillo elected free agency
11/04/2019 – OF Jan Hernandez elected free agency
11/04/2019 – RHP Alexis Rivero elected free agency
11/04/2019 – LF Shane Robinson elected free agency
11/04/2019 – SS Andrew Romine elected free agency
11/04/2019 – 3B Mitch Walding elected free agency
11/04/2019 – C Matt McBride elected free agency
11/04/2019 – RHP Tyler Viza elected free agency
11/01/2019 – Phillies released Jose Pirela
10/31/2019 – Phillies declined $7M club option on RHP Pat Neshek
10/31/2019 – Phillies activated CF Odubel Herrera from the restricted list
10/31/2019 – 1B Logan Morrison elected free agency
10/31/2019 – 2B Brad Miller elected free agency
10/31/2019 – RHP Nick Vincent elected free agency
10/31/2019 – LF Corey Dickerson elected free agency
10/31/2019 – LHP Drew Smyly elected free agency
10/31/2019 – RHP Tommy Hunter elected free agency
10/31/2019 – 3B Sean Rodriguez elected free agency
10/31/2019 – RHP Juan Nicasio elected free agency
10/30/2019 – Phillies claimed RHP Robert Stock off waivers from the Padres
10/09/2019 – Clearwater activated RHP Waylon Richardson from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Clearwater activated C Willie Estrada from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Clearwater activated RHP Tyler Hallead from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Clearwater activated LHP Ethan Evanko from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Clearwater activated C Gabriel Ojeda from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Lakewood activated RHP Andrew Schultz from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Lakewood activated RHP Dominic Pipkin from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Lakewood activated RHP Ben Brown from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Lakewood activated RHP Tyler McKay from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – Lakewood activated RHP Jonas De La Cruz from the 7-day IL
10/08/2019 – RHP Bailey Cummings assigned to Williamsport from GCL East
10/08/2019 – DSL White placed RHP Roger Parraga on the restricted list
10/03/2019 – GCL East activated RHP Bailey Cummings from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – GCL East activated RHP Yoan Antonac from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – GCL East activated RHP Brian Auerbach from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – GCL West activated RHP Eudiver Avendano from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – GCL West activated RHP Lizardo Herrera from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – GCL West activated RHP Sandro Rosario from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL Red activated RHP Jose Perez from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL Red activated LHP Daivin Perez from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL Red activated RHP Joan Hernandez from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL Red activated RHP Jeison Blanco from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL White activated LHP Yefferson Mercedes from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL White activated C Javier Vina from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL White activated RHP Santy Prada from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – DSL White activated RHP Elias Liriano from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – Lehigh Valley activated LHP Brandon Leibrandt from the 60-day IL
10/03/2019 – Clearwater activated C Edgar Cabral from the 7-day IL
10/03/2019 – Clearwater activated C Rodolfo Duran from the 7-day injured IL
10/03/2019 – Clearwater activated LHP Kyle Young from the 7-day injured IL
10/03/2019 – Clearwater activated C Colby Fitch from the 7-day injured IL
10/03/2019 – Clearwater activated LHP Nick Fanti from the 7-day injured IL
10/02/2019 – Lehigh Valley activated OF Jan Hernandez from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Lehigh Valley activated 3B Mitch Walding from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Lehigh Valley activated RHP Alexis Rivero from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RHP Tyler Viza from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated OF Grenny Cumana from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RHP Luke Leftwich from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RF Danny Mayer from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RHP Luis Carrasco from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RF Jose Pujols from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RHP Mauricio Llovera from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated LHP Bailey Falter from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated RHP Trevor Bettencourt from the 7-day IL
10/02/2019 – Reading activated C Nerluis Martinez from the 7-day IL
9/30/2019 – Phillies recalled RHP Adonis Medina from Reading
9/30/2019 – Phillies activated CF Roman Quinn from the 10-day IL
9/30/2019 – Phillies recalled SS Arquimedes Gamboa from Reading
9/30/2019 – Phillies recalled RHP JD Hammer from Lehigh Valley
9/30/2019 – RHP Dan Straily elected free agency
9/30/2019 – C Rob Brantly elected free agency
9/30/2019 – RHP Fernando Salas elected free agency

267 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 16th

  1. Maybe it’s time to go back to the Branch Rickey model for the minor leagues- MLB teams own their minor league affiliates outright. No more agreements. Just own them outright. Then they can be responsible for the stadium upgrades themselves, because there is plenty of money floating around at the Major League level. And I am really surprised that the Player’s Association isn’t trying to fight this, as this could possibly result in fewer players throughout the system( a loss of jobs). There are some teams that have invested in new minor league stadiums. I believe the Cardinals and Penn State got together and built the stadium used by both the State College Spikes and the College. Something can be done, if the powers that be decree it.

    1. I think that might be part of MLB’s plan. It looks like they are extending their monopoly in baseball to also completely controlling the “means of production”.

      The MLBPA doesn’t care because they don’t represent minor leaguers. The MLBPA has hurt minor leaguers in the past by negotiating away player rights that they shouldn’t be involved in since they don’t rep the players. They’ve been as bad for the minor league players as the owners, IMO.

  2. Thanks for the information on the MiLB & MLB negotiations. I guess the MLB teams who only want to support minimum MiLB # of teams stand to gain under current proposal. Also possibly some existing independent league teams could win under current proposal. The proposed cut MiLB team owners & towns stand to lose in current proposal.

  3. i Never saw the Diamondbacks being in on Bumgarner., All the rumors and he signs with a team if i am not wrong was never mention, The Phillies need imo bullpen arms with no money, unless they go over cap. will middleton go over?

    1. Madbum signs for 5/$85…that makes no sense to me given the other SP signs and amounts.

      But given that was all it took I’m wondering why didn’t we go for that. It’s been a really strange off season for us thus far.

      1. I read that DBacks were his preferred landing spot if he didn’t goto SF

        I like the Wheeler and Didi moves but they don’t put the Phillies in the playoffs.

        This salary cap restriction is going to hurt the Phillies. Current roster has so many holes

      2. No thanks on 5-years for Bumgardner. Lots of mileage on that arm and velocity is trending in the wrong direction..

        1. I agree here, Bumgarner has thrown a crazy amount of innings. He’s going to win the silver slugger but his era will easily be in the 4s at Chase Field. I think the DBacks will regret that contract.

      3. I’m anticipating a trade where the Phillies move either Pivetta or Velasquez, along with Nick Williams and a couple of non-top 5 prospects for a MOR arm.

        I’m also convinced that Odubel will get moved for a nominal return if only to shed some of his salary. He could be a depth piece in the Rangers’ OF. I agree that it’s been a strange off season. One primary focus should be restructuring the 40 man roster by losing the extraneous players.

        1. I read that Phillies have been getting a lot of calls on Pivetta. Perhaps there’s a trade to be had.

  4. The leveling of all organizations is just MLB’s decision to bolster the less profitable and “ding” the successful. It would be similar to restaurants closing facilities when they got too successful so the others could have the same numbers, no matter how god-awful they are in service, price or taste.

    1. Manfred likes the idea of colleges taking over a majority of the development of players…and footing the cost while at it.
      One of the reasons he moved the draft to Omaha, Nebraska for the three days before the College World Series…draw more attention and interest in that idea….wants the draft experience to be something similar to the NFL and NBA, and with college guys that is as close as possible since many of them can reach the majors and debuting within 2 or 3 years after being drafted…and some of the high first rounders within 2 years..

      1. but there is a lack of baseball scholarships available for players compared to basketball, and football, isnt there? would MLB fund scholarships to attract more players to college ball? i would doubt that.

  5. Jim; thank you for the weekly re-caps. It’s a Monday morning starter for me…

    As for Stott; I believe he is a MLB caliber infielder… I watched him this past season in person and through the MiLB Network. A couple first season observations; I was disappointed with his hitting… For a 1st round college player to not make it out of Low-A raised at least one eye brow for me… Deep into the season he was still in the low .200’s BA. His average rose as the season concluded so maybe the effects of college season starting in February ran his body down over the summer.. As for his arm and foot work. Without question his arm will play at SS. Yet the foot speed/transition to throwing didn’t blow me away… Can that be improved? Absolutely and my guess at spring training Mr. Stott gets a lot of back field instruction on improving this area. Smarter baseball guys than me say it’s improving the path to the ball and the efficiency of mechanics to transition to the throw will increase the delivery speed of the baseball..

    An important year for Bryson Stott. I think if he fails to finish the season no higher than Clearwater or God forbid still in Lakewood there will be valid concerns. Let’s hope he’s AA..

    1. Bohm was the first college player in recent memory that did only WPT in his first season then went LKW/CLW and a finish in Reading in his second pro season. But again he was the 3rd overall pick so you would expect that.

      Hoskins did WPT his draft season then followed that with LKW and a CLW finish year 2.

      Haseley did stints in both WPT and LKW his draft year then followed with a CLW and finish at Reading.

      We’ll see but I’m pretty sure Stott is the real deal as a hitter. Real enough that he should be a lock to make at least CLW this coming season. The only question for me is will he push his way into Reading by season’s end.

      1. Skip Lakewood all together? That would be a positive. in 2/3 weeks players will start heading to Florida.. I’ve read some go to the complex to train others workout in the Tampa area until their reporting date..Once the calendar flips to January the buzz starts to build..

    2. In his best form he was a gap-to-gap line drive/doubles hitter with the ability to “elevate and celebrate” when he got a hanger or belt high fastball. Unfortunately, that uppercut swing took over for a long while and got him into a funk before snapping out of it late.

  6. “Question:  What do the Upside Grades mean – 9C, 8C, 7 B, 8E, …?”



    Scale of (1-10) representing a player’s upside potential

    10 – Hall of Fame-type player
    9 – Elite player
    8 – Solid regular
    7 – Average regular
    6 – Platoon player
    5 – Major League reserve player
    4 – Top minor league player
    3 – Average minor league player
    2 – Minor league reserve player
    1 – Minor league roster filler


    Scale of (A-E) representing the player’s realistic chances of achieving their potential

    A – 90% probability of reaching potential
    B – 70% probability of reaching potential
    C – 50% probability of reaching potential
    D – 30% probability of reaching potential
    E – 10% probability of reaching potential

    1. So he thinks Bohm has a 50% chance of being an Elite player.

      Moniak has a 70% chance of being an Average regular.

      Basically the first number is ceiling and the second number is risk.

      1. Thank you. I couldn’t find this off the pull-down menu. So, of course, I found the “Org Reports Home” short cut at the bottom of the page this morning.

    2. Great, if I had this info last year, I could have been calling Sean Rodriguez by his appropriate nickname all season…..1E

  7. I am in the “hard no” camp on Kluber. 34yo coming off major injury and worst season (5.8 era) and lowest FB velocity for $17m. Hard pass.

    1. And this is why the Rangers gave up so little to acquire Kluber. He’s 34 years old, coming off a serious injury (albeit a forearm injury, not a shoulder or elbow problem), wasn’t effective in 2019 even before his injury, and the Rangers will assume his entire salary of $17.5M in 2020. Pretty considerable risk there.

    2. I agree. Nick Dubs + Seranthony is possibly the offer equivalent to what CLE received from TEX, so I rather keep Seranthony, trade Nick Dubs for low minors prospects and use the $17M to sign a combination of reliable RP, Alex Wood, Smyly and Miley.

    3. I agree there is a major reason that is all they got for Kluber. The Indian’s are not a dumb organization by any means. Maybe a little cash strapped but not dumb.

    4. It’s a interesting trade, one in which I don’t see a middle ground. Either CLE dumped their ace at the right time, or Tex paid a low price for an Ace at a low salary (at today’s prices). It’s a good gamble for Tex imo. I can see it more working out for them than not. At 17mil, even if he pitches closer to a #3, it’s decent value. His past performance/work ethic lead me to believe he can be closer to his Ace form. Will see, but it does seem like a potential missed chance by the Phillies FO. I hope they explored it behind the news cycle and decided to pass. If not, missed opportunity. Seems like he’d be better than Arrietta, they would just need to go over that pesky 208 number depending on the players in the trade.

      1. Disclaimer: posted before fully reading Jim’s article – agree, talks stop at Howard. Others, I’d of tried a value trade, 5 for 1

      2. I’m a definite no go on Kluber. The Phillies need a starting pitcher still on the upper trajectory of his career.

        1. 8mark, I hear you. I’d like a pitcher like that as well, but in a trade it’s going to cost a fortune in prospects (at least Howard) or you’d have to pay the FA contract.

          Once the FA market developed , and we were basically Taking Cole off the board, Most of us wanted Wheeler & Hamels. What is difference between Wheeler and Kluber? Kluber is 2 years younger with a reasonable mid rotation salary.

          I’m not in the FO, but if Sir A and Williams gets that deal done… I’d do it, assuming I can go after Ken Giles in a followup trade.

          Arrietta (if not traded)
          With Howard pushing out the weakest link

          Not bad, then focus on beefing up the Bullpen at the deadline with Giles & Neris leading the way before then. ( VV,Pivetta, DLS, and FA filling out the rest)

          I’m assuming if these moves are made, the 208 number is surpassed. If not Arrietta, Herrera are likely moves. Both seem like a package to Texas could be had.

          1. The Phillies can’t make a team accept their offer. If the Indians don’t see Williams and Dominguez as equal, then the Phillies can’t compete in that trade market.

            We have to get over the “missed opportunity’ thinking just because teams prefer other players to ours. Not completing a trade doesn’t mean the Phillies didn’t try.

            1. Jim, not sure what was offered by our FO, but my proposed offering was more to say that if I was the aGM, I’d offer up those players for Kluber. My threshold is Howard, that is where I stop. I would go passed sir A and Williams for Kluber, to dial up the pain so to speak. Tex has the better prospect I’m guessing , so id have to package more “value” to top the Tex offer. That said, CLE has to accept whatever snake oil I’m trying to sell them! Stinks he is not a Phillie imo

              All this said, I’m really surprised he got by the Braves and Angels. I thought he might be on the move after all the rumors, i thought there would be more of fight for him, especially after the SP numbers have sky rocketed this Free agency.

            2. Braves are an org that would surprise me if they would take on Kluber’s $17M AAV hit for 2020…2021 is a team option, so no big deal there.
              Angels from what I gather may have other pitchers on the back burner.
              The Dodgers deal for both Lindor and Kluber must have fell thru….but still think Lindor will be wearing Dodger blue come the start of the season.
              Indians are really cutting payroll.

  8. I am not arguing the merits of Kluber or whether we should have wanted him. I trust jim that we were in on him. My question is twofold. I know the Pitcher, Clase, is a hard thrower, but everything that I read has him as a Relief Pitcher. So, far less of a prospect than Spencer Howard. Second, does this mean that we will go over the salary cap?

    1. @matt13 – i agree with with that Clase is a pen arm, that’s why my comp for him is Seranthony and not Spencer Howard. The Phillies should not be giving up Spencer Howard unless it is for a young MLB stud.

    2. Matt, I wasn’t saying that Howard was part of a deal. I was acting on hearing that the Indians wanted 2 top 10 prospects from the Angels and that last week I remember Dan O’Dowd saying the the Dodgers should just trade 2 of their top prospects for Kluber if that was the cost.

      So, I looked at the top 10s for both teams and tried to come up with similar trade packages to what the Indians accepted from Texas. In the Phillies case, Williams was a good comp to DeShields, but our top 10 pitchers other than Howard who are ML ready are less inspiring (Medina, Romero, and DLS, or just Medina depending on which ranking you look at).

      Dominguez may be a better comp, but he finished the season on the 60-day IL with an elbow and went the PRP injection route rather than surgery. Not a real strong trade piece, I would think.

      1. Referencing Seranthony….Dominguez had the PRP injection from Dr. James Andrews on June 12th……so he should have been throwing by now and you may see him around the Complex , if not now then I’d assume after the holidays.
        Hopefully it works for him like it did for Aaron Nola, Masahiro Tanaka, David Price and Stephen Strasburg, and all continued to pitch effectively after having their PRP injection….for Strasburg it was also after his TJ surgery.

  9. Can’t believe nobody – including Rocco – is buzzing over the Tribe homing in on our Hail Cesar. He’d do well in the Mistake by the Lake.

  10. On Kluber, yeah I pass if it would’ve cost Howard. He is basically untouchable to me. Bohm is pretty darn close as well, in my view with a potential DH coming, he’s even more valuable.

    Glad to hear the Phillies were in on him. One of my fav players from afar. Dudes a bulldog. I’d of packed Williams, Medina, and Romero’s if it could’ve got it done. I’d throw in more too. Ortiz? One of the catchers if we are certain Realmuto resigns. Not a bad gamble in my view,
    But I’m a little biased.

  11. Alex Wood still intrigues me more than Smyly and I definitely think we need another SP. I’m not sure what we’ll get in the trade that I think is coming (Williams, Pivetta, and DLS) but it won’t be a major league starting pitcher.

  12. If they think Pivetta’s ceiling is as high as I think it might be (possible #2/3, back-end impact reliever), with his trade value being so low, I think they owe it to themselves not to just give him away at this point.

  13. Jim…the forgotten player in the infamous Von Hayes 5-1 trade on December 9, 1982 was infielder Larry Milbourne, who was “sold” to the Phillies on the same day. While Hayes was highly rated and no less than Ted Williams thought Hayes had superstar potential, it sure looked like a bad deal from the start.

    Manny Trillo was one of the players, a guy the Phils didn’t want to pay but still a very good player. Julio Franco was the guy I hated to give up and his career showed my fears were well warranted. George Vukovich was a serviceable player and both catcher Jerry Williard and pitcher Jay Baller were good prospects.

    Worth noting that the Phillies dealt both Ryne Sandberg AND Julio Franco that winter, along with Larry Bowa and Trillo.

    1. Thank you. I made a half-hearted effort to at 4;00 AM to find out his name and would have started again today if you hadn’t posted. Trillo was one of my favorite Phillies. I recalol that his wife was one of his agents.

    2. The Sandberg trade was in the ’81/’82 offseason and the Von Hayes trade was in the ’82/’83 offseason. And there were reasons that the Phillies were willing to give up Julio Franco which had nothing to do with his on field performance / potential. To his credit he got past those issues and had a very good and VERY long career.

  14. By the way, count me as one who has no interest in simply dealing players like Pivetta and Williams, especially the former, without Giradi and Price getting a chance to see them play. I simply believe Kapler’s methods were so toxic to most of the young guys that almost ALL of them deserve a chance to prove themselves under real major league coaches and managers.

    Look, Kapler may well have learned his lessons, he has been quite contrite in his SF Giants interviews about his many missteps in Philadelphia but this does nothing to dissuade me from the premise that Pivetta is a gem just waiting to be shined and dusted off under good coaching. And Williams is a decent player who should not just be thrown into a deal.

    These guys have value and in our desire to see the Phils make moves this winter, I would advise against simply throwing names against a wall and hope that a few of them stick. There are, in my mind, at least 10 players on the roster that were noticeably harmed by Kapler’s methods and might just improve greatly under the more nuanced methods of Girardi and Price.

    1. I’m more along the lines of their trade value is so low, why not keep them and see what happens. And they’re making peanuts anyways.

      1. I think Pivetta is close to being gone if Matt Klentak gets some reasonable offers for him.
        He was not thrilled at all back in mid-July when Gabe and Chris Young told him they would like to see him throw out of the pen for awhile to get straightened out…but they are both gone now, so maybe he would like a chance with the new guys.

      2. With just about every GM knowing the how implement ”moneyball” , analytics, the next step is advantages for FO is to find a player like Franco, VV, Pivetta and to unlock their potential through a different approach or a correction in their form. I can see teams inquiring about Pivetta. Especially since everyone and their mother thought he’d be the Phillies #2 last year. Factor in the negative views some have of Kapler, Pivetta should be a low cost target. Unlock him and you got a young controllable talent going onto his first real contract. VV the same, find a better pitch sequence, go push him. Franco has shown flashes … if this was the NFL, Billiech would be able to unlock him.

        This is what good FO will be doing going forward, creating room in the payroll for FA

        1. Add: A big part of Pivettas issue seemed to be his attitude. The guy doesn’t seem like a team player, or at least is moaning about what ultimately comes down to his poor performance. He needs to look in the mirror, to take the next step, at minimum

        2. You’re talking like it’s only the Phillies who have problems unlocking talent. I guarantee that pretty much all teams have problems unlocking talent. My buddy, the Blue Jays fan, can easily name 5 failed Blue Jays prospects. The Astros didn’t unlock Mark Appel, the Red Sox didn’t unlock Blake Swihart, the list goes on and on. The majority of prospects fail, that’s the way it is. And for me, most of the blame falls on the player.

          1. Guru, not what I’m saying. All teams have failed prospects, or players that don’t reach their projections. All teams have pretty much caught up to the moneyball advantages, and other analytics. The next wave of GM is going to be able to discuss with their staff, what mlb players and prosepects are under proforming and if they can unlock more potential from that player with a change in form,technique, or incorporating a different stat approach. Wheeler is somewhat of a candidate for this, changing up his pitch sequence to unlock more SO/Wins. Now, on the other side, Franco is prime candidate for this imo. I think a lot of mlb teams would put him in a basket like that, if it’s a rebuilding team, they should take a chance

  15. Regarding Von Hayes, the killer in that deal was Franco. That’s it. Everyone else produced relatively little value the rest of their careers:

    Manny Trillo: 3.0 WAR the remainder of his career
    George Vukovich: 1.8 WAR the remainder of his career
    Jerry Willard: 2.6 WAR the remainder of his career
    Jay Baller: -0.7 WAR the remainder of his career

    So those four combined put up 6.7 WAR combined over the rest of their careers

    Von Hayes put up 26.4 WAR the remainder of his career

    But Julio Franco put up 43.6 WAR the remainder of his career — which didn’t end until 2007, 25 years after the trade!!!

    1. WAR does have the inherent built in parameters that it will increase with MLB service time length…..Hayes put up 6 seasons of 3plusWAR ….Franco put up 7 seasons… their prime time production was not all that different..

  16. Romus was it Manny who made that great relay throw to nail a runner, at home in playoffs or world series I remember the throw, forgot when he did it.

  17. If any of you recall, the really troubling part of losing Franco was the pervious trade deadline we refused to give up Franco in a deal which would have gotten us Dave Stieb, an ace at the time. Management said Franco was untouchable. Then he became one of 5 just a few months later.

  18. Speaking of trades, it was this date in Phils’ history, in 2009, that we got Doc from Toronto. We won’t talk about the Lee trade, because that was the direct opposite of how great the Halladay trade was.

  19. Have the Phillies given up on Grullon? It appears he is struggling in winter league. With Knapp signed, is Grullon a possible trade piece or to be forgotten altogether?

  20. Jim:
    “… my understanding of the December 2nd cutoff for tax threshold computations. They calculate on money already spent whether the player is on the team or not. …………. Does that sound right?”
    Yes agree.
    And also assume for example a player signs a contract worth $18M AAV….get traded at the July deadline….4 months of salary already paid by the trading team ($12M)…that portion gets computed as spent dollars against their luxury tax threshold come Dec 2nd.

    Now from what I read somewhere in the CBA years ago….players get paid 26 times a year…every two weeks….but the lux tax computation is based on the AAV for that 6 month championship season.

    ….and, fwiw, I find it difficult trying to decipher those specific sections of the CBA.
    MLB and the clubs must have large legal departments.

    1. It’s my understanding that ball players only get paid during the regular season. From the Uniform Player’s Contract

      2. For performance of the Player’s services and promises hereunder the Club will pay the Player the sum of $____________ in semimonthly installments after the commencement of the championship season(s) covered by this contract except as the schedule of payments may be modified by a special covenant. Payment shall be made on the day the amount becomes due, regardless of whether the Club is “home” or “abroad.” If a monthly rate of payment is stipulated above, it shall begin with the commencement of the championship season (or such subsequent date as the Player’s services may commence) and end with the termination of the championship season and shall be payable in semi-monthly installments as above provided.

  21. Well, the Phils introduced Didi and Zach Wheeler today, and Matt Klentak had some optimistic words. I am very pleased with both acquisitions, don’t get me wrong. But, we are not yet good enough to compete for the Division. Why do we have to constantly count on VV and/or Pivetta? Aren’t we done rebuilding? If they can unlock whatever they have hidden away, let them do it out of the BP or in LHV. If they do so, great, but we are, at least, a SP short. And we don’t exactly scare anyone with our BP, and our bench is a big question mark. So, yes, I love Joe G., and I am hopeful Rhys and Kingery improve, and I am optimistic about everything but the SR. And, does anyone think that Jake Arrieta as a #3 SP is anything but a pipe dream? I hope he can adjust enough to be a competent #4.

    1. What scares me most is the kind of hitter Arenado is away from Coors…. check out his home/road splits when you get a chance.

      Having said that, I’d do this deal too!

      1. yea, the splits are concerning, but what is NOT concerning is the fact that this contract carries him through ages 28-34. He will be finishing this contract at the same age that Josh Donaldson is RIGHT NOW, and JD is looking at offers for four more years! I know they are different players but the point remains that this doesn’t have the same likelihood as becoming an “albatross” as, say, the Pujols or Miggy contracts. Not sure what use the Rockies would have for Bruce and Robertson, though.

    2. After Bohm, that offer looks paltry and woefully insufficient to land Arenado. Despite his “ranking” at #4 (he’s certainly not in my top 10) Medina’s stock has fallen. Jay Bruce is a bench player. David Robertson is an ailing, aging reliever who may eventually return to the mound but how effective. How that package would even appeal to Colorado OR compete with rival suitors is beyond me. Sure, I would do it in a heartbeat. The Rox GM would roll his eyes.

      1. I thought it was light too. Very surprised. But even that the site says that the Phils don’t do it. I can’t fathom why the Rox would put him on the trading block after extending him.

  22. v1, I read your first line, “Phillies get: 3B Nolan Arenado, and I got excited! Then I saw it was a proposed trade. My fault. But, I am high on Alec Bohm. Why would the Rockies trade Arenado for the rest of that package? I agree with you about this being a no-brainer trade for us., Arenado is terrific, a sure thing, and Bohm is still a prospect. But, Jay Bruce is an extra, Robertson is just having the Rockies eat $, and we can only hope Medina is still any kind of a prospect, let alone still our #4. And, this article has us saying no. I don’t get it.

    1. matt13…Phillies will never do that trade…the 29-year old Arenado, as great a defender as he is, is a Coors Field hitter with a contract that will be an albatross for whoever gets him in any deal.
      Who knows why his splits are so diverse…..but over 2000PAs his away slash is 265/.323/799 with a tOPS+ of just 79.

      1. Agreed not to mention Arenado has a full no trade clause and its likely he would only waive that for a west coast team.

        I don’t understand the desire to want to trade Bohm either! And for a contract that further bloats the payroll. Not saying Bohm is or will be as good as some of the other really good players that are in the league he’s being mentioned for…

        But he has a real good chance

        We should be trying to make moves that add to Bohm not subtract him.

        1. DMAR…..Arenado’s $33M AAV for the next 6 years would be really too much to stomach….plus, like you say, Bohm has a chance of becoming an offensive force in the middle of a MLB team’s lineup.
          I still think quality pitching should be the ultimate objective for the team at this point.

          1. It should and it seems to me they think they can placate us with one big sign (Wheeler)

            But man there were so many other moves they could have done to improve this rotation. I would have taken any of the following in hindsight:

            Hamels 1/$18 no comp
            MadBum 5/$85
            Gibson/Roark/Lyles no comp

            It’s not over they could surprise us and get Ryu or Keuchel or even Smyly

  23. Romus, I count on you. I have a vision of Arenado that does not match those numbers. I didn’t think we would do a deal like that for money reasons, but those numbers tell me why I thought some of the other trade proposals seemed so light.

    1. if the Phils are committed to staying under the 208 (which I still don’t believe they are), then there really isn’t much of a choice, is there? I’d lock up Taijuan Walker and Alex Wood right now (yes, this would go over the tax), just to see if you can get lucky on one of the supremely-talented-yet-oft-injured-buy-low candidates. I still think Keuchel would look nice mixed in with Nola and Wheeler, but again, how much more are the Phils willing to pay?

  24. With the Nats honing their sites on Donaldson and the Braves having the farm to offer the Cubs a much more attractive package for Bryant, the Phillies had better hope Alec Bohm will make an impact at the major league level….and soon. Not to mention the as yet need to improve the starting rotation. Otherwise, any talk of contending for the division, let alone a World Series appearance, is totally baseless

    1. A few of the names being tossed around….maybe two of their four prospect pitchers of Muller, Wright, Wilson and/or Anderson along with Riley for Bryant. Braves appear to be in the driver’s seat with those prospects
      Really makes things difficult in the division if that trade comes about.

    2. Honestly 8mark talk of winning the division IS baseless. It became baseless the moment they leaked they would not go over the lux tax. It became baseless when they didn’t make a move on Hamels for a 1 Year deal.

      it became baseless when they didn’t get MadBum. Not sure who is calling the shots but it appears to me its the same old same old at 1 Citizens Way.

      Thus far anyway we’ll see what the rest of the off season brings but it scares the heck out of me to think what they might trade.

    3. Braves have the prospect, but do they pay Bryant 8 yrs 240? that’s the question, They don’t seem like a team that will pay big for a player, Look how they screwed those two kids, with bad contracts , Bryant wont take that kind of cheap deal,

    4. 8mark. Bryant is free agent in 2022 so you think they give up a lot of prospects, when you know they wont pay big dollars, which he will command in 2022

      1. Rocco the Braves could afford to trade a couple of prospects for Bryant knowing full well they won’t be extending him to a long term deal.

        if they believe he is the piece that moves them to the WS in the next 2 seasons. That’s what prospect depth is for.

  25. We are not moving Segura so fast, so it looks like Kingery will be the 3B. There is not as big a need for Bohm to play this year as there is to address another SP and some BP help. A report I read has us in on Betances, and the Mets no longer interested. He is certainly worth a shot, and has a good history with JoeG. I agree with those of you who refuse to believe that we won’t add pitching, even if it means going over 208. Let’s look at it this way. If we don’t add SP, we will need to do so come the trade deadline. That cost, in prospects, is much more costly than the small amount of LT payment. And, if the plan is that the SP help at the deadline is named Spencer Howard, we have no idea what he will be able to bring. Klentak is already talking about an innings count for him. Maybe they start him late, maybe he skips some starts, maybe he pitches out of the BP for a bit. Those are Klentak’s words, not mine. So, I think Spencer Howard will be a really good SP. But, I am not counting on him being a big contributor in the heat of a pennant race this season.

    1. With regard to Howard that makes sense. His highest IP count is 112 and that came in his first full season. Last year it was only 71 IP. His long term health is paramount.

      ….but assuming he is healthy if not now when? Whatever he can give this season I’ll take that at the MLB level and if when I feel the need to shut him down I will do that.

      1. I think they can go to 130/140 with him this season…if he is healthy.
        After all….Spencer turns 24 in the middle of the season….it is not like he is a 19/21-year old…physically he is at his peak maturity now.

        1. See Jack Flaherty who will be 24 this year and Buehler who will be just 25; Berrios 26.

          When you recognize you have a premier arm you don’t waste many of their bullets in the minors.

        2. Remember that he didn’t make his last AFL start and was withdrawn from the Premier12. Did he reach some magical innings limit or were the Phillies concerned about wear and tear on his arm?

      2. If you add in the playoffs Spencer pitched 126 innings in 2018 (not sure why playoff innings are not counted in stats). BTW he feels great. Been throwing with Mickey and will be working out at Cal Poly starting next week. Looking forward to Spring Training (as we all are!!).

    2. matt13…..”If we don’t add SP, we will need to do so come the trade deadline.”….Matt K. could make that trade later today for all we know….he does prefer the more impactful trades in the off-season vs the in-season trades.

    3. ” I am not counting on him being a big contributor in the heat of a pennant race this season.”

      It doesn’t take much time to be a big contributor. See Marty Bystrom in 1980. The Phillies probably don’t make the playoffs without his 36 innings and 5 wins after a September 7th call up.

  26. Seems like the Mets are out on Betances. They and the Phillies were considered heaviest in interest in him. The Phillies should be able to get him on a 1 yr deal at $7M-$8M.

  27. Romus, I agree. I am hoping and counting on something from Klentak, trade wise, because I know he likes to make trades. And, I am very high on Howard. I just don’t want our strategy to be, “piece it together with what we have, and then Howard will help come July”. I want another SP now. Miley got a lot of $, so I really wouldn’t have done that. I think Smyly would be a good addition, but, again, I think there is some kind of trade in the works.

  28. I was thinking about the team this morning and concluded, they are one really elite SP and one elite hitter away from being a legit title team. Then I realized, the strategy is to see if Bohm and Howard can fill those roles. Seems like a risky strategy, but their respective minor league stats suggest it is possible. If they both turn into studs, then we would be a 90+ win team. If one of them is a stud, likely a high 80s win team. If they both struggle as rookies, mid 80s win team. That is assuming no major injuries to other top players.

    Last year they gambled big on the young pitchers and they all failed and we had a bad season. This year they seem to be gambling big on two rookies. Hopefully it works out.

    1. @v1 – I agree with your assessment. Howard and Bohm can definitely fill that one solid bat and Howard as the one reliable rotation arm that will put the Phillies to the next level. However, it is still prudent for the Phillies to hedge against this gamble by signing proven MLB players in just Bohm and Howard did not arrive on time.

      Hamels is a good insurance that the Phillies missed. I doubt Keuchel will sign another 1-year contract. I like Alex Wood and I think he can be had for 1-2 years contract to serve as a fallback for Howard or Eflin.

  29. Mike Hazen has made some very savvy moves with the DBacks. He just acquired Mad Bum for a relatively low price tag(considering what other starting pitchers were going for). Does he now pivot and look for trade partners for Robby Ray who I believe has 1 more year on his deal? If so, what does a trade package from the Phillies look like?

    1. I am quite impressed with Hazen since seeing him interviewed last off season and hearing about his Princeton connection and his time in the Minor Leagues.

      I think when it comes to Ray his aim is to straddle the fence to start 2020. I think he knows he (on paper) at least has the Giants and probably the Rockies in his rear view mirror with the one team in front of him being the Dodgers.

      If he lands Castellanos or Donaldson he could substantially improve their outlook. Their payroll is roughly $138 million and they are flush with prospects should they want to make a deadline move to buy….

      In other words they are not behaving like a team that would trade Ray right now but perfectly situated to take advantage of a hot start or a pivot to sell if their aspirations are falling short in July.

      1. It would appear early on, the Padres and the DBacks will be the two teams vying for that wild card spot out of their division.
        Not sure how much Hazen took from the Red Sox org, as far as maneuvering his resources, but it would not surprise me if come mid-July and they are on the fence, he may make a bold move and move Ray…while at the same time trying to bring in another arm.
        Saw what he did with Goldey before last season, and Greinke mid-year….so he is not fearful of risk taking and of being aggressive.

    1. Thanks for the link Romus. Embarrassing for sure, …… but interesting to me is the suggestion below the main article that the new 3 batter rule affects strategy and the need for leftys in the bullpen unlike before the rule implementation.

      1. The new 3 batter rule is going to place a premium on pitchers who have neutral splits or in other words have a demonstrated ability to be effective against both left and right handed batters.

        Those guys were always valuable but even more so now. As will starters that can give you some length in their starts.

          1. ……or finish the inning? Manfred implied that the player’s association agreed on that and the additional man on the roster and the 15 day dL.

  30. Romus, the Rockies have done absolutely nothing this off season, after having a pretty miserable 2019. What do you think it would take to get your guy, Kyle Freeland? I am sure everyone is tired of hearing me complain about the salary cap, so I am concentrating on trades now! Detroit seems to be a target also, although, Mr. Howard’s son and Alec Bohm are off limits. I also wouldn’t give up Stott or Erik Miller, so that is probably a no go for Boyd, but Daniel Norris is a possibility. Then we have Danny Duffy, who I have been trying to get in a trade for what seems like years.

    1. matt13……IMO, to get Freeland it would start with one of either Velasquez or Pivetta.
      Then two more prospects…a pitcher for sure, (Morales or Adonis or JoJo)maybe another or a position player (Muzziotti or Marchan).
      Three for one.
      Hands off Howard, Bohm, Stott, and Miller

      1. @romus – this appears light. I’m surprised that the Trade Sheriff hasn’t called you out yet for not trading value for value.

        Morales will be the highlight of the trade package with the rest of the names as secondaries. Morales + Erik Miller + a Top 15 at least will be the starting point.

      2. I’m even more leery of pitchers coming out of CO than I am their hitters. Even pitchers who have done well there and gone on to other clubs have seemed to fall into obscurity.

        I mean yeah I’d take a flyer on Freeland but wouldn’t give up much in prospects to take that flyer.

        1. Does seem like a strange occurrence …..maybe its the humidor effect.
          But unlike Arenado…he does his best work in Coors.
          Remember Hampton?

  31. Miller is a very interesting prospect. I would like to see what we have in him for at least another season. Bohm and Howard are off limits in my book and Stott may be a sell high candidate.

    1. Erik Miller might be the steal of the draft for the Phillies. Erik Miller has a Day 1 talent that fell into the laps of the Phillies at pick 4.120. If Erik Miller developed his command, he will be the next best LHP from the farm since Cole Hamels.

      1. 1 Howard
        2 Bohm
        3 Stott
        4 Miller
        ….and then there’s a significant drop off from 5 on….but those top 4 could help form the next young nucleus of a Phillies playoff contender.

        1. I know that you’re allergic with the name Adonis Medina, but him, Damon Jones, JoJo, Dohy and Llovera can player a role as bullpen arms. Then there’s Connor Seabold, Mickey Mo, Nick Maton, Jakob Hernandez and Zach Warren who are also knocking at the MLB door as supporting cast.

          I’m not sure if Muzziotti, Rafael Marchan and Jhailyn Ortiz will be ready to contribute within the next 2 years. Most likely, they will be included in a trade package.

          1. All 4 of our AFL pitchers performed well – Howard and Seabold as starters, and Romero and Warren as relievers. The Phillies will have a lot more depth in LHV than we realize. The “shuttle” could be busy again this coming season.

  32. I agree KuKo, that is why I listed him and Stott, and would not trade them for Boyd. Part of it, also, is that Boyd’s second half worries me. Long ball propensity and CBP do not mix well. I like Miller. So, my sights are set lower, and Robbie Ray may require more than I want to give up. To me, I easily spend for a Keuchel rather than trade any of the prospects I am high on. That may be the wrong way to look at it, but I think a lot less of John Middleton’s money than I do our top prospects. I think we have too few top guys, and, OTOH, plenty of $

    1. @matt13 – for Boyd, definitely no. I was never been in Boyd’s bandwagon – it is mainly because the price is too steep for what Boyd can offer. Boyd will pitch like a #4 in CBP due to his average stuff, low GB% and high FB/HR rate. The most I can give to Boyd is DLS + Irvin (or Parkinson) + OF prospect like Cornelius Randolph or Corbin Williams.

      For a LHP arm, I still prefer Alex Wood – he’s young so there’s still upside. I don’t see Keuchel signing another 10-year contract. Ryu will probably command a contract higher than MadBum. Maybe the Phillies can sign Gio Gonzalez for a very affordable 1-year contract.

      1. *** – I should say “I don’t see Keuchel signing another 1-year contract”….there’s an extra “0” in my post above.

  33. I’m still on the Smyly train because he should be pretty darn cheap. In his last 5 starts he seemed to be turning a corner. He had 30 K’s in 24.2 IP and allowed just 10 earned runs (3.72 ERA) with a gem in there where he shut out the Mutts and went 6 1/3 against the Nats and struck out 10.

    He didn’t pitch at all in 18 or 17 and is just 30 turning 31 in June.

    With regard to Ryu I’d be surprised if he got more than MadBum he’s going into his age 33 season and has a history of arm troubles. MadBum’s injury history was never related to his arm.

    I just read the article where Ken Rosenthal reported he left money on the table to pitch in AZ. He and his wife have their horses there so it was a preferred destination.

    1. I expect Ryu to get a 3-year contract. It’s probably not more than $85M in total, but AAV wise, it will be higher than MadBum’s $17M AAV. If I have to guess, Ryu will get a $70M/3 years.

      1. Yeah you are probably right it doesn’t seem that far fetched but does he have a Comp pick attached to him I forget.

        Those things always seem to hold back value on certain guys.

        1. The Phillies have a lot of older pen arms that excel in the low minors. Hopefully, Hendrickson can carry his success all the way to the upper minors. Teams always have a room for Big LHP with good control and that can miss bats.

    1. The reality check is that Korean team is pretty bad. Nice to see him do well, but not sure this performance changes much.

  34. I agree KuKo. I am trying to think of trade pick ups so we don’t have to talk about the salary cap again. I like Keuchel, Wood, Smyly is an improvement over hoping on VV or Pivetta. And what do we do to improve the BP? This can’t be it. And, we still could use bench help.

    1. If the Phillies doesn’t really intend to go beyond the CBT Threshold (which I still believe they should) – signing short term and cheap bounce back candidates will be another way to do it than trade as trade(s) will most like cost them some of the their MLB ready prospects.

      I think the following arms will fall in the short term and cheap category — Wood, Teheran, Walker, Roark, Smyly, Ivan Nova, Gonzalez.

      1. The Yankees just Designated for Assignment pitcher Chance Adams who was fairly effective in the Minors. Should the Phillies take a flyer on Adams

        1. I hope that Klentak take a chance on Adams…the Phillies can DFA Trevor Kelley to create a roster spot

          1. Be wary….his elbow surgery in Nov 2017 for bone spurs, similar to Jake Arrieta, did in his velo. and ill-affected his pitching command.
            He came out of college with more heat and better control.
            BTW….him and Dylan Cozens were on the same high school team in Arizona.

        1. Without busting the CBT Threshold, the Phillies just basically need a “stop gap” to Spencer Howard. Vinny, Pivetta and Eflin have #3 ceiling if they pitched to their potential, but Klentak needs to learn from his mistake last year —- don’t bet on potential without have a fall back option to rely on.

          Those “stop gaps” I mentioned are possibly not be the better option “potential” wise, but some of these arms already have some success in the MLB level.

          1. What you are still proposing is betting on potential (previous success) from guys who have not been very good recently and none of them has the potential to be anything more than #3 starters. Same gamble, just with different cards.

            1. Not necessarily different cards — it’s adding more cards. The more cards I have, the better chances I get that one of these “cards” will contribute.

    2. Former Brave Blevins could be had for the BP…or Steve Cisek from the Cubs… reasonable salaries

  35. For Phillies fan who are starved of LHP rotation arm coming from the farm —- there’s of course Erik Miller and the other is the current Paul Owens Awardee and Tom Glavine protege’ Ethan Lindow. Lindow is probably who I will comp to Matt Boyd who a good number here likes the Phillies to acquire via trade. Both Boyd and Lindow have same height and rely on their command to strike batters out. But if everything clicks, Lindow might develop into a better pitcher than Boyd due to his Change Up (Boyd’s CU is average at best). Unfortunately, Lindow is not ready until mid-2022.

  36. Ben Lively re-signed to play in Korea. I remember when we wondered why the Phillies wouldn’t move him for international money. Well….

    1. 8mark…yes Matt Klentak in July 2018 succumbed to Kapler’s impetuous wishes to get Andrubel, Bautista or maybe it was Bour….and they had to DFA Lively quickly in order to open up a 40 slot, and the Royals grab him immediately off the waiver wire.
      Another loss opportunity to increase the chances of strengthening a farm system.

  37. I say sign Betances and Cishek and full speed ahead for the bullpen. I think Betances could have a full bounce back and be better than any other relief pitcher in NL with that return ! Forget the cap.

    1. “Forget the cap!”

      To go over the ‘cap’ or not may turn out to be the narrative hinge of 2020. Just as Klentak wouldn’t address the pitching staff in 2019, Middleton’s decision on spending now may well be what drives the bus in the upcoming season.

      We can all debate the pros and cons but what is most confusing is how the Phillies have conducted business the past 2 off seasons, and then this one as well, until “screeeeeech”! Stop.

      Not having enough prospects to explore trade possibilities leaves them only with money. What advantage does the Comcast deal provide them if they have decided to avoid exceeding the luxury tax threshold? Was there some magic dust sprinkled over the contract that promised us they would not have to? And whose pockets get lined with the Comcast money they don’t spend? Do ticket prices and ridiculous concession prices go down?

      If they don’t spend more money and we are wondering why the Phillies finish 3rd in the NL East in 2020, it will be quite difficult to “forget the cap!”

  38. Jim – if you are looking for content ideas during the off-season. How about we vote on Ceiling and Probability using the below ratings after we choose the top 30. Could be interesting.

    Scale of (1-10) representing a player’s upside potential
    10 – Hall of Fame-type player
9 – Elite player
8 – Solid regular
7 – Average regular
6 – Platoon player
5 – Major League reserve player
4 – Top minor league player
3 – Average minor league player
2 – Minor league reserve player
1 – Minor league roster filler
    Scale of (A-E) representing the player’s realistic chances of achieving their potential
    A – 90% probability of reaching potential
B – 70% probability of reaching potential
C – 50% probability of reaching potential
D – 30% probability of reaching potential
E – 10% probability of reaching potential

    1. Thanks, but I’m not looking for off season content. I schedule the Top 30 so that it is completed in time for spring training when I start posting more frequently. By the time the regular season starts, I’m posting everyday with no let up until the seasons end. By August, I can’t wait for the end of the season and daily reports. I still have a couple dozen prospect reports to publish, once the fire starts burning again. BTW, I’ll be going to the Complex every morning starting on January 6th to watch the early reports, one of whom will be AB. He’s been here for weeks and is leaving for the holidays tomorrow.

  39. For what it’s worth, this guy writes scouting reports on prospects in the SAL league. He ran a poll about impact first basemen and Bohm was on the poll. So I followed up to ask why he put Bohm on a 1B poll.

    1. A “scouting” report from someone who saw Bohm play three times and not even his primary position. I’ll say it’s worth nothing.

      1. I find it interesting that people in this blog take positive reports as gospel, but question the integrity of all negative reviews. Maybe you missed this part?
        “Every report that I read out of the Fall lg suggested 3B defense, huge question.”

        Because I have seen the same thing over and over. I have never seen him play personally. But I keep reading the same thing. It is a real concern whether you want it to be true or not.

      2. What you say, is quite true. Three times is not enough to label someone’s defensive abilities in the field. I have seen Bohm 3 times and I haven’t seen enough of him to make a determination yet. I will say he doesn’t look all that comfortable at 3rd.

        Years ago I posted my thoughts on Hoskins when he was at Reading and a good many of you jumped down my throat. I’ll suffice it to say Hoskins then is Hoskins now, but I digress.

        What is interesting to me is that someone whose opinion matters in the “organization” must see him at 1b. They keep splitting his time at 1st and 3rd and no one is blocking him at 3b from AA to the majors. If he is good enough at 3rd, put him there and leave him there.

          1. They why do they waste so much time and energy following guys around to watch them play multiple times? Sound like a quick 15 minutes is all they really need..

      3. Brent chimed in:

    2. That’s not the opinion of just one scout. Plus the fact that Bohm has played 1b/DH as much as he has screams something at me….that maybe, just maybe the Phillies themselves (despite their public posturing) don’t see him at the hot corner as a long term proposition. I get it – we want our top position prospect to have a greater profile and skill set. But let’s not pretend that these observations have no basis.

      1. Well he does have experience at third base..almost 300 games since his freshmen year at Wichita State…and 68 at first base, if you count the AFL and Cape Cod League.
        So if the Phillies start him over at third, at least the comfort and confidence factor are there for him

      2. That’s why I personally would STRONGLY consider moving him for Bryant while his value is still high.

        If I could trade Bohm and anyone else not named Kingery or Howard to get Bryant I would. It keeps him from the Braves you go into next year with the most legit line up this organization has had since 2006-2009.


        They can afford to extend Bryant in 2022 with McCutchen and Herrera coming off the books.

        1. So then, you are on board with trading Bohm, along with two pitchers…one surely would have to be Howard, and probably the other one of either VV/Pivetta/Eflin to the Cubs?
          It has been reported that the Cubs want at least two pitchers in any Bryant deals.

          And Howard would be desirable for them …since the Braves have four in their high minors that they cam easily let go of two of them….two of either Muller, Wilson, Wright and/or Anderson.

          I do not see anyway getting Bryant without Howard in the deal.

          1. If Bryant agreed to extend his contract with his old pal Bryce Harper’s Phillies as part of the trade, I would include Bohm and any pitcher in the system…but not Howard. Bryant is a very productive player but he may not be the long term answer at 3b either. Tough call.

            1. If Howard is untouchable….well the Cubs would then probably go to another more enticing offer…namely the Braves if they wanted to.
              Now Klentak has pulled off some, what seem liked, magical trades in the past….so he may have to do that again if he is so inclined to go after Bryant.

            2. The Braves are in the championship hunt so they MIGHT offer what’s necessary for Bryant BUT will they be inclined to pay him the big bucks when the time comes?

          2. O’Dowd proposed for the Brave’s to get Bryant Kyle Muller and Austin Riley…

            But again I am not on board with trading Bohm and I don’t care if he can’t stick at 3B. I don’t get all amped up about a scout saying he doesn’t think Bohm will stick at 3B.

            I kind of feel the same. Was really confused when I went over to Trenton to watch him play and they had him DHing the whole series. I’ve always been a big “don’t listen to what they say but watch what they do” kind of gent.

            What I do know is the kid can hit and has a really good chance to be special with the bat for cheap and for quite a while.

          3. I think a deal can get done without Howard and if the Braves offer a better pitcher than we can offer then so be it.

            In no way shape or form could the cubs reasonably expect to get Howard & Bohm for Bryant.

            More realistically I would do Bohm, Haseley, Seabold, and Pivetta for Bryant & Lester (assuming he would accept a trade).

            Also cannot believe I forgot about Segura above

            Pitcher is even better. Bench: Bruce / Haseley / Quinn / Knapp / Harrison

        2. Why would the Cubs trade for Bohm if he can’t play 3rd? Bohm isn’t moving Rizzo from 1st with the Cubs if that’s his future position…

          1. Actually, there are reports out today which suggest that the Cubs might be willing to move Rizzo in hopes of slashing payroll.

            1. 8mark…saw that also…..good luck to the Cubs finding what they want in return.
              There are not many teams out there that need first basemen, at the salary he will want going long term, and also turning 31 in August.

      3. I know that there are people here that post anything to support their position or to stir the pot. But I’m not sure why you take a guys word that has not even seen him play the position over someone that has seen him play for two years and posts here regularly. Again if he hasn’t seen him play the position how can he possibly know?

        1. 1. It is not “a” guy. There are many reports of the same
          2. Because it is good to get other opinion from non-Phillies fans. Objective opinions. Posters on this blog are biased. We want outcomes because we are fans. I put much more weight in the opinions of unbiased prospect evaluators.
          3. If you follow prospects for a long time, you know that when the industry widely raised concerns about a specific skill of a prospect, that usually turns out to be reality.

          Besides Jim, can you point to one report on Bohm that says that he projects to be a good third baseman? If so, please post here.

    3. I followed up one step further. Bohm played a 1B, 1B, DH sequence twice in Lakewood in 22 games. The other 16 games he played 3B 14 times, 1B, once, and DH, once. John caught the second sequence (and an off day, probably a travel day) just before Bohm was promoted to Clearwater.

      I never said, no one ever said Alec Bohm was the second coming of Mike Schmidt or Brooks Robinson. I only stated that he could play third base based on what I witnessed. Based on his own admission, John has never seen him play third.
      He’s going on what other people say (from the AFL, exclusively). How many of those scouts are going on what other people have said, or are just grabbing the narrative that was attached to Bohm coming out of the draft.

      I stated that IMO Bohm was the best 3B to come through Clearwater since Franco. What would be wrong with Franco’s glove and Bohm’s expected to be superior bat?

      As for an eventual move to first base, almost every third baseman and corner outfielder with a big bat is projected to end up at first base. Shoot! Who doesn’t think that Bryce Harper is our first baseman of the future?

      Seriously, I read this scout’s write ups on Bohm and Garcia. I thought he was generous on both. Not that he over-predicted, but that he said things well. I also thought he was generous on his projection of “to at least be average at first base” for Bohm. When I saw him in Clearwater, he looked … ah … tentative to me. I don’t question the projection at first base, but then I don’t question that he can play third base now.

  40. My take on Bohm is this. He plays 3B until he absolutely fails. I don’t take any report as positive or negative. The team has him in their future plans as the 3B. He is going to play there until his Major League defense is so bad he becomes Rhys in LF or Nick Castellanos at 3B type poor. So, it doesn’t matter until or if that time comes. He is the 3B. Back to the salary cap. I still believe they exceed the cap. I think this has been posturing or a negotiating tactic. Or, simply my delusion. I cannot fathom how Middleton looks at this team, and sees a contending one. So, we will spend $206M to “contend” for third place with the Mets? But, let’s say, spending $220M, and that $2.4 Million “penalty”, isn’t doable? “now is the time to win”, and “I want my bleeping trophy back” will be awful hollow words if we don’t improve the SP, the BP and the bench.And, I don’t look at John Middleton as the type who relishes being embarrassed.

    1. I agree with you. I think the adherence to the cap talk is simply to lower expectations. He is no dummy. So he isn’t going over the cap just to prove a point. But if a good player is available, I believe that he will pull the trigger and go over the cap. But isn’t doing it for a middling starter who won’t make a real impact.

    2. I think they will look for good deals. Bettances is very much on their radar if they can agree on a number. The rumor was that he wanted $10M which the Phils won’t pay him without a guarantee that he’s healthy. A $7/$8M one year deal would get it done. Cishek could be an intriguing guy also to lengthen the pen. We all think they’re adding another SP by trade or signing. The market will drive it. I also think they’re trying hard to trade Herrera and some of his contract even if it means attaching someone to the deal. I also think Vinnie could be moved because of his $4M contract plus there’s a market for him, as there is for Pivetta and Williams. In other words, there are still plenty of smaller moves coming. Brad Miller still has to get resigned….

    3. I love Bohm’s offensive skill set. I have to think it’s been considered whether to eventually move him to a corner OF spot, probably left field. Kris Bryant is a big lanky 3b who has also found his way to the outfield.

      1. BTW….many want Kris Bryant’s for 3rd base …well his skills leave a lot to be desired also according to SABR-SDI for 2019
        Nolan Arenado COL 13.1
        Josh Donaldson ATL 7.9
        Evan Longoria SFG 5.0
        Brian Anderson MIA 4.9
        Anthony Rendon WSN 4.2
        Eduardo Escobar ARI 3.0
        Todd Frazier NYM 2.6
        Mike Moustakas MIL 2.3
        Manny Machado SDP 2.2
        Eugenio Suarez CIN -0.6
        Matt Carpenter STL -1.0
        Kris Bryant Chc -4.1 ****************
        Justin Turner LAD -5.4
        Maikel Franco PHI -7.2
        Colin Moran PIT -14.4

        1. A reliable SP is still the top priority for the Phillies. But signing Josh Donaldson will have similar impact like when the Sixers signed Al Horford. Josh Donaldson is a Philly killer last year and he’ll provide a rock solid D in the hot corner. The only concern in signing Donaldson is the $$ — especially the Nats are reported in driving the price up.

  41. In regards to the salary cap tax, if you go over say for 2020 then are under in 2021 and then go back over in 2022 what rate is the 2022 season? I know it goes up when you go over back to back years, but does it go back to the initial rate if in between years you are under the cap?

    1. I believe you are back to the initial penalty. That is why it was a big deal for the Yankees and Dodgers to get under it.

  42. v1, I enjoy the information you provide. I don’t like to hear negative things because I hope that all of our prospects are great and will all be All Stars, so any negative reports bursts my bubble! But, seriously, I like what you bring to the chats, and I find it very informative. My take on Bohm and Howard is that they are both viewed as future integral players, and won’t be traded, albeit with the caveat that anyone is available for the right price. The risk I take is that Bohm is the future 3B and we don’t need to unload the farm for Bryant, and it is also why Rendon and Donaldson were never really pursued. What we do need is a #3 SP and BP help. I am not in the Hector Neris is a real bonafide WS closer camp, but that is an issue for another day. With the 3 batter rule, the BP will be more important, and ours is not good enough.

    1. With the urgency to win, I would hate to have to endure a season of Bohm’s inadequate defense like we did with Hoskins in LF in ’18. Every team has its weak links but if there is serious doubt among the decision makers, they had better compensate for the deficiency with an offense that flat scores lots of runs and a pitching staff that misses lots of bats.

      1. I just don’t see an urgency to win in 2020. I’m sure they are hoping to win and wouldn’t ever say in public what most of us know to be true which is this team is still behind the Nats and Braves and probably on par with the Mets.

        The Nats without Rendon and if they don’t get Donaldson then they seemingly come back to us a bit however they do have Kieboom who OPS’d over 900 in AAA last year.

        And its not just teams in our division we are needing to get better than.

        Nothing has changed for me. McPhail and Klentak were epic fails at the rebuild. Kapler was a bad hire from the start and made to be the scapegoat.

        It’s all hap hazard. Even if I concede Didi is a better SS than Segura you have 2 guys who play the same position eating up $30 million who barely OPS + 100.

        2 weeks to a month from now something can go down and I’m changing my tune. But today I still see an FO in disarray with no concept of how to build a winning system.

        1. what did Keiboom OPS in the majors last year?? Doesn’t matter what his numbers were in the notorious hitter friendly PCL league.

          Also, not sure how you see a FO in disarray. You may not agree with the approach or game plan but there is no evidence they are somehow not following their plan.

      2. I’m no scout, but I have seen Bohm play about five games, and all at 3B. He struck me as having limited range and maybe not good intuition or quick enough reflexes with his glove, but he didn’t look like Dr. Strangeglove, either.

        My guess is that he’s at 3B until and unless the Phillies have a better alternative. The guy obviously has the hit tool and the right approach at the plate, but we have yet to see certain future all-star from his bat, so he may still have some learning/growing to do.

        If Hoskins is gone, Bohm becomes a good 1B candidate. If the Phillies trade for a starting 3B, maybe Bohm gets traded, or replaces a traded Hoskins at 1B.

        But as long as things remain the way they are, I suspect Bohm stays at 3B.

        Also, 8mark, and think you can relax a little in terms of reliving the Hoskins experience in LF. Bohm might not be a gold glover at 3B but he’s better there than Hoskins was in the outfield, I think.

  43. I don’t see how the FO or the Ownership looks at our team and sees a Contending one. We were 17 games behind the Braves. They did not get worse. Forget, for a minute, that the Nats won the WS. We got Didi and Zach Wheeler, and we got JoeG. All positive things, in my estimation. We have no Rookie of the Year candidate, and although I expect Bohm and Howard to be very good, how do you go into the season counting on that? So, the whole narrative about the “self imposed salary cap” is bewildering to me. Every article about the team references it. Why would Middleton put himself in that position? It makes no sense. No baseball analyst, no one looking at the team, not even much of the fan base, sees us as being on a par with the Nats or the Braves. There are still moves that can be made. It makes no sense that they don’t get done.

    1. Realistically, a team like the Phillies should be in a good spot — with deep pockets, drafting Top 10 in 4 years (and 14th in 5th year), big market revenue. The big reason why the Phillies is not in that supposedly “good spot” is the Front Office. Middleton did not make the best choice with McPhail/Klentak and continued to commit the same mistake by keeping them.

      May Klentak can get lucky and press the correct buttons, but as long as the Phillies have an average Front Office in McPhail/Klentak —- Middleton has no choice but to use financial muscle to infuse talent to this team.

    2. And it’s still December. Not sure why so many are in such a panic over how this team compares with the Nationals/Braves in December. I would argue that as of today, the Phillies have gotten better and both of those teams have gotten worse as each has lost a middle of the order bat that they have yet to replace.

      More moves will likely be made and come February we can then see who’s looking like contenders and who’s not.

      As to the “self-imposed salary cap”. Until I hear someone from the FO make that statement it’s all media/fan speculation. yes, I know that some of these reporters are plugged into the FO but until they put a statement in quotes, it’s just chatter.

      1. Even if it is a “self-imposed salary cap”, it’s not like the Phillies didn’t spend money. In fact, they spent a boatload of money. They paid for Cutch and Harper last season, and now they spent for Wheeler and Didi. What’s the payroll going to be for 2020? This will be the most expensive team the Phillies have ever put out, and we’re already top 7 in salaries (according to spotrac).

        And as I mentioned before, paying the tax is no guarantee that the Phillies will win. The Yankees were routinely paying the tax, and they have the same amount of titles as the Phillies over the last 15 years: 1.

    3. Matt, fair points but I’ll go back to one of my main points. This rebuild needs more time. Best case scenario, the Phillies see how the pieces fit on the field together, see if bohm snd Howard can be core pieces and then add Thr final pieces next offseason. They can also address some
      Needs at this year & nexts year’s trade deadline. Imho, it was too much to ask to leap frog the Nats and Braves this year. WC is the only hope from the way I see it, minus the injury bug biting the both the Nats and Braves in 2020

  44. Angels sign Teheran and WSox sign Gio Gonzalez. I didn’t want either of them. But, those are 2 teams that may have been in on Keuchel or Wood or Keuchel, or even Smyly, not that they are precluded from adding them as well.

    1. I suggested both as “additional cards” as I expected, they will be cheap 1-year contracts.

    1. Maikel could turn his career around, similar to Soler, being out there in the quiet comforts of the Mid-West.
      Fan and media pressure is a lot less in KC.

      1. Wish him the best. If he ever learns that he doesn’t have to try to pull everything and swing as hard as he can he has the potential to be a solid major league hitter.

    1. ……aghhhhh “Here comes da Judge”! Ellsbury and Bryant. Me thinks the “Bronx Bombers” come up short and the Cubbies, well 50/50.

  45. 3up, I am not arguing with you about it still being December. And, I have not suggested that we should have gotten Rendon and Cole along with what else we did. My point is that this is a business that attempts to generate interest in its fanbase, sell tickets, and in their words, put a contending team on the field this season. I don’t think the narrative of the brakes on spending helps sell tickets and doesn’t improve the “on field” product. I am not in a panic, as I am one of those who doesn’t really believe they have stopped spending. But it certainly tampers excitement over the team, when every story about the team references the spending cap. So, let me ask you this: In your opinion, do we, as currently constituted, stack up against the Nats or the Braves?

    1. Matt, as of this moment I would put the Phillies a few games behind the Braves and Nationals. But with the exception of getting someone like Donaldson for 3b or Ryu in the Rotation they aren’t overtaking them by spending over the cap to get a guy like Smyly.

      They can trade for/sign a replacement level player like that as needed when the season starts.

      Look at how much of the Nationals WS champions roster was added in season.

      Signing players Just to do “something” to generate fan excitement is a terrible way to build a winner.

  46. matt13….”But it certainly tampers excitement over the team, when every story about the team references the spending cap…”

    Here is something about that from Kevin Cooney recently, that may back what you favor.:

    Kevin Cooney:
    “In actuality, however, the tax doesn’t get really punitive until you get to the $228 million threshold. Up until that point, it is 20 percent for every dollar a team goes over the figure. So if the Phillies went to $219 million in payroll as a first time tax offender, the tax would roughly be $2.2 million. Even if they went to $227 million, the tax is “only” $3.8 million. In real life money, that’s a lot. For a team that has the resources at its disposal the way that Philadelphia does, it actually isn’t all that much.
    The kicker is a 12 percent surtax that goes when you go between $20 and $40 million over the tax. If you go over the tax by 40 million, it goes to 42.5 percent – effectively acting as a salary cap with nobody in their right mind doing it.
    In other words, there is a limit of sanity of what the Phillies should spend. That limit should be $228 million.”

  47. Romus, exactly the position I thought they were going to take. I have been surprised at the slowing down of spending. I can’t dispute the points 3up and Tac made regarding where we stand. The FO may very well see what we see, and that they are waiting to see how the season unfolds, piece together a BP from what we have, and go the Valasquez and Pivetta route for a 5th SP. Hope they hang in, and then make a move during the season. I don’t agree, and the notion that Arrieta is penciled in as the #3SP I find to be really stretching, But, it sure seems that is what they are doing. Another waiver claim for the BP can up our total to about 8 since last trade deadline. I understand we have been burnt before, but Pat Gillick always said that you can’t let a mistake stop you from making moves going forward.

    1. matt13….Philadelphia is the 4th largest TV market in baseball….the three above it …NY/LA/Chicago….all share two teams.
      The Comcast deal….$2.5B over 25 years back in 2015…should pay out at least $80M this year…maybe more.
      Going beyond the threshold to say, $220M ($12M over)….for just this year…should not be an issue.

      Now saying this…I do see the trade route as the way Matt Klentak will enhance the quality of the team for 2020. Every year he has tried to do it that way …so we w will see if that is his plan again.

  48. Totally agree Romus, To me, the $228M was the magic number. And, I have also made the point that a full season of contention means a lot more money in the coffers from attendance and the related income. Simply no reason to use $208 as anything but a number to exceed. How Middleton does not want to see a full ballpark is a mystery to me, and makes me question what I believed was his all out desire to win. But, again, it’s not over yet. I also believe there will be a trade of significance, and we have a whole rest of the off season and up until the July deadline to fill the holes on the team. But, in the meantime, can’t we get 1 bona fide BP arm?

  49. Yes, how the largest TV market that supports only 1 MLB team can sign such a lucrative deal with Comcast and not cross the luxury tax threshold in order to field a competitive product is beyond my comprehension. Spending money doesn’t promise anything BUT then what the hell is the advantage of signing such a deal?

  50. I know I’ve posted this numerous times, but I think it bears repeating … this is not the time for John Middleton to obey the luxury tax threshold. Why exceed the threshold?

    * They’ve already invested/will be investing more than a half-billion dollars in Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, and a JTR LTX.
    * Their core (Harper/Hoskins/Realmuto/Kingery/Nola/Wheeler) are all in their primes.
    * This club still lacks pitching depth.
    * Historically, clubs who go over the cap usually make the playoffs (25 times in 32 instances)

    The only question (as far as I’m concerned) should be … do Middleton/Klentak pay for more pitching in free agency or via the trade market?

    Another thing to remember: Middleton should take solace in knowing the Phillies will be shedding 52 million dollars from their payroll (Arrieta, Robertson, Bruce, and Gregorius) after the 2020 season. There should be absolutely no reason for this team to stop at 208 million dollars.

    And … here’s a trade possibility: Phillies send VV (probably going to get 4 million in arbitration) to the LAA’s for a reliever (Hansel Robles or Keynan Middleton [no relation to John]).

    1. Hinkie….there are those who think that they should at least exceed, and I being one of them.
      And for me, I would lean pitching, however not sure there are any out there now that will move the needle to a division first place finish…perhaps Keuchel or Ryu….the 29-year old Wood would be less expensive but he has his own inherent risks with the chronic lower back issues, again flaring up last season…push come to shove, then I’d just sign Smyly at this point.

    2. They are shedding money but can’t count Bruce since his money is being paid by another team. Also have to assume a JTR deal will eat some of that also

      1. I’m only counting 1.5 million (the amount [roughly] the Phillies are paying) for Jay Bruce.
        Jake Arrieta … 25 million AAV, David Roberrtson … 11.5 million AAV, Didi Gregurius … 14 million, and Bruce 1.5 million AAV totals 52 million dollars the team will dispose from it’s 2021 payroll. Some of that will be eaten up by a Realmuto extension and raises (thru arbitration) to Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez (if he’s still here), Nick Pivetta, and Rhys Hoskins.

        1. Hinkie…..and lets not forget…Doobie…..if Matt K can do a magic trick his salary, or a portion of it could be gone soon enough.

  51. Romus, Hinkie, I don’t know what I would do without this site.I look at it 2 ways. First, who is better than Arrieta, or who do I have more confidence in to fill that #3 slot? That would be Keuchel or Ryu. Ryu is older, and more of a risk, so I go Keuchel. Failing that, who is a better, or more trustworthy, #5 than VV or Pivetta. And, I just can’t believe we are even thinking of counting on them again. They both belong in AAA, trying to prove they deserve a shot, but I digress. That leads me to Smyly or Wood. Both of who would give us a better chance to win a ballgame. Then there is the trade route, which I believe Klentak is working on. But the cost there, for anyone decent, is players vs. cash. For the right prospects, Robbie Ray would help, but he is a rental, and after signing MadBum, why wouldn’t Arizona try to make a WC run? That brings us to Norris, Duffy and Freeland, who we have discussed before. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to sign someone as a FA, and save whatever prospects we have that we are willing to trade, for the inevitable trade deadline move?

  52. My take on this whole 208 luxury tax/Phils will absolutely not exceed it controversy? This is all balderdash and is an upshot of Middleton’s probably regrettable comments about spending “stupid money” last off season. We will never know for sure but I suspect Klentak had several conversations with Middleton after that comment suggesting that it was much tougher to negotiate deals with agents who felt they were negotiating with a team prepared to throw money at players.

    Middleton is a smart guy and probably has instructed Klentak to float the rumor that the Phils are adverse to go over the luxury tax this year in hopes that their potential deals don’t include an extra 5-10 million from a team prepared to spend “stupid money”. This is simply good business.

    I simply do not believe a guy who wants to win as badly as Middleton does is going to refuse to go over a nebulous number if it will help them win a title. Just don’t believe it. I will say this also…no way are the Phils done dealing and I mean a BIG deal. Remember at this time last year the Phils did not have either Realmuto or Harper.

    Klentak’s job is on the line, maybe McPhail’s also. They know their mandate and they know that so awfully good players might soon enter the trade market…Bryant, Arenado, Pederson, probably 3-4 others. I believe the Phils will get one and I can’t fight the suspicion that the Phils are internally salivating at getting Bryant. Just makes too much sense, best friends with Harper, a power bat at a position of need, and a potential gem trading piece in Bohm. Look, I am not advocating for moving Bohm, not doing that but to simply toss it out the window without at least considering it would be foolish in my mind.

    If Bryant loses his service time argument [and I think he will] Boras is going to almost demand his client be moved and Epstein is no fool, its bad business to be on Boras’s naughty list. Watch for the Bryant/Phillie rumors to ignite.

    Not saying it will happen…but I will not be shocked if it does. Boras will ABSOLUTELY get one of his high profile clients to Philadelphia, as much to keep Harper happy as it is to keep relations with Middleton copacetic.

    1. A Bryant for Bohm deal is definitely a possibility since Bryant is the guy people point at in terms of saying who Bohm looks. The court case needs to be decided first though because 1 vs 2 years is a big difference. If they’re going to trade though, I’d prefer Marte. MLB suggested it would take Haseley and DLS. If true that would be too good to pass up.

      1. Agree. Buster Olney doesn’t break a lot of stories but he called the Harper to Phillies deal long before Bryce went on the market. And he’s mentioned Bryant to the Phillies on more than one occasion. The common denominator? Scott Boras. And yes, many people within the industry think Bohm is definitely a trade piece if and when it goes down.

      2. This team is up to the salary cap and they are an 84 win team right now in my opinion. They need to STOP trading away their best prospects, sign a couple of good bargain lefties (Wood and/or Smyly) – develop their young players and not give them up. I agree they will pass the luxury tax threshold and they might as well do it before the season starts because the players they want in a mid year deal are going to be just that much more expensive in summer.

  53. I know a bunch of you really like Gowdy. Read Phoul Ballz article on Gowdy, he really feels great and thinks his fastball came back late in the year. He thinks he’s primed for big things next year. Fingers crossed!

    1. lol .. who could those be? Thanks for the info. It will be nice for him, and the organization if develops towards his ceiling.

      Gowdy ?

      Not a bad stable of pitches to fill out the SR or as potential tradebait at somepoint

      1. Tac, I think it was our patron, jimp, who said that all prospect growth is not linear. I am hoping that whatever the problem was with Medina last year gets corrected, and he shows he is a top prospect again. I feel good about the others, and Gowdy being healthy would be a great thing.

      2. Also can add 20-year old Francisco Morales to that group with high potential.
        Will be in CLW this year…and if he gets his control issues worked out…could be also a fast mover.

        1. Yes, He slipped my mind. As a bonus, I’ll throw out our old prospect savior, kilmone, hopefully he doesn’t develop for the mutts 🙂

        2. Yes, He slipped my mind. As a bonus, I’ll throw out our old prospect savior, kilome, hopefully he doesn’t develop for the mutts 🙂

  54. MLBTR posted 10 youthful bounce back pitching candidates this evening. Among them are a few former Phillies in Edubray Ramos, Jerad Eickhoff and Drew Smyly, the latter of which should be a re-sign consideration.

    Others mentioned who I would hope are being considered are Alex Wood, Taijuan Walker and Danny Salazar, who if he ever stays healthy, would be a huge addition to any pitching staff. Tony Cingrani is a lefty reliever who might be a nice low risk/high reward pickup.

    The other 3 listed – Aaron Sanchez, Shelby Miller and Aroldis Vizcaino – don’t seem to hold much promise, all things considered.

  55. David Phelps is available also for a BP arm and shouldn’t cost a lot. I would certainly take a shot with him. Brad Miller doesn’t seem to be mentioned as getting any full time player action, so I would bring him back. He added a good deal to the bench.

    1. Agreed. Love Brad Miller. Sneaky big power, good attitude, plays infield. I think he’s a winner and a keeper.

  56. Few random thoughts:

    With the new reliever rule … does VV become more valuable as a super reliever 4 innings! 😂 .. nut seriously it may give him more life in the majors if he can’t figure out to get past the 5th consistently

    A lots been made of the 208 number, I get it, but I’m also surprised that the team didn’t go over for Hamels. The fan fare would seem to make up for it. I think the pre-Middleton controlled FO would have done so. Still a little shocked we’ll have to see him as a brave … 🤮 (thanks klentak!)

    1. It sounds good, but those those splits away from Coors worry me a lot. I’d rather have Bohm or bohm for Bryant

  57. Keuchel signed with the White Sox 3/$55.5M with a vested option year. Wow, what an incredible overpay! No wonder the South Siders are perennially irrelevant.

  58. No question. I wanted Keuchel but not at those numbers. Still doesn’t mean I don’t want a left handed SP, but Wood/Smyly work. And the trade route I don’t need to repeat.

  59. I’ll probably get called a complainer but are the Phillies really just going to do minor league signings?
    Didi and Wheeler were great moves but it does not make them a contender
    The penalty for going over would be what…like $3mil…I think they’ll manage

    1. I do think he will make trades…..but he normally has made the big ones by now before the Christmas break. Maybe it will be the end of next week into the first part of January.

  60. The good news Romus, is that the guys like Ray and Duffy, Norris and Freeland haven’t been dealt. Smyly and Wood are out there. I agree that Klentak makes at least one trade. I think Doobie gets dealt, somehow and Nick Williams and we have pieces, not top ones, but good enough to work deals.

    1. matt13…..exactly.
      If he can market Doobie…..and see if he can get a some salary relief from his contract that would make things a little easier.
      But it may be a double whammy…..taking on a portion of Dobbie’s existing contract AND not getting any tangible value for him.

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