Open Discussion: Week of January 13th

Friday, the Phillies came to terms with four more of their arbitration players.  Those with whom they avoided arbitration were  Vince Velasquez, Jose Alvarez, Zach Eflin, and Adam Morgan.  They had come to an agreement with Andrew Knapp back in December.

Each of these five contracts came in under the MLBTR estimates.  The four signed Friday saved the team about $725K against the Tax Threshold.  Knapps had saved them $90K earlier.

J.T. Realmuto and Hector Neris remain unsigned.  Realmuto asked for $12.4M, the Phillies countered with $10M.  Neris filed for 5.2M, the Phillies $4.25M.

The Phillies have enough room under the tax threshold to lose both arbitration cases and still be under the threshold by about $2.5M.

I looked at the Phillies regular season schedule today and was surprised by a couple things.  First, they open in Miami.  Who dreamt that up?  The Marquis de Sade?  How about an Aaron Nola v. Sixto Sanchez opener?  Then I noticed that it’s a 4-game series and has no open date as in the past.  Then I noticed that they play 3 at the Mets, still no off day.  Hmm.  Home for 5 games (off day after the home opener), then 8-game road trip.  Home for 5 more, then 6-game road trip, Chicago then San Francisco.  Who did the Phillies piss off? Twenty-one road games and 10 home games in the first month and 6 days.  Geez, all 3 road trips (7, 8, and 6 games) are longer than their two 5-game home stands.  Wow!

Forty-one of the MLBTR’s top 50 free agents have come off the board.  The 3 highest not signed are position players (3 of the top 11) – #5 Donaldson, #8 Castellanos, and #11 Ozuna.  The other 6 unsigned are towards the back end of the top 50 – #37 Puig, #39 Wood, #41 Holt, #48 Nova, #49 Strop, and #50 Smyly.  The top 50 with with MLBTR’s projection and the actual contract are listed below.

  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. Signed with TOR for 4/$80M
  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. Signed with CWS for 3/$55.5M
  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
  21. Julio Teheran – SEA, 2/$18M. Signed with LAA for 1/$9M
  22. Will Harris – CHC, 2/$18M.  Signed with WAS for 3/$24M
  23. Drew Pomeranz – LAD, 2/$16M. Signed with SD for 4/$34M
  24. Wade Miley – LAA, 2/$16M. Signed with CIN for 2/$15M
  25. Corey Dickerson – SD, 2/$15M.  Signed with MIA for 2/$17.5M 
  26. Travis d’Arnaud – MIL, 2 yr/$14M. Signed with ATL for 2 yr/$16M
  27. Chris Martin – PHI, 2 yr/$14M. Signed with ATL for 2 yr/$14M
  28. Daniel Hudson – WAS, 2 yr/$12M.  Signed with WAS for 2 yr/$11M
  29. Avisail Garcia – MIA, 2 yr/$12M. Signed with ATL for 2 yr/$20M
  30. Howie Kendrick – MIN, 2 yr/$12M. Signed with WAS for 1 yr/$6.25M
  31. Rick Porcello – SF, 1 yr/$11M. Signed with NYM for 1 yr/$10M
  32. Brett Gardner – NYY, 1 yr/$10M. Signed with NYY for 1 yr/$12.5M
  33. Robinson Chirinos – HOU, 2 yr/$10M.  Signed with TEX for 1 yr/$6.75M
  34. Jason Castro – LAA, 2 yr/$10M. Signed with for 1 yr/$6.85M
  35. Craig Stammen – NYM, 2 yr/$10M. Signed with SD for 2 yr/$9M
  36. Steve Cishek – ARI, 2 yr/$10M.  Signed with CWS for 1 yr/$6M
  37. Yasiel Puig – DET, 1 yr/$8M.
  38. Edwin Encarnacion – TB, 1 yr/$8M. Signed with CHW for 1 yr/$12M
  39. Alex Wood – SEA, 1 yr/$8M.
  40. Adam Wainwright – STL, 1 yr/$8M. Signed with STL for 1 yr/$5M
  41. Brock Holt – ARI, 2 yr/$8M.
  42. Josh Lindblom – HOU, 2 yr/$8M. Signed with MIL for 3 yr/$9.125M
  43. Dellin Betances – TB, 1 yr/$7M. Signed with NYM for 1 yr/$10.5M
  44. Kole Calhoun – PIT, 1 yr/$6M. Signed with ARI for 2 yr/$16M
  45. Shogo Akiyama – ARI, 2 yr/$6M. Signed with CIN for 3 yr/$20M
  46. Rich Hill – LAD, 1 yr/$6M. Signed with MIN for 1 yr/$3M
  47. Michael Wacha – DET, 1 yr/$6M. Signed with NYM for 1 yr/$3M
  48. Ivan Nova – NYM, 1 yr/$6M. Signed with for
  49. Pedro Strop – BOS, 1 yr/$5M. Signed with for
  50. Drew Smyly – PIT, 1 yr/$3M. Signed with for

In winter ball, it appears our only players still playing are the position players on the Adelaide roster and RHP Jose Taveras who was just added to the roster.

  • Australian Baseball League 
  • Aklinski – .211/.274/.342/.616, 16-76, 7 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 22 K
  • Edwards – .227/.282/.273/.554, 15-66, 4 R, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 4 BB, 12 K
  • O’Hoppe – .250/.363/.441/.804, 17-68, 11 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 11 BB, 20 K, 1/2 SB
  • Stobbe – .152/.225/.203/.427, 12-79, 8 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 33 K, 1/1 SB
  • Wingrove – .209/.305/.319/.623, 19-91, 10 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 13 BB, 36 K, 2/3 SB
  • Glogoski (0-2, 5.09) – 17.2 IP, 15 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 5 HR, 9 BB, 19 K, 1.36 WHIP
  • Hendrickson (1-2, 1.93) – 18.2 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 28 K, 0.70 WHIP
  • Tols (1-3, 2.84) – 19.0 IP, 14 H, 9 R, 6 ER, 2 HR, 11 BB, 22 K, 1.32 WHIP
  • Taveras (0-0, 6.00) – 3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 1.33 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, 2.38) – 11 G, 11.1 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 8 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 TBA – Phillies Prospects Program (at CBP in mid-January)
  • January TBA – First reports (first week of January)
  • 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 January 5th … 370 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
12/27/2019 – Phillies signed C Christian Bethancourt to an MiLB contract w/invite ST
12/22/2019 – Phillies signed T.J. Rivera to an MiLB contract
12/21/2019 – CF Mikie Mahtook assigned to Lehigh Valley
12/21/2019 – 2B Josh Harrison assigned to Lehigh Valley
12/21/2019 – IF Phil Gosselin assigned to Lehigh Valley
12/21/2019 – CF Matt Szczur assigned to Lehigh Valley
12/20/2019 – Phillies signed FA CF Mikie Mahtook to an MiLB contract w/invite ST
12/20/2019 – Phillies signed FA CF Matt Szczur to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/20/2019 – Phillies signed FA IF Phil Goselin to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/20/2019 – Phillies signed FA 2B Josh Harrison to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
12/17/2019 – Phillies released RHP Eric White
12/17/2019 – Phillies released RHP Alexis Araujo
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
12/09/2019 – 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
11/20/2019 – 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

329 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 13th

  1. Disappointed: I’d like to see an Alex Wood signing but given Jim’s estimate of 2.5M left and the suggested contract figure of 8M probably isn’t likely.

    1. Depending on the medical reports…. there were doubts that he may be going into Matt Harrison territory.
      He did however passed his physical, so that was a good thing.
      But never know…Kershaw was headed that direction two years ago and has seem to weather the storm and reclaim his health.
      I would be interested in seeing if he can go the whole season without it flaring up again.

  2. Mike Trout and the Angels come to town in July…first series after the all-star break…weekend of 17-18 and 19. That will be interesting…..hopefully the Phillies are smack in the middle of contention.

  3. FYI – Alex Wood off the board for the bargain price of $ 4 m. This was a miss by the front office, friends. Maybe a really big miss.

    1. They may be inclined to ink Smyly at this point. I hope so.
      Also, there is less concern health wise.
      The Reds had to shut down Wood all of September last season..

      1. I want to understand. We are a fourth place team. with a owner who is committed to winning. Yet he refused to go over the tax,, cause there G.M backed them into the corner with bad signings? So we all know this team has no chance, as it is constructed today. So why wont the owner spend on a Wood with not a ton of tax money.? or are we suppose to wait for the bad contracts like Arrieta to go away. This to me is not acceptable.

          1. I think 3rd place is a coin toss Phillies/Mets. If the Mets get strong bounce back years out of Porcello and Wacha and if Diaz is just a little better than he was last year that is still a formidable team.

            Same can be said for us of course but the Mets out OPS’d us last year and we haven’t really done anything to fix that other than to say a healthy Cutch, bounce back from Rhys and Bohm at some point will take us from a 17th rank to somewhere in the top 10

            1. I am a Phillies fan, but I think, right now, the Mets are at least 3 or more games better than the Phillies and I think they did a neat job of replacing Wheeler in the rotation.

        1. rocco…..agree, going over up to $228M ($4M luxury tax fine incurred) for the one year, would seem to make some sense.
          The fine is ridiculous low for a large market team to absorb
          However, what irks me just as much, is the GM’s inability to make any significant trades to bolster the lineup up to this point. Time is running out and miost Gms want their spring training rosters set within the next 3/4 weeks

          1. We should consider the possibility that Middleton has become the defacto GM of this team. I put the signs of both Arrieta and Harper squarely on JM and that’s not to say that those were bad signs.

            It simply suggests to me that he has lost confidence in MK and has essentially rendered him powerless to make any more moves on his own.

    2. I think Wood and Smyly have essentially the same floor but Smyly may have the higher ceiling. His Velo was starting to come back in his last few starts and the bite on his CB was looking a little better.

      So if Smyly too goes elsewhere I’ll agree it was a really big miss

      1. Wood’s velo actually has been falling …just another cautionary flag along with his back issues.
        Year……4Smr..velo
        2016….91.92
        2017….91.65
        2018….90.86
        2019…89.98

      2. For me, DMAR, Smyly rounds out an acceptable but not great rotation at this point. He’d be a cheap trick with a reasonable chance to be the comeback player of 2020.

      3. Totally not true. Wood’s floor is he’s hurt and useless. Smyly is already healthy. I would say Wood’s ceiling is much higher. Perhaps the Phils don’t feel like they want to tie up more money with injury risk players.

  4. Many of you have been telling me all along that I shouldn’t worry that JT hasn’t been extended. I thought that would be job 1 in the off season.

    Here we are mid-January and they still can’t agree on the Arb figure for 1 season. Maybe it’s much ado about nothing but if JT has it in his mind that he wants to blow away the largest catcher’s deal to this point it could spell trouble.

    I know I sound like a broken record but dumping a big if not huge percentage into your payroll at the catcher position is risky business. Especially for offensive production in the middle of your LU as catchers get banged up and hurt more than any other position on the field.

    Maybe its not as bad as it was now that the Posey rule is in place but still.

    1. I am encouraged to see Jim Salisbury write this morning that it’s likely the Phillies and JTR will agree sometime in the spring to approx 5/$100M. Despite the business side of things, they are on good terms.

  5. We are almost up against the luxury tax, and this is our roster? If Bohm and Howard don’t make big impacts this year later on the Phillies, then we are very much a 3rd or 4th place team.

    1. It appears that way “on paper” for sure, but that is why they play the games. I still think you might see some minor trades. We’ll see, too early to stress out. Might be much better opportunities for that later!

  6. I have been consistently on board with Smyly. Even an incremental improvement, and Smyly is an improvement, helps us. This has been a big mistake, allowing the team’s narrative to become the make believe Salary Cap, instead of the team’s determination to win. From a Baseball side and a Business side, just dumb. $208M should not even be a consideration. Go over $228 only to be in a position to make the WS. Middleton’s Lee and Doc comments would make sense if we were talking about going over $228M. The talk about the first level, and the miniscule penalties involved, simply makes the team look bad, and impedes the team’s ability to win. Either Middleton has suffered some big financial loss that we are not aware of, or the Bucks talked him into us no longer being a big market team, but I would be very interested to see how little increase in season ticket sales, and individual ticket sales for that matter, has occurred. Has anyone heard, or felt, any vibe about this coming season other than “they will fight the Mets for 3rd in the Division.”? We all know that one of the team’s favored reporters would have written a story about how great the off season expectations have been and how ticket sales are way up. The fact that everyone only talks about the salary cap speaks volumes.

    1. I believe the Phillies do not want start the clock on the luxury tax threshold. They know there not good enough right now and want to see how the East plays out and how the TEAM comes together. I believe within the next 2-years, they will go over the tax if the team trends upwards. It’s the right decision under the current conditions. I do hope they sign Smyly though and stay under the threshold.

      1. @ Dlite…GREAT post! Another thing, if the team comes together before the trading deadline, they may choose to go over then, depending on what players are available via trades.

        1. Not to sound like a broken record … but … John Middleton is being ridiculous for obeying the 208 million dollar luxury tax threshold.

          * The Phillies goal should be making the playoffs in 2020. They have missed the post season for eight consecutive seasons.
          * Middleton has spent/will spend over a half billion dollars on Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, and a JT Realmuto LTX since last winter.
          * The team’s core (Harper/Hoskins/Realmuto/Kingery/Nola/Wheeler) are all in their prime (mid to late 20’s). Are you going to wait until these guys hit their 30’s to blow past the threshold?
          * The club will shed 52 million dollars (Arrieta/Robertson/Bruce/Gregorius) from their payroll after the 2020 season.
          * The luxury tax threshold is going to drastically increase after the 2021 season with the new CBA.
          * Last … but … not least (and the most absurd reason) Middleton is reportedly willing to go over the cap at the trade deadline (depending on where the club sits) anyway. Why not just do it now and compete with your best possible group from the outset instead of running the risk of falling too far behind the Braves/Nats/Mets after half a season, and wasting another prime year of the Phillies’ core?

          The shame of it all is Middleton has already missed out on a number of FA arms that could have added depth to both the rotation and BP by playing this game. Unless he re-signs Smyly (and I have been calling for that since September), he’s probably going to have to give up prospects (from an already weak system) this summer to fetch some pitching reinforcements.

          1. Hinkie, I am with you point by point. I can understand not wanting to start the luxury tax clock a year early BUT like you said- they are shedding over $50M next year.

            As for “finding out” where they are come the trade deadline, I mentioned a couple weeks back (and Jim opened with his introduction opened with the same) that 21 of the Phillies first 31 games in the 2020 schedule are on the road. WHA!!! Not only is that grossly imbalanced (shame on you, MLB offices), but Middleton isn’t exactly putting this baseball team in the best position to succeed. Again, you can’t win the division in April, but you sure as hell can fall out of any legit playoff hopes by 4/30.

            1. 8mark…they do catch a slight break when they normally collapse these last two seasons….Sept….14 home (all NL-East teams) and 11 away.

          2. “Middleton is reportedly willing to go over the cap at the trade deadline (depending on where the club sits) anyway. Why not just do it now and compete with your best possible group from the outset instead of running the risk of falling too far behind the Braves/Nats/Mets after half a season, and wasting another prime year of the Phillies’ core?”

            This a great point, the other point is that when you acquire talent at the trade deadline, you pay a huge premium, typically in prospects. This team can’t afford to further weaken the mediocre system they have.

          3. See my post below. I don’t 100% agree with the strategy, but I understand their thinking. It is frustrating to field an incomplete team, but they cannot go over the threshold until this team is a legit playoff contender. 210 M is the threshold next year and we don’t know what it will be for 2022 yet. They cannot start the clock or trade prospects until they have more certainty. I am not sure if a flawed playoff team is the answer. I know anything can happen, but this team is not the 2019 Nationals. My frustrations with the team are not spending over 208 M, it was the rebuild itself – draft strategy, player development, comp pick acquiring, international players, etc.

        1. I don’t think they’re going over the cap this year or making a blockbuster trade this summer per Middleton based on the farm and cap. To clarify, they will go over the soft cap next off-season or following (within 2-years). If they planned on going over the cap in 2020, they would have done it last month. They do not want to start the luxury tax clock now. Also, the 2021 luxury cap is 210 M unless the potential new CBA states something different.

  7. Hey Romus you see the post, wait two more yrs , to see if he will spend over the limit and pay the tax. So your next two yrs of Season tickets is just to see if he will try to spend to win. lmao funniest post ever

  8. The Phillies have finally announced 15 non-roster invites – Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, Damon Jones, Mickey Moniak, Connor Brogdon, Kyle Dohy, Tyler Gilbert, Darick Hall, Henri Lartigue, Austin Listi, Nick Maton, Ramon Rosso, Addison Russ, Zach Warren, and Luke Williams.

    1. This brings their confirmed number of NRIs to 19 in addition to Josh Harrison, Phil Goselin, Mikie Mahtook, and Matt Szczur. And 21 with the reported signings and invitations extended to Christian Bethancourt and Ronald Torreyes.

      1. DMAR,
        …apply for your kitchen pass early…..Reading vistis the Thunder at Arm and Hammer in August for two series
        The weekend of August 14-15-16 and then three weeks later for four games on Labor Day weekend.

        1. That sux I’ll be in Ocean City NJ the week of Labor Day so I’ll miss that series but for sure I will catch the August games…

      1. If he can ever get his control in order…he could really be a special reliever.
        He has not been able to do that since his sophomore season at Tennessee.
        Hopefully, he can find that magic..

  9. Hinkie is exactly right. Not only is it dumb to let the $208M matter at all, why have to give up prospects in July, when the farm isn’t exactly the highest rated in the league? It will cost much more than money to get anyone worth something at the trade deadline, while we wasted opportunities to add pieces now with only $ as the cost. It doesn’t make sense. You can’t make the Playoffs in April, May and June, but you can sure dig yourself a big hole. I know the argument that there isn’t anyone out there guaranteeing us a WC spot, but if we lose it by a couple of games, we will all wish we had started the season with more Pitching.

  10. BREAKING: According to Ken Rosenthal, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and skipper AJ Hinch will be suspended for 1 year. Houston also loses their 1st and 2nd round picks both in ’20 and ’21. Ouch!

      1. Frank….that action vs their former assistant GM Brandon Taubman, could have been a double whammy of sorts…first was his remarks against the female reporters back in October after they clinched their pennant and he was fired.

    1. That should get the attention of other teams….future violations could be worse.

      Phillies can breathe a sigh of relief…MLB has not caught on to the Phanatics sign stealing shenanigans.

      1. Right, two belly bumps = heater, 1 belly bump = curve ball, and 👅 out for change. Don’t tell anyone, shhhhhhhh we can’t afford to go over $208M as it is. Any fines might cause us to firesale!

    2. Selfishly, this is good news for the Phillies as far the draft goes. The team is down their second round pick (again) for the Wheeler signing. The Astros penalty will at least move the Phils’ third round selection up a couple of spots.
      This year’s draft class is LOADED with college pitching. It’s very possible Brian Barber (new amateur scouting director) could have a really good one fall into his lap in the third round.
      I’ve also read the deep class of college arms has made 2020 competitive balance picks even more sought after/more valuable this winter. Matt Klentak couldn’t reel one in lesser talented draft classes, I’d be shocked if he’s able to do anything to acquire one this time around (unfortunately).

      BTW … here’s a dark horse for the 1-15 pick. Nick Bitsko is a local kid (CB East HS). He has reclassified from a junior to a senior, and will be youngish for the class (will turn 18 this summer). I know … the Phillies never pick prep pitchers in round one. That’s why I label him as a dark horse.

  11. I think this offseason has been an interesting one for the Phillies and I look at it a few ways:

    1. I think Klentak did an outstanding job with the Wheeler and Didi contracts. Not only do I think those are the right two guys, but the value in the contracts is very good. Had Wheeler waited another week or two, I believe his number would have gone much higher.

    2. Because they haven’t done much else, I think it’s very obvious that they are betting big on the fact that Girardi is going to make 1 + 1 = 3, where they feel Kapler made 1 + 1 = -3.

    3. Last year, they relied on VV, Eflin, and Nick P to all perform as successful starting pitchers. As we sit here today, we are basically still relying on all 3 of them to perform, with the only difference being that one of them can be moved to the pen. As everyone on here knows and has stated, that is a HUGE risk not only based on past struggles, but there are health questions. Wheeler has had injury history, Jake is coming off surgery, Eflin has had knee issues in the past, and all pitchers are prone to injury.

    4. It appears as if they have just given up on trying to improve the pen through veteran FA contracts, based on past failures. I’m not sure the answer is to not sign anyone as it is to try and get smarter about who to sign and smarter about how to train and utilize relief pitchers.

    5. This is my biggest takeaway – for a team with all this data and analytics to page through, how is it possible that in over 3 months since the season ended, they’ve only made one minor league trade? There isn’t a pitcher or two out there that Klentak and this front office feel another org is under valuing and willing to make a trade for? To me, and I could be wrong, but this seems like what so many on here have said before – that Klentak is SO risk averse he’s afraid to pull the trigger. Very shocking to me that there isn’t more player movement at all levels.

  12. Hinkie’s points are excellent. Therefore, take a shot at Donaldson, sign Smyly, trade Segura for quality pitching and worry about where Bohm fits in later. Playing the long game, as Hinkie implies, makes little sense.

  13. I agree with 8mark on Buddy B.’s post. Really good points. Jayson Stark thinks that the DH is coming to the NL. To me, that makes me much less inclined to trade Bohm. I was opposed before this, but with the DH, the whole “:is he a 3B” question is moot. We can, and should, be able to fit both Rhys and Bohm into the lineup. I still think Bohm will play 3B, but this makes him more valuable.

  14. Whoa…Jim Crane fires both Luhnow and Hinch…..neither were involved I the schemes…., but they were accountable and responsible based on their job descriptions.

    1. Wow! Kudos to the owner for setting a precedent for accountability, whether either man was directly involved or not. This crap has to stop somewhere.

    2. … and that sets up the very interesting scenario of having Jeff Luhnow (UPenn alumn) available if/when Matt Klentak gets fired next offseason.

      1. Nice idea, but, for better or worse, Middleton appears to be to be a “fair play” kind of guy. I could not see him hiring someone he views as being a rule breaker, especially those kind of rules. It’s just not the “Phillies way” in my view, which is actually to his and their credit.

          1. No, I remember. But there’s gigantic difference between allegations and what essentially amounts to a serious conviction – and as I recall, Luhnow had a contentious parting with the Cardinals too. I could be wrong, but I don’t see Middleton hiring the “bad boy” – I just don’t see it.

      2. Hinkie…you and I think alike….to some that could be scary.

        I feel for AJ Hinch….very nice guy, well liked…he played ball a few years ahead of my son in Oklahoma back in the early 90s.
        This puts an indelible stain on his career.
        I

          1. Lived there in the early 90s……outside Midwest City…Choctaw area.
            And managed one of my sons’ youth teams.
            Did some of the weekend tournament circuit starting in February thru May…across the middle of the state.. And also the week day games in the leagues.
            But you are correct….loads of good athletes….Matt Kemp, AJ Hinch and JTR..all from that area.

            1. Tulsa… big time Cardinal country at one time….is it still?.
              Also knew a nice gal named Carol from Broken Arrow.

            2. Take away Comp Bal Picks from all of those teams….let them get more $$$ in revenue sharing….and/or give them a 5% bump up on the CBT…….they already get more money for international signings.

  15. I feel the need to chime in once again with all the negative posts and how people keep saying our GM failed and our team is the 4th place team in the division.

    https://www.fanduel.com/theduel/posts/world-series-odds-by-team-ahead-of-2020-mlb-regular-season-01dy5sxha78k

    Those are world series odds you can bet actual money on. The Phils are the 6th best odds in all of baseball behind the nats and ahead of the cardinals/mets/redsox.

    Things haven’t been perfect but can we stop acting like they have no chance this year whether they go over the cap or not?

      1. I said the Phillies were 3 games worse than the Mets, this says 3 (FYI – when I wrote that I had zero idea of what the sports books were saying). But they are packed closely together. If there was a really good time for Middleton to spread around $20 million (which we all know he can do), it would be right now.

      2. Geez, those odds are so ambiguous. It’s like the book is hedging both ways. At best, the Phillies are projected to be a 2nd wild card. Are they saying they’re a 4th place team? or the 6th best shot at the championship? That’s absurd.

        1. They are betting odds, the numbers are often like this and tend to stack thickly around the middle (neither wildly low or high). I’m a little surprised that the Braves’ and Mets’ number is that low, but it’s more wins – by a little – than I project for the Phillies right now.

          1. This team reminds me of all those Blue Jays teams that were always won between 80 and 87 games and were routinely outclassed by the really good Yankees and Red Sox teams, actually, this team is not dissimilar to the Phillies’ teams of the early 2000s, who just didn’t quite have enough to get to the postseason.

  16. I am glad you are optimistic. But, even going by those betting odds, we are 3rd in our Division. And, I believe we are not close to the Nats or Braves. So, great, you feel, and Vegas feels people will bet on, us being better than the Mets. Do you think that’s good enough? No one has said that there is “no chance” we can make the Playoffs, simply that better Pitching gives us a better chance. And, there is really no “cap.” $208M is a self imposed line, and crossing it has very few penalties attached.

    1. I think I get where the Bossss is coming from though and honestly while I don’t give this squad a snowballs chance in he!! of going to the WS it doesn’t mean that I am not excited or looking forward to watching this season.

      In individual pieces there is so much to be interested in. Bohm and Howard are coming and that’s going to be fun. Rhys is a much better hitter than what he put up last year. Wheeler has great stuff.

      and Bryce played his arse off last season and no doubt JT is the best catcher in baseball.

      Plus I just love baseball if the Phillies are any good that’s just icing on the cake for me.

      1. It will be fun watching Bryce Harper play for years – damn he really plays hard and respects the game, the fans and it seems his teammates. And when he’s in one of those years where he catches fire, watch out. You never know when a 9 WAR season is about to happen.

  17. A couple weeks ago when I posted the comment on the Phillies farm system vs, Astros and the Astros blogs wanting Luhnow and Hinch is gone; OMG you should read them today.. Yeah the Astros farm system is better today than the Phils but going forward this MLB ruling is going to gut them… The Phillies farm in comparison is looking much better today…

  18. The Good and The Bad – back to my earlier post and reading some of the other comments, I think we have one major long term concern for this franchise, but overall I think we should be much more optimistic about 2020. First for 2020…

    Last year the Phils won 81 games and had two really major things going against them – injuries, and their manager/coaching staff, which we now know was very dysfunctional after some of the reporting from Matt and Megan after the season. While I tend to believe a portion of the injury problem was one in the same with the manager problem, let’s just assume they weren’t linked. If the Phils suffer an MLB average amount of injuries this year vs what happened last year, I would suspect they add a few wins on that alone, let’s say 3, and let’s say 84 total. How about the manager vs Girardi and his new coaching staff? Just in game decisions alone I have to think you get 3 more out of Girardi, which gets us to 87. How about the development of young players via the manager and coaching staff? What if VV, Eflin, or Nick P breaks out and becomes an all star quality starting pitcher? What if Kingery has a breakout season? What if Seranthony and Morgan become shutdown relievers? Maybe that gets the Phils to 90. How much is Wheeler worth over let’s say VV? 2 wins? That’s 92. How much better is Didi then Franco? Maybe 2 more wins? Ok, 94. I’m not saying this team will win 94, but I don’t think it’s such a crazy idea. I think this team will win 90+ this year, and I think finish ahead of NYM and Washington, will be a battle with Atlanta.

    As for what we should be worried about? John Middleton becoming Jerry Jones. These teams are just toys for these billionaires and because of their success in other endeavors, many of them quickly believe they can be expert baseball men. The reality is they should use their intelligence to understand they know nothing about baseball in comparison to a good, strong quality GM / VP candidate. Their job should never be more than hiring the right person to lead baseball operations, and then staying out of the way on baseball decisions. As soon as an owner has to starting making decisions on free agents and managers, there is a problem. I think to that extent we have a problem brewing with the Phils – let’s just hope MK regains his trust or he moves on to hiring someone that will truly be able to run things and do it well.

  19. After thinking about things during the off-season I’m overall happy with where the franchise is and is going. The drafting and farm system were so bad a few years ago, and while stIll not great it’s a lot better. I really like how they hired driveline guys to help with development in the system. I like the coaching hires and the free agent additions. I don’t even mind not going out and signing veteran relievers because they have so many options in their system. The thing that bothers me is the rotation. If they don’t want sign more expensive free agents, why can’t they get creative and trade for some higher upside guys. I really don’t want to go down the road of pivetta and velezquaz again. I’m actually okay with Eflin. Hopefully they bring back Smyly.

  20. If Middleton doesn’t intend to compete and basically give up this season again, he is just wasting that $200M payroll that he is obligated to pay anyway. There will be about $50M contracts that will be off the books that helps in resetting the CBT threshold. Middleton needs to phony another $20-22M to make this team competitive.

    I’m an optimistic person but the Phillies need to learn it’s lesson from last year — they cannot rely on “hope” — hope that some players will breakout, hope that injury bug doesn’t hit them and hope that ATL and WAS choke and hand the NL East to them.

    There’s only 1 proven way to succeed —- infuse talent to your team. The proven talent in this current team is not enough to go deep.

  21. I ingested as much coverage as I could last night on the Astrixes scandal and couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite movies A Few Good Men. Hinch as Colonel Markham, Luhnow as Colonel Jessup and Cora as Lt. Kendrick.

    Luhnow for his part might never work in a front office again. Not only has he alienated the scouting community but he put an indelible mark on the analytics community as well.

    Cora might never work in an MLB Dugout again. I expect he will get a 2 year suspension and Hinch if he is lucky may catch on as a bench or 3B coach somewhere down the road.

    Sadly and oddly Beltran is going to survive this with his managerial position still in tact. However that cloud is going to be over the Mets for all of ST and probably a good part into the season.

    1. Interesting part, the MLB network showed Luhnow’s statement where he apologized for the embarrassment to the organization and then disavowed any knowledge or responsibility for what happened..

      Good try…

  22. Here’s where I’m at right now – the Phils didn’t do enough to help their pitching or their bench. They look like an 86 win team, just falling short of the WC. However, if you put your rosey glasses on, this team does have the potential to be a 91-93 win team. I do expect the offense to be better this year. I think Hoskins will rebound, Segura will bounce back to be a 300 hitter, Harper and JT will be relaxed from the start this year, Cutch should rebound, Didi could hit 30 in a full rebound contract year, and Bruce could hit a few pinch hit homer’s time win games. The pitching could also be better than expected. With Bryan Price making a significant impact, Nola, Wheeler, a healthy Arrieta on a contract year, and a relaxed Eflin could be really good. The bullpen could also surprise if Dominguez, Morgan and Arano are all healthy and return to form. You need rose colored glasses, the kind Klentak, wears, but it’s not impossible that Bohm and Howard come up to help mid year and we fight for a WC spot where we would have Nola or Wheeler pitch us in. Not impossible!!

    1. Not impossible….one day at a time….every team is in 1st place on opening day. That’s baseball. Truth is, nothing would surprise me about the 2020 Phillies. They could completely scuttle this ship or totally catch fire and run poll to poll. Nats could be hungover from drinking champagne. Braves youth could have sophomore slumps, the Mets could continue to be the Mets, while the Marlins could win Don Mattingly the manager of the year. I can’t pretend to guess the outcome of the NL east.

  23. Not impossible Murray, no one can argue with you there. Getting away from the $ spent arguments, I find it hard to believe that Klentak has not pulled off a single trade. Very surprised at that. Also, can someone explain to me, please, how Carlos Beltran, described as one of the architects of the sign stealing, escapes any punishment because he was a player? Players have no responsibility not to cheat?

    1. “Players have no responsibility not to cheat?”

      Exactly. By that logic, Shoeless Joe Jackson and many of his cohorts should be in the Hall of Fame.

      I was thinking the same thing this morning as I heard about this scandal and I think the reason must have something to do with the present collective bargaining agreement as, otherwise, it seems to make no sense whatsoever. I expect this will be addressed in the next CBA and, really, it has to be addressed. How can you not hold a person accountable for cheating? It’s wrong and illogical and counterproductive.

        1. Yes, players are to be held accountable for their own personal actions, ie fighting, juicing, domestic violence, etc….meanwhile, “organized crime” starts at the top.

        2. There are other, better, ways to handle that than effectively exonerating cheaters. Also, if the players know they will never be punished, it just gives them incentives to keep doing what they are doing but just get better at hiding it from management.

          If you cheat you should be held accountable.

        3. Also, punishing the players then falls into a grievance process with the MLBPA and the collective bargaining agreement. Can teams punish players for conduct detrimental to the team when the team was condoning the actions?

          Team management doesn’t have the same issues.

          1. 3up….bingo.
            The MLBPA will get directly involved if a player’s salary is at all affected by punitive action that is not covered under Article XII.
            Article XII–Discipline of the CBA
            https://www.dol.gov/OLMS/regs/compliance/cba/2019/private/30MajorClubs_K9831_060122.pdf

            “. Conduct Detrimental or Prejudicial to Baseball
            Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially
            detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball
            including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law”

      1. I will say those players are going to suffer the shame and there will be plenty to point out the splits of those who seemingly benefited from knowing what pitch was coming next.

        Its already happening. Last night on MLB Tonight they showed an old post game interview of Bregman where the reporter asked “what pitch were you looking for there” and with an air of smugness he suggests the one I got maybe then he walks off.

        And those scenes are going to get played over and over for a long while. Yeah they still get to play and cash their checks but they may as well have “cheater” tattooed on their foreheads from here on out.

    2. Really, how is Nick Williams still on this team? Make a small deal at least. Klentak is not the right man for the job. And what does McPhail do?

      1. What does MacPhail do? Great question. I remember a few years back, when they were really bad, he told the fans he was focused on enhancements at the ball park. Please, go ahead and improve the ball park, but respect our collective intelligence and don’t say it as if that will make us feel better about watching a bad team.

        MacPhail has provided no apparent value added and he’s tone deaf to what Philadelphians want to hear even to the point where he shrugged off the team not making the playoffs as no big deal. He’s had a long career and with success but I so far, count me among the unimpressed.

  24. I believe that he is in the operations part of the Franchise. I think MIddleton liked him because of his contacts and knowledge of the business aspect of Baseball. Other teams have hired Presidents, like Andrew Friedman and Theo, who are from the player talent side of the game. I think with David Montgomery’s illness and Bill Giles retirement, Middleton wanted/needed someone with relationships with the ownership and league management folks. I am guessing, and trying to give the hiring the benefit of the doubt. He has been involved with some success in his career, but the acquisition and development of talent has always been someone else’s job. He is not exactly who should be the public spokesperson for a team.

    1. if Middleton hired McPhail to do “non-talent” side of the baseball operations, then he should instruct McPhail to hire a GM that knows how to find “talent” so there’s a balance in the front office.

      All of this lack of success that we are experiencing as a fan can be really traced to Middleton’s decision to hire McPhail.

      1. I’m not the biggest fan of Klentak at all. I would have been perfectly fine firing him and McPhail (him in particular) into the sun leading into this offseason.

        However, the idea that he lacks the ability to find and/or acquire talent is a bit of a headscratcher for me. In the last year alone, Klentak has added Harper, JT, Segura, McCutchen, Wheeler and Didi. If you are talking more about talent on the margins, he acquired both Bruce and Dickerson for pennies on the dollar and got pretty solid contributions from both players. I would like if he was able to find more talent on the margins, but saying he hasn’t shown that ability doesn’t hold up to scrutiny imo.

        His true failure so far has been entirely on the rotation side of things. There’s a variety of reasons for that (impact starters cost a lot in terms of dollars and years in FA, they cost even more in a trade, etc.), but the biggest issue to me is development overall. We have developed two true impact starters in the last 20 years (Hamels and Nola), so this is a problem that even extends beyond his tenure and needs to be addressed.

        1. Harper, JT, Segura, McCutchen, Wheeler and Didi —- are “known” commodities so I will not give Klentak for finding those talents. If fact, these players are projected to be solid ‘talent” since they turn pro. Finding talent with working with your scouting team to looks for young players and develop them into a legit MLB player and not a signing free agents because the owner said they have stupid $$ to burn. Klentak has Charlie Morton under his nose and he cannot event sniff good talent from it!!!

          Klentak is bad in finding legit talent that’s why the Phillies are non-contending team since he became a GM. The Phillies are in the rebuilding mode with ATL, SD, CWS —– look how these teams accumulate young and controllable talents === that’s finding talent.

          1. While it would be ideal for Klentak to know talent when he sees it, his biggest setback may have been not hiring people who can.

        2. I don’t think you can credit MK for Harper as that was all Middleton. As far as JTR is concerned an 8th grader could have made that move. Your #1 Prospect plus a young controllable starting catcher plus a lottery ticket. It was hardly the trade the Brewers pulled off to get the MVP Yelich.

          Segura is he really a talent? He seemed more a headache for the Mariners than a talent. Precipitated by a dumb move to sign Santana and try to make Hoskins a LF, and ultimately the reason Cutch tore his ACL.

          McCutchen and Brantley were both out there I think looking back we can ascertain Brantley would have been the better get.

          Is Didi a Klentak move or a Joe move? There is no such thing as a bad 1 year deal in the MLB so I award no points there.

          We can run through a full menu of moves under his watch and I’m pretty sure we come away with a grade of D or F. And that’s before we even get into decisions about Kapler, Young and Mallee.

          Being a good GM is more than just talent acquisition its also about building a culture of winning. In his defense he was never around that so he had no idea on how to build it.

  25. Awesome post DMAR. I think that you all know how I have felt about Klentax and McPhail

    In a nutshell, it isn’t easy to BUY a championship-caliber team. The drafting and development of players has been poor for FAR too long with this team.

    Like they say…it is what it is.

    1. True but Hoskins, Kingery and Haseley will be starting with Nola in the rotation and Neris, Dominguez, Morgan, and maybe a few others. Knapp and Quinn will be on the bench for what that’s worth. All home grown. I agree it’s not Howard, Utley and Rollins but what is. The Nats and Braves both hit it big with international signings. We had Sanchez who got us JT but Ortiz got lots of money and has failed so far. Gamboa and Brito have both failed so far also. Everyone has draft misses but Bohm and Howard (plus other pitchers coming) will make our draft record look better. What if Haseley hits 300?

        1. Martini is 29, lefty bat with no power but on base machine in AAA. Plays all 3 outfields positions. Cut loose by Reds when they signed Akiyama.

          1. One of Klentak’s biggest failures is his and his colleagues’ inability to find and develop undervalued talent. The Yankees somehow find ways to unearth players like Gio Urshela, Mike Tauchman and Luke Voit, among others. The Dodgers find Max Muncy and Justin Turner, again, among others. We get bums like Nick Martini. This isn’t a small problem by the way, it’s actually at the heart of why we haven’t been able to bridge the gap between being a mediocre team and a good team.

        1. Jimmy I would have been very interested to hear your take.

          I don’t buy it would have been a PR issue had they handled his return intelligently and with the right tone. The right tone being we’ve talked to Odubel and he is genuinely remorseful however he will have to make that clear through actions rather than a statement. As an organization we believe in second chances and this young mans reclamation.

          From a performance standpoint did it ever occur to anyone that it suffered most under the former coaching staff.

          1. Point well taken, DMAR. The kid clearly oozes energy and athleticism. Had he the mentoring and staff to bring out a consistent performance, and maturity as anyone ages (in most cases), he could find new life in baseball. I believe in second chances as well. I did feel burnt when last year he was supposed to have gotten on the straight and narrow, and then Memorial Day weekend ended that. Maybe a taste of humble pie in AAA will serve him well.

    1. In his defense, Romus – Herrera is PR poison to any MLB team that wants to avoid any kind of backlash from special interest groups, public opinion or heat from any direction, especially in the aftermath of the Houston scandal. Let the Astros and RedSox absord the current brunt of media attention.

      1. 8mark…..the technically is there, Herrera was cleared and did the punishment.
        There have been others who have did it..Chapman, Osuna, Addison Russell, Familia, Sano, Bobby Cox et al.and went on to continue to play baseball as their career.

        I predict he gets claimed within a week….Daniels or Hazen are two that probably will put a claim in.
        Hazen wants to move Ketel Marte to 2nd so Herrera fits a need for him.
        Daniels also likes him….with Deshields gone he also can compete for the CF job in Texas.

        1. If he gets claimed on waivers, the new team has to assume his contract. That isn’t very likely to happen. Any interested team will wait until he becomes a free agent.

          1. Yeah…that will be the course that will be laid out…and the Phillies will have to eat the remaining portion of the contract…minus whatever he signs for.

    2. Romus, why would any team bail the Phillies out of this self-created problem. Interested teams just have to wait for the inevitable release in a couple months and pick him up for league minimum, pro-rated at that.

  26. I am sure that Klentak tried to get anything for him. He is coming off 2 lousy seasons, or 1 and 80 games worth, and the Domestic Violence arrest just made him untradeable. I can’t really fault Klentak on this one. I am glad that they didn’t even bring him to ST, and if Martini even helps LHV, it is a plus

    1. matt13…….the excuses I have heard for the last three years from the GM/FO when players were put on the block and then not traded…..’we could not get what we wanted in return’.
      We heard that for the last two years with Cesar.
      That really disappoints me when that excuse is continued to be used.

      Did Gillick get what he wanted from the Yankees in exchange for a 47bWAR 32-year old Bobby Abreu?

      Unless this team gets to the playoffs in October….this GM probably will be relieved of his duties.

    2. Arrest. Not conviction. So, innocent until proven guilty. Not “not guilty” until proven guilty. And, unless released in the next 4 weeks, he WILL be at spring training at the Complex.

        1. Have to remember Odubel was not the first, nor will he be the last….second chances are part of our moral fiber in the country….just look at these players and they still continued…. and still remained employed despite DV involvement….Chapman, Puig, Reyes, Familia, Derek Norris, Sano, Steve Wright, Jose Torres, Roberto Osuna, Addison Russell or even Julio Urias of the Dodgers…And finally lets not forget Bobby Cox…a Hall of Fame manager

  27. Can’t disagree Romus, and I have been on board with you in being disappointed that the FO hasn’t made use of $ to add during the rebuild. I was just trying not to continue to knock Klentak. They over priced Cesar, and got nothing for Franco last off season, and haven’t gotten International $ or traded for draft comp slots. All of that is true. I just think this was less of a reason to blame Klentak.

    1. matt13….yeah.
      Herrera’s case was really a difficult spot to be put in for any GM….virtually a no win situation.
      Phillies will just bite the bullet and move on.

  28. So I have a question regarding Herrera. I was under the impression that the Phillies could not release Herrera since it could be viewed as punishing him a second time for the domestic violence infraction. I thought that they were required to give him a shot at making the team. Can’t Herrera file a grievance with the player union?

    1. Check out his stats for the last year. He hit 220 or so. He’s not any good anymore. They’ll claim it was due to that.

    2. Nobody is going to grieve Odubel’s case. The union has enough battles to fight…they should fight the ones they can win. He should keep a low profile and wait until some team decides he’s worth taking a flyer on as a free agent. Probably later in the spring. Besides, he’s getting paid no matter what.

      1. He may get paid for the next two years, but if he can’t find a job for league minimum after the case didn’t go to court, the MLBPA will certainly grieve. If he’s not working, there’s no reason for him to be here, and he’ll have to return to Venezuela.

  29. Josh Donaldson signs with the Twins. I am very happy about that. That is a positive for us. Wheeler, Didi, JoeG, and new HC and PC, and now Braves lose, and Nats don’t get, Donaldson are the positives this off season.

  30. Sorry Murray, I was counting Donaldson as Rendon’s replacement when I was looking at the positives. So yes, losing Rendon and not getting JD was a big win for us. Now, I think Smyly makes us even more competitive in the Division. We can still get him. Certainly not as big as the other things, but now, every couple of games will make a huge difference.

    1. I doubt Arenado is going anywhere. That is one complicated situation. The money, the opt out, his no trade clause. Colorado painted themselves into a corner if they’ve any inclination to trade him. They have very little leverage against him OR any team interested in acquiring him. They’re better off keeping him and hoping he opts out after 2021.

      1. I saw last night on MLB network that names or framework for a deal had been exchanged between STL and CO with the thought that Arenado would have to sign a new deal without the opt out.

        I believe the names going back were Gorman-Liberatore-Carpenter if such a deal does go through. Not sure clearing that opt out clause is even possible but it makes sense that if they cards were to give up 2 of their best prospects they want to know they have him locked up for the full deal.

  31. I thought the Phillies signing Donaldson had some possibilities, but not at the ridiculous price the Twins paid. He must have some agent.

    1. The obvious pivot for the Braves is back to Bryant…Arenado is likely too rich for them.

      The AL was actually the best fit for JD at age 34 and $23 million AAV isn’t that outrageous for his offensive profile.

      1. DMAR….agree.
        Once Bryant loses his grievance, which in all likelihood will probably occur, then the Braves come into play, getting Bryant for two years.
        Cubs want pitching prospects for sure and the Braves have plenty to offer, along with a Waters, Riley or Pache to sweeten the pot.
        I do not think they do the deal if Bryant wins his case and is a free agent after 2020…..the Braves may not want that 5 year LTC for a 29- year old defensive liability third basemen….Donaldson’s one year in 2019 was just what they wanted…

  32. Is the next shoe to drop Beltran being fired by the Mets? He initially claimed ignorance of the Astros sign stealing in 2017 but has now admitted he was aware of it… Reports are he coordinated with Cora to develop the trash can banging to signal the incoming pitch to the hitter. So he lied to the press and a question now arises did he also lie to the owners of the Mets and GM? Beltran will be hounded in 2020 over his involvement in the cheating scandal.. Do the Mets fire him over lying and also to cut the distractions off now? NYC press can be relentless..

    1. Beltran was a player at the time.
      Right now, the players seem to be immune.
      He being no longer a player, that cloud will hang over him thru his career in management.
      The managers and execs fired…will not be back in baseball again it appears….getting the John Coppolella punishment.

      1. ….but IF Beltran gets ‘canned’ (get it?) by the NYM, my heart will break….NOT! That front office continues to be the gang that can’t shoot straight.

        1. 8mark……I suppose we will know his outcome this week also.
          Their GM, if Beltran is canned, has to get a manager in place soon.

  33. Bloom walked into a hornets nest in Boston.
    Now , besides the Betts situation and the CBT issues he inherited ….has to hire a new manager.

    1. LOL maybe so Romus but those are the best situations. If you are going to take over a club you want it at its worse.

      We’ll have to see if Boston suffers any draft pick penalties. My guess is that their penalty if they do get one will be less harsh but Cora appears to be getting a more severe suspension.

      The Astros new GM whoever that might be will be fascinating to watch. They still have a really good team capable of winning that division but Verlander is getting older and no more Cole means this might be a good spot for them to do a hard reset.

      Since they will be out of the 1st two rounds for the next two years they could opt to load up on prospects by trading Correa, Springer possibly even Altuve.

      They also can’t really sign any FA’s that may have comp attached to them as that will push back their draft penalty.

      1. DMAR….you are correct on Correa….his contract may be too much for them, plus he has been injured a lot lately(180 gms missed over the last three years) He could bring back a nice little package.

        1. I actually think it is/would be a good idea for the Astros to sign FA’s with QO’s next winter. When you sign a guy with a QO, you lose your second highest draft pick. That means Houston would only lose their fourth round pick because they have no first or second round pick in 2021. While they’re at it, the Astros may as well ink another QO’ed FA because that would only cost them their third highest pick (aka their 5th round selection).
          In other words … it’s never going to cost less to sign FA’s w/QO’s. The only thing they may give Houston pause is the loss of J2 money. They would lose 500 thousand dollars for each QO’ed FA they sign.

          Also … I’m looking forward (selfishly) to the Red Sox getting hitting hit with a similar penalty to the one the Astros got. If they also are denied their first and second round draft picks, it would move the Phillies 3rd round selection up four spots (it’s already up two places because of Houston’s infractions) and give them an extra ~30 thousand dollars in slot money to sign their draft choices.
          Who knows?!!! maybe the commissioner will finally get around to punishing the LAD’s for their international talent procurement shenanigans. No telling how high that Phillies round three selection could get.

          1. I heard someone on the radio yesterday ask a guest the exact thing you are proposing. The guest, I think he was a writer, said that Houston would just lose the second round pick from the year after their suspension. He seemed to imply that MLB has already established this.

            1. You/he/the writer may be correct. I hadn’t heard that MLB has included that provision in it’s penalty to the Astros, but I guess it’s possible. I’ll try (when I get some time) to research that.

          2. I tried researching it as well and couldn’t find exact details. I just remember hearing Monday night that they wouldn’t escape the loss of their highest pick (assume 2nd round) by simply signing FA’s with comp attached to them.

            They do have a compensation pick coming to them in 2020 for Cole which they get to keep. Not sure if that is up for grabs should they sign an FA with comp.

            Seems a complicated penalty once past the 2 1st rounders and pool money.

      1. RU…..yes,
        John Henry has, just within the hour, claimed they have cleaned up that mess with the Apple Watch incident and are in compliance with MLB directives.
        But if Cora did other things that results in ‘electronic cheating’, then they have to face the music and take the punishment that will be handed out.

  34. Romus, true, Bloom has major issues to deal with in Boston. But, I think it is a perfect spot for him. I think ownership gives him the time to right the ship, he can put his stamp on a very high profile GM position, gets really well paid, and ownership in Boston will not tolerate 8 non-winning years, like we’ve done here. He’s a guy I would have loved here if we were to be are changing GMs next off season. Now, I am hoping that Klentak finds a way, and proves me wrong.

    1. matt13…agree.
      Bloom can show his mettle and skills now. He has a chance to be a new hero in Beantown….like Theo was almost 15 or so years ago

      BTW…you mentioned 8 consecutive non-winning years for the Phillies…that is .500 or less. I looked back and found this bit of info trivia:

      Phillies consecutive .500 or less years..last 100 years.:
      1994-2000…..7 years
      1987-1992…..6 yrs
      1968-1974….7 yrs
      1954-1961….8 yrs
      1933-1949….17 yrs
      1918-1931….14 yrs

      1. Romus, Your research shows just how lucky we are. We could have been born into the 1918-1948 era when they Phillies were losers in 31 out of 32 years. And a number of those years were horrendous.

  35. Good research Romus, I don’t go back to 1918, but I have seen some horrific baseball. My first season really following Baseball, 1961, was really bad. Never stopped being a fan, and they have put us fans through some bad stretches, but I didn’t expect, once we got the new stadium at CBP, that we would allow a stretch like this. Look, I know we can’t draft Utley and Rollins and Howard all the time, but with the financial resources we have, it would not have taken genius level Management to minimize rebuilding time. Way to many mistakes to count, but we do still have financial power, and it makes this off season even more frustrating.

    1. My frustration is..Of course, we can’t have an Utley, Rollins, and Howard all the time…but shouldn’t they produce ONE at least every 3rd year?

      So we have 8 losing seasons in a row? How many above-average players have they produced in those 8 years? And by that I mean, starting pitchers and position players?

      The excuse of drafting, player development, etc being a crapshoot is just pure bonk!

      1. If you’re able to draft a superstar player every 3rd year, then you would be the best GM in the history of baseball by a mile. Even one of the best drafting NL teams in recent memory, the Giants, are not able to sustain their drafting success. The reasons why are varied (because it’s plain hard, and you’re drafting lower once these players have success in the majors, etc) so you have to supplement these players with FA.

        As I have mentioned before, if you’re able to draft 1 starter (he doesn’t even have to be an elite player), then the draft is a success.

  36. Devil’s advocate on the Astros…every team since the beginning of the sport tries to steal signs. Heck i see it all the time in little league. Teams try to steal signs from third base coach all the time. Is the massive penalty because they used technology? Is the point, it is ok to do manually, but if you use technology then it isn’t ok? Is there a specific rule that they broke? Why do you feel differently about the Astros?

    1. MLB has warned teams in the past with using technology to steal signs. So when the Astros got caught blatantly breaking those rules, the commissioner had to drop the hammer on them.

    2. I think the ‘ Apple watch episode’ set it in motion three years ago.
      https://www.sporttechie.com/major-league-baseball-boston-red-sox-apple-watch-fitbit/

      “Manfred’s statement specifically sites the rulebook, which bars equipment that “may be used for the purpose of stealing signs or conveying information designed to give a Club an advantage”

      So using technology , after the first pitch is thrown in a game and the game starts, seems to be verboten.

      1. Agreed this is pretty easy for me as this was all coming from the monitors positioned in or near the dugout then add to that they didn’t even try to be inconspicuous about the relay of the pitch (banging on the trashcan)

        To a former and current player everything I’ve heard is that they accept sign stealing from the field. If you can see what the catcher is putting down from the coaches box or from a runner on 2B and get that to the batter its all good.

        Smoltz said there were times when he figured out that was going on and he would walk off the mound and tell the runner he knew what he was doing and if he kept it up he was going to get his team mate drilled.

        In other words this was a very visible line that was crossed.

      2. let me try it differently. let’s say no technology was used at all. let’s say, simply a coach was in the stands with binoculars. he reads the signs and puts his arm in the air when it is an off-speed pitch. nothing else happens. no use of technology. do you feel that is ok?

        1. The real question is what is and is not cheating and the question is – where do you draw the line?

          The issue is that signs are given that are visible to opposing players and coaches (third and first base) when they are in their usual positions on the field. There is no way you can prevent or regulate that type of sign stealing or using their own signals while they are on the field to transmit that knowledge to a batter. I think that would all probably be okay.

          However, if you’ve got coaches or others who are not in the field of play, they should not be stealing signs and using signals or technology to transmit that knowledge. So, in this example, yes, I think the coach with binoculars who signals physically what the signs are in order to alert a batter is cheating. That’s my view.

        2. For me I would say anything that is coming from off the field is a no-no. To me that means only acceptable sign stealing is that coming from the players or coaches on the field.

          Not sure what you are trying to get at here. Don’t you want the game to be as organic as it possibly can be.

          Mano Y Mano

    3. I don’t comment often, but when I do…I make sure not to have worse takes than this. Awful, rigid, point of view…stealing signs/tipping pitches using physical abilities during the game not close to comparable to using cameras. Not in the same stratosphere

      1. The underlying act is stealing information. The underlying benefit is an advantage to a hitter. The method of stealing information for the same benefit is irrelevant to me. I can’t understand how you justify one and condemn the other. Imo it should all be outlawed or all allowed. It is inconsistent logic to justify one method for stealing information but not another.

          1. So I agree that the distinction is in the rule book and thus there is a clear infraction. I think that it is a stupid rule based on an arbitrary distinction. But agree that a rule is a rule and they broke it and thus should be punish.

            to be clear, I am simply saying that all sign stealing should be illegal or legal. one or the other. I don’t understand the logic that one form is acceptable and another form is out of bounds. the information being relayed from the catcher to the pitcher is only for their purposes. if a runner on second steals it and sends it to the hitter, then, imo that is the same infraction with the same outcome as the high speed cameras and buzzers (which is a wild turn of events in this story). the underlying action (stealing signals) and benefit (helping the hitter) is the same in all cases.

            that’s my pov. I don’t expect to convince you to change your pov. I just think that the distinction on the method used is arbitrary. but I understand it is clearly made in the rule book.

  37. v1, you are describing exactly what the rumors were we did for Ryan Howard. I don’t remember the bullpen coach’s name, but we were accused of that. I don’t have any problem with trying to steal signs. It goes on in Little League. The binoculars may have crossed the line. I don’t know if that rumor was actually true, but using the naked eye, I have no problem. Technology is a whole different ballgame.

    1. i don’t really have a dog in this fight. i am a phillies fan. and candidly, I don’t really care either way on this…but I find it amazing that people think that stealing information with the naked eye is ok but with a video camera it is a complete abomination and the people are scumbags for doing it.

      the extreme reaction to using a different method to achieve the same outcome is fascinating to me.

      1. There’s a considerable difference between gamesmanship and acting against the spirit of the game. Sorry, there are no metrics to base the argument.

      2. For me its still a question of fairness in the game. If you are able to find a way to steal signs on the field to get an advantage over the opposing team they should have the same opportunity to steal your signs. Then it’s a simple question of who does it better.

        The use of electronics/video replay rooms, etc. changes that dynamic because it gives the home team a distinct advantage where they can set and control the conditions. I can send a CF camera feed to my video replay room by not the visiting dugout. In the Astros case, they installed video monitors just outside of the dugout. Did those exist on the visiting side?

        At home, I have access to my video staff, who in the Astros case, was where the signs were being decoded. I assume those guys don’t travel with the team.

        And finally, MLB set clear guidelines in regards to the use of electronics to gain an advantage once the game started. The Astros and I expect the Red Sox chose to ignore those guidelines. Now they pay the penalty.

        Not much different than the Brave’s GM cheating the International FA signing process several years ago. I can make the argument that hey, all of the other teams could have done the same thing but the Braves were just better at it. If that’s the standard, then there are no rules governing the sport.

        1. I think the rule should be no sign stealing. The method used is not relevant imo.

          Or mlb can do why NFL does and use ear pieces for pitcher and catcher and let the coach call the game like nfl qb and OC.

          I think it is arbitrary to say stealing information is ok or “gamesmanship” if done manually but wrong if done with cameras.

          The crime is stealing information.

          1. I’m okay with this knowing that it will be virtually impossible to prevent sign stealing on the field – still, this is the correct standard.

            1. If you can’t get your catcher to shield the signs he’s putting down with no men base that’s on you. If you can’t get a sequencing system down when a runner is on 2nd shame on you.

              That’s not stealing signs IMO. It’s actually no different than a pitcher tipping his pitches which is a real thing. Are going to try and say that’s no longer allowed?

              I don’t think you realize how hard it actually is and how little time there actually is to decipher all that information and relay it to a hitter before the pitcher delivers the ball.

      3. Do you think reading body language is stealing information? Essentially what players on the field are doing are evaluating the motions the opposing players are going through. That has always been a part of the game. Using technology from positions OFF the field to get an unfair advantage and transmitting that information to players is the issue.

    2. matt13….Mickey Billmeyer, Phillies bullpen coach, …Colorado Rockies lodged the complaint. Mickey and Charlie claimed he was only looking at Chooch’s positioning when he was catching…..however video showed that Mickey had the binos on when Chooch was in the dugout getting ready to hit.
      And then there was the allegation of ‘hanging arms over the bullpen fence’, based on the type of pitched called.

    3. matt13……the Commissioner is a forward looking/thinking guy.
      Introducing changes when and where he deems it is necessary for the best interest of baseball.

      The electronic strike zone calling will soon be come standard in a few years.

      Now this latest blight on baseball with the cheating of signal staling via electronic tech devices will justify his proposal to have transmitters/receivers built into the catchers’ helmets…with connectivity to the dugout and possibly to pitchers’, who may also have a special helmet to receive…..ie NFL QBs

  38. Best wishes to Jerad Eickhoff who just signed a minor league contract with San Diego with an invite to spring training. Hope he succeeds.

  39. Unconfirmed, but rumor has it a few other teams may be under the gun and being looked out, besides the Astros and Red Sox, for sign stealing via unauthorized methods.
    They are….Diamondbacks, Indians, Rangers, Cubs, Blue Jays, Nationals and the Brewers
    Whether or not there is basis for this remains to be seen….so stay tuned on this.

  40. Baseball Prospectus’ Phillies Top 10 (https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/55739/2020-prospects-philadelphia-phillies-top-10-prospects/):

    1. Spencer Howard, RHP
    2. Alec Bohm, 3B
    3. Francisco Morales, RHP
    4. Bryson Stott, SS
    5. Adonis Medina, RHP
    6. Luis Garcia, SS
    7. Mickey Moniak, OF
    8. Johan Rojas, OF
    9. Damon Jones, LHP
    10. Rafael Marchan, C

    Baseball America’s Phillies Top 10:

    1. Spencer Howard, RHP
    2. Alec Bohm, 3B
    3. Bryson Stott, SS
    4. Francisco Morales, RHP
    5. Adonis Medina, RHP
    6. Rafael Marchan, C
    7. Luis Garcia, SS
    8. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP
    9. Mickey Moniak, OF
    10. Nick Maton, SS

    In comparison, we as a group at Phuture Phillies are high on Erik Miller (#4 on the PP list), Connor Seabold (#7 on the PP list), and Ethan Lindow (#8 on the PP list), who are not in the top 10 of either BP or BA.

    1. Just noticed BPs list was dated Dec 6, 2019……I am wondering if they may be reworking a new list prior to spring training.

      1. We are not reworking the list. Sanchez made the list because the trade happened during writing, but that is the final BP list.

    2. Garcia ranked 6th and 7th….man, can you imagine if he breaks out in Lakewood this year!

      He, Medina and Moniak are 3 prospects for whom 2020 will be a watershed season. Not necessarily make or break, but definitely a bellwether of sorts.

  41. Now that he’s released I think Zack Cozart would be a real good fit on our bench. He’s going to make the prorated league minimum. Could be a solid platoon partner for Haseley. (Put Kingery at CF against LHP).

  42. Thanks Romus, Mick Billmeyer was exactly who I was thinking of. West Coast Phan, I have no real quarrel with the 2 lists you posted. I disagree that DLS should be Top 10, and I am higher on Miller and Seabold and Lindow, but I think most Top 20 lists will contain the same guys in different orders. It is my hope that both Howard and Bohm are those “elite” prospects that we allegedly don’t have.

    1. I think most people think Howard and Bohm are elite or near elite and just a tier below the potential superstar prospects – it’s just the drop off after that which concerns people – and rightfully so.

  43. I know it’s probably a pipe dream, but with the Braves and Nationals both losing their third basemen, and us still needing a third baseman, I would love to see the Phillies go get Bryant. Everybody balked at the high asking price for Realmuto, then all of a sudden, it was the Phillies that pulled the trigger. I would like to see the same thing happen with Bryant.

    And since Klentak thinks we only need 2 pitchers to win the NL East, we might as well stock up on hitting. I think Bryant is unhappy in Chicago and would benefit from a trade. Alec Bohm could headline the deal and I would be willing to roll the dice on Kimbrel, as long as Segura makes his way to Chicago.

    Just doing some January dreaming…. but I refuse to believe we add crappy pieces from now until opening day.

    1. Whether by trade (sooner) or free agency (later), I strongly sense Bryant will be wearing red pinstripes. I’m not advocating a trade of Bohm. I’m anxious to see how he does at the major league level. And another club’s offer to the Cubs may be better than the Phillies offer, but by 2022, he joins his best friend in baseball….and maybe not at 3b but in the opposite corner of the outfield. So if Bohm can stick at 3b, or 1b (Rhys is Phils’ DH by then?) this lineup could be rockin’ and a-rollin’! (Personally, I think Stott is the 3b in 2022.)

      1. Any trade between the Cubs and Phillies for Bryant would have to start with Howard. The Cubs #1 prospect (Horner) looks like he’s ready to take over SS, pushing Baez to 3B. The Cubs don’t need Bohm in return, especially if he’s the flawed defender most seem to believe he is. If you’re not ready to part with Howard, forget about Bryant. Personally, I’m not ready to part with Howard, so I’ve already forgotten about … what’s his name?

          1. I think Theo realizes, besides the money outlay that it will cost to keep Bryant…..he also is stuck with basically three first basemen….Rizzo, Bryant and Schwarber.
            Bryant is declining at third base as he ages…dWAR has declined the last three years.

        1. @JimP – I agree that the trade for Bryant will start with Howard —- in fact, any trade for a legit stud from any teams will start with Howard. While it doesn’t mean that the Phillies will forget it. I’ve been saying this all the while that trade and FA are all about economics. If CHC decided that they can move on from Bryant, then they will trade him for the best package they can get. So Phillies doesn’t need to check out right away — just stay in the Bryant market (like what they did with JTR) and pull a trigger if they can give up top prospects without Howard.

        2. Taking Baez off of short to play third is a silly thing to say. I said it was a pipedream, not a hot take or anything like that. And like i and Kuko said, just stay in it and see if you can snag him. But i think its a shame that we have a top-30 prospect that apparently nobody wants.

          1. Depends on where they see Horner’s best position will eventually be for his success. He was drafted as a shortstop and may stay there or head over to second base. But think, as a college guy, they will like to see him at Wrigley after more seasoning at AA/AAA, late in 2020 or to start in 2021

  44. I hope Middleton watches as much MLB Network as I do. If he’s been watching lately he’d be ready to snap up Dan O’Dowd as our new president of baseball operations.

    Dan is a man who deserves to be back in a FO somewhere and it wouldn’t surprise me if Jim Crane grabs him in the next couple of weeks.

  45. We are getting closer to ST and Smyly is still out there. I can’t believe it will take much to get him, even it is incentive loaded or has a vesting option. He will help us, I am positive of that. I know I sound like a broken record, but this just can’t be it.

  46. And, BTW, I am extremely excited about the new PC. I think Bryan Price will have a significant impact, and I expect to see someone emerge during ST to claim a BP job. We have 4 or 5 guys that could benefit from the new PC immediately, and I think Cleavinger’s numbers show he could well be one of them.

    1. Matt, I am generally optimistic about 2020. Yes the coaching staff/manager/philosophy can’t be worse than the previous. The injury bug can’t be as rampant as last year’s. The promise of Bohm and Howard – at least one of them if not both – is encouraging. Adding Wheeler to the rotation is better than not adding anybody. 85-88 wins is a reasonable range. We do need a few more W’s to be playoff worthy. Then there is the unexpected, pleasant surprise…which we can neither assume or account for.

    2. I don’t normally get excited with the supporting cast (coaches supporting the skipper) but seeing a number of young arms (Nola, Pivetta, Eflin, Ramos, Davis, Rios, etc) rise and fall under 2 different pitching coach — I have now a reason to believe that the supporting cast like the pitching coach is really something to keep an eye on too so I share the same optimistic about Bryan Price — the trio of Eflin-Vinny-Pivetta have good enough stuff to have impact with the Phillies whether as a SP or RP.

      While we keep saying that the bullpen still need some help – which is true – but the Phillies have a stock of MLB ready pen arms in the high minors so if Price can properly guide an coach these young RPs, bullpen can be a surprise in 2020.

    1. 6’6″ power lefty with Price/Chapman comp. That’s something to be excited about, considering the lack of lefties in the system with that kind of velo.

      1. Sanchez vs Dohy vs Warren – all LHP pen arms will be a good side show early in ST. The trio are good sized lefty pen arms, within the same age range and showed mastery of the low minors. The Dohy train slowed down in AAA and 2020 will be Warren’s first taste of the low minors — Sanchez is in between the 2 of them. I don’t expect any of this trio to make the 26-man at the beginning of the season. Sanchez and Sanchez will be pitching in AA REA and Dohy will start in AAA LHV.

        1. I think the ball difference was a bigger factor than many of us may have thought. I saw a report where Connor Brogdon described the AAA ball as having the feel of a thin coat of baby powder.

          I’ll never understand why they allowed this to happen.

          1. “I’ll never understand why they allowed this to happen.”…why?

            Players have different tastes….some may like Johnson and Johnson baby powder….or some may like the medicated Gold Bond.

        2. KuKo….Warren will be starting in Reading after 5 season and CLW/AFL duties….you mean the taste of ‘high minors’ I believe.

          1. @romus – you got it right….i know I can always count on you to catch my butter fingers…although I don’t get the “5 season”…

    1. “Mutually part ways”….what a pretentious crock of crap. Mutually means, like in a divorce, two parties agree they shouldn’t be together. He has body odor, she has bad breath. Two offending each other. Let’s call it off.

      Here, Beltran and Cora are copping out, enabled by the Mets and Red Sox. Slimy. At least the Astros owner came forward and dropped the axe. These other clowns belong in a circus.

  47. Sanchez was a terrific pick up, no question. I applaud every time we can get a young power throwing Pitcher, especially a Lefty. He will start in AA as a SP, and I hope we made a great deal. The Mets are my least favorite Division rival, so I have no sympathy for them.

      1. I have Sanchez at #36 and Hinkie is the only other ranking that I see Sanchez ranked (Hinkie’s #35). Sanchez is under the radar considering Sanchez hasn’t really pitched above A+ except for a short cameo in AAA.

    1. What on earth are they doing? Are they really going into ST with this assortment of starters? Good God, what a huge miss. I hope they are going to do something more, but each passing day I doubt that more and more.

      1. EXACTLY. They are either stupid or arrogant or both. I don’t care how good of a pitching coach Bryan Price turns out to be, this team did not do enough to bolster its pitching this off season and some of the neglected moves were not expensive. I don’t get this at all.

        1. Of course, I don’t know what they are trying to do or are going to do before the season starts, so this criticism was really a bit premature – but it will apply if they don’t address this issue in a serious way, which is what they have failed to do thus far.

  48. I don’t know if you are joking DMAR, but that is exactly what I expect. What a disappointment, but they have now convinced me this is it. There was no one in this organization who had the smarts to say “counting on Velasquez and Pivetta again?! Not a smart plan!”

    1. I cannot believe Girardi will go into a season without at least one lefty in the rotation…I do not think he has ever managed a team without one lefty in the rotation….even going back to the Marlins where he had two…Willis and Olsen.

      A trade is coming.

        1. If Smyly got less than $4M AAV from the Giants, that will be a disappointing development to me, since the Phillies could have probably brought him back for that amount.

  49. It’s official: Odubel has cleared waivers and been assigned to AAA. The Phillies will probably feel free NOT to have him in major league camp, so as to avoid distractions and media scrutiny.

    1. This is the best scenario for the Phillies other than someone taking on his salary. Hopefully, he can put his head down and produce like a changed man. He has so much talent – but he has to get his head straightened and work his tail off. I hope he can do it. It would be good for everyone.

  50. John Middleton has gone from stooopid money falling out of his pockets to becoming an extreme coupon shopper in less than 12 months. This is ridiculous. He’s built a roster that is completely top heavy. Championship cliber clubs have depth. The Phillies don’t.

    1. Speaking of John Middleton, can anyone please tell me the advantage of the Comcast deal and all the money that is rolling in from it? Is it like, they’re saving for a rainy day? Anyone?

      1. The money goes into the owners’ pockets. Which owners, in any sport, do you think are not in it to make money? The Tax Threshold provides, those who choose to use it, an excuse for not spending money.

    2. That’s what happens when you don’t draft too well, don’t develop players too well, don’t sign foreign talent too well, don’t think out of the box too well and don’t have an eye for acquiring undervalued players. The byproduct of those outcomes is your 2020 Philadelphia Phillies Ladies and Gentlemen – a very top heavy team that is way too reliant on high-priced free agents.

  51. I agree with catch that there may be a trade coming, so our criticism may be premature. I don’t really believe that, however. Even if a trade happens, the cost is players. Maybe not, and I should say it better not, including Howard or Bohm, but any of the next tier will also be a big loss, when Pitching could have been upgraded without the cost of prospects. Nick Williams is simply not getting us a SP. I am all aboard with Price developing one of the young Pitchers to be a good BP asset, but we need more, and we needed another SP, especially a lefthanded one. Even a trade at the deadline requires some prospects, and every contending team, every year, needs to add in July. But, they kept $5M under that phony salary cap, and I hope the league is happy. It feels like Bill Giles is running the team again.

    1. If Realmuto and Neris win their arbitration cases, at least half of the $5M below the Tax Threshold disappears? That would be the biggest blow to the Threshold. But, to a much lesser degree, individual salaries for some players might be dependent on reaching certain innings or plate appearances limits that could increase their salaries.

  52. Not sure what people think of Prospects1500, an outlet which posted its top 50 Phillies prospects yesterday….

    Tier 1 (likely future all star caliber)
    1 Alec Bohm
    2 Spencer Howard

    Tier 2 (solid, above average MLB contributors)
    3 Francisco Morales
    4 Bryson Stott

    Tier 3 (likely to be major leaguers as average players)
    5 Kendall Simmons
    6 Adonis Medina
    7 Connor Seabold
    8 Luis Garcia
    9 Erik Miller
    10 Starlyn Castillo
    11 Jamari Baylor
    12 Johan Rojas
    13 Jose Pujols
    14 Rafael Marchan

    Tier 4 (potential MLB players with minimal impact)
    15 Enyel de Los Santos
    16 Ethan Lindow
    17 Jhailyn Ortiz
    18 Damon Jones
    19 JD Hammer
    20 Seth Lancaster
    21 Austin Listi
    22 Deivi Grullon
    23 Kyle Glogoski
    24 Cristopher Sanchez
    25 Matt Vierling
    26 Darick Hall
    27 Jojo Romero (!)
    28 Mickey Moniak (!)
    29 Kevin Gowdy
    30 Kyle Young
    31 Colton Eastman
    32 Carlos de la Cruz
    33 Addison Russ
    34 Simon Muzziotti (!)
    35 Connor Brogdon

    Tier 5….the rest (unlikely to be big leaguers)

    Interesting read. I like to contrast and compare reports on players, especially ones that vary greatly from list to list. They think highly of Morales. Not so much Simon Muzz. And Mickey? Yeesh!

      1. No need to go to 2018…last year Howard was Tier 3.
        Ranked 11th…one ahead of Matt Vierling at 12.
        This year Matt Vierling is 25th.

        The guy I am most interesting in seeing this season is number 50…. Miguel Tejada, Jr.
        His father probably has pushed him hard this off-season to prove a point…the guy has the raw tools….speed, size, strength, arm, and a very quick bat.
        The White Sox have an excellent system in finding talent and developing it….they found Miguel, buit the PED issue led them to move on without him in their system.
        But he is someone I am hoping will break-out.

      1. I love this write up V1 thanks for sharing. For years now you guys have heard me say its better to be lucky than good. I guess I’ll add if you’re not lucky then you better be good.

        I think the biggest punch in the arm was the Ortiz write up $4.2 million compared to Soto and Tatis Jr. signing for under a mil. Ouch that stings.

        at the end of the article I have no real qualms with anything this writer breaks down. His tier system is pretty cool.

        Jimmy if you get the chance to ask I’d like to hear some thoughts from some more pitchers who transitioned from AA to AAA and the new ball. And if you can add to that what ball do they get to throw in their Bull Pens and Side Work.

  53. What must it be like to be the fan of a perennial contender? I guess we saw a little sniff of that for 5 or 6 years from 2007-11, but think about some of these other teams. Our team hasn’t finished above .500 in 8 years. But since the year 2000: (a) the Cardinals have finished .500 or under once and have won 90 or more games 11 times; (b) the Yankees have NEVER finished .500 or under and have won 90 or more games 14 times; (c) the Red Sox have finished .500 or below three times and have won 90 or more games 12 times; and (d) the Dodgers have finished .500 or below once and have won 90 or more games 10 times.

    There is no reason that the Phillies, with all of their resources and fan base, can’t be like these other teams.

    1. I’m not sure how many teams operate under a similar ownership structure as ours. I know JM is managing partner but what does that mean exactly. Is he free to spend whatever he wants whenever he wants without answering to other owners?

      I’m pretty sure the Steinbrenner’s don’t. I’m pretty sure John Henry doesn’t. The Dodgers who knows what that set-up is like.

      The Cardinals rarely go over the cap if at all and still manage to be highly effective operating in the upper third of payrolls.

      I guess my point is some ownerships don’t really care about winning championships. They may say they do to placate a fan base but at the end of the day they don’t put their money where their mouth is.

  54. catch, we were very lucky in 07-11, and still didn’t do a good enough job. Before there was slotting, there was a “suggested slot value” that Bud Selig instituted. Those teams you mentioned never followed it. We did. They all got much better International talent than we did. When we got Doc, we had to trade Cliff Lee, a business and baseball decision that was mind boggling stupid. We sold out every game, the Comcast deal had yet to kick in, and we still never took advantage of what we had going for us, financial resources the equal of anyone. We didn’t draft well after that run, we didn’t develop well, and what should have been multiple WS wins was only 1. Here we are entering 2020, and the fact that $208M is an impediment to improving the team is an embarrassment.

  55. Gabe Makes History……Hires First Woman Baseball Coach For The Giants:
    Looks like Gabe hired one of Rhys Hoskins former ‘teammates’..sort of…Alyssa Nakken , played softball at Sac State, while Rhys was a freshmen on the mens baseball team.

    1. That Gabe he’s so progressive and cutting edge. Seriously though I don’t have any daughters I have 3 sons. I love seeing barriers broken down.

      If Alyssa was my daughter my advice to her would be go into this with thick skin because you are walking into a world of machismo. As John Henry told Billy Beane in Money Ball the first one through the wall always gets the bloodiest.

  56. Good article in the Athletic today. Says these pitchers are good candidates for bullpen roles due to really high K rates. I have been saying for a while that K rates are the top stat to look at for pitchers.

    Addison Russ
    Zach Warren
    Damon Jones
    Garrett Cleavinger
    Connor Brogdon

    Note Jones now considers himself a relief pitcher. Not a starter.

    ‘Their numbers are off the charts’: High K%, elite put-away pitch could carry these prospects to the Phillies bullpen https://theathletic.com/1538493/2020/01/16/their-numbers-are-off-the-charts-high-k-elite-put-away-pitch-could-carry-these-prospects-to-the-phillies-bullpen/?source=shared-article

    1. @v1again – I agree with your post (and the article) in a lot of ways…

      1) high K% – i love pitchers that can miss bats and high K% is a must more importantly for a RP. On top of the K%, I also love the GB% — considering CBP is a hitters park, pitchers need to keep the ball on the ground. the 3rd stat is the BB%.

      2) Out pitch – I’m also a believer of this attribute. To be successful a pitcher needs to have a reliable “out pitch” — especially if this out pitch can take both LH and RH hitters just like Nola’s CU and CB.

      3) Jones as a RP – it will be exciting if Jones develops as a SP because: a) he’s big; b) a lefty; c) 2 potential plus pitches (FB and CB) and d) very good K% and GB%. But unless Jones significantly improves his command, he will be a LH version of Vinny.

      4) Bullpen as a potential strength – I posted before that I’m not really worried about the lack of depth in the bullpen (but I screamed the need to acquire SPs) — as bullpen arms from the farm can be the biggest surprise in the next coming years. LHV and REA bullpen will be stacked with MLB ready arms.

  57. As I look at the non-roster invitees, there are 5 potential “impact” players who could positively alter the fortunes of the 2020 Phillies: Alec Bohm, Connor Brogdon, Josh Harrison, Spencer Howard and Damon Jones (out of the pen).

  58. KuKo, I think Josh Harrison definitely makes the team. The guy I look to have a good ST, although not a NRI, is Garrett Cleavinger. I think he may make the team as well. We need 2 more BP arms, and since we are over the salary cap, I think Cleavinger has a real shot. The others I expect to see during the season.

    1. matt13…..Seranthony and Arano could be factors, assuming they come in healthy.
      I also look to Edgar Garcia and JD Hammer to progress further and also be factors this year.

    2. @matt – nothing to apologize for. Harrison position flexibility will give him the biggest advantage — it will be for Harrison to lose that spot. The ex-Muts TJ Rivera is like another Cesar Hernandez – this ex-Mut is the one who can give Harrison a fight for that bench spot.

      As for the pen arms – this last 2-3 arms (depending if the Phillies will carry 7 or 8 pen arms) is hard to predict since there are a lot of possible candidates.

      1) Alvarez and 2) Morgan lack options so they probably fill the LH need. 3) Neris will carry on as the closer and a healthy 4) Seranthony and 5) Arano is almost a lock to make it. I would love to see Vinny and Pivetta round out the bullpen but the Phillies might still want to develop them as SP.

      Stock will get a shot if he shows good command in ST, Sanchez will start in REA and Kelley will be purged. So Ranger, Irvin (who pitched better in the pen with increased velo), JD Hammer, Garcia, Davis and Enyel will be the 1st pool of RPs that will get a shot to be part of the 26-man.

  59. Regarding Prospects 1500, I’m skeptical that it is a credible source. The bio of the writer is listed as:

    “Tony Bps Spina is a lifelong baseball fan hailing from the City of Brotherly Love – Philadelphia! Tony has loved baseball since 1980 and has followed the Phillies through good and bad times. Tony is married with 3 kids and works for a financial institution but has enough free time to play in 20 fantasy baseball leagues with 75% of them being Dynasty Leagues.”

    Nothing against the guy, but that sounds like a PP contributor.

    Plus he says up front: “Also, as a reminder, these rankings are based on the players’ potential to contribute to your fantasy teams and not for real-life baseball.”

    Is he speaking directly to scouts throughout MLB orgs? Is he getting his eyes on a lot of these 50 minor leaguers?

    1. The author does say that he has a job with lots of down time….so, maybe that time is productive. Maybe his resources are broad and credible. If not, he really puts on a good show. I’m impressed, be it for fantasy players or the real game. Can’t see much difference other than when he qualifies his report on Simon Muzziotti as perhaps being better in real baseball vs fantasy league stats.

  60. This is what I’m expecting from our starters relative to their respective performance in 2019….

    C JT Realmuto – approx the same, all star caliber
    1b Rhys Hoskins – improvement
    2b/3b Jean Segura – improvement
    ss Didi Gregorius – approx the same, but healthier
    3b/2b Scott Kingery – approx the same, depending on how he is utilized
    lf Andrew McCutchen – approx the same, but healthier
    cf Adam Haseley – approx the same
    rf Bryce Harper – improvement, all star caliber

    Aaron Nola – improvement under new coaching
    Zack Wheeler – approx the same
    Jake Arrieta – improvement, healthier, walk year
    Zach Eflin – ditto Nola
    ?????????? – sadly, approx the same, hurry up Spencer!

    Bullpen – improvement by virtue of better health and emergence of minor league arms

    1. When you do this little exercise you realize how much Bohm and Howard could help the major league team if they hit the ground running. Third base and third/fourth starter are relative areas of weakness.

      1. True. I didn’t list them because, despite their promise, it’s so scattershot to project how they perform out of the major league gate.

  61. Here comes the avalanche of whistle blowing….now Jack McDowell has revealed that Tony LaRussa had something installed in the CF Gatorade sign in old Comiskey Park. Oh, the books that’ll be written when this is all said and done….

        1. Ha! MLB investigation said there was no evidence of the buzzers under the jerseys. Could have been “proven” if it hadn’t involved 2 star players (Altuve and Bregman)?? Makes you wonder….how far is the MLB office willing to go here?

          1. I gotta’ say the picture of Altuve after he hit the ball does seem to show something under his shirt just inside his right shoulder (as some have reported), and the whole “don’t rip my jersey off!” thing to his teammates looks very incriminating.
            For me … the Astros will wear the scarlet “C” (like the NE Patriots).
            They are lucky the commissioner didn’t hit them with more rugged penalties.

            1. Also … why does Altuve need to go into the clubhouse to change into his AL Champions T-shirt?

              … and … finally … I don’t read lips … but … this seems to be the icing on the cake.

  62. I was just thinking, after Bohm comes up this year, who will be the next position player to come up and start for us? Stott? 2-3 years away? If so, after that, I don’t see anyone else in our entire system, at this point, who looks the part. Rankings aside, MM, Garcia, Marchan and Maton have a long way to go to become starters in the majors. Hopefully there’s a surprise player or two this year who jumps up a few levels in their performance. Who might that be?

    1. What positions, outside of pitchers, will be open for anyone to start at in Philly?
      Phillies will have a majority of all positions covered by then….maybe LF since I assume RF and CF will be occupied.
      Infield….maybe shortstop if Stott does not stay there.
      I only see LF as being a competitive position in 2 or 3 years.
      I think Jhailyn Ortiz will be the guy by then.

      1. I was thinking about that too. It obviously depends on performance this year. Haseley will only get the time until Bohm comes up to show that he can hold that job. Kingery will move to CF at that time if Haseley doesn’t perform. However we all know that Kingery will end up at 2b eventually, if he hits of course. Next season maybe after a trade of Segura? Will Didi be back next year? Who knows. We know Cutch has another year after this one. So there Gould be openings at SS and CF next year and in LF the year after. Stott won’t be ready until mid 2022 best case and maybe 2023. Ortiz, MM and Maton will have opportunities but their play this year has to really pick up. 250 hitters at AA don’t make it.

  63. Both Johan Rojas & Kendall Simmons are the lower level players that I will be keeping a close eye on in 2020.
    These two have loud tools, their hit tool needs to improve yet…

  64. Going forward, Kingery needs to show he is what a lot of us thought he would be, and become entrenched at 2B. Bohm either shows he is a 3B, which would be ideal, or the DH has to come to the NL. Rhys is still young, and Stott may be the future at SS. Haseley still needs to prove he is an every day CF, or we will need one. Bryce is still young, as is JTR. If this all works out, then LF and Pitching are the areas that need development. Howard, I think, will be a TOR. I have no idea who will step up next. I do know that the best SP available should be our #1 draft pick this year. I know, “best available”, but if it is even close, we need to get Pitching.

    1. I forgot that the DH could come to the NL at some point. That would open up 3b but Stott might end up at 3b. That would leave SS open again. I think they’ll try to extend Didi mid season if he’s doing well but I doubt he’ll sign. Only pitchers and catchers sign the extensions due to the injury risk. Looking forward to ST starting soon!

  65. Should be interesting to see how Altuve, Bregman and other Astros hit this year. We will find out if their performance is inline with past seasons or drops off without any perceived aids.

    1. OMG, lips aren’t moving but vocal chords might just be vibrating…… likely humming loudly during entire at bat so umpire behind and opposing catcher won’t hear the buzzer…. then walks nonchalantly to pick up the ##&* buzzer when it flies off……

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